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On Dec. 17, Xavier faculty and staff accounts will be migrated from Google to Microsoft.

Last week, I wrote about my experiments with Google's Takeout service (get it?) to move some (but not all) of the documents on my XULA Google Drive to my personal Google Drive. As I noted, Takeout works best, in my opinion, for very targetted exports and migrations. This week, I want to talk about a related but also separate concern: YouTube videos.

As you probably already know, Google owns YouTube. Xavier's switch to Google came not long after I embraced inverted teaching, often called flipping the classroom. I've been posting videos of lectures (20 minutes or more), mini-lectures (usually between 10 and 15 minutes), and micro-lectures (less than 10 minutes [ideally less than five minutes {according to Bart}]) for several years now and have over 100 on my YouTube channel. (Those definitions are my own, by the way.) So when I learned about our planned migration from Google to Microsoft, I worried about what would happen to my YouTube videos. My understanding is that our videos will not be removed from YouTube. Anything we have uploaded to our Xavier-based YouTube accounts will remain where it is, meaning it will be accessible and, if set as publicly accessible, included in any relevant search results. However, since my Xavier-based Google account will no longer be active, I won't be able to access those videos as the channel owner, meaning I won't be able to edit them or delete them. They will be frozen in cyberspace.

I'm not going to focus here on how I might continue posting videos for my students. Maybe that's a topic for another blog post (although I seem to be running out of time for all these blog post ideas). Instead, I will focus simply on how I plan on maintaining full control over the videos I have previously created and posted to YouTube. Once again, please remember: What follows are a few things I've tried out of personal concern and curiosity, things that I thought I would share with my colleagues, in case they have similar concerns. Just to be clear, CAT+FD is not involved in the Google to Microsoft migration, and we are not advising any actions by faculty and staff.

...continue reading "Goodbye, Google! Part 2"

Google 2015 logo
Google Inc., Public domain,
via Wikimedia Commons

I started using Google's applications (often called G-Suite) back when Google's motto was still "Don't be evil," so when Xavier switched us all over to Google in 2015, I was pretty pleased. Over the years, I've amassed a massive amount of data on my Xavier-based Google Drive and YouTube account, and I've pretty much stopped using my personal Google account. When we learned this past summer that Xavier would be migrating all of our accounts from Google to Microsoft, I panicked. Not only do I greatly dislike Microsoft's products, but I also have a ton of work that I was worried about. We've been told that all of the files on our Google Drives will be moved and translated to Microsoft's Office 360 system, and that only Google Forms will not survive the process. However, we've also been told that although our YouTube accounts will not disappear, we will not be able to manage them any more. Apparently, those videos will just sit on YouTube's servers with no one having any editorial control over them.

...continue reading "Goodbye, Google! Part I"

Did you know that Global Cat Day was celebrated this weekend? It is a day when "advocates around the world join Alley Cat Allies as [they] lead the charge to save cats from being harmed and killed." Given that this blog is dedicated to providing CAT FooD (for thought), we thought we'd celebrate in our own special way by having some door blog prizes.*

Global Cat Day 2021 mug

To say thank you to our XULA subscribers, we did a random drawing for a mug. Congratulations to Dr. Patience Obih (Pharmacy) for being our winner! We also want to recognize our newest subscriber, Dr. Chen-Hui Lo (Languages)! We appreciate your dedication to your professional development, and we will be delivering your mugs soon.

Thanks to all our subscribers. We are hope you continue to find this blog timely and useful.

*A special thank you to Dr. Mark Gstohl (Theology), our incoming Associate Director, for having the insight to celebrate Global Cat Day this way.

Xavier instructors, by completing the #LearnEverywhereXULA (#LEX) course, you honed your Brightspace skills and learned some of the better practices for remote and online teaching. Congratulations! You now have the opportunity to expand your horizons even more by becoming #LEX Advanced Certified. How do you achieve that? Keep reading.

Image by Amander Dimmock from Pixabay

You earn this certificate by participating in at least four #LEX Advanced workshops or completing four self-paced #LEX Advanced modules, or any combination of the two as long as you complete four. In these workshops/modules you will learn about using design and automation features available in Brightspace to apply better pedagogical practices within your courses by making them more user-friendly, accessible, and efficient.

Be on the lookout for #LEX Advanced workshops in CAT+FD’s events calendar or check out the #LEX Advanced course in your Brightspace account. Any questions? Contact us at cat@xula.edu.

The opportunity to work at CAT-FD as the Faculty in Residence for new faculty support was really exciting.  That is partly because I had experienced the friendly and caring atmosphere around CAT-FD for a long time myself.  At the beginning, I attended CAT-FD workshops only if I thought I really lacked the knowhow that a workshop would provide and I knew that I badly needed what I would learn there to teach or work with students.  But later, my purpose of coming to CAT-FD was a mix of the drive to learn something new and also the desire to meet and get to know the CAT-FD staff and attendees during those events.  I think the understanding that I will always have a good time at CAT-FD got progressively stronger as my time at Xavier went by.  I am so grateful for the relaxed and mind-clearing experience that the CAT-FD staff impart to me all the time.  CAT-FD welcomes everyone all the time and you will find it home too.  I especially hope that the new faculty would start working with CAT closely from the beginning of their time here.

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If you are unable to view the embeded Infographic, you can view it here:
How & Why to Humanize Your Online Class

"Burning My Candle at Both Ends" by gfpeck is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Even in a typical academic year (which this one was not) we tend to burn our candle at both ends as we work our way from August toward graduation. I don’t know if you have felt it, but I have certainly felt the increased pressure of keeping up the past few weeks—letters of recommendation, student advising, and wrapping up goals for the academic year have all made demands on my time.

Adding this pressure to an already-stressful year can increase our risk for burnout. Burnout has become a popular term during COVID, especially for educators who have had to reimagine their teaching. In fact, NPR’s Life Kit podcast just did a timely episode on burnout, complete with tips to avoiding it.

Burnout, a concept studied psychologist Christina Maslach since the 1970s, doesn’t just mean we are overwhelmed and exhausted (though exhaustion is at the core). It also includes becoming cynical about our work, which in higher ed can lead to "phoning it in" to our classes, complaining about our students or colleagues, and disengaging from our institutional missions. (Salvagioni and colleagues provide a thorough, empirical review of the physical and psychological consequences of burnout.)

However, there is recent evidence that what we have called burnout might actually be a form of job-related depression. In a meta-analysis, Renzo Bianchi (University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland) and colleagues looked at evidence from from 12,417 participants in six countries and found that characteristics of burnout were more strongly associated with depression than they were with each other. The implications of this data? Burnout is something that both institutions and faculty should take seriously.

If you are feeling physical or emotional exhaustion or cynicism, I encourage you, in these last fews weeks of the semester, to engage in some of the following that work for you.

  • Adopt healthy eating, exercising, and sleeping habits.
    Give yourself permission to invest in you own good health. Yeah, you have a lot to do, but none of that work is going to get done if you are too ill to do it.
  • Balance work and play.
    Be sure you have downtime and take breaks to do things you find truly joyful. In the academy our work is never truly "done." It's up to us to set some boundaries.
  • Take a daily break from technology.
    Need I say more about this? Take some time each day to completely disconnect and perhaps even look at a tree.

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.

A lot of faculty at Xavier have found, when they are teaching multiple sections of the same class, that it is helpful to merge those sections on Brightspace. Janice recently posted about the process to get your courses merged, so I won't go into those details. Instead, this post is going to consider the rather unique challenge many of our faculty will face this fall: teaching one section online and one in person.

...continue reading "To Merge or Not to Merge"

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