Nov 19

#TechTipThursday: Basics of Audacity


Audacity is a free open source software that enables users to record live audio, playback, or convert recorded audio into CDs, fulfilling a variety of needs both recreational and pedagogical.

Consider adding a voice recording to supplement a visual presentation on Canvas: this could be a viable option whenever unforeseen situations arise that require an instructor’s attention elsewhere. Professors can quickly record a narrative of instructions/presentations for students, keeping the course current despite an inability to provide in-person instruction. Audacity is also a great tool for recording podcasts, which can add variety to instructional methods and cater to different learning styles.

For students, Audacity is an excellent resource for creating project presentations with voice overs especially for online or hybrid courses. This could also provide students the option to record lectures as a study tool throughout the semester.  For the arts, Audacity offers a way for students to create and record original music compositions, practice characterizations or record inspirations behind art exhibits.

This post will walk readers through basic use of Audacity. To begin, you’ll need to download the program. Navigate to and select the “download” button. The download should start automatically and, when finished, will launch the Set Up Wizard to prompt you through the installation process. Launch Audacity to follow along below.

  1. You can start to record by pressing the red circle Capture
  2. Once you’ve started the recording, you should notice a scrolling grey field displaying your audio input in blue. To stop a recording, you can press the blue pause button and continue recording when ready. To end the recording of your current track, press the yellow stop button Capture2
  3. Note that you can record multiple tracks and adjust their placements and volumes using the tools in the menu at the top of your screen Capture3
  4. Please watch our instructional video on the functions of the Select, Envelope, Draw, Zoom, Time Shift, and Multi-Tool functions located in the top menu of your screen YouTube Preview Image
  5. Once you have completed your recording, you can save and/or edit the audio by navigating to “File” then “Save” or “Export Audio” Capture4
  6.  When saving or exporting, simply select the destination and desired name of the track and click “Save” Capture5

Our team is able to offer assistance as you learn to use this program or are ready to take the next step in finding a way to connect this technology to predetermined student learning outcomes. If you have any difficulty replicating the steps given in this post, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


Nov 12

#TechTipThursday: Google Alerts

Google Alerts allow you to set up notifications to follow specific topics.  Google will email you updates with news and online postings about the keywords you set, as frequently (or infrequently) as you like.  This may not sound much different than countless other news sites, but Google Alerts allow you to do some unique things:

  • If you have family far away, you could set an alert on their town to stay up to date on local news in their area.
  • Set an alert for coupon codes from your favorite company to save money.
  • If you are job hunting, you could set an alert for openings in your area, or in your dream company.
  • If you are conscientious about privacy, or your online image, set an alert on your name to see what is being said about you.

You can also use all of the Google Search Operators to customize your search. Follow the steps below to create alerts for your favorite topics.

  1. To create an alert, go to Enter the term you want to receive alerts for. 01
    1. You can also browse through a list of suggested topics that many people have alerts set on.02
  2. As you search through terms, the site will show you a preview of what alerts you would receive for different terms. When you’re ready, click on Create Alert. You will be prompted to enter an email address at which to receive the alert. You do not need a Google account to take advantage of Google Alerts.03
  3. Once you create it, your alert will show up on the front page. 04
    1. You can use the gear icon to set your general alerts settings. You can set the time of day you want to receive the alert, and if you have multiple alerts set, you can choose to receive them all in one email instead of individually.05
  4. Use the pencil icon on your alert to edit settings for that specific alert. You can set how often you want to receive notices, and what sources to search for the keywords.  You can also specify to only give results in a certain region and to give all results, or only the best. These options are useful if you are following a major news topic so you don’t get flooded with notifications.


If you have any difficulty replicating the steps given in this post, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Nov 05

#TechTipThursday: Google Chrome’s Remote Desktop Application

The Chrome Remote Desktop Application allows you to access another individual’s computer from your own, over the internet. This application can be used to reach items on your own device from another computer, or to give others temporary access to your computer; this can be helpful when troubleshooting, for example. To use this program, your computer must have Google Chrome (to download, click here) installed and you must have a Google Account (to create an account, click here). The application must be installed on both the computer you are using as well as the one you intend to access. This post will walk you through installing and using the Remote Desktop application on a Windows-based machine.

To install the application:

  1. Visit the page for the Chrome Remote Desktop Application
  2. In the upper right-hand corner, select the +Add To Chrome button to add the application to your desktop 1
  3. Select Add in the pop-up that appears. This application will now download and appear in your Google Chrome App Launcher. You will need to authorize the application 2

To authorize the application:

  1.  Once you open the app, you will see the prompt below; select Continue3
  2. A new window will open, along with a pop-up menu; select Accept 4now

To allow another computer to access your own:

  1. With the app open, under “Remote Assistance”, select the green Share button. This will immediately start a download necessary for the program 5now
  2. Open the installer you just downloaded and proceed through the installation process. Once this is complete, return to the Remote Desktop Application and you should see the dialog box below; select OK6now
  3. A box will open with an access code that should be used by the computer accessing yours 7now

To access another computer using an access code:

  1. On the computer to be accessed, follow the steps (above) for allowing another computer to access your own
  2. In the Chrome Remote Desktop Application, under “Remote Assistance”, select the grey Access button 8now
  3. In the pop-up box, enter the access code from the computer to be accessed and select Connect9now

To access your own computer from any other device:

  1. In the Chrome Remote Desktop Application, under My Computers, select the grey Get Started button. The section will expand 10now
  2. In the expanded section, select Enable Remote Connections. This button will immediately start a necessary download for the program
  3. Open this downloaded installer and it will proceed through the installation process. Once this is complete, return to the Remote Desktop Application, where you will see the following prompt. Select a numerical PIN of 6 or more digits which will make connecting from another device secure. Enter it once in the box next to PIN and re-enter the same PIN in the box next to Re-type PIN. Select OK and be sure to record this PIN for later use 11now
  4. You will receive a confirmation message. Your computer can now be remotely accessed from any other computer with the Chrome Remote Desktop Application installed
  5. To access this device from another device with the application installed, simply open the application and under the My Computers section, select the name of the device you would like to access, enter the PIN of 6 or more digits you created, and you will be connected to that computer
  6. To stop accessing the computer from another device, at the top center of the page select the drop down menu and then select Disconnect

If you have any questions based on the information in this post, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Oct 22

#TechTipThursday: Request a Canvas Feature

You may recall our #TechTipThursday on this topic from earlier this year. As we shared in January, Canvas 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.

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
  2. After your successful login, click on “Help” in the top right-hand corner Untitled
  3. Click “Submit a Feature Idea” Untitled2
  4. Click “Log in” Untitled3
  5. You will see a screen that looks like the one below. Choose “” from the drop-down menu Untitled4
  6. *If you have already created an account, skip to Step 9* The account information may autofill from your Canvas account. If it did not autofill, fill in all of the required fields using your Longwood email and also using your email as your username. Make sure all the fields are correct then click “Log in” Untitled5
  7. Click “Share Ideas” Untitled6
  8. Click “Feature Ideas” Untitled7
  9. Click “Share a New Idea” Untitled8
  10. You can complete the feature request form, which asks for a title and description of your idea Untitled9
  11. Fill in any relevant tags or keywords and then click “Publish” Untitled10

Canvas provides additional information on the voting process for feature ideas in the Canvas Community. If you have any questions based on the information in this post, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Oct 15

#TechTipThursday: Recording from your iPhone/iPad

Having the ability to record the screen of your iOS device, with or without audio, is helpful as technology becomes increasingly integrated with the teaching and learning experience. Consider a situation in which a professor wants students to navigate a specific application outside of class to complete an assignment and/or students are required to submit confirmation of their ability to perform a task on their mobile device. By following the steps detailed in this post, individuals can learn at their own pace and successfully record from their iPhone or iPad.

QuickTime, a multimedia program developed by Apple, is available for both Windows and iOS machines. This post, however, is specific to Apple machines.

  1. Connect your mobile iOS device to your Mac computer
  2. Open the QuickTime Player application on your Mac
  3. Go to File and select “New Movie Recording” 1
  4. A recording window will appear. Click the little arrow to the right of the record button to access a dropdown menu; this is where you can select your iOS device 2
  5. Select the microphone of your iOS device if you want to record music or app/game sounds 3.1
  6. Click the red “Record” button to capture the tasks on your iOS device. Click the record button again to end your recording 4.1
  7. To save it, click “File” then “Save” 5
  8. You can then choose the location in which to save your movie 6

If you have any questions based on the information in this post, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Sep 02

Guide to the New Canvas Community

As you may know, the Canvas Community updated near the end of last semester, and now looks quite different.  This guide will show you how to find the four main features of the new Canvas Community: Canvas Guides, Release Notes, Ideas, and Answers.

You can get to the Canvas Community by clicking the Help button at the top right corner of Canvas, and then selecting Search the Canvas Guides.

The Canvas Guides is a collection of instructions for common tasks in Canvas.  This area includes instruction guides sorted by role (student, instructor, administrator) as well as video tutorials and special guides for Canvas mobile apps.

The front page of the Canvas Community includes a search bar to search for a guide on a specific topic, as well as links to various areas you may find helpful.


The Release Notes are documentation that Canvas produces when Canvas updates every three weeks.  You can read the notes to keep aware of changes to Canvas that may affect how you use it, or to learn how to take advantage of new features as they are added.

To find the Release Notes, scroll to the bottom of the Canvas Community page and find the “Help” section.  Click on the “Releases” link located under the “Help” section.


This will bring you to the Canvas Release Notes page.  From here you can search for release notes, browse by category, or look at the most recent Canvas Release notes.


Canvas Ideas is a section of the Canvas Community which focuses on what is on the horizon for Canvas. Here you can see what is being worked on and collaborate with other Canvas users to formulate ideas of what features you would like to see in future updates.

To access this area, click on Ideas in the top navigation of the Canvas Community page.


Canvas Ideas is divided into Canvas Studio, Feature Ideas, and Focus Groups.

In the Canvas Studio you can see what Canvas is currently working on and how large of a priority it is for them. This is where they keep information about anticipated new features, things currently under development, and recently completed projects.


The second area is Feature Ideas. This is where you can submit ideas for features or fixes, and follow your favorite suggestions through the development process.


The final section is Focus Groups.  This is a forum where Canvas users can join groups to discuss ideas and challenges they have in common or share an interest in.  These groups provide feedback to Canvas to help them continue to improve and meet users’ needs.

Canvas Answers is a collection of discussions where Canvas users can ask and answer each other’s questions.  Here you can get ideas from how people at other schools use Canvas, ask questions, or share solutions you find helpful.

To access this area, click on Answers in the top navigation of the Canvas Community page.

You can use the search box in the center of the page to search for a specific topic, or use the buttons below to ask a question, start a discussion, or find a question to answer.


After selecting one of these options, you will see a list of discussions. To view a post, click on the title of it.  You can also choose to Follow, Share, or Bookmark a particular post for later reference.


The new Canvas Community is full of great resources and tips, so go ahead and check it out!

May 26

DEC Adds Respondus Tools to Ensure Integrity of Online Assessment

Beginning with Summer 2015, the DEC will roll out a new set of tools that instructors can use to help create online assessments and ensure the integrity of online testing. All faculty members now have access to the online proctoring tools Respondus LockDown Browser and Respondus Monitor, in addition to the assessment creation software Respondus 4.

Image result for respondus lockdown browser

Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor


The Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor are a suite of tools that work together to ensure the integrity of online assessments. The LockDown Browser is a web browser that instructors can require for tests or quizzes that essentially blocks out all content other than the exam, meaning no additional tabs or windows, no screenshots or recordings. Once the exam is started in Canvas using LDB, the student is locked into that view until they finish the assessment.

Respondus Monitor is an optional add-on that can be used in conjunction with Respondus LockDown Browser. When an instructor requires Monitor for an exam, the student must go through an additional set-up process that activates the webcam on their computer to perform an environment check and other steps that can be required at the discretion of the instructor. Once the student begins the exam, Respondus Monitor records the entirety of the exam from the student’s webcam. Instructors then have the option of reviewing footage from the “LockDown Browser” tab in their Canvas course.



**It is important to note that Respondus Monitor will not analyze the footage for behavior that may indicate cheating. It is billed mainly as a deterrent with the option for the instructor to review footage for any student believed to have violated testing protocol.

Getting Started with Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor

Faculty interested in using either Respondus LockDown Browser or Monitor should get in touch with the DEC at (434) 395-4332 or by email at The DEC has pre-made Canvas resources that can be copied into your Canvas course. These resources include a download page for the LockDown Browser, a troubleshooting section to help students with common issues, and a practice quiz so that students can test the technology to make sure their personal computers support the software before taking a high-stakes assessment.

**It is highly recommended that instructors schedule a short consultation with a DEC staff member before using LockDown Browser and/or Monitor. Our pilot data indicate that improper implementation of these technologies can result in high test anxiety for the students, increased instructor workload, and increased support calls to the DEC and ITS.

Respondus 4

Respondus 4 is a software that enables the easy creation of Canvas assessments. Using specific formatting guidelines, instructors can use Respondus 4 to upload publisher or self-created MS Word test banks into Canvas.Faculty interested in using either Respondus 4 should get in touch with the DEC at (434) 395-4332 or by email at

May 04

MAGIC 2015 Videos Available

Thanks to all of the teachers, administrators, and technologists that attended the first meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Group Instructing with Canvas at Longwood University. We had a great turn out for this inaugural event with so many great sessions.

If you didn’t have time to get to all of the sessions you wanted to or want to refresh on some of the awesome Canvas knowledge that our presenters dropped, you can access all of the video recordings of the MAGIC session through the link below:

Click here to access the MAGIC 2015 Video Archive >>>>>

Apr 30

#TechTipThursday: SpeedGrader App

Canvas uses SpeedGrader as the tool through which instructors are able to grade student submissions. SpeedGrader is available to users both online (through Canvas directly) and as an app. Instructure recently updated the SpeedGrader app and this post will provide an overview of how instructors can complete common tasks within the new SpeedGrader app. Our focus is on the iOS app (as we have only iPads available in our loaner pool). For information on the Android app, please refer to Instructure directly.

If you have not done so already, download the app by searching “SpeedGrader” in Google Play Store/App Store. When you launch the app, begin typing “Longwood University” in the only field provided; select “Longwood University” and touch the right-facing arrow to proceed. SG1

You will be redirected to another login screen – enter the same LancerNet credentials you use to access Canvas regularly. SG2

Once you are logged in, you will see a screen that displays your “favorite” courses. You can adjust the courses that appear on this list either in Canvas directly or through the Canvas app. For additional information on how to change your favorite courses in a Canvas browser, click here. Please note that at the top of that page, directly underneath the clock, you have the option to touch-select “All Courses”. SG3

You can change the color of your course tags within the SpeedGrader app. To do so, click the drop-down arrow that appears next to the course name and select a color. Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 3.42.32 PM

The settings menu now allows you to report a problem, access Help Guides, and hide names when grading. To access these features, click the three bar icon in the upper left-hand corner. Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 3.56.18 PM

When you are ready to begin grading, click the course that you’d like to enter. The courses with assignments to be graded will have a number, encircled in red, to the right-hand side of the course color tag. SG4

Similarly, the assignments requiring your attention will have a number, encircled in red, to the far right-hand side of the assignment title. The number inside the circle refers to the number of submissions for that specific assignment. SG5

To switch sections within a course, click the “All Sections” button that appears in the upper right-hand corner of the first screen you see upon entering a course. SG6

Before you start grading, consider whether or not you want to mute the assignment. If you mute an assignment, students’ grades will not be visible to them (nor will they receive notifications related to the assignment) until you unmute the assignment. To mute an assignment, tap the speaker icon in the upper right-hand corner of the assignment window. Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 4.16.04 PM

To start grading, click on the assignment. To change which student’s assignment you’re viewing, click the drop-down arrow at the top of the page. Note the screenshot below has the students’ names hidden. SG7

To assign a grade to a student’s submission, click on the three-dotted icon on the far right-hand side of the screen. This will allow you to identify a numerical point value to the submitted assignment. Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 4.25.04 PM

If you designed the assignment to follow a rubric, you can select the point values for each section of your rubric. Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 4.27.27 PM

To make a comment on a student’s submission, click the “Comments” tab in the grading pane. Provide your comment(s) then click “post”. Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 4.31.14 PM

Be sure to save your grading process for each individual student. The following screenshot identifies the error that will appear if you attempt to navigate away from a student’s graded submission without saving your work. SG10

If you have any questions based on the information in this post, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Apr 23

Summer LOTI Dates Announced

The DEC is now accepting applications for LOTI during the summer of 2015. To apply, please submit an application and instructor worksheet to Brooke Greenbank ( by 5 p.m. on Monday, June 1st. You can find the application and instructor worksheet on the LOTI page of the DEC main site.

If you are new to online teaching or haven’t heard of LOTI, you can find some additional information below.


The Longwood Online Technology Institute (LOTI) houses professional development training for faculty and staff who will be working with online students and includes a preparatory program for students who will be participating in online classes. In order to be an online or hybrid instructor for Longwood University, faculty are required to become certified in online instruction. Faculty who have completed the previous iteration of LOTI will be considered certified, but will be encouraged to take elective classes within the institute to continue to develop their online teaching skills.

LOTI Training 2015-2016

Online Teaching Certification will be offered 3 times per year.  Certification consists of 4 elements: Online Teaching Proficiency, Pedagogy and Course Design, Shadowing, and Course Review/Live Teaching.  LOTI elective courses to continue development in online instruction and course design will be offered multiple times each semester.

Four Stages of Online Training Certification


We look forward to working with you!

Older posts «