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December 23, 2016

Lorna Katica: Using Web-Based Interactive Timelines to Make an Impact in the Online Classroom

Lorna Katica has a wide diversity of experience; she spent 30 years as an attorney and has shifted gears into a career in instructional design with a focus on e-learning. She has been teaching for University College for the past year in the Global Affairs and Healthcare Leadership programs, leading classes that focus on legal and global issues.

Lorna is finding ways to make e-distance learning more personal and exciting. She encourages all of her students to send her an introduction video at the start of the quarter, so she has a better understanding of who her students are. She is also finding new ways to get students to think outside of the box, and to generate enthusiasm and hone skills that they can apply to their careers.

Most recently, Lorna taught GS 4120, Terrorism and War in the 21st Century , which prepares students to understand and explain the context of terrorism through the interdisciplinary exploration of terrorism theories. Lorna found that GS 4120 was unique in the sense that it brought together a dynamic group of students who were highly engaged in the topic and had diverse multicultural ideas.

Lorna had students create web-based interactive timelines using the knowledge that they obtained in the course. With the use of phones and social media, attention spans are short, and she wanted students to share useful data in a world where information can be quickly forgotten. This project allowed students to step out of their comfort zone and create something related to a highly emotional topic while building skills. Here is an example from one of her students, Steven Waganer, who made a timeline of the history of ISIS.

While there was a learning curve for some students, Lorna found that the project was highly impactful. Students were able to build confidence in themselves and become presenters, as that is something they will need to do in the workforce. Students were able to go beyond traditional media coverage and historical information and look at topics from different angles and present in a visual way. Finding new ways to make e-learning more engaging can be a challenge, but Lorna found that the outcome of this project was worth the risk.

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