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From the Language Center Director: The Return of Tip of the Day

September 14, 2020

Welcome to a new academic year, starting with a semester that will be primarily remote for the Language Center, and for many of you.

As a way of providing connection, we are bringing back the Tip of the Day blog. The plan is to continue to describe manageable chunks or tips that support online or remote learning environments. The primary focus will be the teaching and learning of languages, but these tips may be useful for more general audiences as well. We are aiming to publish three posts per week.

We are looking to expand topics to include tools that are accessible to the university community, such as Flipgrid, VoiceThread, Google Apps, and others. Furthermore, since much has changed in the Zoom environment since spring semester, we will review and update tips on how to take advantage of many new features. We also plan to cover aspects of the Canvas learning management system.

We also hope to hear from you. We can use this blog collaboratively to crowdsource ideas. Please feel free to comment on the individual posts or on the blog in general. If you have a technique that works for you, please let us know. We will help you write it up and attribute it to you. We hope these tips will be a useful resource and that you will implement some of them as you see the need.

Our first tip of the fall semester is an elaboration on a previous one: Who attended my Zoom session? Access a list of participants with additional information. Upcoming this week are tips on engaging students during wait times and a way to share video sound quickly.

Another resource I recommend is the open Canvas course from the Welcome Week plenary sessions that the Language Center offered in partnerships with French and Italian, Spanish and Portuguese, German, Nordic, Slavic and Dutch and LATIS, especially if you were unable to attend. It includes pages on:

  • Zoom: Tips for running an engaging and effective synchronous session
  • Kaltura: Using the tool to enhance and increase instructor presence
  • Canvas: Knowing how, when, and why of Canvas tools

I wish you a successful semester, and I encourage you to contact me directly at soneson@umn.edu with your questions, ideas, successes and challenges.

– Dan Soneson, Director