The Office of Learning Technology has undergone some changes recently. We have new staff, as well as some new initiatives for the 2013-2014 school year, and we’d like to thank everyone for their warm welcome and enthusiastic support!
This semester, we have focused on “tooling up” – getting new skills, new ideas, and new tools in your toolkit for improving teaching and learning. This includes not just BlackBoard Learn, but many other tools that can be used to either make a big splash in your courses, or can gently enhance something that you may already be doing. For example, social media can help you reach and engage more students “where they are,” on their mobile devices, and on places like Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and Pinterest. And, using new tools to “flip” your classroom activities or jazz up and improve the accessibility of your presentations can help you ensure that your messages get across to students, giving them more opportunities to learn more deeply about your content.
The idea is not to change everything about your course delivery – in fact, you probably have a great course already, with lots of great activities! Instead, start small. Think up a new way to go through a particular lesson, or add a technology component to something that is usually done only in a face-to-face manner. You might even simply take advantage of technology to curb cheating and plagiarism amongst those students who think they can “game” the system. Changing up your courses can be engaging and rewarding both for you and for your students, and can make teaching that much more fun!
Wondering where to start with the many technology tools we have at our disposal today as educators? It seems as if there are endless resources out there to choose from – how does one decide?
The fact is, there is not always one “right” tool for any job, as there may be many tools that address the same things in different ways. Start with what you want to accomplish, and then check out some of the tools that may meet your needs. Choose what works best for you and your students, and don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it. The OLT is here to help guide you along whatever path you choose!
I want to: Record my lectures for my class and put them online
- Camtasia or Jing for recording
- Screencast.com, Kaltura in BlackBoard, or YouTube for publishing
I want to: Record what happens in my class and have it available for students who miss class or want to see something again
I want to: Create more exciting presentation slides and other visual aids for class
I want to: Import tests and exams from a text document into BlackBoard
I want to: Prevent plagiarism and cheating
- LockDown Browser
I want to: Talk synchronously with students online – individually or in small groups
- Adobe Connect
- Google Hangouts
I want to: Share documents and ideas with students and/or colleagues
- Google Docs
I want to: Engage in dynamic discussions and keep in touch with students
- Facebook groups
I want to: Engage in question-and-answer and other types of in-class discussions with students
For the spring semester 2014, we will be focusing on diversity and accessibility in the classroom, including technologies that will improve your students’ access to information, regardless of disability or background, as well as ways to keep all students engaged and excited about your course. Topics for the spring semester’s workshops and webcasts will include:
- Learning with the Millennial Generation: a look at the learning styles of Millennial students and how technology-enhanced teaching strategies can reach them effectively
- Accessibility in BlackBoard: examines aspects of BlackBoard and strategies you can take to ensure that your course content is more accessible to all learners, even those with disabilities
- Captioning Online Videos: a workshop on adding text captions to your videos to ensure that the hearing-impaired, and other students who may not be able to hear your videos for any reason, get the same benefit as other students
We hope to see you at some of these upcoming webcasts and workshops, and look forward to sharing some ideas about how to work together to help all students succeed.
Meet the OLT Staff
Have you had a chance to meet the new Office of Learning Technology staff yet? Stop on by and say, “Hi!” during our open walk-in hours, every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 12-2pm in LSF-235/237. We are always happy to see you!
Director, Office of Learning Technology and Clinical Asst. Professor
Dr. Anastasia (Staci) Trekles, is a clinical professor and the Director of Learning Technologies at Purdue University North Central in Westville, Indiana. Staci has an extensive background with educational technology, and often conducts workshops for practicing teachers in schools throughout Northwest Indiana, as well as at national, international, and Indiana state conferences such as the Indiana Computer Educators (ICE) Conference in Indianapolis each year. Her specialty area is instructional design for online learning and technology integration, and she has taught a number of undergraduate- and graduate-level courses in these areas, both in-classroom and via distance education.
Alex Criswell is a graduate student at Purdue University Calumet, and is seeking a dual-master’s in Communications and Instructional Design. Alex comes to PNC with extensive experience in BlackBoard Learn administration and in the design of online and hybrid courses.
Tammie is an undergraduate student in the Department of Nursing at Purdue University North Central.