Engaging Learners through Zoom: Strategies for Virtual Teaching Across Disciplines

18th September 2020

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners!

Book of the Week

We’ve been intrigued by books on Zoom, and we wanted to share about a new one, out soon, that takes a different approach: Engaging Learners through Zoom: Strategies for Virtual Teaching Across Disciplines, by Jonathan Brennan. As Barb wrote in her blurb for the book: “Engaging Learners through Zoom is like a banquet of ideas for polls, chats, breakout rooms, using the main session as a central hub, and far more.  What’s terrific about this book is that it gives concrete, innovative examples for practically every discipline—any instructor can benefit! I never knew I needed this book, but now, I couldn’t do without it!”  

Study and Motivation Tips with Barb Oakley and Greg Hammons

Want to see Barb “live” with her friend Greg Hammons, co-star of Learning How to Learn for Youth?  The dynamic duo will be doing a Facebook Live session on Tuesday, September 22, 2020, at 12:00 PM – 1 PM Eastern time.  Sign up now to attend on Tuesday and ask questions about whatever you’d like related to motivation and learning! 

MOOC of the Week

The Science of Well-Being is a Coursera-Yale MOOC taught by Professor Laurie Santos, based on a course that she taught at Yale in Spring 2018 titled, “Psychology and the Good Life.” To everyone’s surprise, it turned out to be the most popular course ever offered at Yale. The Coursera adaptation preserves most of the content of the course over the 10-week length of the course.

Our interlocutor,  Scott Mathews, (Lead Mentor of our companion MOOC Mindshift), found this course to be fascinating, especially in the time of COVID-19. Scott notes: “Professor Santos presents evidence-based findings on the factors and activities that give us feelings of happiness and well-being, many of which are counterintuitive. For example, most of us probably think that making more money, being hired for a great job, acquiring cool stuff, or starting a new relationship would make us happy. But research has found that after an initial boost, our self-rated happiness levels return to baseline in a short time.

 “The kinds of things that give us lasting happiness, again based on research evidence, are doing acts of kindness for other people (the ‘size’ of the act is unrelated to the happiness it gives us), nurturing social connections, and other non-acquisitive and other-directed activities.

“The course offers a personal happiness assessment, ‘rewirings’ of our brains to eliminate false assumptions, and relevant reading materials. Professor Santos also maintains an active blog that extends the content of the course.

“I will admit that it took me longer than 10 weeks to complete the course, but as always, Coursera deadlines can be reset!”

Georgia Tech Online MS in Computer Science Hits the 10,000 Student Mark for This Year!

There have been over 1,200 articles about the tremendously innovative Online Master of Science in Computer Science Program, including 10 in the New York Times.  In one of the first articles, then Dean Zvi Galil mentioned the number 10,000 per year enrolled students as an achievable goal. He was chided for being overly ambitious. But this goal has been achieved without reducing the quality of Georgia Tech’s program, and without cannibalizing the oncampus program. It seems that Georgia Tech’s program may be one of the largest, if not the largest, top-quality online masters programs in the world.  (Here’s Barb with a “Go Jackets” t-shirt!)

2020 LWMOOCs Conference: How MOOCs Are Reshaping the 4th Industrial Revolution

If you’re interested in MOOCs, the LWMOOCs conference is not-to-be-missed—registration rates are low until September 20th. Barb will be giving a lightning talk, but the talk Barb’s really focused on is that by David Joyner of Georgia Tech, about the successful Georgia Tech’s online masters program.

How a Child with a Fractured Skull Grew Up to Become the ‘World’s Fastest Human Calculator’

This heartwarming story of Neelakantha Bhanu Prakash. “According to the Limca Book of Records—India’s equivalent to Guinness World Records—Bhanu’s mind processes numbers at an average speed of 12 per second, around 10 times faster than a regular brain. Bhanu says he’s able to make such complex calculations at breakneck speed through ‘structured practice.’” Not bad for a kid who doctors warned could be cognitively impaired for the rest of his life due to his head injuries, which included 85 stitches, multiple operations, and a medically-induced coma.[Hat tip Audun Huslid]

That’s all for this week. Have a happy week in Learning How to Learn!

Barb, Terry, and the entire Learning How to Learn team

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