The Teaching and Learning Center recently hosted Meetings in CSC Online: Latest Updates and Hands-on Work Session in partnership with Blindside Networks. The Meetings tool is based on BigBlueButton, the open-source, web conferencing platform originally created by Blindside Networks developers. The tool is focused on facilitating instructor-to-student and student-to-student interaction in online learning environments.
Tara McDonald of Blindside Networks provided a thorough overview of the latest features and functionality available within Meetings. The overview was conducted virtually and included remote attendees as well as a small group located in Admin 031 of the Teaching and Learning Center. Links to the 2 unique, hour-long event recordings and other workshop referenced material are included below.
Please contact the Teaching and Learning Center staff if you are interested in more information on how to use the Meetings Tool to increase engagement opportunities with students inside your courses. We encourage you to work with us to setup virtual practice sessions either individually or in small groups to further explore and develop skills in utilizing this online community-building platform.
The Teaching and Learning Center has recently added 14 new books to their current library. These books are readily available for you to check out from the Teaching & Learning Center Collection! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in doing some light reading. New books include:
On December 20th, 11am to 3pm, CSC Online will be upgraded from Sakai 10.5 to Sakai 11.4. This upgrade will bring CSC Online to the current version of Sakai which is supported by the developer community. Sakai 11 offers many exciting improvements for Chadron State College faculty and students.
Improvements in Sakai 11
- Mobile User Experience – Completely mobile friendly with no need to install an app. Students and faculty may use, access, prepare, and submit coursework using any major mobile browser. Learning on the go has never been easier for CSC Online students!
- Modern User Interface – Revamped user interface with a new modern look-and-feel.
- Lessons Tool Improvements – Many updates for all users, including responsive design for mobile devices and new page layout options.
- Content Package Import – Quickly migrate content from Modules to Lessons.
- Gradebook NG – A brand new Gradebook provides a new and efficient grading experience for faculty. Complete your grading directly in a spreadsheet style interface. The old Gradebook will continue to be available.
- Accessibility Compliance – Includes several updates fulfilling the most recent accessibility standards.
- Performance and Stability – 3000+ bug fixes and system improvements. Sakai 11.0 was released in July 2016, and 11.4 was released in June 2017 (11.4).
Learn More: Webinar – “What’s New in Sakai 11”
Learn More: Lessons Tool Workshop
In addition to the webinars, the TLC’s Elizabeth Ledbetter will conduct a hands-on TLC Workshop, Course Design Using Lessons in CSC Online focused on the Lessons tool. Learn how to effectively utilize the Lessons tool to organize your course content for enhanced teaching and learning. Participants will also learn how to use the new import functions to quickly migrate content from Modules (old lessons).
This workshop is offered:
- Tuesday, Nov 21 @ 2:00 – 3:00 pm: Register for this session
- Wednesday, Nov 22 @ 10:00 – 11:00 am: Register for this session
- Thursday, Nov 30 @ 3:30 – 4:30 pm: Register for this session
We are delighted to introduce you to Nicole Thramer, the newest member of the Teaching & Learning Center team. Nicole is our new Graduate Assistant and started her duties on August 29.
Nicole graduated from CSC’s business program in May and is currently pursuing her MBA. She has developed a strong work ethic through her previous job working at a 20,000-head feedlot and has gained valuable experience in building community and relationships as well as time management skills at her current job at the Ridgeview Country Club (RCC). If you spend time on the golf course, you may already be acquainted with Nicole in her work-related capacity at RCC or on the course since she enjoys getting out and honing her golfing skills as often as she can!
Nicole has returned to CSC to expand on her education and is interested in eventually applying the knowledge and skills she gains towards a career in the insurance or real estate industry. She has a keen interest in information technologies and hopes to learn as much as she can in her GA position to build her knowledge foundation in technology and instructional applications. Currently, Nicole is helping the TLC group track and document CSC-Online Sakai (and other technology-related) requests and inquiries, update Sharepoint and the TLC blog, and provide assistance with checking out items from the TLC equipment library.
Stop in to the TLC and introduce yourself to Nicole the next time you are in the vicinity of ADM 001. She can also be reached at email@example.com or 308.432.7068.
We Are All Teachers of Writing
Writing, writing, everywhere! 2017-18 is shaping up to be the “year of the pen” (or perhaps keyboard or touch pad), as there will be ample opportunities for our campus to engage and explore the culture of writing throughout the Chadron State College (CSC) community, in our classrooms and beyond. What role should writing—in all its varied form and focus—play in the high-impact learning, critical thinking, inquiry and creativity on our campus? Are we making the best use of these writing opportunities to help students engage their coursework in meaningful and purposeful ways?
This academic year, you will have an opportunity to explore this issue in four powerful ways:
- The Route 6×6 Challenge, a Teaching and Learning Center faculty seminar, offers an opportunity for faculty to reflect and write about their classroom experiences and to share their writing reflections with colleagues.
- Reflect & Refine: A Writing Workshop Focused on Pedagogy and Praxis, a Teaching & Learning Center workshop, introduces participants to the practice of using writing as an effective tool for instructor as well as student in supporting how we reflect upon our learning.
- The Writing Across the Curriculum Faculty Learning Community will be meeting for its second year to explore ways to integrate written communication throughout the disciplines at CSC.
- The 2017-18 Essential Studies Program (ESP) Institute, co-sponsored by the ESP Committee and the Teaching & Learning Center, is focused on the role of writing within our general education program at Chadron State College and how—in one way or another—all of us who teach at Chadron State are utilizing some element of writing in our classroom.
2017-18 ESP Institute
The 2017-18 ESP Institute sessions will take place during the 11:00 am meeting time devoted to essential studies, on the fifth Tuesday and/or Thursday of the month, throughout the academic year.
The 2017-18 ESP Institute schedule of meetings kicks off with a 2-part session in the first week of August:
Purpose-Driven Writing Assignments that Empower Both Students and Faculty
- Date: Tuesday, August 29
- Time: 11:00-noon
- Location: Lakota/Bordeaux Room (refreshments will be served)
- Description: Through a series of hands-on exercises and open forums, members of the Essential Studies Committee will help faculty across campus explore the role that writing plays in our courses, and how we can construct purposeful assignments that encourage meaningful responses from students.
NOTE: please complete the following survey prior to the meeting: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdPfaHqoWm3IZM147Pp4CuWUdG16cY9-zHaLljImGtC_gK_pw/viewform
- Date: Thursday, August 31
- Time: 11:00-noon
- Location: Lakota/Bordeaux Room (refreshments will be served)
- Description: Members of the Essential Studies Committee will lead a hands-on workshop during which faculty will fine-tune their assignments to encourage more meaningful writing from students.
- To Prepare for the Session:
- Please bring a copy of a writing assignment you use in your class to the session.
- Please read these short articles from Peer Review: New Frontiers in Writing (AAC&U–Winter, 2017):
Background of “We Are All Teachers of Writing”
As faculty coordinator for the Essential Studies Program for the past three years, I have witnessed this discussion evolve from within our general education program. Perhaps the largest issues relate to the philosophy of writing across the curriculum in the first place. As an essential skill that we all agree our students and instructors should take seriously, what role do we play from course to course in supporting and sustaining writing as a tool of thinking, exploration and expression? As an open-enrollment institution, CSC admits a large portion of students who are not prepared for our basic composition courses (at least as far as standardized test scores indicate). These numbers seem to be increasing, even as we have reduced our composition requirement from six hours to three, and eliminated the “information literacy” requirement for our students. The Essential Studies Program assumed that much of this work would be taken up THROUGHOUT the courses across campus, particularly in ESP (especially in FYI and CAP). Is this happening? Do we know? What is our current relationship with written communication across our curriculum at CSC?
The task force involved in planning these efforts determined that our first two sessions should focus on what kind of writing is being assigned in the Essential Studies Program, and how those assignments align with what research has shown to be the best practices in high-impact learning. Experts in the field argue that when we assign writing tasks with more purpose and meaning for both the student and the reader, we may have:
- Improved and more meaningful learning
- More purposeful and efficient grading
- More meaningful expression from students (find a voice that will carry over into their personal and professional lives)
- Reduced plagiarism
- Create clearer contexts for information literacy
- Help link/transfer between ESP and programs and disciplines
- Encourage student self-efficacy
- Align with the national conversation about best practices and current research in the field (resources in this area will be shared online)
The goal this fall is to engender both discussion of these best practices and ways to actually implement them in our classrooms—theory meeting practice. By the end of the semester we hope that faculty will have learned more about crafting effective writing assignments, responding to them in efficient and effective ways that promote learning, and how to handle issues related to plagiarism and academic dishonesty in the writing of our students.
Depending on the progress we make in the Fall, and with feedback from those who participate, the task force hopes to stage additional sessions that will cover more fully the role of writing within the Essential Studies program and beyond. Potential topics may include:
- How much writing is taking place across campus, and across course levels. What kinds of writing?
- How effective are CSC students at written communication at each level of their academic career? (What is the perception? What is the reality? Does CSC produce/graduate poor writers? What percentage? Is there a problem at all?)
- If there are large numbers of CSC students who are not “at level” with writing, how does this impact our coursework, and what we would like to do otherwise in classes?
- How should we USE writing in the non-writing classroom? How can writing complement or help with learning, thinking, creativity, etc… across the curriculum?
- How do we craft effective writing assignments (and how do we avoid POOR assignments)
- How much should we focus on mechanics/conventions vs. content?
- What is “correctness” when it comes to writing? Who decides?
- How is CSC dealing with PLAGIARISM and ACADEMIC DISHONESTY when it comes to written work? (and strategies to combat this?)
- How might we use resources like TURNITIN for both checking originality of submitted work, and returning effective feedback?
- What IS the role of feedback/commenting on student writing?
- How should we GRADE writing? (should we grade writing?)
- Issues related to writing in the ONLINE setting vs. FACE-TO-FACE
- Where we stand with INFORMATION LITERACY. Do CSC students graduate with sufficient knowledge in how to find reliable sources/evidence, document it according to a citation system, and the expectations/requirements of scholarly writing?
The CSC Online Meetings tool, also known as BigBlueButton, is a web-conferencing, synchronous learning platform created specifically for use in higher education. Over the summer months, the Teaching & Learning Center made the transition from a limited, campus-hosted instance of the Meetings tool to an instance hosted by Blindside Networks. Blindside Networks is a professional team comprised of BigBlueButton founders and active developers of this open-source, synchronous learning platform. As part of the hosting agreement with Blindside Networks, the Meetings tool will always be updated with the latest features and improvements in quality and reliability. The Meetings tool is ideal for building online community by interactively engaging with students, facilitating virtual office hours, and adding a rich-media experience within your online course.
The requirements to join or host a virtual meeting using the Meetings tool are relatively modest. A reliable, high-speed Internet connection is required to provide the best experience. Participants must have a reliable high-speed Internet connection to provide the best experience. They must also have a USB or integrated webcam to support live video sharing as well as earbuds or the use of a headset for the best possible audio experience and to minimize distractions. Common office document formats including Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and PDF can be directly uploaded for presentation purposes within a meeting. Simple whiteboard and polling features can be incorporated to increase participant engagement.
One of the newly implemented features of the Meeting Tool is called “breakout rooms”. Breakout rooms provide the ability to easily separate a large virtual meeting of participants into several smaller groups. The meeting moderator then has the ability to join these individual groups as well as bring them back together as one large group. A similar analogy of the feature can be explained as an instructor moving around a classroom comprised of small discussion groups. Additional features include improved WebRTC audio available for all participants as well as improved screen sharing functionality.
Blindside Networks, in conjunction with the Teaching and Learning Center, will be offering a virtual professional development opportunity for the CSC Online Meeting tool (BigBlueButton) in October. This virtual event will provide an introduction to the platform, an overview of features, and a question-and-answer session. If you are interested in professional development opportunities to learn more about using the Meeting tool to support teaching and learning in your courses, please don’t hesitate to contact the Teaching and Learning Center. For a full list of BigBlueButton features and video tutorials, please visit the official BigBlueButton project page.
Increasingly, the TLC is focused on reporting emerging technologies and identifying professional development opportunities that enhance teaching and learning on our campus. As the TLC staff reviews technologies, we will hold informational seminars and invite faculty to participate in a testing and review process. To discuss training opportunities and/or suggest “new arrival” gadgets, please stop in for a visit or contact the TLC’s IT Analyst, Jereme Patterson (firstname.lastname@example.org or 308.432.6234).
On August 7th, 2017 CSC Online (Sakai) will switch to using CSC’s Single Sign On (SSO) authentication service. Prior to this date, CSC Online required a unique password. After August 7th, all faculty members, students, and staff will sign into CSC Online with their CSC Campus Credentials.
Campus credentials are used to sign into the following systems:
- Office365 (includes Email, Sharepoint, Skype for Business, Word Online)
- CSC Online (Sakai)
- Campus computers
*Tk20 username is email without @eagles.csc.edu
Instructions for Logging into CSC Online
2. Click the CSC Login button, which opens the CSC Single Sign On page.
3. Enter your full email (email@example.com) and password, then click the Sign In button. You will be redirected back to CSC Online as a logged in user.
Why did CSC make this change?
Teaching & Learning Technologies and Information Technology staff launched this project with the following 3 goals in mind:
- Improve the user experience for students, faculty and staff
- Increase the security of CSC’s technology systems and services
- Maintain a high level of service availability
Improve User Experience — based on help desk reporting, the most common support request are password-related issues. From the perspective of many students and incoming faculty, SSO is commonplace as many institutions have already implemented SSO policies and services. Adding CSC Online to the growing list of SSO-capable services is a step forward in creating a better experience for faculty and students to teach and learn with technology.
Increase Security — with SSO, the security of our user’s credentials and data is improved by enforcing password policies, and ensuring that all authentication is routed through CSC’s secure login service. Per security industry publications, single sign-on improves account security by eliminating areas a password can be compromised. It also allows users to choose one strong password for multiple services, rather than using multiple weak passwords which are easier to remember.
Maintain Service Availability – the most common arguments against implementing SSO for CSC Online is related to the availability of the LMS when the sign-on service is experiencing problems. In the past several years, many improvements have been made to increase the reliability of CSC’s login service by implementing connection redundancy and backups. Additionally, the technologies powering SSO have improved greatly.
Based on these 3 goals, this project has resulted in a great opportunity to improve the services supporting our student and faculty experiences at CSC.
Our campus-supported Vidyo system provides the opportunity to enhance teaching and learning both on and off campus. A significant advantage of using Vidyo for videoconferencing is the ease it offers to bringing in a remote speaker or presenter to a traditional classroom of students.
The best method for accomplishing this task is to use one of the existing ITV (Interactive Television) classroom locations. These classrooms are equipped with student microphones, cameras, and additional specialized equipment to facilitate active engagement among ALL participants and virtual guests.
Steps for Installing Vidyo & Inviting Guests to Join Meeting
Following are Vidyo installation steps as well as instructions for generating a Vidyo meeting invitation to email to guests:
1) Go to http://vportal.csc.edu to download the Vidyo client and follow the steps provided to install it. Administrative rights are ONLY necessary on Apple computers.
2) After installation, enter the VidyoPortal address (vportal.csc.edu) and your registered user account credentials.
3) After logging in, click on your name and select the “envelope” icon.
4) After clicking the “envelope” icon, a pre-populated email message (Vidyo Meeting Invitation) will display in your default email program. The message contains complete details instructing guests how to participate in the video conference.
Steps for Connecting ITV & Initiating Recording
Following are the basic steps necessary to connect an ITV classroom using Vidyo and to initiate the recording process:
1) Power on the ITV system using the wireless ITV control box (press and hold room power on/off button for 5 secs until equipment turns on).
2) Login to the classroom computer and login to the Vidyo desktop client (update if prompted or install Vidyo desktop client from http://vportal.csc.edu if necessary).
3) On the computer Vidyo client, click on your name and choose “connect to room.”
4) Inside the main Vidyo window, click on the “control meeting” icon to launch recording options in the browser.
5) Within the browser control meeting options, DISCONNECT YOURSELF from conference (red telephone icon).
6) Connect the ITV system EITHER by using the “book” function on the ITV control box (provided you are listed in the ITV system phonebook) OR by “adding room as a participant” using the control meeting interface.
7) ITV systems are designated with “03” as the search delimiter. Select the correct ITV room from the list and choose to “invite.”
8) Verify the ITV room has connected to your Vidyo account. You are now ready to record.
9) NOTE: It is critical to operate the meeting (mute/unmute, switch cameras, presentation mode, etc.) using ITV control system in order to produce a successful recording.
If you would like to learn more about using Vidyo and/or have additional questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Teaching and Learning Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Increasingly, the TLC will focus its efforts on reporting emerging technologies that enhance teaching and learning. As we review technologies within the TLC, we will hold informational seminars and invite faculty to participate in a testing and review process. To discuss and/or suggest “new arrival” gadgets, please stop in for a visit or contact the TLC’s IT Analyst, Jereme Patterson (email@example.com or 308.432.6234).
CSC Online instructors often receive requests to provide students with accommodations for extended testing times. This article reviews the process for setting up an assessment for special accommodations in the Test & Quizzes tool and provides information about student access.
There are three key steps to remember:
- Create a unique group in Site Info
- Duplicate the original test
- Release the duplicate test for the unique group
General procedure for accommodation requests
- In Site Info > select Manage Groups
- Create a new group and add the student(s) requiring accommodation
Important – Do not identify the student’s name or the purpose of the group in the group title!
- Select “Add” to save the new group
- Open Tests & Quizzes > Working Copies
- Create a Duplicate of the original assessment (Actions > Duplicate)
- Confirm assessment duplication
- Open the COPIED assessment settings
- Release the assessment for only the group created in Step 1 (Change “assessment released to” > Selected Groups and check the group.
- Edit settings as required by the accommodation request (e.g., set time limit to allow additional time)
- Modify assessment title (expand the “About this assessment” section and edit title text)
- Expand the “Grading & Feedback” section and select “none” under Gradebook options. This will prevent duplicate Gradebook entries ***.
***If you publish the duplicated exam without modifying the gradebook settings, there will be two gradebook entries for the same exam. Selecting the “none” option to not send the scores of the duplicated exam will allow you to keep student(s) with accommodations in the same Gradebook entry as the other students. After the student with accommodations submits the duplicate exam, manually view that student’s exam score and adjust the score in the original exam to match. This is optional, but helps keep a manageable gradebook for instructors and students.
Important information about how all students see the exams and groups
After following the general procedure, only the student with accommodations will see the duplicate exam and the related Gradebook entries (if applicable). However, the student with accommodations will also see the original exam. The instructor MUST communicate to the student which exam version to take. Additionally, other students will be able to see the group title and membership (but not the duplicate exam or gradebook entries). Ensure that the group title is generic, and not descriptive of the purpose it serves or the group membership.
There are two alternative methods which will ensure that the student with accommodations will only see his or her own exam. However, these methods are much more diffictult to properly manage, and are not recommended unless required by specific circumstances.
- Create two groups (one with the accommodations student, the other with the rest of the class). This is not recommended since the instructor must update the large group every time a student is added to the course.
- The second alternative for providing accommodations is by setting up a separate course site for the student. This will prevent other students from seeing the group and keep the exams separate for the student with accommodations. This method is reserved for special circumstances in which the general procedure will not apply.
Screencast of procedure (no audio)
For further information about any of the topics covered in this article, please contact the Teaching & Learning Center staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Using VoiceThread to Support Student Interaction
Dr. Wendy Waugh uses VoiceThread to promote learner engagement and active learning in her online courses. This tool enhances rich interaction in online environments by allowing students to comment (via voice, text, audio file, or video) on images, documents, or videos shared by the instructor or other students in the course.
Watch this video tutorial created by Dr. Waugh describing the VoiceThread set-up process for example discussions in one of her courses.
This is a second article in a series highlighting educational technologies or teaching and learning strategies that are working well (and in some cases, not so well) for CSC instructors in the classroom or online courses. Whether you are a senior faculty member or a new one, please contact email@example.com if you have a story to share with your colleagues regarding what works well (or not so well) in your teaching and learning efforts.