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The XULA Entrepreneurship Institute is interested in gauging the Xavier communities' attitude and general knowledge regarding cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. Please take a moment to fill out their survey and they will be sending you some crypto of your own!

Three easy steps to get started:

  1. Take the survey 
  2. Download Coinbase Wallet app (make sure it's the Wallet app)
  3. Email your USDC or ERC20 address to swolfson@xula.edu
    (A little video shows how.)

Further reading?

Smart phone with Zoom app on the screen

Many educators found Zoom to be an invaluable tool in being able to continue with teaching and learning this last year. By now, you have probably gotten used to hosting or participating in Zoom meetings. Did you know that the Zoom software is updated periodically to add new features? There are some new Zoom features that you can use in order to provide a more engaging online learning experience for your students. Read on for some new features that may be of interest to you.

NOTE: You must have an up-to-date version of the Zoom client software to test out these features. Here’s some information on how to update Zoom.

1) Share Screen to all Breakout Rooms

If you used breakout rooms before, you may have facilitated a breakout room activity where you wanted to share your screen in all the breakout rooms while the participants are in the breakout rooms. If so, your wish has come true! There is a new “Share to breakout rooms” option available in when you click on the Share Screen button when breakout rooms are open.

share to breakout rooms option
Screen Share to Breakout Rooms

Note: Sharing your screen will interrupt any screen shares that participants may have started in the breakout rooms.

2) Focus Mode

Focus Mode does just that – it helps keep participants focused in a Zoom meeting. This feature was designed with educators in mind. Focus Mode places meeting participants in a view where they are only able to see themselves, the host/co-hosts, and the content they are sharing. In this view, hosts and co-hosts can also choose to view participants in gallery view, enabling them to see all participants simultaneously. This feature can help instructors who facilitate and proctor exams on Zoom. Instructors can require students to be sharing their screens simultaneously while taking an exam, and then the host can review each student’s screen, without the students seeing each other’s screens.

start Focus Mode
Prompt to Start Focus Mode in Zoom meeting

In order to use Focus Mode in a Zoom meeting, you first must go to your settings in your xula.zoom.us account and turn on Focus Mode. More information can be found in this Focus Mode article on the Zoom support site.

3) Vanishing Pen

This new feature in the Annotation toolbar is available when screen sharing or using the Whiteboard. The vanishing pen allows hosts and participants to use a pen tool where the drawings slowly vanish. This is helpful if you want to draw attention to something temporarily. Instead of using the draw tool to make a mark and then using the eraser tool to remove the marking, you can use the Vanishing Pen and the marking will slowly disappear.

You select the Vanishing Pen by clicking on the Spotlight button in the Annotation toolbar, and then selecting Vanishing Pen.

spotlight using vanishing pen
Annotation Tools - Spotlight using Vanishing Pen

4) Share and Play Video Files Directly Into Meeting

This feature allows you to directly choose a video file from your computer to play through screen sharing. Instead of having to share your desktop and bring up the file, or share a specific video playback program, the video file will play directly in Zoom for all meeting participants to watch. This option is located in the Advanced tab of the Share Screen window.

Share screen - share video option
Share Screen Advanced options - Share Video

More information can be found in this Sharing and Playing a Video on the Zoom support site.

5) Reactions - Full Emoji Suite and “Away” Coffee Cup

If you click on the Reactions button in Zoom, you’ll notice that you have a full array of emojis to choose from in order to express your emotions! When an emoji or icon is selected, it will appear in the corner of your video, as well as next to your name in the Participants window. Emoji reactions will disappear after 10 seconds, while raise hand and nonverbal feedback, such as Yes, No, Slow down, and Speed up will be persistent and must be manually removed by the participant or host. Additionally, you will also find the Coffee Cup icon, which will display an “away” status for you. The host and participants can use the Coffee Cup to indicate when they have stepped away from the meeting and then turn the Coffee Cup off when they return.

Zoom reactions
Zoom Reactions

Zoom coffee cup reaction with "I'm away" noted on the screen
Zoom Coffee Cup Reaction

Zoom emojis
Zoom Emojis

6) Immersive View

Zoom Immersive View is a feature that places some or all meeting participants in one virtual background. It helps to simulate the feeling of an in-person meeting or classroom. The feature can accommodate up to 25 people. To enable Immersive View as the host, click the View icon in the upper right corner of a Zoom meeting, and then click “Immersive View.” You’ll be presented with several options for virtual immersive “rooms” for up to 25 participants.

Zoom's View menu with immersive view highlighted
Zoom's View menu with Immersive View highlighted

CAT+FD team in a Zoom meeting using Immersive View
Example of CAT+FD Team in an Immersive View

For more information check out this Introducing Zoom Immersive View blog post. Additional information about Immersive View can be found in the Zoom Help Center.

7) Mute and Video Off When Joining a Recorded/Live Streamed Meeting

When participants join a meeting that is currently being recorded or livestreamed, they will be notified, and their audio and video will automatically be turned off. This will allow them to fully opt into being recorded or not, without their face or voice accidentally being recorded if they do not consent to it.

8) Post-Meeting Survey

Hosts now have the ability to have Zoom prompt participants to take a survey after they leave a Zoom meeting, including through third-party survey tools. After participants leave a Zoom meeting, the survey will automatically load in their browser. Hosts can then review the survey results via the Reports feature in your xula.zoom.us account or through the third-party website.

Zoom survey options
Add a survey to Zoom meeting

To apply a post-meeting survey for a Zoom meeting, you first must go to your xula.zoom.us account settings and turn on Meeting Survey. Then, after scheduling a Zoom meeting, the Survey feature will be available at the bottom of the meeting confirmation page. For more information check out this Post meeting Survey and reporting page on the Zoom support site.

9) Live Transcription

Live speech-to-text transcription, when enabled by the host, allows participants the ability to turn on in order to view live generated subtitles of the meeting’s audio. Participants can click a button to request the live transcription to be turned on. The host is notified of this request and is presented with a button that allows them to enable the transcription immediately. These features are located in the Live Transcript button in a Zoom meeting. Enabling the Live Transcript will make your Zoom classes more accessible!

Closed Captioning Settings
Closed Captioning Settings

Enable live transcription
Enable live transcription in Zoom meeting

Try out these new features and let us know what you think by leaving a comment on this blog post.

ICYMI, you may be interested in these Zoom related CAT FooD blog posts:

How to Make Excellent Video Lectures

Please note the above is not intended as an example of a video lecture, excellent or otherwise. It is merely a recording of yesterday's workshop, a Zoom meeting. Nevertheless we hope it will be helpful for those who were unable to attend.

You'll find this video and other resources in support of yesterday's workshop on the CAT+FD wiki.

Between hurricanes and pandemics, video lectures may be more important than ever to your teaching. Fortunately we have a workshop and also some software for you.

Bart Everson is conducting a timely workshop on "How to Make Excellent Video Lectures." With today’s technology tools, anyone can make a video lecture. This workshop will provide you with step-by-step instructions to make your video lectures excellent.

[Camtasia Logo]

Furthermore, Xavier has secured a site license for all faculty to have immediate access to Camtasia.

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!

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.

Are you overwhelmed by your email inbox? Email overwhelms and irritates most of us. Part of the problem is that most of us were never given any training on email. We were just given an email address and no instructions.

email inbox with 6763 new messages

Joanna Stern, of the WSJ, created a short video with 10 time-saving tips to help you master your Gmail inbox. Her video shows you keyboard shortcuts to increase your efficiency, hidden features and tips to turn you into a Gmail ninja.

Note: How you get to your Gmail settings has changed since this video was recorded. Follow these instructions to change to your Gmail settings. Additionally, tip #3 and #5 in the video refer to a “Labs” tab in the Gmail Settings. The “Labs” tab has been replaced with the “Advanced” tab. Canned Responses are now called Templates. The settings for the Preview Pane were moved to the “Inbox” tab in the Gmail Settings.

Do you want to get to inbox zero? Read this What Is Inbox Zero, and How Can You Achieve It? blog post by Rob Woodgate.

If you are looking for more ways to boost your productivity, check out my Keyboard Shortcuts and Type with Your Voice blog posts.

Image credit: image by gabrielle_cc from Pixabay

Computer stress
Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Wow, we spend a lot of time on Zoom these days— for classes, office hours, workshops, committee meetings, and even happy hours! Zoom has been both a God-send and a time-suck. It is pretty user-friendly, and has allowed us in CAT+FD to keep offering events while also allowing me to stay in (better) touch with my siblings.

But after a long day of multiple Zoom meetings, I find myself worn out in a special way. My back hurts, my eyes are tired, and my ears are sore from my fancy Bluetooth headset. The Stanford University Virtual Human Interaction Lab recently studied “Zoom fatigue” and found four roots causes. Spoiler alert: they include having extended up-close eye contact, seeing ourselves on video all day, being stuck in front of our computer cameras, and requiring an increased cognitive load.

Check out this article which includes some simple fixes for each root cause (for example, reduce the screen size for Zoom, hide your own video). The article also includes the 15-item Zoom Fatigue and Exhaustion Scale that you could take to identify how videoconferencing is affecting you.

Have any tips that have helped you combat Zoom fatigue? Please share them!

 

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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.

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Sharing your screen in Zoom meetings is an essential skill. But do you know how to get the most out of screen sharing while presenting with Zoom? In this 7 Zoom Screen Share Tips Every User Should Know (video), Scott Friesen shows you his favorite tips and tricks from sharing videos to polling your participants. Get ready to become the master of sharing via Zoom meetings!

Also, we have Zoom how-to resources on our CAT FooD blog. You can find links for the Zoom how-to resources here:

NOTE: You should update your Zoom to the most recent version to be sure you have all the current security settings.

file folder with documents inside

Are you still sharing files via email? An article by Lauren Suggett suggests three reasons why you should stop sharing documents via email. Her reasons are:

  • Nothing is trackable
  • Accessibility is limited
  • Email inboxes can be black holes

As you may know, Xavier adopted G Suite (formerly Google Apps). This means everyone has an account that allows them to store files in their Google Drive. Instead of emailing files back and forth, you can share files in your Google Drive. For more information on Xavier’s adoption of G Suite and how to share files using Google Drive, read Bart Everson’s Drive Right In blog post.

Additionally, Google Apps can be integrated into Brightspace. ICYMI, read my Google Apps Integration blog post.

Image credit: image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

young woman staring at a computer screen with a look of frustration on her face

In an Edsurge article by Jenny Abamu, she notes that one of the biggest misconceptions following Millennials is that they are digital natives. Students at a New Media Consortium Summer Conference (NMC) pushed back on the generational generalizations, noting that assumptions regarding their attitudes, hobbies, and abilities are hurting them academically.

I did not know how to use headers, footers or page number in Microsoft Word, so I got five points off every essay for an entire semester. - Alyssa Foley, Student

Jenny goes on to say that Alexandra Pickett, the Director of New York State University’s Center for Online Teaching Excellence, noted that many of her students know how to use online platforms such as Twitter and Facebook for fun, but have no idea how to leverage them for academic and professional use. This is a point the students at NMC echoed.

The students said that in order for their educational institutions to better serve them, it is important to challenge the assumption that students are digital natives.

While the EdSurge article's results were from surveying Millenials, anecdotal evidence shows that the same holds true for Gen Z students. That is, Gen Z is savvy about using social media personally. However, they are not as savvy about how to use tech tools academically or professionally.

Instructors can help students learn the basics for the tools that will be used in their course by providing them links to how-to resources.

Did you know that we have a list of Brightspace how-to resources for students on our CAT FooD blog? You can find the Brightspace how-to’s and other help resources at the following links:

Brightspace help for students
Brightspace video tutorials for students
Help students get started with Google Docs (video)
How to add headers and footers in Microsoft Word (video)
Using Google Drive Video Playlist
Using Google Docs Video Playlist
Using Gmail Video Playlist

Here's an example of how you might include how-to instructions for a discussion forum in your Brightspace course:

example of a Q&A discussion forum
Example of Q&A discussion forum with instructions on how to post to the forum

In this example, instructions for the Q&A forum are provided along with instructions on how to post to the forum as well as a link to a how-to video.

Including information on how to use course tools will go a long way to helping students to be successful in your course.

Image credit: image by Jan Vašek from Pixabay