Lynita Newswander

How to Engage Online Students?
By Lynita Newswander on July 10, 2009

While online courses pose a number of difficulties for teachers and students, the reality is that they are becoming increasingly popular among departments. I’ll be teaching online courses for the first time this fall, and I am particularly concerned about how I can best engage a group of students whose interaction will be completely virtual. I will be using the Desire to Learn (D2L) system through the University of South Dakota—a technology similar to Blackboard. I also have the option to use Elluminate, a system which allows for live classroom discussions as well as a forum for pre-recorded lectures (with power-points and other images). I have used discussion boards (through Blackboard) in conjunction with on-campus courses before and found them to be useful. But I am still looking for suggestions for how to best facilitate community, engagement, and free discussion in a strictly online course. Can anyone offer suggestions or lessons learned from personal experience?

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Youtube in the classroom
By Lynita Newswander on June 18, 2009

The readings for June 17 ("Thinking about Technology and Teaching") and June 19 ("Teaching the Millennial Generation") got me thinking about the proper role of technology in the classroom. Of course, many questions regarding teaching style refer further back to the fundamental goals of any given course. In the past I have asked myself: What will my students get out of this? What do I want them to learn? And how can I best facilitate that process?

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about the author

Lynita Newswander
Lynita Newswander

I find myself fascinated with the ways that differing perspectives on value and virtue shape the course of politics. As a teacher, my primary goal is to help my students to understand how seemingly remote political concepts have personal bearing on their own individual lives. My research interests include political theory, religion and politics, and literature, among other things, and I’ve just finished a dissertation on the political power of religious belief in the US (with particular focus on the Jacksonian Era). After earning a doctorate degree from Virginia Tech in May, I will be starting a position as an adjunct professor in the department of political science at the University of South Dakota in August of this year, about the same time that my husband and I are expecting the birth of our first child.