Jan 22

#TechTipThursday: Making a feature request

Canvas, as Longwood University’s learning management system, is a versionless platform. This means that Canvas updates on, approximately, a 3-week cycle. Interested in user feedback, Canvas has a system through which users can request new or adjusted features. Canvas notes that

“the Feature Discussion Forum is only one of many inputs that we consider when choosing new features to build. Just because a discussion has a lot of votes, that is no guarantee that it will get built faster, but lots of votes will guarantee that your desires keep our attention” (https://help.instructure.com/entries/25693004-Feature-Discussion-Guidelines).

All users are able to submit a feature request to the Feature Discussion Forum. This post details the steps you can take to submit your feature request directly to Canvas.

  1. Log into Canvas by navigating to canvas.longwood.edu.
  2. After your successful login, click on “Help” in the top right-hand corner. feature1
  3. Click “Request a Feature”feature2
  4. Click “After Searching, Create a New Discussion” feature3
  5. Click the “Request a Feature” button that appears on the right-hand side of the screen feature4
  6. You can complete the feature request form, which asks for a title and description of your idea. Once these fields are complete, press “Add” and your feature has been officially requested. feature5

If you have any difficulty replicating the steps detailed in this blog post, or have questions that weren’t answered here, please don’t hesitate to contact us directly.

Jan 06

DEC Workshops and Lunch and Learns 2015

Welcome back Longwood faculty and staff!

The DEC hopes you had a refreshing break and is here to help you make the most of your teaching and tech-related goals in the new year.

Welcome computer


Hands-on Workshops

If you are interested in learning more about Canvas, Echo 360, WordPress, Google Apps, or any one of the technologies the DEC supports, then come join us for a fun and engaging workshop experience in the Digital Den (Ruffner 146). Most sessions last an hour and are tailored to the specific interests of workshop participants.


Click here to check out our workshop calendar for spring 2015 >>>>>


Lunch and Learn Series

For all of you voracious learners out there who love to squeeze a bit of intellectual stimulation into your lunch break, make sure to check out our Lunch and Learn series, and the bill’s on us. Our Lunch and Learns cover a variety of topics related to pedagogy, policy, and scholarship in the digital age. Attendance comes with lunch through the line at the dining hall.


Click here to check out our Lunch and Learn series for spring 2015 >>>>> 


Nov 20

#TechTipThursday: Turn your presentation into a movie

Did you know that you could convert your PowerPoint presentations into movie files? Many faculty request our assistance with this conversion, noting it’s much easier to add movie files into Canvas (which students can watch directly) rather than asking students to download a presentation for full effect (e.g., slide transitions, narration, etc.). Similarly, students often ask for our help in converting their presentations into movies, which are then uploaded into YouTube. This blog post will take you through the process of saving your PowerPoint presentations as a movie, on both a Mac and a PC.

PowerPoint on a Mac:

  1. Select “File”, then “Save as Movie…”, from the menu bar at the top of your screen. FileSaveAsMovie
  2. The “Save as” dialogue box will open and prompt you to identify a title and save-to location. You’ll also have the ability to define “Movie Options…”; click the “Movie Options…” button. MovieOptions
  3. A new dialogue box will open and it is here that you can define specific characteristics (i.e., size, quality, and media settings; create credits) for your movie file. Click “OK” after making the desired adjustments.
    1. In Office (for Mac) 2011, it is not currently possible to retain sounds or animated transitions when saving a presentation as a movie. As an alternative, you can follow the steps below to save your presentation as a movie on a PC. You may also want to consider a screen capture program (e.g., Screencast-o-matic).OptionsExpanded
  4. You will be returned to the “Save as” dialogue box; click “Save”. FinalSave
  5. You will see a progress bar appear as your movie file processes.

PowerPoint on a PC:

  1. Select “File”, then “Save & Send”, from the menu bar at the top of your screen. FileSaveAndSend
  2. Under the “File Types” section, select “Create a video”. CreateAvideo
  3. A new dialogue box will appear and here is where you can define the video’s size, whether or not you want to use recorded timings and narrations, and how much time the video will spend on each slide. VideoOptions
  4. Once you click “Create a Video”, a progress bar will appear at the bottom of your presentation. ProgressBar

If you have any difficulty replicating the steps detailed in this blog post, or have questions that weren’t answered here, please don’t hesitate to contact us directly.

Nov 13

#TechTipThursday: Clearing stored browser data

Clearing your browser’s cookies and cache is a common troubleshooting step taken by most technical support as well as an aspect of managing your device’s security. Web browsers, on your mobile device or computer, store information from your browsing history. Your cache is information that your browser stores because it thinks those web elements may be needed in the future; cache is specific to individual browsers. Cookies are lines of code that allow websites to track your navigation history for advertisement purposes; cookies are specific to individual websites. These two pieces, taken together, enable a faster and customized browsing experience. On the other side of the coin, too much information in your cache will result in your browser loading inaccurate information; clearing your cache forces your browser to update the information it loads. Cookies, as they communicate with third parties (i.e., advertisers) in the background, can slow down your browsing and take up valuable hard drive space. In this post, we’ll review the steps to clear this stored browser data on your mobile device.

iOS mobile device: Safari

  1. Select the “Settings” icon from the device’s home screen. 
  2. Tap on “Safari”, from the left-hand menu, then “Clear history and website data” to clear Safari’s stored browser data . You can also choose “Advanced”, immediately underneath “Clear history and website data”. iOS_safari1
    1. Select “Website data” at the top of the list. iOS_safari2
    2. Select “Remove all website data” from the bottom of the list. iOS_safari3
    3. You will be prompted to confirm your choice. To clear all stored website data, select “Clear”. iOS_safari4

iOS mobile device: Chrome

  1. Open Chrome and tap on the button with three horizontal bars, immediately to the left of the address bar, and select “Settings” from the drop-down menu. iOS_chrome1
  2. Select “Privacy”. iOS_chrome2
  3. You’ll be given a choice to “Clear browsing history”, “Clear cache”, “Clear cookies, site data”, or “Clear all”; we recommend you “Clear all”. iOS_chrome3
  4. For each option you select (from step 3) you will be prompted to confirm your choice. To clear the browser’s stored data of your choosing, select “Clear”. iOS_chrome4

Android mobile device: Chrome

  1. Navigate to, and open, Chrome.
  2. Tap your device’s “Settings” button (on the bottom of your mobile phone) to open Chrome’s settings.
  3. Scroll to find, and select, “Privacy”. android_chrome1
  4. Select “Clear browsing data” from the bottom of your screen. android_chrome2
  5. You will have the option to select the browsing data you’d like to clear; we recommend selecting “clear browsing history”, “clear the cache”, and “clear cookies, site data”. Select “Clear” from the bottom-right of the window. android_chrome3

For directions on how to clear stored browser data, from a computer’s browser, please visit our FAQ page. If you have any difficulty replicating the steps detailed in this blog post, or have questions that weren’t answered here, please don’t hesitate to contact us directly.


Nov 04

At Longwood, We T.H.I.N.K. Before We Post


Grounded in our vision “to serve as an agent for personal, professional, and academic growth in a technology mediated environment,” the Digital Education Collaborative showcased our commitment to the promotion of responsible behavior in online environments. This past week, October 27 – October 31, the DEC hosted Digital Citizenship Week for Longwood University. The event took place, predominantly, across 2 online platforms: Facebook and Twitter.

Intended to promote the “norms of appropriate responsible behavior with regard to technologies,” our aim was to encourage students, faculty, and staff to T.H.I.N.K. critically before posting. This acronym should prompt people to ask themselves whether an intended post is true, helpful, inspiring, necessary, kind? A digital citizen is someone whose online presence actively reflects these tenants, across all platforms of digital engagement.

Digital Citizenship Week included a photo contest to encourage community engagement. Open to the Longwood community, members submitted a natural photo of that day’s letter. The winning photo, for each day, provided us with a new graphic for our T.H.I.N.K. poster. To conclude the week, our student staff Tip and Treated on Brock Commons for Halloween. After signing a pledge to be a digital citizen, individuals received a “Longwood T.H.I.N.K.s” button attached to tips (one tip focused on the Canvas environment and one focused, more generically, on social media) and, of course, sweet treats.


We would like to thank everyone that participated in the event, whether on Facebook, Twitter, signing our pledge board and/or wearing your “Longwood T.H.I.N.K.s” button! All photo submissions from the Facebook contest, as well as all the flyers from each day, can be found online on our Facebook page. We are eager to hear, and look forward to soliciting for DigCitWeek 2015, your stories of digital citizenship in action. You’re welcome to leave your story as a comment to this post. Until next year, don’t forget to T.H.I.N.K. before each post!

Oct 23

#TechTipThursday: Password Protection for your Word Documents

There is no doubt that in today’s world security is plays a regular part in our day-to-day lives and digital security is no exception. For this week’s #TechTipThursday, we’ll review how you can protect a Microsoft Word document with a password.

Apple machines:

  1. Open the document you would like to protect with a password.
  2. Click on “Word”, then “Preferences”, in the upper left-hand corner.
  3. Select “Security” Mac_figure1
  4. In the “Password to open” field, enter the password you’ll require users to enter when opening the document and then click “OK” Mac_figure2
  5. You will be prompted to re-enter the password to confirm. Mac_figure3
  6. Close the document completely and then reopen to confirm you successfully set the password protection. You should be prompted for the password you just set. Notice the lock icon that now appears over the file.Mac_figure4

Windows machines:

  1. Open the document you would like to protect with a password.
  2. In the upper left-hand corner select “File”, “Protect Document”, and “Encrypt with Password”. Windows_figure1
  3. Enter the chosen password and click “OK”. WIndows_figure2
  4. Reenter your password to confirm and click “OK”. Windows_figure3
  5. Notice that your document’s information confirms that you’ve successfully protected it with a password. Windows_figure4

If you have any difficulty replicating the steps detailed in this blog post, or have questions that weren’t answered here, please don’t hesitate to contact us directly.

Oct 14

Now hiring ITCs for Spring 2015!

posed from ropes course

The Digital Education Collaborative is currently hiring student staff workers to start this coming spring 2015 semester. Our student staff members, or Instructional Technology Collaborators (ITCs), assist the campus community in their use of supported instructional technologies. If any of these focus areas interest you, then you interest us!

  • The future of instructional technology and modern advances in online learning
  • Support for Canvas, Echo 360 (personal and classroom capture), video conferencing, smart technology, educational resources (such as Dropbox and Google Drive), iPads and apps
  • Computer languages (Java, CSS, HTML)
  • WordPress blogging
  • Graphic design
  • Public relations (physical and digital)

After becoming a member of the student staff team, ITCs will complete an in-depth training so they are prepared for all assignments and appointments. ITCs will provide support, as requested, via phone calls, emails, and during one-on-one appointments. During a shift, you may also be assigned to complete interesting tasks like researching new apps, program planning, program-specific badging tasks and exploring new technology to recommend for use in the learning environment. Offers will be contingent on the student’s ability to be available for training on January 11th and 12th, 2015.

If you want to nominate a student for this position, please contact the ITC Program Manager directly.

Click here for more information.

Oct 09

#TechTipThursday: Comments in Canvas

If you follow us on Twitter you may be aware that we recently re-tweeted an article which offered “5 Research-based Tips for Providing Students With Meaningful Feedback“. We certainly believe in the value of timely and specific feedback, as many of you to as well. Our learning management system, Canvas, has a built-in system whereby instructors can provide comments on assignments. Similarly, for assignments submitted via file upload (directly to Canvas), instructors have the ability to annotate directly on the assignments themselves. All of these features are well in good, but do your students know how to access your valuable feedback? This week’s #TechTipThursday blog post will review the steps a student can take to view comments on assignments, including annotations on assignments submitted via Canvas’ file upload tool.

For students to access comments an instructor has left on an assignment submission:

  1. First want to navigate to “Grades” on the horizontal global navigation menu in Canvas.Figure 1
  2. Select the desired course from the list of current classes to view graded work for that specific class. Figure 2
  3. Notice that any assignment with comments will have a dialogue bubble icon on the far right-hand side of the assignment’s row. Figure 3
  4. To view the comment(s), click on the dialogue bubble icon; the comment, and author’s name, will appear. Figure 4
  5. If you click on the assignment’s name, instead of the dialogue bubble icon, comments will appear on the right-hand side of the page. Notice the “Add a Comment” dialogue box; it is here that students can add comments specific to the assignment. Figure 5
  6. To view annotations left directly on the submitted assignment, click the “View Feedback” button. Figure 6
  7. This will open a student’s submitted assignment, complete with annotations left by instructors. If the student wants to add comments, or otherwise annotate the previously submitted assignment, click “Comment”. Figure 7
  8. A small toolbar will open immediately below; this is where the student can select the desired annotation tool. To make a comment you will select the yellow dialogue bubble icon. Figure 9

If you have any difficulty replicating the steps detailed in this blog post, or have questions that weren’t answered here, please don’t hesitate to contact us directly.


Sep 18

#TechTipThursday: Exporting “.pages” files

We’ve noticed an increase in the number of our students who use Apple’s Pages, an alternative to Microsoft Word, as their primary word processing program. Though Pages is a great program, its default file type is incompatible with Canvas’ document previewer and SpeedGrader tools. [Point of clarification for students: instructors use SpeedGrader to grade assignments you submit through Canvas.] This post will guide users through the steps needed to easily convert a Pages file into a PDF or Microsoft Word document. Instructors, please feel free to use this post as a reference for your students who submit “.pages” assignments.

After you’ve completed your word processing document, make sure you save the file with the “.pages” extension as a back-up. You then have two optional pathways to export your file so it can be easily accessed by Canvas.

Option A: does not involve keyboard shortcuts

  1. Navigate to “File”
  2. Select “Export to”
  3. Choose the desired file type (either PDF or Word)Option A, Figure 1
  4. To specify the Word document file type (i.e., “.doc” or “.docx”), you’ll need to navigate to “Advanced Options” Screen Shot 2014-09-12 at 3.13.35 PM

Option B: involves establishing keyboard shortcuts

  1. Navigate to “System Preferences”
    Option B, Figure 1
  2. Select “Keyboard” from the second row
  3. Make sure you are in the “Shortcuts” (horizontal) menu and select “App Shortcuts” from the left-hand side of the window
  4. Click the “plus” symbol to add a shortcut Option B, Figure 2
  5. Select “Pages” from the application drop down menu
  6. To create a Word shortcut enter “Word…” in the “Menu title” field. Create your custom keyboard shortcut in the “Keyboard Shortcut” field. For example, a shortcut for a Word document could be Control+W. Click the “Add” button. Option B, Figure 3
  7. To create a PDF shortcut enter “PDF…” in the “Menu title” field. Create your custom keyboard shortcut in the “Keyboard Shortcut” field. For example, a PDF shortcut could be Control+P. Click the “Add” button. Option B, Figure 4
  8. Navigate back to your Pages document. When you are finished with the document and are ready to save, enter your keyboard shortcut and the export menu, specific to your shortcut, will automatically appear.

Click here to view our video tutorial on converting Pages files into Word documents and/or PDFs.

Aug 29

Digital Den Open House & Ribbon Cutting

Join us on Thursday, September 4, between 11:00am and 1:00pm for our Open House and Ribbon Cutting! Stop in at your convenience to celebrate the commemoration of our space’s new name. We’ll have our ribbon cutting at 12:20pm with an ice cream sundae bar available for our guests. Come one, come all!

8.5x11 Digital Den Flyer_Social Media

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