Monday, April 11, 2016

Moodle Conference - NERCOMP

April 11, 2016. Attending the NERCOMP Moodle Conference at UMASS Lowell.

9:50 - Moodle Gradebook Outreach Tactics - 
Speaker: Sarah Oelker, Science Librarian, Mount Holyoke College
They have reached out to faculty about best practices for the Moodle gradebook, in an attempt to encourage instructors to set up their gradebooks well from the start. Pre-empting problems. Teach high level decision making and early setup with rubrics. Showed us their "Getting Ready to Grade Workshop."

Talking Points:

  • What is Moodle Gradebook good at? It's good at actual numbers. Basic arithmetic.
  • What is Moodle Gradebook not good at? Changing horses in mid-stream.
  • Do you already have amethod you like
  • Is there something you'd like to do that you can't right now?
Workshop Agenda:

  • Do you HAVE to use Moodle gradebook?
  • Things to consider before deciding
  • Discussion of wants and needs
  • Split the group. Offer setup examples (rubrics and natural weighting)
10:45 - Where are my courses? - Managing Content Among Multiple Moodle Instances- Wesleyan University. 
Speaker: Jason Simms, Academic Computing Manager for the Social Sciences, Wesleyan University
Managing backup and restore operations, and archiving policies. “Moodle Ecosystem” at Wesleyan University simplifies issues. Using a combination of plugins and leveraging Moodle’s web API, they have one entry point to Moodle content.

12:30pm –  Supporting the Moodle Gradebook: How to talk about it, how to teach it, and how to deal with changes
Speaker: Alexandra Deschamps, Instructional Design & Faculty Support Coordinator, University of Massachusetts – Amherst

2500 courses each semester. Instructional Media Lab supports grading in Moodle. The process of communicating changes, assist instructors when functionality shifts, and helping both qualitative and quantitative grading.
March 2016 Moodle News and Events Newsletter
Workshops - What's New in Moodle 3.0, Building a New Moodle Course (12 each semester), Moodle Gradebook  http://www.it.umass.edu/support/moodle

Natural aggregation methods for homework, extra credit, drop the lowest (all have to be the same weight).



Thursday, February 18, 2016

Embed Google Maps in PowerPoint

Worked with Professor Nicholas Rostow today. He is a Visiting Professor and teaches International Law in the Political Science Department.


The issue he faces is the amount of time it takes to find and display a map when lecturing. I suggested he use PowerPoint (needed a tutorial) and using the LiveWeb plug-in he can paste in the URL of a live Google Map and have it embed right into the slide! It also works with web pages - automatically refreshing the page every time you visit the slide.




Here is an excellent quick tutorial from Eugene O'Laughlin of the National College of Ireland, Dublin.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Podcast List

I'm an avid podcast listener. If you've met me, you may have noticed the bluetooth headphones around my neck. I listen to 5+ shows per day - covering a variety of subjects - NPR news,  technology, health, spiritual growth, and personal finances to name a few. (Fresh AirRadio LabThe Moth and VPR are weekly musts)

Without a doubt, podcasts have been a major influence in my life. From keeping up to date on the latest geek news, reading through the Bible in a year, to learning how to manage money and win financially. There's content for every interest.

A lot of people say they can't listen to podcasts because they require "too much focus." They can't work and listen - they find themselves focusing on the podcast rather than their work: "It's too distracting." Podcasts are often relegated to those times - running, in the car, on trips, on the bus, etc. Those are certainly great times, but I think they're missing out on some wonderful content.

My secret, and the reason I'm able to listen every day? I've taken the speed reading approach and have applied it to listening to podcasts: "Be willing to skim." Put another way, I have choices for ambient background noise. I can ignore the random noises going on around me, I can choose to listen to music to cover them up, or I can intentionally choose put amazing/educational/inspirational content there.

Kelly's Top 10 
  • Ted Talks Education The world's greatest educators, researchers, and community leaders share their stories and visions.
  • 1 Year Daily Audio Bible  Life has its challenges. Don't go through it alone.
  • House of #EdTech Chris Nesi explores how technology is changing the way teachers teach and the impact that technology is having in education.
  • MacBreak Weekly (Video-HD) Hosted by Leo LaPorte the latest in Apple News.
  • Travel with Rick Steves Hour long show where he talks about favorite travels in Europe, as well as  the U.S. and the rest of the world.
  • Joel Osteen 30 minute message of hope. Gotten me through some tough times.
  • Moving at the Speed of Creativity ed tech and digital literacy, but sometimes history, science, or other educational topics.
  • Dave Ramsey Funny, informative show about real life and how it revolves around money; manage and budget, get out of debt, build wealth, and live in financial peace.
  • Kim Snyders' Beauty Inside and Out NY Times bestselling author and clinical nutritionist.
  • The Unbeatable Mind with Navy SEAL CDR's 5 mountain training path of developing your Mental, Physical, Emotional, Intuitive, and Heart self.

Thank you to Bryan Alexander for his fine list of podcasts worthy of listening to below:

Education 
  • CAT FooD, a/k/a "Teaching, Learning, and Everything Else."   Interviews with higher education faculty and staff.
  • Digital Campus.  Conversation about current events in education, libraries, museums, and information technology.  I've been an occasional guest.
  • Ed Radio. Stephen Downes' list of education audio. This leading commentator and innovator occasionally podcasts his presentations (RSS feed).
  • JISC podcasts. Presentations and interviews on the nexus of technology and education in Britain.
  • Radio Higher Ed.  Interviews and discussions about higher education.
  • Teach Better.  Discussions about pedagogy with an emphasis on higher education.
  • Teaching in Higher Ed.  Very practical show on being an instructor, with an emphasis on self-improvement.
  • TWiT. Now a series of podcasts and video channels on different aspects of current technology.
History
  • In Our Time (BBC Radio 4). Superb, high-speed conversations about history, science, and culture.
  • The Memory Palace.  Short, moving, lyrical glimpses into the past through very curious stories.
  • 99% Invisible.  Meditations on architecture and the built environment, with a Memory Palace-like eye for intriguing stories.
  • Rumble Strip Vermont.  The best podcast about Vermont life.


Friday, December 18, 2015

Lightboard is Coming.

Excitement! We are about to obtain a Lightboard to experiment with next semester.  What is a Lightboard? Educause does a way better job than me to explain this in their 7 Things You Should Know series. Michael Peshkin, a Physics professor from Northwestern invented this "glass" to improve interactions with his students in the classroom.  It's a 4 x 8 pane of tempered glass he uses to write on and pre-record lectures for his hybrid class. See his interview. Rich Grant, our Media Technologies guru will be setting this up. I can't wait to play. This will be my last post until after the Winter Break. Be back in January...

Friday, December 11, 2015

Maximize Classroom Time

Amanda Dills (OK State U) gave a lightning talk recently called "BE WISE, DIGITIZE, MAXIMIZE!" She says F-2-F classroom time is the most valuable commodity faculty have, and their goal should be to make the best use of it.  She offers a 3-part strategy for moving class time away from content delivery toward active learning.
1. BE WISE: what kinds of activities are most worthy of class time?
2. DIGITIZE: use technology to move some things outside of class. She offers 40 Ways to Digitize Instruction. Her list is much more than simply replacing lecture with videos (what flipping is for most folks).
3. MAXIMIZE: Ideal results = more effective class time with students

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Ho Tung Viz Lab

Today I witnessed a special tribute in the Ho Tung Visualization Lab. It was the last class offered by a long-time Professor, Tony Aveni and his course Astronomy and Culture.  He has taught Astronomy for 47 years! This lab is amazing. It's a 53 seat digital theatre displaying the sky's planets, constellations in a full dome experience. Faculty are using the lab to everything from exploring the galaxy to ancient buildings. I look forward to seeing the new Star Wars show produced by my colleague, Joe Eakin.




The Ho Tung Visualization Laboratory was a special gift to Colgate from Robert H.N. Ho '56 in memory of his grandfather Sir Robert Ho Tung. Knighted twice by King George V and Queen Elizabeth II, Sir Robert Ho Tung was active as a businessman and philanthropist in the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong. At the 2007 dedication ceremony for the visualization lab, Mr. Ho quoted a Chinese proverb: "huh shwei, suh yuan"-"Drink water: consider source."

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

What is a Learning Technologist?

"What exactly is a learning technologist?" I've been asked this question repeatedly this week.
According to the Association for Learning Technology, Learning technology is a broad range of communication, information, and related technologies that can be used to support learning, teaching and assessment. Learning technologists are people who are actively involved in managing, researching, supporting and enabling learning with the use of technology.

At Colgate we are beginning to change the way we work with faculty into more of a partnering, consulting role. I am excited to be part of this cultural shift.