Feb 22

#WhyITC: Wesley Marshall

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Feb 06

We’re hiring for fall 2018!

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

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

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

>>>>> Apply today!

 

Feb 01

#TechTipThursday: Trello

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

How to Access Trello

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

Trello in Higher Education

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

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

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

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

Jan 25

#TechTipThursday: What’s New in Canvas?

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Nov 16

Continuing the Conversation of Digital Citizenship Week

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov 06

National Distance Learning Week: #NDLW2017

Longwood’s Distance Education program is continually growing since its inception. While there is currently only one degree program available fully online, Master of Business Administration, there are many courses across most departments that are either fully online or hybrid.

The Digital Education Collaborative (DEC) provides faculty and students with support and professional development to help them be successful with online teaching and learning. Faculty and students can come to the DEC in person, contact us by telephone or chat to receive assistance and support as well as checkout equipment.

Instructors for Longwood are required to take the Longwood Online Teaching Initiative (LOTI) course, which is an eight week online course in quality online instruction in order to be qualified to teach online for the university. This training introduces technology and course design fundamentals selected by Longwood University to meet regional and state accreditation requirements for online and hybrid course instruction.  We will use the Quality Matters rubric as a baseline for all course design elements.  The emphasis will be on the design of the course, not the delivery of the course.  However, some training time will be devoted to discussing best practices in online and hybrid class administration and pedagogy.

The Quality Matters (QM) is a non-profit, quality assurance organization that was developed by a group of higher-education faculty members and instructors with the goal of providing a system to help instructors and designers deliver on the promise of well-conceived, well-designed, and well-presented courses and program through review, improvement, and certification of quality.

QM is celebrating NDLW2017 by offering a keynote webinar and some workshops to support our distance learning efforts and creating accessible materials for our students. The webinar can be accessed at https://www.qualitymatters.org/professional-development/free-webinars#ndlw  on 11/6 at noon. There are short and interactive workshops, one hour in length, that offer takeaways and resources instructors can use in their courses right away. They are offering one each day at 11:00am on 11/7, 11/8 and 11/9.  The fee for the workshops is $75 if you register through Longwood and the DEC will cover this cost for our faculty members. Contact us if you would like to take advantage of this. They are all offered live and not recorded for later viewing.

In addition, the United States Distance Learning Association is providing a series of webinars throughout this week that can be accessed here: https://www.usdla.org/events/ndlw/ndlw-2017-webinar-schedule/.

*This post was drafted by Dr. Julie Mersiowsky, Director of the Digital Education Collaborative

Nov 02

#TechTipThursday: Canvas Teacher App

Canvas recently unveiled a new app that will allow instructors to do work on the go. This app allows you to do the three basic tasks that we all do rather frequently – grading, communicating, and updating things such as assignments, announcements, and grades. The Canvas Teacher app is available for iOS and Android devices.

 

Checking for Updates
To ensure that you are using the most current version of the app, users can find the latest version  by clicking on the Profile tab at the bottom of the screen.  You will see the latest version shown as indicated by the blue rectangle. 

Getting Canvas Support in the App
To submit a help ticket, search for frequently asked questions in the Canvas Guides, and view the Terms of Use, you can navigate to the profile tab at the bottom of the screen as mentioned previously and choose the gear icon in the top left corner. You can also log out of the app in the top right corner of the profile menu.

Sending Messages
To send messages, navigate to  your inbox by choosing the option highlighted in redOnce the inbox is open, you will see a list of messages, if you have any, and a “+” icon in the top right corner as shown in blue below. Choose this to begin composing a message. Once you fill out the necessary information for the Canvas message, choose “send” in the top right corner.

Editing Your Course Dashboard
An instructor can change the visibility of the course tiles on the courses page by going to the top right corner of the home screen and clicking on the edit button as shown in red. Once the edit screen appears, you will be able to show or hide the courses you want. Courses are shown when the star is black and hidden when the star is clear.  

Editing a Course
Users can edit their course name and set their course’s home page directly from the Canvas Teacher app. Navigate to the course you want to change and click on the cog wheel beside the course’s name on the top left corner of the screen. This opens up a window where users can make those edits. Be sure to choose “done” when you are satisfied with your changes. 

Taking Attendance
Users are able to take attendance using the Canvas Teacher app.  Students can be marked as present, late, or absent. The attendance feature and the weights of the attendance grade are set up within the web version of Canvas. To record attendance in the app, navigate to the course on the app and click on the “attendance” option that will appear if it has been enabled previously.

Clearing App Data
At times, clearing the app data can help increase the functionality of any app. Users are able to clear the Teacher App data by logging out of the app as shown earlier in this post, deleting the app (refer to your mobile devices instructions on deleting apps), and then reinstalling the app on their chosen device. App data will clear and users can log back in. Users must logout of the app before deleting it. Failing to logout of the app will not clear the data and users will be automatically logged into their previous app data settings. Once the user gets to the login screen, a question mark will appear in the top left corner of the screen and can be used = to report a problem, request a feature, and locate your school before entering login credentials.

*This post was drafted by Dr. Julie Mersiowsky, Director of the Digital Education Collaborative

Oct 05

#TechTipThursday: Nearpod

Engaging learners inside the classroom can present numerous challenges, many of which seem to grow exponentially more difficult when attempting to engage learners outside of the classroom. With the help of Nearpod instructors can bring interaction to the classroom by enhancing tools that may already be in use, such a PowerPoint, PDFs, or document types. Nearpod not only increases student interaction but it lets teachers monitor engagement which, in turn, can inform course revision process.

Overview of Nearpod
Nearpod is an interactive tool, mainly used in classroom settings, which facilitates personalized learning customized to each student’s perceptions and learning speeds. Individual teachers can create accounts with Nearpod for instruction, or entire schools and districts can sign up to incorporate Nearpod institution-wide. To use this tool, each student in the class (whether face-to-face or remote) will need a separate device logged in using a code provided by their instructor.

Once students have entered the lesson, many different possibilities of lesson content are available. Some of the different interactive capabilities of Nearpod include slideshows, VR field trips, and polls.

As an instructor, setting up various lesson types is as easy as creating an account.

Creating a Nearpod
When you select “Create a FREE account,” you have the option to either log in using a new username and password, or sign up using a Google account, a Mail app, or Office 365. There are also two options: to create the account as a teacher or as a student. Upon logging in as a teacher, you will be asked what grade(s) you teach and what subject(s) you teach. Your response determines the free lessons you’ll see as available for download.

From the home page, instructors have the option to view their lesson library, explore to find new lessons, join a current lesson, create a new lesson, and view reports from previous lessons.

Creating a new lesson includes uploading PowerPoint presentations, PDFs, or Google slides and then adding an interactive spin to them using any of Nearpod’s options (e.g., open-ended questions, supplemental videos, etc.). This tutorial found on Nearpod’s website walks through step-by-step on how to create a Nearpod lesson.

When opening a new, blank lesson and selecting ‘Add Content’, there are many options available, such as searching for images or videos from the internet or uploading PDFs.

After you select or create a new lesson, a code will be given to the instructor. This access code must then be provided to the students; within a classroom setting, they can all start the lesson at the same time. Nearpod can also be used for homework, allowing instructors to monitor home progress remotely using the lesson reports feature built into Nearpod.

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

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

Sep 28

#TechTipThursday: Ricoh Theta 360° Camera

The Digital Education Collaborative may be synonymous with Canvas support but has so much more to offer the Longwood University community!  We have a variety of instructional technologies, such as our new 360° cameras, that can help foster a positive and stimulating learning environment. The Ricoh Theta 360° uses dual lenses to capture a full spherical image or video of the surrounding area. Much like most hand held devices the Theta is portable and easy to use. You can also download the accompanying app to your mobile device which enables you to control the camera or save images and videos directly. The DEC currently has the Ricoh Theta S and the Ricoh Theta SC in our inventory. The Theta SC allows for still images and videos, while the Theta S has the added functionality of live streaming in 360° video.

To capture images you can either use the controls directly on the camera or you can download the accompanying app (free) as a wireless remote to capture images or record video. The biggest advantage when using the app to control the camera is that you can capture an unobtrusive image. For instance, if you were to hold the camera in your hand when capturing an image it will also capture you as it is recording a full 360° view of the area.

To view the image in true 360° you will need software that supports 360° images. Both Android and iOS devices support 360° images which is especially useful as you can create a virtual reality immersive experience by inserting the device in Google Cardboard. For desktops, there are many free software programs that support 360° images; additionally, Ricoh Theta has its own 360° image viewer. 

Advantages of 360° imaging in education:

  • Create Virtual Tours of places that students cannot visit;
  • Creating 360° images with hotspot software to create interactive instructional content;
  • Live casting from classroom or other locations;
  • Fully immersive instructional videos.

Check out this cool video we shot using the 360° camera! To learn more about 360° cameras and how to integrate them in your teaching and/or learning experiences at Longwood, please contact us directly.

Sep 21

#TechTipThursday: Using the Canvas App

As we are settling into the fall semester the Digital Education Collaborative wants to offer students a reminder of the free and handy way to manage academic deadlines and communicate with professors. Taking Canvas on-the-go with the Canvas app, by Instructure, can be easy and convenient! Students are able to receive notifications, reply to messages, and participate in their courses through the app just as they would online. This post provides a brief video tutorial on navigating, as well as tips for using, the Canvas app. You are welcome to follow along and can find the app for download in Apple’s App Store or Google Play.

Canvas: Mobile web browser vs app
There’s a difference between using the Canvas app and pulling up Canvas on a browser on your mobile device. Accessing Canvas through a browser on your mobile device will pull up the Canvas you are familiar with on a computer – same login and general format – and can be used the same way. Be advised that Canvas is not supported on mobile web browsers. Users are encouraged to use the app when accessing Canvas on a mobile device. With the Canvas app you are able to utilize Canvas through a more mobile-friendly display and the app will remain logged in even when you close out of the app window.

Clearing cookies and cache in the app
To clear cookies and cache you will need to sign out of the app, then delete and reinstall it on your chosen device.

What not to do in the Canvas App
The Canvas app is very user friendly and provides similar capabilities as students can find online. There are, however, certain functions we do not suggest users complete in the app. Through the app, students are able to take quizzes, submit assignments, respond to messages and discussion boards. However, the DEC recommends against using these functions as we are limited in our ability to provide support for difficulties with the Canvas app. For a smoother experience we recommend using the mobile app as a means to check notifications and respond to messages and using a computer to participate in, and submit to, the course.

Canvas offers a more in depth look into the iOS version of the app as well as the Android version. You may contact us directly if you have questions or concerns with your use of the Canvas app. If you experience difficulty while using the Canvas app, please stop by the Digital Education Collaborative (136 Ruffner Hall) with your mobile device.

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