ONLINE @ MTSU – Spring 2023
Online @ MTSU
Table of Contents
Welcome to Spring!
Dear MTSU colleagues,
On behalf of MTSU Online I am pleased to welcome you to the Spring 2023 semester! It has been an extremely busy year for MTSU Online with many initiatives underway. In 2021, we started an initiative to increase the number of fully online degree programs at MTSU. With a lot of arduous work and dedication from the MTSU faculty, administrators, and our team we have now moved from 16 to 32 programs! Our goal is for our students to be able to continue their degrees at MTSU without having to seek online programs at other institutions. On our website you can find information on how to develop a fully online program. Or, if you are looking to develop an online course you can find that information on our website under Course Development.
Another project we have been working on this year is the revamp of our Online Faculty Mentoring Program. We have worked to transform this program from a course review program to a true mentoring program. Our experienced faculty now mentor groups of other faculty who are new to online teaching, interested in online teaching, or who are trying to learn new skills and best practices in the field. We launched our inaugural groups in the Fall of 2022 and will be seeking applicants for new Online Faculty Mentors and new group participants this Spring semester.
Our team is working on many other projects including growing our training program, increasing our student services, and continuing to find new ways to serve our faculty. We are excited about all the possibilities to come and hope to work with many of you soon! Feel free to visit us at MTSU Online Faculty Services for information on current services offered and information on how to contact us. Have a terrific semester!
Director, MTSU Online
Have You Heard?
AI-AI, CAPTAIN – CHATGPT
If you’ve been reading The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, the New York Times, or other academe-oriented news sources, you are probably now aware of an Artificial Intelligence (AI) tool called ChatGPT. In this brief article, we will dig a bit deeper into what this tool can do and then talk about adjustments you may want to make to your course – syllabus language, assignments, etc. – to address issues that arise with these types of tools.
What is ChatGPT
ChatGPT is a newly updated AI system (launched on Nov 30, 2022), free to anyone with an internet connection, that can generate, primarily, text-based responses to a person asking it questions. It draws from “a database of digital books, online writings, and media” (O’Brien, 2023).
The biggest concern raised with ChatGPT relates to plagiarism whereby the system creates the product rather than the student. Students can input question prompts, and ChatGPT will provide a coherent text response that may be “roughly right.” ChatGPT can also generate computer programming code, poetry, and essays based upon requests.
Other issues come into play when we consider this tool. The tool is only as good as the data it is provided. As we know with any information we encounter, data can be flawed and is often reflective of specific biases. Information provided by ChatGPT may not be accurate depending upon perspectives.
Responding to the Concerns
Several strategies can be adopted to address the concerns of students using ChatGPT for assignments
- Require use of higher-order thinking skills: Ask students not only to define or describe but to also apply and synthesize. ChatGPT cannot provide personalized experiences or interpretations for how concepts connect to life events. Consider how you can ask your students to make that connection explicit.
- Consider asking for evidence of learning in alternative formats: ChatGPT can only produce text-based responses. Ask your students to demonstrate their learning by creating multimedia (audio, visual) responses to assignments and discussion board questions.
- Timeliness of information: ChatGPT is built upon information / data available prior to 2021 and will not necessarily have access to the most recent developments in ideas. Consider how time-sensitive your needs are.
- Policy / use statements: Consider how you will address situations when they arise with a student using this tool. What statements might you want to include in your course about inappropriate use of materials generated by ChatGPT and/or privacy considerations for students when they share their intellectual property with such tools?
- Consult tools designed to identify possible AI use: TurnItIn, plagiarism detection software currently licensed by MTSU and integrated into D2L, is developing ways to detect whether AI has been used with assignment submissions. GPTZero is a tool freely available to detect materials possibly crafted using AI.
Cynthia Alby, author of Learning that Matters: A Field Guide to Course Design for Transformative Education. ChatGPT: Understanding the New Landscape and Short-Term Solutions
Matt O’Brien, AP News. Explainer: What is ChatGPT and why are schools blocking it? (2023)
Torrey Trust, University of Massachusetts Amherst College of Education, ChatGPT & Education (slideshow)
NPR Article: A new AI chatbot might do your homework for you. But it's still not an A+ student (2022)
NPR Broadcast: Did AI write this headline? (2023)
OER Syllabus Statement Examples: These statements, written by faculty members, come from various institutions.
Spring '23 Workshops
MTSU Online collaborates with the LT&ITC each semester to host virtual workshops with an online focus. Please see our upcoming events below. All MTSU Online workshops are recorded and posted to our MTSU Online YouTube Channel. We hope you will subscribe!
Ready for Spring 23: D2L Updates and Helpful Tips (archived on our YouTube Channel)
January 20th (Friday) 11:30am-12:30pm
Welcome back to the spring semester! We are excited to start off the new year with you and are here to provide support in your online and blended courses. As always, a few updates happened at the end of last semester you might want to know more about, so we are going to give you a quick review of those and some tips for success for the new semester. There will also be some time for Q& A with your MTSU Online Instructional Designers. A preview of topics covered:
- The new Quiz tool settings
- Audio/Video feedback in assignment folders
- Pronouns and Preferred Name reminders
- The ever popular: setting up your midterm grade calculation column
- Third-Party Integrations
H5P Series Showcase #4
February 14th (Tuesday) 11:30am-12:30pm
This workshop is the fourth in an ongoing series to provide practical, hands-on experience focused on creating activities using the tools highlighted in each showcase. Attendees should create an H5P account prior to the workshop to best maximize the experience. Please come with any ideas you might have for using these tools in your courses. Not sure if your idea fits these tools? View an example of each tool: Crossword, Word and Emoji Cloud, and KewAr Code.
Infographics: A Deeper Dive into Upskilling Through Assessments
February 24th (Friday) 11:30am-12:30pm
Back by request, we hope you’ll join us for this workshop about using graphic visual representations as assessment. We’ll discuss the basics of what infographics are and are not, accelerating grading while creating variety for you, and ways in which they can be used to measure student learning. Do any current assignments feel stale? Bring your ideas – there could be an existing paper or written assessment that would be great as an infographic!
To register for these or any of the other faculty development opportunities offered through the LT&ITC please visit the LT&ITC Workshop Calendar.
Dr. Kim Godwin
I am Dr. Kim Godwin, and I am one of the Instructional Designers for MTSU Online. I have been in this role since August of 2019, just 7 short months before the pivot event that shall not be named, you know the one, March of 2020. My role in MTSU online is to support faculty developers in creating the best online courses possible.
My journey here has been a quest so I will try to keep it brief. I earned my undergraduate degree in Southern/Civil Rights History and Middle School Education at Belmont University and obtained a Master of Arts in Education in Student Affairs from Western Kentucky University. Pause for dramatic Go Big Red & T O P S tops tops tops!! I spent the next decade of my career as a Fraternity & Sorority Life professional on campuses and for the Chi Phi Fraternity, a national men’s organization. During that time, I became a graduate of MTSU with my Ed.S in Higher Education Administration and Tennessee State University with an EdD in Education & Administration. I have spent the last decade plus in Academic Affairs, working almost exclusively in online learning since March of 2013.
I am a crusader for Open Education Resources (OER), accessibility & inclusion, and Universal Design for Learning (UDL). I get geeky excited about new assessment ideas when working with faculty and love to have a little fun with memes, gifs, videos, and other snips of fun in the courses I design as well as those I support as an ID.
I have been with my partner, Will, for about ten years, and we are the proud parents of 3 giant breed rescue dogs. We also foster senior and medically fragile giant breeds when needed. Gracie Lou (yes Miss Congeniality), Merle Great Dane, will be 13 in May; Denver, Tuxedo Great Dane, is somewhere between 6 – 9; and our newest Harley, a mastiff mix, is probably 12 or 13. I am the coolest aunt to Lennon (9) and Wren (5). I am a Nashville native, born at Vanderbilt Hospital and grew up in South Nashville, and was in the Awesome John Overton High School Marching Band (Clarinet, French Horn and Percussion). I am a member of Delta Zeta Sorority and a Girl Scout Gold Award recipient, that one has been a minute, but I am still proud! I am not the President of ABC News, google it.
This biannual newsletter is produced by MTSU Online. Comments and feedback should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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