Faculty Exchange/Brandy Schillace Discusses Custom D2L Course Home Pages

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General Information

  • Audience - All WSU instructors interested in making D2L Home Pages more interactive.
  • Interview Date - 9/21/2010
  • Tools Used - Home Pages in D2L

Meet the Faculty Member

Dr. Brandy Schillace received her MA and PhD from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. At Case she taught a variety of courses and took part in a co-lead seminar for energy conservation. Her primary focus is, however, on 18th century British Literature and intersections of pedagogy, literature and medicine. As part of this varied focus, Brandy is the Managing Editor for Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, an international journal of cross-cultural health research. She has taught courses in composition and rhetoric to creative writing and technical communications for engineers.

Viewing the Interview Segments

The full interview is divided into four segments. Select play to begin viewing Segment 1. To advance to another segments at any time by using the Next Next button.

Segment Descriptions

  1. How are you customizing your D2L courses? Brandy explains why she likes to customize each course home page here and it allows here to introduce herself and the class to her students.
  2. Could you talk more about widgets and the way you have customized your course home pages? In this segment Bandy describes how she uses RSS feeds, YouTube, and other types of custom widgets on her course home pages to drive students to relevant content that she requires them to use classes.
  3. Describe some of the outcomes your are seeing as a result of this custom home page? The sense of interaction among student, herself, and their connection to the wider World is an important outcome Bandy feels she gained from this enhancement of her D2L homepage. Student reflection essays also support the impact this innovation is having on the way they learn.
  4. What advice do you have for faculty considering customize their D2L course home pages? Brandy suggest that there should be no fear when to spend some time familiarizing yourself with these tools and trying to see what works best for you. She added that it was helpful to draw upon the TLT Services people to guide her towards tools she should try, based on her needs, and learn how to use them when she decides to adopt a specific tool.

Good Practices

  • Provide students with an introduction to the course and instructor.' Brandy sets the tone of her course before the students ever walk in the door. She provide a unique look and feel to the course, video introduction to the instructor, and other resources she will be using.
  • Set the expectation that resources will be used. She frequently references resources provided on the custom home page and then guides students to the relevant resources as they discuss the materials in class.
  • Use standard widgets Why reinvent the wheel when there are many standard widget that may serve your student needs.
  • Student reflection essays are used to ascertain impact of these resources. Brandy used the reflection essay to analyze feedback, what has been learned, and how specific resources were useful to their learning success.

Key Outcomes

  • Interaction between students and between wider World.A key objective in Brandy's courses it to encourage interaction between students and help them begin having a conversation with a much wider audience.
  • Students want and even expect to use these technologies.Feedback she receives from these resources indicate that her students want and expect to use resources that are going to connect them to her curriculum, each other, and to the larger World to prepare them not only to know the concepts from the course, but also the tools they use to apply these concepts in their communication.

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