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.

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.

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

Spring 2015 Mobile Tech User Group Meetings

Welcome back as the January Intersession is now well underway.  Our blog celebrates a milestone as this is our 100th published post.  Once the Spring semester begins, our mobile tech meetings will resume, following the dates and times listed below.mobiletechnologyusergroup

  • Tuesday, February 3rd 12:30pm-1:30pm
  • Thursday, March 5th 3:30pm-4:30pm
  • Tuesday, April 7th 3:30pm-4:30pm
  • Thursday, May 7th 3:30pm-4:30pm

These meetings will take place in Miller 16 in Pleasantville and and E319 in New York. Everyone is welcome to attend, so we look forward to seeing you there.  If you have suggestions for future meeting topics, feel free to leave a comment below.

December 9th, 2014 Meeting Recap

On December 9th we had our third and final user group meeting of the semester.  Heather Askildsen  and Megan Burke from ITS presented Poll Everywhere, an exciting online interactive audience response system, while Jermain Smith from the School of Education showed us the “gamification” of learning by providing examples of two companies on the cutting edge of this new approach.

PollEverywhereLogo

Heather and Megan demonstrated some premium features of Poll Everywhere and discussed how it could be implemented in an educational setting.  For those unfamiliar with the tool, Poll Everywhere is a web-based application that allows presenters to create polls and have their audience respond with a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer.  The company offers a limited free version of this software, with the ability to purchase a subscription for some premium features.  Heather and Megan played a short video, which provides a good overview of the tool.  They provided several suggestions for the various ways in which instructors might be able to utilize this tool in the classroom.  Finally, their presentation concluded with a chance for attendees to participate in a live test.

Some of the ways Heather and Megan felt that Poll Everywhere would be helpful in the classroom include:

  • Taking Attendance – Professors have the option of creating a free response poll in which all posts are time stamped, so instructors know who got to class and when.
  • Checking for Student Understanding – Professors can make multiple choice polls and gauge how many students feel they understand the concept.  If some students are struggling to understand, then professors can use that feedback to focus the lecture better.
  • Encouraging Students – Professors have controls with the software of what they want to display to the class.  If they think a student posts something exceptional, they can call it out.  If a student sends something that is inappropriate, they have the option to block that content.

For more information on Poll Everywhere and to play around with the free version, you can head on over to their official site and try it out for yourself.  If anyone uses this tool, it would be nice to hear your thoughts and comments on this service.  If you have found innovative ways to use it in the classroom, feel free to share those too.

Jermain, Director of Technology for the School of Education, presented two companies that are combining modern technology and games to improve educational experiences for students.  The first company he introduced us to was Wavicle through an introductory video.  This company offers game based learning solutions and can help educators build game based courses that engage students in new ways.  The second company he presented was TeachLivE, which was developed in conjunction with the University of Central Florida.  This technology has already been implemented within the Avatar Labs for the School of Education at Pace.  This resource can be used to help train student teachers in speaking with students and classroom management skills.  Essentially, prospective instructors speak to an animated classroom and the students react and perform in real time.  Jermain played a video of a student teacher interacting with these avatars to help illustrate how his department was using this software.

A big thank you to Heather, Megan, and Jermain for taking the time to educate us in these exciting new technologies.

Wishing everyone a  peaceful and  relaxing break.  We will be having our first meeting of the Spring Semester, sometime in February.  Please stay tuned to the blog for the date and times for our spring meetings.  As always, feel free to comment below, we would love to hear your thoughts.

November 6th, 2014 Meeting Recap

Today we had our second user group of the semester.  Our presenters were Devin McLaughlin from Apple and Amanda Villavicencio from ITS.  Both presented on some very interesting topics.

Devin has been with us before and always gives a nice presentation.  One of the very cool things that he introduced to us was the Apple iBeacon.  iBeaconIt’s a Bluetooth enabled device that essentially provides location based information that you can access through your other iDevices.  Devin gave the example of recently leaving his iBeacon in a checked bag on a flight and being able to track its exact location once he (and it) was on the plane in ‘proximity.’  Quite a cool feature and something he thinks many will start using in all sorts of different ways as far as location based offerings are concerned.

Here is some more information about the iBeacon.

 

Devin went on to discuss iOS 8 and the new features that it comes with.  Some of the highlights include:

NewiOS8

  • Screen capture between an iOS 8 device (with a lightning connection) and your Mac (running Yosemite).  Essentially you are able to perform an audio/video recording using QuickTime.
  • The introduction of new 3rd party keyboards.  The most popular is Swype (currently free, normally $0.99) and another is Swift Key.  These are what many Android users are already used to and a welcomed addition to the standard Apple keyboard.
  • Having the Continuity feature which allows you to start a task on one device, and continue/complete it on another.
  • The ability to make and receive calls on your other devices (as long as your iPhone is within Bluetooth range) as well as pickup an iMessage or even SMS text message conversation on another device that you started on lets say your iPhone.
  • Specific to EDU, the introduction of extensions which allows iOS 8 users to reach into another app and access documents.  Also a direct connection with DropBox via iCloud drive which is very useful for lots of users of these two services.
  • For managing apps, e.g. with volume licensing, there is now the option of assigning and revoking access.  So this is something that may work well in the EDU field (and other fields of course) where shared iPads and apps had become quite costly.
  • The Apple TV now has the ability to talk to your devices via Bluetooth instead of the complications of having to be on the same network.  This could be a game changer for using this tool in higher ed spaces.  The Apple TV was designed to be an at home product, but as Devin mentioned there are so many uses for it, especially in the EDU environment.  With this new option it may open the door for increased usage.

iOS8

There is so much more out there now with iOS 8 and the new Yosemite OSX.  Please let us know if you know any other tips and tricks below.

ePortAmanda, one of the ITS eTerns, discussed the many changes that ePortfolio just had over the past few months.  There is a new option for changing your layouts and making your ePortfolio more appealing.  More on the new layouts can be found by clicking here.  Amanda referred to it as a “pyramid” when showing us her showcase page which started with her most current accomplishments as a Graduate student and went back through Undergraduate and High School as well which was very cool.

Some other additional features include:

  • The ability to embed PDF files, not just upload them.
  • A new editing menu which stays with you as you scroll down your pages for easier accessibility.
  • A more responsive design for mobile editing.  You no longer need to be on a computer for the this, you can now edit with your smart phone, tablet, etc.
  • Badging has been introduced and is a way to show off accomplishments in a digital fashion.
  • You now get a warning when you are about to delete a journal, so there won’t be anymore accidental deletions!
  • There are now quick links on the dashboard page which allow you to quickly create something or share something in a simpler fashion.Green_ePort

Please follow the ePortfolio blog here: http://eportfolio.blogs.pace.edu/

Please contact the ITS Academic Technology Dept for any questions regarding ePortfolio: acadtech@pace.edu

Thanks to both Devin & Amanda for their informative presentations.

We look forward to seeing you at our last meeting of the semester on Tuesday December 9th, 2014 at 12:10pm in Miller 16 (PLV) and E319 (NYC).  As always please feel free to leave comments below and if you have any ideas or would like to present at an upcoming or future meeting please email me at rmiller@pace.edu

 

Fall 2014 Begins…Adobe EchoSign Takes Off?

Welcome back everyone!  Today was the first meeting of our Fall 2014 semester.

ESOur topic was Adobe EchoSign presented by yours truly.  For those who have never heard of it, Adobe EchoSign is a robust e-signature platform that is entirely cloud based.  It allows users to send and receive documents for signature all electronically.  It has simple functionality, is efficient, and allows for document tracking and metrics.

Ever send that form to get signed and it got “lost?”  Ever send something via snail mail and have it take days to get to its desired location?  Or maybe the form is still sitting in a pile with a few hundred more on someones desk.  EchoSign can eliminate the back log of paperwork and we hope eliminate the need to print paper forms as well.  We are not only going green, but we are able to efficiently establish a new protocol for the way we do business at the University.

EchoSign allows a user to initiate a document and send it to “x” number of users to sign.  Once you fill in the appropriate fields (email address, attach the document, designate locations for signatures, etc) – very similar to sending an email – the software does all the rest automatically for you.  You will simply receive the signed document back once all parties have signed it.

No account?  No problem.  Not everyone needs an account to sign (however you do need an account to originate).  If you are asked to sign something, simply follow the instructions in the email that you receive.  You can sign anywhere and anytime.  You can even sign on a mobile device while using your finger as a stylus.

MobileDevice

Dyson is currently finishing a pilot of 8 months of usage.  The document processing and turn around time has been exceptional and the metrics back this up.  Documents that used to take days take hours…Documents that used to take weeks now take days.  The difference is night and day.  Once we are able to upgrade to the next level we hope to roll out this tool to other users within Dyson and ultimately the University.  Stay tuned for more updates about this exciting tool and please feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions or wish to see a more detailed demo: rmiller@pace.edu

Please contact us if you have any topic suggestions or would like to present at one of our upcoming meetings.  See you at the next meeting on November 6th!