By Amod Lele
Fabula Maps is a new tool that allows the easy design of interactive maps. It has already been used by BU faculty in the Art History and Archaeology departments. It is free to explore, so please check out the tool and its gallery of sample maps.
Fabula allows the design of single-author public sites for free; collaborative and private sites require a paid subscription. For this reason, for student-generated map content, we continue to recommend the use of Boston College’s MediaKron tool, which the BU community can access entirely for free through our pilot partnership. (Please contact Amod Lele if you’re interested in MediaKron; you can find his email via Exchange or the BU Directory). If you’re looking to create a map as a reference for your students rather than having them create it with you, have a look at Fabula. To get started, try their first steps guide.
A group of BU faculty and staff met with students in early May to hear their recommendations on uses of social media in the classroom. The students were all seniors, from COM and Sargent College (previously from CGS). We are summarizing their recommendations here for the wider BU community.
These students recommended not to force particular uses of social media in the class: let students use a closed course Facebook group as they see fit to build community, not grading them on it (or at most grading their participation pass-fail). They also recommended that faculty acknowledge and integrate ongoing current events into their classes, as a way of moving the focus off grades and into applied learning, and that Facebook and Twitter are appropriate platforms for this. For more informal discussions, they preferred closed course Facebook groups to Blackboard discussion forums.
There will likely be another meeting before the summer is out. If you’re interested in attending and have not already been invited to this group, please contact Amod Lele (he can be found via the BU Directory).
NVivo has released new versions of its Windows and Mac software, with features likely to be of interest to the BU community.
NVivo for Windows now allows you to import Qualtrics surveys as datasets and auto-code them, allowing a deep integration between BU’s data-collection and data-analysis tools. The NVivo help system has instructions to import from Qualtrics.
Both the Windows and Mac versions now support a new feature called Explore Diagrams, which automatically generates mind maps by showing you all the nodes whose coding is connected to any given node. Instructions for Mac and for Windows are available through the NVivo website.
Members of the BU community can download the upgraded version for free from within NVivo or from TechWeb.
Digication, BU’s ePortfolio software, now allows Google app documents, including Google Docs, Google Spreadsheets, Google Forms and more, to be embedded within an ePortfolio module. Students can create, share, and collaboratively edit a document in Google Docs and have the result be pushed to the portfolio, with the original revision history still available in Google Docs. You can find this function in Digication by pressing Add A Module, selecting the Google option, pressing Add This Module and following the instructions.
On Monday, April 4 from 10am-2pm, BU IS&T will host a Tech Fair open to all BU students, faculty and staff. The event will be in Metcalf Hall at the GSU. There will be snacks, drinks, prizes and more, along with displays from companies like Microsoft, edX and Verizon. No advance registration is required. More details are available. Come join us!
BU’s former Center for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching (CEIT) is back with a new name – the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) – and a new Director, Matthew Trevett-Smith. As well as a PhD in cultural anthropology and significant teaching experience, Dr. Trevett-Smith brings with him a long background in engaging students with technology. We hope you will join us in welcoming him to campus, and have a look at the newly revised CTL website.
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.
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.