#TechTipThursday- Longwood Blogs: Getting Started with WordPress

Authored by Jess Moore, ITC

Getting Started with WordPress

Longwood provides WordPress to all students as a way to create blog posts and portfolios describing their coursework and experiences here on campus.  While some professors require e-portiflos for displaying academic work, all students have access to the site, whether it be for academic or non-academic purposes. The software allows for students to create their own blog sites where they can choose the themes, design the layout, and even link it to other social media pages such as Facebook and Twitter.   An important feature is the ability to customize sharing settings to make the site public or private to certain viewers.  Here are some tips to help users navigate their blog sites:

Word Press Level 1


Come to the DEC to get assistance in building your own site using WordPress!

Call the DEC at 434-395-4332 to learn more!   Ruffner 136

#TechTipThursday- Mac vs. PC Use at Longwood University

Authored by Faith Harris, ITC

Mac vs. PC Use at Longwood University

When coming to the DEC, the Longwood community has the option to either check out a PC or Mac laptop. In last year’s DEC Data Report, checkouts of Macs and PCs were comparable with PCs checked out 2.4% more often.  Given that near equal numbers of people checking out machines from the DEC use either Mac or PC, this Tech Tip Thursday is going to analyze the different uses for both types of laptops so that users can utilize either option to their full extent.

Some of the advantages and disadvantages of the two computer systems come from the operating systems. Depending on what you want to do, one might be better than the other, but it comes down to what you are comfortable with.

  • Macs have been known to have a high-powered graphic design for some time. Apple products are visually appealing and are can be purchased for how they look.  There are tools and apps for graphic design that are only on Mac. The perception is that Macs are what you need for graphic design.


  • A PC user can select from many motherboards, processors, storage drives, video cards, graphics cards, audio cards, and memory. This allows PC users to build or design a custom machine or upgrade an existing machine quickly and easily. PCs also have the advantage of offering more connection ports and types of ports on any one system.


Regardless of which system you choose, there are some shortcuts you can use to maximize your workflow:

Keyboard Shortcuts


  • To close a window: Command + Q
  • To print: Command + P
  • To take a screenshot: Shift + Command + 4
  • To minimize your windows: Command + Option + M
  • To Find your applications: Command + Shift + A
  • To show or hide the Dock: Command + Option + D
  • To copy: Command + C
  • To paste: Command + V



  • To copy: Control + C
  • To paste: Control + V
  • To Highlight: Shift + End
  • Selects all text: Control + A
  • Save file: Control + S
  • Undo the last action: Control + Z
  • To take a screenshot: Control + Print Screen
  • To Print: Control + P


Not sure which system is right for you, or wish to gain experience on another type of machine?

Come to the DEC to check out a PC or Mac for yourself!

Call the DEC at 434-395-4332 to learn more.  Ruffner 136

#TechTipThursday- Setting up a Virtual Meeting with WebEx

Authored by Sierra Holsclaw, ITC

How to schedule a meeting in WebEx

A WebEx meeting is an online meeting that allows you to virtually meet with other people, without leaving your home or office.  To schedule a meeting log into your WebEx account and go to the Meetings tab on the left-hand side of the screen.  If you do not have a WebEx account contact the DEC and we will make a Longwood WebEx account for you.  The DEC handles faculty and student accounts, while the Help Desk in IT deals with Longwood staff accounts.

From here you should see a screen that looks like the one below.  Type in a meeting topic and password. Next, click on the down arrow beside the date and time to your desired date and time and click “done”.  After choosing the date, type in the attendee’s emails in the box beside where it says “attendees”.  This will send the attendees an email with the link to join your meeting and the password if you require one.

If you click on the arrow beside “show advance options” all of the extra possibilities for meeting settings can be found here.  The advance options can be changed for your preference. You can change the audio type, meeting settings, and make an agenda for the meeting.  Also, there is a scheduling tab here where you can choose who can be a host, to start recording when the meeting starts, or to exclude a password from the email invitation sent out.

When you are done changing the settings for your meeting click schedule at the bottom of the screen and your meeting should be scheduled and ready to go for your desired date.

Interested in setting up a virtual meeting?  Call the DEC to learn more about how WebEx and video conferencing can help in your class today!


December 2019 DEC Newsletter

December 2019: DEC OFFICE NEWS

In this edition: Intersession Reminders and Winter Break Updates

Do you need help preparing/finalizing intersession courses?

Make an appointment or stop by the DEC with any questions or support needs you have! DEC staff is available Monday-Friday 8am-7pm to help prepare your intersession courses with Panopto, Honorlock, WebEx, Canvas quizzes, module or assignment creation. Let us know how we can help you!
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 Are you planning to use Honorlock during intersession? 

If you are planning to use Honorlock with students during the Intersession semester, utilize the following tips:

  • Explain to students that Honorlock will be used. Provide detailed information in the course syllabus and via a Canvas Announcement. 
  • Ensure the Honorlock module is in your course for students to access. The module contains important information for students. 
  • Enable the Honorlock Practice Quiz. This is done through the Honorlock tab in your course. Encourage students to complete the practice quiz.
  • Double-check that the appropriate settings for an Honorlock enabled test are turned on/off.  

*Honorlock will provide support for faculty/students throughout the holiday break 24/7. Please refer to the Honorlock module for their support contact information.

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 DEC Holiday/Intersession Support Hours:

  • Beginning December 18th- January 1st the DEC will provide support to students and faculty through e-mail ONLY. Please send all support questions to dec@longwood.edu. All support questions will be answered within 24-hours with the exception of Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. 
  • Regular DEC Support both on-campus and via e-mail will resume on Thursday, January 2nd at 9am. 

#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 |