Monday, November 24, 2014

November Session: Freedom to Roam

Jason Spartz (Instructional Technology) opened the session with the latest updates on Blackboard enhancements coming next semester.  Some of the improvements include date management, badging, group management, and inline grading.  Mobile apps will also be featured and, while on that subject, Spartz offered some illuminating data on mobile trends involving the dramatic increases in smart phone ownership and use.

Dr. Moni Berg-Binder (Biology) then took the group through a day in the life of a one of her botany classes, handing out iPads and providing a hands-on  demonstration of how students use them to map experiments.  Using her iPad and Doceri Desktop, Berg-Binder is able to roam freely through the classroom  changing what appears on the big screen as she sees the need. 

Dr. Kristen Selke (Math) and Dr. Demian Cho (Physics) followed up talking about their experiences using the technology. Selke says her iPad basically functions as a remote controller as she move through the classroom.  She can take pictures of the student work and then put it up on the big screen to help others understand a concept. 

Missed the session? View here on Tegrity.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

October Session--"Curiouser and curiouser"

Jason Spartz (Instructional Technology) opened the session with a fascinating discussion of the newest phenomenon in the printing world, 3-D printing. The College currently owns two 3-D printers, and, although Jason did not actually bring one in to demonstrate, he did provide a plastic artifact that had been created by one of them to demonstrate what these printers can do.  He also provided extensive information about how these printers are being used from the business world to the commercial kitchen and suggested ways in which the SMUMN community might get involved. 


Michael Ratajczyk (Business) concluded the session with an explanation of business intelligence, sometimes referred to as big data. This is the subject matter of a course he currently teaches.  In his presentation Ratajczyk described some of the analysis that his students get involved in and talked about how they will be able to use these skills in the real world. 


Missed the session?  Watch it here on Tegrity.

Monday, September 29, 2014

September session: "Just Google it"

The first Chat Chow session of the 2014 Fall Semester opened to a large crowd and featured four presenters touting the efficacy of Google applications.

 Moni Berg-Binder (Biology) led with a demonstration of how she is using Google Drive as an organizational tool.  Berg-Binder has set up file sharing with her students and with her department  to effectively organize, not only her teaching, but also her departmental work.  Departmental use of  Google Drive  has enabled biology faculty to share course information and teaching tools, as well as to communicate online, cutting down on face to face meeting times.

Karen Hemker, Director of Disability Services, was up next describing how she is using a variety of Google applications to more effectively organize her work flow, serve student needs, and save paper. Students use  iPads to enter their information into a Google Form where their privacy can be assured.  She schedules her students using Google Drive and she uses Google Hang Out to meet with professional colleagues online so she no longer must travel off campus for professional development.

Lori Charron (Communication) and Jason Spartz (Educational Technology) closed the session with an explanation of how Google works with PRCA-24 (Personal Report of Communication Apprehension) and Personal Inventory data collection.  Information from Charron's COM 101 students are collected in Google Forms and transferred into a useful spreadsheet, all the math involved accomplished within the process.

Missed the session?  View it here in Tegrity.


Monday, March 31, 2014

March Session


The session began with a presentation by Dr. Rose Beal (Theology) on the use of Google Drive.  Instead of providing her students with the ubiquitous Power Point as the basis for notes to the class lectures, Beal  is now using  Google Drive as the framework for her classes.  In the files she sets up here, students take notes collaboratively on their laptops, which she and the class can see in real time. In this way she can see what the level of understanding is very immediately and can then address the learning deficiencies quickly.  As students see what notes their peers are taking, they can get better ideas about what might be most important.  In this way some students act as peer models for the others and help to increase overall understanding of the concepts. In using this technology Beal hopes to move students from being mere "recipients of technology to users and creators of technology" and to insure that, along with learning theories of theology, they are also learning to work collaboratively and will be coming out of the university with what she refers to as the more "enduring skills" needed for the workplaces of the future.


Dr. Nathan Lien (Chemistry) followed up with a description of how he is flipping his chemistry classrooms.  Lien puts his lectures into 10-30 minute Tegrity videos  and posts them to Blackboard.  Students are then charged to watch the videos as their homework. Class time then is spent working out solutions to problems on prepared worksheets.  Students are allowed to work in groups or to go it alone if they prefer.  To promote this more collaborative and active learning classroom, Lien moved his classes into a venue that enabled easy moving around of the furniture  (desks and chairs with wheels) and discovered that students soon became adept at arranging furniture to suit their learning needs.  As in Beal's experience with Google Drive, this experiment has resulted in some students stepping up to act as role models and to help others achieve understanding of the concepts.  Lien expressed some disappointment in the comparison of test scores between his flipped classroom students and a few previous classes, but thinks that this may be an anomaly and that scores will begin to show improvement in the next few years.

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Some good reading on flipping the classroom:
From eCampus News
From the Chronicle of Higher Education
More from the Chronicle

Missed the session? View it here on Tegrity

Thursday, February 20, 2014

February's Session

In this session, "Talk to Me," two faculty members described how they have enlisted  the power of social media technologies to promote engaged student response.  Lisa Truax  (Art) began by sharing her experiences with Flipgrid, a video response tool from developers at the University of Minnesota.

The system is available free for a 3-week trial and then costs $60.00  for continuing use.  It may shared across a department and it is free to students.  Faculty send out questions and then students send back a video response within a 90 minute time frame.  Students can view and "like" each others responses as well.  Truax has used the system to track student responses to various arts activities that they are required to experience.  Not only is she easily able to insure that the students are attending the events, but the system also serves as a springboard for more discussion in the classroom.

Web_voting_mobile-2a2e3074988a1dff09ee4550680ed876Janel Schultz (Math) talked about how she is using Poll Everywhere, the classroom response system that incorporates mobile devices. In this system students use their cell phones to respond to various questions that Schultz puts out both during classroom periods and within the videos she creates for students to view outside of class as part of her "flipped" classroom activities.  Schultz uses the app to gauge student learning as well as to keep students engaged.  It also works to help Schultz determine if students are watching the required video homework; she imbeds a poll in the video and, while it primarily works to gauge student understanding of the math questions, it also lets her know who has been doing the homework and who will get the points for doing so.  When asked if there was ever a problem with students not having phones to respond with, Schultz said that her students all seemed to have a smart phone with them in her classes. Answers may also be sent via Twitter or web browsers and responses can be seen live on the web or in a PowerPoint presentation.



Missed the session?  View it here on Tegrity.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

January's Session

In this session, "What Have You Done for me Lately," four faculty members described how they are using a variety of different e-portfolio programs to provide opportunities for students to document their achievements.  Dean Beckman (Communications) uses eFolio, a free portfolio resource for Minnesota residents, students, and workers, in two of his classes. Students use these programs as a way to market themselves to future employees.  Their work on these portfolios is part of their grade. One of Beckman's students, Jesus Martinez, demonstrated how he has used the program to effectively package his professional activities, his education, and his skills.

Trisha Karr and Mario de Calvo, both from the Psychology Department, use Google Sites, a structured wiki and web page creation tool, with their classes for portfolio development. Again the long term purpose of the tool is to help students market themselves to future employers.  The tool's  multi-tier permissions and accessibility feature (owner, editor, and viewer) insures that the students' work can be safely shared with instructors, classmates, and future employers. It has a presentation feature as well and allows for easy insertion of videos.

Lisa Truax (Art) demonstrated how her students use a variety of sharing apps such as ArtSite, which "combines a teaching Museum to spark an appreciation of global art and civilization with a Gallery and Portfolio where students display and share their own art and writing" and  Three Ring, in which students use mobile phones or iPads to take pictures of work or to record presentations and discussions. Her students also create their own web sites in their Web Design class and then use these sites to showcase the art work they have created while at SMU, again providing effective "resumes."

Missed the session?  View it here on Tegrity.

Monday, December 16, 2013

December's Session

Representatives from the IT staff took the stage at the well attended December 4th session.  Presenters focused on the changes to Blackboard coming in January as SMU moves to the newest version. Of most interest to the group were Blackboard's enhancements which were broken down in terms of social media, mobility, and accessibility.  Participants were able to get hands on experience with  the new version on laptops set up in the McEnery Lounge.

IT staff concluded with information about the new phone system coming in the next semester and updates on improvements to campus wide wireless access.

Missed the session? View it here on Tegrity.