Category Archives: Web Tools

Kevin Lyon

Getting Your Head in the Cloud: 5 Tips on Distributed Data and Discipline

Our institution recently (generously/mercifully) provided the entire university access to Box.com, an unlimited online cloud storage solution. While many in our office were already pro subscribers of Dropbox or Office 365/OneDrive, the addition of an officially available solution for all faculty, staff, and students opened many, many opportunities—but brought a few challenges as well.

Some of the users we’ve worked with following the release were already familiar with cloud storage solutions, which also means they are well aware of the “data discipline” required when you have near limitless (or in our case, actually limitless) storage that can span across physical hardware setups and locations. However, some who were new to this, or just those who—let’s just say “have trouble with cleaning up” their files—needed a bit of a primer on data discipline and how to avoid the digital dumping ground.

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Veronica Johnson

Organization or Bust? Project Management Tools for Success

Have you ever had a million and one things to do and so you write reminders to yourself—preferably on sticky notes—so that you won’t forget? Have you ever opened up your emails and wanted to scream because you were being asked to execute so many tasks? Have you ever just decided to step away from a certain situation because the information was so overwhelming and you needed to collect your thoughts?

keeping-notes

Well, if you have answered yes to any of these questions, then you will find this post very useful. Continue reading

Sarah Brown

Happy New Year. Here’s 15 Hours.

A new year is a good time to press the reset button on many things, and I like a healthy, rigorous technology and technology-centric practice clean-out. You may already be using some of the tools I’ve listed below, but a new year is a good time to revisit those spaces, tweak your practices, or delete items that you’re no longer using.

But! If you’re new to all of these items and you integrate them in 2017, you’ve just earned yourself 15.65 (approximately) hours. You’re welcome. Continue reading

Dee Schmidgall

Brainstorming with Stormboard and Twiddla

Web-based whiteboards are great tools for real-time brainstorming and collaboration when you and your team members (or students) can’t meet face to face. The best one for you depends on the kind of work you need to do. Let’s take a look at two, the first of which has an offer for educators through mid-summer 2017.

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Melissa Koenig

Exercise Your Body and Mind with Pokémon Go

I have a confession to make. I confess that I jumped on the Pokémon Go bandwagon—and I am still riding it.

My first introduction to Pokémon was when my son was little. He had a collection of cards, carefully curated in protective binders. He spent hours reading the cards and developing the perfect deck to defeat his father—not an insignificant feat.   For a child who was a “reluctant” reader these cards were one of the first times that he read for pleasure. He spent hours reading each card to learn the strengths and weaknesses of these unique creatures.

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Sharon Guan

Exploring Mindful Learning

Downward facing dog
Lift your right leg up
Move your right leg forward
Land your right foot next to your right thumb
Move your right arm forward…Warrior II
Bend your right knee, move your left arm up, and right arm down…extended side angle

The voice of my yoga instructor whistled by my ears as I followed the flow of movement. My mind drifted. What should I write for my blog?

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Erin Kasprzak

Tracking student writing with Google Forms

DePaul’s School for New Learning has an annual initiative called the Month of Writing (MOW) every October. The initiative is loosely based on National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and challenges the school’s students, faculty, and staff to write as many words as possible during the month.

This year I worked with a faculty member developing an online course designed to coincide with the MOW, where one course objective is to complete 25,000 words of a designated writing project by the end of the five week course. The emphasis here is on the writing process—on quantity over quality—to get students over the idea that every piece of writing must be perfect, and just start writing.

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Ashanti Morgan

Get in Sync! 5 Tips to Better Domestic and International Collaborations

Collaborating across the globe is gaining much-needed traction thanks to the accessibility of  technology tools and internet connectivity. While there are some countries that still suffer from digital inadequacies, the proliferation of mobile device and tablet accessibility is changing the game and thankfully, beginning to level the playing field.

Social media and other mediums have shown the humanizing impact that integrating video into a conversation can have that somehow, makes us feel connected to those that we haven’t seen in years and/or live thousands of miles away. And now, other industries are starting to take notice.

The academic and business world as we knew it decades ago is evolving to new heights. With more online courses at the collegiate level increasing to the exponential growth of global virtual conferencing in the workforce, our brothers and sisters around the world are much easier to engage on a regular and consistent basis.

Make no mistake, if you’re going to connect sizeable groups of college students or colleagues in a meaningful and engaging way, it takes time and strategic planning. Unlike social media, in academia, business corporations, healthcare, and other industries, structured and formal real-time (live) video interactions can take weeks, maybe even a month, to execute flawlessly. Continue reading

Daniel Stanford

Intro to Google Quizzes

I’ve been working on a side project recently to help young people improve their financial literacy and job skills, and I needed to create a quiz that would be accessible to anyone with the link. I’d heard from a colleague that Google recently rolled out a feature allowing Google forms to be turned into quizzes, so I decided to give it a try. The process was easier than I expected and, in less than 30 minutes, my “ultimate credit score quiz” was live for the world to see.

august-15-1
Screenshot of Daniel’s credit-score quiz that uses Google Forms

If you’re accustomed to having students access your learning materials within a learning management system like Canvas, Blackboard, or D2L/Brightspace, you might wonder why you’d ever want to create quizzes outside your LMS. I had a similar perspective until I began working on projects that included students outside of my institution. For instance, through DePaul’s Global Learning Initiative, I frequently work with faculty who are collaborating with foreign instructors and students.

Before the rollout of Google quizzes, the only way we could provide our non-DePaul collaborators with access to quizzes was to add them to our LMS. This process is time-consuming and tends to reinforce the feeling that, as an American institution, we’re requiring our partners to learn our systems and do things our way. Because Google quizzes can be accessed by simply clicking a link (no login required), and because many Google products are widely used in many countries, we now have an option for online, auto-graded assessments that feels more open and familiar to students outside of our institution.

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Alex Joppie

The Year of Virtual Reality

If you haven’t ever had a virtual reality experience before, you probably will in the next twelve months.

Virtual reality is coming online in a big way. VR headsets for high-end gaming PCs started shipping this past spring. This fall, Sony is launching a VR headset for its PlayStation 4 game console. Beyond gaming, Google has been experimenting with VR for two years, using phones and a cardboard holder. The low-tech, low-cost solution was designed to get VR into the hands of as many people as possible, and Google has already managed to get many developers on board with cardboard, creating games, simulations, and more. Google has created K12-focused Expeditions, where users can get the full 3D and 360-degree experience of being somewhere very few could ever go–like the Great Wall of China, the Great Barrier Reef, and even the surface of Mars. YouTube is also filling up with 360-degree 3D videos that are meant to be consumed with virtual reality devices. But VR isn’t always just consumptive–apps like Tilt Brush allow users to create 3D paintings in midair. And Google is getting ready to launch a more sophisticated VR platform with its next Android release in a few months, to build on and enhance their Cardboard platform. 2016 is the year of virtual reality.

As an instructional technologist, my natural tendency is to get excited about new technology and its potential in higher education. My instinct is to imagine all the possibilities that the next big thing affords for our classes and to push for the rapid adoption of the latest and greatest tech. But in the case of virtual reality, I’m a little skeptical that it’s going to be a true transformative technology for a couple reasons.

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