#TechTipThursday- Targeted Messaging in Canvas with “Message Students Who”

Authored by Sarah Myroup, ITC

“Message Students Who”

Let’s step into the shoes of a professor. It’s the day an exam on Canvas is due, and half the class has not done it. Concerned for their success, a professor may wish to reach out to the students with a friendly reminder. Or perhaps, the exam has already been taken and students who failed will be given a chance to gain back some extra credit.  This is a message that would need to be passed along as well.  When a professor wishes to reach out to a select group of students in reference to one assignment, they seem to have only two options: make note of every student who fits the criteria and individually message them, or use Canvas to their messaging advantage.  However, there is a way to target messaging to specific students within Canvas!  Today we will be exploring a hidden gem of Canvas’ gradebook, the “Message Students Who…” feature.

This tool can be accessed through the gradebook of a  specific course. Professors can look to the top of their gradebook, where all the assignments are labeled.  They should select the three dots to the right of the assignment name to access a dropdown menu.  From there, they can select the “Message Students Who…” option.

This feature allows professors to reach out to select groups of students and craft messages based on why they need to be contacted.  It is a tool that can save professors a lot of time, as they do not have to individually identify who is in each group of students, and still allows them to send out a message.

Professors can select the group based on students who have not submitted yet, have not had their assignments graded, and who scored less than or higher than a specified amount. Once a group is selected, the individual students who will receive that message are listed below. A professor can remove certain students if necessary.

Beneath that, professors can draft their subject and message for the students. When it’s completed, they can choose to send their message!

This feature enables professors to save time and work straight out of their gradebook. It takes the burden off of professors to individually message students and streamlines the process so that everyone can be informed more quickly and effectively.

Interested in trying “Message Students Who” in your Canvas Course?

Call the DEC at 434-395-4332 to learn more!

#TechTipThursday- Customize your Calendar with Canvas

Authored by Sierra Holsclaw, ITC

Customize your Calendar with Canvas

As a student, life can seem hectic when you’re stuck juggling many assignments due at the same time, club meetings, and commitments in your own personal life.  The Canvas calendar makes this easier by not only allowing you to display your assignment due dates, but also lets you add your own custom events to the calendar.  Since you’re already using Canvas for school, now you can see all your time commitments in one place!

You can get to the Canvas calendar by logging into your Canvas and going to the Calendar tab on the blue bar on the left hand side of the screen. 

The monthly calendar will appear on the screen.  You can change this to view to be weekly, monthly, or to see your agenda. To add an event or a “to do” click on the plus sign in the right hand corner of the screen.

Here you can put a title, time, and location of an event or a description, if it is a to-do item.  You can make events or to dos for today or a year from now, just make sure you hit submit for it to pop up on your calendar.


You can also add the Canvas calendar to your personal calendar whether it is on your personal computer, Google calendar,  iCal, Outlook, etc. by going to the Calendar Feed link under the undated assignments on the right side of the screen.  If you click on this link you will be given the option to copy the link for the canvas calendar to integrate with your own personal calendar.

After you copy the link go into your Google calendar.  Find where it says “other calendar” under my calendars and hit the plus button beside it. Choose to add a calendar from URL since we copied the URL link from Canvas.  Then paste the URL in the box and hit add calendar.  The Canvas calendar should now appear under other calendars.

November DEC Newsletter

In this edition: Intersession LOTI Application, Meet the DEC, Quick Tip
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Intersession LOTI
Did you think you had to wait until Spring to take LOTI?  You do not have to wait, LOTI Intersession is now accepting applications for the Intersession term. The course will begin on December 16th and run for 8 weeks. Please find the application form here.
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Meet the DEC

Please take some time to read a few bits about us. We’d love to meet you too.

See our pictures here.

Dr. Juliette Mersiowsky is the Director of Distance Learning and the Digital Education Collaborative (DEC) for Longwood. She manages the University’s online support and professional development for online content and instructional technology.  Julie is a certified Quality Matters reviewer and Master Online Instructor and Designer. She enjoys working with faculty members to improve and enhance their courses no matter whether they are online, hybrid or face-to-face. She also teaches Education courses for Graduate and Professional Studies. Julie loves to spend time horseback riding with friends, and hiking around the Commonwealth with her husband, Scott, and their Labrador Ranger. Their children are Rebecca, who lives in Massachusetts with her husband, and Jonathan who lives in Ladysmith, just north of Richmond with his growing menagerie of animals.

Ashley Leslie is an Instructional Designer in the Digital Education Collaborative (DEC) at Longwood University. As an instructional designer, Ashley enjoys collaborating with faculty to design, develop and enhance courses. Ashley is a certified Quality Matters reviewer, Quality Matters facilitator, and manages the Quality Matters course evaluation process at Longwood. She also co-facilitates LOTI training, Course Enhancement sessions, and leads various professional development trainings. When out of the office, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children.

Marcus Christian is also an Instructional Designer in the Digital Education Collaborative (DEC) at Longwood University. As an instructional designer, Marcus enjoys working with faculty as they enhance and design their course content. Marcus is also a certified Quality Matters reviewer. Marcus co-facilitates LOTI training, Course Enhancement sessions, and also leads professional development trainings. Marcus also has a love for writing, has had some short stories published which you can check out here, and teaches creative writing. Marcus is an avid reader and enjoys spending time with his wife and their four children.

Samantha Ellington is an Instructional Technology Specialist in the Digital Education Collaborative (DEC) at Longwood University. Chiefly, Samantha serves in an administrative role with systems and technologies that the University utilizes, such as Canvas, WordPress, Panopto, Respondus 4.0 and Honorlock among others. She also serves as Inventory Manager for the DEC.

Dean Boyle is an Instructional Technology Specialist in the DEC.  As an instructional technologist, Dean develops pilot programs for new hardware and software to be considered for adoption by the Longwood community, though, his primary role is to manage the Instructional Technology Collaborator (ITC) student workers.  As manager of the ITC program, Dean oversees the ITCs as they provide assistance to faculty, staff, and students in using technology for teaching and learning at Longwood.  Previous to accepting a position in the DEC, Dean served as a high school social studies and biology teacher for the last 8 years, and enjoys approaching new professional challenges as a lifelong learner.  Dean and his wife Kristen, a faculty member in the Longwood Math department, welcomed baby Nora, their first child, in May of 2019 and can often be found hiking and spending time outside with their three dogs.

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Quick Tip: Understanding the Turnitin Similarity Report
The Turnitin Similarity Report is a powerful tool that quickly identifies unoriginal or improperly cited student writing by highlighting similarities to the world’s largest collection of internet, academic, and student paper content. The similarity report generates a percentage of matching or similar text that has been uncovered. This does not determine plagiarism but similarity to outside sources. Check out this Explainer for a few more helpful pieces of information.
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Thank you,
DEC Team

The DEC proudly supports Longwood University faculty, staff and students in the use of educational technology resources. Contact us today!

Visit: Ruffner 136 | Call: x4332 | Email: dec@longwood.edu |

#TechTipThursday- Building your Brand with Google Forms

Authored by Emma Grace Mancini, ITC

Google Forms-Uploading an Image to be the Background

Students and teachers can use Google Forms to make surveys, quizzes, or event registration sheets.  The form is web-based and can be shared with respondents by sending a link, emailing a message, or embedding it into a web page or blog post.  Much of this has likely been known to you.  But, did you know that you can use the theme customization options to support a larger brand building or management campaign?  Read on to learn more!

Within Google Forms, you can change the color scheme to match your class, organization, or brand, and now you can upload your own image!

1. When you create a new form, go to the top right corner where the artist palette is.

2. Then click “Choose Image”

3. Then choose “upload photo”

4. Finally, upload your chosen image and, voila!  You have a customized Google Form!

Note: there are many best practices for building your brand and creating aesthetic unity across your various documents.  Many of those best practices can be found HERE.

To learn more about how to integrate the suite of Google Products into your plans for teaching or learning, call the DEC at 434-395-4332

#TechTipThursday- Deter Cheating and Maximize Instructional Time with Honorlock

Authored by Molly Mancini, ITC

How to enable Honorlock for a Quiz in Canvas

Honorlock is a cheating deterrent supported by the DEC.  Honorlock easily integrates into Canvas, and is considered a step up from its predecessor, Respondus LockDown Browser, which was its own browser which had to be downloaded onto each student’s computer.  Honorlock is a Google Chrome extension that can be easily enabled in the Chrome Browser.  To Enable Honorlock into your course, go to the “Settings” tab and then click the “Navigation” tab located at the top.  From there, simply drag and drop the “Honorlock” tab into the course navigation menu.  Be sure to click the blue “Save” button at the bottom of the screen. Now Honorlock has been added to your course navigation menu.

When the professor clicks into their Honorlock Tab, all of the quizzes they have created in the course will appear.  To enable Honorlock in a specific quiz, click the blue “Click to Enable” Button. From here, a drop-down will appear, displaying all of the features Honorlock has.  The professor then has to click the blue “Save” button at the bottom and then, Honorlock is enabled!

Honorlock offers multiple features including recording the student using a webcam, recording the screen of the student’s computer as they are taking the exam, recording the audio of the student, and recording the student’s web activity.  Every feature that has a “lock” symbol next to it is permanently enabled.  Other required features include disabling the copy and paste feature, disabling the printing from the exam, and disabling multiple displays.  Honorlock also has a variety of optional features including requiring the student to take a picture before taking the exam, requiring the student to show a student ID, requiring the student to scan the room, and testing the student’s network speed before beginning the exam. Other optional features included having a browser guard present and whitelisting specific sites.

Whitelisting is when a student is given access to specific URLs, but they do not have access to any other websites except those designated by the professor.  This could include articles for a quiz or an online textbook.


How do students enable Honorlock?

When students go to the quiz/test they are taking, the quiz will show an error, saying that they need the Honorlock Extension.  Without the extension, they will not be able to take the quiz/test.  When the student clicks the checkbox and clicks the blue “Get Started” button, it will redirect them to download the Chrome extension.  Once the extension is downloaded, they will be able to start the exam.”

Note: it is considered best practice to have students complete a practice quiz with Honorlock before completing a graded assessment.

Why Use Honorlock?

While no software guarantees that cheating will not occur, Honorlock functions as one of the best cheating deterrents on the market today.  Honorlock records the test taker’s screen, prevents access to external sites, and provides the instructor with a wealth of actionable intelligence if they suspect cheating occurred.  In addition to maintaining test security, Honorlock affords instructors the opportunity to have students complete assessments outside of class, thereby maximizing instructional time for face to face classes.

Professors should consider the use case in which they would use an Honorlock proctored assessment.  Is it in class or remote?  Synchronous or asynchronous?  Is this for a short review quiz or a major summative assessment?  Depending on the use case, professors may choose from a wide array of settings to best suite their test security and integrity needs.

Not sure which ones to enable?  Call the DEC to learn more!   434-395-4332


October 2019: DEC Newsletter

In this edition: Spring 2020 Courses, Updated Canvas Menu, Quick Tip
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Spring 2020 Courses
Spring 2020 courses have been created in Canvas and are available to faculty. DEC staff is available to assist with Spring course preparations including cross-listing, course copy, setting up weighted grades, course design, etc. Feel free to stop-by or make an appointment for any Spring course needs.
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Updated Canvas Navigation Menu
Beginning October 19th faculty may have noticed course navigation has been updated to improve accessibility in Canvas. Inactive menu items previously displayed as light gray. The menu has been updated to include color, visual indicators, and tool tips to clarify active/inactive items. Contact the DEC for questions.
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Quick Tip: Beat the mid-semester slump with Poll Everywhere
Poll Everywhere is an easy-to-use software to interact with classes and gather live, second-to-second feedback. Students can participate via mobile device and provide responses to help drive lectures, guide review sessions, or simply enhance discussions. Contact the DEC today to join the Longwood University PollEverywhere account.
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Thank you,
DEC Team

The DEC proudly supports Longwood University faculty, staff and students in the use of educational technology resources. Contact us today!

Visit: Ruffner 136 | Call: x4332 | Email: dec@longwood.edu |

#TechTipThursday- Bring Learning to the “Big Screen” with iMovie

Authored by: Sarah Myroup, ITC

iMovie is a free video editing software that can be downloaded on Mac computers. It’s a versatile tool that can be used for anything from short films to school projects. In this Tech Tip Thursday, we will be focusing on the latter, demonstrating how iMovie can bring learning to the big screen. We will discuss potential uses in a college classroom, commonly-used tools, and the ways in which this could revolutionize your classroom!

iMovie is easy to learn and gives users an unprecedented amount of creative freedom within a free program. This can be used by instructors and students alike to draw comparisons between different television shows or movies. With this editing software, they have the ability to select specific scenes and place them side by side, allowing for immediate comparisons to be made. Student videographers can create short films or newscasts for class without the need for expensive editing software. They can also record themselves giving presentations and upload the file into Panopto or Canvas, saving the need for paper reports or in-class presentations. Instead of powerpoints, students can even showcase projects in new ways. It is a different approach to slideshows that creates more engaging and professional content.

With these ideas in mind, the question becomes: how do I use iMovie? We will cover four basic features:

To select a starting point of an imported clip, select the letter “I” on your keyboard. To select the ending point, select the letter “O.” Then, drag and drop it into the project field!

To add a transition between clips, select the “Transitions” tab at the top of the program. Select the transition you’d like, and drag and drop into the project field!

To place text on a video, select the “Titles” tab at the top of the program. Drag and drop the text on top of the part of the video you’d like to have it play over. Then, double click on the text and change what it says at the top right window of the screen.

And finally, a user can adjust the audio of a clip by selecting the audio tab at the top right hand of the screen. They can scroll to determine their desired volume.

Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg with iMovie. There are plenty more features within the program that can revolutionize classroom practices. When videos are created using iMovie and uploaded to Panopto or Canvas, students can review the videos of their peers on their own time, allowing more in-class time to be used for learning. Students also have the advantage of filming presentations ahead of time, allowing them to feel more comfortable as they speak in front of a smaller audience and have ample time to rehearse prior to filming. Basic knowledge of video editing is a skill that can be used inside and outside of the classroom, and a versatile, free program such as iMovie is the perfect place to start! We encourage users to explore further and reach out to us at the DEC as needed. 

Make some magic happen by coming to the DEC to learn more about iMovie!

Ruffner 136

September 2019: DEC NEWSLETTER

In this edition: Welcome Back, Survey Winner, Quick Tip; TurnItIn Updates; Fall Workshops
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Welcome Back

We have been back for almost a month now and wanted to take some time to welcome you back. There are some new things to look forward to in your Fall courses.

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Survey Winner

Thank you for all of your survey responses. We have selected a winner. You can watch the drawing here. Congratulations to Kelly Nelson in Art Education for winning the $25 gift card.

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Quick Tip: The New Gradebook 

Beginning August 1, 2019 Canvas implemented the New Gradebook for all users. There are great updates to the Gradebook. You can add late policies, and work with assignments a little easier. Watch this video from Canvas on how to use the New Gradebook as an instructor. Contact the DEC for help.

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*TurnItIn Update*

TurnItIn will now utilize Plagiarism Framework for plagiarism detection and deterrence. The plagiarism framework integrates with Canvas in the most seamless way possible and allows TurnItIn settings to be available on the same page as the Canvas assignment settings; there will no longer be a TurnItIn checkbox. Please review this handout for important information!

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Fall Professional Development: 

The DEC will be offering one Fall 2019 workshop online via Canvas:

Fall 2019 LOTI: Longwood Online Technology Institute (LOTI) is a faculty development program designed to enhance teaching and learning at Longwood University. LOTI provides faculty with the skills and technical support necessary to develop quality hybrid and online courses or programs and is required for all faculty who teach online/hybrid for Longwood. LOTI fosters exploration of innovative approaches to designing online experiences that promote a learning community, learning outcomes and utilization of multimedia technology. Click here to learn more. Register Now!

Course Enhancement Program: The Course Enhancement program is an extension of LOTI, is optional for faculty, and is geared toward the individual applicant. During the Course Enhancement, accepted faculty select one online/hybrid course to enhance or re-design. Faculty then work one-on-one with an instructional designer from the DEC to re-design the course, improve student engagement, incorporate specific instructional technology, etc. Click here to learn more. Register Now!

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Thank you,

DEC Team

The DEC proudly supports Longwood University faculty, staff and students in the use of educational technology resources. Contact us today!

#TechTipThursday: Using Buffer for Social Media Management

With social media becoming a greater part of daily life with each day, people and organizations need to find ways of exporting their content out across websites such as Facebook and Twitter. The easiest way to manage a professional social media account is through platforms like Buffer.

Buffer allows users to link their organization’s social media accounts together, giving users the ability to create, schedule, and analyze posts for multiple social media sites at once.

Users begin by signing in to their various accounts on the Buffer homepage. From there, each account is shown on the left of the page, and one can switch from each social media account with a click.

The left side of the page shows the Twitter and Facebook accounts, allowing the user to change between accounts with a single click.

To schedule a post, select the account you wish to post in, and click the day you wish to post on. This will bring up a posting screen, where you insert the content (text, link, photo, video, etc.) that you want to post. From this screen, you can also adjust the date and time for the upcoming post. Posts can be scheduled far in advance with Buffer, allowing you to set your social media calendar for the future.

The calendar view enables users to view and schedule posts well ahead of time.

To make the same post to a different account, simply copy the original post and paste it into a new post on the corresponding account.

Another feature that Buffer has is link shortening. Besides the obvious benefit of having a smaller link in your post, it also allows you to gather data on the link. Select the “Analytics” tab at the top of the page, and you can see who has liked, shared, and retweeted each post. You can also find out how many clicks each link gets, giving you data to adjust future posts to maximize engagement among your followers.

The number of likes, clicks on links, and overall amount of people reached by each post are viewable in the “Analytics” section.

#TTT: 3D Printing Basics

As one of the main features of the DIGILab, our 3D printer is a tool enabling us to create real physical forms of designs and ideas. While 3D printing has become more popular over the years, many people still are unsure of how it actually works.

In basic terms, 3D printers have two main components: the extruder and the build plate. The extruder is where the filament is fed through, and it places the material on the build plate.

The extruder heats the filament at a very high temperature (can be upwards of 260 degrees celsius), melting it into a softer, more malleable state. This allows the printer to essentially place layers of filament along the build plate, which is heated as well (often between 60-90 degrees celsius). The layers of filament are laid on top of one another in the shape of the desired object.

PLA filament is layered to create objects with width, depth, and height.

The materials of the filaments can be anything from plastic to metal. The DIGILab uses PLA and ABS, both of which are plastics.

Users can create designs themselves or find existing ones on websites such as Thingiverse, and download the .stl file of the design. If they prefer to start from scratch, or modify an existing design, they can use websites such as Tinkercad, which like Thingiverse, is free to use. After the user is satisfied with their design, they can load the .stl file into a printing software. The DIGILab uses Cura, a free program that connects with your 3D printer. After importing the file to Cura and adjusting the print settings, you can begin printing.

However, before you begin, you should keep a few things in mind. First is the type of material you are using. Even similar materials such as PLA and ABS have different settings that should be used. ABS requires higher temperatures than PLA. One way to keep the temperature high is by placing your printer in a glass box, to contain the heat.

There are other adjustments you can make before printing, such as setting the height of each layer, and the speed of the extruder. Another involves the build plate – some people choose to cover their plate with masking tape or specifically made printer bed covers, while others print directly onto the plate. Outside materials, such as hairspray, can also be used to help objects stick to the bed during printing.

The most important thing to remember with 3D printing is to keep trying. Your first few builds may not turn out how you hoped, but with time you’ll get exactly what you want. Keep printing, make adjustments, and find what materials, settings, and styles work best for you. And if you need any help, drop by the DIGILab or contact us at dec@longwood.edu or 434-395-4332.