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Online Course Showcase

“Seeing is believing” — or so the saying goes! Faculty who are considering teaching online find seeing actual courses and hearing them described can be especially valuable. Discussing the online instructional strategies that really work with the people using them is especially helpful. The Online Course Showcase is that opportunity for dialogue. Experienced VCU faculty will present instructional strategies and student developed materials used in their own online courses. Join this conversation about essential components of online courses and those activities that engage students in learning. Discuss ways those strategies might be used successfully in your own course with VCU’s Online Learning Community.

The Showcase will be offered in a “brown bag” lunch format biweekly on Friday, 12:00 to 1:00. Do come to hear about the great strategies your colleagues are using and share your own. Bring your lunch and a friend.

If you’d like more information about the showcase or about how you can present, contact Joyce Kincannon at CTE, jmkincannon@vcu.edu.

Please register here

Showcase Spring Schedule

Date Presenter Course Topics Register


January 25 James Keck Emergency Management service learning, Hybrid, synchronous Register

Watch video

February 8 Robert Godwin-Jones Communicating Across Cultures On-line tutorials, variety of uses of video Register

Watch video

February 22 Jody Davis Social Psychology student/ faculty presentation screencasts Register

Watch video

March 15 Jason Coats Visual Poetry online, Twitter, Skype, wikis Register

Watch video

April 5 David McLeod Adult & Juvenile Justice Policy/ Teaching Learning & Technology in Higher Ed Exploring open course design Register Watch video
April 12 Britt Watwood Theory and Practice of eLearning hybrid, student engagement, web tools Register Watch video


Emergency Management Response Planning and Incident Command

James Keck
Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness Program
L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs
This course is a graduate, online, service learning, hybrid course; showcasing synchronous meetings using Wimba Classroom, peer grading and group service learning projects. 

Communicating Across Cultures

Bob Goodwin Jones
School of World Studies
This course deals with intercultural communication, including topics such as taxonomies and methodologies for comparing cultural practices, use of non-verbal communication, introduction to world languages & linguistics, dealing with culture shock, etc.  The course is taught both as a totally online course (intensive 8 week session) and as a hybrid course during the semester. Content delivery is mostly through online tutorials, created with SoftChalk and featuring video-based advanced organizers, interactive formative assessments, and on-line lectures richly illustrated with video clips.  Students interact with the content and with each other through online group presentations and extensive use of discussion forums.

Social Psychology

Jody L. Davis
Department of Psychology
This is an undergraduate course with 40 students. The material covers phenomena related to social behavior and social influences on behavior. Topics include social perception and cognition, attitudes and attitude change, attraction, helping, aggression, interpersonal influence, and group processes. The structure of the class includes weekly lecture screencasts, twice weekly discussion board assignments, a paper graded using an online rubric, a screencast presentation assignment, and online tests. I’ll share survey assessment from students across two semesters.

Visual Poetry

Jason Coats
University College
This themed introductory poetry course offers an investigation of poems that influence their audiences through visual means. We will consider the work of poets who play with line lengths and white spaces within stanzas as well as those who use imagery in radical or unconventional ways. We will study poems that respond to other visual arts like painting and sculpture, and those that manipulate the relationships between form, meaning, and space. This course requires daily participation in an online environment. As a class and individually we will illustrate and annotate several sample poems as a way of sponsoring critical thinking about the genre.

Link to slideshow
Twitter Analytics
Sailing to Byzantium sample

Adult & Juvenile Justice Policy / Teaching, Learning and Technology in Higher Ed

David A. McLeod, PhD, MSW
Center for Teaching Excellence
School of Social Work
Wilder School: Department of Criminal Justice

While both of these courses are radically different, being taught in two separate schools, both are related in a couple of distinct ways. Both are completely open online and do not use Blackboard or any school supported learning management system (LMS). Adult and Juvenile Justice Policy is taught in the School of Social Work Masters of Social Work program and is a service-learning course.  Students are actively engaged in individualized digital activism projects. Course content is delivered in a means relevant to assess and inform their own projects. Teaching, Learning and Technology in Higher Education is co-taught through the Graduate Schools Preparing Future Faculty Program, and is focused on helping doctoral and post-doctoral students expand their ideas about teaching practice in the modern age.

Student engagement approaches for both classes are very different, but both courses are open and can be further examined at the links below.

Theory and Practice of eLearning (ADLT-640)

Britt Watwood
Adult Learning, School of Education
This course explores the theory and practice of integrating eLearning into adult learning environments. eLearning offers a great deal of promise to both adult educators and learners, yet eLearning must be implemented appropriately; its use integrated into well established and well-researched pedagogical practices in order to be effective. The course begins with an overview of educational theory and social constructivist teaching philosophy before addressing the fundamental issues instructional designers should consider when designing, delivering, and assessing eLearning. This 8-week summer course used an interesting hybrid approach of meeting face-to-face for the first and last two weeks, and meeting totally online for the middle four weeks.

Showcase Fall Schedule

Date Presenter Course Topics Register  
September 7 Deirdre Condit Gender Politics in Popular Culture Intersession course; watching, reading, discussion, & writing intensive Register Watch video
September 21 Brendan Dwyer Foundations of Coaching Synchronous Class Meetings, Presentation Skills Register Watch video
October 5 Bonnie Brown Biology Hybrid, Large Enrollment Register Watch video
October 19 Marcus Messner Mass Communication Social Media, Large Enrollment Register Watch video
November 2 Jill Reid Nutrition Self & Peer Assessment, Large Enrollment, No Lectures or Exams Register Watch video
November 16 Deborah Cowles Wayne Slough Marketing Principles Collaboration, Mentoring Register Watch video


Gender Politics in Popular Culture

This course explores the representation and construction of 20th and 21st century American (primarily) gender politics and identity as deployed primarily through the popular culture medium of film. Historic and on-going cultural contests over the meanings of political categories such as “feminism,” “femininity,” “masculinity,” “equality,” “heterosexuality,” “homosexuality,” “race,” “the body,” and “power” will be examined. Additionally, students will examine a contemporary film and examine professional “reviews” of that film to derive an in-depth analysis of gender politics in current popular culture. In total, students will consider whether the popular culture serves as a reflection of or as a site for the construction of gendered political identities. Recent feminist film theories that explore the gendered nature of spectatorship and film production will provide a framework for analyzing popular culture. This 3-credit hour, intersession course is watching, reading, discussion and writing intensive in nature and presents an experiment in non-traditional instruction using an asynchronous web site as the “classroom” and web site forums as vehicles for student interaction.

Foundations of Coaching

This seminar covers the foundational concepts of coaching beyond X’s and O’s. It seeks to acquaint the student with principles, techniques, and functions related to the profession at all levels and for any sport. Special emphasis is given to interpersonal communication, coaching psychology, presentation skills, team organization, adoption of technology, and professional development.

Global Communication

The MASC 151 – Global Communication class has been taught since the fall of 2008 as part of the General Education Curriculum of the College of Humanities and Sciences. In the spring 2011, as part of the Center for Teaching Excellence’s online teaching initiative, the class was moved online with 200 students. Using Blackboard, Facebook and Delicious, the engagement of students has greatly improved compared to the previous offline setting. Weekly online lectures, testing and discussions in Blackboard help students to stay on top of class work, while at the same time being able to instantaneously communicate with the instructor, the teaching assistants and their classmates through a Facebook group.

A Pleasant Surprise - How I ended up creating an asynchronous online course that received evaluations like this one:

“I have taken several online courses and I must say this one has been the most stimulating and engaging one yet.  It was demanding since there were a lot of films to watch and readings to do but I learned so much more through them.  To be honest the problem with online courses at times is students can take short cuts to complete tasks without actually doing the work.  The way these assignments were structured you had to learn the material and do the readings.  The instructor did a good job interacting among students through group discussions.  I felt that I learned a lot from others’ thoughts and ideas.”  To get evaluations like this made the transition to an online format completely worth it for me.  Nutrition (BIOL 217) is a large-enrollment course (200 students per semester) which used to be taught at 8am on Tuesdays & Thursdays but is now an asynchronous online course.  This presentation will showcase the overall course design, the development of diverse yet engaging assignments utilizing different assessment types (self & peer assessment and other tools), and creating social presence by giving a small class feel to a large enrollment class (200 students max) – all without lectures, exams or assistants.  This is not a fully automated class – it is designed so that the instructor will be engaged with the students, yet it eliminates many of the problems associated with large f2f lectures.  Demonstrations and helpful tips will be part of the presentation – please bring a laptop or iPad for full participation in the presentation.


Virginia Commonwealth University | Center for Teaching Excellence
Last modified: June 20, 2013
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