End of Semester Round-Up: Reflecting on Fall 2014

67371512_02a442696a_bAs we wrap up the semester and head into the holiday season, I spent some time this week reflecting on the posts we published and what information people found most useful or interesting. Here are the top posts of the semester and the top three categories. If you missed any of these when they were first published this is a great time to catch up!

The top posts of the Fall 2014 semester:

  1. Plot.ly Data Visualizations published on October 30 by Lyndsay Bratton, Digital Scholarship and Visual Resources Librarian.
  2. Open Access Week posts published during Open Access Week, October 21-24 (yes, I realize this is cheating!)
  3. Using Historypin to Engage Students with Place written by Becky Parmer, Librarian for Special Collections and Archives.
  4. Mapping Women’s Movements by Ariella Rotramel, Visiting Assistant Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies.
  5. Presenting Syllabi and Course Assignments as Pages in Moodle by Anthony Graesch, Associate Professor of Anthroplogy.
  6. Advising Week Tip: Use Google Calendar Appointment Slots published on November 9.

I also found the categories with the most number of posts interesting:

  1. Tools
  2. Workshops
  3. Productivity

What would you like to see next semester? Let us know in the comments!

Image credit: XMas Balls by C.P.Storm.

Technology Fellows Deadline Approaching – Don’t Miss it!

The Tech Fellows program has created a space for engaging in stimulating conversations, risking new ideas, and thinking differently about my pedagogical goals.  I’m grateful for the extra time and support for researching instructional technologies, absorbing and dialoguing with others about these possibilities, and implementing new ideas.  – Karen Gonzalez Rice, 2014-15 Technology Fellow

 

Our regular meetings and conversations have led me to take bigger risks in the classroom, which have allowed me to grow and make unexpected discoveries as an educator. Just yesterday, I was really surprised to get very positive feedback from my students on the recent digital exhibition that we have been working on. To my surprise, many of the students commented more on how the project has taught them to be better researchers, better at compiling bibliographies and citing sources, and generally proud to have contributed to a meaningful project – than on how to use technologies such as Photoshop and the online content management platform Omeka. – Ann Marie Davis, 2014-15 Technology Fellow

Thinking of becoming a Technology Fellow? The deadline for proposals is December 20, 2014!

The Connecticut College Technology Fellows Program is a 1.5-year program – spring 2015, fall 2015, spring 2016 – that explores novel and innovative applications of digital technology to curricula for the purpose of enhancing pedagogy and improving the classroom experience. Participation is open to faculty across all academic divisions of the College and will require substantial time investments in regular workshops on reflexive pedagogy, researching new technologies, curricular renovations, developing methods of pedagogical assessment, and disseminating results to the campus community.

The Technology Fellows Program (TFP) provides the opportunity to explore pedagogical possibilities, expand on ideas you’ve always wanted to try, and address challenging moments in the classroom in innovating  ways.  Faculty wishing to participate in the TFP are asked to craft proposals describing how they envision integrating digital technology into their curriculum (one or more courses) to be instructed in fall 2015.  Recognizing that future workshops will be the source of discussion and ideas that influence fellows’ pedagogical stance(s), proposals should discuss as specifically as possible how digital technology will be used to enhance extant curricula and classroom experiences. All proposals should address foreseeable learning outcomes and, if possible, how technology-aided curricular innovations will positively affect the first-year experience.

Click here to find the full CFP (only available to Connecticut College Faculty).

Managing your Image Files with Picasa

Do you often have trouble locating images on your hard drive? You know you have the one that you need, but there’s no associated metadata to help you search for it in all your folders of files, and you have no idea where you would have stored it.

There are many image management solutions available, and Picasa is one of the all-around best freeware programs out there. It will immediately discover and display all the image files on your hard drive, allowing you to easily find specific images, better organize your image collections, and add keyword and geographical tags. Users with Google accounts can automatically back up images in Picasa Web Albums, allowing easy access (private or shared) to image collections online. Picasa is free to download and includes up to 1GB of online storage in Picasa Web Albums, with the option to purchase more.

Picasa does not store your photos or make copies of them within the program—rather, it serves as a browser to display the originals in a visual and easily navigable interface, organized by the same folders in which the images are stored on your hard drive. You can create albums in the program, however, which is akin to creating playlists in your iTunes library. Images remain in their original file locations, but you can arrange and view images from different folders together in new Picasa albums.

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Features:

  • Instantly locates all image files on your hard drive and brings them together in one place
  • Visual layout allows you to really “see” your whole image collection
  • Geotagging and mapping
  • Keyword tagging
  • Can backup images online through Picasa Web Albums, which is powered by Google; these albums can be made private or shared
  • Photo-editing tools
  • Available for Mac and Windows
  • From Picasa Web Albums, you have the option to apply Creative Commons licensing

Represent Connecticut College in the Horizon Report

nmc_itunesu.HR2014_0Yesterday the New Media Consortium (NMC) with the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) released the Horizon Report 2015 Higher Education Preview. If you’re not familiar with the annual Horizon Report, it examines emerging technologies that will have an impact on teaching and learning and is relied upon by campus leaders and practitioners to plan and make decisions. This year’s higher education report is divided into three sections: key trends, significant challenges, and important developments. The final report will include an overview, implications for policy and practice, additional reading, and real-world examples for each identified technology.

This year NMC and ELI are soliciting examples to include in the full Horizon Report 2015 – Higher Education Edition. You can read the preview here (6 pages). Here are this year’s categories, let us know if you are working on a project or conducting related research and think it should be included in the full report! Submissions are due December 22nd and only require a title and two-sentence description.

I.  Key Trends Accelerating Higher Ed Tech Adoption 
 
Fast Trends: Driving Ed Tech adoption in Higher Ed for the next one to two years
• Evolution of Online Learning
• Rethinking Learning Spaces
 
Mid-Range Trends: Driving Ed Tech adoption in Higher Ed for the next three to five years
• Increasing Focus on Open Educational Resources
• Rise of Data-Driven Learning and Assessment
 
Long-Range Trends: Driving Ed Tech adoption in Higher Ed for five or more years
• Agile Approaches to Change
• Growing Importance of Open Communities and University Consortia
 
 
II.  Significant Challenges Impeding Higher Ed Tech Adoption
 
Solvable Challenges: Those which we both understand and know how to solve  
• Adequately Defining and Supporting Digital Literacy
• Blending Formal and Informal Learning
 
Difficult Challenges: Those we understand but for which solutions are elusive
• Complex Thinking and Communication 
• Integrating Personalized Learning 
 
Wicked Challenges: Those that are complex to even define, much less address
• Competition from New Models of Education 
• Relative Lack of Rewards for Teaching  
 
 
III.  Important Developments in Educational Technology in Higher Ed
 
Time-to-Adoption Horizon: One Year or Less
• Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
• Flipped Classroom
 
Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three Years
• Makerspaces
• Wearable Technology
 
Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Four to Five Years
• Adaptive Learning Technologies
• The Internet of Things

 

DELI for Lunch – Reading Day Event Next Week!

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Did you know that over 39 faculty and 1,900 students in 181 courses have participated in Instructional Technology’s Digitally Enhanced Learning Initiative (DELI)? The DELI program provides digital devices to all students enrolled in an academic course when the devices will be used to enhance learning outcomes and/or increase student engagement. Our reading day Teaching with Technology luncheon this semester will be devoted to learning about this program and discussing use of digital devices in classes more broadly.

We will hear from veteran faculty participants that represent a variety of disciplines: Art, Chinese, Dance, Education, German Studies, History, and Slavic Studies. The Technology Fellows and Instructional Technology staff will facilitate small group discussions about incorporating digital devices in your classes and will answer questions about the DELI program in particular. Here are the details; feel free to come for all or part of the lunch as your schedule allows.

DELI for Lunch
Hood Dining Room, Blaustein
Thursday, December 11 (reading day)
11:30am – 1:00pm

If you don’t like sandwiches not to worry; we will also have soup, salad, and cupcakes. If you plan on attending, please register using the online form or email Jessica McCullough so we order enough food. We look forward to seeing you there!

Image credit: Carnegie Deli. https://www.flickr.com/photos/carlmikoy/4960831154/in/photostream/

Great lynda.com Courses for Completing Assignments

lynda_logo1k-d_72x72Do your students need a little extra technical know-how to better complete their assignments? Empower your students to find the answers to technical questions themselves. If you are assigning a video project, presentation, or other assignment that requires use of specialized software, lynda.com may have the answers and tips they need to effectively use that software or program. Here are a few courses that they might find useful:

  • SPSS Statistics Essential Training (link)
  • iMovie 10 Essential Training (link)
  • Excel 2010 Essential Training (link for PC) or Excel for Mac 2011 Essential Training (link for Mac)
  • PowerPoint 2010 Essential Training (link)
  • Up and Running with Prezi (link)
  • Overcoming Your Fear of Public Speaking (link)

There is much more in lynda.com! To access lynda.com, log in to CamelWeb. On the Home tab, under the event calendar, you will see the link to lynda.com in the My Links area. Alternatively, access lynda.com through this link: http://www.lynda.com/portal/conncoll.

Advising Week Tip: Use Google Calendar Appointment Slots

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Because it is advising week, and because I had a request (thanks, Emily Morash!), this post is all about automating the process of setting up meeting times with students. I’m using the Appointment Slots feature in Google Calendar that is available to anyone with Google Apps for Education. Appointment slots allow you to create periods of time, “slots,” that you are available, share your appointment slot calendar with students, then students select the times that work best for them. This tool cuts down on monotonous and not terribly productive email communication to schedule meeting times, and it allows students to take responsibility for scheduling meetings with you. With all the time you will save, you may even be able to offer more meetings times!

I created two short (2min) videos showing how Appointment Slots work:

  1. Create the appointment slots in your regular Google calendar. Watch the video.
  2. Share the appointment slots with students and they sign up for a time. Watch the video.
  3. Appointments show up in your calendar and the student’s calendars as regular events.

There are many options for using this tool: office hours, advising, oral exams, small group work, research paper feedback, and more.

The Google documentation available here provides more step-by-step instructions if you prefer written instructions to a video. Let us know how this works for you!