TLT 2015 Conference Presentations Now Available

Did you miss the 2015 Teaching and Learning Technology Conference? You can still watch some of the highlights!

Videos from the TLT 2015 Conference: http://tlt.mst.edu/tlt2015/abstracts/
CanvasCon Sessions: http://tlt.mst.edu/tlt2015/abstracts/canvasconabstracts/

We hope everyone who participated in our TLT 2015 conference was able to walk away with at least one new idea going forward!

We also look forward to seeing everyone back next year for the TLT 2016 Conference on March 17-18, 2016

Instructors: S&T connect is now used for sending Academic Alerts

S&T Connect is the new system for sending out Academic Alerts. Instead of sending out an “Alert”, you “Raise a Flag.” As before, challenged students and their academic advisors will receive a copy of your communication so that corrective actions can be identified and taken.

Here’s a quick visual tutorial to help you start using the S&T connect system.

1. Access S&T connect via the Blackboard top navigation bar.

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2. Click the “Students” tab:

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3. If you teach multiple sections, choose the desired section from the drop down list.

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4. Place a checkmark next to the challenged student’s name and click the “Flag” button:

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5. Select the appropriate type of Flag, fill in the details, and click “Save.”

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That’s it!
S&T connect is your one-stop-shop for communication with challenged students and their academic advisors. For more detailed support, contact Rachel Morris in the Office of Undergraduate Studies at (573) 341-7276

BigBlueButton – Your Bad Weather Backup Plan

Bad weather happens, but that doesn’t mean you have to cancel class. Instead, hold class online with BigBlueButton!

BigBlueButton is a free-to-use virtual classroom integrated into Blackboard. To use BigBlueButton, simply create a meeting room, and let students know they are to join you in that meeting room. With BBB, you’ll have video, audio, and text support with the ability to share your screen, notes, and files with students.

EdTech has written an easy-to-follow visual tutorial for creating and using a BigBlueButton meeting room. You can view the tutorial here: http://edtech.mst.edu/support/blackboard9-1/createbbblink/

Having a bad weather backup plan is a wonderful way to maintain continuity in your classes, promote accountability, and avoid losing valuable instruction time. I (Raz Kerwin) teach a technical communication class, and the Monday morning after our recent snowfall I held the morning meeting for my section online. I was impressed with the level of student buy-in and participation. I provided my students options, and I got results.

Successfully laying the groundwork to take your class online for a session or two is easier than you might think, and EdTech is here to help! Call or email today if you’d like to expand your options, and show Old Man Winter that you don’t cancel class just for a little bit of snow!

Turnitin or iThenticate – Which is right for you, and which is right for your students?

The Missouri S&T campus subscribes to two different originality-checking services. Both are free to use, but each serves a different audience. To best use each tool, carefully match your needs and desired outcomes to what each tool offers.

What are the key differences?

Turnitin was made specifically for classroom use; its focus is on undergraduate-level student compositions and reports. Turnitin focuses on indexing and checking against the major journals, casual web sources, and other student-submitted papers from Missouri S&T and colleges around the country. Turnitin offers tools for student feedback and revision, and also allows for students to see their own originality report which has a formative benefit for them. Turnitin is integrated into the campus LMS (Blackboard), and there is no limit to the amount of papers that can be uploaded. Turnitin is primarily intended for undergraduate-level student work.

iThenticate is not intended for classroom use; its focus is on theses, dissertations, and research articles for publication written by authors at or above the graduate-level. iThenticate focuses on indexing and searching against all accessible web sources and other published field literature not typically found on the casual web, and it has none of the classroom-specific features that Turnitin offers. iThenticate is a standalone web service, and is not integrated into the campus LMS. iThenticate does not allow non-account holders (i.e. undergraduate students) to see originality reports, because iThenticate is intended to be a confidential and formative document review tool for academic authors. iThenticate DOES NOT upload or index a copy of the document being checked. iThenticate is primarily intended for professional and higher-level academic work.

You can read a bit more about the differences between Turnitin and iThenticate here: http://www.ithenticate.com/resources/academic#compare

To use Turnitin, simply create a Turnitin assignment to which students may upload a file. You can find a tutorial here: http://edtech.mst.edu/support/blackboard9-1/createturnitin/

To use iThenticate, submit a request via the IT Help Desk ticketing system by calling (573) 341-4357, or visit http://edtech.mst.edu/support/ithenticate/ and fill out the online access form.

I hope this information will help save you time and aid your teaching and scholarly publication.

TL;DR – Turnitin is for undergraduate students, iThenticate is for graduate level and above authors

Reminder to Instructors: You Must Make Your Course “Available” For Students To Access It.

Blackboard courses are set to “Unavailable” by default; the instructor must make them “Available” in order for students to see and access the course from the Blackboard homepage. To set course availability using the control panel, navigate to Customization→Properties and set the course availability to “Yes.”

Here is a short visual tutorial of the required steps: http://edtech.mst.edu/support/blackboard9-1/courseavailable/

Our Tools Shape Us

The educational tools that we choose often shape how we educate our students, so let’s choose them wisely with one eye on the future.

Source: www.edutopia.org

This same concept applies to a lot of lab courses. There’s some big machine which drives the lab activity because it’s there, we’ve paid for it, and it’s all we know. Don’t let the tools that we have limit the way we think about teaching.

Back-to-School Educational Technology Workshops on August 18-21

All instructors are cordially invited to attend a series of Back-to-School Educational Technology Workshops hosted by S&T Educational Technology. Workshops will be held in Centennial Hall Room 105.

This event is an open-attendance, free-form workshop. You can come when you want, stay for as long as you want, and leave when you want.

Workshop sessions will focus on:

  • Using Learning Management Systems (e.g. Blackboard)
  • Building Student Engagement (e.g. VoiceThread, Piazza, Google Apps, Clickers, etc.)
  • Fostering Online Collaboration (e.g. Kaltura streaming media, Tegrity lecture capture, Adobe Connect, and Big Blue Button).
  • S&Tconnect Early Alert replaces the current Academic Alert system and will be hosted by the Office of Undergraduate Studies.

EdTech staff will be available to assist you with any questions you may have about using EdTech-supported technologies. Have questions? We have answers!

The workshop schedule is listed below. Attend any or all as needed! No pre-registration required!

 

18 Aug

19 Aug

20 Aug

21 Aug

9 – 11 a.m. S&Tconnect Early Alert
Learning Management Systems Online Collaboration Student Engagement
1 – 3 p.m. Student Engagement Online Collaboration Learning Management Systems S&Tconnect Early Alert

For more information, contact Educational Technology at edtech@mst.edu or 573-341-4131.

Multivariate Calculus at Missouri S&T

Guest Post by:

Associate Teaching Professor Dee Leach – Mathematics and Statistics

DeeLeach-doccamSeveral new resources involving technology aimed at improving student success and course availability have been implemented for the Missouri S&T Math 22 (Multivariate Calculus) course.  These resources were created and implemented in support of the Missouri S&T Strategic Plan and the Calculus course redesign initiative.  One of the resources involves delivery and recording of multivariate calculus classes via the Tegrity application.  The lecture/discussion from one section of Math 22 are delivered and recorded on a daily basis using Tegrity.  These lectures/discussions are used synchronously by some students who are not physically present in the classroom.  Other students use the recordings in an asynchronous manner as review or supplemental material in support of learning the subject matter.  The recordings are made available to all 330+ students enrolled in Math 22 at Missouri S&T.  Initial feedback from students has been overwhelmingly positive.  There have been over 200 viewings of the recordings in the first week.  Of equal importance, the students who are in the room while the class is being recorded report no degradation of their classroom experience.

This resource makes use of technology that is both currently-available and well-known on the Missouri S&T campus.  The system has proven to be very stable, “low overhead” and easy to use for students and instructor alike.  The challenge in this implementation has been the necessity of the instructor to use a doc cam rather than a blackboard as the writing medium.  Mathematics classes are not well-suited for pre-fabricated presentations (e.g., PowerPoint).  This is because it is very difficult or impossible to “walk” students through a proof or problem solution that has been written out in advance.  Thus, a large amount of writing on the part of the instructor occurs during these classes to help students to focus on the techniques being used.  Unfortunately, this is independent of the mode of instruction (lecture, discussion) and it a major reason why a lot of mathematics instructors prefer large spaces (blackboards/whiteboards) over an 11×17 piece of paper on which to show proofs, problem-solving methods, and worked examples of problems.  Asking a mathematics instructor to go from using a blackboard (large medium) to a doc cam (little piece of paper) is tantamount to asking that instructor to change her teaching style that she perhaps has spent her entire career honing to a fine art.

I am fortunate in that no one asked me to change anything; I made the decision to try the new approach (doc cam) with the idea that I could always go back to the blackboard if something unacceptable resulted from the change.  As it has turned out, I have found that, personally, I can deliver my lecture/discussion/problem demonstration/recitation using a doc cam and I can do this as effectively as I can do these things with a blackboard/whiteboard.  Surprisingly, it did not take long at all (a couple of days) to adjust from one medium to the other.   One aspect I find uncomfortable with using the doc cam is that I feel “chained” to the podium. My style is to walk back and forth as I write on the board and sometimes walk forward into the classroom seating area to interact with students.  I find that I am generally unable to do this with the doc cam.  One concern I had in the beginning was whether it would take additional time to write things on the small piece of paper because of neatness and readability concerns.  As it has turned out, my recorded lecture covers the same material as my later non-recorded lecture within 2-3 minutes either way.  Another concern I continue to have involves the impact (if any) on the students in the classroom with me during the classes that are recorded.  A promise I made to these students was that their experience would not be degraded or sacrificed in the name of “technology” or “progress”.  To address my own concern, I continually keep these students in the decision-making loop regarding such things as lighting in the room, color and size of pen to use, how fast/slow I’m conducting the class, etc.  I am fortunate in that I typically develop very good rapport with my students who are comfortable with giving me direct feedback on all aspects of the classes I teach and based on their suggestions (and concurrence) I have made modifications more or less “on the fly” as to how I present the material.

The implementation of synchronous delivery and recorded lectures for Math 22 has been relatively painless and trouble-free.  Students were, and continue to be, involved in the decision-making process and I believe that this is absolutely critical to the success of any strategic initiative implementation directed at students.   The transition from blackboard/whiteboard to doc cam for me was not huge as I discovered that many of my concerns quickly became non-issues.  In the future, I believe that the level of success for others in transitioning from one writing medium to another will be highly dependent on the individual instructors,  their preferences, their skills and abilities, and their respective teaching style.

Statement from EdTech on New Building Blocks in Blackboard and Other Technologies

Pearson Education recently sent an announcement to several instructors that a new building block for Blackboard was now available, similar to other publishing company building blocks (e.g. McGraw Hill Connect). We will not be able to deploy the Pearson building block at the beginning of the Fall semester 2012.

We here in Educational Technology (EdTech) are always excited with new technologies become available, but timing is often a critical issue for us. In this case, Pearson announced the release of their building block just before the beginning of the semester before we had a chance to thoroughly evaluate it.

Whenever new learning technologies are released on campus, we here in EdTech take three things into consideration:

  1. First and foremost, it must pass a thorough security audit to ensure that confidential student and faculty information is not compromised and that the integrity of the network will not also be compromised. We take both issues very, very seriously.The Pearson building block so far has not passed this first test to our satisfaction.
  2. New technology must also be tested to ensure that it will work well with the other technologies that have been installed on campus. This is often a very challenging process, but in most cases we are able to find an acceptable solution.Again, the Pearson building block for Blackboard does not meet our expectations for how well the technology will work from inside Blackboard.
  3. Finally, EdTech staff needs time in order to become familiar with the technology ourselves. We will not be able to provide adequate support to our campus community unless we have a thorough understanding of how the technology works, including any potential quirks. Our general preference is to have the technology made available to us (EdTech) in our development environment in the semester prior to its deployment to the production environment. In practice, this means that we want access to the technology in the Spring semester if it will be used in the Fall. This gives us the opportunity to test the technology, learn how it all works, and use the Summer semester as an early-adopter phase for some instructors.Once again, Pearson Education has not been able to meet this simple requirement despite our repeated requests.

Our commitment in Educational Technology is to provide the instructors we support with the best possible experience we can with the technologies that are available. Only when technology has met the three basic requirements above do we feel comfortable supporting it for the campus.

As always, we welcome all feedback from our campus community on this or any other educational technology issue.

EdTech Newsletter for Fall Semester 2013 is Now Available!

Edward_Tech-02-sm1Ed Said, Educational Technology’s Fall 2013 newsletter is now available. The past several months have resulted in a number of changes in the services and support offered by Educational Technology. At the very least, the following services have been upgraded or added over the summer:

  • Blackboard – New “inline grading” feature.
  • TurningPoint – Unified interface that integrates PowerPoint Polling, Anywhere Polling, and Self-Paced Polling.
  • Kaltura – Upload streaming media files into Blackboard.

The newsletter also discusses the effective use of blogs in a course, additional student-focused resources that can be added to a Blackboard course, tips for managing online discussions, and more.

Download the current version of the newsletter today!