[This is a guest entry from Brian Moynihan, Program Manager & Sakai Lead at UNC School of Medicine. Thanks, Brian!]
One of the things that faculty have enjoyed about using Sakai at the UNC School of Medicine is its ability to bring faculty and students together as a community.
Many features of Sakai work on the principle of bringing community together. For instance the ability to see student pictures in the roster and in the discussion forums have helped faculty learn their students’ names and connect a personality with a student’s post.
Because many tools in Sakai are group-aware, it becomes easy to email a group of people in the course or to create a forum specifically for a small group section. These tools can thus provide a friendly, dynamic way to foster group cohesion and cooperation.
In this video Dr. Kurt Gilliland and Dr. Ed Kernick, co-directors of a first year medical school course with 160 students, discuss the ways that Sakai enabled collaboration in and out of the classroom.
The UNC School of Medicine is using the Calendar Tool in unique ways. We thought you’d like to see how!
Dr. Kurt Gilliland and Dr. Ed Kernick co-directed a course of 160 first-year medical school students in the Fall 2009. The intensive face-to-face course contained the content equivalent to a full semester in a compressed 9-week period. To help everyone stay on track, the course designers and faculty used the calendar as the organizing principle of the course. Below is an example that links to additional screen shots (from a current Med School course).
Thank you, School of Medicine for your fresh ideas! We like them!
Find about more from the faculty in this 3.5 minute video interview.
Dr. Dennis Orthner, Professor in the School of Social Work, has been teaching for nearly 40 years. He wasn’t interested in Sakai specifically and doesn’t particularly care about what goes on technologically “behind the scenes.” However, he was interested in teaching his course in a “hybrid” mode (partly online and partly face-to face). Therefore, he wanted a system that would “make the interface with his students transparent and easy.” Sakai did that. Hear what he has to say!
Hear what Dr. Joelle Powers, Clinical Assistant Professor of Social Work has to say about creating a “hybrid” Research Methods course using Sakai. In particular, she talks about how using Sakai has changed the way she prepares for classes and allows her more time for teaching. If you’ve got 2 minutes, have a listen!
Dr. Iris Carlton-LaNey is a professor in the School of Social Work who shares her experience using Sakai to redesign a course from a traditional, face-to-face seminar to a fully online, self-paced course. Take 1 minute to hear what she has to say!
Rebecca Brigham is responsible for administering the School of Social Work Field Seminar program. The courses in the program were redesigned as hybrid courses with students alternating between one week in the classroom followed by one week online. Sakai is used to bridge the learning and conversations that occur in the classroom as well as off-site in students’ individual fieldwork locations.
In particular, the 8 sections of Field Seminar tend to use only a few Sakai tools — primarily the Discussion Forum and the Gradebook. Because only a few tools are used, students and faculty find the course sites easy to navigate and use.
Take 1 minute to hear what she has to say!
Dr. Anastacia Kohl is a Spanish course coordinator in the Department of Romance Languages. Like the coordinators mentioned in an earlier post, she found that:
Sakai has already saved me a lot of time and a lot of hassle. It’s made my job a lot easier. I’m a big fan of Sakai. I would not want to go back to Blackboard after having used it.
She notes, however, that it will be important to address instructors’ reluctance to change - since change is difficult for all of us.
I think Sakai is going to be a very useful tool in the future — it already has been — and I’m excited about using it again in the Spring.
In an earlier blog post, we mentioned that the number of students using Sakai this term is 7 times what it was last Spring. Several Romance Languages faculty opted to use Sakai for their large enrollment, multi-section courses. They are the first group at UNC to use Sakai with multiple sections.
Advantages of Sakai for large-enrollment, multi-section courses:
- 1 Sakai site per large enrollment course (i.e., SPAN 105)
- Shared content ensures consistency across diverse sections
- Multiple sections employ “group-aware” tools so students & instructors see only their own section information
- Course coordinators see all section information.
Below are the stories of three course coordinators who are responsible for the overall management of course content, instructors, and students in selected Spanish courses. Hear what Bill Maisch, Hosun Kim and Josefa Lindquist have to say. Three coordinators in three minutes!
Bethany Kok, Instructor in Psychology talks about her experience using Sakai blogs to extend class discussions and how students used Sakai.
Matt McMurray, an Instructor in the Department of Psychology explains how he uses Sakai in his teaching. In this clip he talks about the “multiple upload/download” feature in the Resources tool that allows you to drag and drop multiple files to your course site. In addition, he talks about Site Statistics that allows you to track how site members are using site materials. And, he does all of this in less than 2 minutes!