Wednesday, December 7, 2016

TLC Scheduled Maintenance

TLC will be unavailable during the following times due to scheduled maintenance.  


Please do not plan on completing training during this time:

Friday, December 09, 2016 from 2:00AM - 3:00AM CST

Monday, December 5, 2016

Emergency Maintenance (12/6)-RESOLVED

The system will be doing emergency maintenance starting at 12 AM on December 6th.  This will effect access to Blackboard, Connect and Relay.  The expected down time is 30 minutes starting at 12 AM on December 6th.  We will update this announcement when the maintenance is complete.  We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

UPDATE-The maintenance has been completed.

Unscheduled Blackboard Outage (12/5) - RESOLVED

Users attempting to login to Blackboard between 12:15 -12:45 AM Monday December 5th were unable to login due to network issues. These issues have been resolved and Blackboard is functioning normally again. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Teaching Approaches to Consider

students listening in a large lecture hallOver the past few years, there's been much discussion, evaluation, and research of the role of lecture and its place in the classroom and online courses.  Depending on variables, such as class size, discipline, instructor's teaching philosophy, etc. other strategies (i.e. Active Learning, Flipped Classroom, Learner-Centered, and POGIL - just to name a few) have surfaced with some highly adopted and recommended.

Below you will find a synopsis of each approach with links to "best practices."  I'm also interested in gaining insights from you!  I welcome you sharing your experiences should you have taught or are currently teaching one of the approaches mentioned below.

If interested, please email me (nmodares@kumc.edu) your thoughts/experiences as I would like to delve further into each of these approaches and pepper them with your contributions in the near future.


Active Learning -
This approach allows students to "learn by doing," where students use their critical thinking skills to address the activity rather than watch or listen to a recording or lecture.  One way instructors might promote this approach would be assigning a learning activity such as a reflection assignment which would have students read, discuss, and write.  This would allow students to use their critical thinking skills and help focus the student on realizing their own attitudes and values rather on just transmitting knowledge.

Flipped Classroom -
Students working together during class
This method expects students to prepare for learning activities by watching videos or reading articles and book chapters outside of classThis "flip" will allow students to analyze/synthesize the content within instruction time instead by way of discussions or collaborative learning activities (Problem-Based Learning (PBL), Team-Based Learning (TBL), unstructured group case studies, etc.)

Learner Centered - 
This strategy allows instructors to share learning space with students where students are given control of their learning.  The role of the instructor changes from having to orchestrate the learning for the students by allowing them to take control and become self-directed learners instead.

Students discussing around a table

Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) -
According to Weimer, "POGIL originated in Chemistry and involves students working together during class on specially designed materials.  They work through a set of carefully crafted questions, the guided inquiry, which follow a three-phase “learning cycle.”   First students explore, then they invent, and finally they apply.  Instructors function as facilitators, supporting the groups in a variety of ways ad occasionally presenting material in lecture format."   
Weimer, Maryellen. Learner Centered Teaching: Five Key Changes to Practice, Josey Bass, 2002

Looking forward to your contributions!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Scheduled Blackboard Maintenance (12/01) - RESOLVED

Due to a few issues in Blackboard we will be restarting the servers to resolve them. This will be happening starting at 11:10 AM. Users may experience a loss of connection to Blackboard or no be able to login for a short time. We will update this announcement when everything is resolved. We apologize for any inconvenience this will cause.

UPDATE: This issue has been resolved and Blackboard is functioning normally. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Unscheduled Blackboard Outage - RESOLVED

Due to an issue Blackboard is currently down. Blackboard began having issues around 9:15 PM on Tuesday evening. We are working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

UPDATE: The issue with Blackboard is resolved and Blackboard is now functioning normally again. This outage was from Tuesday 11/29 at 9:15 PM until 1:05 AM on Wednesday 11/30. We apologize for any inconvenience this might have caused. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

5 Steps Toward Accessibility


  1. Provide contact information to Academic Accommodation Services within your course. At KUMC, students can call (913) 945-7035 to discuss accommodations.

  1. Caption or transcribe video and audio content.

  1. If you are adding images to your course, you must provide alternative (alt) text for the image. You need to be as descriptive as possible when describing the image so screen readers can tell the students what the image is of. Your description should ue 5-15 words. Here are a couple of examples of how to properly label an image versus lacking description:
    • Lacking: “man”
    • Detailed: “Director of HR Initiatives Fritz Achen”

    • Lacking: “building”
    • Detailed: “An aerial view of Kirmayer fitness center”

  1. Do not use color to convey meaning. If you make all important dates a specific color, it will not be accessible to students who are color blind.

  1. To check Microsoft Word documents for accessibility errors, go to File > (Info) Inspect Document/Check for Issues > Check Accessibility. This will inspect your document and notify you of any accessibility errors.