So many students today have some sort of internet device with them in class that it just makes sense for faculty to use that technology to their advantage.  How many times have we said “Students are just not engaged in the classroom.” Classroom response systems (clickers) are one piece of technology some have implemented. But such technology limits student responses to A, B, C, or D.  What if there was a way to have students respond to and interact with the presentation on the big screen? What if I told you the software was inexpensive ($20) and worked on any system, would you be interested? Try Smoothboard This might be an epiphany!

Remember the old Memorex commercial with Ella Fitzgerald and the wine glass (  The reproduction was so realistic the wine glass shattered just the same.  Now accelerate forward to today and compare this old commercial with your virtual teaching style.  How realistic can your virtual classroom be? Can you set up your office hours in such a way that it feels almost like the student is there with you? Have you tried Adobe Connect?  With Adobe Connect you can share a whiteboard, chat with your student(s), or even share your EXCEL spreadsheet.  Audio is also available. You can literally lecture from your desk and have students respond at their virtual desks and ask questions in real time.  Imagine being gone to a conference while you have students working on projects back at school. With Adobe Connect, you have the ability to chat and discuss important points of their projects with them. Call the Technology Institute to setup an account and get started today.


Adobe Connect

We have some exciting news from the Technology Institute! In our search for ways to assist faculty in the classroom, we stumbled upon a service for video teleconferencing, or VTC.  Previously, VTC required all parties involved in the virtual meeting to have the same hardware, like Polycom, or use the same software, like Skype, to communicate.  Hardware routers, called bridges, were a necessary purchase by an institution wishing to communicate with other institutions.  But, digital technology is literally moving and changing at the speed of light.  The new Blue Jeans Network offers a software based bridge which allows VTC systems of different makes to correspond with each other.  In fact, VTC systems can now communicate with Skype or Google Chat which was quite difficult to do before.

Think of the possibilities with your own courses, meetings, or research projects.  Using this software based bridge, you could teach your class here and have students check in from another institution.  You could schedule a research collaboration meeting for your graduate students here along with your colleague’s graduate students at their university. Or, if you are doing a search to a fill a position, imagine being able to have the whole committee interview possible candidates virtually.  No travel is necessary and your search committee can meet as many candidates as hours in the day. In fact, this system was used previously for such purpose on campus.  Finally, would you want to schedule a mini-conference or seminar and have multiple departments or institutions attend without the worry of parking or lodging or meals?

Because of the successful uses of VTC and the Blue Jeans Network we have already seen on campus, the Technology Institute purchased a university wide license for your use. Go to and give it a try. After the 14 day trial, if you feel it would be something your unit could use, give us a call or email.



Camtasia Relay has been upgraded recently and that upgrade created a problem with the automated system for delivery that was in place. Steven Click, Civil Engineering professor found one solution. Saurdos Directory Lister. This download contains the script (index.php) and file of icon images.  According to Jayd Saucedo’s website the only thing you need to do is upload the index.php file and folder of images to the folder you want and it will do the rest for you. Here is an example of how this system would deliver content from one of your file folders containing Camtasia Relay recordings.


Download Saurdos Directory Lister

Have you heard the news? Academic Affairs, the Provost’s office and the Technology Institute are giving away “free” iPads to anyone who attends the two-day workshop in February. Notice the word “free” is in quotes. There is catch. You will be asked to develop an online course to be offered, probably, in the next academic year.  So you might be saying, “I couldn’t put my material online, I need the classroom.” Or, you might be thinking, “Online courses are just like correspondence courses, how hard could it be?” Many have concerns about cheating, testing and group work. That is why we are offering this workshop. Teaching is not just about presenting material but about creating a learning environment.  Today’s environment is virtual.  Almost everyone of our students have a mobile device, like a smart phone. The “information superhighway” is changing  the way business functions, how doctors treat patients, etc. We must admit that technology is making an impact on academia. Are you ready?

Go to to register online.


ipadio logo
Faculty and students can create their very own podcasting channel.  This is a great free tool for audio enhanced instruction and student assignments.


I will share a few of my favorite quotes from the book. Comments welcome!

“To achieve deep/significant learning, instructors need to organize their courses in ways that are more exploratory and focused on the big picture.”

“The (course) design process focuses on the accomplishment of student insights and skills that require thoughtful orchestration of learning experiences tailor-made to help in the students’ struggle for conceptual understanding.”

“The challenge is to treat course content as an extension of learning outcomes that are acquired by raising issues,, looking for connections and revealing the big ideas.”

“A course is built as a continuum of questions that help learners unpack the meaning of the course content for themselves.”

“This ongoing trend of formalizing and standardizing assessment for the sake of ‘hard evidence’ and ‘accountability’ creates a coercive environment, in which the push for uniformity eliminates experimentation and discovery. Students become disengaged and lose their natural excitement for learning something new. Competition rules student-to-student interactions. And assessment is separated from the actual learning experience and turns into something threatening rather than helpful.”

“…assessment cannot be a detached act that occurs after teaching has ended, but needs to accompany the learning process when students are still open to corrective actions.”

And that’s only halfway through the book. Good stuff! –Stacey Plant