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A nice feature, that has been around for awhile, is the ability to customize the content items icons under the Lessons tab. By default, each content item has an icon associated with it, a folder with a disk for a drop box, a sheet of paper and a pen for a survey, etc. But did you know that instructors can change these icons to better suit the content of the course?
For example, a powerful learning tool housed within Discussion Forums is the Hot Seat. In a hot seat discussion, any participant can ask questions, but only the student(s) in the hot seat can reply. This forum can be used to foster the development of critical thinking skills surrounding a topic. By answering questions that probe deeper and deeper into a subject, students are asked to go beyond the surface issue and explore the meaning behind it. But you would not get a sense of the power of the tool by its icon
The potential of a Hot Seat discussion is not necessarily conveyed with the standard Discussion Forum icon
Visual cueing, the use of an image to signal or direct attention toward something, can serve as an important tool in focusing student attention and generating student interest in the material. By linking out to an icon the instructor dramatically impact student perception of the material. For example, how much more powerful is the concept of a hot seat discussion when it is presented to the students like this?
An example of using a customized icon as a visual cue drawing student attention to conent
To customize the icon for a content item select the Advanced option under the item Settings. Under the Content tab type or paste the URL address where the icon is located in the Icon URL field. Note: the icon must be either in GIF or JPEG form and if must reside on the web, e.g. your personal web space, and not on your desk top.
Click on the link to read more about the Pedagogical Uses of Discussion Forums.
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