Group work can be more successful when students are involved in developing the assessment process. Self and Peer Assessment is a way for students to answer questions provided by the instructor, and then have others in the class (peers) and/or themselves evaluate their answers, guided by a variety of grading criteria (rubrics) also provided by the instructor, and each worth a specified number of points. The Self and Peer Assessment building block is included in Blackboard Learn. By default, it is turned on and available for use immediately. Through this advanced assessment tool, the instructor is able to:
・increase student responsibility, involvement, and encourage students a deeper approach to learning
・encourage students to reflect on their role and contribution to the process of the group work.
・lift the role and status of the student from passive learner to active leaner and assessor
・develop in students a better understanding of their own subjectivity and judgement.
Last week, BU faculty and staff should have received an announcement from IS&T highlighting upcoming instructor-led training opportunities, as well as links to supplemental training resources. We also want to remind you about customized group training and consulting that is available for most services. Important items to note from last week’s email include training on Basic Video Editing, which is now being offered on the Medical Campus, as well as Skype for Business/Lync training, which can come in handy if you want to communicate with your students during the winter months (stay tuned for an update on this). As mentioned in my last post, Microsoft Excel 2013 training is available, along with one session of introductory PowerPoint 2013 training. In other exciting news, we are now offering intermediate/advanced Level 2 WordPress training in addition to Level 1 training. Also, please be sure to check out the TechWeb page announcing Instructional Video Consulting Services for faculty! Happy learning!
Lucidchart, a free online software package for diagramming, is now available at BU in its enhanced educational version. Lucidchart is an easy way to draw flowcharts, mind maps and many other kinds of diagrams. It is comparable to Microsoft Visio, but unlike Visio it is cloud-based and cross-platform, and therefore an excellent solution for Mac users. The educational version allows advanced features not available to the general public, including Visio import/export and additional libraries of shapes. Lucidchart is integrated with BU’s Google Apps installation to make it easy to log into Lucidchart with your BU Google account and integrate with your BU Google Drive. TechWeb has a quick overview of Lucidchart and instructions on getting started.
IS&T has partnered with our preferred training vendor, New Horizons, to offer three levels of Microsoft Office 2013 Excel classes this semester (Windows only)! Classes are available to BU faculty and staff for a fee of $75 per person, per class; this fee is due to the high cost of training (typically, an individual would pay $688 to attend a New Horizons Excel class).
It is recommended that you visit TechWeb before registering to review important information, including syllabi, so you know which training is right for you: http://www.bu.edu/tech/about/training/online/documentation/excel-2013-training/. (New Horizons is also also offering an Introduction to PowerPoint 2013 training this semester; we may add a two-part Access training – updates will be posted here.)
Once you have reviewed the syllabi, cancellation policy, and payment information, please visit http://www.bu.edu/tech/about/training/ to sign up for training; sessions begin in late February and continue through May. Sessions may be added throughout the semester based on demand. Happy Excel’ing!
Digication, BU’s ePortfolio system, now offers an integration with Blackboard. You can work with Digication portfolios from within a Blackboard course. This allows Digication to collect the students in your course together without having to enroll them separately. It also greatly simplifies the process of creating assignments and of having students create their own portfolios, especially from templates.
Are you interested in using social media for teaching and learning? Please come to an informal gathering of BU faculty, graduate instructors and staff to share thoughts, ideas, tips and tricks about using social media (such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Wikipedia and YouTube) in the classroom. Our first gathering will be at the BU Pub. We’d like to schedule it for your convenience, so please let us know what times you could make in our Doodle: http://doodle.com/poll/s6byvq2k2he9v3yw
The new version of NVivo is now available! The new NVivo for Mac now allows you to import pictures and code regions of the picture (allowing you to code handwritten data, among other things), and allows you to import social-media data from Facebook and Twitter. The new NVivo 11 for Windows has a simplified query interface similar to the Mac version, and new tools for diagrams and mental maps. It is available in a “Starter” version that removes from features for a simpler interface, as well as the “Pro” version most similar to previous versions. You can switch back and forth between the Starter and Pro versions at any time. (A “Plus” version with additional features has also been introduced, but is not part of BU’s NVivo agreement.) The QSR company website has a comparison of the various versions.
The company has provided a guide to what’s new in NVivo 11 and in the new NVivo Mac. You can download the latest versions from the NVivo TechWeb page. We recommend backing up your project files before installing NVivo 11.
Students (and other users) can now make their Digication ePortfolios available to users outside of Boston University without worrying about privacy, by adding password protection. For example, if they wish to have different portfolios tailored to different kinds of employers, they can set up multiple portfolios, and provide each employer with the password for a different one. To use password protection: go to the Portfolio Tools/Settings page; set the portfolio’s Permissions to Public and check the box underneath it labelled Require password for access; enter a password, scroll to the bottom and press Save.
Boston University now offers the long-awaited Level 2 (intermediate/advanced) WordPress training on the Charles River campus, for those who want to go beyond the basics of website design and learn to work with BU’s array of custom-designed plugins. Currently one training class is offered in each month this fall; more may be added if there is additional demand. You can sign up for a session on our training registration page. Topics covered include section editing, Gravity Forms, design options, slideshows, profiles, widgets and video embedding.
BU IS&T is happy to announce that we have moved up to a site-wide, unlimited-user licence for NVivo, our software for qualitative data analysis. Formerly, we were limited to 500 licences. It is now available to the entire community, and you should feel free to download it as many times as you like as long as you remain affiliated with BU. We highly encourage you to inform your students about Nvivo as well.