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What's happening

I've put together some great new webinars for the next couple of months. You can download our webinar schedule here and share it out widely with your colleagues. We also have a broad list of professional development opportunities from a variety of others in the broader open education community that can be found here. This is a living document that will continue to grow.

New TRAILS webinars in the coming weeks:

Good News! Yes, after requests, I have added a bit more content to that webinar and will be presenting it again. Incorporating good news into your online class, May 28th @ 1PM.

OER From the Top! Creating a Textbook Affordability initiative on your campus from an administrative and leadership perspective. Reviewing case successes and challenges as well as best practices from policy, advocacy, and marking perspectives. June 12th @ 10AM.

The Art of the Online Class Lecture: a new approach to translating the live lecture to the online environment. June 22nd @ 1PM.

More opportunities are coming soon. Sign up for these or share them with your colleagues.


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There was some great participation in today's webinar on "Adding good news into online courses". Great questions and insights were shared from participants. I'll add the video recording link here as soon as it is done processing. For those who missed or joined in late, here's a quick guide to adding good news into your course.

In higher education, we know that in addition to subject matter, we are teaching how to be a college student, how to be an adult, how to engage with the world or the scholarly community, and more. How you engage with your students, to help them to not just understand but to interact with your material, to see its value in their world, to apply concepts, etc. is a teacher's constant challenge. Many of us are faced with the additional struggle of trying to do this in new ways and formats in a time when our students are struggling to connect, access, and even find value in the courses they are taking.

It is easy focus your attention and time on just getting information and assignments to your students. Yet, today more than ever, what you and your students need is to hold onto the one thing that defines us. Our Humanity.

Today humanity in the classroom is imperative.

Regardless of the subject that you teach, human connection is paramount in surviving and learning. Research has shown that this connection improves:

  • motivation

  • engagement

  • resilience

  • mental health

  • a sense of belonging

  • physical health

  • and more...

Adding some good news or moments of humanity to your course regularly will be valuable to you and your students. At least once a week is recommended. If you were teaching face to face, adding a some kind of human interaction as often as your class was previously schedule to meet will provide you all with a more connected sense of togetherness.

Ways to connect

  • Share some good news - a short video or article of good things happening in the world

  • Let your students share - created a wiki or discussion board where students can share a photo or statement of their favorite moment that week; ask them to share their favorite news sites

  • Share positivity from your field- share an article, link, or video about a positive way you or others in your field are making a difference today

  • Share Yourself - be honest about a moment you experienced, positive or not, in your teaching each week. This minimizes their frustration while connecting them with you as a human.

  • Create a helping space - you can't do everything. Make a place in your course shell for students to help each other with questions about the class, life, local resources, etc. This could start with you sharing the helping resources your institution has available to them.

  • Make an object space - a page or module in your course where you can post and students can readily access positive objects like a photo, poem, etc. that are less informational and more about connection like images from this Instagram page.

A few trusted sites for good news and inspiration sources (these sites have been sharing good news for years and have a wealth of it!)

For self-help, HackSpirit, TinyBuddha, and DailyOM are worth visiting.

And here's an old favorite to remind us all why humanity is worth sharing.

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Institutions of higher education have risen to the challenge of meeting their students online instruction needs. With a lot of hard work by many, flexibility, and full utilization of the great instructional support resources our institutions have, needs are being met and answered. Open educational resources are a valuable and relevant answer to those student and faculty needs. I have been delighted to help the faculty who've reached out to me for support in locating and transitioning their courses to these materials. In higher ed, we are doing it together.

It is equally important to me to acknowledge our colleagues in K12 who also have been rising to meet the challenges without the support services and online teaching platforms higher ed has access to. In a time of crisis, they have also risen to meet their students' needs in remarkable ways. Huge shout out to all of you for the work you have done and that is still ahead of you.

OER are as broadly available for K12 teachers as they are for higher ed. In fact, some institutions start their OER programs focusing on dual-credit courses and early college course offerings to ensure all students have equal and affordable access to the same level of textbooks and other learning materials.

Here are a couple of materials to get our K12 colleagues started with open education. Please download and share with your friends and children's teachers. We really are all in this together.

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