by Karen Nichols

Photos have become such an integral part of Twitter and now they can be accessible to the visually-impaired.  Earlier this week, Twitter added the capability of including descriptions of your photos (you may know the feature as alt text).  This is a great way to reach more people and this new feature serves as a reminder that we should always use "alt text" when we post photos.

Here's how to enable this feature on your Twitter account:

"Enable this feature by using the compose image descriptions option in the Twitter app’s accessibility settings. The next time you add an image to a Tweet, each thumbnail in the composer will have an add description button. Tap it to add a description to the image. People who are visually impaired will have access to the description via their assistive technology (e.g., screen readers and braille displays). Descriptions can be up to 420 characters." https://blog.twitter.com/2016/accessible-images-for-everyone

So don't forget the alt text the next time you include an image in your tweet!

Two bluebirds conversing
Two bluebirds conversing

by Karen Nichols

Happy New Year! During this time we are bombarded with lists of the best (and worse) from 2015 as we attempt to summarize what last year was all about. Well, I'm adding to this assortment a list from Faculty Focus' Top 15 Teaching and Learning Articles of 2015*, in order to see what topics interest the faculty.

If two of the articles focused on "flipped" classrooms, then we can gauge the continuing interest in this technique.  Two of the top articles pertain to effective discussions, in the classroom and online.  The Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development has posted several blogs on discussions (such as The Ultimate Guide to Discussion Boards! and  Improve Online Discussions using ABCs) plus hosted a workshop, but it may be a good idea to keep in mind the need to continuously improve in this area.

And what is Faculty Focus' number one article of last year?  More Evidence That Active Learning Trumps Lecturing

This is actually reflected on our campus as well as we have given presentations and workshops on metacognition and active learning for several individual departments in addition to a general offering to all faculty.

Here's a four minute YouTube video, "What is Active Learning?"

Please feel free to contact us for more information on metacognition and active learning.

*According to Faculty Focus, "each article’s ranking is based on a combination of factors, including e-newsletter open and click rates, social shares, reader comments, web traffic, reprint requests, and other reader engagement metrics."

by Karen Nichols
The University of London and the Dublin Institute of Technology both launched on 1 December their respective 12 Apps of Christmas. It's not too late to sign up. These are free online courses, aimed at students and instructors of all ages who are interested in learning more about integrating mobile learning technologies into their studies or classes. I have to admit that I was disappointed on December 1st when the University of London revealed the first app--Google Translate. I thought I knew all about this app, but I was surely wrong! Their presentation was easy to follow and well-illustrated. I truly had no idea that sound files would work on Google translate. Each app includes educational applications and actual activities for you to try of which there are several for Google translate. So check out the site and see if you may be interested in participating in reviewing the apps and these mini-courses and providing feedback. 15-20 minutes a day are kindly requested for you to give feedback to them. Here's the link:
http://www.openeducationeuropa.eu/en/news/new-edition-successful-12-apps-christmas-online-courses-students-and-teachers

And here's a demonstration of Google translate and the song LaBamba!

1

The Blackboard Mobile Learn app has been completely redesigned. The updates made to the Mobile Learn app makes using the app and reading content easier than ever. Some of the new features include:

Faculty and students can stay connected with their Blackboard courses and organizations while on the go. With Mobile Learn 4.0 you can quickly and easily disseminate information to your students. Mobile Learn is primarily designed as a communication tool which will allow you to perform tasks such as post announcements, view discussions, create or reply to discussion threads, view journal entries and blog posts. You cannot use Mobile Learn to set up or organize your courses.

Mobile Learn has Dropbox integration, which allows you to manage course documents with ease. Mobile Learn does not have Grade Center integration.

Depending on the particular mobile device, some Blackboard features may not work, but you can always access those features using a browser such as Firefox, Chrome, or Internet Explorer on your computer.

Want more information?

Introducing Mobile Learn 4.0 [web page]
Get Mobile Learn App [web page]
Recommended Practices for Mobile-Friendly Courses [web page]
Mobile Learn Resource Center [web page]
Explore Blackboard’s On Demand Learning Center [web page].
Try these Blackboard How-To documents.
Visit the Blackboard FAQs for additional blackboard information
or email or call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418.

Faculty and students now have more options for staying connected with their Blackboard courses and organizations while on the go. Blackboard Mobile Learn is an app that allows you to access your Blackboard courses/organizations from a mobile device. The Mobile Learn app allows you to quickly and easily disseminate information to your students. Mobile Learn is primarily designed as a communication tool which will allow you to perform tasks such as post announcements, view discussions, create or reply to discussion threads, view journal entries and blog posts. You cannot use Mobile Learn to set up or organize your courses. Mobile Learn does not have Grade Center integration. New to Mobile Learn is Dropbox integration, which allows you to manage course documents with ease.

Depending on the particular mobile device, some features will not work correctly, but you can always access those features using a browser such as Firefox, Chrome, or Internet Explorer on your computer.

Want more information?
Get Mobile Learn App [PDF]
Mobile Learn features [HTML]
Mobile Learn features summary by device [PDF]
Best practices for creating mobile-friendly courses [PDF]
Explore Blackboard's On Demand Learning Center [HTML]
Visit the Blackboard FAQs for additional blackboard information
or email or call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418

Tip: Blackboard Mobile Learn allows you to access your Blackboard courses and organizations using a mobile device (e.g. iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, BlackBerry, Android). Bb Mobile Learn allows you access to all of your course content in the web interface, with the added ability to access documents in multiple formats, post announcements, create discussion threads and posts, and comment on blogs and journals, all from your mobile device.

Follow these steps to do it.
You can access Blackboard with your iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch devices when they are connected to Wi-Fi. You can access your Android or BlackBerry devices via the Sprint Network (Sprint carrier) using both Wi-Fi and 3G/4G connections. More information about supported mobile devices and how to download the required app for your mobile device can be found here.

Want more information?
Visit the Blackboard FAQs for additional Blackboard information
or email or call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418