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Using Padlet to Enhance Online Group work

Wondering how to keep your online students engaged?  EdTech Advisor and former Chair of Library Tech, Diane Thompson, suggests Padlet, a tool that facilitates interactive and collaborative creativity.

Using Padlet to Enhance Online Group work

The challenge of maintaining teaching continuity in the era of COVID, which has forced the rapid switch from classroom to online activities, requires creativity. Fear not: familiar ways of engaging our students can be modified for online use.

Collaborative work in the classroom is relatively straightforward. Students can be divided into groups and active learning techniques can be employed to explore relevant course topics. In an online course, this is a bit more challenging as students may be in other time zones, or have different schedules.

The goal of technology is to solve a problem. One technology tool that may prove to be very effective in the context of online group work is Padlet. This visual tool allows your students to express their thoughts on a given topic or assignment. Its application allows users to include various content, such as images, videos, documents, and texts in real time communications. In my experience, the collaborative nature of Padlet makes for a great way to explore ideas as a class or in small group projects. Padlet allows for a number of different templates, including a timeline template, grid or map.

Here is an example from an English class where everyone contributed to literary quotes.

Here’s another example from Jessie Smith’s Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) assignment. She used Padlet to explore specific topics for her Latin American Studies course in connection with her partner and class in Argentina.

The last Padlet example demonstrated is from my own course (LIBR 1219) where students collaborate to come up with engaging questions to ask their tour guides when visiting various libraries in our community as part of their field work / practicum course. Students are asked to form groups and come up with categories. Once categories are established, they must then work together to come up with questions pertaining to the workplace. This is all done online.

Overall, Padlet is very easy to use. All you need to do is sign up at padlet.com and start creating. Security levels can be adjusted so that you can share your Padlets publicly or keep them password- protected. Sharing the link to your class is simple and, from your students’ perspective, editing is also straightforward once you have selected the template and explained how to complete the assignment.

The basic version of the programme will allow you to have up to three Padlets, whereas if you choose to sign up for the Pro version (not free), you can have multiple Padlets going at once.

If you have stories to share about how you are using Padlet, I would love to hear them.

Posted in Best Practices | 3 Comments

Kaltura Capture for Mac (v 4.2.29)

Some instructors have reported an issue with synchronisation of audio and video when using Kaltura Capture on a Mac. We have posted below a link to the latest version of Kaltura Capture for Mac (4.2.29) which we believe solves this issue.

Please note that this version is currently unsupported and you use it at your own risk.

https://cdnapisec.kaltura.com/content/static/classroom/v4.2.29/KalturaCapture_4.2.29.dmg

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General Guidelines for using Zoom

Zoom is a modern web-based video communication platform that can be used to introduce a synchronous (real-time) element to online teaching and learning. For example an instructor could use Zoom to conduct online office hours or use the breakout rooms functionality for student group-work.

It takes commitment from all participants in a Zoom session — instructors and students — to develop and maintain a positive learning environment. Everyone is responsible for creating a safe and inclusive collaboration space when using Zoom and is expected to behave in a manner that is professional and ethical.

Before Using Zoom

For resources on using Zoom, visit Langara’s Zoom landing page to learn more about the functionality and use of this platform.

Ensure Zoom is accessible to the students in your classes. Synchronous learning tools often present unique challenges to students including whether they have access to devices with webcams, caps on data, internet speed and stability, finding a quiet place to participate, and the challenge of studying in different time zones. If in doubt consider using pre-recorded video instead.

If you are recording synchronous Zoom sessions, students need to be notified. Zoom recordings are to be used to support student learning only and should not be shared or used for any other purpose. Ask students to turn off their webcam and identify themselves using a first name only. If you upload the recording to Kaltura Mediaspace for sharing, make sure you delete the recording from your personal computer.

Setting up Zoom Sessions

There are a number of recommendations below on how to use Zoom effectively in teaching and learning to increase the safety and security of the learning environment.

  • Set up a password for all Zoom sessions as an added layer of security.
  • Enable the “mute upon entry” feature for your classroom participants
  • Control the chat function and disable private chats. Chats are retained if a session is recorded, and may be accessible under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act
  • If possible, set up a co-host to help during Zoom sessions. This could be a colleague,  teaching assistant or other responsible student that can assist you to host the session. Co-hosts can help manage the chat function, set up break out rooms, and help manage the learning environment.
  • If practical, you can enable the “Waiting Room” feature – one of the most secure ways to allow only those invited to the session to attend.
  • The default screen-sharing option for educational accounts is “Host Only” – this allows only instructors to share their screen, unless they change it. If you want others to share their screen content, you can invite them during the session to do so, or via settings beforehand. See here for information on screen sharing.

Adapted from University of Calgary Guidelines for Zoom

This content is available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Posted in Best Practices, Web Conferencing | Leave a comment

OER Publishing With Jekyll, Reveal.js, and GitLab

Learning management systems (LMS) have some great content authoring tools. Unfortunately, LMS have some limitations when it comes to OER publishing. Students typically lose access to the content once the course ends and LMS are not really designed for broad collaboration among content authors. One practical solution is to author OER content outside the LMS. The problem then becomes which tools to use and how to make that content available to others to collaborate on. I recently completed a project to do just this using a collection of open source software and services.

I wanted to create a collection of lecture notes, lab exercises, and presentation slide decks for a new course I was developing and make the content available online to students. For the lecture notes and lab exercises, I settled on using the Jekyll static site generator. A static site generator transforms simple content written in markdown into a beautiful website. Using markdown allows the author to focus solely on the content without getting hung up on the minutiae of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Many themes are available and most of the more popular ones produce a website that works well on desktop as well as mobile browsers.

For presentation slide decks, I used Reveal.js. Like Jekyll, slide decks can be authored either in markdown or very simple HTML. The major benefit of Reveal.js is that you can present directly from the browser. No special software or plugins are required. Presentations can contain many of the basic features that you might expect from PowerPoint or Keynote.

The final piece of the puzzle is making the content available and inviting collaboration. Both of these objectives can be met using the GitLab service. GitLab is an online service primarily designed to enable computer programmers to collaborate on the development of software projects. The service can be easily adapted to collaborative authoring of OER content. It is a simple matter of creating a public project and letting others know. For public projects, anyone can submit a “pull request” which the project owner can accept and incorporate into the project. For an OER project, this might be other instructors or even students. Like any other public project, if some members of the community are dissatisfied with the direction the project is taking, they are free to “fork” the project and continue developing the project independently. Finally, GitLab offers a service called “Pages” which allows the project to published in a format suitable for consumption by students and others.

jekyll logo reveal.js logo GitLab logo
Posted in Best Practices, Open Education, Tools and Apps | Leave a comment

We’re (still!) here to support you!

Ed Tech is still here to support you, but we’ve moved to remote support.  We are available via email and Zoom (https://langara.zoom.us/j/6043235403), which will be staffed by an Instructional Assistant between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm.  Email questions can be answered between 8:30 am and 8:00 pm. You will need at least a microphone to participate in Zoom meetings.

As you can imagine, many people are trying to contact us now.  Please be patient:  we will get to your requests as soon as we can.

In the meanwhile, check out our resources for teaching remotely here:  https://langara.sharepoint.com/sites/edtech-employees/SitePages/We-are-Here-to-Help.aspx

Hang in, Langarans!

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A new way of adding video and audio to Brightspace Content

There’s a new way of adding Kaltura MediaSpace items to your Brightspace course Content. Click here for a step-by-step of the process.

 

 

 

 

Note: this method only works in the Content tool. Everywhere else in your course, the Insert Stuff method still applies.

 

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Meet the people supporting you as Educational Technology’s Instructional Assistants!

 

 

Daniel Andrade Fonseca 

My specialties are web development and project management; I offer technical support to instructors in Brightspace and other Langara tools, like Zoom and Kaltura.    

My interest in technology started early.  I’ve loved video games since I was a kid in Brazil; I have a big collection of consoles and games, including PS4, Xbox One, and retro games, such as Super Nintendo.  I am also a big fan of sports, especially soccer and basketball. I recently attended NFL, NBA games and went to the last Olympic Games in Rio. During my weekly 10 k run, I enjoy Vancouver’s weather and think about life. 

 

  

Nimmy Nelson 

I have been with EdTech since 2016. 

I did my Bachelor’s in Computer Science (2011-2015) in Kerala, India and my PDD in Business Administration here at Langara (2016-2017). 

My hobbies include cooking traditional South Indian dishes like Sambhar and Kozhikode biriyani and I recently picked up crocheting and embroidery. I also love listening to books in Audible. Most recently, I’ve read Inglorious Empire by Shashi Tharoor and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. 

 

 

Heidi Mede 

I joined the EdTech department in 2006 as an Instructional Assistant and became the Supervisor of Department Operations in 2016. My career path has had several zigzags; working in a shelter for the homeless, with children with physical and mental challenges, in a transition home for people with traumatic brain injuries and operating my own daycare. Ever since I was a child, I’ve loved taking apart electronics, so during the dot-com boom, I went back to school to learn about computers & graduated in network administration. I worked at Oracle Corporation for 5 years, but always felt like a square peg in a round hole and didn’t know why. It wasn’t until I came to Langara that I realized it was the public sector where I belong; showing people how to blend technology and education has become my passion. 

Outside of work, I get out into nature as much as possible and I love to garden. I’m known to remove dead flower heads from plants on my walks, which shocks my walking partners. 

 

  

Brett Foster 

Since I was a child, I’ve enjoyed taking things apart to see how they work and then putting them back together.  I operated a computer consulting business for over ten years and worked with the IT Department at the Vancouver Sun/Province newspapers for many years. To this day, I love to learn about technology and share what I’ve learned. 

I came to Langara in 2018 to work as a Technical Services Coordinator for Ricoh Canada in the Information Technology Department, where I managed over 100 Ricoh Multi-Function devices. 

In December of 2019, I was hired to work in the Educational Technology Department as an Instructional Assistant. I love my new job and coworkers in EdTech and TCDC. 

When I am not on the campus, I run, play guitar and listen to music. 

 

 

Serenia Tam 

My technical education began in San Francisco, from which I have a BA in Industrial Design, concentrating in Web Design; AS concentrating in Computer Science; AAs in Illustration & Fashion Design and a certificate in Library & Information Technology.  I also have certificates in Web Developer & Publisher from Langara, where I’m currently studying photography.  I’ve worked with EdTech since early 2010 after having worked in BCIT, VGH, VPL, and San Francisco Public Library in addition to freelancing as a website designer.  I’m currently an Instructional Assistant in both EdTech & Library & Information Tech.   

I read and write Cantonese & Mandarin, and have studied Japanese, French & English.  I love traveling, photography, fabric arts and gardening and am passionate about animal rights & social justice.   

  

 

Craig Madokoro 

I’ve been the Media Production Technician for the Educational Technology department for 4 years, after having worked at the College for many more.  In addition to maintaining the EdTech recording studio, I livestream College events, facilitate workshops and preserve and convert analogue to digital material.  I also enjoy helping faculty and staff create audio & video content to enhance learning using state of the art technical equipment. 

After graduating from the Vancouver Film School, I worked in the local film & television industry (CBC, Roger’s Community TV) as an editor, camera operator, audio recorder and special effects artist.  

When I’m not at work, I enjoy painting, playing hockey, and caring for my 2 dogs, Coco and Bboshong.   

 

Arien (Ari) Crosby 

I love learning new interfaces and technologies and helping others learn them. I’ve been with EdTech since 2011, around the time that we began the transition from Blackboard to Brightspace. I have a background in web design, and started at Langara in the Library & Information Technology program. Now you can ask me your questions about Brightspace, Zoom web conferencing, Kaltura/MediaSpace, or setting up or maintaining your WordPress site on CourseWeb or iWeb. 

 In my free time I do a lot of knitting, gardening, hanging out with my dog, Pekoe, and fitting in as much tabletop gaming as I can manage

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Email your students

Need to email your students, but not accustomed to using Brightspace? Watch the video below for a how-to on using the Brightspace email tool to easily contact your students, or click here for a step-by-step PDF.

Note: With the retirement of Course Tools, Brightspace email changed on Dec 23rd, 2019. It is no longer be possible to receive email messages in Brightspace. Your message will be sent from your @langara.ca email address and sent to your students’ @mylangara.ca email address. When they respond to the emails you send from your course, the message will go to your Langara email address, and your replies to them will be sent to your students’ MyLangara email address.

Click here for more information.

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Welcome to EdTech/TCDC’s New Home!

On Wednesday, January 29th,  Elder Mary Jane Joe officially welcomed people into the beautifully renovated EdTech/TCDC offices on the second floor of C Building.   

 

Our new acronym, TLC, suits the light-filled, welcoming space, which features a recording studio, flexible furnished meeting rooms, a cosy reception/book club nook and airy new offices.   

 

 

Family, friends & staff joined us to celebrate the opening, during which people noshed on food and “teaching/tech tasters” ranging from the use of the lightboard to creating a podcast.   

If you were unable to make the official open house—or want to bask in the ambience once more—feel free to visit; we’re here to support your teaching needs.   

 

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