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A misconception about 21st-century students is that they are proficient with all technology, even in the absence of clear instructions. Many students know how to use online platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook for fun, but have no idea how to leverage them for academic or professional use.

In an article in the Times Higher Education, Elizabeth Losh says universities must stop presuming that all students are tech-savvy. Many educators assume that young people are digital natives and they should know how to use technology. Gen Z may be savvy about using social media personally. However, they are not as savvy about how to use tech tools academically or professionally.

I don't appreciate when professors just assume because we are young we know how to use this stuff...we are learning with y'all. - Anonymous Xavier Student

In feedback from some Xavier students, they stated that their professors assume they know how to use Brightspace when in fact they do not. To better serve our students, faculty should not assume students are digital natives. 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 Brightspace how-to resources at the following links:

Additionally, 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 Aspen from Nappy

[Camtasia Logo]

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. What's more, Xavier faculty have access to a site license for Camtasia.

In addition to the software, we also have access to TechSmith's tech support, as well as their excellent and extensive library of training materials.

So what are you waiting for? Yes, you can download and install Camtasia now. Here's the link. (You may want to check the system requirements first.) You'll find a few tips about using Camtasia on the CAT Base wiki.

Please note: You will need a 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: bpeverso at you-know-where.

Robot teacher by Tumisu via Pixabay

In our two-day “bootcamp,” Xavier faculty explored the potential benefits and risks of artificial intelligence (AI), including the use of AI to improve their teaching and research.

really engaging (and intermittently mind-blowing) ... the best 8 hours I spent this semester

anonymous participant

We hope that even faculty who were unable to attend may have a similar experience, and so we are providing some videos and resources on CAT Base, the new and improved CAT+FD wiki.

Find it all here: catwiki.xula.edu/bootcamp

This article was originally published on Psychology Teacher Network, the premiere quarterly publication of the American Psychological Association's Center for Education in Psychology. It covers much of the same ground as our workshop of 9 February 2023 — see our wiki for video and resources.

I found out the world was ending about eight weeks before everyone else.

Last September, I started seeing advertisements for an artificial intelligence (AI). No, it wasn't ChatGPT. It was called Jasper. It could write blog posts—so the ads claimed. I did a 5-day free trial in early October.

I had a couple half-finished blog posts lying around. I fed them to Jasper, and the AI finished the job for me. The results seemed plausibly publishable: coherent, grammatically correct, focused, even evincing a wry sense of humor. I scraped together a dozen of my unfinished short stories. Some of these have languished for decades. I fed them to the AI. One after another, they were completed almost instantaneously.

First, I’d been intrigued, then I was impressed, and now I was alarmed. Writing is a special skill, which demonstrates my erudition, to say nothing of my humanity. Now, here’s a machine that can play the same game. I’m still coming to terms with the implications.

Finally, I started wondering about how this might impact teaching and learning. That’s my job, after all. How would this AI handle an authentic college writing assignment?

Since I don't teach classes myself, I asked my immediate supervisor. She shared an assignment from her health psychology class focused on behavioral lifestyle interventions. Students have to pick a book, read it, make connections between their chosen book and a designated journal article, then pick their own journal article from those cited in their chosen book, read that second article, and examine how the book used or abused that information. Finally, the students are required to reflect on whether they will actually implement any of the changes in their own lives.

Did you follow all that? It’s a complex assignment, and my boss considered it “basically cheat-proof.”

I fed this assignment into the AI. The instructions were so lengthy I had to copy and paste them in two parts, but Jasper didn’t blink. The AI generated an essay in mere seconds. The text seemed to demonstrate familiarity with the contents of the book and both journal articles. Remember, the AI had to pick the second article itself. I gave the essay to my boss, and she was astonished. According to her well-defined rubric, this paper was a C-. It was not brilliant. In fact, it was rather thin. But it was passable.

That was early October. I cancelled my free trial before incurring any fees and discussed the whole episode with some colleagues. We agreed the technology was fascinating, but the ramifications for academic integrity commanded our concern. The consensus seemed to be that the services of such an AI would be irresistible for some students. We knew we had to do a workshop on this subject. We knew this was going to blow up.

But we were still taken by surprise on November 30, 2022.

On that date, ChatGPT was unleashed as a free preview. Nearly overnight, it seemed like everyone in academia was talking about artificial intelligence and the end of the world—or at least the end of traditional written assessments.

ChatGPT is an AI product that was developed by OpenAI over the last several years. It’s worth backtracking to understand that OpenAI was founded as a nonprofit in San Francisco in 2015, dedicated to developing AI for the benefit of humanity. They’ve since ditched their nonprofit status and received huge infusions of cash from Microsoft. Developing this stuff is very expensive. One of their key technologies is the generative pre-trained transformer, which is what GPT stands for. Basically, they feed a mind-boggling amount of text to this program, then train it to mimic human language.

GPT has gone through several iterations. OpenAI released GPT-2 in 2019 as an “open source” product, meaning the source code is freely available to outside parties and the general public. That commitment was deemed important enough to give OpenAI its name. However, with the shift to for-profit status, GPT-3 is licensed exclusively to Microsoft.

To summarize, in early 2023, everyone’s talking about ChatGPT, the user-friendly interface (similar to Jasper) that allows people to interact with the GPT-3 model, but that’s just the product of the moment. Future developments and competing products are already apace. Discussions about AI, academic integrity, and the future of writing will continue. It may or may not be the end of the world as we know it. Right now, there are still more questions than answers.

Have you explored ChatGPT? Have you talked with your students about it?

Fun footnote: Upon closer examination, my supervisor and I determined that the journal article Jasper chose for the health psychology assignment doesn’t actually exist. It looks plausible, attributed to an author who publishes similar titles in that field, but it appears the AI fabricated that citation. This lack of factual veracity is a well-documented flaw in current versions of GPT.

This is a guest post from Mary A. Guillory, Remote Assistant Librarian for Xavier University Library.

It is interesting to have lived to see the day that an AI chatbot became an A-list celebrity—paparazzi and all. Its name has been smeared in the tabloids, discussed in the news, and has sparked fear in academics internationally. Students and professionals hoping to do less work rejoiced, while simultaneously coping with the frustration that comes with obtaining an account and getting the short end of the stick on a traffic-spike-plagued database website. All those things aside, the real proof of OpenAI’s ChatGPT success is that it has made it into the headlines of The Onion three times thus far. Like any assistive technology it makes learning more intriguing and allows users to more easily do things they might have struggled to complete without the tool. 

So, what does this librarian consider the best use for ChatGPT? Its ability to provide critical thinking practice, enhance coding education motivation, and act as a study buddy. Since artificial intelligence is able to infer so much from big data, it excels at helping people to think and grow intellectually. The following are my elaborations on these three ideas: 

1. Critical Thinking Practice 

Blind trust is never higher than with a computer. We enforce our own perception that the algorithm behind {insert whatever web tool name you use here} is always right on a daily basis because it is able to prove a high confidence rate to us by balancing crowd sourced human behavior data with our personal patterns and preferences. The most surprising thing about ChatGPT is that it is an AI still in training, so it gets things wrong. It operates from a dataset that hasn’t been updated since 2021 and is not connected to the internet in a way that allows it to take advantage of Google’s strides in the search engine arena. Though technology advanced in increments over the years, Google search AI has been collecting live human data to deliver better results and present them in answer form for over a decade.  

What might come of having students think critically about the answers offered by ChatGPT? The AI chatbot does not cite its sources of information, which means that to some degree it is speaking as an authority. There is power in the cognitive dissonance created when a human fact checks a podcast like “Exploring Afrofuturism with AI: A Librarian Interviews ChatGPT” and finds issues with ChatGPT’s infered answers—factual issues. The best part is that these types of exercises can be customized to student interests and created by students for students.  

2. Coding Education Motivation Enhancer 

Coding in any language whether it be for the web, mobile applications, or computer software is a valuable skill. It can even come in handy for using low-code or no-code platforms when customizations are desired. The issue usually reveals itself in the time and discipline required to develop coding skills to a useful level when students might be starting at zero and have little interest in code beyond what it can do for them today. Need some HTML or CSS to spruce up a blog post or website? ChatGPT can help. Need a basic Python program? ChatGPT can do that too. Need to work with the PowerApps language Microsoft Power Fx you’ve never heard of before? No problem, ChatGPT even speaks Klingon. The best part is that it can take students straight into the editing and trouble-shooting process of coding, which many may find more intriguing than writing the same little boring calculator or joke generator over and over again. Having to learn the hard way why the basics are important upfront to make the code work for a real-world need is way more fun than memorizing them with vague hopes of creating something someday. 

3. Study Buddy 

People get tired of answering questions and sometimes don’t feel like discussing certain topics. Throw scheduling or COVID-19 into the mix and ChatGPT might make its way to the top of the study buddy list. Students can practice discussing any topic, answering interview questions, or get instructions and tips on how to complete a desired task. It is also quite good at suggesting study resources and plans. 

Want to Learn More About Artificial Intelligence and ChatGPT? 

  • Register for CAT+FD’s hybrid “AI2: Artificial Intelligence and Academic Integrity” workshop on February 9th
  • Email me for a link to the AWS Machine Learning University’s monthly Friday webinar on February 3rd or sign up to receive emails about future sessions from Amazon. Taught by one of Amazon’s data scientists, this month’s topic (the first in the series) will focus on “Responsible AI”. Students and faculty are welcome to join these sessions.  

I know everyone reading this post is waiting on the answer to the big question so here it is—no, this CAT FooD was not prechewed by ChatGPT. 

Now that the spring 2023 semester is officially rolling, we wanted to remind all faculty that Xavier has invested in a site license for the Camtasia software package.

Not only do you have access to the current version of Camtasia, the site license means you also get access to TechSmith's tech support as well as extensive training materials, which are quite frankly excellent.

  • Educational Resources: tutorials specifically focused on using Camtasia for online teaching
  • TechSmith Academy: not product specific, but full of tips and best practices for video creation
  • Certification Courses: premium learning experiences that develop skills with screencasting and visual communication (You will need to create a TechSmith Account and then follow the link.)

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.

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

Please note: You will need a 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: bpeverso at you-know-where.

Are you looking for a tool you can use to support classroom management and engagement? Try Classroomscreen.

Classroomscreen is a free tool that allows you to customize a screen with tools (widgets) that will support your class activities, stimulate engagement and help your students get to work.

Example of a Classroomscreen
Example of a Classroomscreen

Classroomscreen was originally developed for learning inside the classroom. However, it can also support educators in distance learning.

Support your class activities, stimulate engagement and help your students get to work by using the intuitive tools of Classroomscreen.

This is a guest post from Mary A. Guillory, Remote Assistant Librarian for Xavier University Library.

In November 2022, the “Goodbye, Google!” blog post series sent the University Library on a mission to prepare its Youtube channel for the impending email migration. Faculty and staff XULA email accounts were migrated from Google Workspace to Microsoft 365 in December and student accounts will be switched over in May. ITC has not announced an official date for the migration of department and special email accounts. As is likely true for many other departments, the University Library’s social media channels are attached to a department account. 

A video demonstrating how the library packed up its Youtube channel for migration was created in partnership with Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development (CAT+FD). Though Google Support offers some documentation on the issue, the process may not be straight forward for all users—and librarians love to share the fruits of their research so sit back and enjoy the show

Links to Google Documentation 

woman holding two coins
Photo by Thought Catalog on Pexels.com

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: