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Increased Communication and Engagement Through the Use of ConnectYard
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Increased Communication and Engagement Through the Use of ConnectYard

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Presentation given at the 2013 Creating Futures Through Technology Conference in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Presentation given at the 2013 Creating Futures Through Technology Conference in Biloxi, Mississippi.

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  • 1. Increased Engagement and Communication Through the Use of ConnectYardCindy Handley, Assistant ProfessorDepartment of Medical Laboratory ScienceAmy Thornton, Project ManagerEagle Learning Online & Learning Enhancement Center
  • 2. Snapshot of USM  Dual campuses ◦ Hattiesburg ◦ Gulf Coast ◦ 7 Colleges  SACS Accredited  Approximately 900 faculty  Approximately 16,000 students across all campuses  Offering online courses since 1998 ◦ Over 30,000 enrollments in online courses (spring 2013) ◦ 43 hybrid/fully online programs  Blackboard LMS - ConnectYard integrated
  • 3. What is ConnectYard? A communications platform that improves the student experience through increased engagement!
  • 4. What is ConnectYard? (continued)
  • 5. Why ConnectYard?We recognize the importance of socialization in online instructionKnowledge of important role that social media plays in students’ livesDesire to improve communication and increase participation in online coursesMission is to enhance learning and the overall student experienceCampus email is not effective
  • 6. Interesting social media stats:FacebookTwitterLinkedIn http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brian-honigman/100-fascinating- social-me_b_2185281.html http://press.linkedin.com/about
  • 7. Hurdles Associated with PilotImplementationMarketingFaculty and Student Buy-in ◦ Fear that Professors will have access to FB pages ◦ Faculty concerned with added workload
  • 8. ConnectYard Pilot ImplementationFaculty/Student Buy-In ◦ Easy to use ◦ Building Block Integration ◦ Bridge to Social MediaPosition ConnectYard ◦ Integral part to each course ◦ Stress privacy protectionEncourage Students to Personalize NotificationsStress Use to Quantify Class Participation
  • 9. Promotion and Awareness Feature at Innovation in Online Learning Luncheons for faculty Includein Faculty Professional Development Standardtool on Bb Learn course template Increaseintra-departmental use for demonstration and modeling Press Release Campus Rollout
  • 10. Potential Uses of ConnectYard  Enhance hybrid courses & supplementals  Communication/interaction tool between learning teams  Back channeling during course and web presentations  Intra-department interaction & communication  Campus Notifications  Student Services ◦ Tutoring, Event Notifications, First Year Experience & Diversity Initiatives  Marketing & Recruitment
  • 11. Best Practice 1: Be Present at theCourse Site“Liberal use of a facultys use of communicationtools such as announcements, discussion board announcementspostings, and forums communicate to the studentspostingsthat the faculty member cares about who they are,cares about their questions and concerns, and isgenerally ‘present’ to do the mentoring and presentchallenging that teaching is all about.”Judith V. Boettcher, Ph.D.http://www.designingforlearning.info/services/writing/ecoach/tenbest.html
  • 12. Best Practice 2: Create a supportive online course community “A good strategy for developing a supportive online course community is to design a course with a balanced set of dialogues. This means designing a course so that the three dialogues of faculty to student, student to student and student student to resource are about equal.”Judith V. Boettcher, Ph.D.http://www.designingforlearning.info/services/writing/ecoach/tenbest.html
  • 13. ConnectYard Key Function Personalize Channels ◦ Personal Preferences ◦ Protect Privacy One-Way & Two-Way Bb Integration ◦ Discussion Boards ◦ Announcements Participation Points Granular Administration
  • 14. Student Feedback"It was convenient to receive notifications regarding the activity on Blackboard.” ---------- “It allowed me to be better informed of what was happening within the class with regard to blackboard.” ---------- Key benefit of ConnectYard, “…to receive instant notification of any updates or announcements as they pertained to my class.” ---------- "IT WAS A GREAT TOOL."
  • 15. Student Feedback ”I would say that it was nice to receive instant notification of any updates or announcements as they pertained to my class. The only issue that I had was that on any text message I received I was unable to view the entire message. I had to log onto my account or view the message through Blackboard in order to read them.” ----------
  • 17. Thank You! Cindy Handley Cynthia.handley@usm.edu Amy Thornton Amy.thornton@usm.edu