#TechTipThursday: Changing Availability Dates in Canvas

Canvas courses become available to students only after two steps have been completed: (1) the course ‘unlocks’ based on the start dates for the specific term, the night before classes are set to begin, and (2) the course has been published. As an instructor, it may be beneficial for students to access to course materials in Canvas in advance of the course’s start date. Some internship and practicum experiences start before courses begin on campus; students may need access to Canvas during that time. This week, we have created a video for you that details how to make courses available in advance of the set start date.

If you have any questions, or difficulty duplicating the steps detailed in this post, please contact the Digital Education Collaborative.

*This post was drafted with assistance from Paige, an Instructional Technology Collaborator.


#TechTipThursday: Using the Narrative Clip

If you have ever wanted to capture real time photographs of activities, academic or otherwise, the Narrative Clip camera may be a perfect fit. These wearable cameras allow you to have continuous photos taken, at an interval of your choosing, with no extra effort. The software to view the pictures on these cameras is available for both Macs and PCs. This post will walk you through basic tips on how to get started using the Narrative Clip and offer specific examples for use at Longwood University.

Highlights of the Narrative:

  1. The battery life can last up to two days;
  2. Each device can hold up to 8,000 pictures;
  3. Photos can be stored locally or in a cloud-based server;
  4. You can download an app, available for iOS and Android devices, to view photos on-the-go;
  5. Want to take pictures instantly instead of waiting for your next ‘scheduled’ shot? Double tap the anywhere on the device to take picture or display the battery life.

How to use the Narrative Clip:

  1. In the box you will find a Narrative and a USB cable. Plug the USB into a computer;
  2. You will then need to register the Narrative to an account. The software will prompt you to set your desired interval for taking pictures;
  3. Once the registration process is complete and the Narrative is fully charged, you are ready to start using the device;
  4. To conserve the battery life, you can turn off the Narrative when it is not being used by storing it in a dark location.

Some Longwood-specific ideas for the Narrative Clip:

  1. In lab courses you could have students capture their experiments and techniques as supplemental materials for a research poster or a methods section in a paper.
  2. For the majors which include outdoor activities (i.e. Outdoor Education), photos of facilitating different routines can be captured.
  3. Archeology students can wear these at dig sites to capture the artifacts they find.
  4. Psychology students can capture observation-based research on campus.
  5. Various campus events can be captured using the Narrative: Library Game Night, New Lancer Days, Color Wars, and so many more!
  6. Admissions staff can capture different aspects of open house days that can be used for future promotions.
  7. Students in PHED and HARK courses can wear Narratives to document their exercise, athletic training procedures, working with a group, and similar demonstrable skills.
  8. COMM students can document other aspects, outside of what is being recorded, when they are on an interview or collecting news data.

This is, by no means, an all-inclusive list. The Narrative Clip allows for creativity and can be used anywhere you want to capture images! What ideas might you have?

If you have any questions, want to borrow a Narrative Clip for your use, or difficulty duplicating the steps detailed in this post, please contact the Digital Education Collaborative.

*This post was drafted with assistance from  Carrie, an Instructional Technology Collaborator.


#TechTipThursday: Enabling TurnItIn in Canvas

Longwood University uses TurnItIn, primarily within Canvas, to assess student submissions for originality. In other words, TurnItIn functions as a plagiarism-checker for any assignment in which the instructor has enabled TurnItIn and is submitted to Canvas. Although instructors have the ability to submit any student work through TurnItIn’s website, that is rarely done. *Note: the account administrator can assist any instructor who wishes to submit student work directly via TurnItIn. Please contact the DEC for further assistance.

To improve the efficiency of the TurnItIn/Canvas integration, Instructure Canvas advised all account holders to make a slight behind-the-scenes adjustment; we will do so on Monday 11/28/16. This change impacts the way in which instructors enable TurnItIn for a Canvas-based assignment. Today’s post will detail the steps needed to require that assignments submitted to Canvas are, jointly, submitted to TurnItIn.

  1. From your course homepage, click on “Assignments” from the left-hand course navigation menu tii1
  2. Once in “Assignments,” select the blue ” + Assignment” button at the top right 
  3. You will see familiar assignment options – the only difference is the checkbox to “enable TurnItIn” for the assignment has been removed. To require TurnItIn for the assignment in question you will need to change the submission type to “External Tool” tii3
  4. Once you select “External Tool,” you will see the option to enter or find an External Tool URL. Select the Find option to the right of this text entry box tii4
  5. In the window that opens, scroll down the list and select “TurnItIn” (1) and then click “Select” (2) tii5

The above steps will enable TurnItIn for an assignment. You can continue to adjust the assignment’s settings before saving and publishing. Note that both instructors and students will see a new user interface when accessing an assignment that requires TurnItIn.

As an instructor, you’ll see this new interface when you access a TurnItIn-enabled assignment by clicking on the assignment’s name. For information on how TurnItIn has changed for students please see a related post written specifically for students. When you access an assignment with the TurnItIn LTI enabled, you will see a screen with your assignment inbox. tii6At the top of the new Canvas/TurnItIn interface you will find a “Settings” (1) option, which can be used to change settings specific to TurnItIn (i.e., portions of the paper to check; sources against which the assignment will be compared; etc.). You can access Canvas’ assignment editing interface through the “Edit Assignment Settings” button  (2) on the right side of the inbox. You can access Canvas’ Speed Grader on the right hand side through the Speed Grader button (3). picture1

If you have any questions, or difficulty duplicating the steps detailed in this post, please contact the Digital Education Collaborative.

*This post was drafted with assistance from Paige, an Instructional Technology Collaborator.

#TechTipThursday: Making Planning Fun and Creative with Padlet

Padlet allows you to create an online bulletin board that can be shared with peers, friends, family, and more to make collaborating fun and easy. Padlet, in a sense, is the higher education version of Pinterest. You can add pictures, videos, links, texts, and more to your boards. Along with creating “boards”, Padlet gives you the option to create KWL charts, organizational charts, and areas to bookmark content. It is available for iOS and Android devices and for use in a web browser. Our post will focus on the web browser version.


First, navigate to www.padlet.com in the web browser of your choosing. You will see the screen below where you can create a free account or login to an existing account.

Once you have logged in, the next screen will offer to walk you through a brief tutorial on how to use Padlet and what you can use it for. In the top-right corner, you have the option to skip the tutorial.

If you wanted to purchase additional themes, a custom domain, and more, you have the option to purchase the JetPack. Padlet in its free state is already great, so you can choose the ‘upgrade later’ option in the bottom-right corner of the screen.

Next, you will see the screen where the creativity begins! You can choose to ‘+ make a padlet’, ‘join a collaboration, or view the gallery of padlets created by other users. We will focus on getting started with our own bulletin board.

When getting started, you will need to decide what format you want to use. This will depend on your goals for using this particular padlet and how you want your information to be displayed. We chose to create a wall for the post.

The second step to making your bulletin board work for you in Padlet is deciding on the type of content you want to display. If you want to collect resources for an assignment, the “bookmarks” option may be best or if you want to create a task list for a group project, you can choose the “Kanban board”. We chose to create a “Moodboard”.

Once the basics for the board have been chosen, you can add your personal touch. You can edit the title and choose a background from the menu that will appear to the right of the screen.

Next, you can choose your privacy settings? Do you want this board to private and only for you? Do users need a password to view? Do you want to make it public? In addition, this menu will allow you to share the board and add collaborators.

Once you have selected and saved your final setting, the board will appear, as shown in the picture below.

Now, you can begin to populate content! In the bottom-right corner, you will see a pink circle with a “+” symbol. This allows you to drag files from your computer, paste items from your computer’s clipboard, or create something original directly in Padlet to add to your bulletin board.

In addition to choosing the option to “+” content, you can click on one of the empty shapes on the board and being to type. You can see in the picture below where we were drafting the mission of the Digital Education Collaborative.

Once that is done, we decided to add a picture to this note. You can see the final view below.

Once your bulletin board is complete, you can share it or change the settings using the menu located at the top of the screen.

In the Classroom

Padlet can be used to collaborate for group brainstorming, collecting research topics, providing resources for an assignment or topic, outlining a large paper or project, and so much more. It is an easy and unique way for students to collaborate and share their work with professors or other peers.

If you would like to learn more about Padlet or have trouble duplicating the steps below, please visit the Digital Education Collaborative (136 Ruffner Hall) or contact us directly if you have additional questions.

#TechTipThursday: Getting to know Respondus 4.0

Faculty often need a quick and easy way to add quizzes, tests, and exams to Canvas from publisher content or that were originally in a Word document format. The Digital Education Collaborative  offers faculty a solution for this need through the use of Respondus 4.0.

Respondus 4.0 is a powerful tool used to create, edit and manage assessments. Questions and tests can be created directly in Respondus or they can be imported. Once the assessment has been created, faculty can publish the exam directly to a Canvas course or print the exam for use in face-to-face classes.

Why Use Respondus 4.0?

Respondus 4.0 provides a fast and and easy way for faculty to create exams and publish them to Canvas. The program also offers faculty the ability to convert publisher created quizzes or Word-based quizzes and easily import them into Canvas. Respondus includes various tools for faculty to use including an equation editor, which is ideal for math and science faculty and the ability to support special characters which would be beneficial for foreign language courses. 

Things to Know:

  • Respondus 4.0 is only compatible with Windows (10, 8 7) machines and the software must be downloaded and installed on the computer
  • Each user has a distinct user environment
  • Respondus supports 15 question types
  • Questions can be imported from MS Word documents, rich-text files, QTI files, and several more
  • Assessments can be previewed before publishing to Canvas
  • Assessments can be published directly to a single online course or the “batch publish” feature allows assessments to be published to multiple courses in a single step
  • Faculty can set question point values and additional exam settings directly in Respondus 4.0
  • Exams can be printed or saved as a Word document

When importing questions and exams into Respondus 4.0, there is a required format the files must follow. Our office has these guidelines available and will be more than happy to share them with you and help you navigate the various requirements. 

If you would like to learn more about Respondus 4.0, please visit the Digital Education Collaborative (136 Ruffner Hall) or contact us directly if you have additional questions.

*This post was drafted by Ashley, an Instructional Designer

This information was adapted from Respondus 4.0.

#WhyITC: Wesley Marshall

In light of recruitment season and in lieu of a #TechTipThursday, one of our staff members wanted to highlight why he decided to join our team as an Instructional Technology Collaborator (ITC). Meet Wesley, a Business Administration major who is in his second semester as an ITC. Come say hello to him and our other ITCs in Ruffner 136 and ask them why YOU should become an ITC!


“Hello! My name is Wesley Marshall and I am currently a senior here at Longwood University. I am working on a major in Business Administration with a focus in Information Systems, with a minor in Computer Science. Besides working towards my degree, you can find me in Ruffner where I work as an Instructional Technology Collaborator. I joined the team in April of 2017, making me a Tier 2 ITC. So far, my journey as an ITC has been a delightful and rewarding experience. As a part of joining the team, I get to work closely with the others that make up the Digital Education Collaborative. Take a look at some of my reasons of what it is like to be an ITC!  

Why did I become an ITC: “I never really planned on becoming an ITC; I was walking with my friend, and ITCs were recruiting, one handed me a flyer. At the time, I did not pay any attention to it until a couple of days later and eventually looked more into the position. After some researching, I decided an on-campus job would be a good idea.”

Why this job is worth it: “Being an ITC, you get the perks of schedule flexibility, working with other students you wouldn’t have a class with, and having a team that cares about you. Oh, and don’t forget, an ITC is one of the highest paying student jobs on campus!”

What’s something unexpected I experienced becoming an ITC: “When I became an ITC, I did not know that I would make SMART goals that don’t just help to develop my skills in the office, but also for my future after college.”  

What is one big characteristic of working on a team like this one: “Working with a group of ITCs every week, we have a staff meeting. These are used to catch up as a group and make sure we are aware of everything that is going on. In addition, these meetings can consist of fun events such as team building activities that help with getting to know your co-workers and develop friendships.”

The support: “From the first interview, I saw that the level of support and care from the people that work here is real. It is different from other places I have worked. Your supervisors actually care about you and want to get to know you.”

One thing I love about the DEC: “Definitely it would have to be the people that I work with; my co-workers and the professional staff here are amazing. We have amazing times working together and getting to know each other.”

The interview process: “Our interview process is unique. So be prepared for a well-rounded interview process. However, do not be scared. It will be well worth it. Think positive thoughts and be confident.”


If you or someone you know would like to apply to be an ITC, apply here! Believe me, you won’t regret the amount of experience you will gain from this job.


We’re hiring for fall 2018!

In support of Longwood’s commitment to academic success and pedagogical excellence through the effective application of instructional technology, the Instructional Technology Collaborator (ITC) program is ready to add to its ranks. Accepting undergraduate applicants for positions to start in fall 2018, successful candidates are effective multitaskers and responsible self-starters possessing strong written and verbal communication skills.  Students do not need a technical background but should have an interest in technology and be willing to learn. We provide in-depth, comprehensive, and ongoing training that supports student success in this position.

>>>>> Click to learn more about the ITC program and meet the ITCs.

>>>>> To nominate an undergraduate student, please contact us and we’ll reach out directly.

>>>>> Apply today!


#TechTipThursday: Trello

Trello is one of several free tools that are available to support online task management. This solution enables users to create lists, or cards, with or without due dates; develop checklists to track progress; upload files; and apply labels to categorize content. Labels, like Twitter hashtags or WordPress tags, make searching for specific tasks more efficient. In addition to organizing tasks, users can create teams to facilitate collaboration on tasks. Trello boards allow for an unlimited number of members providing variable-use cards ranging from managing group responsibilities to a self-management tool. Trello offers a variety of “power-up” features including a calendar utility and a Google Drive integration. Free accounts can take advantage of 1 power-up feature at a time but have the ability to use them interchangeably. Trello works wherever you are and can be downloaded on your mobile devices and computers. As the focus for this week’s #TechTipThursday, this post offers an introduction to Trello.

How to Access Trello

Visit https://trello.com/ and click ‘Sign Up’. After you enter your name, email address , and password you will need to accept the terms and conditions before you can ‘create new account’.

To add a new board, choose the plus icon on the top right of the page and select ‘create new board’, give it a name, and choose ‘create’ to save these changes. See the images below to see screenshots of the process.

Once the board has been created, you can add additional collaborators by choosing the team at the top left of the screen and selecting ‘view team page’,  tab over to the ‘members’ option. Users can be added on the left of the screen by name or email.


To organize tasks, add items into the ‘To Do’ section. Once a task has been completed or is in progress, it can be moved to the correspondence categories shown below. To add a task, choose the ‘add card’ option under the corresponding column.

You can add due dates to your tasks, but expanding the card box. Once dates have been added, you can choose ‘view calendar’ to see all events in a monthly calendar.



Trello in Higher Education

Trello can be used to manage small individual project or large group tasks. For faculty, Trello allows you to monitor group progress. Trello can not only be used in the academic realm, but in the residence halls, roommates can manage chore responsibilities.

If you would like to learn more about Trello and how it can enhance the academic environment at Longwood, please visit the Digital Education Collaborative (136 Ruffner Hall) or contact us directly if you have questions or issue duplicating the steps outlined in this post.

*All photos and instructions were adapted from trello.com using a computer web browser.

*This post was drafted by Carrie, an Instructional Technology Collaborator

#TechTipThursday: What’s New in Canvas?

Instructure frequently updates to maintain Canvas’ user interface for the best user experience. Updates to the Canvas environment are released every two weeks and contain new features, updates to existing features, bug fixes, and much more. Some important content from recent releases has been outlined below.


DocViewer Session Expiration Warning
While working in DocViewer to annotate submissions, instructors will receive a session expiration warning at 9 hours and 50 minutes, followed by a 5 minute warning and then 1 minute warnings until the session expires. Expiration can be prevented at any time by refreshing the submission page, but this change is intended to prevent loss of annotations due to session expiration

Content Duplication
This new feature allows instructors to quickly and easily duplicate assignments and discussions within Canvas. To do so, find the content you’d like to duplicate, click on the gear icon to the far right of the item’s name, and select duplicate.

When an item is copied, the word copy will be added after the title to prevent confusion and the content will, by default, be left unpublished. You can then edit the name of the duplicated assignment.

Conversations Selection Checkbox
The addition of checkboxes next to each email thread within Canvas conversations allows users to delete, archive, mark as read, mark as unread, or star message threads in bulk.

Excess Rubric Criterion Points
When using a rubric for grading, Canvas now allows instructors to give points in excess of the maximum point value for each criterion. This change allows instructors to use rubrics to offer extra credit for an assignment.

Canvas has a great community that you can search when needing to find answers. In addition, our office is located in Ruffner 136 and we are available for phone and walk-in support Monday-Thursday, 8AM to 8PM and Fridays, 8AM to 5PM. Feel free to contact us directly as additional questions or concerns arise.

*This post was drafted by Paige, an Instructional Technology Collaborator.


Continuing the Conversation of Digital Citizenship Week

This year, I had the privilege of delivering not one, not two, but THREE talks at Longwood University’s Digital Citizenship Week. The first was about leadership in the digital age, which followed the next day with a luncheon where I covered Digital Reputation, and my last talk focused on being a chick in cyberspace. Getting to explore the campus and be a part of Digital Citizenship Week was definitely a highlight of my fall semester!

First thing’s first: Longwood University’s Digital Citizenship Week stands out as a one-of-a-kind program. I don’t know many of any other institutions doing a digital citizenship week, let alone investing so many resources to such an event. It’s a significant cornerstone program for Longwood, and it shows. Longwood’s commitment to building better digital citizens was clear from the moment I stepped on campus and interacted with the team putting on Digital Citizenship Week.

Digital Citizenship Week wasn’t just an on-campus event. The Digital Education Collaborative posted a “To Share or Not to Share” quiz on Buzzfeed to inform Longwood students about their peers’ digital reputation. Students were presented with images posted by actual Longwood University students on social media, then were prompted to vote on whether they would post it to their personal timeline or not. Interestingly, the quiz takers could then see how many of their fellow students agreed with them. I was impressed to see Longwood using an unexpected platform to further their digital citizenship efforts. Note to self: start brainstorming ways to harness the power of Buzzfeed for my next research project!

The content of the quiz was just as impressive as its innovative platform use. It really made you think about your values, what you’d be willing to stand for, and the potential challenges you’d have if others disagreed with you. Posting on social media is not as simple as selfies or cute cat and dog pictures. It’s also a place where you can take a stand with a photo, a status, or even a “like.” When we want to take a stand on issue, we have to own it 110% and be prepared for whatever may come after. That’s one of the most important parts of being a digital citizen: taking the time to consider the impact of what you’re posting. Major credit to the DEC’s student staff for creating a quiz that reminds us of that.

Ultimately, one of the best things about my time at Longwood University was just how many people came and were truly engaged. My favorite moments are when students come up to me after. Many started by saying they came with low expectations or were afraid they were going to be talked down to about social media. Instead, they said they left empowered and energized to enhance and power up their digital presence through the lens of leadership. It’s obvious to me that Longwood is dedicated to empowering their students to be responsible digital citizens, and I am so thrilled that I got to be a part of it!

I’d love to continue the conversation that started this Digital Citizenship Week. When I’m not on the Longwood University campus, you can always find me on Twitter and Instagram @JosieAhlquist. If you’re interested in learning more about digital citizenship and digital leadership, be sure to check out my blog and my podcast. Reach out; I’d love to hear from you!

This post was authored, in its entirety, by Dr. Josie Ahlquist.