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31st Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning

 31st Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning

I am at the 31st Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning in Madison this week. To my mind, this is the best conference that focusses on online learning (full disclosure: I am on the conference planning committee). On Thursday, I will be making an Information Session presentation (Building The MiniStudio: Efficient & Effective Online Video). A video presentation, materials, and hyperlinks can be found here.


OpenBoard - An alternative to Open-Sankoré

I posted earlier that Open-Sankoré does not work with OS X Yosemite. If you run the program in OS X 10.10, Open-Sankoré closes immediately. The only workaround I have discovered is rolling back to OS X 10.9 (Mavericks). The Open-Sankoré website does not provide much insight on when this issue might be fixed. However, it looks like there may be an alternative…

OpenBoard Homepage

Using Google Translate, I can see that SEM-Logistics and Christian Oihenart have released a version of OpenBoard that works on OS X Yosemite (although there is apparently a small bug in the display of the dock).

OpenBoard screenshot

I have installed OpenBoard on a test machine, and so far it works perfectly. OpenBoard will import Open-Sankoré documents, and looks near identical to Open-Sankoré. If you do not want to roll back to an earlier versions of OS X (or cannot), then OpenBoard is for you.


Open-Sankoré - Don't Update to OS X 10.10 Yosemite


If using Open-Sankoré, don't update to OS X 10.10 Yosemite. The Open-Sankoré website does not post this prominently, but Open-Sankoré will not run on Yosemite. According to the Open-Sankoré Facebook page, Open-Sankoré will be updated in late November and should work again. The Facebook message reads as follows:


Unfortunately we know this problem for a few weeks with the beta version. Apple changed several important elements that prevents QT to work correctly in Yosemite. We will work to correct this problem as soon as possible (probably late November). Thank you for your patience.


OpenBoard is an alternative to Open-Sankoré that works perfectly on OS X Yosemite. You can read more here.


Educational Uses of Microsoft Windows Surface Pro

On the 23rd July, 2013, I gave a one-hour session on "Educational Uses of Microsoft Windows Surface Pro" as part of the monthly Technology Tuesdays.

I have posted the accompanying video and resources here.

The Surface Pro is, as Microsoft describes it, a "laptop in tablet form." This combination of tablet (pen and touchscreen) and laptop functionality lends itself to pedagogical use. The Surface Pro can be the ideal teaching tool for some faculty.

New Pen Tool - Ideal for effectively communicating key concepts

FITS has recently purchased a Wacom Cintiq tablet. The Wacom is essentially a high resolution monitor with pen input. The model that FITS has purchased is connected to an Apple Mac running Screenflow (with professional microphones, webcam, and second monitor). We use it to create lecture videos for online and hybrid classes.

The setup allows us to create exemplary screencasts, in which faculty can annotate and draw on top of anything displayed on the computer screen. Possible examples would be:

  • Showing how an equation could be solved / Time Value of money / T-accounts, etc.
  • Annotating an Excel spreadsheet
  • Annotating a PowerPoint presentation
  • Drawing lines of connection on top of a website, video, architectural plan, etc.
  • Sketching the construction of a graph
  • Annotating economic forecasts
  • Constructing a project plan

I talk more about the table here.

Josh Lund (of DePaul FITS) and I have been experimenting with the Wacom Cintiq tablet. Three programs were used to present and annotate the material (PowerPoint, Open-Sankoré, and OmniDazzle. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages. ScreenFlow was used to record each of the videos.

PowerPoint is a familiar tool to most faculty. The annotation option within Powerpoint is fairly basic (red felt tip pen or ballpoint pen) but it works. PowerPoint allows for dynamic transitions and animations. The annotation option needs to be activated on a slide-by-slide basis, but this can be activated by one of the buttons on the tablet.

Open-Sankoré is a free tool. It is not quite as stable as PowerPoint (it crashes occasionally), but has a richer set of annotation tools. The animations and transition that might be used in PowerPoint presentation are lost, and individual slides are imported as a folder of images. However, Open-Sankoré has a rich set of annotation tools (pen, highlighter, line, zoom, etc.) with the option to change pen color and nib thickness. In most cases this would be the best tool for faculty to use. The ScreenFlow recording can be cropped to remove the tool interface from the exported recording.

OmniDazzle is another free tool that can be utilized in annotated videos. The Scribble mode allows faculty to draw on top of any element displayed on the computer screen.
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