Friday, June 6, 2014

June Workshop Offerings in the ITRC

Please join us for a workshop in the Instructional Technology Resource Center during June. All workshops take place in the ITRC lab, Library Room B17. To register, visit the ITRC Calendar at http://www2.isu.edu/itrc/calendar/calendar.php and click on the link for the workshop you wish to enroll in. All workshops are free.

Voice Tools in Moodle - June 3, 9:00-11:00am
This workshop will show you the Voice Tools available to use in your Moodle Course. You will learn how to record an introduction, send verbal feedback via email, and set up a verbal discussion board.

Course and Module Objectives (QM 2) -  June 4, 2:00-4:00pm
At the heart of any course are the objectives. Writing course and module objectives that are measurable, precise and appropriate for students is critical in meeting the QM Rubric Standard 2.

Tracking Student Activity in Moodle -  June 5, 10am - 12:00pm or June 26, 2-4pm
Having trouble engaging and managing students? This workshop will show you how to track student activity using the reports. We will also be talking about some strategies for dealing with cheating and encouraging student engagement.

Moodle Quizzes -  June 10, 9:00-11:00am
This workshop will cover the new features and improvements of the Moodle ISU quiz tool and how to use it effectively in your teaching.

Assessment and Alignment (QM 3) -  June 11, 9:00-11:00am
Good course design is exemplified by the alignment of your assessments, materials, activities and technology to your course objectives. With a focus on assessment strategies we will discuss alignment and how to meet the QM Standard 3.

Creating Narrated Presentations Using Office 2013 - June 12, 11am-12:00pm
Learn how to narrate, design and publish PowerPoint presentations using Microsoft Word 2013. Learn how to export a presentation movie file and upload it to Moodle.

Using Moodle Forums - June 17, 3:00-4:00pm
Learn how to add, manage, and communicate using Moodle ISU 2 forums. This workshop will show you how to set up a basic forum, use the forum tool for class discussions, create forums for groups, and allow the forum posts to be rated.

Engaging Your Students (QM 5) - June 18, 9:00-11:00am
Using the Community of Inquiry (COI) framework we will look at strategies, tools and options for engaging your students. Looking at ways to improve teaching presence, cognitive presence and social presence aligns with meeting the QM Rubric Standard 5.

Introduction to Collaborate Web Conferencing - June 19, 9-11am or June 25, 9-11am
The Collaborate web conferencing interface has many tools to offer. In this workshop we will walk you through getting a Collaborate meeting set up, checking your system and moderating your meeting. We will also demonstrate several of the features available to you within the Collaborate environment.

Creating Course Materials (QM 4 & 8) -  June 23, 2:00-4:00pm
There are many tools and options available to create instructional materials that support your students in meeting your course objectives. We will look at various tools and discuss the benefits of each in additional to considering the needs of all students as we strive to meet the QM Rubric Standard 4 & 8. 

Minimizing Accessibility Barriers in Moodle - June 24, 9:00-11:00am
This workshop presents solutions for the creation of accessible Moodle content.

For additional information, contact the ITRC at 282-5880 or by email at itrc@isu.edu
 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Interactive Uses of the Moodle Feedback Activity


 http://shsuonline.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/feedback.png


 Moodle's Feedback activity may not get a lot of attention, but there are many interactive uses for this tool within a course from simple quiz creation to class discussions designed to keep students engaged in the learning material.


 Creating an Ungraded Quiz

One of the biggest issues with the Quiz activity in Moodle is that the quizzes must be graded. However, sometimes you may want to gauge how well students are understanding concepts without grading them on that knowledge. This type of feedback activity can be used as a pre-test study guide; to measure attentiveness to a guest speaker/movie/field trip; or understanding of a topic covered in class the previous day. The Feedback activity allows you to ask more than one question and do so in an ungraded format.

The Feedback activity does not have the ability to know the "right" answer and because of that it cannot tell the student that they know or don't know the material. One way to circumvent this issue is the put the correct answers on a page that is displayed after the student has submitted their feedback (conditional release).

Sharing Input

One feature of Feedback is the ability to share answers with students by setting the option that allows the analysis page to be shown after submission. When this box is checked, the student will see their responses upon completion along with all others. You can choose whether the responses will be anonymous or with user names. This activity could be used to gauge/share the most meaningful topics of a discussion (ex: what are three take-aways from the chapter); to nominate officers for an election; to pull out mistakes found in a text or sentence structure; to list Web sites with supplemental material, etc.

Getting a Conversation Started

Feedback can be used before or after class to facilitate discussion. If your goal is to flip your classroom, create a Feedback asking students to respond to a question, video or other meaningful content before coming to class. This will give students time to respond and prepares them for a guided discussion in class because they know what the topics will be ahead of time. Feedback can also be used to continue or redirect the discussion after the class is over by restating the same question from class in another way.

Allowing Students to Create the Feedback Activity

By allowing students to create a class survey or produce class content within the Feedback activity you are empowering students to teach each other. Begin by adding a Feedback activity, naming it and adjusting the desired settings. Once saved, return to the course page, and with editing still on, select the last icon next to the Feedback activity (a person with a plus sign). Choose the instructor role and assign the student. The student will then be able to click on the activity and add questions and access the analysis page to see responses.

Assessing Student Perceptions of Course Components

Use the Feedback activity to assess students perceptions of an activity, assignment, or website that you have added to the course. This is helpful if you are trying out something new and would like to gauge how your students feel about it in order to determine if it was worthwhile, easy to use, and/or useful from the students' viewpoint, etc.

More Information:

If you would like assistance setting up a Feedback activity, contact the ITRC or view our Feedback Tool handout.

Dulaney, E., & States, T. Building Ungraded Feedback Activities in Moodle. (April 2, 2014). the Journal. http://thejournal.com/articles/2014/04/02/building-ungraded-feedback-activities-in-moodle.aspx

Monday, May 19, 2014

Utilizing Personal Response Tools and Software

Introduction

A personal response tool is a device used to encourage interactivity between a presenter and his/her audience. The first technology introduced required a hand-held remote control type device that is often called a “clicker”. However, new software has been introduced that allows responses from the audience utilizing personal devices such as smartphones, laptops, and tablets. There are many personal response tools available. Some are free and utilize personal devices while others are fee based and require a special remote.

Cloud-based software enables the presenter/instructor to create questions or polls that can be sent to the participants/students during the presentation or lecture or integrated into a PowerPoint slide deck. Results are instantly tabulated via the Internet, and can be displayed by the presenter to the audience either as anonymous responses or linked to the participants.

Benefits of using personal response tools

  • Improved attentiveness and engagement during the presentation
  • Increased retention of presentation materials
  • Facilitation of private student responses
  • Tracking of individual understanding so that the instructor can identify students who are not comprehending the material
  • Adaptation of questions written on-the-fly according to the direction the class takes
  • Immediate display of polling results to facilitate discussions and question and answer time
  • Creation of an interactive and fun learning environment
  • Confirmation of students’ understanding of key points immediately instead of waiting for an assessment activity
  • Gathering data for reporting and analysis

Response Products

Learning Catalytics: A “bring your own device” student engagement, assessment, and classroom intelligence system by Pearson. Students use their web-enabled devices to interact with open-ended questions that ask for numerical, algebraic, textual, or graphical responses. Instructors can access a question library with thousands of questions. Free instructor account and a student fee of $12 for 6 months.

Turning Technologies (TurningPoint): Offers instant management of polling participants, content, sessions and reports. Provides a simple interface in PowerPoint, or through a floating interactive toolbar. TurningPoint allows several response options ranging from clickers to smartphones and/or laptops. Pricing varies depending on use.

Poll Everywhere: A web-based application that allows participants to respond via any web-enabled device by sending text messages, visiting the web page, or using Twitter. The poll can be embedded within a presentation or web page and updates in real time. The free plan limits the number of participants to 40 per poll with higher-ed price plans available. Take a tour of Poll Everywhere.

Socrative: A student response system that empowers teachers and/or presenters to engage their audience through a series of educational exercises and games via any web-enabled personal device. For more information, view the 4 minute video produced by Socrative at http://vimeo.com/socrative/intro, and the narrated slideshow “Using Mobile Devices as Personal Response Tools”. Students can use the Socrative app or access it through the Internet without creating an account or login. The student response service is free for everyone but only 50 participants can be logged in at one time - but you can have as many as you would like throughout the day.

QuestionPress: A classroom response system that provides polling, surveys, forms, and online assessments through live interaction with the students. QuestionPress can gather a digital show of hands and more, whether the responders are in the same room or across the globe. Fees are based on sessions and the number of responders per session.

Google Docs: Several tools available in Google Docs can be used as to create quick assessment surveys for students. Instructors can use Google Forms to create a quick exit-ticket type survey of their students’ understanding. The Google spreadsheet can be used to watch students’ work in progress. The spreadsheet can be revisited by the students in order to gather information or to check their progress. Google Docs allows up to 50 multiple users to access a doc at the same time. Docs can be accessed by any web-enabled device through the shared link. Visit “Google Spreadsheets and real-time assessment” for an excellent article on how one instructor uses Google Docs for instruction.

Moodle: There are several activities available in Moodle that can be adapted to use as personal response tools such as
  • The Feedback activity can be used to create multiple, ungraded questions for assessment and polling. The Feedback activity will keep track of individual student’s results or can record responses as anonymous. See “Building Ungraded Feedback Activities in Moodle” for more information.
  • The Choice activity allows instructors to create one question with a number of options as the student’s choice. The publishing features available in Choice allows the instructor to choose when and if the results will be released and whether they will be anonymous or with names. See “Interactive Uses of the Moodle Choice Activity” for more information.
  • The Quiz activity can be used to give students instant feedback through graded questions. Instructors can set the quiz grade to 0 if they do not want the grade to count. With the many settings options available in the Quiz activity, multiple attempts can be allowed and adaptive attempts can be integrated.

Online Survey Tools

There are also many free online survey tools available for quick web-based polling. For more information about online survey tools visit the article, “A Few Good Online Survey Tools”. The article features information on SurveyMonkey, Zoomerang, SurveyGizmo, and many others.

Getting Started - Preliminary Questions to Think About When Incorporating Response Tools into the Classroom*

  • How do you plan to use the product?
    • what type of questions (multiple choice, true/false, other) would you like to use?
    • how would you like to collect students responses (anonymously or not)?
  • In which classroom are you going to teach (if already known)?
  • What is the expected enrollment for the class?
  • What response devices would you like the students to use (clickers, laptops, smartphones -- note: not mutually exclusive)?
  • How early in the class would you like to poll the students?
  • In what format would you like the results to be displayed?
  • Do you want the results to be available to students? 

 *Harvard University’s Academic Technology Group webpage provides an overview on using clickers and a pedagogical background for their use in the classroom. 





Monday, May 5, 2014

Open Education Resources (OER): What, Why and How

 The What, Why and How of Open Education Resources

What are Open Education Resources? 

Open education resources (OER) are learning materials released under an open license that allows for their free use and repurposing (New, 2014). Unlike electronic versions of textbooks sold by publishers, open source resources are made up of materials gathered from various sources and are not protected by copyright. They are often designed to be interactive, with links to source materials and multimedia elements with the materials being licensed openly so that anyone with an Internet connection can access them (eCampus News).

Why use Open Education Resources? 

Textbook prices have risen an average of 82 percent between 2002 and 2012, about three times faster than the rate of inflation, according to a report from the U.S. Governmant Accountability Office (eCampus News). "Textbooks are the largest out-of-pocket expense for students and families," said Ethan Senack, higher education associate for student advocacy group U.S. PIRG. College students spend an estimated $1,200 a year on textbooks, and the costs are often higher in fields like science or mathematics (eCampus News). Open educational resources give students more control over the learning materials they use and can drastically lower the cost of their education.

Another advantage of using open-source materials is that they can be updated immediately when new information and/or studies are released instead of waiting a year or more for it to show up in an updated version of a printed textbook.

How can faculty use Open Education Resources?

There are many high quality, free resources in existence. New (2014) recommends that faculty take advantage of OER by engaging with the OER community through conferences, online resources (such as the ones listed below), and by tapping the knowledge of the college librarians.

Sources for Materials

Textbook publisher Pearson has launched the OpenClass Exchange platform with almost 700,000 educational resources compiled into an easy to search catalog. The resources include videos from TED-Ed, Kahn Academy, and YouTubeEDU as well as courses from the Open Course Library. Scot Chadwick, vice president and general manager of OpenClass, said the expansion of Pearson's online learning environment addresses the difficulty that educators have had in locating the best open educational resources and integrating them into existing learning management systems (New, 2013). A search bar is used in OpenClass to search for materials with an option to preview material before it is added to a course (New, 2013). Educators can choose which of their courses they want to have connected to OpenClass (New, 2013).

MERLOT is a free and open peer reviewed collection of online teaching and learning materials and faculty-developed services contributed and used by an international education community. Membership is free in MERLOT but is required to contribute to the Community and to build custom content-loaded webpages.

Lumen Learning assists institutional leaders and faculty with addressing the major challenges of OER adoption by helping to find quality content and mapping it to course learning outcomes; incorporating OER into academic strategy and curriculum decisions; training and supporting faculty; and improving student outcomes. Lumen also provides Open Course content with free digital access for students to 100% of course materials. Instructors have the freedom to adapt learning content to their instructional preferences and students' needs.

The OER Commons website is a network that brings together over 44,000 OER tools for sharing curriculum. It also provides a host of world news and training on the amazing arena of open education. http://www.oercommons.org/

The article, E-Curriculum - Exploring 24 Free Open Education Resources, explores twenty-four sources for open education resources. http://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/e-curriculum-exploring-24-free-open-education-resources-oer-the-digital-curriculum-part-2/


More Reading:

There are important points faculty should consider when building digital open source learning content. The article, E-Curriculum - 12 Points to Consider, Part One brings many of these considerations to light. http://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/2013/07/08/e-curriculum-12-important-points-to-consider-digital-learning-part-one/ 

There are some great tools that can be used outside of the learning management system to  compile and share resources with students. The article, E-Curriculum- 7 Key Tools Uncovering A Goldmine of E-Resources, talks about seven of those tools in great detail with links to the tools. http://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/2013/07/29/e-curriculum-7-key-tools-uncovering-a-goldmine-of-e-resources-the-digital-curriculum-part-three/

When considering using open education resources, it is important to know the laws surrounding copyright. The article, Staying on the Right Side of Copyright in Education which first appeared in T.H.E. Journal gives a primer on copyright laws. http://thejournal.com/articles/2013/12/13/staying-on-the-right-side-of-copyright-in-education.aspx

Resources

New open-source strategy would drop textbook costs to $0. eCampus News. April 9, 2014. http://www.ecampusnews.com/top-news/open-source-textbook-745/

New, J. (2013, September). Pearson creates searchable OER catalog. eCampusNews, 6(8). p. 10.

New, J. (2014,  April). Will book publishers go the way of ice delivery? eCampusNews, 7(4). p. 22.


Monday, April 21, 2014

Interactive Uses of the Moodle Choice Activity

Moodle's Choice activity is often one of the most overlooked tools in the Moodle toolbox. But the publishing features and restriction options available for Choice make it one of the most robust and useful tools to promote student interaction within an online course.

Choice allows instructors to create a number of options from which students are limited to choosing but one. Limits can also be set on the number of students who can select a certain option and date ranges can be set during which students might be able to change their responses prior to closing (as opposed to locking them in with their first choice). The publishing features available in Choice allows the instructor to choose when and if the results will be released and whether they will be anonymous or with usernames.

There are a number of creative ways that the Choice activity can be used in a course:

Limiting Group Size: Choice can be used when you need to limit the number of individuals who are able to make a selection and are willing to do so on a first-come, first-served basis. Examples:
    • You are giving a proctored test to 150 students but the testing lab only seats 40 students at a time. The students must choose and commit to the day and time that they will come to the lab to take the test. The Choice is set up with the date and time options and with the restriction to only allow 40 students to pick each option. A report can be printed out and given to the proctor to use as an attendance sheet in the lab.
    •  You are assigning students a research paper with a limited number of options for topics. You set up the Choice with each topic option and limit the number of individuals to 4 per topic. This will ensure that there are enough research materials available on each topic.
Using HTML Options as Choices: In addition to using text options with Choice, you can use anything that you can supply a local or Internet path to. Examples:
    • You are assigning students to write an essay on visual images such as pieces of art, a historical figure, or something related to medical or dental disease. You post the actual images as the Choices and limit the number of students who can choose each image to write about.
    • You are assigning a speech made by a political figure, or a section of a film or a musical piece and you provide links to the videos on YouTube.
Assessing the Composition of a Class: It may be helpful to determine what teaching resources resonate with a unique group of students; to discover individual learning styles of your students; assess student's familiarity with technology; or determine which lecture format they prefer - written or audio. For example:
    •  Begin by pasting the URL to a web-based learning styles inventory in the description box of the Choices setting page, highlight it, and use the hyperlink icon to make it active. Be sure to set the webpage to open in a new window in the Appearance section of the Choice settings page. Set up the Choices inputs to reflect the three learning styles. Set the responses to anonymous and post the results after everyone has voted on their learning style. Use the results to start a discussion or to assess what additional types of learning materials you need to provide to your students.
Track Progress of a Student Project: Choice can act as an accountability tool for students completing semester long projects. At various points throughout the semester, insert a choice activity to track and document student-reported progress. Choice inputs for student selection can reflect the various stages required by the teacher toward completion of the project. Publishing options allow responses to remain unpublished or posted anonymously as a potential motivator for students suddenly realizing they are lagging behind the rest of the class.

Allow Students to Vote on Course Content: Inserting a choice early in the course and allowing students to pick from several future topics provides a level of ownership over the learning process. For example, what 21st century artist or musician would they like to learn more about or what cultural event would they like to participate in as a class?

Flip a Video: The choice activity allows a video to be "flipped" into a simple lesson, making a video interactive rather than passive. To begin, add a content question in the description box on the choice settings page, then embed a video below. To embed a video, click on the HTML icon in the text editor toolbar of the description box, and paste the embed code of the video in the HTML source editor (to find the embed code for a YouTube video click on the share link under the video, select the embed link, and copy the code). Student comprehension of the video can be assessed by their responses to the content question you posted previously.

A Note on Display Options in Choice: Choice allows you to choose whether you want the options displayed horizontally or vertically. Owing to space constraints on the screen, it is easier to fit larger choices in by choosing vertically but students may not choose options lower on the list because they have to scroll to see them. It is recommended that you try size options to experiment with where they all appear on the initial screen.

Conclusion: The Choice activity is one of the simplest tools available in Moodle, but its implementation is limited only by your own imagination. We encourage you to experiment with it and find creative ways to integrate it into your online curriculum. If you would like help setting up and using the Choice tool, contact the ITRC and we will be happy to demonstrate it to you and/or assist your with setting it up.

Resources:
States, T. & Dulaney, E. (March 12, 2014). Creative Applications for Moodle's Choice Activity. Campus Technology. http://campustechnology.com/Articles/2014/03/12/Creative-Applications-of-Moodles-Choice-Activity.aspx?Page=1

Moodle ISU Handout: Choice Activities

Monday, April 7, 2014

Useful Features in Google Drive that Everyone Should be Using

Google Drive is a powerful productivity suite with huge potential in education. Google Drive empowers users with the necessary tools to do everything from store documents to create presentations. Besides the basic features of Google Drive, there are lots of tips and tricks you can introduce to your students to make their Google Drive experience even more productive. This article will introduce you to just a few of the useful features in Google Drive that you and your students should be using.

Research feature

While composing a paper in Google Docs, students can conduct research on any highlighted word or phrase without having to change tabs or open a new window. To use the research feature, highlight the word or phrase that you want to research and right click on it then select "research". A window pane will open on the right-hand sidebar with the search results of your query.

Search for scholarly articles and images:

In addition to doing a web search for a query, you can also search for images, scholarly articles, and quotes related to the word or phrase that you highlighted.

Collaboration:

Instead of emailing documents back and forth, they can be shared by typing in the email addresses of the people you wish to collaborate with and giving them editing permission. A link to the shared document will be emailed to them by Google. All collaborators can also see the shared document listed in their Google Drive. Collaborating on a shared document ensures that everyone is working on the same document since it allows multiple people to be in the same document at the same time to make edits.

Brainstorming and Mind-mapping:

The drawing tools featured in Google Docs are perfect for drawing shapes, arrows, text, and importing images to build a visual map for any task. By sharing the document with others, it can also become a team collaboration tool for brainstorming and idea development sessions. The revision history uses colors to highlight and track changes to the Google Doc which makes it easy to see what each person has contributed to the big picture.

Commenting:

Using the comment feature provided by Google Docs, students and instructors can leave feedback on other people's documents. They can also include audio feedback. The student first must share their document with their collaborators and give them permission to edit. To add a comment, right click on the line where you want your comment to appear and click on "comment".

Spell Checker:

Students can correct their spelling and check for errors in Google Docs by clicking on "Tools" on the menu list and then select "spelling" and a pop-up window will display the correct spelling of that word. Google Docs also underlines misspelled words in red as they are typed. To correct the spelling, right click on the word and a pop-up menu will appear with a list of correct spelling options. Click on any word from the menu and the misspelled word will be replaced with the correct word.

Dictionary:

There is an embedded dictionary within Google Docs which makes it easy for students to check the definition of a word by highlighting the word and after right-clicking, choose "define". Or you can click on the "Tools" menu and choose "Define".

Equation Editor:

Math and science teachers and students can now use Google Docs to add equations to a document with having to go through an overly complicated process. To access the equation editor, select the "Insert" drop-down menu, and click on "Equations". A pop-up entry box appears where you can enter your formula and/or equation. All the mathematical symbols are grouped in five separate drop-down boxes. A preview box below the data entry field displays what the equation will look like on the page. Once the equation is inserted onto the page, the text editor treats it as one whole unit which can be dragged anywhere within your document. Note: the equation editor is for note-taking only - it does not perform computations.

Insert:

In addition to text, a wide variety of multimedia materials can be inserted into documents such as web links, images, tables, footnotes, videos, bookmarks, a table of contents, headers and more. To insert, click on the "Insert" menu and then choose the type of media.

Saving in Other Formats:

Google Docs can be downloaded and saved in other formats including: PDF, Microsoft Word, Plain Text, or Rich Text Format. To choose other formats, click on the File menu and hover your mouse over "Download as" and the list of options will appear. Click on the option you wish to use and a new document will be created in that format and saved to your Google Drive.

Presentations:

You can invite others to view a presentation you have made at the same time that you are presenting it by sharing the link to the presentation with them. Students can embed a link to their presentation in their portfolio or resume' by sharing their presentation with anyone who has the link and then embedding the shared link.

Create Surveys Using Google Forms:

Students and Instructors can use Google Forms to create surveys to be used for research, project evaluation, self assessment, instant response during a lecture or presentation, anonymous surveys, story creation and collaboration, and much more. For more ideas on using Google Forms view the slideshow at 80 Interesting Ways to Use Google Forms in the Classroom.

For More Information:

9 Things Every Student Should Be Able to Do With Google Drive. (March 8, 2014). Educational Technology and Mobile Learning. http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2014/03/9-things-every-student-should-be-able.html

6 Steps to Add Voice Comments to Google Docs. Educational Technology and Mobile Learning. http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2013/05/6-steps-to-add-voice-comments-to-google.html

100 Ways to Use Google Drive in the Classroom. (Feb. 7, 2014). TeachThought. http://www.teachthought.com/technology/100-ways-use-google-drive-classroom/

80 Interesting Ways to Use Google Forms in the Classroom. (April 30, 2013). TeachTought. http://www.teachthought.com/technology/80-interesting-ways-to-use-google-forms-in-the-classroom/

52 Tips and Tricks for Google Docs in the Classroom. (Nov. 16, 2012). TeachThought. http://www.teachthought.com/technology/52-tips-and-tricks-for-google-docs-in-the-classroom/


Monday, March 17, 2014

Creating Better Research Posters

Poster sessions provide opportunities for one-on-one interactions with individuals in your field and can facilitate high-quality networking that will benefit you and your future career (Shives, 2014). Avoid some of the common mistakes people make when putting together research posters by following the tips below:

  • Focus your information: Poster size is limited so you need to focus in on the main information you want to convey. Determine what specific data you need to include in order to get your message across to an audience that may be unfamiliar with your research topic. Determine the minimum amount of information that is needed to create a convincing narrative of the research. If you keep having to reduce the font size to under 18 points to fit in all the information, you need to start cutting back. "Great information is often trapped in dense documents. Rechunking and turning words into pictures helps make them understood" (Duarte).
  • Keep it simple: Do not overwhelm your audience with tiny, dense text and a dozen hard to decipher images and graphs. Use only the data and text that you need in order to support your conclusions. The Cornell Center for Materials Research suggests limiting posters to 250 words that describe only a few major points.
  • Employ good design:
      • Don't use too many bright colors or fancy fonts.
      • Use elements that enhance the information you are presenting such as text boxes and bolt print.
      • Don't underestimate the value of white space on your poster - every inch of the poster does not need to be filled with text and/or data.
      • The design should fade into the background so that your research can be clearly interpreted.
  • Arrange information for maximum impact: Viewers expect the most important part of the poster to be right in the middle. Fill the middle of your poster with the experimental figures and other pertinent information and in the other sections place the introduction, conclusion, methods, acknowledgements, references, etc.
  • Know your audience: Posters are the compressed version of your work that will be presented to an audience so it is important to know who that audience is. Know what the audience expects from your poster and whether it is a general session or a specific subsection of your discipline in which every knows the same jargon. Duarte suggests that you take a mental walk in your audiences' shoes and try to anticipate their concerns and questions and keep those thoughts in mind as you construct your poster.
  • Look at examples: Most graduate departments should have some examples of previous posters on hand that you can look at for a template of how to arrange the content. You may also be able to find examples from your specific discipline by doing a Google image search. The Cornell Center for Materials Research has put together a 68 page step-by-step guide for poster design that covers everything from the size of the title to the size of the graphics.
  • Hone your poster talk: If you have the opportunity to present your poster during a session, take some time to plan your talk. Use this opportunity to talk about the highlights of your research and convey any additional information that you were not able to include on the poster. Now your information well and be ready to answer questions.
For more information:
Cornell University. Scientific poster design: How to keep your poster from resembling an abstract painting. Cornell Center for Materials Research.  http://www.cns.cornell.edu/documents/ScientificPosters.pdf

Duarte, N. Slidedocs: Spread ideas with effective visual documents. http://www.duarte.com/slidedocs/

Shives, K. (March 9, 2014). 5 Pointers for a Better Poster. Gradhacker. http://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/gradhacker/5-pointers-better-poster