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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

Last April's Bike Easy Challenge was, well, challenging. This April, at least we can ride to campus occasionally — as staggered work schedules dictate, obviously.

In any event: I'm joining the Bike Easy 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!

Did you know that New Orleans ranks #7 (among cities with over a quarter-million residents) for the percentage of people who bike to work?

And 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.

Plus there are awesome prizes for riding and encouraging others throughout the month of April. Find out more and register at lovetoride.net/bikeeasy

It only takes a minute to register. It doesn't matter if you ride every day, or if you haven't been on a bike in years. Everyone is invited — and be sure to join the Xavier team!

Note: Due to COVID-19 protocols, only solo rides or household rides are encouraged.

Holler at me if you need any technical assistance or have any questions.

Tentative Title: The Crucial Conversation: Teaching Race and Racism in the Postsecondary Context
Editors: Drs. William T. Hoston, Laurette B. Foster, and Fred A. Bonner II
Abstract Length: 300 to 500 words.
Abstract Proposal Deadline: No later than April 16, 2021.

Objective:

This edited volume will explore the best practices for effective teaching and learning relevant to race and racism in the post-George Floyd era, where American universities and colleges are placing a greater emphasis on fostering educational contexts that address diversity, inclusion, belonging, and race relations. The emphasis on these constructs in our current societal climate, which has led institutions to pledge a commitment to addressing racial injustices, is the foundation for this book.

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Mardi Gras in New Orleans wasn't much fun this year, what with the pandemic and the subfreezing temperatures. But take heart, friends! A certain carnivalesque spirit pervades the CAT+FD Camtasia studio. Here's our own Bart Everson with a short and silly showcase of the software's capabilities.

What's the point? We just hope to get you thinking about possibilities. Remember, all Xavier faculty have access to Camtasia via site license. (Get yours now.) You may not want to use all of the effects deployed in this demo. In fact, you may not want to use any. When it comes to video production, less is usually more. We just want you to be aware of the possibilities.

We are continuing our popular mid-week meditation series, but as with so many things it will be a little different because of the pandemic. We won't be meeting in the chapel. Rather, we will be "meditating in place" -- separately but together, through the miracle of information technology.

Yes, there's an app for that. In fact, there are many, but we've selected Insight Timer. It's free! Install on your phone or use the website. Be sure to use your Xavier (xula.edu) email when creating your account, so you can join the CAT+FD Circle.

We'll use the app for a group meditation on Wednesday mornings at 7:30am whenever classes are in session this semester. Meditations will be short (about ten minutes) using music or spoken word. No interaction required on your part; just tune in and chill out.

It starts this Wednesday, January 27th, at 7:30am.

[Insight Time logo]

You needn't have any experience with meditating; just give it a try. There's no commitment and no pressure. This is an easy way to dip your toe in the waters and get started.

Why bother? Meditation has numerous well-documented benefits, including stress management, improved emotional balance, increased focus and awareness and increased responsiveness to student needs.

Don't hesitate to let us know if you have any questions or run into any technical glitches.

Full disclosure: CAT+FD staffer Bart Everson has a remunerative relationship with Insight Timer. It ain't much but it does exist. He has attempted to resolve this potential conflict of interest. Full details on his personal blog.

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