STEM to STEAM: 9 Tips (MUSES) for Using the Artistic to Enhance the Scientific

April 16th, 2014

There has been a lot of talk recently about the importance of STEM education in keeping America competitive and innovative in the 21st century. What is much less frequently spoken of, however, is the importance of art in innovation. Infusing the artistic (A) into STEM provides the STEAM that drives innovation. Nine creativity-inspiring tips were used to link three seemingly dissimilar entities: 1) The Greek Muses; 2) New Orleans streets; and 3) the idea that art is necessary to drive scientific advancement. So, sit back a take a trip around the streets of the ‘Big Easy’ to be reminded of how to nurture and support your own creativity to fuel those much desired innovations in science, technology, engineering and math.

Bb Tip #94: Turnitin – Rubrics

April 8th, 2014

Turnitin recently announced two new rubric features. You can now import rubrics from Excel files. Previously you had to create the entire rubric inside Turnitin. Now you can create a rubric template in Excel and upload the template file into Turnitin. The rubric scoring values are added after you upload the template file.

image showing rating scale with the exceptional box checked

The second new rubric feature is Grading Forms. Grading Forms are simplified rubrics that allow an instructor to give free-form feedback and scores for students across several criteria. Grading forms are easy to create and can be attached, modified, and shared just like Turnitin rubrics.

Want more information?

Turnitin – Import Rubric from Excel File [web page]
Turnitin – Grading Forms [web page]
Turnitin Instructor User Manual
Explore Blackboard’s On Demand Learning Center.
Try these Blackboard How-To documents.
Visit the Blackboard FAQs for additional blackboard information
or schedule a one-on-one session, email, or
call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418.

Microlecturing

April 3rd, 2014

Microlecturing is a short (1-3 minutes long) multi-media presentation used to engage learners. Jana Jab, co-founder of Edynco, has a concise but detailed article discussing when one would want to use microlectures and how to create them.

What can microlectures do?

  • provide a brief overview of a topic using key concepts
  • provide step-by-step instructions (i.e. how to solve a problem)
  • provide a personal introduction to a topic to engage your learners
  • provide a breakdown of a larger lecture into smaller more manageable pieces for your learners


How can one create a microlecture
?

Of course, you can always come to CAT and use our Camtasia studio and receive expert support from Bart Everson–Happy Microlecturing!

Bb Tip #93: Tips on Searching Bb Tips

April 1st, 2014

Over the years I have attempted to post just-in-time tips to assist faculty with using Blackboard (Bb). Currently there are over ninety (90) Bb tips posted to the CAT Food blog. Finding a previous Bb tip might take a while if you search the tips going backward through each one. That said, I thought this would be a good time to post a tip about searching for Bb tips.

Search magnifying glass

Just in case you missed it, there is a search box on the CAT Food blog page. Simply type a search term in the search box and click the Search button. For example, if you want to search the CAT Food blog to find out what may have been posted about web tools, enter “web tools” in the search box and click the Search button.

You can combine search operators with your search term in order to narrow your search results. If you are searching for words that appear together you should put the search string in quotes. Additionally, you can refine your search by including a plus sign (+) in front of a search term to indicate the search results must include that search term. Note: You need a space before the plus sign and no space after.

Go ahead, try searching for “web tools” both with and without quotes and compare the search results. Then enter “web tools” +integrate to see what search results are returned to you.

Want more information?

Explore Blackboard’s On Demand Learning Center.
Try these Blackboard How-To documents.
Visit the Blackboard FAQs for additional blackboard information
or schedule a one-on-one session, email, or
call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418.

Bb Tip #92: Accessibility

March 27th, 2014

Accessible course content may benefit everyone regardless of age, ability, or situation.

Accessibility image

Awareness of some of the potential barriers and challenges students face can help you create an online learning environment that accommodates individuals with disabilities, adult learners, novice technology users and others in ways that benefit all users. The Creating Accessible Course Content document identifies some of the challenges students face and how you can use specific Blackboard tools and universal design techniques to help all learners master your course objectives.

Want more information?

Getting Started with Creating Accessible Course Content
University of Central Florida – Accessibility Tips
Try these Blackboard How-To documents.
Explore Blackboard’s On Demand Learning Center.
Visit the Blackboard FAQs for additional blackboard information
or schedule a one-on-one session, email, or
call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418.

Bb Tip #91: Turnitin – Grade Anything

March 24th, 2014

Instructors and students can now submit any file type to Turnitin for checking originality, grading online or distributing work for peer review. Submission file types may include PowerPoint presentations, spreadsheets, images, html code—whatever file type your students use for their assignments, Turnitin will accept it.

Turnitin - Grade Anything

Traditionally, English instructors have used Turnitin to evaluate papers and essays for plagiarism, grammar/mechanics and other writing skills. Now, with Grade Anything, Turnitin has opened up the door for instructors in other disciplines to provide feedback and evaluate other assignment types–not just papers. This exciting new capability allows Turnitin to be used by a broader range of instructors: those who evaluate presentations or teach in disciplines such as science, math, economics, and visual arts.

No submission? No problem! Instructors can provide students with feedback using Turnitin even if there is no file submitted for the assignment, such as with a musical recital or dance performance.

Instructors in every discipline can now evaluate student learning and give rich, timely feedback regardless of the nature of the assignment.

Want more information?

Turnitin – Grade Anything
Turnitin Instructor User Manual
Try these Blackboard How-To documents.
Explore Blackboard’s On Demand Learning Center.
Visit the Blackboard FAQs for additional blackboard information
or schedule a one-on-one session, email, or
call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418.

Conversation #24: Interdisciplinarity

March 21st, 2014

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Download Conversation #24

Julie Thompson Klein

Doesn’t matter whether it’s engineering, whether it’s psychology, there isn’t a single report out there that doesn’t acknowledge the changing relationship of disciplines and interdisciplinary work. It’s often driven by a research agenda: The disciplines are changing; their research frontiers are expanding, and so that’s an important part of what a department should be attending to, but also new themes and topics are coming into the curriculum…. It’s a both-and world out there, it’s not an either-or world.

A conversation with Julie Thompson Klein (Wayne State University) on teaching, learning and interdisciplinarity.

Links for this episode:

Spritzing: A New Way to Speed Read

March 20th, 2014

Spritz, a Boston-based tech company, is releasing to the general public a new app that allows you to speed read in a different way from other similar products that are currently available.

After a few years of research and development, they are ready to launch a wearable technology product for Samsung. This reader lines up the words to our actual way of reading (slightly left of center of each word) so that one’s head isn’t constantly moving as we read across and down a page.

image from spritzinc.com

image from spritzinc.com

I tried samples of three different speeds provided and found it difficult to concentrate. My mind wanted to wander–make associations with other texts, search memories. While I think this app could be extremely useful for technical reading, I’m not sure I would like to use it for literature or even non-literary fiction. Part of the “fun” of reading is savoring well-written prose or conjuring up delightful images of the characters and places described. At up to 1000 words a minute, there’s no time for that!

Want to experience what it would feel like to “spritz”? Elite Daily offers samples as well as additional information. If you have a need for speed and are looking for time-saving measures, this might be the app for you! And if you decide to try it, please let us know what you think.

Facilitating Online Discussions

March 19th, 2014

Mia MacMeekin, who is an educator and lawyer, developed an Infographic with tips and best practices to facilitate online discussions. She writes:

The online discussion board has received differing reviews. Many believe it is a place that students simply write mini-papers, with little to no feedback. Others believe that it is a true learning tool for online courses.

Online Discussion Tips

You can read Mia MacMeekin’s Online Discussion Tips blog post on her An Ethical Island blog.

Bb Tip #90: Grade Center – Understanding Weighted Grades

March 17th, 2014

The Grade Center allows you to create weighted grade columns. There are several different ways to calculate weighted totals in the Grade Center.

Weighted Grade Calculation Example

For example, you can calculate a weighted total:

  • by item
  • by category
  • by weighted running total
  • when dropping the lowest score from a category
  • in categories with equally weighted items consisting of different point values
  • in categories with proportionally weighted items consisting of different point values

Want more information?

Understanding weighted grades
Explore Blackboard’s On Demand Learning Center.
Try these Blackboard How-To documents.
Visit the Blackboard FAQs for additional blackboard information
or schedule a one-on-one session, email, or
call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418.