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).
Support articles for several frequently asked questions are provided below:
- How do I copy my content from one site to another?
- How do I choose which tools will be available in my course?
- How do I hide, rearrange, or rename the items in the Tool Menu?
- How do I use the Lessons tool?
Please refer to the Sakai 10 Instructor Guide for additional support. The guide is also accessible from the Help menu item, or by clicking the blue help icon (?) in the top-right of any Sakai tool.
Many CSC Online-Sakai instructors are familiar with the pre-configured External Tools available to all online courses such as TurnItIn and the EBSCO Reading List. However, a vast array of educational applications are available which offer integration capabilities with CSC’s learning management system (LMS). The Teaching & Learning Center encourages the exploration and trial of new technology in teaching, and past experience has shown that integration with CSC Online can be the key to successfully launching a new learning tool. This article will discuss the background of Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) integration and how to get started using it with External Tools in CSC Online.
What Are External (LTI) Tools?
External Tools utilize the Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) standard, which allows for simple and secure integration with external applications. The LTI protocol provides a method for the LMS to securely send user names, email addresses, user roles, and other course information to the external application.
Educational applications may use LTI integration in a wide variety of ways. Some apps may only use LTI to send the student’s name and role to the application to avoid requiring the student to log in. Other applications may directly integrate with the CSC Online Gradebook, allowing instructors to score student activities in an external application.
Using External Tools in a CSC Online Course
All course instructors have the ability to add External Tools to CSC Online courses. While an External Tool may be added and configured for any individual site by an instructor (without admin approval), some commonly used tools have been made available system-wide and may be added without additional configuration (ie. TurnItIn).
However, often times an instructor may want to test and use an external app in a course utilizing LTI integration. Fortunately, all instructors have the ability to add an External Tool without requiring the LMS administrator to make it available for all CSC Online courses. External Tools are added in Site Info > Edit Tools > External Tools. Once the tool is added, follow these instructions to configure the tool with the launch URL, secret and key provided by the publisher.
Example Applications With LTI Support
Many existing educational applications and tools contain an LTI integration component. Below are three examples to try out:
Office Mix is a free PowerPoint plug-in that provides tools for narrating, annotating, and creating interactive content such as polls within a presentation. Content created with Office Mix (referred to as Mixes) may be uploaded and shared within the Office Mix web application. While Office Mix may be used independently of the LMS, it offers an LTI integration to allow instructors to easily share Mixes in a course and track student participation. Interested in learning more about this application? Sign up for the TLC workshop offered in March 2017, Geared to Engage Students in Learning: A Simple Way to Add Interactive Content to Your Course.
Piazza is a wiki-style Q&A platform that may be used to foster strong peer (student-to-student) learning in an online class. It works by allowing students to ask and answer questions in real-time. Instructors may join in, or simply guide the conversation with endorsements and other feedback tools. Piazza can be used successfully without integrating with CSC Online. However, to avoid manually adding and requiring students to log in, the application offers a complete LTI integration (instructions here for a sample Sakai integration).
OneNote Class Notebook provides an easy way to launch a OneNote notebook for all participants of a course. A class notebook can provide a flexible space for organizing notes, collaborating on assignments, or providing real-time feedback on student work. The LTI integration will automatically add students to the notebook and provide access from within an online course.
Discovering More LTI Apps
These examples provide only a brief introduction to the variety of applications that are utilizing LTI to integrate with online learning systems. To discover more apps, browse through the IMS LTI Product Directory and the EduAppCenter collection of LTI apps.
Please contact the Teaching & Learning Center (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information about LTI, External Tools, and to discuss piloting a new application integration in your courses.
The Teaching and Learning Center and the Office of Assessment are co-sponsoring “Why We Assess: Looking Back on a Century of Continuous Improvement” to bring together CSC faculty, staff, and administrators to discuss scholarly articles about the longer history of successful assessment in the private sector. The conversation will invite critical reflection on the application of assessment to higher education so that CSC can focus on how to best fulfill all aspects of our educational mission — within the classroom, across the campus, and out in the community, region, and world.
When the United States Congress passed the Higher Education Act of 1965, it transformed higher education by designating accreditation agencies as the gatekeepers for institutions that receive federal financial aid. In 1989, the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools began mandating outcome-based assessment for accreditation, ushering in a new approach that was rapidly adopted nationwide. Nearly thirty years later, colleges and universities continue to adjust to the new reporting landscape, even as industry and business have embraced the ideal of quality improvement for nearly a century.
The beginnings of statistical quality control are typically traced to Bell Laboratories in the 1920s under the direction of Walter Shewhart. Following World War II, these techniques were introduced systematically to Japanese industry in the radio and communications sector, with Homer Sarasohn and Edward Deming playing important roles.
Two decades later, Japanese industry mounted a serious challenge to United States companies by producing high-quality automobiles and electronic products valued by American consumers. In response, American industry and government re-emphasized the methods pioneered in Bell Labs, represented by Congress instituting the Malcomb Baldrige National Quality Award in 1987 and the profusion of ISO 9000 as a quality management system in the USA and across the globe.
The first symposium of the “Why We Assess” series features CSC President Randy Rhine and will examine the scholarly article “Homer Sarasohn and American Involvement in the Evolution of Quality Management in Japan, 1945-1950.”  This article highlights the unique challenges faced by American officials in communicating with the Japanese people following the destruction of WWII and offers examples of individuals and institutions adapting to nearly overwhelming external pressures while increasing quality by focusing on the “well-being” of personnel.
View the Why We Assess: Looking Back on a Century of Continuous Improvement schedule for complete details regarding symposium series featured speakers and articles.
 Fisher, Nicholas I. “Homer Sarasohn and American Involvement in the Evolution of Quality Management in Japan, 1945-1950.” International Statistical Review / Revue Internationale de Statistique 77, (August 2009): 276-299. Accessed 11 August 2016. http://www.jstor.org/stable/27919728
In your online course development process, do you take specific steps aimed at addressing accessibility? How do you ensure that the course is accessible to students with a wide range of differing abilities?
General Standard 8 of the Quality Matters Rubric expects that “course design should reflect a commitment to accessibility so that all learners can access all course content and activities and to usability, so that all learners can easily navigate and interact with course components.” (Quality Matters ™ Higher Education Rubric Workbook, 2014).
Why Standard 8?
Several federal laws support the rights of individuals with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) supports students with disabilities and is the foundational piece of legislation for ensuring equal access to programs and services in higher education. Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 are also pertinent. Section 504 states that institutions are required to provide equal access to programs and services receiving federal funding, while Section 508 requires that federal websites have minimum benchmarks for website accessibility.
What Do These Laws Mean for CSC Online-Sakai Courses?
Because CSC is a public institution which receives federal funding, the online courses CSC provides to students are required to comply with these laws and ensure that course materials are accessible. The major portion of content created in CSC Sakai-Online course sites is generally accessible. However, materials developed using external applications such as Microsoft Word documents, Adobe PDFs, and multimedia may not be accessible for all students.
Incorporating accessible design enhances the learning experience for all students, not just students with disabilities. For example, selecting a font which is easy to read on a computer and mobile devices makes content more accessible for students with visual impairments, but it also provides all learners with content that is easier to read. Similarly, providing transcripts and captions for videos allows hearing impaired students to access content. However, providing multiple ways to engage with course activities and instructional materials provides an enhanced learning experience for all students.
This Accessibility Basics Handout provides guidelines for improving the accessibility and usability of your online course as per QM General Standard 8.
Are you taking specific measures to develop online course environments for students with different abilities? Post a comment below and let us know!
Quality Matters™ Higher Education Rubric Workbook (5th ed.). (2014). Annapolis, MD: MarylandOnline, Inc.
The Teaching and Learning Center recently received a charging cart containing iPad 2 and iPad 4 tablets from CSC’s Department of Education. Apple iPad tablets are widely used in education and we are excited to make them available for checkout to all Academic Affairs departments. The iPad tablets have the latest Apple iOS updates and have been inventoried in the TLC Equipment Library for faculty checkout. Currently we have 15 iPad2 models and 6 iPad4 models and can typically customize the tablets with specialized apps upon request.
I encourage campus faculty to research and consider how iPads might benefit students in their classroom learning experience. Recently Dr. Kimberly Cox used iPads in class to provide access to a very detailed virtual reality (VR) tour of Shakespeare’s Globe Theater. Apps are available that can be used to enhance almost any curriculum providing interactive and engaging experiences for students. Check out the links on the IPads in Higher Education website for specific resources regarding using iPads in higher education.
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).