0.6-Preparing for course interactions

To view all of the content on this page, make sure you click on each of the links that appear below in succession. In other words, once you have read the current page, continue to the next section by clicking the second link, followed by the third link. Notice that each section is numbered using capital letters to indicate the order in which you should read them, “A — B — C.”

Throughout the course, you will communicate using a variety of tools and features of Canvas, the web-based learning management system we are using for this program. One of these features is the course Discussions. As communication on a particular topic grows, it is extremely helpful to the instructor, language specialists and your peers if your discussion posts are associated with your face.  As such, Canvas will associate your contribution to discussion with a head shot photo of yourself that you provide.  If you don’t already have access to a clear, close head shot of yourself, then you should create one now.  In order to benefit from this feature, you will upload a a clear head shot photo to your Profile that is centered on your face at a close distance.  Photos taken from a distance do not work for this purpose.

How to set up your course profile

In case you are not familiar with how to update your profile in Canvas, please watch the following short tutorial video  to learn how to access your Profile where you will:

  1. Upload your head shot photo
  2. Share your educational and teaching experiences, the language(s) you teach and your future online teaching goals. 

To continue

Continue to Part B) IceBreaker: Introducing Yourself to the Course Community.Establishing community is an essential step toward developing a successful, vibrant learning experience. This begins by integrating an ice-breaker activity into your course. The term “ice-breaker” is a metaphor to refer to the process of cultivating a warm, friendly, and safe environment where individuals begin to connect with their co-learners. As language teachers, we all know the importance of establishing a community of trust where everyone recognizes a shared mutual experience, and where as teachers, we cultivate an atmosphere of trust where learners can take risks with out fear of ridicule or shame.

In this Icebreaker activity, you will introduce yourself to our learning community while at the same time beginning to learn more about your colleagues. This activity requires a webcam, a quiet environment, and a little preparation to think about what you will say. In addition to the the implied objective of creating a vibrant, safe, healthy learning community, there are some additional learning targets, written as “I can” statements:

  • I can create a clear, concise, quality video self-introduction.
  • I can engage others with my voice and my presence via video.
  • I can explore a web-based tool for sharing and interacting via video.

Activity details

Part 1 – Complete as soon as possible

As with all activities in this course, please read all of the activity details before you begin!

  1. For this activity,  we are using an external web tool called Flipgrid (Links to an external site.).  By “external” we mean a tool that does not exist inside of our Learning Management System, Canvas. We choose this tool because it offers the functionality we wanted for this activity, and because it would provide you with an opportunity to try something new, all the while stimulating your thinking about the ways in which you can engage learners in an online course.  Specific instructions for accessing the course start with number 3,  below. 
  2. As with many activities in this course, we have provided a model for you, not to copy exactly, but rather to guide your work.  We suggest you first review the models from your Instructors and Language Specialists, then take a few moments to think of your responses.  It may help you to write out what you want to say, at least in a bulleted list so that you don’t fumble or lose pace with your introduction even though the questions will be visible as you record.   You will have 90 seconds to record your introduction. A countdown timer will appear in the recording window. Remember:  if your students see that you haven’t prepared, then they will interpret what they observe as permission to do the same!

  3. For your self-introduction, please include the following:
    *  Your name, the language you teach, where you teach, and where you currently live. *  What about teaching online is of interest to you?*  What is a strength you bring to teaching online?*  Outside of teaching, what is an activity/pastime that you enjoy?
  4. As of June 8, 2018, all FlipGrid activities require a password. You will be prompted to type the password for our course grid in order to access the activities. The password is CLASSROAD18 (written just as you see it–all capital letters, no spaces).

  5. Once you arrive on the Icebreaker page, click on the green square with the “+” symbol labeled “Add a response” to post your Icebreaker.

  6. Click the following link to access the activity: Course Icebreaker (Links to an external site.). Remember that you will need to enter the password.

Part 2 – Complete as soon as others have begun to post their self-introductions

After others have added their Self-introductions, please respond to at least two of them to make a connection via a common interest, to ask a question, or to simply welcome them to the course.  The opportunity to “Add a reply” to a video appears only after you have clicked the video.  This may require you to go back to FlipGrid on another day. If it asks for a password again, remember that the password is CLASSROAD18.

To continue

Continue to C) Peer and Group Work in this Course.

In case you are not familiar with how to update your profile in Canvas, please watch the following short tutorial video  to learn how to access your Profile where you will:

To continue

Continue to Part B) IceBreaker: Introducing Yourself to the Course Community.This course was designed to be highly interactive, meaning that you will communicate with classmates, with content, with our Language Specialists, and with your instructors on a regular basis.  This is NOT the type of online course where learners are given a list of activities or 

tasks that they must complete on their own.  Just like learning a language, engagement in this course requires active, daily participation. Whole Group (WG)course discussions are regularly scheduled asynchronous text-based discussions. These are opportunities for you to reflect with your program colleagues on what you have experienced and learned as we move through our modules. In addition, you will collaborate with two to three other classmates in a more intimate discussion and work group called a Peer Group (PG). You will be introduced to your Peer Group members during the first week of the course. You will engage with your PG throughout our course in a variety of ways, but most importantly, your PG will be the core group you work with in developing and teaching a synchronous online lesson to online students at the University of Toledo. This will take place during Module 6 (July 10-14). Your PG is organized by shared language.  

To continue

Continue to the next section 0.7 Course Primary Documents to Explore.

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