🛠️ Tools, tools, and [more] tools!

As the summer winds down, I know many of you are in the midst of online course design for your fall classes. If you haven’t already, please check out eCampus for resources to assist in online pedagogy, course design and development, and instructional technologies. Here are three key resources I recommend.

SJSU Teach Online Canvas course
(access to the Canvas course content from the SJSU Teach Online Summer Certificate Program; Canvas log-in required to access materials)
Equity and Inclusion Frameworks in Design in Online Settings module
(strategies and resources for creating inclusive learning environments; this module is housed within the above referenced SJSU Teach Online Canvas course)
SJSU Canvas Course Template
(eCampus designed template that “prepares the recommended structure and elements for your online course and can be imported into your blank Canvas course”)

In this post, I share tools (as the title aptly states) for both productivity and teaching and learning.

Productivity Tools

Teaching and working from home while balancing personal responsibilities is beyond a juggling act. Here are a few tools to save you time, increase your productivity, and most importantly, maintain your sanity. 

Calendly – Create office hours appointments quickly and easily. No more back-and-forth in email to find a good time to schedule a meeting. With Calendly, you share your calendar, and meeting participants can pick a time based on your availability. This is a simple option to quickly and easily schedule standing office hours or individual appointments with students. 

Calendly + Zoom – What’s more, you can connect Zoom with Calendly to add video conferencing details to your virtual meetings. This integration allows for Zoom meeting details, confirmation notifications, and calendar events to be sent to meeting attendees once they schedule via Calendly. Time saver!

cloudHQ – This app boosts your Gmail productivity with 30+ free, easy-to-use Chrome extensions. Choose from a number of extensions such as Gmail Email Templates to quickly create aesthetically pleasing emails (think Welcome to the Course email!) or Free Video Email for Gmail to send a video message within Gmail (reply to a student’s email question with video to better explain a challenging concept).

Google Keep Notes – Sticky notes all over the place? Say goodbye to them and hello to a note-taking app. Keep Notes lets you quickly capture to-do’s, lists, photos, audio, etc. And, the app synchronizes across all your devices so that you can save that great idea on the go, wherever you are. And, you can even add location reminders to your Keep Notes – when you reach the preset destination, your reminder will pop up. In order to use the location reminder feature, location permissions on your phone are required. Nonetheless, with this feature, there’s no excuse to forget the milk next time you’re at the grocery store.

OneTab – Raise your hand if you have 10+ tabs open on each of your open 3+ windows/web browsers! 🙋🏾 If this is you too, OneTab is here to-the-rescue. Available for Chrome and Firefox web browsers, this tool reduces tab clutter and saves up to 95% memory by converting all of your open tabs into a list. You’re welcome.

Trello – Keep track of your research, course redesign, or personal endeavors with this project management tool that organizes via boards, lists, and cards. What’s more, you can collaborate with others by creating teams and integrate other apps such as Calendar, Google Drive, or Slack to boost your productivity.

Tech to Try: H5P

What is H5P?

H5P (short for “HTML5 Package”) is a web authoring tool used to develop interactive, engaging learning experiences. With this emerging tech tool, authors can create and edit rich interactive content such as videos, presentations, games, and more.

Why am I interested in H5P?

      • Ability to supplement publisher content and Canvas tools and features by developing my own, customized interactive learning activities
      • Promotes learner engagement and provides real-time feedback (and you can track it using the tool’s built-in analytics)
      • Several content types: interactive video, interactive slides, virtual tour, dictation, and games
      • Content types meet accessibility requirements
      • Free* and open source to create interactive content
      • Content can be embedded in Canvas**
      • No additional cost to students

*The free, open source version can be used to start and test the product but a hosting site such as WordPress is needed to actually implement created learning experiences for students.
**The free, open source version does not directly integrate with Canvas.

Key Features

      • Build interactive content quickly and easily 
      • Pre-made templates for different content types 
      • Integrates with most LMSs like Canvas (paid version) and has plug-ins for publishing systems such as WordPress (free, open source version)
      • 30+ content types
      • Experience API (xAPI)

Use 
As mentioned before, H5P has numerous content types falling under the categories of games, multimedia, questions, and social media. For example, as an alternative to the traditional static PPT, Course Presentations allows learners to “swipe through slides to experience the learning material, while solving various quizzes or watching videos along the way.” (H5P.org) And, with built-in analytics, instructors can view how learners are interacting with the presentation content and assess their performance level. 

Course Presentation Example from H5P.org click on the presentation for a demonstration

Source: https://h5p.org/presentation

Learn more about H5P


 

My hope is that the posts this past semester provided ways in which you can implement technology in the classroom. By no means is technology the star of the show. It is merely a tool to support and enhance teaching and learning whether that be in-person, hybrid, or fully online. 

Enjoy the rest of the summer and the time it brings to refresh and renew for the next academic year. 

Take good care of yourself and loved ones,

Nicole

Teaching Digital Literacy within Digital Pedagogy

Reading on electronic devices

For the past 8 years, I’ve been working on a co-edited volume, Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities, that includes the stuff of teaching, syllabi, assignments, rubrics, that are often the unsung and often an invisible labor of our teaching jobs. To write a clear, concise, well-situated assignment prompt is an art form, especially considering that our students’ abilities and needs have experienced a profound shift in the last 10 years.

What am I talking about?

Those full-fledged computers we carry around in our pockets.

Or, the need for wifi at all places all over campus to research, write, engage.

Or, the network of friends we’ve all established in a virtual world.

Continue Reading…

It’s Not About the Tools: A Series of Digital Pedagogy Posts, Spring 2019

Digital Humanities ideals for all

I’ve spent a lot of my career here at SJSU converting my research-oriented practices towards a more forward-facing collaboration with my students in project-centered learning environments. During my first forays into adventures with SJSU English and Composition students more than a decade ago, I taught the way that faculty had taught me at Cal State L.A. so many years ago: lectures with lots of interesting discussion centered around a novel or poem or philosophical musing. Grad school was like that, too, until I got into my dissertation area. And, I just assumed, even while teaching at multiple schools in the City University of New York system, that all students were as fascinated as I was about literature, culture, news, politics, the world. The CUNY students at Hostos Community College, Queens College, and Lehman College taught me differently, but in the throes of finishing a dissertation, living in the vibrancy of NYC, and moving across country for a job, I didn’t quite get it.

And, I didn’t quite get it when I arrived at SJSU an Assistant Professor in 2005, though I had just finished a traditional dissertation PLUS a project-based dissertation where my advisors let me roam around, ask questions, fail, and discover for myself. I hadn’t yet found a bridge to be able to facilitate that kind of learning…at least until Digital Humanities methodologies became much more transparent.

Continue Reading…

NEW! Excelsior OWL: Online Lab for Developing Reading & Writing Skills

The Excelsior Online Writing Lab (OWL) makes it’s debut at San Jose State University fall 2018 semester.  The Excelsior OWL is a replacement for Writer’s Help, it’s a free, open educational resource that is easy to use and mobile friendly! This powerful online tool is an excellent resource that instructors can freely share with their students so that they can get the help they need to improve their reading and writing skills. Students can also go directly to Excelsior OWL on their own, no account is necessary. 

Reading & Writing Support

The Excelsior OWL if chock full of engaging college level interactive content on a variety of topics.There are actual two distinct areas of Excelsior OWL, the Online Reading Lab and the Online Writing Lab. Both are easy to navigate, and the search feature returns targeted and more relevant  results than searching in Google.

Customization Options

Instructors might be interested in several other exciting options that let them integrate Excelsior OWL content with their own curriculum. The link below takes you to a page that shows you how to get the HTML embed code of over one hundred writing activities and almost two hundred interactive reading activities. Once you have the embed code, you easily add it to your own page in Canvas. Your students will be able to see and interact with that content without ever leaving your Canvas course.

Instructors who want to create free accounts are able to gather whatever instructional content they like from Excelsior OWL and organize it into a larger customized lesson called an “Owlet”.

Check out the video below and explore the Excelsior OWL today!

Excelsior OWL from eCampus on Vimeo.

Tech Tip Tuesday: Piazza Brunch-n-Learn Event!

Piazza Event image

How much do you know about Piazza, the robust wiki-style Q & A platform that helps boost  participation of women and minorities in STEM and other disciplines? If you’re not familiar with it this is a great opportunity to meet representatives who will be on hand for a demo, and hear from a panel of SJSU faculty who use and recommend Piazza. This platform helps boost the participation of women and minorities, in STEM and other disciplines!

Read about how the founder was inspired to create Piazza when she was one of only three women in her computer science program, and “…dreamed of a way to empower all students, shy or outgoing, male or female, to benefit from the power of collaborative learning.” (She was awarded 2016 Women Of Vision ABIE Award Winner for Technical Entrepreneurship.) The platform is certainly not limited to STEM fields. Anytime your students would benefit for collaboration, look to Piazza for features that go far beyond what you can do with Canvas discussion boards. For example, here’s a real psychology course on Piazza.

Register Today!

  • WHEN? – Friday October 26th, 10am-12pm
  • WHERE? – SJSU Student Union, Meeting Room 2B
  • Click Here To Register!