Summer Series 2022

start” by nchenga via Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

A 5-Part Self-Guided Series To Get Everyone Started on the OpenLab

Part 3 of 5 of: Create on the OpenLab

We hope that Part 1 and Part 2 of the OpenLab Summer Series have helped you get started, and that you’re ready to start creating in Part 3! In this case, “create” can refer to creating sites, but also to creating communities, collaborations, and dialogue by joining other sites, connecting with friends and colleagues, participating in discussion forums, and more. That said, task 2 below is intended for instructors and focuses on the first steps of course creation, taking a particularly close look at the course template.

  • Task 1: Create Connections:
    • Join our in-house sites to stay connected and updated about what’s happening on the OpenLab:
      • The Open Road: Our one-stop-shop for all things OpenLab: news, workshops, events, community, and support!
      • Open Pedagogy on the OpenLab: A site for sharing and discussing resources about open digital pedagogy!
    • Connect with your friends and join other groups related to your interests:
    • Whether you are a student, staff member, or an instructor, you may want to look at the projects for different academic departments and school bodies, which often have helpful resources. These include the College Council, the Math Education Major Project, and Peer Advisement, among many, many others.
    • You can also search for courses, projects, clubs and portfolios using the links under the slider on the home page. From the search page, use the filters (top-right) to tailor your search.
    • Want to create a club, portfolio, or project? Learn more here.
  • Task 2: Are you an instructor? Create a course site! The tasks below will get you started on the task of building a site.
    • Get familiar with the course template. Take a video tour of the template and read our help documentation, or review the Course Template Tour site.
    • Follow these steps to create a course site that uses this template.
    • Take time to fill out your course profile:
      • Customize your course avatar. If you do not have an image for your avatar in my mind, you can search for reusable images online. You can also create an avatar of your own; Barbara Smith Mishara from Architecture, for example, has created an avatar that clearly features the name of her course and the semester. This is a great way to make your course easy to find for your students.
      • Include a course description and your contact information in the course profile. A good example of an information-rich  but easy to read course profile is John De Santis’ Spring 2020 COMD1127 class.
      • Get familiar with the tools available on your course profile, including Discussion boards, Files, and Docs. You don’t have to decide now whether  you will use any of these tools, but it’s a good idea to play around and see what each can do.
    • Customize your site’s appearance:
      • You can choose a header image.
      • Under Dashboard> Appearance, you’ll have the option of changing the title to your site (we recommend making this your course’s name!), the site’s tag line (we recommend that it feature your name, the course section, and semester), and the site’s identity.
      • You can edit your site’s widgets. You will want to edit the “About this Course” widget to share your name, office hours, contact information, and a brief paragraph about this Course. You may also want to include a picture of yourself in the “About this Course” widget.
      • As always, as you begin the course creation process, we recommend consulting other courses on the OpenLab for inspiration and model work. You can browse through the Courses section, use the filters to find other examples in your department, or check out these example courses.

In our next installment, we’ll look at facilitating communication between instructors and students–and among students–in courses for Fall 2022.

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