Blind Kahoot
Assessment, discussion, Innovative Instruction, instructional technology, Pedagogy

New Way To Introduce Course Content In Your Classes

Everyone who has ever tried Kahoot loves it.  We love it because it is fun, exciting, and a great way to review material.  However, have you ever tried to use it to introduce new material?  If you haven’t, you may want to take a look at Blind Kahooting.  A Biology teacher names Steph Castle appears to be credited with creating the Blind Kahoot! and it’s actually a pretty genius idea.  It’s using Kahoot! to introduce an entirely new subject, one for which they have little to no knowledge.   

How Does It Work?

The gist is that you follow a template to create your Kahoot! that flows like this:

Q1 – Introductory Question – this question sets the scene and brings the students on board with the topic and/or the main goal.

Q2 – Toughest Question – ask the toughest question you can think of about this topic or goal.  This question, if answered correctly, should demonstrate that the student understood the topic and could move on.   Note: is not just okay that they get the question wrong, it’s expected.  

  • Now, you explain the question and the answer to your students.  This gets you going on the topic or goal.

Q3-? – Reinforcing Questions – Ask a series of questions that will take the students through the topic.  The goal is for them to practice what they’ve just learned.  You will also explain each answer after the question is finished.  Basically you are using these questions to deliver your content and checking for understanding all at the same time.  You may even want to ask the same question several different ways to ensure they are understanding the topic.

Last question – Ask your Toughest Question again. Can also be an application question.  Should combine all the items learned in the Kahoot!

Wash, rinse, repeat – To introduce another topic or part of the topic, start the process all over.

When completely finished, be sure to leave enough time for the students to try to beat their score using Kahoot!’s Ghost Mode.


There are a ton of great resources and videos to help you through this process.  Here are just a few:


Assessment, Best Practices, Collaboration, Distance Ed, Events, Innovative Instruction, Pedagogy, Teaching Advice

DE 2.0 Workshop: Humanizing Your Online Course

“I miss getting to really know my students. It’s just not the same.”

“There’s no way of knowing who is on the other side of the screen.”

Sound familiar? If so then you aren’t alone.

Not only do some instructors feel this way about online learning, but students do as well. Often they feel isolated, disconnected, and insignificant. These feelings of seclusion can often lead to decreased motivation, attention, and engagement. As part of the online learning process, it is vital to intentionally design elements to make sure that that the human connection isn’t lost in the online learning process.


What is Humanizing?

Humanizing your course involves considering the teaching presence, social presence, and cognitive presence of all participants in order to build community and enhance communication. The ultimate goal of this process is to make online education as personal and individualized as possible while building relationships between your students, the content, and yourself.

About the DE 2.0 Workshop

This 3-week long, self-paced session will take you through some strategies that you can use in your online class to make you and your students feel more connected. While this course is held fully online, it does contain three optional synchronous sessions with experts in humanizing online education from around the world!

You might be interested in this session if:

  • You feel you are not connecting with your students in your online class the way you do in your face-to-face class.
  • You feel like your online class lacks community.
  • You want to make your course more engaging and personal for the students.



Workshop Goals

  • Discover the elements of teaching presence, social presence, and cognitive presence as it applies to the online learning environment, particularly in the areas of facilitation, learning domains, and course design.
  • Research assessment and engagement strategies, community building/maintaining platforms, and technology tools for increasing the humanized element.
  • Discuss elements of humanized learning with other faculty teaching online at College of Charleston.
  • Ask questions, exchange ideas, and meet other CofC faculty teaching distance education courses.
  • Create engaging content and online activities that foster the elements of teaching presence, social presence and cognitive presence.

Learning Outcomes

  • Explore instructional theories that lead to a more humanized online class.
  • Identify areas of your course that can be made learner centered and/or interactive.
  • Revise and/or create course interactions, including social learning experiences, content delivery methods, and assessment of student learning.

Register now on TLT’s DE Readiness Blog!

Applications are open until January 31, 2017!


apple watch
Checkout Equipment, Innovative Instruction, Presentation, Productivity

Apple Watch in the classroom?

I recently received an Apple Watch (Series 1) as a gift and given the nature of my job I was curious how Instructors might integrate this technology into their teaching and learning.  My personal use of the watch did not provide many connections to classroom use, so I looked to other Instructors for ideas.  Here are some of the ideas I came across and I hope that they may help you to decide if the watch is something you might try:

Wearable Teaching? College to Experiment With Apple Watch as Learning Tool

5 Ways to use the Apple Watch in your classroom

10 Very Good Apple Watch Apps for Teachers

And here are some articles about students using the Apple Watch

Can the Apple Watch Enhance Student Achievement?

Cheating in the time of the Apple Watch


For information about all versions of the Apple Watch, visit

TLT does have the original Apple Watch available for checkout if you would like to try a version of the watch out for yourself.  To checkout the watch, please complete the following form:

Do have an Apple Watch? Share with us your ideas for using it in the classroom.

Innovative Instruction, Presentation, Teaching Advice, Tech Generation, TLT

Why should I flip my classroom?

    Flipping the classroom seems to be the newest buzzword in education, both in higher ed and in k12 but what are the benefits of this method and what exactly is a “flipped classroom”?   

Flipped Classroom

A flipped classroom is a reversal of the norm, where class time that is usually spent lecturing while students dutifully take notes, is used for a more hands on approach such as group work or problem solving.  All lectures or readings should be done before class, so that students have knowledge of the subject matter when they walk into class and can use the class time to delve deeper into the material.  Many professors suggest a short quiz or worksheet to be completed before coming to class to keep students on track and engaged in the process.

What are the benefits of this method?

    A great resource for these questions can be found in a book called “Flip Your Classroom” by Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams.  In it they discuss several great reasons to flip your classroom.

      1. Flipping helps busy students

           Some students (especially in college) are juggling academics, extracurriculars and jobs.  Things come up and not all students are able to attend every class. Flipping the classroom allows them to stay caught up on the material and even work ahead if they know they will be out.

      2. Flipping helps struggling students

           Students that tend to struggle to learn a concept can pause the lecture, lookup any information they might not understand and then resume.  They are     also able to rewind as many times as needed until they fully understand the concept.

      3. Flipping helps students of all abilities excel

           Students that struggle will have more time to absorb the material and students that excel and get bored are able to investigate the material more fully.     They are able to learn things they may not have had time to learn in a regular setting classroom.

      4. Flipping increases student-teacher interaction

           Flipping allows professors to help their students in a more one-on-one or one-on-group capacity.  It gives time for small group lecturing to groups that   may need more help and gives time to move about the classroom conversing with each student.

       5. Flipping allows teachers to know their students better

           Instead of lecturing at the front of the classroom while a sea of eyes stares back at you, flipping your classroom allows you to take time to walk around     your class and get to know your students.  This gives them a connection to their learning.

      6. Flipping allows for real differentiation

          Not only do the students have control of the lecture and what parts they need repeated or what parts they can move through quicker, they also have the   ability to work at a higher level in class or work closely with their professor on harder concepts.

      7. Flipping changes classroom management

          While the professor stands at the front of the room lecturing, it is easy for students to be on their phones or looking at Facebook but in a flipped                 classroom they are engaged.  They are working on concepts, they are thinking deeper and they are taking their knowledge to the next level.

Flipping the classroom research

    One study (Deslauriers et al., 2011) found that students who participated in a flipped classroom vs. an interactive lecture classroom were much more engaged and did about 33% better on their final evaluation.  Both classes were given eleven weeks of interactive lecture and at the twelfth week one class was flipped.  The classes showed no difference in score or engagement in the first eleven weeks.

Another study by Fautch (2014) conducted on an organic chemistry 1 course found that students showed greater comprehension of the material and tended to improve their performance on exams.  Students also felt more knowledgeable and more comfortable with the course material.

    Weaver and Sturtevant (2015) conducted a three year study at Purdue University within their chemistry major and found that students in a flipped classroom, throughout their studies, scored significantly higher when compared to their previous scores in a traditional classroom setting.  The majority of students had positive feelings about the format of the classroom.

How do I flip my classroom

There are numerous benefits to flipping your classroom and it doesn’t have to be an abstract concept anymore.  Flipping your classroom allows students to take pride and ownership of their learning.  This method allows them to explore areas of the curriculum that they may not have had time to explore in a traditional classroom or master areas that they may have been weak in.  Check out any of TLT’s training sessions about flipping your classroom at to get started!


DesLauriers L, Schelew E, and Wieman C (2011). Improved learning in a large-enrollment physics class. Science 332: 862-864.
Fautch, J. M. (2015). The flipped classroom for teaching organic chemistry in small classes: Is it effective? Chem. Educ. Res. Pract., 16(1), 179-186.
Weaver, G. C., & Sturtevant, H. G. (2015). Design, Implementation, and Evaluation of a Flipped Format General Chemistry Course. J. Chem. Educ. Journal of Chemical Education, 92(9), 1437-1448
1-1-1, Innovative Instruction, iPad, Web 2.0

Faculty Guest Post: Nearpod as an alternative to PowerPoint

This month’s faculty blogger is Heidi Collins, who is Adjunct Faculty of French in the Department of  French-Francophone-Italian Studies.


Looking to shake up lectures from the typical Powerpoint and searching for a vehicle that better integrated student response in the presentation, I experimented with Nearpod during the Spring 2016 semester. This app allows an instructor to create a presentation and then push a slide show out to a student’s personal device. Perhaps more importantly, it features built-in activities and quizzes that require the students to interact with the presentation. Student responses from these exercises are available for the teacher to view and subsequently share with the class if they wish. The answers can also be saved and viewed later by the instructor for grading purposes or more in-depth evaluation.

The free version of the application gives you access to the basic features while purchasing the next level opens up more student activity modules. The Nearpod website allows you to create your presentation but the design capabilities are limited. It is easier to create the look you want by creating your slides in Powerpoint, saving them as images, and them placing them in your Nearpod presentation. You can also add activities like open-ended questions, free-draw, and quizzes to your slides. There are numerous Nearpod lessons available for free or a small fee. However, most of these are geared towards secondary school students.

Once you have created and published your presentation, you are ready to use it in class. When you run the presentation, the students will use the code provided to logon to the presentation and will see the individual slides on their own computers or tablets. You can open the application on the classroom computer, but I found it worked better to run the presentation from my iPad and log the classroom computer into the presentation as the students do. This allowed me to project on the big screen what the students were also seeing on their own screens and reference it as we worked.

The first time I used Nearpod with my classes, I requested students bring a laptop, iPad, or other tablet to class with them. While it is possible to view the presentations on a cellphone, the small screen size limits the students’ ability to complete activities. Unfortunately, for a class of 20 students, I only had 4-6 students bring devices with them. This meant that groups of 3-4 students were working together which ultimately led to one or two students being less engaged in the activity. Luckily, TLT allows instructors to check out iPads for classroom use on a short-term basis. Doing this allowed us to have 1-2 students per device which led to greater student participation.

One of the downfalls of the application is that the whole class must stay together. This can be difficult if the students are working on an activity at different rates. In particular, if a student hasn’t submitted a response to a question, once the instructor pushes the next slide, half-finished responses will be lost. To alleviate this problem, I asked students to submit any partial responses when we were ready to move on.

One of the great things about Nearpod is that you can view the students’ responses and choose which ones to show to the entire class. This could allow you to highlight a particularly interesting response or perhaps a response with a common error that you wish to address. When working with grammar, I often prefer to have an incorrect response given instead of a correct one because it creates a teaching moment. However, students often only want to volunteer a response when they are sure it is the correct answer. With Nearpod, every student submits an answer, and I get to decide which ones we should look at together. I’m also able to quickly judge if many students are making the same mistakes.

The free draw activity also lends itself well to the language classroom. I created a lesson in Nearpod on prepositions of location. Using the free draw activity, I gave my students simple commands for drawing a picture. (Draw a girl. Draw a flower next to the girl. Draw a boy behind the flower. Etc.) Everyone was able to draw and then we were able to easily view the students’ drawings as a class and discuss them further in the target language.

Overall, Nearpod worked well to increase active student participation and provided a different way of doing things that helped engage the students. It also forced me to slow down a bit and gave me a better idea of how well the students were keeping up. Additionally, the premium features include being able to assign the presentations as homework which would be interesting to try as part of an online course.

Create Polls and Quizzes with Riddle
Assessment, Innovative Instruction, Web 2.0

Create Fun Polls and Quizzes with Riddle

Riddle is a FREE web-based tool that allows users to create opinion polls, lists, quizzes, and personality tests.  If you’re familiar with Buzzfeed (your students will be), Riddle allows you to create similar quizzes.  It’s a fun and simple formative assessment tool to engage students, gather their opinions, and gauge their understanding.

Create Polls and Quizzes with Riddle

Cool features of Riddle:

  • Templates to help you create quickly
  • Embed Youtube videos, and trim them to only the parts you want
  • Mobile-friendly, so students can use their smartphones.
  • 30 languages available
  • Have option to reveal responses immediately or hide them until you’re ready
  • Share via hyperlink, social media, or embed into a website

Ideas for using Riddle:

  • Create a syllabus quiz or a “getting to know you” survey at the beginning of the semester.
  • Have students create lists, such as “Top 10 contributors to global warming,” to help them synthesize content or review for exams.
  • Incorporate a poll during class to gauge students’ comprehension of the material so you can adapt your lecture.
  • Ask students to create polls or quizzes to engage their classmates during presentations or discussion facilitation.
  • Use a quiz at the end of class as an “exit ticket”

Create Polls and Quizzes with Riddle

Example Riddles:

  • Tufts University created a great quiz called “What Major Are You?
  • This University of Texas professor created a top ten list of things students should know about her and her section of the university’s freshmen book club.
  • This quiz is about the “Space Race” between the US and the USSR during the Cold War.
Best Practices, Collaboration, discussion, Distance Ed, Events, Information Session, Innovative Instruction, instructional technology, Mobile, Pedagogy, social networking, TLT, Training Opportunities

TLT’s Distance Education Resources Blog

TLT has a new resource available exclusively for our faculty who teach, or are interested in, online instruction!

There are two paths to choose from depending on your role:

Social-Media-2-1irk9m3-300x300 (1) Social-Media-23ptrpu-300x300

Choose this path if you:

  • Have never taught online before
  • Have taught online at another institution, but not CofC
  • Plan to teach online at CofC in the future

Start learning more about teaching online at CofC!

New to Distance Education

Choose this path if you:

  • Have completed the DE Readiness Course
  • Are currently teaching online at CofC
  • Are looking for resources related to online teaching and support

Explore more about online learning and support!

Currently Teaching Online

Make sure that you follow #CougarsOLI on all social media outlets to stay up to date on information and research pertaining to Online Learning Initiatives at College of Charleston

#CougarsOLI Logo (2)

Example of voice thread where someone has used the doodle tool to punctuate a sentence.
Distance Ed, Innovative Instruction, TLT

Innovative Uses of the VoiceThread Commenting Feature


Most people use VoiceThread to deliver online lectures or to have students deliver project presentations. Very few use the commenting tool for more than just recording an audio or video voiceover. The Commenting tool however, can be used for so much more. I just attended an online session, delivered by George Haines of VoiceThread, on how to use VoiceThread for games and learned several new ways to use it.

VoiceThread (VT) for Games

Prisoner’s Dilemma

The Prisoner’s Dilemma is a game where a pair of students must decide whether to cooperate or defect and points are assigned based on what they choose. It’s based on two prisoners are taken in together to be questioned by the police.  They decide before hand that they will not turn on one another so that if neither one tells they will both get off scott free.  They are told by the police that if they cooperate they will get a lighter sentence AND that the other partner is going to rat them out.  Points are assigned as follows:

  • Both cooperate: each student gets 3 points
  • One defects (rats) and one cooperates: rat gets 5 points, cooperate gets 0
  • Both defect: each student gets 1 point
  • The team member with the most points wins the team BUT your team is also playing against the other pairs in the class
  1. A pair of students are assigned one VT. They must decide, in secret, whether to cooperate or defect. Comment Moderation is turned on so the students don’t see what the other is doing.
  2. There are several rounds as long as you have an odd number of games.
  3. On the last slide they should analyze their game and how it relates to the topic.

Ideas for Use:
Exercise Science – Do you use doping to increase an athlete’s performance?
Anything that has to do with ethics.
Current Events normally can be adapted to this type of game.
Climate Change – One is China, one is the USA – Do you spend the money to curb emissions to clean up the environment?  If you do and the other doesn’t then they get clean air without spending the money.

The Ultimatum Game

A Modification of prisoner’s dilemma.  Based on how people perceive themselves in the hierarchy or pecking order.  There are two students who have to decide how to split $10.  Student A decides how to split the money.  Student B decides if they will accept or reject the split.

  • If B accepts, each get that dollar amount
  • If B rejects they don’t get any money
  • Score for the individual in the team and for the class
  1. A pair of students are assigned one VT. Comment Moderation is turned on so the students don’t see what the other is doing.
  2. Student A must decide how to split $10 using the Text commenting tool.
  3. Student B must then accept or reject the split using the Text commenting tool.
  4. There are several rounds (maybe 10).
  5. Halfway through the total number of rounds. There should be a slide where the students discuss how they are doing and ways to get a higher score. Also reflect on how they are doing as a group
  6. Play the second half of the rounds but switch Student A and B, where B now decides how to split and A accepts/rejects..
  7. On the last slide they should analyze their individual game play, what they learned about themselves and how it relates to the topic.

Ideas for Use:
Anything where there are Haves and Have nots
Political Science: how different countries relate to each other.
Global Health: How do we spend money to stop a pandemic, on our people or on the people where the pandemic has started.

Doodle Games

These are games that use the Doodle Tool that is available in video and audio comments.

grid in spanish of numbersTrace a path:  Tracing a path through a grid while they explain why they are choosing those things.
Example – Trace a line through all the even numbers and  pronounce them as you go though them.

Draw on a Map Add a blank map and have students identify specific areas of the map or trace a journey on the map.

Venn Diagram comparing Cats and Dogs


Draw a diagram: Free draw a diagram that demonstrates concept organization.  Students will draw a diagram or will add items to a diagram while talking through why they are using that diagram or why they are putting items in specific areas.  Faculty will just upload a blank PowerPoint slide.

In your games you can also create a leaderboard for first responders if you want because VT will show you show responded in the date/time order.

VoiceThread for Questions

Reading Quiz

Place quotes or questions from the reading that will be used to prompt discussion in the face to face class. The night before, students must respond to those questions on their own. The professor then looks at those before class and incorporates them into the discussion.

  1. Create a PowerPoint with the images and/or questions (make the questions thought provoking) and upload that into VoiceThread. Turn on Comment Moderation so the students cannot see what others have said.
  2. Students go in and answer using the commenting feature however they want.
  3. Faculty then looks at/listens to the comments.
  4. In an online class: once everyone has responded professor may want to accept all those comments so others can then see what their classmates said. Face-to-Face you don’t need to do this because you will be discussing it in class.

Diagram or Grammar Questions

The professor uploads a diagram, model, image, or text question to VT. The students then use the audio/video commenting feature AND the doodle tool to mark up the image.

  1. _130__VoiceThread_-_HomeCreate a PowerPoint with the images and/or text and upload that into VoiceThread. Turn on Comment Moderation so the students cannot see what others have said.
  2. Students go in and answer using the audio or video commenting feature only and the doodle tool (colored pencils at the bottom of the VT recording screen) to mark up the image.
  3. Faculty then looks at/listens to the comments.
  4. You don’t need to accept the moderated comments because other students will not need to see what their classmates answered.

Great for geography, exercise science, health,

Helpful Links


Collaboration, Facilities, Innovative Instruction, Tech Generation

Makerspaces in Higher Ed

Makerspaces are a relatively new trend in education. Makerspaces are physical spaces where students can get together to work on creative projects and often contain 3D printers, innovative software, electronics, craft and hardware supplies, and other materials. In education, makerspaces can be thought of as a combination of a classroom and a workshop or lab. But why do we need makerspaces, and why are they relevant in higher education? Andrew Kim, a Steelcase education researcher said, “…we have found that, at the same time that technology is reshaping education, the importance of face-to-face learning is also growing, providing new opportunities for hands-on learning instead of all lecture-based.” Unlike traditional classroom environments, student learning in a makerspace is hands-on and self-directed. Georgia Tech’s makerspace, called the Invention Studio, has been incredibly successful and is often used as a model for others in higher education.

Do you think makerspaces have a place in higher education? If you were designing a makerspace, what equipment, software, or tools would you like to see included?

colorful idea map
1-1-1, Collaboration, Faculty Technology Institute, Innovative Instruction, Pedagogy, TLT

Concepts, Connections, and Constructivism: Mind Mapping for Pre-service Teachers

Keonya Booker, Assistant Professor in Teacher Education, recently presented Concepts, Connections, and Constructivism:  Mind Mapping for Pre-service Teachers at the 2015 Conference on Higher Education Pedagogy at Virginia Tech.  As a result of what she learned at the 2014 Faculty Technology Institute she presented on how she used collaborative idea maps to help students make connections.  Below are snippets from her conference proposal

Abstract: Constructivist theory asserts that students attach meaning to their learning by way of predicting, organizing, and evaluating information. Instruction in constructivist-based classes should support students as they actively connect new ideas with prior knowledge. Mind mapping allows students to make associations between both abstract and concrete types of information in creative and imaginative ways. This practice session will explore the use of a popular software program to help pre-service teachers understand major theoretical perspectives in a human development course. Particular attention will be paid to student perceptions of both the tool’s functionality and benefit to learning.

Description of Practice:  Mind mapping has myriad uses in education and there are several tools instructors can use to support student learning. At the College of Charleston all elementary and secondary pre-service teachers must successfully complete a Human Development course prior to their fieldwork experience. Since lifespan development traditionally takes a survey approach, breadth of information is emphasized, not necessarily depth. Because we want students to have a strong understanding of a particular topical issue prior to their practicum, the cumulative assignment was developed. For the cumulative assignment, each student group is responsible for exploring a developmental theorist (e.g., Piaget) or current educational issue (e.g., Common Core) and then presenting to the rest of the class. Students are required to use Popplet to coordinate their work and show connections between contrasting ideas. Uses for Popplet include editing, organizing, and drafting mind maps which will be demonstrated in the session. Participants will also see examples of student work and hear how students evaluated the use of the tool in terms of functionality and worth to the overall project.


If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Booker’s presentation or how you can successfully us idea maps in your teaching feel free to contact Dr. Booker or your Instructional Technologist.