Friday, March 23, 2018

Lightboard at the Grad School



A few weeks ago, EdTech brought the lightboard to the Graduate School!

Faculty, staff, and students were able to stop by York Commons to check it out, take a look at how it worked, and try it out for themselves.

Many excited students came by to play with the board and chat about some great ideas for implementing the board in their schools and counseling centers. Along with having the chance to write on the board with our colorful neon markers, students were also able to see how the lightboard effectively functioned in a classroom.

We pointed a camera towards the lightboard and showed the camera’s image on the TV in York Commons. Since people on the other side of the lightboard would see the writing backwards, the TV acted as a way to see what was being written on the board. The image on the TV was flipped horizontally, and those watching the lightboard during lectures could watch the TV, or a projector screen, to see both the person behind the lightboard, as well as the writing.

Students also had a chance to watch some recorded lightboard lectures created by Lewis and Clark College faculty. Recordings have become one of the lightboard's primary functions, allowing instructors to cover content outside of class in an interesting and interactive way, and then provide the recordings to the class for homework or study material. Some members of the LC community have recorded lectures in our TV Studio and shared them with their classes with much success.


As graduate students think about using the lightboard in their own classrooms and counseling spaces, we hope this success will continue to grow!

The TV Studio will be available for lightboard lecture recording over the week of March 26th - March 30th.

If you would like more information about the lightboard, or would like to schedule a time to record a lightboard lecture, please contact EdTech, at edtech@lclark.edu

Thursday, January 18, 2018

New Moodle Filtered Course List Block

With last Summer's Moodle 3.3 upgrade came changes to the Course Overview block. Some of our users have expressed these changes made it more difficult to identify and locate current courses in-progress. This is partly due to the new Course Overview area using course start and end dates to classify courses.

To address this issue we have installed a new "Filtered Course List" block, which users may optionally enable on their end. Within the block, you will see two filtered categories. The first category, expanded by default, displays current term and list your current classes. The second category, Other Courses, contains past Moodle courses in reverse chronological order. Keep in mind that past courses will only be visible if you are the instructor or if the courses is made available to you by the instructor.

To activate the plugin:

1) From your dashboard (moodle.lclark.edu/my/) click the orange Customize this page button in the corner

2)  Scroll to the bottom and select "Filtered Course List" from the Add a Block drop-down.

If you have any feedback regarding the plugin or run into any difficulty installing it, feel free to let us know at edtech@lclark.edu.




Wednesday, January 3, 2018

2017 Faculty Technology Showcase Recap

On December 7th, Educational Technology once again hosted the annual Faculty Technology Showcase. The 2017 Showcase featured twelve presenters showcasing the variety of ways technology is being integrated into instruction, curriculum, and research. This was enough to give us a few challenges space-wise, a 'problem' we're more than happy to have! A full list of our presenters and descriptions is available at the Showcase website.

In addition to highlighting our faculty, Educational Technology brought in some new hardware we're hoping to see make its way into more classrooms in the near future. We featured a VR demo station, where which provided a hands-on look at theVive, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear, and Google Cardboard systems. We also gave our laser engraver a live test run as well with promising results, and Chemistry faculty Casey Jones shared how she'd incorporated the classroom iPad set to better leverage online instructional demos.

Also seeing its debut at the Showcase was our freshly constructed lightboard. A lightboard is an DIY illuminated glass whiteboard used for recording video lectures while allowing the presenter to face their audience while presenting. Now that it's complete, we're looking forward to creating opportunities for faculty to create instructional videos.



Last, but certainly not least, we were glad to again offer an opportunity for our community to get together, celebrate success, swap ideas, and, of course, win prizes! At the end of the event, three lucky winners walked away with wireless headphones, a water-resistant Bluetooth speaker, and Amazon Echo Dot. All in all, a fun afternoon. Hope to see you all (and more) again next year!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Zotero 5.0

Zotero, Lewis & Clark's recommended bibliography and citation management software, received a major upgrade in July. Here are the hightlights!

Zotero

Unified Zotero Experience
  • Zotero is moving to single standalone app for all users. Mozilla is discontinuing support for extensions and Zotero has created a new standalone version - Firefox users will be automatically upgraded to the new browser connector and can download the standalone version.
  • A new My Publications feature that allows you to create and share a list of works on your Zotero.org profile page.
  • Improvements to connectors for Chrome and Safari. Chrome will now detect institutional proxies and in Safari you can now save PDFs directly to Zotero.
For a complete list, see the Zotero changelog.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Useful New Updates to Google Slides and Sheets

While Google continuously announces new updates to G Suite, there is often a delay before these updates appear on our lclark.edu domain. Here are a couple recent Google updates that have recently gone live that may be of interest to our users!

Create custom headers and footers in Google Sheets (10/10/2017)

“You can customize the headers and footers in your Google Sheets documents with the text of your choosing. In addition, you can select from many more pre-defined options (for date, time, etc.) and move those options around within your header and footer. Simply choose “EDIT CUSTOM FIELDS” from the Print settings menu to get started.”



New Updates in Slides Designed to Make You Look Good (9/27/2017)

Google has introduced slew of new updates designed to improve the ease of getting data into slides and keeping it up-to-date. These include:

  • Linking slides between presentations so updating one slide updates the same slide used in other presentations
  • Easily importing information from Google Keep note-taking application.
  • More options for images using add-ins for Shutterstock and Adobe Stock

New Google Slides Integration with PearDeck Chrome Extension  (10/12/2017)

After introducing PearDeck over the summer as our new supported polling solution, there have been questions about it's integration with other presentation tools. As of last week, PearDeck has introduced an extension for Google Chrome that enables integration of PearDeck polling features.





Friday, October 13, 2017

Introducing: Patti Palczewska

Patti is the new Educational Technology Specialist at the Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling. An alumnus of Lewis & Clark College of Arts and Sciences, Patti helps to partner with students, staff, and faculty to explore the use of technology in teaching and learning environments. She sits down to talk a little bit about her journey to the Lewis & Clark College IT department.


What attracted you to Lewis & Clark?
There is an amazing sense of community at Lewis & Clark that I haven’t really found elsewhere. Faculty work so closely with each student, and truly care for their academic growth, and I want to be able to be a part of promoting that growth for as long as I can.


The EdTech department takes a drone selfie.
(from left to right) Kelly Wainwright, Julio Appling,
Miranda Carney-Morris, Patti Palczewska, Justin Counts
  
What is your role at the Lewis & Clark Graduate School?
I work as the Educational Technology liaison at the graduate school. The EdTech department works with faculty, staff, and students to inform them of how emerging technology can be applied to their current curriculum, activities, job duties, or research. When it comes to systems and software that can be used in the classroom, I’m the one to come and chat with!

I am also the primary AV technician at the graduate school and am on call to resolve any classroom equipment emergencies.

What is your favorite everyday technology?
My smartphone. Being able to have a small computer in my hand from which I can check my emails, edit documents, make phone calls, manage my bank account… it makes things so easy. A smartphone makes so much available to us at our fingertips -- it’s no wonder more and more students have smartphones. Smartphones can seem like they would be mostly distracting in the classroom, but being able to bring a smartphone into a class activity allows students to participate in ways that weren’t really possible before.


Patti's cat, Cupcake, dressed up in a cute bow.
Your bio on the IT staff page says you have a cat named Cupcake. What made you choose the name?
We didn’t choose it, actually! She was a rescue and came with two names - Cupcake and Biscuit. I guess her original owners were hungry when they named her!


What technology do you see becoming really big in the future?
I think automation is really moving us in an interesting direction. It may take us a while to get there, but self-driving cars may change our roads forever, and possibly for the better. AI and automation are part of an exciting future I think we’re moving towards, but I also think we haven’t really fully explored and prepared for what that future could look like.


Patti Palczewska can be contacted at palczewskap@lclark.edu, or at 503-768-6195.
Her office is located in Rogers 403.

Monday, October 9, 2017

DuckDuckGo: tracker-free search (assuming you want that)

A little while ago I read about DuckDuckGo, the tracker-free search alternative to Google. While I could call myself a generally satisfied Google customer, I am not so satisfied that I'm not willing to look at a pro-privacy alternative, and DuckDuckGo stands firmly on the idea tracking—or any type of account or sign-in whatsoever—is not a necessary ingredient for a good search engine.

I decided I'd take the DuckDuckGo challenge myself. Rather than simply using it a few times, I opted to go full-bore, changing my browser's default search engine setting so that typing terms into my address bar generates a DuckDuckGo search rather than a Google search. As you might imagine, I've had several people sharing a screen with me ask "what's DuckDuckGo?" or, more commonly, "That's not Google!"

In addition to providing a private, ad-free search experience, a notable DuckDuckGo feature is its use of "bangs" to create shortcuts to searching specific sites or services directly from the DuckDuckGo search bar.  DuckDuckGo includes a number of preset bangs and also allows for user-created ones as well, enabling instant search for specific websites. For example, including "!g" before a search conducts an encrypted Google search, using Google's search engine and, unsurprisingly, about of half of my searches started with it. The reason, however, was not as straightforward as I expected.

I quickly found I typed searches into my browser less out of inquiry and more out of laziness. When I searched "Gallien Krueger bass amplifier," I already knew I wanted search results to include the Sweetwater or MusiciansFriend websites, the Gallien Krueger website, and maybe a couple reviews from major music publications. I was not actually searching but was rather requesting Google aggregate the things I expected to find.

Furthermore, when DuckDuckGo actually delivered me results I did not expect, more often than not my first impulse was to immediately type "!g" into the search bar and repeat the search. Google, after all, uses what it already knows about your past searching and browsing habits to tailor/improve/craft your search results specifically to you. I've had several instances where I searched for specific sites or organizations only to have their official site not show up in the first few results (or even at all). While that could be a possible flaw with DuckDuckGo, I also recognize that this often coincides with my typing the site name into my search bar rather than simply typing the web address and going straight there.

DuckDuckGo will deliver on its promise of a truly private, encrypted search, assuming that's what you actually want. On the occasions when I truly did not have a search result in mind before typing my query (recipes, general subject inquiries, etc.) I had no issue with DuckDuckGo's search results. I do recommend others give DuckDuckGo a try.

...assuming, of course, you are actually searching for something new.