FITS sent a message about the D2L upgrade to the university community, but it is worth repeating here:
On March 22rd DePaul's Learning Management System (D2L) was upgraded to a newer version. What you may not be aware of are the many enhancements that this new version brings you. Many of these new features are designed to make your experience as a faculty member easier and to enrich the student experience. Below are just some of the highlights:
Last year the ability to subscribe to discussions was added to D2L. This Spring you and your students will have the ability to subscribe to News postings as well. Using the Notifications tool (found in the My Settings Widget) users can now set their notification options. In addition to email notifications, users can now also receive some updates via text messaging if they wish. Of particular note is the ability to receive notifications of Dropbox assignments when the folder end date is 2 days away. For more information visit this link.
Changes to Dropbox
Speaking of Dropbox, instructors will now see enhanced functionality when grading items in Dropbox folders. Previously grading was a cumbersome process that required instructors to open submitted files outside of D2L. Now if students have submitted a Word or PowerPoint file, instructors will be able to view the contents of the file on the same page as the grading and feedback screen. While the file itself cannot be marked up from this screen, instructors can provide written (or audio) feedback using D2L's feedback tools. If a rubric is attached to the folder, feedback can also be easily provided using this tool. After saving the feedback the instructor can easily navigate to the next student with submitted work. For more information visit this link.
Improvements to Calendar, Schedule and Events
The Calendar tool has been updated in both look and feel. For those familiar with Google Calendar, you will be right at home with this new tool. The Calendar tool now makes it easier for instructors to set due dates and create events as well as for students to track these deadlines. For more information visit this link.
If you are interested in learning more about any of these tools (or have general questions about how to use D2L) open labs are scheduled throughout the quarter on both the Loop and Lincoln Park campuses. These labs are a fantastic way to build your course with support. Simply reserve your spot and bring your course materials (and questions) and get help from one of the FITS trainers. Open labs are offered in addition to regular training courses. For a complete schedule visit this link. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions at any time or check out the print documentation and video tutorials on the Teaching Commons.
Finally, when you are ready for your students to view your course content, please remember to make your course active so your students have access to it. Here is a link to the documentation on making your course active.
My proposal to present ("It's-a me, Mario!" – What playing videogames taught me about effective online course design) at this year's DePaul Faculty Teaching & Learning Conference has been accepted.
The conference will take place on Friday, April 20th, 2012, from 9:00am-5:00pm. If you have not done so already, you can register for the conference at http://teachingcommons.depaul.edu/Conference/index.html
The overview for the presentation is:
Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda are two of Nintendo’s most valuable video game franchises, spawning a slew of highly regarded (and highly selling) series of games on multiple consoles. I cheerfully admit to spending a considerable amount of time playing these games over the years, but playing these games has also taught me much about effective and fun design of online and hybrid courses. In this dynamic session I will outline ten lessons learned from these two video game series that can be applied to course design – structuring a course that promotes student learning, reduces confusion, and that could even be fun.
Electronic text has the potential to be a huge disrupter to the educational environment (and the effects are already visible). In this Technology Tuesdays session learn what ebook options are available for your and your students to use. You will also discover how you can create your own ebooks and etextbooks, Providers/options that will be covered include:
- Apple iBooks Author
- Barnes and Noble NOOK Study
- DePaul Library Ebooks
- Flat World Knowledge
- Project Gutenberg
- Safari Online
You can RSVP for the upcoming session here.
PLuS and OSD recently have merged into one new department under the name of the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD). Over 700 students are now served within one integrated department. I encourage you to include an updated statement about this new office in your syllabi (and/or on Desire2Learn). The following is an example of a syllabus statement that you can cut and paste for your own use; however, please feel free to create your own wording:
Students who feel they may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact me privately to discuss their specific needs. All discussion will remain confidential. To ensure that you receive the most reasonable accommodation based on your needs, contact me as early as possible in the quarter (preferably within the first week or two of the course) and be sure to contact the following office for support and additional services: Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD), #370, Student Center, LPC, 773.325.1677.
Josh Lund and his colleagues in FITS shared this piece of news about Microsoft Word documents in D2L.
It turns out that there is a compatibility limit on the versions of Word documents you can upload to a D2L site. Word documents saved as Word 2000 files will not download for students. Documents saved in more recent versions of Microsoft Word will work normally.
Some good news for DePaul! Rick Salisbury forwarded me this article which demonstrates that DePaul’s Kellstadt Graduate School of Business jumped 19 points in the U.S. News 2012 ranking of best business schools. This is the second largest gain (after Case Western’s 28 point gain). This brings the ranking for the KGSB to 70.
A new competition that should appeal to DePaul entrepreneurial students. The Desire2Learn Edge Challenge is a chance to build an educational mobile app and win $25,000 and a trip to San Diego to present your prototype to eLearning Leaders at the Desire2Learn User Conference.
More information can be found here.
Ben Miranda reminded me (in a nice and helpful way) that I should test the free app Clik (for both iPhone and Android).
As Ben says:
“With the app running on the phone a QR code is displayed via the in room computer’s browser. The phone app grabs the QR code and then can play videos via that same browser window. In essence a phone remote for YouTube videos in a classroom or conference room.”
Nancy Hill shared a link to a very interesting paper on “Use of Laptops in the Classroom: Research and Best Practices.” I would highly recommend reading this, as there are some very useful suggestions to consider. One suggestion that I found particularly helpful was designating the front row of a classroom as “laptop-free.” That way students who find screens distracting can sit and study comfortably. A simple but effective tip.
Kris Gallagher has these suggestion to those of you at DePaul using Facebook Pages:
When you look at the new Facebook page design, you’ll notice that you can choose a large image and also specify your profile picture. We recommend that you maintain your current profile picture (which for many of you is the DePaul logo and/or optimized DePaul signature).
With the large image, there are a couple of factors to consider:
- Make sure you have copyright permission to use the photo. If it was professionally taken, make sure you’ve purchased online rights from the photographer. If it was taken by a student, make sure you have the rights to use it.
- Make sure it’s eye-catching and good quality. Some photos look fine when they are small but are grainy or otherwise unattractive when they are large. Luckily, you can preview them.
- If you can, make it distinctly DePaul. Nearly every university can show a student sprawled in the grass studying. What photos do you have that make us special?
- Remember that you can’t use images from DePaul’s website without permission from EM&M.
- You can change these photos regularly. You may want to develop a set of images that you rotate.
DePaul Blue Demons has already made some changes to their Facebook Page - please take a look.