As we transition into Spring 2021 and consider how to use the new technologies being made available in our technology-enhanced classrooms, it's important to think carefully about alternatives to traditional use of a wall-mounted physical whiteboard.
Keep in mind that normal writing on a wall-mounted physical whiteboard will not be easily visible and legible to remote learners who are joining in real-time. This will likely be the case even if you are using the Owl camera in a RingCentral meeting, and it will also be the case if you are recording a RingCentral session for remote students to view at another time. For example, glare from classroom lighting may obscure writing for remote RingCentral participants even if you use the optional Meeting Owl phone app to zoom in on part of the wall-mounted physical whiteboard, while managing other technology, planned content, student feedback, and instructional time.
There are several alternatives that you may be able to use, depending on whether you anticipate creating instructional content in real time by typing and using a mouse, or by drawing or writing, such as with a stylus or dry erase marker:
Classroom computer using RingCentral's screen-sharing feature.
Classroom document camera and attached small physical whiteboard.
You can view demonstrations and steps in the Owl/multi-access classroom demo video.
Classroom computer using RingCentral's annotation feature.
Your touch-screen mobile device and an HDMI adapter.
Collaboratively create content with students.
You can use either of the options above to collaboratively create content with students:
These collaborative approaches are an excellent way to promote student engagement. They will also help you see how students are making sense of new content and developing relevant skills. This will shift your role from delivering content to providing real-time feedback on their understanding and adapting instruction in response.
Consider having students take turns in these roles.
Did you know that you can customize your dashboard in MyCourses? You can create a card view like the one in Canvas. You can star courses that you are currently focusing on and then filter to only show those Starred courses.
1. To get started, click the Customize this page button in the upper right corner of the Dashboard.
2. On the right, perhaps at the bottom, look for a Course Overview block. Drag it to the top, and then to the left so it appears in the location shown above. It may take a few tries. You can also use Configure Course Overview Block to adjust weighting and location.
3. If you don't see such a block, click "Add a block" on the left at the bottom. Click Course overview. Then complete step 2.
4. In the enlarged Course overview area, select Card view if it is not already selected. This Card View will include default images for each course unless you have customized the image associated with any of your courses. For example, I had selected an image of legos for my sandbox some time ago. You can change the course image at any time by entering the course and clicking Edit settings. Then upload a different image in the Course image area.
5. Find a course that you want to prioritize on your dashboard, click the ellipsis, and Star the course. Do this for individual courses that you are currently working in frequently.
6. Later when you want to toggle between your Starred courses and all of your courses, or another subset of courses, click the Filter icon and make a selection.
This kind of customization can be a great time saver and help you focus on courses that you are frequently working in.
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RingCentral Meetings is a powerful and flexible videoconferencing tool for teaching, collaborative research, service, and more. You may not be aware of how many settings you can adjust to help you use this tool efficiently and effectively. One reason is that you can adjust settings in multiple locations. This table helps you see where you can adjust settings, with examples of common settings and functions in each area:
A handy reference guide listing settings, keyboard shortcuts, and uses is available at Faculty Guide to RingCentral Meetings.
Did you know that you can easily access a list of participants in each of your RingCentral Meetings?
Go to service.ringcentral.com and log in.
Follow the steps below to access your Meeting Reports for meetings that you have hosted.
When you click the hyperlinked number of participants, you can see a list of all participants, the time each joined, the time each left, and the total duration of each participant's attendance during the live meeting.
Note that the total number of participants indicated for some of your meetings may be higher than you expect if one person left the meeting and returned. Currently, participants are not deduplicated when the totals are calculated. However, when you view the list of participants for a specific meeting on the screen above, you may see a second checkbox that allows you to "show unique users."
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I saw a great technique used in Moodle recently that I wish I had known about years ago. Especially when editing in Moodle, scrolling up and down can become tiresome. It can also become frustrating for students depending on how the course site is set up with or without accordions. Certainly "home" and "end" keys on your keyboard are one way around this. But you can also use jump links to individual sections to quickly jump down to a specific section. I also discovered that you can use jump links to jump back up to the top. These can help users working with various devices.
Here's how I did this in a course shell.
Once you understand the principle of how to tell Moodle how to jump to a specific section, you can find other uses for this technique:
If you're accustomed to using survey software for survey research or polling students, you may not realize that you have access to similar capabilities through Microsoft Forms. You can create and distribute Microsoft Forms for free. Multilingual forms are available.
Question types span a wide variety of commonly used open-ended and close-ended questions. Close-ended questions include choice questions with two or more options, including "Other" with a text field that appears upon selection. Select from single answer or multiple answer formats including radio button, drop-down box, and check box. Options can be shuffled if desired. Open-ended questions include short and long text-boxes. Responses can be restricted to numbers, including particular value ranges.
Simple rating questions can use a star or number format. Customizable labels can be added to the lowest and highest values. Likert scale questions can be created with fully customizable response anchors. Other question types include ranking, date entry, Net Promoter score, and file upload. Branching of questions is available and distinct sections can be created.
With Forms, you can customize the appearance of your survey through preset color schemes and photographic backgrounds. Or you can upload an image and choose a specific color background for your survey title and instructions using an HTML hex code.
Respondents can answer your questions on a computer or mobile device. You can preview how the survey will appear on each type of device. You can set up an automatic message to the respondent, such as a customized thank you message and enable respondents to access their responses.
You can control who can access your form or survey through the sharing links that you generate. You generate distinct links to share with respondents, collaborators, and those who may want to create a similar survey to use on their own. For each of these three purposes, you can generate links that will work for anyone, just for people in your organization (log in required), or specific people. Links to collaborate enable someone to work with you in creating and editing questions, and in accessing responses. You can set start and end dates for receiving responses and be notified by email each time a response is submitted.
To get started, go to onedrive.queens.edu or mail.queens.edu and click the AppLauncher (tiles) in the upper left corner. Click Forms. If you don't see Forms, click All apps. Then click Forms.
If you have questions about using this tool in teaching or research, please contact me at email@example.com.
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A great resource that you may not be aware of is online training provided by the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. Among the library's many databases and online resources is Lynda.com (LinkedIn Learning). To get started, apply for a Charlotte Mecklenburg Library card number . If you meet the eligibility requirements, you can quickly receive a virtual library card number that will allow you to begin using the library's online resources right away.
Online training is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on topics ranging from Office suite and Google apps to web development. Other topics include design, music, business, and writing. Highly technical training on products like Dreamweaver, Sibelius, MySQL, Articulate, Photoshop, and Camtasia is readily available.
This is a free and convenient resource to gain new technological skills for use in teaching, to help students pursue their goals, or to supplement course materials with convenient resources on fundamental topics such as presentation skills and writing.
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Among the many decisions to be made in advance of a new semester is how to factor various assessments of learning into final semester grades. As we wrap up the fall semester and plan for the spring ahead, this is a great time to revisit some longstanding practices in calculating final grades and consider alternative approaches to see if they might better support learning in our classes.
If you regularly "grade" attendance and incorporate attendance directly into final grades, you might not be aware of some alternatives that also enable you to report a "last date of attendance" while more directly incorporating assessment of learning into final grades. Many such alternatives can collectively be described as low-stakes, in-class, academically related activities that do several things simultaneously:
Some examples include low-stakes individual or small-group activities based on application of course concepts, entry or exit tickets, muddiest point, minute-papers, reading quizzes, or many of the other classroom assessment techniques discussed by Angelo and others. To meet federal reporting requirements, it is essential to record grades for each activity in a way that captures the date and a clear description of the activity.
When implementing any of these alternatives, consider automatically dropping one or more of the lowest scores in this grade category from the calculation of students' final grades, regardless of the reason for the low score(s). This can eliminate the need for discussion and documentation of "excused" versus "unexcused" absences, lateness, etc., particularly when your dropping is stated clearly in a syllabus. For example, in one of my previous classes, I established separate grade categories for reading quizzes and small group in-class activities, and in the syllabus I indicated that one lowest quiz score and two lowest small group activity scores would be dropped. Dropping one or more lowest scores within a grade category is easily accomplished in MyCourses.
Also consider including in your syllabus a statement that when students know in advance that they will be absent and they contact you in advance, you will work with them to set up alternative arrangements for them to complete the activity. This helps keep them on track with learning in your class, promotes student responsibility, and reinforces the university policy on university recognized absences.
In addition to being useful for addressing the university policy on university recognized absences, low-stakes academically related activities address attendance reporting requirements in online courses. It is important to note that "documenting that a student has logged into an online class is not sufficient, by itself, to demonstrate academic attendance by the student" (Federal Student Aid Handbook, 2016, p. 886). According to the Federal Student Aid Handbook, acceptable indications of attendance in an online course can include:
Many technological tools support these types of academically related activities in online courses, as well as hybrid and face-to-face courses. Tools in MyCourses include discussion Forum, Journal, Assignments, Portfolium assignments, and quizzes, among others. Other technological tools that can be linked within MyCourses include Flipgrid for video-based discussions (5), and Stream or EdPuzzle for creating short video presentations with interactive quizzes (3).
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Recently I decided to review curation tools to identify some of the best ways to quickly gather current, helpful content on timely topics across a variety of platforms online and share those collections of content with colleagues. As I review available tools, I'll share my observations here and highlight how these tools differ from each other. I'll also highlight ways they can be incorporated in faculty work in teaching, research, and service.
The first curation tool I tried was Wakelet. Here's a quick introduction to what kinds of items you can add, what you can do with them, how to get started, and ideas for using Wakelet as a faculty member.
Wakelet lets you quickly create online collections of content by adding items in various ways:
Basically, if the item you want has a link, you can add it to your online collection in the cloud with Wakelet.
Here's a sample collection in Wakelet that you can view.
You can use the Microsoft sign-in option to log in seamlessly using your Queens credentials at Wakelet. Once you do that, then you can access Wakelet from the Office 365 AppLauncher. Check out Wakelet's ebook for educators which shows you how get started. You can also learn more about Wakelet and Accessibility.
Among the many possible uses, consider using Wakelet to:
If you have questions about using these tools in teaching or research, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'm often asked by faculty for a list of technology tools. In fact, many great tools are highlighted on CAFE's website. Technology, teaching, and learning go hand in hand, and so technology tools are integrated with CAFE's practical resources for teaching. There you'll find more about tools like Adobe Spark for creating multimedia assignment submissions, Screencast-o-matic for creating instructional videos, our Portfolium eportfolio tool, the Flipgrid video-based online discussion tool, and collaboration tools like Stormboard. These technology tools for teaching are supported by curated how-to-videos, quick guides, and job aids. And you can always contact CAFE if you want individualized support or want to discuss what tool might be the best choice for what you have in mind.
In addition, we have a robust collection of devices and software available for faculty use or check-out. Devices and software include:
Lightboard (available in the Digital Studio)Camtasia software for screencast videos and editing (available in the Digital Studio workstation)Green screen for use in conjunction with video or webcam recording in the Digital StudioArticulate Storyline 360 (available in the Digital Studio workstation)360 degree immersive video cameraPortable small group video conferencing system (great for interviews and collaboration, suitable for use in the CAFÉ conference room)Large group video conferencing system (available for use in the Active Learning Classroom)Swivl (to record video with your mobile device)Presentation technology for active learning in the Active Learning Classroom
If you have questions about using these tools in teaching or research, please contact me at email@example.com