FACULTY SHARE: DR. Drew AT CSU NORTHRIDGE

Today, we hear from Stefanie Drew as part of our Faculty Share series. Dr. Drew is an Assistant Professor at CSU Northridge.

Please speak to the importance of the LMS in your teaching.
Our campus LMS, Moodle, is absolutely critical to my teaching; I would not be able to teach effectively without the use of the LMS

How do you use the LMS?  What are the LMS features you use and find crucial?
I use multiple features of Moodle when I am teaching a course; I am a member of CSUN’s myCSUNtablet initiative, meaning I teach tablet courses (ones where all students enrolled in the class have must have an iPad) as well as courses that are not iPad classes, but I teach from my iPad.  In both of these classes, integration with Moodle is key.  One of the most critical uses are the uploading and distribution of materials via Moodle.  I strive for high student engagement in my courses, which includes doing Participation Activities nearly every other class.  These activities involve my uploading a form to Moodle, students accessing it and editing it in class while in small groups, and then taking screen shots or pictures of their work and uploading them up to Moodle to be graded.  This in of itself has saved me hours of grading in my larger (230 student) courses with the previous method in which I had students submit pieces of paper with their ID numbers on them and i had to manually enter them.  To increase student synthesis of material, I also use the Moodle questionnaire function, in which students are required to reply to weekly prompts about how a particular lecture topic is applicable to their current lives.  I also administer all of my exams via Moodle along wtih RespondusLockdownBrowser, which allows for increased versatility in terms of testing content, as well as decreasing opportunities for student academic dishonesty.  For writing intensive courses, the ability to integrate TurnItIn and Moodle has been absolutely critical, and discussion forums for students to either discuss materias, or share review term assignments etc. is also a large part of my teaching.  I also use the gradebook to allow student to be kept up to date with their progress in the class.  There are a few additional uses for our LMS i utilize as well, but these are the most essential.

Do you use the LMS to teach all your courses, or a few?
I use the LMS to teach all of my courses, for both undergraduate and graduate; online and in class courses.

Do you access the LMS using a mobile device? If so, for what purposes?
I teach all of my classes from an iPad to allow me to walk around the class and interact with students opposed to being rooted to a podium, and I access our LMS Moodle constantly using my iPad.  This is to access course materials, make assignments in real time whil e in class, to maek materials visible/hidden, to show students shared examples for review via Discussion forums.

To your knowledge, do your students access your LMS course(s) on a mobile device? Do you have a sense of how that is working for them?
Students are required to access our LMS via iPads in the iPad courses, and via any device in my device neutral classes.  Students are extremely adept at accessing items, downloading the days required material, uploading participation activities, and completing exams via our LMS.

Have you tried using the gradebook in any way other than keeping grades? Are there other features for which you find new uses?
I primarily use it for keeping grades, but would be interested in other uses.

Is there a particular use of the LMS you’re personally proud of?
I have started a new way of reviewing exam material that is being very well received by students;  instead of just providing a study guide of terms, and going over them in class, I use the Moodle “Choice” function to list the possible terms, and each student can sign up for one of the review terms (in a class of 230, each term can have up to 6 students sign up for it, allow for diversity of responses) Students then have a week to create a demonstration of that term in a particular format (for the next test its a social meme, for the one after that its a comic strip, and then a 60 second movie). Students then are required to upload their submission to 1) an assignment submission link on Moodle (this is protected and where the assignment is graded) and then 2) in a public discussion board;  the discussion board is then accessed during lecture on a review day, and the terms reviewed this way, and is ALSO made available to students when they are studying.  This exercise requires students to learn the terms more in depth (opposed to just writing down what I say) and to also create additional cues for their memory to assist them when they are in the test taking environment.

I also love using it for my weekly “Learning Logs” in which students can synthesize material from lecture by considering applications of material in real life.  These are done via Moodle’s Questionnaire function, and students can only view their own responses, but are required to cognitively process what they have learned and apply it, opposed to rote memorization.  This technique is a low stakes tool that is designed to increase student retention.

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Article by: Stefanie Drew