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Couple taking photos.

Many people believe that the "digital divide" is merely generational but studies have shown disparities according to race, ethnicity, socio-economic level and even between the sexes.  Professor Rey Junco, an associate professor at Purdue University and a faculty associate at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, refers to this as "digital inequality."  "There's an assumption that all students are equally great with technology," said Professor Junco.

As Xavier University is moving to expand the eLearning initiatives across campus, I believe it's important for us to be mindful of this and to not assume that all of our students are proficient, especially with social media.  As we implement more technology in the classroom and especially online, we must remember to provide detailed instructions for the students as well as adequate technical support and training.

To read a little more about the very interesting studies concerning “digital inequality” and the implications for academic success, please check out this link from the Times Higher Education (THE) site and from an earlier CAT food podcast:

I also invite you to share with the community your experiences and findings concerning "digital inequality"  amongst our students.  Perhaps together we can propose suggestions for helping the students increase their proficiency and ultimately, their chances for success here at Xavier.

Photo credit: "Couple Taking Photos" by iofoto via Yay Image Bank

Did you know that over 350 students participated in summer session I online courses? Not one online course had to be canceled this summer due to low enrollment—students enrolled with very minimal on-campus advertising.

Summer online courses give both students and faculty the flexibility and mobility to pursue other projects while still teaching and learning.
If you’re interested in developing and/or teaching an online or hybrid course, we at CAT invite you to:

  1. Discuss your idea with the Distance Education Coordinator (Yours Truly x7692) in CAT who will assist you. Required
  2. Complete the Quality Matters online introductory course. Required
  3. Attend the CAT-sponsored FaCTS Panel presentation on Thursday October 10, 2013 at 12:15pm (lunch included). Recipients of this year’s FaCTS (Mellon foundation) grants will share with you their successes and suggestions for creating and teaching online courses. Optional but recommended
  4. Complete CAT’s Online Faculty Development Course (funded by Mellon FaCTS initiative and available during the fall semester). Optional but recommended
  5. Complete additional Blackboard training offered by CAT. Optional but recommended

Pleaseo contact me for more information—I’m looking forward to meeting and working with Xavier’s excellent faculty and staff!

P.S. "8 Lessons Learned from Teaching Online" is a short video which I hope will give you food for thought.

Greetings from CAT!  I’m Karen Nichols, the new Distance Education Coordinator and I’m so excited to be a part of such a great team and university.  Xavier’s online initiatives these past two summers have been quite successful and I’ve been tasked to assist in making Xavier Online bigger and better.  Fortunately, Xavier has wonderful, creative faculty members who bring a great deal of expertise to the distance education arena.

In addition to the faculty who have already developed and taught online courses, several others have expressed an interest in learning more about hybrid or fully online courses.  So, as my bi-weekly contribution to CAT Food, I’d like to feature an article, video or some bit of news on distance education which I hope will be useful and informative.

For my first entry I recommend a short video about Coursera, Stanford’s MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) project which I find so inspiring.  The sentiments echo my own after being a part of distance education for 22+ years:

Did you watch the video just now?  It always makes me a little misty-eyed.  If you're thinking about teaching online this article from Faculty Focus offers several points to consider.  And even if you're not ready for online teaching, I hope you'll find the "Eight Roles of an Effective Online Teacher" useful in a face to face class as well.

I look forward to meeting and working with more of the faculty here at Xavier so please don’t hesitate to contact me and I’ll be happy to get together with you to discuss any projects or ideas you may have.  Wishing you a great week!

Download Conversation #18

Dave Yearwood

A conversation with Dave Yearwood of University of North Dakota, on teaching, learning and online engagement.

The one thing I'm really cautious about is making sure these technologies are not used as souped-up dump trucks. Meaning you load them up with content and you just drive it to where students are and you drop off the content and say to students, "Now you work with it." That's the one thing I try to stress that we have to be careful about not doing with our students.

Links for this episode:


50 Web Tools in 50 Minutes

Thanks to everyone who attended our workshop on "50 Web Tools in 50 Minutes."

Full House

For your clicking convenience, check out the full list of web-based tools that we covered.

  1. Online OCR — Convert scanned documents to text.
  2. Wordle — Word clouds! (example) See also Tagxedo
  3. Up-Goer Five Text Editor— Can you explain a hard idea using only the ten hundred most used words?
  4. Scribd — Document sharing. (example)
  5. — Blogging platform.
  6. Edublogs — Like or Blogger but specifically tailored to educational needs.
  7. Wikipedia — "a collaboratively edited, multilingual, free Internet encyclopedia"
  8. NolaWiki — "a collaborative, reliable, comprehensive look at the people, places, events and ideas of the city of New Orleans."
  9. Wikispaces — Create your own wiki. (Note: This page is hosted on Wikispaces.)
  10. Google Sites — Create your own website/wiki. (example)
  11. — Find (and share) visualizations of complex issues. (example)
  12. Many Eyes — Find and create data visualizations. (example)
  13. Pinterest — A social environment for collecting, discovering and sharing images. (example) (more on educational use)
  14. Compfight — Search tool that makes it easy to find Flickr photos, including those licensed for re-use.
  15. YouTube — Everybody knows about YouTube, but did you know about their Education Channel?
  16. Vimeo — Video hosting. Like YouTube but cooler. Lack of support for captioning could be a deal-breaker.
  17. CaptionTube — Speaking of which, here's a tool for captioning YouTube videos. (example)
  18. TED-Ed — Like YouTube's Education Channel but even more highly curated.
  19. Animoto — Easy-to-make online videos from photos and music. Free for videos under 30 seconds. (example)
  20. Screenr — Screen recording. Yes, it's web-based. (example)
  21. SoundCloud — Audio sharing platform. Free version limited to 120 minutes total. (example)
  22. AudioBoo — Audio sharing platform. Free version limited to three minutes per file. (example)
  23. Educreations — Recordable interactive whiteboard. Captures voice and handwriting/drawing to produce movies. Especially nice with an iPad but can also be used via web browser. (example)
  24. Prezi — Make (and find) crazy zooming presentations. (example)
  25. Timetoast — Build (and find) interactive timelines. (example)
  26. Capzles — Make (and find) multimedia storylines. Educational version in the works. (example)
  27. SlideShare — Share and find presentations (mainly PowerPoint). (example)
  28. VoiceThread — "A VoiceThread is a collaborative, interactive, multimedia slide show that holds images, documents, and videos." (example)
  29. MentorMob — Make and find learning playlists. Virtually all media supported: videos, PDFs, webpages, etc. (example)
  30. Quora — Social Q&A site. There are many of these but Quora's the best. (example)
  31. Khan Academy — Lectures and quizzes with an emphasis on math, science and finance. (example)
  32. Poll Everywhere — Easy way to aggregate live responses. (example) (example) (see also Socrative)
  33. SurveyMonkey — Surveys made easy.
  34. Moodle — Free course-management system.
  35. Quizlet — Make and find study tools (flash cards etc.) (example)
  36. Evernote — Store notes, images, documents, web clips, audio notes. Searchable. Sync across your devices. Claims to recognize handwriting from, say, a photo of a whiteboard.
  37. LiveBinder — Like a three-ring binder for web pages. (example)
  38. Delivr — Make and manage QR codes. (example)
  39. Facebook — Yes, it can be used for teaching. For example, make a group for your class.
  40. Twitter — For developing connections with colleagues around the world.
  41. LinkedIn — Professional networking.
  42. Yammer — Enterprise social network: social software designed for the institutional context.
  43. Dropbox — Easy file sharing.
  44. Popplet — Mind mapping, image galleries, more. (example)
  45. MindMeister — Collaborative mind mapping. (example)
  46. Voki — Create talking avatars. See example below. (example)
  47. MakeBeliefComix — Create your own comic strips. You'll have to make a screenshot for sharing online. (example)
  48. Diigo — Bookmarks on steroids. Allows you to highlight and add sticky notes to web pages. (example)
  49. ScoopIt — Curated web content. (example)
  50. Learnist — Curated web content, possibly more education-oriented. (example)

See also: The Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies' Top 100 Tools for Learning

The National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE) has invited Xavier faculty and staff to a rare open seminar titled, "Race and the Digital Humanities: An Introduction."

This is an online seminar, or webinar, so no travel is necessary. It's also quite unusual for a NITLE seminar to be open to non-members, so there's no cost.

The seminar will give a brief survey of the emerging field of race and the digital humanities, introduce the audience to a variety of digital projects informed by race, and provide links to resources for people interested in working in this field. Topics covered will include: the genealogy of these debates, the theoretical assumptions that inform them, and issues to consider while constructing a race and digital humanities project.

Dr. Adeline Koh is a visiting faculty fellow at Duke University (2012-2013) and an assistant professor of literature at Richard Stockton College. She is also a core contributor to the Profhacker blog at The Chronicle of Higher Education, and a member of the Editorial Board for Anvil Academic. (Follow her on Twitter.)

The seminar takes place Friday, November 16, 3 – 4pm Central Time.

If you are interested, register now.


An English professor from NYU enrolls in an online course and reports her experiences in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

On Becoming a Phoenix: Encounters with the Digital Revolution