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New Features on Seelio for Educators Including Statistics, Assessment Updates and More!

Seelio Feature Updates Header

In our previous post we shared about some of the exciting developments on Seelio for students. Here we’d like to share about some of our most exciting product enhancements for educators on Seelio.

Below we’ll share more about how to customize your headline information so that when you like, comment on, or post works, your identity doesn’t have to be limited to your alma mater. We’ve also added a new group data insights feature that allows educators to see an overview of learning outcomes and group participation.

And last but not least, we’ve given a little TLC to our assessment and evaluation features so it’s even easier for educators to give feedback on student work and help with the portfolio development process.

Want more details? Read on to see the specific updates we’ve been making on Seelio. As always, we love to hear from you so drop us a line anytime to ask questions or share your new feature ideas!

The Snowball Effect: Evolving Your Class Into An Active Learning Experience

Welcome to the second post in our two-part series about evolving your course to incorporate active learning. Previously we shared how one professor at Ohio University evolved his course into a “90 minute creativity concert” of active learning. Today we’ll share actionable tips that you can apply to your courses.

The Snowball Effect

WHAT IT IS AND WHY IT WORKS

As we covered how Eric Williams transformed his MDIA 1020: Media and the Creative Process course from a traditional, lecture-based format to an engaging, active-learning “90 minute creativity concert,” we were inspired to think about and share ways that other faculty in any discipline could do the same, using a concept called the “snowball effect.”

The snowball effect is a process which begins with one small change that builds upon itself, becoming larger and more significant along the way, like a ball of snow rolling down a hillside. If properly guided, this process can have a majorly positive impact on a situation just by taking small steps along the way.

Changing a class is not a simple process, but it can be made easier by approaching the process of evolving the course slowly and methodically. By instituting a few small changes each semester, you can “snowball” a successful, manageable evolution of the course in just a couple of years, giving you time to adjust, get comfortable, and evaluate. Let’s talk about a few ways you can get started.

Best Practices for Connecting Classes to Careers

Bringing Best Practices to Life: Competency Based Learning at the University of Michigan’s School of Social Work

Seelio Best Practice: Define explicit learning outcomes at the beginning of the student experience so that students know from the beginning what they are working toward and can recognize and document mastery of skills along the way.

University of Michigan's School of Social Work on Seelio

We’ve seen this best practice along with many others in our work with the University of Michigan’s School of Social Work (UM SSW). Mary Ruffolo, Ph.D., a UM SSW Professor and Director of the Continuing Education Program, has been using Seelio in her classes for over a year and has invited us into the process of exploring how portfolios can impact student confidence in connecting learning experiences to career goals.

Last summer, we collaborated with Mary to develop a web-based course that UM SSW graduate students could take to build a professional online portfolio to demonstrate the 13 core competencies they develop throughout their master of social work program at UM SSW. The 1-credit web-based course employs online modules, virtual meetings, and virtual group work to support students in developing an integrative learning portfolio.

The course curriculum explicitly focuses on helping students identify their professional goals and develop adaptive expertise, or the ability to draw connections between their studies and experiences as a professional social worker. With self-paced reflective activities, students are challenged to reflect on their key learning experiences, their top skills, and how they want to present those experiences in their upcoming job search. Group feedback through virtual meetings as well as community features on Seelio like comments, likes, and private messages, allow students to share their experiences and gain valuable insights from their peers and advisors.

Validating Our Hypothesis on the Impact of Portfolios on Student Confidence

We hypothesized that this combination of competency-based learning, reflection, and portfolio development would increase students’ confidence in their ability to articulate skills and learning experiences in a professional context. Two rounds of pre- and post-surveys of participating students validated our hypothesis–  students reported increased confidence and optimism in their professional development and their ability to apply competencies from their degree program to their future as social work professionals.

Specifically, across two semesters, students in the web-based course showed significant gains in their:

  • comfort applying facts, theories, or methods to practical problems or new situations (p=.0001);
  • confidence articulating their goals (p=.018) and key learning experiences (p=.049); and
  • confidence presenting their work to potential employers (p=.009).

Hear From Students & Learn More About Our Process

Two students recorded brief video segments to share more about their experience in the course. See what Aaron and Katie had to say. You can also find more details about the course and our work with UM SSW in a presentation we gave at the Online Learning Consortium’s Annual Meeting last October:

At Seelio, we apply these same best practices in our portfolio implementations across our partner programs, collaborating with faculty to identify the best fit for their courses and measuring and evaluating progress at each step along the way. At the end of the day, our goal is to empower students like Aaron and Katie to confidently pursue their professional goals with a digital identity that allows them to easily showcase their 21st century skills.

Learn more about our best practices here, and see examples from UM SSW students in the UM SSW Seelio Showcase.