By Greg Jarboe
Many educators plan to spend up to 85.7% of their waking hours over their upcoming winter break creating highly engaging, interactive course content.
Why? Well, there are two highly probable explanations.
A: They could be motivated by one of the eight following reasons:
- Thousands of K-12 and higher education administrators want to build a strong foundation for online student and educator success.
- Hundreds of college and university administrators want their instructors to create and share lessons and related learning materials while eliminating textbook and media costs.
- Numerous college educators also want to create the best online learning experience for their students and eliminate the cost of expensive textbooks and other media.
- Countless community college educators want to develop and deliver critical training to a wide variety of learners in professions like nursing, culinary arts, and electrical technology.
- Virtually all instructional designers of all technical skill levels want to make learning experiences highly engaging and interactive content that students love.
- Loads of instructional design managers want to create an endless number of interactives for formative assessment and feedback for any subject or grade level.
- Tons of K-12 teachers want to deliver a high-quality digital curriculum with ease to improve student outcomes and retention rates.
- More teachers than you can shake a stick at want to create their own content with an exciting and diverse set of resources for their students.
B: As the son of a high school math teacher, and the father of a son who is both a high school history teacher and an assistant professor of history at a college of music, I hate to admit this, but they could have, umm, a different idea of work-work-work-work-work-work-life balance.
Fortunately, SoftChalk’s fast, easy content authoring tools enable you to create the best online learning experience for your students – without having to work six days a week over your winter break.
So, if one of first explanations fits you like a glove or even if the second explanation fits you like a mitten, then here are eight of SoftChalk’s best eLearning examples to inspire you in 2023:
- Browse through the Sample Lessons created by college educators, instructional designers, and K-12 teachers with SoftChalk’s high-quality course authoring tools. You can examine Sample Lessons by Discipline, search the repository of thousands of learning objects in SoftChalk Share, or take a look at the winners from the SoftChalk Lesson Challenge to see inspiring lessons designed by educators across the globe.
- Read the case study that describes how SoftChalk helped educators at Columbus State Community College (CSCC) who were looking for alternatives to address the skyrocketing cost of textbooks. “Our Textbook Affordability and Accessibility Committee recently surveyed students and found that students report having to take fewer classes per semester, as they can’t afford to purchase all the required texts,” says Cathy Bill, a Distinguished Teaching Award recipient and assistant professor at CSCC. Bill and a team of colleagues began to use SoftChalk Cloud, which enabled them to create interactive, online lessons to replace their textbook content. While faculty control of content, and improved student outcomes were huge benefits of the textbook development project, it also reduced student costs. The CSCC team estimates they achieved a cost savings of approximately $116-$181 per student per course.
- Read the case study that explains how SoftChalk helped five members of the faculty in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Kennesaw State University (KSU) tackle the problem of textbook affordability by developing a free OER textbook for their technical communications program. The textbook they created, “Sexy Technical Writing,” is an interactive, online textbook that includes embedded videos, interactive activities, quizzes, and tooltips. It was created using SoftChalk Cloud, an easy-to-use, online lesson authoring platform, designed for educators and instructional designers. Dr. Tamara Powell, Interim Executive Director of KSU’s Technology Enhanced Learning team, says, “The transformation experience was exhilarating and inspiring as we achieved our dream of creating a resource for students that was under our control and reflected the way we wanted to teach.”
- Read the post on SoftChalk’s eLearning Blog entitled, “Non-Traditional Teaching Methods for Non-Traditional Students.” It was written by Lane Gunnels, the Program Coordinator for the Electrical Technology Program for South Louisiana Community College. He writes, “In a program that is catering to mostly non-traditional students, developing a teaching style that keeps them engaged is a must. I have developed a sort of hybrid between two styles over the years. The flipped classroom style combined with inquiry-based learning has created an atmosphere in my classroom that allows for guided self-paced learning.” Gunnels adds, “Thanks to the features in SoftChalk, I am able to provide concise information while utilizing interactive tools to aid the learning process.”
- Watch the online seminar from SoftChalk’s Innovators in Online Learning series entitled, “Innovators Training Educators to Build Courses that Meet Quality Matters Standards.” The panel of experts consists of Lisa Jung, PhD, Instructional Design/Educational Technology Faculty, Scottsdale Community College; Julie Magadan, who has a Master of Education, and is an Instructional Designer at Phoenix College; and Laura Ballard, who also has a Master of Education, and is the instruction designer at Gateway Community College.
- Check out the SoftChalk’s Sample Interactives for formative assessment and feedback for any subject or grade level. And take a look at the samples of presentation activities, scored activities, QuizPoppers, and quiz groups to get some ideas for activities of your own. Then, see SoftChalk’s training video tutorials for step-by-step instructions for creating each of these activities and quizzes.
- Read the case study that tells the story of how the Clark County School District (CCSD) in Nevada, the 5th largest school district in the country, set a goal in 2011 of having one third of their 320,000 students in an online or blended learning environment by the 2015 year. Or, watch the video entitled, “SoftChalk at Clark County,” to hear Kim Lewis, Innovative Projects Coordinator at CCSD, and Michelle Truman, Curriculum Design Coordinator for the school district, describe how CCSD not only met their goal of having 100,000 students in an online environment by 2015, they exceeded it!
- Read the case study that records how Orange LIVE! (Learning through Interactive Virtual Education), the virtual school of the Orange Unified School District in California, provided an exciting and diverse set of resources for students. SoftChalk’s ease of use plays an essential role in this unique virtual school program since it requires their classroom teachers to not only teach online, but also create their online content. Pam Quiros, Orange LIVE!’s Coordinator of Educational Technology states that “SoftChalk is a tool that allows our teachers to more easily present material to their students in the online environment. Our teachers are able to efficiently create accessible and engaging content.”
Now, as an instructor at one of America’s leading public research universities, I don’t want to promise the moon. Even though SoftChalk provides a plethora of User Guides to help you get started and an embarrassing number of Short Courses to ramp up your eLearning experiences, you will still need to spend some time over your upcoming winter break creating highly engaging, interactive course content.
But, hopefully, this collection of SoftChalk’s best eLearning examples will not only inspire you in 2023, it will also enable you to improve your work-work-work-work-work-life-life balance.