Go to any online learning conference and you’re sure to hear concern about universities being sued for web accessibility issues under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Making your course site accessible can feel overwhelming, but let’s take a look at a few ways you can make some progress.
Some folks out there would say that a tablet can do what a computer used to, and others argue that while they are always improving in capabilities, tablets are still not occupying the same space in terms of computing power. Desktop computer sales in general have been on the decline for several years now, and tablets keep trying to further bridge the gap. As someone who spends many days testing, evaluating and re-evaluating software and hardware, this situation begs me to answer the question: can I really ditch the laptop?
If you use Pinterest, or have a fascination with office supplies, you’ve likely heard of bullet journaling. If you haven’t, you can learn all about it here. There’s even a bullet journaling blog, The Bulletjournalist.
If you aren’t a Pinner or Office Depot regular, bullet journaling is basically a fancy way to make and keep to-do lists. There are hundreds of ideas as to how you can keep a bullet journal and use it to organize your life, but I’ve found the idea of habit trackers the most useful—both in my work and personal life.
Last summer, DePaul surveyed all faculty to solicit feedback on our two primary learning management systems (LMSs): D2L and Digication. Faculty told us that, for the most part, D2L is meeting their teaching needs.
The feedback on Digication, our ePortfolio tool, told a different story. Faculty voiced frustration with both the lack of upgrades and the usability challenges of creating well-designed portfolios. So, the Digication Steering Committee reviewed nine other digital portfolio platforms, as well as the planned upgrade to Digication, to determine which platform would best meet our needs moving forward.
Let me begin by saying that I have been a geek and technology freak for more years than I care to remember. In 1967, I wrote an undergraduate paper for a History of Mathematics class that dealt with computer generated music compositions. In the 80’s, I wrote for Nibble magazine (Apple II). I worked for Apple for 11 years. I always have the latest beta and bleeding edge software on my phone, watch and computer. My work involves helping faculty develop and deploy courses using technology. All that said, I worry about our students and if they are relying far too much on technology and less on critical thinking skills and the ability to estimate and solve problems.
In my college English 101 course I was assigned to write a persuasive essay. Initially, I wanted to write a paper about the purpose of technology. I started doing research, but couldn’t find anything helpful. So I abandoned that and picked a different topic. Lately, I’ve been thinking again about it. In my role here at FITS, I try to find ways to make technology help our office do tasks smarter, faster, and more efficiently. These tasks often take me back to tried-and-true technologies from Microsoft.
One of my projects lately has been working with the Global Learning Experience team, preparing for the upcoming Global Learning Conference in October. This was my first time being on the development side of a conference; let me be the first to say that it is no easy task. My role was specifically on the technology end.
Over the years, I’ve often heard faculty bemoan the lack of student interest in their syllabi. Students seem to ignore or easily forget key information presented in the syllabus, and many faculty feel obligated to treat the document like a contract, which only exacerbates the lack of student engagement. While many instructors have offered up helpful tips and examples online, it can be daunting to take on a syllabus makeover in isolation.
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.
If I were to describe my level of being a procrastinator, I would probably say mild to moderate. Over the years, I’ve used procrastination as a way to motivate myself to complete a task. This is particularly the case with tasks that I don’t like doing or tasks that appear difficult at first glance. Sometimes my procrastination is hoping that the project or task will be canceled or eliminated, or due dates pushed back.
Procrastination comes from the Latin verb procrastinare, which means deferred until tomorrow.
Teaching—when you think about it—is a process of manipulation.
Dr. Tom Angelo made this point when he was wrapping up his keynote presentation at the DePaul Faculty Teaching and Learning Conference in May 2017. Since then the idea of “teaching by manipulating” kept popping up in my mind like a little bud seeking its opportunity to break through the ground.
It seems to me the best place to sow the seed of manipulation is my home. As I once heard a conference speaker joke, “Do you know why psychologists have kids? No IRB!”
IRB stands for Institutional Review Board, a committee that reviews and approves (or disapproves) studies that use human subjects. It is a hoop that researchers must jump through—well, unless they are dealing with the human subjects that they’ve produced themselves.