Building Strong Online Community Through the Use of OER Cartoons and Prompts - FREE

Event Date: 
May 23, 2013 - 2:00pm - 3:00pm

Efforts to instill students' sense of personal ownership and build a strong community in the online course experience may sometimes fall short due to the staid communicative prompts doled out by the teacher on the discussion board. This webinar seeks to inspire faculty--whether hybrid, blended, or fully online-- through the use of OER cartoons that depict the life of college students as they navigate through an online course. The cartoons—freely available for download and use through one-click download as well as live updates in the LMS through RSS technology—are accompanied with a set of questions to stimulate peer discussion. This OER resource, newly announced in 2012, is the cartoon Online U.

Price: $0.00

Online discussion prompts often do little prompting; they fail to engage the student in meaningful dialogue. Rather, the conversation that often surfaces is one centered around tasks, deadlines, or assignment instructions, rather than a dialogue about motivation, procrastination, or the complexities of technology. These latter topics are universal to online education, yet they are rarely discussed in the online environment. The webcomic is a strong medium to encourage meaningful dialogue, when done indirectly, informally, throughout the course term, and regardless of whether students have been remediated or identified as underperforming.

Written and illustrated by a faculty member who has taught for colleges in the most affluent and poverty-stricken counties in America—the digital narrative typifies common themes for online students: procrastination, motivation, technological literacy, the workplace, relationships, social media, and the general willingness to succeed.

Participants in this webinar will view the comics and hear how the idea came to light, as well as how the cartoons were received by students during the faculty member’s introduction of the sequential art into his course. Faculty and instructional designers will walk away with information for using the comics in their own online course. The webinar will help the participants to :

• recognize the rise in contemporary culture of comics--through medical narratives published online, traditional graphic novels, or the webcomic.

• recognize the careful attention needed to craft the discussion prompt

• parse meaning from student responses to webcomics--as a means to better understand student deficiencies and idiosyncrasies




Terry Pollard is an Assistant Professor within the School of Health-Related Professions at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. As the Director for Instructional Development and Distance Learning, he maps curriculum activity and curriculum modifications to proven instructional technology tools and methods.

Terry has many interests and began his career in market research, working in print and web-based media. He soon pursued his dream of teaching at the collegiate level and began teaching English in the community college and university systems. Most recently, he served as the Director of Training and Professional Development of the Mississippi Virtual Community College at the Mississippi Community College Board, where he led more than one thousand community college faculty to earn their online teaching credentials. In 2004, Terry designed, developed, illustrated, and produced an interactive DVD for the classroom entitled Horatio's Tale: An Interactive DVD for Hamlet. The DVD received worldwide interest. He has spoken at conferences for the Sloan-Consortium and Blackboard and at many colleges and universities across the country. Finally, he is the co-author of a chapter in the forthcoming journal New Horizons in Teaching and Learning on the subject of online professional development, to be published by Wiley Press in 2013.

Free for All



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