Thursday, August 3, 2017

Discover Canvas - August 17th Faculty Workshop

The University of Minnesota is transitioning all course sites from Moodle to Canvas -- the new centrally supported Learning Management System (LMS) -- over the next two years. Canvas is available for you to begin building your Fall 2017 or Spring 2018 course sites. 

Moodle will continue to operate as usual for the next two years; however, all course sites starting in the fall of 2019 will be required to use Canvas.

We, in Instructional and Media Technologies, are offering a “Discover Canvas” Workshop on August 17, 2017 from 1 to 4 pm in the Imholte Hall 11 Computer Classroom. The workshop will include both informational presentations and hands-on sessions. Please see the attached detailed schedule.

If you would care to join us, please register your intent by filling out this registration form

The registration deadline for this workshop is 11:59 AM August 11, 2017. A Canvas course site will be created for all registered participants.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Something to work on now for Fall Semester: Creating an Accessible Syllabus

Working on your courses for Fall Semester?  Why not start by creating an accessible syllabus?

Creating an Accessible Syllabus – YouTube playlist featuring 12 “how to” video shorts (averaging 2 minutes) to demonstrate applying accessible document design to a sample syllabus.
Sample Accessible Syllabi – one that’s a bit more “ordinary,” and one that’s a bit more “visual.”

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Five 3-Minute Videos - Teaching with Technology

EdPuzzle 3 Minute TOOL-torial
Add Questions to Videos, Monitor Progress, etc. EdPuzzle is an awesome free tool that makes it a breeze to embed questions in YouTube and Vimeo videos. When students log in and watch the videos on EdPuzzle, you can then see their progress. Did they watch it? How did they do on the questions? This is one of the most useful and powerful edtech tools I've come across, making videos a much more powerful teaching construct, engaging students in the videos as they watch and learn. Perfect for flipped and blended learning.

How to Add “Time Tags” to Youtube Vids (so Viewers can Jump to Tagged Sections)It’s Super Easy to Create These Simple ‘Bookmarks’ so Viewers Can Pop to Different Section of Your Video

Blendspace: Create Powerful Lessons in Minutes with Blendspace.Blendspace Makes it Incredibly Easy to Combine Web Pages, Files, Pictures, Videos, and Text into a Slick, Easy to Consume Online Lesson Resource, and it's Totally Free! Teachers love Blendspace for hybrid, digital, blended, or flipped learning.

Snip: Create Annotated Digital Lessons Based on Screen Shots in a Snap with Snip!
Snip is a screen capture and annotation tool (or just a ‘whiteboard’ if you want it). It makes it really easy to create instructional videos by writing or drawing on a screen ‘snips and saving the resulting video as an MP4 file.

Screencast-o-Matic: The Original Free Screencasting App!There are a number of free screen casting tools available. One of the mainstays is Screencast-O-Matic, which is available as a web app, or as a download for your PC or Mac. The free version limits users to 15 minute videos and it does not provide editing capabilities, but you can upgrade and get editing functionality and unlimited video using the licensing purchased by UMM's Instructional and Media Technologies. Contact Pam Gades (

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

A New Learning Management System for the University of Minnesota

The University of Minnesota will be adopting a new learning management system (LMS) next month.  Will it be Canvas, or will it be MoodleRooms?

The Academic Technology leadership at the U of M submitted a proposal to ULTA (University Learning Technology Advisors) that UMN continue as a member of Unizen and move to its chosen learning management system (LMS), Canvas.

The proposal suggests a timeline for a transition to Canvas of 18 months-2 years, to be determined in consultation with academic units. OIT will also provide transition services and support to academic units, to be determined in consultation with academic units.

View the U of M Learning Management System (LMS) Review - 2017 Report. 


I participated in both the Spring 2017 and Spring 2016 Canvas Pilots and created course named, "Teaching with Technology - A faculty development course.

Read the Syllabus for the course.  If you are interested in exploring the course and would like to have access, please let me know.

If you would like to explore how others have designed and used Canvas, please check out these Sample Canvas Courses by Subject.


The other LMS solution that the U of M is considering for adoption, is Moodlerooms.  

If the Uof M chooses Moodlerooms, there will be a second transition to the Snap Theme in the near future.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

New Google Slides Feature: Insert Videos from Google Drive

NEW in Google Slides! You can now insert videos from Google Drive

How To Insert videos from Google Drive in Google Slides
Insert and play your Google Drive videos in Google Slides, in addition to videos from YouTube.

Once you’ve added a Drive video to your presentation, you can choose when to start and end it, whether it should autoplay when presenting, and whether it should be muted or play with audio. Simply right-click on the video and select Video options.

If a person viewing your presentation doesn’t have permission to view a video embedded within it, they’ll be prompted to request access.

Note that while you can play Drive videos in Slides on the web and mobile, you can only insert them from the web application. For more details, visit the Help Center.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Flipping Your College Classroom - Installment #2 - Defining the Purpose and Designing In-Class Activities

Installment #2
In-class Activities

In my previous post, Installment #1, I covered how you can begin flipping your course by starting with one one lesson and breaking it down into four parts: 1) the purpose; 2) the prior-to-class activities; 3) the in-class activities; and 4) the closing. I began by focusing on suggestions for the prior-to-class activities.

In this second installment, I'd like to back up a bit and discuss the first part -- "the purpose."  Before you can begin to design activities and assessment for the lesson, you need to define the purpose of the lesson. Students need to know the goal -- what should they be able to do by the end of the lesson? Remember to focus on this one lesson, not the entire course.  "Fill in the blank: By the end of this lesson, students will be able to _____________ (Honeycutt, p17)." Be specific and remember that the goal should be measurable.

So now, I'd like to move on to the third part, the in-class activities. What will your students be doing in class? Activities should be designed so that students are analyzing, evaluating, or creating. What tools will they be using? Will they be working in pairs or groups? Will they be using laptops, tablets, textbooks, or handouts? If they are working in pairs or groups, how will the groups share their outcomes?  Below, are two strategies that integrate reflection in a flipped lesson.

Think, write, share:  Ask students to think about a question or problem first and after a few minutes, give them time to write or draw their ideas. After that, allow time for sharing in pairs or small groups, and then perhaps with the entire class (Honeycutt, p57). 

Technology tools for this activity may include:

  1. Each group reports back to the class using the document camera to display their group's drawing or written summary to the in-room projector or HDTV screen.
  2. Students work on laptops or tablets and share their screens using WebEx.
  3. Use Google Keep to have groups share their work. They can share images, notes, and lists.
  4. Groups work together to create Google Docs, Sheets, or Drawings and share them with the instructor, who displays them to the class.
  5. If the room has ample physical whiteboard space, have each group report by writing on a section of the board. This can be done digitally by using Google Drawings or the WebEx whiteboard feature.

Index card activity:  Students are given an index card to write one question they have from the pre-class work or from the previous lesson. Give them time to think and review their notes and then collect the cards and put students into groups. Shuffle the deck of cards and give a stack to each group. Each group member reviews a card and writes a response on the back of the card. Finally, each student shares the question and answer on their index card with their group (Honeycut, p58).

Technology tools for this activity may include:
  1. Use Google Keep and create group folders. The students each create a note within the folder and write their question and then ask another group member to answer their question within the note. Then each note is discussed by the group.
  2. The instructor creates a Google Drive Folder for each group and shares each folder with the designated groups (with editing rights). Each student then creates a Doc in their shared group's folder and writes one question. Assign students to write their answer to another student's question, and then the group discusses each question.
In the next installment in this series, I will discuss assessing learning in the flipped classroom.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Flipping Your College Classroom - Installment #1 - Start with one lesson

Installment #1

This post begins a series of posts about flipping your college classroom.

The FLIP:  "Focus on your Learners by Involving them in the Process"
Barbi Honeycutt, PhD

"The FLIP is when you intentionally invert the design of a learning environment so students engage in activities, apply concepts, and focus on higher level learning processes during class (Honeycutt 2012)."

I recently purchased the book, "Flipping the College Classroom: Practical Advice from Faculty" by Barbi Honeycutt, PhD. 2016, Magna Publications, ISBN: 978-0-912150-28-4

If you are interested in reading this book, please let me know.  Since I am an academic technologist, my work involves consulting with faculty, providing coaching and training, and investigating new trends in technology for teaching and learning and emerging technologies. I thought that I might attempt to highlight a few of the key points from the book and offer my thoughts about integrating some specific technology tools for flipping your course.

Start with one lesson:

Break the lesson down into four parts:

1) the purpose
2) the prior-to-class activities
3) the in-class activities
4) the closing

Let's focus on the prior-to-class activities first.  "You need to have a strategy for holding students accountable for completing the prior-to-class work (Honeycutt, p18)."

In order to hold students accountable for actually completing the prior-to-class work, for example if they were assigned to view a video, here are some assessment techniques that you could use.

If they were assigned to view a video, there are various tools available that enable you to embed quiz questions within the video.
Other assessment methods include:
  1. Asking students to write a one-minute paper upon arrival at class to summarize key points from the video.
  2. Assigning students to post to Q&A Moodle forum and ask 2-3 questions about the material covered in the video. This forum type requires students to first post their answers to the questions before they are allowed to view other students' posts.
  3. Creating a Moodle Quiz that students need to complete prior to class.
The next installment in this series of posts will pick up where this one left off, and I will cover my suggestions for in-class activities.