AuthorCheryl Cape

Greatest Hits in Educational Technology: Episode 1 – Teaching Neuroscience with a $60 Web Cam


This video documents how Dr. Chris Swart, a faculty member in Neuroscience, used $60 webcams to teach an advanced exercise in his neuroethology lab, NESC-362, Fall Semester 2017.

Not only does the video highlight how low-cost technology can be used effectively in an advanced science lab, but it also showcases the video production skills of the Student Technology Assistants in the Center for Educational Technology. The students did all the work to create this video, which started from filming the lab session and finished with audio and video editing in Adobe Premier.

Interested in learning more about the STA program or how to create your own videos? Contact your Instructional Technologist!

TOW: Adjusting a grade item in Moodle

Tip of the WeekAre you using Moodle to calculate grades for your class? Do you want to adjust (or curve) a quiz or assignment score after everything has been graded?

This is easy to do in Moodle, but you need to know the settings. First, for grade items added manually, navigate to the settings for the grade item by first going to Gradebook Setup under Course Administration. Under the column labelled ‘Actions,’ select ‘Edit Settings’ in the row of the grade item that you want to change. For Moodle activities, such as assignments, navigate from within the course to the Edit settings page under ‘Assignment Administration.’

Let’s say that you want to adjust the maximum number of points on a 100 point quiz down to 95 (which would raise the percentage scores for each student). On the Grade item screen, you will see a notice that grades have been awarded, so in order to change the maximum grade, you must choose whether to rescale the grades.

The ‘Rescale existing grades’ setting has two options – Yes or No. Selecting Yes means that the existing grades will be rescaled so that the percentage grades remains the same. Selecting No means that the percentage will be recalculated to reflect the new maximum – which is what you want. After you set ‘Rescale existing grades’ to No, the maximum grade box will be activated, and you will be able to enter in a new value. Click on ‘Save changes’ at the bottom of the screen, and you are all done.

If you have any additional questions about the Moodle Gradebook, contact your Instructional Technologist!

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 ( or make an appointment online. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Winterize Your Course!

Tip of the WeekSince we are in the season of flu outbreaks and 18 inch snowfalls, it seems to be a good time to review how to “Winterize Your Course.” If you are not able to make it to campus, but would prefer not to cancel class – there are many options for presenting a lecture or interacting with your students remotely.

If you want to conduct a synchronous session during your scheduled class time, we recommend a variety of options including Skype, WebEx, Google Hangouts, Moodle Chat or a simple conference call. If you want to post materials for students to review in a self-paced format, there are a number of tools that can be used to create a video or narrate a screen-capture, such as PowerPoint and Camtasia.

If you are interested, review this handout that describes the different tools in more detail. Then, contact your Instructional Technologist to get started. Stay warm!

TOW: Using Moodle Scheduler to set up student appointments

Tip of the Week

If your class uses Moodle regularly, the Scheduler plugin is very useful for setting up appointments with students in your class, either individually or in groups. (Outside of Moodle, a handy way to schedule appointments is with the WASS scheduler.)

Start by turning on editing in Moodle, and then click on ‘Add an activity or resource.’ In the box under Activities, choose Scheduler and click ‘Add.’ SchedulerIcon

A new page will appear called ‘Adding a new Scheduler’ where you enter in a name (required). This page contains numerous options for setting up the appointments, including limiting how many times a student can make an appointment, whether there will be a grade assigned, and if appointments can be made by groups. Note that if you decide to use groups, the group assignments will need to be defined under Course Administration, and this plugin requires that the teacher or teaching assistant be a member of each group. Once you have finished with the settings, click on ‘Save and display’ located at the bottom of the page.

SchedulerAddSlots2To set up the times for the appointments, click on ‘Add slots.’ Under the drop-down, you can choose to add a single slot or repeated slots. The repeated slots option is recommended for setting up blocks of time where students can make appointments. Choose the appropriate days of the week, start and end times of the appointment block, and then the duration of the appointment (typically 15 or 30 minutes.) You can also activate a setting where an automatic email reminder will be sent to the student before the appointment. Once you have created the appointments, then click on ‘Save changes’ at the bottom of the page.

Students will see a listing of the available times (as shown below), where they use the “Book slot’ button to make an appointment. Additional time slots can be added by the instructor at any time, and statistics summarizing the appointments can be easily viewed and exported. (It is worth mentioning, however, that the Scheduler does not sync with calendar software, such as Outlook or Google Calendar.)


If you have any questions about using the Scheduler in Moodle, please contact your Instructional Technologist.


TOW: Running lab applications on your personal computer

Tip of the WeekThere is the option on campus to run lab software such as Matlab, SPSS, STATA, Atlas.ti, ArcGIS, EViews and more, on your personal computer, rather than always having to go into a public lab. We have 30 seats of a virtual Windows 7 image that is running most of the applications you will find in the labs and classrooms. You can access this window image from virtually any device including Macs, and iOS and Android mobile devices. So if you need to run a lab application for an assignment and don’t want to come to a lab keep reading!

To set this up, VMHorizon Client software needs to be installed on your personal computer by downloading the latest version of the Horizon client. For Windows and Macs start at for mobile devices find it (for free) in your app store. Once the VMWare Horizon Client is installed and running, then add the new server “” from the File menu.  Afterwards, click on the vdi icon to login, then use your trincoll username and password (as well as cmpcntr domain) to connect to the remote computer.  Select the “Labs” image for the connection, and after Windows 7 opens, the applications can be accessed through the Start menu.

The fine print:

  • This currently only works on campus, though you should be able to connect to the virtual image through VPN from off campus. Instructions on using VPN are found at .
  • The versions may be slightly different than what is installed in the labs. You shouldn’t have any issues but be aware there could be some slight differences.
  • This image resets on restart just like the labs so save your work to a flash drive, network/cloud space or email it to yourself.

 As always, please contact the Help Desk if you run into any problems.

TOW: Two important default settings for Moodle Gradebook

Tip of the Week

As we approach the start of the semester, now is the time to set up your gradebook in Moodle. The Moodle Gradebook has many different options for setting up a gradebook, including the use of weighted categories or total points. You can use a Moodle assignment to collect and grade assignments within Moodle, or you can just create a gradebook item and enter in the grades by hand. It allows students to track their progress throughout the semester, and faculty can give personalized feedback to each student on assignments and scores.

We want to highlight here two default settings for the Gradebook that are set when the courses are created. The first controls the visibility of the Gradebook for the students, and the default option will be for the gradebook to be visible. If you plan on using Moodle for a course, but do not want the students to see the Gradebook, then you will need to change this setting. Go to Course Administration in the left navigation bar, and click on “Edit settings.” In the Edit Course Settings page, expand the Appearance block. To hide the Gradebook, change the drop-down from Yes to No for “Show gradebook to students” as shown in the figure below, and then click “Save and display.”


The second default Gradebook setting worth mentioning controls how course and category total grades are calculated. Many faculty prefer to have students view a running average for their class grade over the semester, rather than showing a grade based upon the total number of assignments. Moodle uses the function “Exclude Empty Grades” to give up-to-date running totals for the students’ grades. This is a category setting only, so it is relevant to category-based grading schemes where it adjusts calculations for the full course level category score and any sub-category score (i.e. Quizzes, Homework, etc.). This is not a setting controlled at the grade item level. It is important to point out that when the ‘Exclude empty grades’ option is activated, the calculations just ignore grades that have yet not been entered – if a zero is entered as a grade for any assignment or grade item, this does count towards the student’s score.

By default, the Gradebook will be set to display running averages. Use the following instructions if you want to change this setting so that grades are calculated using all the assignments. Select “Gradebook setup” in the left navigation bar of your course, and then click “Edit Settings” under the Actions column for the category (as seen for the Tutorials category in the image below). You will then see an Edit Category screen. GradebookEditSettings

ExcludeEmptyGradesIn the Grade category box, click “Show more,” click on the ‘Exclude empty grades’ box so that it is not checked, and then click on “Save changes.” This will then include every grade item in the course total and category total grade calculations.

For any questions about the Moodle gradebook, don’t hesitate to contact your Instructional Technologist.