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 (email@example.com 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 email@example.com.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org or 308.432.6234).
Update 5/17/18: These instructions were written for Sakai 10. The general process for Sakai 11 is similar, with a few omissions as noted in the article. In August 2018, CSC Online will be upgraded to Sakai 12, with great new features directly addressing special testing accommodations. The upgrade to Sakai 12 will render this process obsolete.
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 ***.Update: This option is no longer available in Sakai 11, as the gradebook has been updated to better handle multiple items. ***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.
Update: These 2 alternative methods are not recommended in Sakai 11.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a story to share with your colleagues regarding what works well (or not so well) in your teaching and learning efforts.
This morning, the TLC launched the first iteration of improvements to the Sakai workspace and gateway. The changes were applied to the Workspace for all users and the gateway for logged out visitors. Course sites are not affected.
- Message of the Day — The old announcements banner has been replaced with a text-based announcements system. This was a critical change to ensure CSC Online was friendly for users with disabilities. This area will continue to contain campus-wide announcements, which are requested by individual departments.
- Important Links and Web Content — A consolidated list of campus
resources and links for students and instructors. The external links
originally in a left-hand menu have been moved to this new list.
- Account Messages — A new tool developed by the TLC which allows system alerts and messages to be posted for individual accounts and groups of users. This will be used to notify faculty of system changes, shell creation schedules, and other alerts. Students will see student-only messages and alerts, such as survey links, in this area.
Please contact the TLC with any suggestions or feedback that will help improve the Sakai Workspace and/or Gateway for all students and faculty.
Incorporating screencasts to convey content is one way to add variety to the instructional materials provided in your course and can be a powerful way to promote learner engagement. A screencast is typically defined as a method of recording a computer screen often supplemented with webcam video and audio narration. Microsoft has recently introduced an add-on called Office Mix that integrates screencast functionality inside of PowerPoint. Although Office Mix is integrated specifically into PowerPoint, this free extension provides a very robust feature set. In addition to enhancing PowerPoint slides, Office Mix can be used for creating screencasts that include webcam video, audio narration, digital inking, polling, quizzes, and more!
Microsoft has made the process relatively easy for installing Office Mix, so users can quickly get started creating Office Mix enhanced recordings. Check out the Office Mix dedicated website for complete information and video tutorials for getting started using Office Mix. Unfortunately for Apple/Mac users, Office Mix is currently available only on Windows PCs that have either Office 365 or PowerPoint 2013 or later versions installed.
Using Office Mix for generating a screencast provides several unique advantages:
- PowerPoint slides provide a natural storyboard making it easy to stay on task during the recording process.
- PowerPoint users have the advantage of using Office Mix to enhance existing presentations and slide content without having to generate new content from scratch.
- Microsoft integrates simple hosting of recorded “mixes” while providing embed code that can be used to easily insert videos directly into your CSC Online Sakai course!
- The Microsoft hosting platform provides accessibility options for uploading a transcript and controlling other aspects of the recorded video.
- In addition, detailed analytics are available that can provide insight on how your mixes are being utilized.
If Office Mix sounds intriguing and you would like to learn more, be sure to sign up to participate in the TLC Workshop scheduled for March, Geared to Engage Students in Learning: A Simple Way to Add Interactive Content to Your Course. If you have additional questions please don’t hesitate to contact the Teaching and Learning Center (email@example.com).
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. Please stop in for a visit or contact the TLC’s IT Analyst, Jereme Patterson (firstname.lastname@example.org or 308.432.6234).
For the TLC March Faculty Seminar, we would like to invite you to join us in our peaceful, thoughtful “March for Best Practice.” This two-week event is intended to provide an opportunity for sharing and learning from the variety of ways that Chadron State College instructors support teaching and learning.
During the “March for Best Practice,” we encourage peaceful faculty participants to share narrated videos and screencasts to showcase the work they do in their online and face-to-face courses. We will collect these videos and screencasts and build a shared resource–an impressive, revolutionary wall of videos containing stories, strategies, and ideas offered in a way for new faculty and seasoned colleagues to learn from each other.
In the coming weeks, we will be visiting with faculty members on campus to extend personal invitations to join the cause as well as to provide complete march details and materials.
To participate, we request that you create at least one video or screencast, between one- to three-minutes long, in which you describe how you address a best practice in your online or face-to-face course. In your video or screencast introduction, please identify the specific standard (as stated in a quality course standards rubric) that you are addressing to provide those who view your video with this key information. Where can you reference a quality course standards rubric? Contact the Teaching & Learning Center staff (email@example.com) for quality course standards rubrics. Jereme, Sam, and Elizabeth are also on hand to discuss ideas, to recommend screencast and video creation tools, and to assist with steps for creating your video or screencast.
Although this is the first “March for Best Practice” organized at CSC, marchers at other institutions have previously engaged in peaceful efforts to share and learn from colleagues. We are modeling our march after those who have gone before us, and we recommend viewing examples of their work to learn from what they are doing and to find inspiration for creating your own best practice video or screencast to share. Check out the best practice videos posted at Yavapai College, Northwestern Michigan College, and Glendale Community College. Then join our cause and contribute to the revolutionary collection of videos showcasing efforts underway to support teaching and learning at CSC.
Video wall construction will take place from March 13-27, 2017, at which time you may view the shared resources posted on the Best Practice Video Wall.
Sincere appreciation to Todd Conaway for providing inspiration and an invitation to march via his Quality Matters conference presentation.
These are exciting times for Chadron State College with various advancements in educational technologies available to use in the classroom, both face-to-face and online. CSC instructors are developing courses that provide a variety of ways for students to interact with each other, with their instructors, and with the content of courses. Teaching and learning can be enhanced with technologies such as the web conferencing system of the Sakai Meetings Tool, a GoPro camera for facilitating a flipped classroom approach, and interactive large format touchscreens on campus.
This is the first in a series of articles that will share 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, the TLC invites you to share your experiences with your colleagues. Please contact me, firstname.lastname@example.org, with a story to share regarding what works well (or not so well) in your teaching and learning efforts.
What Works Well? Phil Cary Shares his Experience Using Touchscreens in his Classroom
I recently asked Phil Cary to share his perspective on using the new large interactive touchscreens for teaching his math classes. Following are his responses regarding how these technologies are transforming his classroom teaching as well as how they may be useful for teaching and learning in other disciplines.
How are you using this technology to enhance your teaching?
I prepare digital notes ahead of class, using a digital tablet (the Sympodium from Smart products). Then during class discussion, I show the prepared notes on the touch screen, but also write on the touch surface to record additions and modifications to the notes during discussion. After class, I convert the completed notes reflecting class discussion into pdf files that I then post for the students (both on and off campus). I can also use a web-based graphing calculator (Desmos) that is so useful in discussing concepts with students in my class. I can annotate the graphs we produce and capture the graphs into my notes for the day.
Are you using the screen with or without the computer?
I am currently using the screen with the desktop PC in the classroom, which is running the Smart Notebook software.
Do you use the whiteboard technology and save files for each class session?
Yes, every class period, as described above. I can work additional math problems and answer questions by writing on the touch screen.
Do you see other departments using this technology?
Absolutely! The ability to create notes, as well as write directly on web pages and other documents, then save the modifications digitally, would be very useful in all classes.
Have you run into any problems?
So far, I am very pleased with the touch screen as a useful classroom tool. Just this morning a student told me that he could see the touch screen better and more clearly than the previously used projected image from the projector located in the ceiling. The only issue (that is a temporary one) is that it takes a while to get used to the sensitivity of the touch screen, so it is not quite as simple as writing on a whiteboard. However, I am confident this issue can be overcome with practice and experience.
Do you have any plans for using this technology differently from how you are currently using it?
Yes, one of my top priorities is to learn how to use the screen with a webcam to conference with others using Vidyo. Since many of our math students (in the math major) are located at a distance from campus, this could be very useful in communicating with groups or individuals off campus.
The Teaching and Learning Center staff has been actively following trends in large format touchscreens in education. These interactive touchscreen monitors are becoming more affordable and increasingly popular in classrooms.
Over the last couple years, several departments at Chadron State College have implemented models from InFocus and Qomo. The most notable installation is the display of three, side by side, 65” InFocus touchscreens in the faculty multiuse room located in Old Admin 030. These touchscreens offer digital note-taking capabilities as well as the ability to operate a 3-screen computer system simply by touching the screen with a stylus or a finger.
Qomo has built on the touchscreen trend by incorporating an Android operating system into their Qomo Journey model. The integrated Android operating system enables screen use without a separate computer connection to view and annotate documents and images; to browse the web; to take notes digitally on the whiteboard; and even to participate in basic web conferencing (with the addition of a camera).
The touchscreens are appealing in the classroom for several reasons:
- an interactive touchscreen provides new ways to engage students
- use of interactive touchscreens streamlines classroom technology by eliminating the need for a separate projector, whiteboard, screen, and/or a dedicated classroom computer system
- interactive flat screens have a significantly longer lifespan than a projector
- newer model versions of interactive flat screen monitors are not prone to creating shadows and glare.
Interested in finding out more about using this technology from the perspective of a fellow faculty member? Read What Works Well for Phil Cary to see how he uses touchscreens to enhance teaching in his classes.
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 309.432.6234).