Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Technologies for Teaching and Learning

I created a presentation for use this Fall that ties the Seven Principles for Effective Teaching with specific classroom and online techniques and technologies.

Here is the link to the PowerPoint file

Monday, October 12, 2009

Google Apps for the University of Minnesota


If you haven't heard, the University of Minnesota has contracted with Google to provide the Google Apps suite to the University of Minnesota. To begin with, Google apps, such as Gmail, are going to be opt-in. UMM users should be able to opt-in towards the end of October. Beginning in Spring 2010, new students will automatically be set up with Gmail accounts.

Get acquainted with Google Apps for the University of Minnesota by visiting the Google Apps Collaborative Learning Space. This site includes step-by-step lessons including instructor-led video presentations.

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Using PowerPoint Effectively in the Classroom

Active Learning With PowerPoint

The Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Minnesota has created series of short videos as a tutorial for this topic. View these videos for a quick way to learn about active learning with PowerPoint:

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

UMSurvey Launches


UMSurvey (LimeSurvey) is now available for use at the University of Minnesota. It is available for use by students, faculty and staff. UMSurvey is an academic online survey tool centrally managed by the Office of Information Technology which is available to current students, staff, and faculty at the University of Minnesota. Scenarios for its use include:

  • Instructors delivering formative assessments

  • Students learning about research design

  • Departments and Service units can use for both of employee satisfaction as well as informal ad-hoc surveys of staff on preferences for office decisions, upcoming events, etc

The benefits of UMSurvey over other other free online tools available include:

  • The professional appearance of an ad-free University branded service

  • Assurance of data integrity and security

  • Efficiency in using a single tool that comes with support staff, training and documentation, particularly in allowing faculty and staff to construct and collaborate in low-stakes on the fly surveys with no or minimal staff support


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

E-Readers and E-Textbooks: Current Reality and Future Possibilites


An excellent online presentation was given August 26, 2009 by Jon T. Rickman (Northwest Missouri State University) and Roger Von Holzen (Northwest Missouri State University).

This (recorded - Adobe Connect) seminar initially addresses the current state of e-reader devices and their functionality as platforms for the delivery of e-textbooks, as experienced by Northwest Missouri State University in its 2008-2009 pilot study. The presenters then explore the full capabilities of e-textbooks for online, blended, and face-to-face classes, along with key practical considerations with respect to costs, infrastructure, and academic issues.

I found that this presentation answered many of the questions that have come to my mind whenever I have pondered the possibility of distributing e-readers and e-textbooks here at UMM.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Which CMS is Right For You?

CMS Usage at the U of M:

Campus, Course Sections Associated with CMS Sites, Total Course Sections, Course Sections with a CMS Site

Crookston 224 498 45%
Duluth 642 2,117 31%
Morris 84 475 18%
Twin Cities 3,514 8,166 43%
All Campuses 4,464 11,256 40%

The Office of Information Technology has created a survey and information site as part of a broader effort to engage University of Minnesota students, faculty, and staff in an exploration of our future use of Course Management Systems (CMS).

This site brings together information about current CMS use and compares features between WebVista and Moodle. We hope this data will help facilitate a system-wide dialogue about future CMS options.

After reviewing the CMS information site, found at:

we invite U of M CMS users to discuss this topic with your colleagues, and then share your thoughts about future CMS use by completing a short survey that can be accessed from the CMS Information site, or by going directly to the survey at:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Teach Without PowerPoint in the Classroom

José A. Bowen, a dean at Southern Methodist University, has challenged his colleagues to teach sans machines. Professors who strip high-tech gear out of their smart classrooms stand the best chance of keeping students engaged, he says.

This Chronicle of Education video drives home the point about making classroom discussion time really count.

"A Professor's Plea: Try Teaching 'Naked'"

Related Article:

Thursday, May 7, 2009

E-Textbooks and "Open Textbooks"

"The ongoing digital transformation means we must continue investing to deliver great content and great tools for course management, online instruction courses, and e-books as paper-based products are replaced by electronic products." -- McGraw-Hill Chairman, Terry McGraw

Digital delivery costs less (currently about 51 percent of the price of a new print book). Digital textbookos are now beginning to gain a more prominent position in the textbooks marketplace. As they become more widely used, it is important to keep in mind that there are some issues that need to be addressed: affordability, printing options, and accessibility.

An emerging development in E-Textbooks is open textbooks, which are textbooks that are freely available with nonrestrictive licenses. Covering a wide range of disciplines, open textbooks are available to download and print in various file formats from several web sites and repositories. Open textbooks help solve the problems of the high cost of textbooks, book shortages, and access to textbooks as well as providing the capacity to better meet local teaching and learning needs.

Check out these E-textbook resources:

McGraw-Hill eBooks Online Viewing Demos
ASU to Pilot Kindle's E-Textbook Program
What are Open Textbooks?
Online 'open textbooks' save students cash

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Personalized, Individual Support for Faculty

It takes time to learn new tools and software, and with everything else faculty are asked to do, technology integration is often the last on the list. Allow faculty to learn a technology gradually. Give them the basics and then let them add to their use incrementally. Give them time to learn and practice. Provide personalized, individual support. Follow-up every time and provide ongoing support.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Easy Video with the Flip Video Ultra

I broke down and bought a Flip Video Ultra with my personal funds. I just wanted to get going and try this thing, without having to beg for it at my job. What a neat little video camera! I've been able to take it along with me everywhere (I carry it around in my purse and can just pull it out whenever I want to).

YouTube Video about the Flip Video Ultra:

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Uses for Blogs Within a Course

A BLOG (WEB LOG) is a type of website where you can instantly post your writing. Using web based blogging software, anyone can easily publish their ideas on the Web from any computer with an Internet connection.

The best known use of blogs is for personal online journals. However, the educational community is now finding many uses for blogs. Blogs can be used in at least two different ways: as a group journal where all members can post; or each individual in a group can have their own blog with each linked from a single web page.

* Instructor uses the blog as an online course management tool where s/he posts assignments, announcements, information and summaries of lessons.
* A weekly topic is posted and each student posts their thoughts on the topic.
* Post articles relevant to the course.
* Students post their thoughts regarding articles.
* Class discussions on course readings and lectures.
* Students post their writing assignments and homework exercises.
* Students exchange information related to the course's subject.
* Students post comments, questions and advice about the course to Instructor and fellow students.
* Students post their thoughts on what they are learning.
* Students use the blog as a writing portfolio.
* Students read each other's rough drafts of writing assignments and give feedback.
* Students and Instructor discuss news related to the course's subject.
* Students discuss class activities.
* Online students can get to know each other by reading and commenting on each others blog entries.

Advantages to using UThink vs. Blogger

Why should I use the blog service at the University Libraries? Why not Blogger or LiveJournal?
Good question. You are free to use whatever blogging system you want, however you may want to check out what our system offers:
Advantages to using UThink vs. Blogger:
* No advertisements.
* Integration with the U of M Central Authentication Hub (x.500) for access to the system using Internet IDs and Passwords. This means no messy username/password maintenance for us, and easy access to the system for students/faculty/staff.
* Allows students, faculty, and staff the opportunity to create multiple blogs, really as many blogs as anyone wants.
* Allows blog owners to easily attach other authors to their blogs to create team blogs, class blogs, club blogs, etc. Blog authors can attach anyone that has an Internet ID and Password (including guest Internet IDs) to his or her blog.
* Allows blog authors to upload graphics and other multimedia (doc, ppt, pdf, etc.) to their blogs.
* Creates the necessary blog directories (the main directory and the archives directory) on the fly without any administrator intervention.
* Uses of one of the most popular blog software packages in the world: Movable Type.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Idea for the New Year: Virtual Office Hours

The University of Minnesota has some centrally supported chat or chat-like tools that could be used to facilitate virtual office hours. There are two basic forms of these chat tools. One version enables synchronous text-chat sessions where instructors and students can connect electronically and type text back and forth. These tools often incorporate automatic recording of the chat sessions. Examples of synchronous text chat tools at the University of Minnesota are UM Chat (Jabber) or WebVista chat. Another type of tool is one like the Wimba "Voice Direct" tool. Wimba Voice Direct allows students and instructors to converse using natural voice. Both the text-based chat and the voice-chat may offer "hand raise" options that allow instructors to manage the flow of discussions or allow scheduling of office hours with individual students.

Instructors considering Virtual Office Hours may find the below links to resources at the University of Minnesota helpful in getting started:

UM Chat (Jabber)
* Standalone application
* Digital Media Center's UMChat Page
* UMChat Help Page
* Login to Web Client

WebVista Chat
* Inside a course management system
* UTTC Online training video or PDF
* Deciding on whether to use WebVista or UM Chat

WebVista Wimba "Voice Direct"
* Inside a course management system
* WebVista information webpage

Moodle Chat
* Inside a course management system
* Moodle instructor guide on chat

Here's a link to an informative and idea-generating video that was created at Purdue University. Faculty describe their use of Adobe Connect.

If you'd like to get started with UMConnect, please visit: