Viewing by month: May 2012

May 24 2012

CoursePlus Downtime on Thursday, May 31

CoursePlus will be offline for required maintenance on Thursday, May 31, from 6-8am. There will be no access to the site during this time, and you will receive a "Could not find this website" message in your Web browser if you try to access CoursePlus during this time.

We apologize for any inconvenince this may cause, but need to take the server offline for this brief period of time to perform important maintenance. We fully expect the server to be back onine by 8am on Thursday, May 31.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 11:12 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

May 17 2012

OnlineCollege.Org: Suggestions for Implementing Twitter in Live Chat Discussions blogger Melissa Venable, PhD, recently published an extensive white paper on the use of Twitter for conducting both synchronous and a-synchronous course discussions. The pdf is available to download for free at the site's Online College Research section:

The twenty-three page document gives useful suggestions for using Twitter as either a supplemental communication tool or a primary mode of course discussion. Starting from the premise that online discussions can be improved, Venable makes a valid case for some of the weaknesses of traditional a-synchronous online learning utilizing a threaded discussion format. These weaknesses are as follows: many student responses refer directly to the instructor's question and overlap with other student responses creating a "disjointed" and somewhat unnatural conversation (Venable, 2012, p. 2); instructor questions quite often do not yield a meaningful discussion because students respond with the intention to fulfill a requirement, giving what they believe is the "right" answer, thus losing some of the nuance that a deep and spontaneous classroom discussion can achieve; in order to maintain a consistent schedule, threaded discussions often impose "unnatural requirements" on students requiring them to post a response by one specific date and a follow-up question to a student several days later, thus forcing students to ask questions instead of allowing the discussion to happen on its own accord (Venable, 2012, p. 2).

As an alternative Venable suggests some possible advantages for using Twitter as a tool for live chat discussions and also gives some great examples of how to run a Twitter chat. Two very good reasons for considering Twitter for course discussions are 1.) Twitter exists outside any Learning Management System (LMS) and therefore does not force students to log-in and participate on a desktop computer as many of the more restrictive LMS environments require. This becomes a creative potential when one imagines a course conversation revolving around a live event that exists at a time and place when many students might not be able to participate on any device other than their smart phone or tablet. Another advantage is that instructors who participate in social media can become behavioral role models for their students, teaching by example the most appropriate and skillful ways to communicate to their peers.

In order to conduct a live chat using Twitter, Venable suggests instructors do the following: create a short and easy to remember hashtag for the discussion; decide on a topic and set specific goals for the discussion; and finally develop open-ended questions that will inspire student discussion.

Venable also suggests numerous supplemental software tools that work in tandem with Twitter to enhance and increase the social media tool's potential for online learning. Additionally, she gives suggestions for the types of discussions one might conduct using Twitter and ways that the social media tool can enhance a course. Among these were a discussion of an article or perhaps chapters of a text; an outside-of-class discussion on a particular topic relevant but perhaps not central to the course; and using Twitter for quick updates and important announcements about class activities and assignments.


Venable, M. (2012). Social media in online education: Implementing live Twitter chat discussion sessions. Accessed from

Posted by Rick Ivy at 3:21 PM - Categories:

May 14 2012

Teaching with Technology Fair 2012: Collaboration in Health Professions Education

To all JHSPH Faculty and Staff:

Teaching with Technology Fair 2012:
Collaboration in Health Professions Education

May 17, 2012
8:30AM – 4:30PM

The Johns Hopkins Medical Campus
Armstrong Building
Info and program:

Keynote by:
Jason Farman, Assistant Professor, American Studies, University of Maryland, College Park, and author of Mobile Interface Theory

Presented by:
The JHU School of Nursing Office for Teaching Excellence
In collaboration with JHSPH Center for Teaching and Learning, JHSOM Instructional Technologies, and JHH Nursing Administration

Hope to see you there!

Posted by Clark Shah-Nelson at 1:58 PM - Categories: Teaching Tips | Web Events | General | Online Courses | Distance Learning | Tech Tools

May 11 2012

End of Access to AY2009-2010 Courses in CoursePlus

Note: When this post was first published, it stated that access would end for the 2009-2010 academic year. This was incorrect. It should have said that access would end for the 2010-2011 academic year. Access to 2009-2010 academic year courses ended in May, 2011. We apologize for this error.

Per the terms of service for eLearning sites at JHSPH, access to CoursePlus sites for the 2010-2011 academic year will end with the start of the new academic year. Students enrolled in courses with CoursePlus sites have access to those sites for the current and following academic years. When the new academic year begins on May 24, 2012, access to CoursePlus sites from the 2010-2011 academic year will end because the 2010-2011 academic year will be two academic years in the past.

We strongly encourage students who have materials that they want to download from their 2010-2011 academic year CoursePlus sites to do so before this changeover. Once the new academic year begins, you will not have access to materials from 2010-2011 academic year CoursePlus sties, nor can the CTLT Help staff retrieve those files for you.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 8:50 AM - Categories: CoursePlus

May 7 2012

The For-Real End of Access to Online Courses Using IE7

Although support for using Internet Explorer 7 to access online courses at the School of Public Health ended in June, 2011, there are still a handful of students and faculty who use IE7 to access their courses. If you use IE7 to access online courses, you are warned that it's not a supported browser and that you're going to run into problems with quizzes, the BBS, and other tools. You can still sign in to online courses, but sooner or later, you're going to run into problems.

On June 1, you will no longer be able to sign into online courses using Internet Explorer 7. If you use IE7, you won't see a sign in screen, so you won't be able to sign in. You will need to use one of the supported browsers for online courses at the School.

If you work at the School and still use IE7, JHSPH Information systems will gladly assist you in installing an up-to-date version of Firefox on your computer so you can access online courses. They won't remove IE7 from your computer because it is still needed to access Hopkins ONE at JHU. In addition to Firefox, both Google Chrome and Safari work great with the online course system.

Posted by Brian Klaas at 8:47 AM - Categories: Online Courses

May 3 2012

Weds May 9 CTL Teaching Toolkit: Discussion U: Facilitating Effective Discussions

CTL Toolkit Logo

The Instructional Design Team at the Center for Teaching and Learning invite JHSPH faculty and TAs to the next Teaching Toolkit lunchtime workshop:

  • What can we do if no one speaks?
  • How does class size affect facilitation strategies?
  • If we use classroom discussion as a learning activity, how do we know that students understand key material?

In this workshop, we will discuss these questions and others so that we can facilitate meaningful classroom discussions.

When: Wednesday, May 9, 12:15-1:15
Where: Bloomberg/Wolfe St. (room number TBA) (all registered attendees will be emailed the location)
How: You are welcome to attend in person, or via Adobe Connect (link will be provided to those who RSVP as remote participants)
Registration: To register for the workshop:  (JHSPH Faculty, Staff and TAs only)


  •     Demonstrate best practices for facilitating meaningful classroom discussions
  •     Adapt facilitation skills to a variety of environments (class size, student mix, etc)


  1.     Brief introduction to the science of learning
  2.     Classroom discussion in practice
  3.     Overview of strategies and resources

For more information on the Teaching Toolkit and past event recordings:

We look forward to see you there!


Posted by Clark Shah-Nelson at 3:24 PM - Categories: Teaching Tips | General

May 1 2012

Revving up web events

Almost everyday there’s an interesting public health lecture or event happening on campus at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. But it can be hard to track down recordings of the talks.  We’re making it easier for you by revamping our Web Events page to connect you to talks that will stir your curiosity and deepen your public health knowledge. 

Among the latest talks we’re sharing:

  • Minister Pe Thet Khin on fixing the health system of Burma
  • JHSPH health economist David Bishai on the hygiene revolution
  • Will Allen on the future of food

We’ll be posting new talks on a weekly basis and using the Web Events page to give you a heads up on future talks including ones you can watch live.  If there is a specific talk you’d like us to post, or ways we can get lectures and events to you faster and easier, please leave a comment!

Posted by Cathy Duchamp at 3:36 PM - Categories: Web Events

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