Nuts and Bolts

All UMCES courses must be taught over the video network. It is preferred currently that the IVN system is used because of its resolution, reliability and infrastructural support. Some instructors are beginning to use Zoom. The IVN or Zoom conference ID will be assigned when the course is assigned to a room.

A primer on the IVN system is available here.

All UMCES courses also have access to a content management system (CMS) called Moodle. Moodle is available to all faculty and students who have an account here. Moodle is used to post the curriculum, readings for each week, lecture notes, links to external resources, and to conduct exams. There is an introductory guide to using Moodle available here. There are also videos available on Moodle’s YouTube account, available here

We incorrectly assume you will be able to teach because you have taken courses. Please know that everyone has to work to become a better teacher – and we all get better (hopefully) every time we teach.

Teaching over interactive video is different from teaching in front of a class. Many faculty have become good at teaching over interactive video- seek their advice on what works and what doesn’t. But here are some important lessons.

  • Do not be overawed by the technology. The technology is not the hard part – becoming an effective teacher is, and that challenge exists whether you are directly in front of the students or not.
  • You may teach a course in which students from up to five remote sites (e.g., HPL, AL, IMET, UMCP, UMES) participate. Managing students at remote sites can be a challenge – it is easy to forget a site if only one or two students are at a site, particularly if they are quiet.
  • Both IVN and Zoom work best when all remote sites (i.e., where the students are) mute their microphones. This can make the experience of taking an IVN class passive. To overcome this, as the teacher you have to be more active and engage students by name each time you teach. It is not sufficient to simply ask a general question – it is better to ask – “Joseph at HPL, what do you think about……”
  • Learning outcomes can be difficult to grasp at first – when I first encountered them, I thought they were simply something that occurred after the course. But having worked with them for a while, I now understand they are critical to the design of the course, the curriculum, what you teach, and what you assess. Simply stated, learning outcomes are your course. Embrace them.
  • Bloom’s taxonomy is a useful, but not the only structure, within which to understand learning outcomes. The levels are:

o Knowledge – the recognition or remembering of specific facts, and concepts

o Comprehensive – the demonstration of understanding of facts

o Application – the ability to apply acquired knowledge to new problems to yield solutions

o Analysis – the ability to separate a problem into sequential components to identify key elements, relationships and organization

o Synthesis – the construction of individual parts in a new way to yield a unique insight into the pattern

o Evaluation - presenting and defending opinions

These levels are hierarchical in that knowledge is the most elementary form of learning, with evaluation the highest. Importantly, evaluation must be preceded by gaining of knowledge, comprehension, analysis, etc.

In deciding what to teach, and how to asses you should recognize the learning outcome you are seeking to impart and assess. For example, teaching someone how to solve a 1st order ordinary differential equation imparts knowledge. Setting a question that asks students to identify ODEs demonstrates comprehension. Setting a question that asks them to recognize and use a 1st order ODE in solving a question demonstrates application and analysis.

  • Foundation courses should focus on the lower 3-4 levels of Bloom’s taxonomy
  • Elective courses and ISGs should seek to impart and assess characteristics on the higher levels of Bloom’s taxonomy.