Use Evernote to Create a Clean pdf of Your Moodle Syllabus

This semester, I followed Anthony Graesch’s advice and moved my syllabus entirely online. For all the reasons he outlined in his post, the shift from a paper-and-Moodle syllabus to a Moodle-only syllabus has been successful, and I’ll continue to do this in all of my classes in the future.

However, this week I encountered a problem: how could I share the syllabus beyond the course? The simplest solution—right-clicking on the Moodle page and printing to a pdf—created a difficult-to-read document cluttered with Moodle’s navigation bar, calendar, and other widgets.

If you’re an Evernote user, you can use this three-step process to select only the parts of the Moodle page you want to include, and then save your syllabus as a pdf.

  1. Navigate to your Moodle page and turn editing off. This is a quick but important step that makes all the difference in the next part of the process.
  2. Use the Evernote Web Clipper to select the middle section of the Moodle page. Control the selected area with the up and down arrow keys. This can be fiddly, but turning Moodle editing off helps the Web Clipper recognize the middle section as a continuous space. Save to one of your Evernote folders.
    Evernote Syllabus Figure 1
  3. The final step of this process depends on your operating system.
    For Mac users, simply open the note in Evernote and click on Annotate to save the entire note as a pdf. For PC users, this option is not available, so we’ll take advantage of the minimal design of the Evernote web application. Log into Evernote.com and open your note. Click the full screen arrows to expand the note, and right click to print as a pdf.
    Evernote Syllabus Figure 2

Now you can contribute a clean pdf of your syllabus to your tenure file, share with colleagues, or simply add it to your archive.

Amazing New Streaming Media Resources!

Last week we held the last Teaching with Technology workshop before Shain library reopens and we focus on new resources and services in the renovated building. The topic was new streaming media resources available through the library to the Connecticut College community. If you missed the workshop, here are the resources we covered: Kanopy and VAST.

kanopy

Described as a “Netflix for colleges,” Kanopy provides immediate access to 2,249 full length educational and documentary films from BBC, PBS, Media Education Foundation, Documentary Educational Resources, and many other production houses. Some interesting collections include: Education (279), Visual Art (240), Foreign Language Film (638), Gender, Race & Diversity in Media (18), Dance Collection (62), and much more. Here are some features:

  • Each film can be viewed full-screen and includes closed-captioning
  • Create clips from full films (a welcome and easy to use feature)
  • Share clips or full films with students by embedding them in Moodle or provide access via a link or through social media channels
  • Create playlists of clips and/or full films for your students then share playlists
  • Films include public performance rights, so you or your students may host a viewing outside of class time

VAST_Graphica

VAST provides access to thousands of films and is particularly strong in anthropology (1,847) , historic newsreels (3,823), and music and performing arts (526,905 albums and 1,732 videos), education (3,949), and psychology and counseling (1,517). Features include:

  • Each film can be viewed full-screen and includes an interactive transcript and citation tools.
  • Create clips and playlists (free account required)
  • Share video via links, social media, or embed videos or clips directly in Moodle

Feel free to explore these resources and share them with your colleagues and students. If you need assistance locating films or using any of the features, please contact a librarian.

 

Workshop Recap: Students as Digital Content Creators

Camino_de_los_Yungas_Bolivia

Thank you to everyone who attended yesterdays workshop, Students as Digital Content Creators: Benefits and Pitfalls of Multimedia Assignments. A special thank you goes to Karen Gonzalez Rice and Suzuko Knott for sharing their ideas and experiences (good and bad!). For anyone unable to attend, here is a brief summary of the event.

The idea for this workshop came out of discussions among and experiences of the Technology Fellows. We also know many faculty are excited, overwhelmed, intimidated, and/or curious about multimedia assignments, and this was an opportunity to have a frank conversation about them.

Multimedia assignments provide great learning opportunities for students: to strengthen their voices in multiple media, develop new skills, learn about copyright and intellectual property in the roles as consumers and creators, think more creatively about presenting information to different audiences, and work collaboratively. There are more potential benefits than I could list here! We heard from Karen Gonzalez Rice, Assistant Professor of Art History, who presented a digital exhibition project and Suzuko Knott, Assistant Professor of German Students who presented a creative video assignment she incorporated last semester.

Some of Karen’s goals in the semester long exhibition project are to have students interact with lesser-known works of art and to apply art historical knowledge to unfamiliar artists and works. In the past, a semester long exhibition project aimed to meet these objectives and give students experience creating a physical exhibition – from concept through installation – using the Wetmore Print Collection. This semester, she is moving the exhibition online. While preserving the major goals of the original project, the digital exhibit will afford her and her students more time to spend on research, writing (and much re-writing), and exploring the relationships between the works. In addition, the result will be an online artifact available to the world that will also promote one of the very special and unique collections at Connecticut College.

Last semester, Suzuko implemented two digital media assignments in her first year seminar. She hoped that by creating original content, students would feel ownership of their work and express themselves creatively in a medium other than the written word. In addition, students would actually be practicing the concepts that they were studying in class and learn about the New London area. Some challenges she faced were the myth of the digital native (students feeling more confident in the technology than they actually were), time (projects were more time consuming than anticipated), and tension between production value and content. In all, Suzuko’s stated learning outcomes were met but the road to achieving those outcomes had more twists and turns than anticipated.

Thank you again to everyone who attended!

Image credit: By celineo (IMGP5179) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Workshop Tomorrow: Students as Digital Content Creators

If you are curious about, considering, or have experiences with multimedia assignments (video, online exhibitions, blogs, etc.), please join us! Karen Gonzalez Rice and Suzuko Knott, both Technology Fellows, will give informative and frank presentations about their past and current experiences with multimedia assignments. We will have plenty of time for discussion and questions. Co-led with Lyndsay Bratton and Jessica McCullough.

Students as Digital Content Creators: Benefits and Pitfalls of Multimedia Assignments
Tuesday, February 10, 1:30-2:30 pm
Blaustein 203
Register here

More Weatherproofing! Recap II

We continue yesterday’s workshop recap post from the Weatherproofing Your Class event on Tuesday. This post will focus on  technological solutions for student responses, group work, and synchronous video communication.

Lecture
With very little knowledge of audio or video recording, you can record a lecture. We like recorded lectures broken up into smaller chunks so that students can easily navigate them and it makes for smaller file sizes so uploading and streaming is faster. Technology tools include:

  • PowerPoint: Record audio narration on each slide of your existing PowerPoint presentation. You can save this as a video file and upload to Moodle (using the Kaltura Video Resource) or YouTube. Recommended for PC users.
  • QuickTime: Did you know QuickTime also records audio, video, or screen capture? This works great for Mac users, especially if you want to narrate over a Keynote or PowerPoint presentation.
  • Jing: This free download is possibly the easiest of all these options. Jing is a free download that you can use to take screencasts up to five minutes long and easily share with students via a link that is automatically generated.
  • Camtasia: Camtasia is like Jing, but it is a more robust software that includes video and audio editing tools and allows you to create longer videos. It also includes a PowerPoint plugin for easy narration of PowerPoint presentations. The cost for Camstasia may by covered by your department’s software fund.
  • Educations (or other similar apps): If you have an iPad or tablet and want to record a lecture or instruction by writing on a whiteboard, Educreations is a free and easy to use app. Simply record your actions on the Educreations whiteboard, save the video and share with your students through a link. The free version works well, but the pro version includes more features.

Asynchronous Discussions and Group Work

  • Moodle Assignment: Cancelled class is not an excuse for not completing assignments on time. Even if assignments are written with pencil and paper, you can ask students to scan them using the printer/copier and submit them via the Moodle Assignment tool. If you need to see or want a print copy, simply ask students to bring the hard copy for the next class meeting.
  • Moodle Forum: Create a Moodle Forum as an alternative to in-class discussions, as place to answer questions about a recorded video lecture, or as venue for group discussions.
  • Google Drive: As we demonstrated during the workshop, you can use Google Drive to accomplish many goals. Documents, presentations, and spreadsheets can all be edited collaboratively and in real time. The chat feature allows students to discuss as they work. You can also visit documents to engage students as they work or discuss an idea. In addition, you can create separate documents for groups and ask students to work on projects which you can then also access.

Synchronous Discussions

  • Google Hangouts: Google Hangouts allows up to 10 people to join in a video conference online. Because all students have Google accounts, it is an easy way to hold a discussion or lecture from different locations but at the same time.
  • Zoom: Similar to Google Hangouts, Zoom allows up to 25 people to join in on a videoconference. Zoom also includes screen sharing, annotation, and even recording. After 25 people, you will need to pay for a subscription.
  • Google Chat: If you wish to have a synchronous discussion with your class but don’t need or want the video, Google Chat is a great solution. All students have Google accounts, to adding them to a Chat is easy. You can also archive the discussion to maintain a record of it or share with students.

Weatherproofing Workshop Recap I

Thanks to everyone who attended the Weatherproofing Your Class workshop yesterday! For anyone who couldn’t attend, here is the first of two posts with information from the workshop. This post will focus on our discussion, and tomorrow’s will focus on the technology.

Communication with Students

Because of the recent policy change regarding snow days and canceled classes, we suggest creating a snow-day plan and communicating it to students in your syllabus. In addition, faculty found that emailing students early in the day after the announcement is made was helpful, even if it is to let students know that you will be sending more detailed information about assignments or activities later in the day.

Impact of Snow Days

The valuable class time that you lose from a snow day often means that you fall behind in your syllabus. The workshop focused on ways to use technology to reproduce certain class activities: lectures, group work, and student responses/ discussion. The first step to effective planning is to focus on your learning objectives for the missed class(es) and then create materials or alternative activities that will meet those objectives in a different way. In some cases, the change in plans may lead to serendipitous pedagogical discoveries!

Accessibility Issues

As with the integration of any technology, accessibility is important consideration. On a day when the college is closed, safety is the key concern, and students cannot be expected to gather together on campus to meet. And while technology will allow you to accomplish some of your goals, faculty should consider that students may have difficulty gaining access to certain technologies. Encourage your students to talk to you in advance about any limitations or issues they may have. The best way to ensure that all students have access to the resources they need to succeed in your class during snow days is the same as it is under normal circumstances. If you think ahead about the technology that you may use in the course of the semester, you will be able to ensure that students either have access to it or you can make reasonable accommodations.

 

 

Weatherproofing Workshop – Rescheduled!

We consider many factors when planning workshops. One factor is timeliness – we like to offer workshops at a time of the year or the semester when you might need that information. Looks like we are winners with this one!

Due to the storm, we are rescheduling the Weatherproofing Your Class to Tuesday, February 3rd from 2:30-3:30. We will meet in the Alice Johnson Room, Cro. If you already registered, no need to do so again. If you haven’t, maybe you are more interested in attending! Here are the details:

Can’t get to campus because of the weather (or other surprises)? Learn to employ technology creatively so you don’t have to cancel class!

During this workshop we will discuss tools and strategies for modifying your class in response to last minute events. You will leave with hands-on experience using communication and collaboration technologies, such as Moodle discussion boards, Google hangouts and Skype, and screencasting and recording tools, that will help you achieve your learning goals despite the snow. Bring your own device. With Diane Creede, Laura Little and Jessica McCullough; refreshments will be served.

Weatherproofing Your Class
Tuesday, February 3
2:30-3:30 pm
Alice Johnson Room

As always, registration is not required but recommended. Click here or email Jessica McCullough to register.

Afraid of snow? Learn to weatherproof your class

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Can’t get to campus because of the weather (or other surprises)? Learn to employ technology creatively so you don’t have to cancel class!

During this workshop we will discuss tools and strategies for modifying your class in response to last minute events. You will leave with hands-on experience using communication and collaboration technologies, such as Moodle discussion boards, Google hangouts and Skype, and screencasting and recording tools, that will help you achieve your learning goals despite the snow. Bring your own device. With Diane Creede, Laura Little and Jessica McCullough; refreshments will be served.

Weatherproofing Your Class
Tuesday, January 27
2:30-3:30 pm
Cro 224

As always, registration is not required but recommended. Click here or email Jessica McCullough to register.

Image credit: Linda Lear Center for Special Collections and Archives, Connecticut College.

5 Tech Tools for Spring 2015

1024px-Five (1)Welcome back! For this semester we are working on an exciting new tool, have a great lineup of workshops, and, notably, preparing for the early opening of Shain Library! To stay updated on everything ed tech at Connecticut College, sign up to receive emails when we add a new post by clicking “Follow” on the left and entering your email address.

Our first post is our top 5 technology tools to help you in spring 2015. We selected these based on our experience and your questions or comments. If you have questions about using any of these tools, contact your instructional technology liaison.

  1. Google Drive
    Google Drive is great for storing documents and having them available wherever there is an internet connection. But because everyone at Conn has access to Drive, it also provides a powerful platform for document sharing and collaboration. Read how students spontaneously employed it in a group project, or imagine if students shared working drafts or bibliographies with you and allowed you to comment on their work before turning it in.
  2. Moodle
    If you don’t use Moodle to share your syllabus with students, post assignment instructions, collect assignments digitally, design and deliver quizzes, or as a platform for after class discussion, this is your semester! Almost 80% of classes use Moodle. If you’d like to think about using more robust features or how Moodle might help you better achieve your course goals, let us know and we can help.
  3. Interactive Whiteboards
    An interactive whiteboard can function as a traditional whiteboard, a projector screen, or a computer screen that can be controlled by touching or writing on the panel. When used effectively, interactive whiteboards can provide new opportunities for student engagement with class material that traditional whiteboards or projectors do not. Use the SMART and eno boards to save notes and illustrations written on the board and distribute to students or use again in a future class. Annotate images or text and save the annotations. Ask students to conduct live online database searches and evaluate information they find. Or, work collaboratively on design projects, spreadsheets, and documents. SMARTboards are installed in Blaustein 207 & 208; eno Boards are installed Olin 107, New London Hall 204 & 214.
  4. Evernote
    Use Evernote to collect, save, access and share notes, articles, ideas, pictures, websites, audio recordings, screenshots or files. Everything in your Evernote account syncs to all your devices and is searchable. I love it as a place to keep articles and websites that I want to revisit at a later date (when writing a blog post or preparing for a workshop, for example). Hear how Karen Gonzalez Rice uses Evernote.
  5. Socrative
    Socrative is a web-based student response system that allows students to “enter” a virtual room and answer questions you pose. It is free to you and to students, and sends a report of student responses after class. Use it to solicit student feedback to improve teaching, to identify students’ preconceptions and assumptions about course material, to generate more diverse discussions, or to improve social cohesion in the learning community by making all students feel valued as participants, not just the outspoken few. Read our previous post about students response systems.

Image credit: By Mc95 at en.wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia (Original Image)) [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

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.