April 2016 Meeting

Today we had a really good turnout and three presentations: Tony from Ed Media, Heather from Academic Technologies, and Jermain from ITS.

echo Tony gave us an update on Echo360, which is our lecture capture software.  In the past, all recordings would be pushed to Blackboard and a separate link would be created for each.  Recently, there was one link that a Professor would manually have to post and the students could click that to access all the recordings.  Now, with this new feature a new content area will be automatically added and accessible within Blackboard.  Echo users simply let Ed Media know via a Help Desk ticket and it will be created and it will house the necessary link for students to access any recorded content.  It’s simple and makes life easier for all parties involved.  Please contact your Ed Media office for further details.

Heather was our next presenter.  She talked about OER, or Open Educational Resources.  Open Educational Resources are free, openly licensed documents and media that professors and students can utilize in their course work.  oerIt is becoming a very popular tool especially among higher ed institutions.  The cost savings to students, who spend $1100 a year annually on books, etc. for their course is immense.  The Pace library has assisted with putting together a nice list of these resources that are out there.  You can find that info by clicking here.  OpenStax is a popular one, and we have a past blog post that talks about that more in detail.  You can find that info by clicking here.  For more information on OER please contact Heather: haskildsen@pace.edu

Jermain was our last presenter.  He talked about Starfish which is a new student centered retention tool that Pace is piloting and will roll out this upcoming Fall to all users.  Starfish is a robust platform which allows many different areas to track student progress at different levels.  This includes, but is not limited to, advising, counseling, the writing center and more.  Kudos, concerns and notes can all be input into the system to assist the student in navigating their way through their time here at Pace.  Students can even make appointments with their advisors and more using the direct Outlook integration.  The nice thing about it is that you can set certain permissions so some items may be visible to certain users and hidden to others.  So there is a nice level of transparency, but some tweaking that can be done to keep certain things seen by only those who need to.starfish

Overall it sounds like the pilot has generated a lot of great feedback and this new tool looks to be a great one stop shop for student information.  According to the Starfish website: “Staff can take action through early alert, appointment scheduling, and case management software.” – See more at: http://www.starfishsolutions.com/

For more information on Starfish and the roll-out at Pace please contact Jermain: jsmith@pace.edu

We have one more meeting scheduled for the Spring 2016, so please join us.  It will take place on Monday May 9th from 12:10pm-1:10pm in M16 (PLV) and E319 (NYC).  Please reach out to us or leave a comment below if you have any questions, ideas, or topics you’d like to see a presentation on!

March 2016 Meeting

Today we had a presentation by Rob from Swivl.  swivl_robot

Swivl is a robot and software package which allows you to record your lecture, meeting, interview etc.  The possibilities are endless.  The robot can be used with many tablets and smartphones via Bluetooth, the downloaded app and an included audio marker which serves a dual purpose both as your connection to the robot and as your wireless microphone.  swivl_capture_app

Essentially it follows you around (within a reasonable distance) and records your in class lecture to then make it available at a later time.  This can also be an ideal option for flipping the classroom and recording a lecture before class for the students to view.  Taking it to another level, we have some Professors already testing it out for use in the science areas doing lab experiments.  Because it can be charged before being used, the Swivl can also be used in other unique locations with up to 5 hours of battery life.  So you are no longer tied to the podium – or even the classroom- to use this device.

Currently we have one available on each campus in Dyson.  Please contact Martina Blackwood or Rich Miller for more details or leave us a comment below.  Click here for more information on Swivl.

Our second presenter was Gabe from ITS.  He gave us an overview of our new blogging site which is now Edublogs.  You can click here to find out more about them and how to start your own for your area or your next project.edu_blogs

Edublogs has a variety of custom options and our Mobile Tech Blog has undergone a little bit of a makeover which illustrates this.  It has a similar feel to our old system, but allows for a lot more user friendly and secure experience.  This includes mobile friendly sites, numerous themes/plugins (managed by Edublogs), privacy controls, and single sign on integration using your Pace credentials to name a few.  Check out the blogs out there across the University as this is a growing trend to share information via a simple online platform.  And feel free to request one of your own for your department via the Help Desk.  This new and improved blogging tool looks, feels and functions like a website and is simple to maintain.

web_inarOur last presenter was Heather from ITS.  She wanted to make everyone aware of the Webinar Wednesdays series that Academic Technologies offers.  Every other Wednesday there is a webinar which covers a pertinent IT tool.  If you cannot make the exact date and time, the sessions are recorded for future reference.  You can get more information on Webinar Wednesdays by clicking here.  We encourage you to sign up for them live if possible, but watching them afterwards really comes in handy as well.

Our next meeting is on April 20th @ 12:20pm in the PLV (M16) and NYC (E319) VC rooms.

Spring 2016 Mobile Tech User Group Meetings

Happy New Year! Welcome to the Spring Semester! We hope everyone enjoyed their time off and is looking forward to spring. Our meeting schedule for this semester is as follows:

  • Wednesday, February 17, 2016, 12:20 PM – 1:15 PM
  • Monday, March 14, 2016, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
  • Wednesday, April 20, 2016, 12:20 PM – 1:15 PM
  • Monday, May 9, 2016, 12:10 PM – 1:15 PM

All meetings will take place in E319 on the New York City campus and Miller 16 on the Pleasantville campus. As always, all are welcome to attend. If you would like to suggest future meeting topics, please comment below.

December 2015 Meeting – REVEL & Echo Analytics

We had two presentations to finish out our Fall User group meetings two weeks ago.  The first was from two representatives from Pearson about a new tool called REVEL.  And to finish things up our very own Tony Soares gave us the rundown of how Echo 360 analytics work.  Lets get right into it.

According to Pearson, REVEL delivers immersive learning experiences designed for the way today’s students read, think, and learn. Click on the picture below for a short video to give you some more insight into what REVEL is.  REVEL

REVEL was created after lots of feedback and interactions from faculty and students alike.  The demo we saw showed how interactive and engaging this new product can be.  Through highlighting, notes and more the Professor-Student relationship can be taken to a whole new level.

REVEL has many features for both students and faculty.  A few of them include:

  • Interactives and videos
  • Quizzing
  • A fully mobile learning experience
  • Familiar learning and study tools
  • Assignability and tracking
  • Assignment Calendar
  • Performance Dashboard

One of the key features is that the tool works seamlessly on both your laptop and tablet so that you can use it wherever and whenever.  In many cases it may also save you some money because it is more affordable than a printed text.  You can access some “How Do I?” Videos by clicking here to give you a better overview of what you can do with Pearson’s REVEL.

One of our resident Echo 360 guru’s, Tony Soares, gave us a presentation on Echo 360 and how the analytics work.  On the surface Echo 360 is a great lecture capture recording tool that has many benefits to students and professors.  When you dig a little bit deeper, you can truly gauge its impact.

Your course Echo Center is where it all begins.  It gives you statistics on unique viewers and cumulative views by each Echo recording.  It breaks it down by the actual recording and allows for open discussion as well as the option of creating bookmarks at important points in the recording.

Need to see how many students viewed a particular lecture?  Echo analytics can do that.  Want to see a heat map of the sections of your recording that the students watched the most?  Echo analytics can do that as well.  Need to build a report and see exactly which students viewed which recording?  Echo analytics can do that.  This tool is truly beneficial in helping make students more accountable.

echo-360

Overall Echo 360 is a great tool that all faculty should at least try to implement in their course.  Not only will it improve student accountability, but it will enrich their learning experience by giving them another avenue to grasp the material being presented.

That does it for the Fall user group meetings.  Spring dates will be posted soon.  Have a happy and safe holiday season!!

 

Active Learning Classrooms and eSign

Our meeting on November 18th was very productive and full of exciting and new technology.  As a break from our usual VC set-up between Miller 16 (PLV) and E319 (NYC), we had this meeting in Miller 21 (PLV) so the features of the brand new active learning classroom could be shown off.  Beth Gordon of ITS led the discussion and over the 2016 January Intersession, NYC will be getting similar upgrades to these active learning classrooms.  After this discussion, Rich Miller from Dyson IT gave a presentation on Adobe eSign (formerly Echo Sign) which has been piloted for the past year now and is really starting to take off, as it safely, securely, and seamlessly brings the tedious process of collecting signatures on a document into the 21st century.

alcThe new active learning classrooms in Pleasantville give faculty the resources they need to engage their students in a more unconventional learning environment.  This new classroom is not structured like a traditional classroom.  For starters, just about everything in the room can move allowing for lessons to flow dynamically.  All of the student chairs with attached desks swivel and move easily on the floor, so the room can be configured in the way best suited to each discussion.  There is a lot of connected media in this classroom (including 3 large TV screens) allowing faculty to present digital content in addition to connecting with student devices.  This new classroom is really state of the art and it is exciting as faculty begin to discover the new possibilities these rooms offer.  For further information on the ALC classrooms, please contact your campus Ed Media department by clicking here.

esignAdobe eSign is a fantastic tool as it provides a fast cloud-based document signature solution to faculty and staff at Pace.  Anyone with an e-mail account can receive and sign documents and they only need to type their name or sign with their finger (which works best on mobile devices as the program is mobile friendly).  The process of sending out documents for signature is very easy too, akin to sending a simple e-mail.  Any form can be used in eSign and Rich has put together a repository of all sorts of forms as a shortcut for users.  This tool allows multiple signature to be collected in a timely fashion and give users controls so they can track all of their documents out for signature.  An eSign account is only needed to initiate documents for signature, so if you are interested in this, please contact Rich Miller: rmiller@pace.edu.

If you have any comments or questions on this meeting or would like to suggest topics for future meetings, please comment below.

NBC Learn and the Virtual Presence Checklist

The Fall 2015 semester is now well underway and our first meeting occurred on Monday, September 21st.  This meeting focused on a great new video tool that instructors and students alike will find beneficial called NBC Learn.  John Blackwell from ITS showed us the technical ins and outs of this tool, while Associate Dean/English Chair/Professor, Bette Kirschstein, showed us how she is using it in her course(s).  After discussion of this tool, the new Virtual Presence checklist was presented by Heather Askildsen from ITS.  This is a great tool for all faculty as it will help them to increase the use of available technological resources in their courses.

nbclearn_logo

NBC Learn Higher Ed is a fantastic resource provided by NBC to higher educational institutions.  It contains a large library of archived NBC news coverage and stories spanning a magnitude of historical events.  The tool includes options to search for videos and to create playlists.  Anyone with Pace credentials can register and sign in to the site, by visiting this web page.  NBC Learn has the potential to aid in student research in addition to enhance course content.  The videos can be embedded into Blackboard as NBC Higher Learn now appears on Blackboard as a Course Tool.

To demonstrate the way that these videos can be used in the classroom, Bette Kirschstein showed us how she used NBC Learn in her courses.  She emphasized the importance of giving historical context when teaching literature.  To demonstrate the uniqueness of the tool, she highlighted two different videos from different times periods to show how collective views change over time.  She pointed out that having the content right in Blackboard helped to enhance her course.  We hope that many more faculty and students are able to get the most out of this tool.

vp_checklistFinally, Heather Askildsen showed us the new ITS website in addition to the Virtual Presence checklist that ITS and Academic Technologies worked hard to put together over the summer.  The new ITS website makes it easy for faculty and students to find the resources they need and it can be accessed here.  Areas of highlight include the digital toolkit which makes finding educational resources easy. This portion focused on the virtual presence checklist of the website; which can be found here.  Going beyond just uploading a syllabus, the interactive version of this checklist gives faculty the resources and information they need to build robust Blackboard content and use other resources.  The hope is that by encouraging faculty to use these tools that the teaching of Pace courses, both online and face to face, will be brought further into the 21st Century.  This will help to create a much more pleasant experience for both students and faculty alike. The site also provides a paper version of the checklist.

We certainly kicked the semester off with a very full meeting.  Please leave a comment if you have thoughts to share on the content of this meeting.  If you have suggestions for future meetings, you can leave a comment too.

Fall 2015 Mobile Tech User Group Meetings

We hope everyone had a enjoyable summer and is looking forward to the exciting semester ahead.  The mobile tech meetings for this semester are scheduled for the following dates and times:Pace_app_tap

  • Monday, September 21st 12:10pm – 1:10pm
  • Tuesday, October 13th 11:30am – 12:30 pm
  • Wednesday, November 18th 12:10pm – 1:10pm*
  • Tuesday, December 8th 12:10pm – 1:10pm

All meetings take place in E319 on the New York City campus and Miller 16 on the Pleasantville campus, *EXCEPT for the November meeting which will take place in Miller 21.  Note that this location change only applies to Pleasantville.  As always, all are welcome to attend. If you would like to suggest future meeting topics, please comment below.

Zaption and Lynda.com – The Power of Video Learning

At our last user group meeting for the Spring semester, we saw presentations on two incredible platforms that harness the power of video learning and seek to improve the way it is used in the classroom.  Our first presentation was given by Renee Bruner from Zaption, a website that gives instructors tools to enhance online videos with interactive components.  Following that, Heather Askildsen from ITS presented Lynda.com, a website with hundreds of quality  video lessons on subjects ranging from Software Development to 3D Animation.

open-uri20130917-17537-757pn0

Zaption offers instructors tools to enhance video learning with educational videos that may be found on YouTube, vimeo, or other similar platforms.  Instructors are able to create tours which can combine multiple videos and pictures together in a single lesson.  Tours can have additional interactive elements added like multiple choice, free response questions, or a discussion board.  Some of these interactive elements are self-grading and Zaption’s Analytic Center can feed grades into Blackboard and other Learning Management Systems.  Instructors have control over the way the content is presented to students and they are able to trim clips, pause videos, and enhance content.  For example, an instructor could pause a video that is displayed to include a definition.

It is free to sign up for a Zaption account, but it includes access only to basic features among other limitations.  A paid premium account can unlock more advanced features.  For more information on Zaption, you can check out their website, or consult this video for a more thorough overview.  If you are interested in using Zaption, please let us know by leaving a comment on this post.

LyndaMoving on to Lynda.com, this is an incredible platform that everyone at Pace should check out when they have the opportunity.  Lynda.com was created by a teacher by the name of Lynda who believes that it is essential to provide high quality video lessons to industry professionals and students in this rapidly changing digital age.  All of the videos are organized into fully searchable courses, so users have the option of working their way through an entire course on a unfamiliar subject or just watching a single video on an aspect of a program with which they are unfamiliar.  Lynda.com even offers video tutorials on advanced Instructor features in Blackboard.  These videos and courses are available through both the website and the companion mobile app.

Unlike Zaption, Lynda.com only offers paid accounts, however it is available through ITS for free to anyone (faculty, staff, and students) with valid Pace credentials.  You can access Lynda.com using your Pace username and password at this link.  More information on Lynda.com mobile access and classroom uses can be found on this ITS page.  You can also check out and browse the courses that they have available by checking out their website.  If you use Lynda.com, we encourage you to share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

Kaltura At Pace

kalturaVideo is becoming bigger than ever, especially in higher education.  With many products we run into storage limitations, collaboration issues, integration hurdles and so on.  Kaltura looks to take these needs head on and offer us a robust media solution.

Yesterday we had an online webinar for our monthly user group meeting.  The topic was Kaltura, a new service that is coming soon to Pace.  Our presenter was Ken Taylor, Director of Education, Mid-Atlantic U.S. for Kaltura.

Ken spoke to us about the different features that Kaltura will bring to the table.  First some background; Kaltura is a streaming video service with over 300,000 web publishers integrated into Blackboard.  You can upload videos into Kaltura directly through Blackboard, and make them available to your students in any Content Area, within a Media Gallery, or as a component of an assignment, test, or quiz.  Essentially you can upload, share, and manage content within groups, with your students (and vice versa) and so much more.

Kaltura has this direct connection with Blackboard which allows for easy usage and integration for faculty, staff and students.  It brings flipped classrooms, distance learning, BYOD and more to life and provides a truly enriching experience to its users.  Kaltura is a solution for many user case needs: lecture captures, teaching and learning, media repository & archiving, and group collaborations to name a few.  In addition to higher education, Kaltura has many enterprise, media and numerous brand name clients (HBO, Philips, Nestle).

If you are interested in hearing more about Kaltura, please check out their website here.

If you are interested in using Kaltura as an early adopter at Pace, please leave us a comment here, contact your school IT director or email: acadtech@pace.edu

OpenStax

stax

Want access to free textbooks?  Enticing, I know…

Our first meeting of the Spring 2015 semester included a presentation by OpenStax.  OpenStax is an innovative and (free!) way for students and faculty to utilize and acquire textbooks that align with most courses at the higher education level. With students spending so much on textbooks semester to semester (amongst other living expenses), this is a welcomed change to the textbook market and a way to save students a few bucks in the process.  There are a few different ways to acquire the textbook including the Apple iBookstore, a PDF copy and more.

How is this possible you might ask?  The initiative is lead by Rice University and continues to be made possible through philanthropic donations.  The plan is not to change to a pay model at this time, so this looks like a really intriguing option and a good marketing tool as well.  Click here for more information.

The requirements for creating a book have to meet a certain formula, e.g. taking into account the number of courses offered and number of students taking them.  So some areas, such as Communications, are not included.  But the selection is quite impressive ranging from Physics to Economics to Psychology and more.  books

Check out the selection by clicking here and let us know which books you find to be the most useful.

If you have interest in OpenStax, please take a look at their website, leave us some comments or contact someone in your IT area to discuss this further.  You can also check out the latest news here.

In the meantime please check out this YouTube video with some further information: Open Stax