Canvas Teacher App Now Available on Android and iOS

Good News S&T Instructors,

Canvas has published a mobile app meant for instructors called “Canvas Teacher”. Now you can keep track of several different aspects of your course from your mobile device. The Canvas Teacher app is available for both Android and iOS.

Announcements, Assignments, Discussions, Quizzes

The Canvas Teacher app lets you make announcements, browse and grade assignments, moderate discussions, and evaluate quizzes from within the app. The Canvas Teacher app is not meant to be a full replacement for your primary working computer, but rather to compliment your setup and to allow you the flexibility to communicate with students and to check submissions or give feedback when you’re on the go.

Give it a try..

In general, instructors are not heavy mobile users of Canvas. Our usage analytics indicate that less than 5% of instructors regularly interact with Canvas on a mobile device. Why is that? One likely reason is that the previous Canvas app was very student-centric, and instructors couldn’t do much but look at the course. That has changed—with the Canvas Teacher App you can now do many of the tasks you could normally do at your office computer on your smartphone.

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:

To use Turnitin, simply create a Turnitin assignment to which students may upload a file. You can find a tutorial here:

To use iThenticate, submit a request via the IT Help Desk ticketing system by calling (573) 341-4357, or visit 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

STEM Experiential Education at Missouri S&T

At Missouri S&T, the experiential experience is a top priority. That’s what drives students to a STEM school with an engineering focus in a small town in Rural Missouri that’s more than an hour…


Here’s a look at laboratory redesign projects going on at S&T. We’ve got several courses piloting now and others under development.

iThenticate is now available to S&T academic researchers and publishers!

The Missouri S&T Educational Technology office is proud to support a new tool on campus called iThenticate. Brought to you by the same company behind Turnitin, iThenticate is a plagiarism prevention tool intended for use by professional academic researchers and publishers. Like Turnitin, iThenticate generates originality reports by comparing submitted work to previously published work. Unlike Turnitin—which is intended for classroom use—iThenticate is intended solely for the world of professional academic publishing. iThenticate is intended to be a formative tool which gives authors and editors the power to eliminate unintended plagiarism and improve citation practices. To that end, iThenticate searches over 100 million scholarly books, articles, and conference proceedings as well as periodicals, encyclopedias, abstracts, and over 50 billion current and archived web pages.

The primary users of iThenticate are academic researchers and publishers, including graduate and doctoral students (and their advisors!) who are writing theses or dissertations. These writers will appreciate iThenticate’s easy-to-use interface as well as several features not found in Turnitin. iThenticate allows for much longer documents to be submitted, as well as allowing for document sharing and version comparison. Unlike Turnitin, iThenticate does NOT save a copy of submitted work to a central database. This means your in-progress publication will stay confidential until it is ready for publication.

If you are a scholarly writer interested in using iThenticate, please contact the IT Help Desk to submit an iThenticate access request to the Educational Technology office; The EdTech office will get you set up and also provide a short training session, if desired. Happy writing and publishing!

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 or 573-341-4131.

Teaching and Learning Technology Conference 2011 – REGISTRATION OPEN!

Registration for the Teaching and Learning Technology Conference 2011 on March 10 and 11, 2011 is now OPEN!

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Eric Mazur — Balkanski Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Harvard University and author of Peer Instruction: A User’s Manual.

Web-based registration is now available at:

If you have already registered with us via email, you do NOT need to register again. We still have your registration information.

Details about our conference can be found on the conference web site:

We look forward to seeing you at our conference in March!

Sample Technology Supported by EdTech

I recently had the opportunity to demonstrate a variety of technologies that EdTech supports to several members of the faculty on campus. I put together a few presentations and gave them a brief overview of what we had to offer, based on a request from the department chair. EdTech would be more than happy to give other departments the same information through a technology demonstration or other forum.

Here is the sample technology that I demonstrated. Note that there are other technologies that we also support.

SynchronEyes — Allows instructor to control/observe/share machines in a computer lab with the students.


TurningPoint/Clickers — Personal response devices (clickers) give students and instructors immediate feedback during lecture.


Respondus — Test creation software that interfaces with Word and Blackboard to facilitate getting tests and other assessment tools online inside a Blackboard course.


Blogs and Wikis — Students can continue to learn and collaborate in an asynchronous learning environment, moderated by the instructor. Blogs and wikis are available in Blackboard.


Netbooks: A Transitional Technology

netboook-smartphone-01.pngWe here at EdTech Enterprises have recently been examining the possibility of using a “netbook” for some applications instead of heavier and more bulky standard laptop or tablet PCs.

However, I recently came across a couple of good articles that look at some of advantages and disadvantages of netbooks in comparison to other technologies.

Jeff Medcalf at the Eternity Road blog investigates whether netbooks are actually useful. He lays out his criteria in terms of the use cases and function points of the most widely used technology. Basically, each technology needs to match up what the technology can actually do (its function points) against what people actually want or need to do (use cases). We do this all the time in EdTech with faculty. In many instances we try to find out what an instructor wants to do and then try to find the appropriate technology to match that need.

[Read more…]

USB Flash Drives can transmit viruses

EdTechUSBFlash-01.jpgHere is a cheerful thought for the new year. According to this article from Campus Technology, USB flash drives can transmit computer viruses simply by inserting them into an available USB port on a machine and letting the system access the “autorun” feature of the USB flash drive.

At one conference, around 50% of the attendees wound up with an infected USB flash drive. One company actually distributed infected flash drives at a security conference (if you can believe it).

I really like the convenience flash drives offer for transferring files between machines. It is great to have the portability and universality of flash drives (they work on both Mac and PC machines). I use them all the time. Now we are told that flash drives are rapidly becoming a major vector for computer malware distribution. In one experiment a security company scattered several infected flash drives in a parking lot and observed the behavior of the people who picked up the flash drives (the contained malware that transmitted sensitive data to the computers at the security company–the security company was being paid by a bank to audit the security).

Social engineering in a very important and useful tool in the arsenal of malicious hackers. They rely on innate human behaviors to enable the infection of machines with malicious code. Most of us don’t really think twice about inserting an unknown USB flash drive (which is essentially the new floppy disk) into a machine and seeing what is on it.

What does this have to do with education? Well, I’ve been involved in discussions with at least one faculty member about how students should submit assignments. For one class, students create substantially large files (20 MB or more) for their assignments. In a class of 20, this can amount to around 500 MB (or more). This doesn’t really sound like too much space at first. However, multiply this amount of storage space by the number of classes taught by the instructor and then multiply it again by the number of faculty on this campus. It quickly becomes a very large amount of storage space required for assignments (especially if the instructor desires to hang onto assignments for multiple semesters). One possible solution is to have students obtain a relatively inexpensive 2-4 GB flash drive that contains backups of their course files (the originals should be stored on a more permanent machine such as their desktop or laptop, of course). This flash drive is then turned into the instructor at the end of the semester for grading.

Now, the instructor has to rely on the student’s good behavior in handling that flash drive. Students may inadvertently infect their flash drives by inserting into an infected machine. This is then turned in to the instructor who will subsequently infect their own machine. The instructor has no idea where the student’s flash drive has been. The student may not even realize they are carrying an infected flash drive.

For more information on good security practices, visit the IT Help Desk’s Security page.

Finally, this is a little off topic, but if you do a Google images search for “usb flash drive“, you will see some really cool looking flash drives in all shapes, colors, and sizes. I would steer clear of the pill-shaped USB flash drives. However, I do like the “Swiss Army Knife USB Flash Drive”.

Smart phone clickers in the classroom

iphone-clicker.pngJennifer Shaner, our campus CERTI Coordinator recently brought to my attention an article she found in the Chronicle of Higher Education about how students at Abilene Christian University (ACU) use iPhones for their clicker-enabled classes.

Apparently, the iPhone application for supporting clickers was developed in-house by ACU programmers. The iPhones (and iPod Touch units) were distributed to all of the first-year students.

However, ACU is not the first, nor the only university to experiment with using smart-phone technology to support clickers. Missouri S&T is also piloting the use of smart-phone technology in conjunction with an application provided by TurningPoint to use integrated clicker/smart-phones in the classroom. The main advantage to using a smart-phone is that many students already have smart-phones, so they would simply need to obtain a copy of the clicker application to run on their smart-phone. It also eliminates the need for students to carry multiple devices, instead relying on a single device which they also use for many of their other communication tasks like email, text-messaging, and web-browsing (and, on occasion, calling their friends and family).

The downside to insisting on using smart-phones for clickers is that not all students can afford to have a smart-phone. The technology may not be available for some brands of smart-phones or on certain smart-phone plans. It is certainly possible to have both standard RF clickers and smart-phone clickers in the same classroom.

One of the more interesting aspects of ACU’s implementation is the ability to display student responses in a “word cloud”, which means students and instructors can see the responses as a random cloud of words (see the image above for an example of what a word cloud might look like). This doesn’t sound particularly useful at first, but the words that students submitted the most will be displayed in larger font. Words that have only one or two submissions will be in correspondingly smaller font. Thus, if you are asking an opinion-oriented question about a topic, you can see at a glance which option students seem to prefer over others. For instance, the word cloud in the image above might reflect the responses to the question, “What is one of the most important events of the 20th Century?”

You can, of course, achieve the same result using a more “standard” clicker question with a bar graph–the word cloud just looks different and may work more effectively for some audiences.