ToW: New Assignment Feedback and Annotation Tool

Tip of the Week

Over the summer Moodle was upgraded to the latest release which includes a few new features. One of the more useful features is the addition of a reviewing panel  for giving feedback on assignments. When you grade an assignment that was submitted as a Word doc, PDF, or the online text option you will have the ability to add feedback and annotate the document right in the grading interface – no need to open or download the files first. You can add text notes, highlighting, or draw shapes on the document. This can be much faster than downloading Word files to add comments then re loading them to give the students feedback.

If you give feedback on assignments submitted in Moodle this tool should be a great time saver for you. More information on this feature can be found in the Moodle documentation at https://docs.moodle.org/33/en/Using_Assignment#Annotating_submissions.

 

 

TOW: Our STAs are here to help your students!

Thinking of a digital storytelling project?Tip of the Week
Want to have your students create a short video for the class?
Interested in a class blog?

The Student Technology Assistants are here to help faculty and students with your class projects.  Just a few of the things we can help with:

  • WordPress
  • Multimedia projects using iMovie and Audacity
  • Photoshop and storyboarding
  • PowerPoint presentations and posters
  • 3D printing

In addition, they can help with other instructional software, such as Moodle, PowerPoint, and charts and graphs in Excel.

The STAs are available MTWTH, 8 am – 8 pm, Friday, 8 am – 6 pm, and Sunday, noon – 8 pm, in the new Center for Educational Technology on Level 1 of Raether Library. You can also call (860-297-2589), email (sta-help@trincoll.edu) or make an appointment online. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

ToW: Moodle Docs for this page provides contextual help

While our Moodle Resource Center should be your first stop for common Moodle issues and Trinity-specific help, the Moodle platform provides a link to more detailed documentation at the bottom of every page.

Just scroll ALLllllllllll the way down to the bottom of the screen, and you will see a link that says “Moodle Docs for this page.” 

Moodle Docs for this page

The best part about this link is that it will take you to documentation for the specific type of tool you are using. So if you’re setting up the Assignment tool, the link will take you directly to the documentation for the Assignment tool.

Full details about all the settings for every tool can be found in the Moodle Docs. This information can be a little overwhelming, but if you’re having trouble with the many options and settings Moodle offers for every tool, this can be a helpful place to start (I use it all the time – in fact, most of the time when you call me with a tricky Moodle question, I’m using this tool to find the answers you need).

*Please keep in mind that not all the of the settings and tools mentioned in the general Moodle Docs are always available on our Trinity instance of Moodle.

ToW: Add course materials to Moodle from the new Library OneSearch

Tip of the WeekThe Library’s new OneSearch offers fast and easy access to library books, articles, films, audio, and more. Many of these materials are available online so that your students can access them directly from any of their devices. 

With OneSearch, it’s easy to build course reading and play lists by grabbing the permanent URL for items you find and pasting them into Moodle. 

 

To get started, go to the Library home page and enter your search term(s) in the OneSearch box: 

 

On the results page, you will want to sign in to be sure you are seeing all of your options. Also note the various ways you can filter your results on the left side of the page: by Library, article type, material type (video, audio, book, article), etc. 

 

When you click on the title of an item, you’ll see additional details. Click the Permalink button to reveal the permanent URL, and then “Copy the permalink to clipboard,” which will allow you to paste the link into your Moodle course. 

Voilà! 

ToW: Make Everything More Accessible with SensusAccess

Tip of the Week Keeping up with reading is a critical part of college success, and so making sure course materials are available in a variety of accessible formats is important. For example, some faculty and students with low vision use screen readers to navigate the web and read documents. Others need documents in Braille. Anyone can require accommodations at different points–for example, students with concussion often can’t look at a screen, but need to be able to keep up with coursework.

To respond to this need, Trinity has subscribed to a software service called SensusAccess, which converts files from less accessible formats into more accessible ones. To take only the handiest example: SensusAccess can take a PDF document, even a basic one made by a copy machine, and turn it into an MP3, an e-book, a plain text file, or even just a PDF with semantic tags that allow a screen reader to better describe the content. It can also take a batch of text and give you an accessible version, or convert a web page.

SensusAccess is available to anyone with a Trinity email address. Just go to the main SensusAccess page, identify the kind of material you want to convert, and follow the on-screen instructions. After you’re done, you’ll get an email indicating the file is ready. One of the great things about the service is that it’s self-contained, so anyone can request a file be converted at any time–there’s no need to wait for business hours.

If you have any questions about working with SensusAccess, please don’t hesitate to contact anyone in Educational Technology!

Summer changes for the Educational Technology site

Over the next few weeks, we will be making some edits to this site’s content structure and design. Changes will be rolled out gradually, so that by early July we should have a newly refreshed site. 

We hope that the new structure will make things even easier to find, but if the information you seek remains elusive, please feel free to contact your Instructional Technologist! 

Looking back at #Domains17

Trinity Ed Tech folks at #Domains17

#Domains17

This week, most of the educational technology group went to Oklahoma City for the Domains 2017 conference, jointly hosted by Reclaim Hosting and the University of Oklahoma.

We went because we are quite close to setting up a pilot instance of Trinity Domains, a Domain of One’s Own project (see also: A Domain of One’s Own in a Post-Ownership Society) that will give faculty, students, and staff the digital infrastructure to stake out their digital identity and develop new, exciting forms of scholarship. Since setup is imminent, the conference seemed like a good way to see what other schools were doing, and to make connections for when we inevitably need help.

We’re launching the project because we want to be able to support as much open, web-based teaching, learning, and scholarship as possible, in as many forms as possible, and we want to make it as easy as possible for people to experiment online.

I don’t think any of us at Trinity were well-positioned to do a proper “review” of #Domains17, as we don’t yet have access to the Domain of One’s Own setup, and so don’t have fingertip knowledge of what’s easy, what’s hard, or anything like that.

In lieu of that review, then, here’re a few thoughts:

  • #Domains17 was a great short-conference experience, at an interesting venue and with lots of very friendly, collaboration-minded people. Lauren Brumfield, Adam Croom, Jim Groom, and everyone associated with the conference deserve a lot of credit. 13/10, would attend another event.
  • Martha Burtis’s keynote, “Neither Locked Out Nor Locked In,” is a really great starting point for thinking tangibly about some of the reasons one might want to pursue a Domains project.
  • It also primed me with a thought that held up very well throughout the conference: Her entire section on “WordPress as Symbol and Choice” decries the fact that WordPress often becomes the default way to inhabit a domain of one’s own, which is . . . problematic. Students and faculty need to be free to have domains with different technology options, even if we all have to stretch a bit in terms of what we support, and what people have to support on their own a little bit.
  • Once you’d heard that talk from Martha, it was hard not to realize that the conference schedule was quite WordPress focused. There were more examples of “here’s how to do a cool thing in WordPress” than there were examples of “here’s a successful instructional use of Domains.” This is neither good nor bad as such, but it was just interesting to see the lay of the land. Since we have two multisite WordPress installations on campus, the temptation to default to WordPress will be something to both resist and work with.
  • Switching gears a little: On a personal note it was neat to see Jon Udell talk about annotation. It’s probably not the thing he’d pick to be known for, but I’ve shown his screencast on Wikipedia & the heavy metal umlaut to thousands of people over the years.

There will be more thoughts on this over the summer—and I’d certainly invite Amy and Dave and Sue to chime in with their impressions—as we get started. Certainly it’s the case that I jotted down a ton of things to look into as soon as we’re up and running, which I hope to be able to report on soon!

Photo with all four of us by Tom Woodward, shared under a Creative Commons-BY-SA-2.0 license

Summer Virtual Reading Group

medieval marginalia
As discussed at SITT this year, we’d like to use Hypothes.is this summer as a way to collaboratively read a few essays about digital pedagogy and research.

To play along, make sure you have an account with hypothes.is, and, ideally, install the extension for Chrome. (You don’t have to use Chrome–you can also annotate things using the website.) The explanatory video is pretty good:

Once you’ve signed up, go here to join the Trinity Ed Tech group: https://hypothes.is/groups/pDxZ7oAr/trinity-ed-tech.

Then, let’s start reading! We’ll start with Wired.com’s overview of the A Domain of One’s Own movement, which we’re piloting here at Trinity beginning this fall. For the best effectiveness, try to post comments to the Hypothes.is group before June 9.

Our second reading will be Natalie Houston’s essay on Text Analysis–we’ll try to comment on that between June 10 and June 23.

We’ll determine subsequent readings later in the summer.

Photo “2 chickens, a duck, and a priest?” by Flicker user Aria Nadii / Creative Commons licensed BY-NC-ND-2.0

TOW: Get organized with Evernote

Tip of the WeekEvernote is a free productivity tool that allows you to gather all of those scraps of paper, to-do lists, Web clippings, notes, etc. and put them in one, searchable online notebook. Notes can be organized by tags, and are stored on the Web, so they will sync between all your devices.

You can easily share your notes with others: students, faculty, colleagues at other institutions, and invite them to collaborate on documents if you wish.

Potential uses:

  • Collect research notes as you discover articles or Web sites. Evernote will let you take a snapshot of the Web site, file it in a particular notebook, and make a comment for your future reference.
  • Store ideas and reminders related to your courses.
  • Take notes during meetings. You can even take a photo of an item and upload it to Evernote directly.
  • Develop collaborative documents with colleagues from other institutions.
  • Make vacation plans!

Here are some other ideas for using Evernote academically, from Raul Pacheco-Vega.

Proceed to Evernote.com to get started.

Join Our Growing Digital Scholarship Team at Trinity!

screenshot of a story map

Why Work on Digital Scholarship at Trinity?

A week or so ago, Trinity College posted a job opening for a digital scholarship coordinator, a position designed to build on recent momentum in digital humanities and other forms of born-digital scholarship. We anticipate that the successful candidate will work with faculty interested in conceptualizing new methods or modes of research, as well as with students looking to build digital research skills for a thesis or other forms of scholarship. The digital scholarship coordinator will work closely with the educational technology group and the library in support of all this work.

The digital scholarship coordinator posting speaks for itself, but I did want to highlight a few things that might make this post even more attractive than I think it already is:

  • We’re currently beginning to design a digital scholarship studio in the library, which the successful candidate will have significant input in finalizing and implementing.
  • We are seriously evaluating partnering with Reclaim Hosting’s Domain of One’s Own program to ensure that our students and faculty have the digital infrastructure to develop exciting new projects. I am not a gambler by nature, but there is every possibility that we’ll have reached an agreement by the time interviews for this position start.
  • Staff support for digital scholarship projects is already quite sophisticated–we have expertise in WordPress, GIS, timelines, 3D printing, and more.

We’ve been building toward being able to make this move for several years now, and it’s a very exciting development in Information Services that we’re able to go forward.

The most compelling reaason to come to Trinity as the digital scholarship coordinator is that we have terrific faculty who are already doing exciting work in this field. While this blog post can’t begin to do justice to the rich environment you’ll find here, let me just briefly mention a few we’ve either supported or are in development:

  • Jack Dougherty (Educational Studies) draws on digital history and data visualization tools to reveal the relationship between schooling and housing over time. Examples include On the Line: How Schooling, Housing, and Civil Rights Shaped Hartford and Its Suburbs (currently hosted at TrInFo Cafe’s PressBooks; under contract with Amherst College Press); Data Visualization for All, Web Writing(U of Michigan P, 2015), and Writing History in the Digital Age(U of Michigan P, 2013). You can see his course syllabuses on our WordPress site.
  • Jack Gieseking (American Studies) uses digital methods and analytics to visualize and make public hitherto invisible lgbtq histories and geographies. All of his work is online at http://jgieseking.org/cv, but let me specifically call attention to two ongoing projects, The Queer Public Archives and the Trans Tumblr Project, as well as his course on Data-Driven Cultures.
  • Alden Gordon (Fine Arts) has worked with his students to develop art+Hartford: A website that catalogs public art in the Hartford area, with photographs and scholarly entries for each item. The site is designed for mobile devices, and includes customizable walking tours of the area’s public art. Alden is also working on a digital mapping project illustrating travel in the 18thC.
  • Seth Markle (History/International Studies) is working with the Hartford Public Library’s Hartford History Center to develop a digital archive about the history of hip hop in Hartford.
  • A variety of faculty have developed assignments that build on mapping or other forms of digital storytelling that aren’t currently publicly available. Cheryl Greenberg (History) had students crowdsource a story map (pictured above) showing how the civil rights movement unfolded in a small Mississippi town. Zayde Antrim (History/International Studies) has students working concretely with maps. Beth Notar (Anthropology) and Molly Helt (Psychology/Neuroscience) have students produce digital artifacts during the semester. This list is very partial!

When it comes to teaching, the resourcefulness of the faculty is even more apparent, using tools such as hypothes.is, Zotero, Gelphi, QGIS, Google Docs, WordPress, and much else besides to accomplish myriad pedagogical goals. Some faculty also have student-driven research projects that could potentially become more open and public, but could use help making that happen. We have a dedicated, innovative faculty, and are poised to take further steps in the realm of digital scholarship and pedagogy.

If you have questions about the position, please feel free to get in touch! Again, the full job listing is here: https://trincoll.peopleadmin.com/postings/1308.