Interface literacy for faculty and students

You probably use hundreds, if not thousands, of gestures, keyboard commands and icons every day to navigate the web, perform various actions on a device and interact with others. Doing this in a skilled way is called interface literacy, and it’s an emerging literacy that faculty not only have to acquire themselves, but also must impart to their students.

How to use podcasts in class

Podcasting has been a pedagogical player in the education arena for a number of years. Both face-to-face and eCampus-supported Instructors can use podcasts to provide students with on-demand listening materials.

Why you might want to share work in the open

If you have chosen to teach in the open, there are many tools you can use such as WordPress. There are a few reasons you may be conducting some or all of your course in a space outside of the confines of Blackboard. Read this tip for a few ‘whys’ as well as how you can learn more about Community.

Creating Templates with Google Apps

Similar to Microsoft Word, Google apps support the creation of templates for documents with particular pre-formatted layout and style requirements. Templates are a simple–often overlooked–tool for saving time by eliminating the repetitive processes of formatting and layout. Templates help reduce cognitive overhead by allowing users to focus on creating content.

Navigating nonstop news

How do you follow news online? We have so much access to information we can’t possibly read it all. Do you remember the episode of “I Love Lucy” where Lucy works at a candy factory? She has to wrap all the chocolate coming down the belt but it keeps moving faster and faster. The pace of news today can feel like this.

Untangling Google’s growing Chrome universe

Have you noticed Google has been growing their list of Chrome-related products? The names are similar but the features are notably different. I was losing track of this growing Chrome universe. This article is an attempt to explain each tool and how you could use it in a classroom.

Get started with new and improved Google Sites

There is a new version of Google Sites and it is really easy to use! Need to make a quick website for your class materials? Want to have your students create simple websites for presentation or other activities but not get bogged down with technology? In this Teaching Tip, we check out the fancy new Google Sites, now available at UA Google Apps for Education.

Five Google app add-ons for teaching

By design, Google Applications offer bare-bones formatting and functionality, but sometimes you need additional features to support your purpose. This week’s Teaching Tip introduces five add-on like the Google Doc Highlight Tool which allows you to designate a certain color of highlight with a theme. Once done, you can gather those selections, organize them by themes, and share the results with others. Explore more!

Use a learning glass to deliver engaging lectures

The “Learning Glass,” sometimes called a Lightboard, is a large piece of glass ringed by LED lights. When fluorescent marker is applied to the surface of the glass, it catches the light from the LEDs and glows clearly and brightly. An instructor can take advantage of this and draw from behind the glass, allowing the audience to see them and their written work at the same time.

UAF eCampus recently installed a Learning Glass unit, joining institutions such as Northwestern, San Diego State University, and University of Florida. Several UAF instructors have already created videos that are being used this semester.

How to use Augmented Reality in class

Have you been playing Pokémon Go lately? You have probably heard about it if you haven’t actually tried it out for yourself. Apart from cute Pokémons, one of the reasons this game is sensational is because it involves Augmented Reality (AR), which is a digital layer that can be seen on top of the real world through your mobile device, which is super fun.

Creating a course banner

A course banner offers the instructor the opportunity to provide a unique welcome, a personal touch, basic information, style and flair to an individual course or possibly a group of courses. Give your students the assurance, at a glance, that they are in the right place. Create a course banner with your course section, number, and title.

Creating Khan Academy-style screencasts

There may be times you need to explain concepts that are visual in nature, for which you might want to annotate or diagram ideas for your students who are not physically in the room with you. This can be the case, for instance, if you are teaching an elearning course or if you are using a flipped classroom model in your class.

Downloading web video

Elearning classes sometimes require students to watch a prohibitive amount of web video in terms of bandwidth availability, yet it’s no secret that access to inexpensive broadband internet access is almost unheard of here in Alaska. The reality is that the majority of us pay high fees for very limited bandwidth. With these constraints in mind, there are a few strategies you may be able to employ to watch web video economically.

Uncovering the right materials for your course

You instruct your students using various resources: textbooks, lectures, outside speaker videos, etc. You’ve switched texts and realized you need that item to round out a module or replace an outdated product. Searching the web may not meet your needs. This tip discusses resources available via the deep web.

How to put your lecture material online

Here’s a common scenario: You will be teaching a course online that you normally teach face-to-face. Since you’ve taught the course before, you have lecture notes and ideas for what you want to cover each week. What are the options and best practices for delivering your lecture in an asynchronous online format?

Keeping up with Google Apps for Education

Google Applications for Education are constantly changing. New features and functionality are added and updated on a regular basis, there is no need to wait for a version update or service patch, it just happens. One new feature that has recently been added to this suite of tools is a just-in-time training option for learning that is located right inside the application itself.

Exploring interactive video

When streaming video was a new technology the capabilities to control volume, speed and resolution were novel. Could you imagine not being able to rewind and replay a video today now that these sorts of interactive features are standard? Video interactivity has come a long way since the early days.

A few notes on the iPad Pro

Like many of you, I still use a mix of analog and digital tools in my teaching practice. I use an old fashioned notebook and pen to keep up with ideas and to-do’s. Things like note taking, providing feedback on papers, and screencasting have all been awkward for me until now. The iPad Pro is broadening my options for practices that involve handwriting or drawing.

The new look of Google Apps – when and how to escape

One of the great things about Google Apps for Education is that you never have to install an update — they update automatically. But this can be frustrating. Just when you thought you were familiar with the interface, Google changes it. A lot of such changes have happened over the past year.

Make an ebook-style lecture in nine steps

If you are teaching online or if you would like to flip some of your classes, consider creating a series of brief eBook-style lectures using Google Slides. Benefits to using this approach include the ability to include video screencasts, animation, and images easily in a beautifully presentable format.

How to start a Google Hangout

There are many reasons to connect with students via an online meeting space. For example, eCampus-supported instructors may want to have students check in individually throughout the semester and face-to-face instructors may want to hold group activities outside the physical classroom with real-time interaction. Connecting synchronously with students can happen easily via Google Hangouts, available through the UA Google Apps for Education suite.

How to verify when students post in WordPress

If you use a Community@UAF WordPress site for student contribution in the form of posts, your students can edit the date and time of submission, which may be a concern if you strictly enforce due dates. If you would like to know the exact date and time a student creates a post, there are at least four ways to find out.

Easy file conversions

Free Online Tools: Digital files come into our lives from many directions: colleagues, students, friends, etc. Everyone has their preferred method of file creation, and the end product may not be a file type we want or are able to read or use. And while some files are pretty easy to convert on our own (.doc to .pdf, for example), there are other types of files for which it’s easier to use an online conversion tool.

Screencasting

Got a minute? That’s how long it takes to set up Screencastify if the Chrome web browser is installed on your computer. As an instructor, you are the content expert. Sometimes it is hard to explain a concept. If you could just show your students what you mean it would be so easy! Using Screencastify is one more way you can do that.

Expanding Google

Thanks to Google, we have access to a plethora of tools to help us get stuff done. This week’s Teaching Tip focuses on a few ways to extend the functionality of the Google products we already know and love – Chrome and Google.

Free graphics

There are at least two great ways to search for images you can use in your course materials (or homework):
-Google Images search
-Website repositories of graphics labeled for commercial or non-commercial reuse

Data tracking

How do you know they are listening? You put an incredible amount of effort into your online or flipped course. If you’re curious to see how often–or, how long–people are listening, reports and data help. Blackboard, SoundCloud, and YouTube track user views.

If This Then That

My life is complicated and technology sometimes complicates it rather than simplifying it. However, I can use automation to turn a frustrating series of tasks into a single task by using a tool called If This Then That.