Using Globalyceum In Your Online Classroom

As online learning continues to expand across the academic landscape, many instructors are challenged to take their expertise in teaching classes face-to-face and apply it to the domain of digital education.  Teaching online is more than simply uploading in-class materials onto your course LMS–it can require several hours of preparation and time spent converting material into a format that will be suitable as well as accessible.


One of the great advantages of Globalyceum is its function as a digital platform where all course materials are designed to work in a face-to-face course, as well as in a hybrid or online environment.  Students engage with the material in much the same way as they would in a classroom setting and instructors can use many of the platform features to ensure active learning in their hybrid or fully online course.  The ability to use the same platform for all of your courses and their various formats cuts down significantly on the time you spend preparing class materials and allows continuity for both instructors and for students.

Read/Study Strategy
As online students are required to take a great deal of initiative and control over the pace and success of their own learning, the read/study strategy deployed by Globalyceum is a great way to ensure that your online students are understanding the material and using active reading strategies.  Each essay includes core concepts and key terms that help students engage with the material, and the assessment bank for each unit can be customized to fit the specific reading and comprehension level of your students.  The use of frequent assessments is an especially good strategy for online learning because it ensures that students are keeping up with the coursework.

LMS Integration or Standalone
If you are already using your institution’s LMS as the shell for your online course, Globalyceum materials can be integrated into your existing course, and the grades from assessments and assignments will be automatically transferred into your gradebook so that you can manage the course in one place.  Alternatively, you have the option of setting up your course entirely on the Globalyceum website, as its range of features allows you to upload your own instructions and materials to create a fully online course.

In an online course, the alignment of learning objectives and assessments becomes very important, as instructors do not have class time to make connections between topics and course themes.  Globalyceum units all contain student learning objectives for both content and skills that can be used to write module-level learning objectives. Readings and assignments on the platform align with these objectives so that it is clear to students how they will be able to meet course and module level objectives.

One difficulty in converting existing course materials to online learning platforms can be ensuring accessibility.  All Globalyceum materials are ADA compliant — all videos have closed captioning and audio recordings are provided for all core essays and topical essays.

Active Learning Manual 
Writing assignments for your online course can be challenging and time consuming, as instructions need to be very clear and the relationship to course objectives must be clearly spelled out.  The Globalyceum Active Learning Manual activities are designed for both online and face-to-face classes.  The “Problems” feature of each chapter in Globalyceum’s platform contains background information that gives students the context of the unit material, as well as clearly organized and scaffolded assignments where students evaluate different kinds of primary sources.  Short-response questions and additional documents for analysis are some of the other features that can be used to ensure your course is as “active” as you want it to be.

Learner-Learner Interaction 
Without classroom time, it is important to provide opportunities for learner-learner interaction in online courses.  One common and effective way to do this is to include discussion threads in weekly modules so that students have a way to discuss, debate, and engage with the material and learning objectives at hand.  Instructors can create their own discussion threads in the Activities and Resources section.  The assessment bank of short-answer questions for each unit provides a great source of discussion prompt questions, as each question carefully relates to the unit readings.

One struggle in online classes is finding ways to improve student writing before the time comes for them to submit their first assignments.  The Globalyceum Composition Assignments work extremely well in an online course, as students can follow the scaffolded writing instructions, view examples, and watch instructional videos. A great strategy in an online class is to assign one or more composition assignments and have students submit the component parts of an essay throughout the semester.  Scaffolding skills in this way means that students have an opportunity to practice what they learn and receive feedback on their thesis writing, outline strategy, and essay composition before submitting a final paper or exam.

Bringing it All Together
Thanks to Globalyceum’s innovative approach to online education, you don’t have to choose between an interactive course environment and the convenience and flexibility of online learning. Our platform is designed not only to significantly enrich the online course experience for students, but also to adapt to your needs, styles, and standards as an educator. Using Globalyceum’s strategies for student involvement will offer new learning opportunities for those in your classroom and allow you as the instructor to more efficiently convey the materials and lessons that you cover in your courses.
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Introducing Students to Historiography

One of the challenges of teaching lower-division history classes can be moving beyond methods that teach students about the content of the past, instead teaching them about how this knowledge about the past came to be in the first place.  Historiography is often a topic reserved for major classes or upper-division students, but understanding how knowledge of the past is created, debated, and revised can be a great tool for engaging students at all levels of education and specialty.  While we teach them a subject called “History,” many students do not realize that there is a continual and ongoing debate among historians concerning how the past ought to be interpreted.  Students can also benefit from being exposed to the ways in which historians bring different perspectives from different subfields of history. Political historians, labor historians, economic historians, and gender historians can each bring new perspectives to periods or events that students feel they already understand.

Another challenge involved with introducing historiography or multiple fields in a survey class is the issue of finding room for this subject in the course materials. Textbooks have so much to cover that they typically focus on the perspective of one or a few authors. Over the course of the past few years, I have found that using a text with multiple authors, such as the material offered by Globalyceum, has been an effective way to introduce students to the variety of approaches that historians take in relation to the past. As each chapter of the digital textbook is written by a different author who is an expert in that particular era, this format presents students with depth as well as variety.

Six of Globalyceum’s seventeen American History authors

Globalyceum authors are encouraged to bring their research specializations and interests into the Core Essays and Topical Essays that they author for the platform.  In both the Core and Topical Essay on the American Revolution, for example, Pulitzer Prize winner Alan Taylor draws from his research on Native Americans during the Revolution to emphasize that there was not “one” Revolution.  He argues in his essays that the extent of dissent within the American colonies over which side to support could represent an internal Civil War.  This is an idea that challenges students’ understanding of an event that they feel they know well and can be used to spark classroom discussion about how the Revolution should be presented.

Several authors on the website bring their perspective as historians of gender into Topical Essays and Problems that can be used to introduce students to the insights brought to light by this field.  While discussing the Early American Republic as a general period of innovation in the United States, students continue to be divided in my classes over whether the Female Academies featured in the Problem “Women’s Education” by Caroline Winterer were liberating or restrictive to women.  Thavolia Glymph’s Topical Essay on the myth of the Plantation Mistress is another excellent way to introduce a gendered approach, as it challenges students to rethink their assumption that slaveholding women were somehow “kinder” or “gentler” than slaveholding men.

In the final three units on the period from 1972 to the present, three historians present three different perspectives on this period, allowing students to analyze how economic, political, and demographic changes have reshaped America in recent years.  Julian Zelizer brings a political historian’s insights to the significance of the conservative turn in American politics, while Bethany Moreton’s essays emphasize the primacy of economic changes during this period.  David Gutierrez brings together Immigration History, Mexican-American History, Asian-American History, and other fields to position demographic changes as the most significant in the past thirty years and into the future.

In these essays, as well as in the rest of the materials provided across the whole online platform, students are challenged to synthesize various approaches to the past and formulate their own understanding of historical perspectives and events. Students in lower-division classes can be introduced to historiography through Globalyceum and understand the nuanced perspectives of various historians in the field. They will be more engaged and better understand the complexities of the content in a way typically not explored until upper-division courses.

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Teaching the Presidential Debates

Kate Chilton is a San José State University professor who is using Globalyceum’s Election 2016 in her classroom.  We have invited her to blog about her plan for teaching the upcoming Presidential Debate.

It is not often that an American political event outdraws the Super Bowl on television.  But if 100+ million Americans watch the first presidential debate on Monday, as many predict, that may very well happen.

Here’s how my colleague, Laura Guardino, and I are teaching this signature election event using Globalyceum’s Election 2016.  Globalyceum has decided to run a special debate poll that opens on Monday, September 26, at 6:00 AM PDT and is available through Friday, September 30, at 11:55 PM PDT.  It runs parallel with the Second Mock Student Election, so students will be able to take a poll and vote in the same week.  For students unable to see the live debate, we will encourage them to check online for full debate videos (CNN and PBS will likely offer it).


In the days following the Monday debate, we will encourage students to watch the debate and participate in the poll and vote.  But our learning objective is for students to gather information and analyze the way the debate shapes public opinion in this crucial period.  Both of us plan to assign Globalyceum’s “Problem: Do Debates Make a Difference?” in the Comparative Problems list.  We like the way it asks students to watch a comedy show about the debate, comment on the satirizing of the candidates, and consider the influence that comedy shows may have on young people this election season.

The following Monday, each of us plans to start class by showing Melinda Jackson’s video on the debates, a followup to videos on the Conventions and the Battleground States. I will have 2-3 students share in class their comedy clips from YouTube and have a whole-class discussion about satire and its influence on politics.  Laura will divide her class into small groups for a 20-minute small group session so that students can discuss the information they have accumulated from the debate, comedy shows, news media, the video, and the poll results to answer this question: Is your impression of the debate similar or different to your classmates (according to the poll results), the news media, or other public commentators (including comedy shows)? Why?”  Group leaders will report out the results of the discussion. As always we give participation points for student participation. Globalyceum’s grade book automatically records students who vote, poll, and submit assignments.

On Tuesday morning, almost everyone will have an opinion about the debate so it is a great opportunity to engage students in this election.  Don’t miss it.  Please let me know if you have any other election-related engagement strategies with your students and feel free to reach out to me with any questions.

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