The favourite tool of...
EUR lecturers share their experiences, insights and opinions on different educational tools they used during their online courses.
To inspire you as a fellow lecturer, and save you the time so you don't need to figure out things for yourself.
February 2021: Miro mind mapping tool
The next favourite tool is Miro mind mapping tool. Femke Truijens, assistent professor Clinical Psychology at ESSB, coordinates the new course ‘Severe Mental Illness in Urban Context’ in the master Clinical Psychology. The course introduces critical thinking with regard to several aspects in psychiatry that students tend to take as self-evident.
To realise this critical thinking exercise in digital times, she chose to use the Miro mind mapping tool. The Miro tool does exactly what you want for a brainstorm- or mind map exercise: it allows a peer group of students to sign in at the same time and meet ‘real time’, they can design and draw a mind map exactly as suits their discussion, they can use ‘post its’ to add content to the mind map, and they can choose various colours to organize the content they discussed.
The Miro tool does exactly what you want for a brainstorm- or mind map exercise: it allows a peer group of students to sign in at the same time and meet ‘real time’, they can design and draw a mind map exactly as suits their discussion, they can use ‘post its’ to add content to the mind map, and they can choose various colours to organize the content they discussed. For example, some students organized their mind map in red and green post-its to differentiate between positive and negative perspectives. Others organized the map by differentiating ‘what goes wrong’ from ‘possible solutions’, which they connected by drawing all kinds of lines, arrows and feedback loops.
The tool was experienced as quite intuitive, and the mind maps that came out of it are colourful and very easily readable while still displaying the depth of discussion. This also makes it very easy to evaluate and grade assignments, even in groups as large as the clinical master (200+ students).
The disadvantage is that the program does require the students to make an account, so to use it, they have to share their email addresses. Also, it takes some time to get started, so for a smaller assignment it might be too much of technicalities for its purpose. To tackle this, I asked students to create an account in advance. Also, I advised the students to first get their discussion started, and not focus on the technicalities of Miro right away, because it might take away some flow of the conversation. Still, in my experience it might be even more interference to ask students to write a report or paper about their discussion, whereas this mind map tool seemed to leave plenty of room for flow and depth in the peer discussions. Overall, I am very enthusiastic about the tool and might keep using it even when we return to offline education.
December 2020: Annotation tool in Zoom
First in this series is the annotation tool in Zoom. Floor van Rosse, assistant professor at the pharmacy department of Erasmus Medical Center and CLI Fellow, will show how she used this tool during her course and explain to you why this tool could enrich your courses too.
- An important insight to mention: don't use the beta option ’slides as virtual background’ if you want to use the annotation tool. When you use this option, the Annotate option won't appear in the menu, so students won't be able to use it.
- Some colleagues also mention differences between the app and the browser version of Zoom. Please be aware of that.
- Check TeachEUR for a nice corresponding teaching session to use the Annotation tool with: the online discussion.
Watch Floor's use of the Zoom annotation tool and listen to her explanation why this works for her course.