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June, 2012:

Tips & Tricks for Your Google Search

On the surface, Google Search seems like a very simplistic tool…but did you know there is much more to it than typing in some keywords and hitting “enter”? In fact, you can use Google to search filetypes, within a url, conversions, current time, flights, and more.

Here is an interactive infographic that David Andrade posted on his blog last week. Created by OnlinePhD.org, the infographic goes over ways to make your Google Search as effective as possible:

EDIT: A day after we published this post, Edudemic released a related list called 181 Google Tricks That Will Save You Time. This list covers Google Search tips and also touches on specific tricks for using Google in an educational setting, Google Docs, Google+, Google Calendar, Gmail and more. Read them both and really become a Google wizard!

EdTech Magazine Interviews Director of UWBLT, Andreas Brockhaus

Last month, we received the fantastic news that the UWB Learning Technologies Blog was named one of 50 “Must-Read” educational technology blogs by EdTech Magazine.

As a follow-up to that, EdTech Magazine’s Jimmy Daly interviewed director of UWB Learning Technologies, Andreas Brockhaus. In the interview, Andreas discusses different aspects of technology in higher education: cloud computing, learning analytics, EDUCAUSE, hybrid/online courses, and technology on our campus.

The full interview can be found here. For more Q&As from other “Must-Read” edtech bloggers, check out Karine Joly and Eric Stoller‘s interviews.

How Design and Implementation of Distance Ed Courses Impact Learning

Students with Laptops in Classroom

In a recently published paper by the University of Minnesota, researchers looked at how different designs and implementations of distance education courses affected student learning and satisfaction in these courses. The study involved identifying three different types of interaction in these courses: Student-Student, Student-Teacher, and Student Contact.

Student-Student (SS) interaction consists of individual students or groups of students working together in both dynamic technologies such as video conferencing or static technologies such as discussion boards.

Student-Teacher (ST) interaction also uses many of the same technologies involved in SS interaction in distance learning. Face-to-face interaction is also observed under both SS and ST.

Student-Content (SC) interaction is defined as “reading informational texts, using study guides,watching videos, interacting with computer-based multimedia, using simulations, or usingcognitive support software (e.g. statistical software), searching for information, completing assignments, and working on projects”.

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Media & Communication Students’ Projects are Great Examples of Blogs/Sites in Education

Last quarter, I completed BISMCS 333: Media and Communication Studies, the core class for the UWB Media & Communication studies major. Taught by Amoshaun Toft, the class covered many different aspects of communications, media, and policy, all while putting them in a 21st-century context. As part of our final project, each group created a communication object to share with the rest of the class, also to be showcased to the public in a way of our choosing. Initially, groups were assigned to research and discuss topics of gender, race or class within the media. The research turned to analysis, which then turned into the object, presentation and reflection. Communication objects groups chose to create included Twitter accounts, memes, informational/satirical posters, and web sites–which I’d like to take a moment to discuss.

All of the student work was creative, impressive and fantastically put together. Although, working in Learning Technologies made me automatically pay close attention to the sites some groups created using WordPress and Wix. Usually whenever these sites appear in the classroom, they are being used as the course website (a great example of this is Professor Toft’s site for that class). Using these sites and others like it for student projects is a bit less common. However, all of these groups pulled it off and created some great sites. If you are wondering how to use blog hosting sites in your classroom, or if you just want to be inspired by awesome student work, read on:

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Free Software for UW Faculty & Students!

One of the perks of being affiliated with the UW is that you have access to a number of free and discounted software. We’ve highlighted some of the best deals below so be sure to take advantage of them as soon as you can since licensing agreements can change without notice.

For UW Students

  • All UW students are entitled to download a free copy of Windows 7 as well as the latest version of Microsoft Office Professional for both Windows and Mac courtesy of the Student Technology Fee. See the Student MS Software page on UWare for more details.
  • As mentioned in a previous blog post, all UW students also have access to VIDA or VIrtual Desktop Access. You can use this tool to virtually login to a UW campus computer and access high end software such as Adobe CS4 from any computer with Internet access. See UW’s VIDA page for more details.

For UW Faculty/Staff

  • Current UW faculty and staff are eligible to purchase one copy of the latest version of Microsoft Office at the discounted price of $10.00 for download. See the Microsoft Home Use Program page on UWare for more details.

For all Faculty/Staff/Students

  • Microsoft Dreamspark gives all faculty/staff/students with a valid .edu email address access to professional development software such as Visual Studio and Windows Server for free.

Check out our Free and Discounted Software page for more links to resources available to faculty and students.