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About Bart Everson

Media Artist in the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development at Xavier University of Louisiana

Thanksgiving is practically upon us, and a lot of people are asking themselves:

How long will it take?

No, I'm not talking about Donald Trump conceding defeat! Okay, I confess I do wonder about that, but I'm thinking about something entirely different.

As faculty plan for the next semester, recording video lectures seems like a natural, especially since we now have that Camtasia license (details). Only there's that daunting question.

How long will it take?

I made this video in response.

Please don't take anything I say here too seriously. It's just a silly proof-of-concept, intended to get you thinking. Further pointers on using Camtasia can be found on our wiki. Remember, we're here to help.

Just in case you missed it with everything that's been going on!


[Camtasia Logo]

Breaking news: Xavier has secured a site license for all faculty to have immediate access to Camtasia 2020.

For those just tuning in, Camtasia is a tool for making videos by recording from your screen and camera. A common use for teachers is to record short lectures. Many Xavier faculty will be familiar with this software already. In recent years, you may even have come to the fifth floor of the Library to use the CAT+FD Camtasia Studio.

Under the current pandemic conditions, we all have limited access to facilities, and our Camtasia Studio is not open for general use. CAT+FD advocated for a site license so that faculty can use Camtasia on their laptops, desktops, and other devices, wherever they may be. Many thanks to the office of the Vice-President for Academic Affairs for approving this purchase!

In addition to the software, we have access to TechSmith's tech support as well as extensive training materials, which are quite frankly excellent.

So what are you waiting for? Yes, you can download and install Camtasia now. Here's the link.

Please note: You will need to our freshly-minted Camtasia License key to unlock the software beyond the free trial period. To get the key, please contact me, Bart Everson. You can send me an email or use this form.

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[Camtasia Logo]

Breaking news: Xavier has secured a site license for all faculty to have immediate access to Camtasia 2020.

For those just tuning in, Camtasia is a tool for making videos by recording from your screen and camera. A common use for teachers is to record short lectures. Many Xavier faculty will be familiar with this software already. In recent years, you may even have come to the fifth floor of the Library to use the CAT+FD Camtasia Studio.

Under the current pandemic conditions, we all have limited access to facilities, and our Camtasia Studio is not open for general use. CAT+FD advocated for a site license so that faculty can use Camtasia on their laptops, desktops, and other devices, wherever they may be. Many thanks to the office of the Vice-President for Academic Affairs for approving this purchase!

In addition to the software, we have access to TechSmith's tech support as well as extensive training materials, which are quite frankly excellent.

So what are you waiting for? Yes, you can download and install Camtasia now. Here's the link.

Please note: You will need to our freshly-minted Camtasia License key to unlock the software beyond the free trial period. To get the key, please contact me, Bart Everson. You can send me an email or use this form.

The following event is sponsored by our friends at the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society. We are sharing here because we think this timely topic may be of great interest to Xavier faculty and staff. For more information, and to register, please visit the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society

A virtual retreat with Ruth King and Kamilah Majied
Broadcast live via Zoom on Sunday, June 7th
3:00 – 5:00 pm EDT

We are painfully living through what the emerging data confirm: that Black people are dying at disproportionate rates and experiencing more negative economic, legal, health and safety consequences due to COVID-19 and the ensuing Shelter in Place mandates. This is having a profound impact on our communities and on each of us personally and professionally. We also know that the causes and effects of these difficult times are deeply rooted in generations of injustice and neglect. Yet, our well-being depends on our response as leaders. It is time that we gather as Black practitioners, educators, artists, activists, and leaders and share the wisdom of our beautiful collective community.

We invite you, our beloved Black community, who do so much holding, caring, and leading, into a space of learning about how meditative practices can help us awaken to and sustain our physical, emotional, social, and communal wellness.

All the practices offered in this 2-hour session will seed your capacity to further nurture wellness in the Black communities you practice and lead in, thus enabling you to feel more fortified in guiding your respective communities towards surviving and thriving through the pandemic and beyond.

Join us for this pre-Juneteenth celebration of Our Black Lives as we learn together how to liberate and nourish our well-being and that of one another.

For more information, and to register, please visit the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society

Let's say that you used to begin class with a moment of silence. Or perhaps you incorporated some other elements of mindfulness or contemplative pedagogy into your teaching.

Did those practices survive the transition to remote teaching this semester? Perhaps they fell by the wayside in the rush to get "up to speed" with unfamiliar technology.

It takes a special effort to bring mindfulness to the classroom when the classroom is a virtual construct. However, in this unsettled and uncertain time, the lessons of mindfulness would seem to be more important than ever. Furthermore, the online environment can often add an extra layer that separates the student from learning even more than in a traditional classroom. Practices that connect to our basic humanity are arguably even more important when teaching in a context mediated entirely by electronic technology.

Aurora D. Bonner offers some guidance in her new article for Faculty Focus, "Mindfulness in the (Online) Classroom."

  • Be present
  • Take time to check in
  • Believe your students
  • Don’t be afraid to share

Read the full article for details. It's brief and worth your time.

This might be a good time to check out the webinar by Karen Nichols and yours truly (Bart Everson) sponsored by D2L, "Present, Calm, and Ready to Learn – The Value of Contemplative Practices in an Online Course."

Bonus: You may also be interested in next week's online practice, "Exploring Uncertainty, Finding Possibility Through Contemplative Art," facilitated by Beth Berila throught the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society.

Kim Vaz-DevilleToday's guest post is from Kim Vaz-Deville, Professor of Education and Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences

  • First you can inquire how the student is doing/coping.
  • Ask if she or he understands the emails that have been coming out from the department/division/dean's office and academic affairs.
  • Many students do not know what to expect for finishing the courses for the end of the semester. Address concerns and if you don’t know that is okay you can follow up with the right sources.
  • Let them know what academic supports are in place. Students can create a virtual meeting space that their group can visit whenever they want to study and they may also join an existing study group. They can also contact the relevant Academic Resource Center Coordinators to request a tutor or SI to work with your newly created study group. For more information, students should check their emails from Dr. Holmes sent on March 27, 2020 titled “XULA Zoom Study Groups”. For assistance from the Academic Resource Centers see the email from Dr. Holmes sent on March 17, 2020 titled “Academic Resource Centers - Online Tutoring, Review Sessions, and Resources”.
  • You can assign pre-work for the meeting -- tell students what they will need to prepare for the advising session.
  • You can reassure them that they are working toward the goals they have set for themselves. No matter what they are hearing or feeling they are moving forward. Though they are learning remotely/online, they are still in a rich educational environment and will learn what is needed for their success. You can remind them how much the faculty care about them.
  • While summer classes will be "on-line", this might be a good time to clarify the difference between "remote learning" and "online learning". Currently, if their class was face to face, it is now being offered remotely it includes an expectation that the student will login during the time the course is offered so their professors know they are there.
  • In planning for the fall semester, take into account what the summer is going to look like for them. Help them have an academic plan because that will reinforce that there is an endpoint/target.
  • If you are using your personal phone and are concerned about maintaining your privacy, you can use Goggle Voice. If you get the app on your phone, you can make work calls from that number.

Sources:

“Best Practices for Serving Students Remotely” Sponsor: eab.com. Thursday, March 26, 2020

“Never Let a Good Crisis Go to Waste: How the COVID-19 crisis is pushing liberal arts programs to cultural and institutional innovation.” Hosted by Christopher Malone, Founding Dean School of Arts and Sciences, Molloy College. Sponsor: Council of Colleges of Arts & Sciences. March 25, 2020

Reyna Romero, Director, Advising Services. College of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Houston and Crystal Guillory, Assistant Dean in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at UHD meeting with Kim Vaz-Deville, Associate Dean College of Arts and Sciences, Xavier University of Louisiana, March 31, 2020

Karen NicholsToday's guest post is from Karen Nichols, Distance Education Coordinator in Xavier's Center for Continuing Studies & Distance Education

In 2015, I gave a presentation in CAT which included Netiquette Rules for faculty to apply in their discussion board posts and email correspondence with their students.  The suggestions were fairly common sense:

  • Be polite, respect others’ opinions
  • Don’t use slang or vulgar or texting language
  • Be careful using humor and sarcasm as they don’t always come across correctly in written form
  • DON’T USE ALL CAPS—IT LOOKS LIKE YOU’RE SHOUTING

Fast forward five years later and we have a whole new layer of Netiquette Rules for live video conferencing.  Meredith Hart just posted a blog last week sharing video conferencing etiquette.  Here are her tips:

Video Conferencing Etiquette

  1. Mute yourself when not speaking.
  2. Be on time.
  3. Ensure your technology works correctly.
  4. Use technology to fully engage remote participants.
  5. Choose the proper software and hardware.
  6. Wear work-appropriate clothing.
  7. Frame the camera correctly.
  8. Have the right light.
  9. Look into the camera.
  10. Pay attention.

Let’s discuss a few of the tips.  

  1. Wear work-appropriate clothing.  I’ve taught online for over 25 years and even now, when I have virtual office hours, I put on make-up, wrap a scarf around my neck (I am a French instructor after all), and put on a pair of earrings for my students.  They don’t have to know that I’m still wearing my slippers, but I want them to know I made the effort for them, even if they are online in their pajamas and wrapped in a blanket.
  2. Frame the camera correctly.  This pertains to both you and your surroundings.  Zoom allows you to check what others will see before you join the meeting.  How do you look? Is the camera pointing up your nostrils or at your left ear?  What do you see in the background? Everyone has been commenting on me in my big easy chair (with a floral curtain pattern behind it).  I don’t have zoom meetings against my huge bookshelf with my artwork and urns of my deceased pets lined up. While comforting for me, they may not be to everyone else’s taste.
  3. Have the right light.  This is something I struggle with.  I wear eyeglasses and too much light causes reflections in the lenses and it’s hard to see my eyes.  Too little and you can’t see my face well. That’s a work in progress for me.
  4. Look into the camera.  This can be tricky if people are sharing screens but try not to be looking off in the distance at your television or out your window at the squirrels playing.
  5. Pay attention.  Yes, it’s so easy to be distracted while at home.  How many of us have had to quiet barking dogs or children coming in to ask questions while we are on a zoom conference?  But do your best to stay focused on the meeting at hand and to stay in the present moment and try not to multi-task too much—stay engaged, especially if you’re online with the students.
  6. This one is most important and not on the list but should be.  Be forgiving of yourself and each other when mistakes are made.  We have all been asked to accomplish a great deal in a short space of time, and no one can be expected to be an expert immediately.

Continue to take care of yourselves and your families. #KeepTeachingXULA

Last year we saw a tenfold increase in Xavier's participation for the Bike Easy April Challenge.

This year, things are different. Way different. We're not biking to campus now. Most of us haven't even set foot on campus for a couple weeks.

Bummer!

Here's the good news: In spite of everything, the challenge is still on. Instead of riding to campus, we'll just do solo bike rides around town.

As we all know, we are under a stay-at-home order. However, walks and bike rides are still allowed. In fact, they are encouraged, as long as we maintain appropriate distance (6' or more) from others.

We can all stay connected through the Love to Ride website (see link below) where we can share photos, send messages, and track all our rides.

It's a fun, free competition between organizations. Last year, Xavier's own Terry Watt was the top commuter not just for our team but in the entire city. It doesn't matter if you ride every day or if you haven't been on a bike in years. You only have to ride for ten minutes to be eligible for some truly awesome prizes. You can also win by encouraging others to ride.

New Orleans has a high percentage of residents who bike to work, compared with other American cities. Yet we could certainly do better by our bike riders, our transit riders, and our pedestrians. As I've argued elsewhere, safe transport is an issue of social justice and aligned with Xavier's mission.

Sign up for the challenge now at lovetoride.net/bikeeasy

I'm joining the challenge to get more Xavier faculty and staff riding bikes in New Orleans. Riding a bike can make you happier, healthier and wealthier. That's what I call professional development!

This is a guest post from Dr. Renée Akbar.

Dr. Renée Akbar
Dr. Renée Akbar is an associate professor in Educational Leadership at Xavier University of Louisiana, in the Division of Education and Counseling.

When the university was closed for Katrina, many of us continued, online. For the Division of Education and Counseling (DOEC), this is what kept our Division alive. We were forced to connect with and teach the graduate students, who were displaced to every corner of the Unites States. We maintained our graduate program online and not one of us had online teaching experience; so, we improvised. The online platform was suspended when the university returned to campus.

Fast forward to 2016. DOEC faculty designed an online Ed. D. program, but could not fully adopt the “online philosophy” of do-it-yourself learning. Instead, we preferred to stay connected with our students as you do in a face-to-face environment. Sometimes the Ed. D. faculty hold a 3-hour lecture for a class, via Zoom. Sometimes we have virtual discussions where we view and discuss projects or work in small groups. We call this virtual teaching or teaching online. And, that is different than online teaching.

Currently we are all called to virtual teachers. So I am sharing some of my Lessons Learned:

  • Time has to be spent orienting the students to the online format and your style of virtual teaching.
  • Be specific as to where you post what is needed for class on Brightspace.
    Know that the students will actually use Brightspace.
  • Just like a face-to-face lecture, a virtual lecture can also be non-engaging.
  • You can be just as engaging, virtually, as you are face-to-face.
  • Don’t use a large (e.g., three-hour) block just for lecture.
  • To cover a large block of class time (e.g., three-hour), combine different modes of learning available in Brightspace and/or Zoom—Discussion Board; Quizzes; Videos; Breakrooms for small group instruction, to name a few.
  • Expectations should be clear and nonconfusing.

As we prepare to teach remotely, please know that CAT+FD is here for you. We have compiled suggestions, tips, best practices, and resources in one handy place, on our wiki at: catwiki.xula.edu/KeepTeachingXULA


The good people at D2L Brightspace are offering a webinar on the use of contemplative pedagogy in an online course. No cost. Details below.

From Mitchell Deleplanque of D2L Brightspace:

According to the Contemplative Pedagogy Network, students can form deeper relationships with their peers, their communities, and the world around them when they are encouraged to connect learning to their own values and sense of meaning.

Don’t miss out! Join us on December 10, 2019, for a webinar featuring Karen Nichols and Bart Everson from Xavier University of Louisiana. Our presenters will share how they are integrating contemplative exercises in their mentor-training program.

Participants will receive a link to exercises, resources, and a bibliography.

Registration Link