CategoryTools

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.

TOW: Using Qualtrics for Survey Research

Tip of the Week

There are many ways to field a survey online including free services such as Google Forms and Survey Monkey. But what if your survey requires some complex logic or you need to track participants and automate the process of sending reminders and follow up emails? Trinity College has a subscription with Qualtrics, a powerful and flexible survey tool used by many top researchers. While it does take some getting used to it is easy to use and is powerful and flexible enough for any survey research you can throw at it.

To get started simply go to http://trinity.qualtrics.com and create an account using your Trinity email address. You will then have access to a sandbox area where you can design a survey and see if it is the tool for you. If you decide to use it for your research you should contact your department’s Instructional Technologist and we can help get you started. We will have to fully enable your account before you can activate your survey. To do this we will need some information from you especially proof that you have completed the Institutional Review Board process.

 

Lynda.com

What is Lynda.com?

Lynda.com is a massive archive of video tutorials. It’s a great way students, faculty and staff can learn specific software (like every variety of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint), programming concepts and skills (like WordPress, HTML, CSS and Javascript) and design principles (like typography, color theory and typography).

How do I log in?

Every member of the Trinity community has access to Lynda.com, on campus or away!

First way:

  1. Click this link to go to lynda.com
  2. Log in with your Trinity College username and password.
  3. The first time you do this, you’ll need to verify that the information we’re using to authenticate is correct.

Second way: 

  1. Go to lynda.com
  2. Select “Log in” on the upper-right part of the screen
  3. In the dialog box that pops up, click on “organization login” then scroll down to “enter your organization’s URL.” This is trincoll.edu
  4. Log in with your credentials. Again, the first time you do this, you’ll need to verify your authentication information.

How do I find what I need?

There are a lot of videos on Lynda.com, and it can be hard to know what one you need. Fortunately, there are a few ways to find the content that will fit your needs.

  1. Use Lynda’s search feature. Start by entering the specific name of the software you’re looking for (like Microsoft Office 2016 – it’s important to include the version) and the phrase “essential training.” This will return a list of videos and courses that the Lynda.com editors have flagged as, well, “essential” for the software you are learning.
  2. Browse Lynda’s library. lynda_topicsIf you know the general discipline of the skill you’d like to learn, Lynda’s library has a nice interface for browsing their content. Clicking the “library” link next to the search bar will open a tray of all the disciplines Lynda covers. So if you want to learn about typography, you can probably find a lot of great tutorials in the Design category. Here’s what the library browse tray looks like:
  3. Take a look at one of Trinity’s curated playlists. Our curated playlists are works in progress, and we’re adding more all the time. Below are the ones we have put together so far, but if you’re looking for something different, make an appointment with the STA office, and they can help you find what you are looking for.

Curated Playlists

Adding text annotations with hypothes.is

Hypothes.is is a great tool for collaboratively annotating text on websites, and it’s WordPress plugin is a reliable way to add this functionality to your site.

Contact your instructional technologist if you’re interested in adding the hypothes.is to your WordPress site, or want to talk about how you can add this tool to your course content.

site with hypothesis plugin activated

When you are on a WordPress site that has the hypothes.is plugin activated, you should see the hypothes.is bar on the right side of your browser window. Click the arrow to expand the tray to get started.

create a hypothesis account

If you don’t have a hypothes.is account, you’ll need to create one. Please note that this is independent from your Trinity account – if you need help resetting your password, you will need to go through the hypothes.is site, not the Help Desk.

Back on the original WordPress site, open the hypothes.is tray, and click "Sign in."

Back on the original WordPress site, open the hypothes.is tray, and click “Sign in.”

When you've successfully signed in, you will see the annotations that have already been added to the page.

When you’ve successfully signed in, you will see the annotations that have already been added to the page (when the hypothes.is tray is open).

Once you're logged in, you can add annotations of your own. You can add annotations to the overall page, or highlight specific text to make direct comments.

Once you’re logged in, you can add annotations of your own. You can add annotations to the overall page, or highlight specific text to make direct comments.

Previewing lynda.com

lynda_logo3r-d_144x

Effective *yesterday*, Trinity College has started offering all faculty, staff, and students full access to the thousands of training videos available on lynda.com. They’re great for brushing up on a particular software package, or, for example, to make sure all the students in a class know how to use Excel’s pivot tables, or ArcGIS, or inDesign. (Many thanks to the Dean of Faculty, to Human Resources, to Career Development, and to the Library and ITS for making this possible.)

We will be coming out with much more information in a week or so about how to use this effectively, and especially about how to incorporate it into your classes, but there’s no reason people can’t log in now. You can log in one of two ways, either is fine:

First way:

  1. Click this link to go to lynda.com
  2. Log in with your Trinity College username and password.
  3. The first time you do this, you’ll need to verify that the information we’re using to authenticate is correct.

Second way: 

  1. Go to lynda.com
  2. Select “Log in” on the upper-right part of the screen
  3. In the dialog box that pops up, click on “organization login” then scroll down to “enter your organization’s URL.” This is trincoll.edu
  4. Log in with your credentials. Again, the first time you do this, you’ll need to verify your authentication information.

if you have any questions, please get in touch with Jason Jones.

Simple Timelines and Maps With WordPress

In the Spring of 2014 I had the opportunity to work with 3 different faculty members in the History department who wanted to experiment with having their students visualize data using maps and timelines. While they each had different goals and objectives the guiding principles were the same. We wanted the students to be able to get a better understanding of the materials by visualizing it either on a timeline or a map or both. We also wanted this to be fairly low tech. We didn’t want to make the students learn GIS and we certainly wanted to avoid any tech heavy solutions involving custom code.

After looking at a few options we decided to make use of our existing WordPress platform and use plugins to make timelines and maps.

The solution turned out to be quite simple for the students yet flexible enough to give use a variety of options for displaying the information. Both the timeline entries and mapping entries were simple fields added to regular WordPress posts. The training required was minimal. The students quickly picked up how to add locations to their posts using the simple Google maps search interface. Setting the dates on timeline posts was even easier – just enter the date where the item should go on the timeline.

HIST-311: Place in the Native Northeast
Tom Wickman, Assistant Professor of History and American Studies: http://commons.trincoll.edu/nativenortheastplacenames/

nativenortheast mapIn this course students posted their work on the class WordPress site and had to post a number of map points connected to their posts as part of various assignments. This site will be added to each semester covering a range of topics associated with Native Americans in the Northeast. The site hosts a map containing all points created to date as well as individual maps created by each student as part of a final project. The geomashup plugin makes it simple to add a location to a post using a standard Google maps search interface. By using categories and tags we can display maps on specific topics and the readers can also decide which categories they want to display.

HIST-303: Modern Ireland
Jennifer Regan-Lefebvre, Assistant Professor of History: http://commons.trincoll.edu/hist303/

irelandThis course made use of both maps and timelines in WordPress. We wanted the students to get more background knowledge of the history of Ireland for the course so the goal of the WordPress site was to have the students generate content that when pooled together could serve as a source of information useful to all of them. Each student was assigned a specific topic to share with the class. The hope is the students can build on this first step in future classes.

HIST-300: History Workshop
Sean Cocco, Associate Professor of History: http://commons.trincoll.edu/historychart/

history chart

This course focused on the concept of night time in Europe from 1500-1800.  The goal of this project was to visualize information based on both time and place. Utilizing categories and tags helps link the various posts and topics together. Each semester the course topics changes and the hope is students will be continuously adding to the site to create a rick recourse of historical information.

More information on the plugins:

There are many approaches to both maps and timelines available. We chose these solutions because of their simplicity and seamless integration with WordPress. There are other timeline options that are more feature rich (Timeline JS for example) and many more options for mapping such as Google Fusion tables and ArcGIS software. If you are interested in possibly using timelines or maps with your students just contact your Instructional Technologist and let us help you get started!

Introducing WASS: The Web Appointment Scheduling System

Trinity is beginning to support WASS (Web Appointment Scheduling System) as a way to facilitate appointments, especially student appointments. WASS is an open-source software project that was launched at Princeton University, and is used at a variety of institutions across the country.

With WASS, you can: specify blocks of time that you have made available for appointments, divide those blocks as you like, and then make that calendar available to others (either Trinity students/faculty/staff or the whole world). For people who use an electronic calendar, such as Outlook, Google Calendar, or a computer- or device-based calendar app, WASS also provides a feed of these appointments, so that you’re able to keep track of them easily.

This is a *basic* guide to getting started with WASS: for more information, contact your instructional technologist or me (Jason B. Jones).  Also note: This is an experiment, and some things are still improving.

First Steps: Accessing WASS and setting up a calendar

Anyone with a Trinity College userid can create a calendar on WASS.

First, go to http://wass.trincoll.edu, and log in with your username and password:

WASS home
The first time you log in, it will take you to the Make an Appointment page. As you see, you can search by Calendar Owner’s Name, User Name, or Calendar Title. (Note: Clicking ‘Browse’ lets you browse actually-existing calendars, not everyone on the Trinity system.) But let’s set up a new calendar. You do this by clicking “Create Calendar”:

WASS after login
The first screen gives you a variety of simple setup options: You can give it a simple title (e.g., “Dr. Jones’s Office Hours”), decide whether it’s a group calendar, and whether to allow multiple calendars to overlap. (Note: This implies you can set up different calendars! So, for example, you can have a calendar for office hours, another for research or service commitments, and maybe other, more specialized calendars for short-term projects.) “Default Block Settings” are the identifying information that will be displayed on the blocks you set up. You can format this as you like. (The information is filled in automatically from Active Directory–it’s the same information that shows up in the campus directory.)

WASS calendar setup--screen 1

One important thing to understand is “Access Restrictions” (at the bottom of the screen). Click on “Show” to expose them:

WASS access controls
Each of these three settings are important:

  • View Calendar: Who can see this calendar? By default, only people with a Trinity userid can see the calendar. You can make it visible to the whole world (Open), just a certain number of specific people (Restricted), or only those who control the calendar (Private).
  • Make Appointments: Who can make an appointment on this calendar? The set up is the same as view: the default is Trinity-only, but you can set different levels of permission if you’d like.
  • Show Appointment Details: The default behavior is that people who are not the calendar owner can only see whether an appointment time is open or busy. If it’s busy, they cannot see any details about it. If you tick this box, though, you can expose the details about the appointment to anyone. (In other words, it’s all or nothing–no details are visible, or they all are.)

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Once you’ve adjusted the settings to your liking, click “Save.”

Your calendar has been created! On the next screen, you get a lot of different choices:

WASS setup options

You can create more calendars, add managers to your calendar (for example, a colleague or an administrative assistant), or delete the calendar. (These choices are on the right.) You can also get addresses for subscribing to the calendar. (Center of the screen.) We will return to these in a moment. What we want to do is create some times for appointments. To do that, we click “View Calendar” (on the left-hand column.

You can see a generic calendar, but no way to make appointments. To add this capacity, click “Add Block(s)” on the left hand column.

WASS_View_Calendar

You can then set up a variety of options:

 

WASS Adding Blocks

 

I won’t go through all of these options, but will just note that you can set blocks up to be one-time or recurring; that you can set the length of time for appointments (or leave this blank); you can limit the number of appointments people can make; and you can also (under “Advanced Options”) change the privacy settings for this particular block. Once you’ve configured the settings as you like, click “Save,” and it will appear on your calendar.

You can easily share this calendar with students by clicking “Calendar Setup,” and then sharing the top link of the three with your students:

WASS distribution

The *second* URL is also worth noting: If you already use an electronic calendar, you can add that URL to it, and subscribe to your WASS calendar there for convenient viewing.  (This works in iOS and most other phones/tablets; it works in Outlook on the PC side, and iCal on the Mac side. A workflow for Mac OS is coming.)

Known issues:

  • E-mail/text reminders are still a work-in-progress.
  • The calendar does not yet display correctly in Outlook for Macs or for webmail.
  • No integration (yet) with Moodle, to facilitate class-specific appointment calendars.
  • Trinity localizations (phone numbers / links in Help files) are not complete.