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Digital Education

Simplifying the Design Process- One Canva at a Time

To all designers and creators: have you ever opened Photoshop, PowerPoint, Word, or even social media sites and asked yourself now what? How about those who fear the Adobe Suite or even Microsoft Office?

Canva, a design app, simplifies creating posters, flyers, presentations, business cards, Facebook covers- you name it. With a selection of professional, pre-designed graphics and stock photos to choose from, you can finish a project within minutes. Be aware that most stock photos have Canva watermarks or you can pay $1 to omit it.

Most of the design process is drag-and-drop. Choose what background, layout, and text you want in your project, then fill in the blanks. Customizing their templates is no problem either. Click on an object to move it, change the color, edit the text, or delete it.

Designs and graphics are great to embellish presentations- especially “PowerPoint-esque” ones. They catch audience’s attention and intrigue listeners. Be aware though, too much text and over the top graphics can just as easily detract your audience. Learn your medium before giving a presentation.

Below are examples of posters we made in less than five minutes:

UWB Learning Tech LT Mission

What can you create on Canva?

Using Badges in Higher Education

In a recent blog post by Trent Batson on The Association for Authentic, Experiential and Evidence-Based Learning’s (AAEEBL) website, an interesting topic about centralization and democratization of education emerged from the use of information technology. Either side of the issue, whether to centralize and control technology or to allow students to have control over their own learning in higher education, was compared to identify both the profitability of centralizing control of technology and/or the efficiency of giving control over to students to enhance learning.

To assess either side of the issue, Batson talks about the use of badges in online learning scenarios as a way “challenge how grading is done”, while creating a system of “micro-credentialing”.

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The Risk of the Cloud

Dedoose, a research managing cloud application, experienced a crash in their system that devastated academics across the country according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. The crash occurred in the midst of a backup process where one of their services failed unexpectedly. Several hours of research efforts disappeared after the crash.

This incident shows the risk of trusting work to third party, cloud-based applications- including UW Bothell’s Google Apps. These events can and will happen.

To avoid losing work, we strongly suggest backing them up on a computer’s hard drive, thumb drive, SD card, and multiple cloud applications. Dropbox is a great service that saves work to both a cloud service and a computer’s hard drive.    

 

Higher Pass Rates for STEM Courses Using Active Learning

In a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and developed by lead researchers at the University of Washington, which included Scott Freeman, Mary Wenderoth, Sarah Eddy, Miles McDonough, Nnadozie Okoroafor, Hannah Jordt, and Michelle Smith, findings about STEM courses utilizing the active learning model illustrated higher pass rates than courses using a traditional lecture model.

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Enhancing Foreign-Language Learning with “Telecollaboration”

Having accessible technology provides many opportunities for enhancing the learning experience for students. In the case of learning a foreign-language, such as Spanish or French, what better way to learn the language than from an actual student from Spain or France?

The Chronicle of Higher Education recently posted an article about a Portuguese class at Virginia Commonwealth University that uses video-conferencing software, such as Skype and Google Hangouts, to connect VCU students with English-learning students in Brazil to facilitate “authentic language-immersion experiences.” Using teletandem, or telecollaboration, allows students from both countries to teach each other their native languages, creating a genuine and highly engaging language-learning experience.

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