Active Teaching Lab Recap: Instructional Materials and Lectures

Thu November 9, 2017

At the November 9, 2017 Active Teaching Lab, Ian Muehlenhaus (from a distance) and I-Pang Fu shared a variety of ways to engage students and embed interactive content. Some examples of tools demonstrated include H5P, Sway and converting PowerPoints to HTML5. Participants brought laptops to get hands-on experience with Canvas tools as Muehlenhausa student in our Canvas course and used a Sandbox course to work with the tools as an instructor.

Takeaways

Online and face-to-face methods don’t work the same way. Be intentional with your design; consider your group and your instructional format. Two questions can help guide your thinking:

  1. Do your materials meet your students’ needs?
  2. Are they easy to use?

Building engaging interactive content can be daunting the first time around, but the presenters offered some advice for getting started. From the beginning, think mobile first. Many students access materials on the go on their smartphones. Secondly, design with chunking in mind: 5 minutes (or less) of reading time, then reflection. Finally, take advantage of open technologies, such as H5P, to embed interactive content within your materials.

Tools to Try

  • Zoom: Similar to Skype. It’s free up to 45 minutes, allows computer control, handles up to 50 people, and can record the session.
  • H5P: Too much interactivity isn’t great, but some is essential to increasing engagement. Easily create and embed mobile-friendly interactive HTML5 content. 
  • Convert Flash to HTML5 with Captivate: Flash is gone as of 2019. Check your site to make sure you don’t have any. If you have Flash video, convert it to HTML5 with Captivate. (See the activity sheet on Captivate here)
  • Convert PowerPoint to Captivate: Import PowerPoint and add interactivity in Captivate. Bonus if the interactivity can reveal concept systems.
  • Microsoft Sway: Makes interactive slideshows easy and plays well with Canvas. Upload a PowerPoint or Word doc and add interactivity. Formats mobile-friendly documents beautifully, organized by styles (heading 1,2,3, etc.). See Ian’s Active Teaching Lab (activity sheet here) for more information. 
  • Slides.com: Creates HTML5 compatible, interactive maps that can move in both a linear and nonlinear progression.

For more tips and tricks, check out the session’s activity sheet and the presenters’ slides.

Active Teaching Labs are held Fridays from 8:30-9:45am (and every other Thursday from 1-2pm, see events calendar for dates) in room 120, Middleton Building. Check out upcoming labs or read recaps from past labs. To stay informed about upcoming Labs, sign up for regular announcements by sending an email to join-activeteaching@lists.wisc.edu.

Watch Ian and I-Pang’s Story: