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Learn More with Hands-On Experience

With most courses in college the one thing that usually enhances learning of a particular subject is getting your hands dirty. Meaning, getting hands on experience. For most science courses this not a problem but when students want to examine something that may be too fragile, too valuable, too small, or inaccessible, there wasn’t much of a solution until now. In an article on the website Campus Technology they discuss how St. Cloud State University’s Visualization Lab has added high-precision 3D scanners to its technology portfolio, allowing students and faculty to examine objects that previously were inaccessible.

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The Minnesota university chose Artec 3D to provide the 3D scanner hardware and its Studio 10 software, along with a dedicated server, touch-enabled computers, stand-up touchscreen displays, projectors and virtual reality headsets. The technology, which became available at the beginning of the fall 2015 semester, allows St. Cloud to expand its collection of 3D models that can be studied in virtual environments.

Through the Visualization Lab’s Interactive Skull Museum portfolio, biology students now can examine the department’s wide collection of cow, deer, fox, bobcat and even human skulls — specimens that often are quite delicate and cannot be handled easily. Using the 3D scanners, students have been able to create virtual objects that can be turned, shared and explored without concerns about damaging them. The tools will also allow students to create 3D models of microscopic organisms like algae that can be viewed using virtual reality tools.

St. Cloud’s Visualization Lab, located in the school’s Integrated Science and Engineering Laboratory Facility, allows faculty and students access to technology that can be used in a wide variety of cross-disciplinary projects that give students hands-on experience.

For more information on this topic visit the link above.

Google Docs and Google Drive

There are a multitude of apps and software that help students collaborate and get their work done–one such app is Google Drive. Most people know that in addition to having a Google email account when you sign up, there is also a way for students and professionals to access the same capabilities as Microsoft Office Suites but entirely off the web. However, what makes this stand out is the fact that not only does it auto-save to your Google Drive (a way to store documents and files on the internet) but it also allows multiple people to edit the same document in real time.

This capability also allows for people to see who is editing and where by indicating a certain color to that user. This feature is something that you can take on the go with Google Docs. This app is available in the Apple Store for iPhones and iPads, Chrome Web Store for Windows phone or tablet users, and also in the Google Play store for Android users. This versatile app allows you to open any documents that you had made on a computer or create new documents. This app allows for a mobile and tablet friendly interface (as using the normal web browser version could be quite hard).

This app has all the capabilities of working with Google Docs. However, Google has also created an App called Google Docs that allows for editing of all of the other file types, such as a spreadsheet, forms, etc. In the Google Docs App it is only compatible with document type files.

With Google Drive, there are a multitude of options, such as backing up your videos and photos straight to your Google Drive. This can be accessed through any computer simply by logging into your Gmail account. You can also upload and share documents in real-time, on-the-go. This allows for students to successfully integrate and collaborate with their peers on more versatile and easy way. At any moment in the day can students answers questions, work on their assignments, collaborate with peers, turn in assignments by sharing it with their professor, and finally keep all of their work and education assignments all in one place with quick and easy access from any computer, tablet, or phone.

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Canvas Tips to Start the Year Off Right!

Want help with learning technologies, digital media, assignment/course design, or hybrid/online learning? Go to our LT website to book time with us or ask us a question!

Students:

Tip #1: SENDING A MESSAGE IN CANVAS

Did you know? You can send a private message to your professor or classmates through Canvas. All you need to do is click on Inbox in the top right hand corner of your Canvas window. Click on compose a new message, then select your course and the professor/classmate you want to communicate with. This tool is incredibly useful for asking your professor or classmates questions, or even talking to members in your group.

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Tip #2: OPENING CANVAS

Did you know? You don’t always need to log in to MyUW in order to access Canvas. All you need to do is type in canvas.uw.edu and you will automatically be taken to the login page for Canvas. No need to navigate through your MyUW page to find the Canvas link.

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Tip #3:  COURSES AND GROUPS CUSTOMIZATION

Did you know?  You can change what courses and groups appear under the Courses and Groups tab on your Canvas Homepage. All you need to do is hover over the Courses and Groups tab, then click on View all or Customize

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in the top right hand corner. From there you can star which courses you want to appear on the dropdown menu. This can save you the time of searching for your course every time you need to access it.

Tip #4: COURSE ACCESS

Did you know? You will always have access on Canvas to the courses you have taken, long after the course is completed. You can look at assignments you turned in, grades you received, files and readings you were assigned, and much more! You can use previous courses as a resource for courses you will take in the future.

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Faculty:

Tip #1: REGISTRATION ISSUE IN CANVAS 

There is a known issue in the Canvas system that sometimes causes a discrepancy between students who are enrolled through MyUW and those who show up as enrolled in your Canvas course. To resolve this issue, send an email to HELP@UW.EDU with the course title and quarter and request that they update your Canvas course enrollments.

Tip #2: PUBLISH YOUR CANVAS COURSE

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Remember that you can build your course in Canvas before the quarter without the students seeing all of the changes. Once you are prepared for students to interact with your Canvas course site, you must make sure to publish it. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Go to your Canvas course and click Home
  2. At the top of the page under the heading THIS COURSE IS UNPUBLISHED click the link published.
  3. Finally, click the Publish Course button that shows up near the bottom of the page.

Tip #3: REMOVE UNNEEDED NAVIGATION ITEMS

To reduce confusion for your students, we recommend that you remove links in the course navigation that you are not using. For example, you might remove the Outcomes, Conferences, and Collaborations links in the navigation, if those tools are not being used in your course. Here’s how to do this:

  1. Click Settings in your course navigation
  2. Click the Navigation tab in Settings, near the top of the page
  3. Now drag and drop items that are not needed below the line that reads Drag items here to hide them from students.
  4. Click Save at the bottom of the page.

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Note: removing the links means that students will not see them. However, as an instructor, you will still see the grayed out links, and you are still able to access them.

Tip #4: CANVAS DRAFT STATE – PUBLISH EVERYTHING

Recently, UW implemented the Canvas Draft State feature. Draft State allows content in Assignments, Quizzes, Discussions, Pages, and Modules to exist in an unpublished (draft) state. By default, any newly created content remains in an unpublished (draft state) that is not visible to students until you publish them. For more details on Draft State for the individual content areas, view the Canvas Lessons:

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For more Canvas tutorials – check out the Learning Tech Canvas website!

Simplicity for International Teaching

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Comprehending a new language can be difficult, but luckily there is a tool that can help anyone pick it up.

The University of Washington Bothell has been building a large and diverse campus over the years and provides hundreds of types of courses to its students. English language classes are even offered to international students as well. But how are these classes being taught? Is there a more effective way?

The answer is yes! And the Voki app is the right tool to use for these situations. Voki allows the teachers and students to make avatars that can be used to help them with their education. Students are able to design their own Avatars to speak the language they are currently trying to learn. A set of instructions can also be provided to help students understand the meaning of the words and guidance on how they are pronounced. That is only the beginning of what Voki is capable of.

Voki is a great program and has multiple purposes, speaking another language is just one of them. The best thing about Voki is that it is great to use in front of a large class, when one on one with a student, or even by one’s self when alone studying. It is definitely a strong tool and can be used to help students everywhere comprehend things in a different and technical way.

To find out more about what Voki can do and how it can be used, click the link at the top of the page and find out something new and amazing you could have missed.

Class-Sourcing

In an article on Stanford’s Center for Teaching and Learning website Gleb Tsipursky examines the benefits of teaching using a new set of tools in our digital age, namely those that are available through the great invention of the internet. Today students are able to take advantage of website creation and artifact archiving to demonstrate the new information they have gained through their classroom experience. Tsipursky calls this phenomenon Class-Sourcing.

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Class-Sourcing is the integration of technology into the classroom through the use of website creation, artifact archival, blog writing, video creation, podcast creation, or any other media related design used to express ideas, research, or content they have gained from the class. Class-Sourcing takes advantage of group activities to help promote team building and prompts students to get creative in their expression of information.

Class-Sourcing has many benefits to the students who take advantage of it. They gain skills in digital literacy, data management, digital design, digital communication, collaboration, and public presentation to name a few. Each of these skills proves useful not only in the classroom but outside of it as well. Our age is becoming increasingly tech-oriented and employers are seeking tech-savvy individuals to fill the limited positions available. Students are able to create content they enjoy whilst learning the ins and outs of website creation which will benefit them for years to come.

Here at the University of Washington we have already integrated Class-Sourcing into our classrooms. Through the use of Canvas, Catalyst, Google Sites and much more professors are now able to offer their students an alternative to classic pen and paper school work. Students are able to create their own personal media content that they can upload directly to their teachers. Many professors have abandoned the use of physical papers and have adapted wholly to the online resources available to them. Students can archive all of their work from their college years onto their own personalized website that they can reference for years to come. This proves useful for students who graduate from this University, leaving with a portfolio full of experience to show to potential employers.

 

For more information on Class-Sourcing and its benefits visit the link above.