By Amod Lele
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.
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.
The Educational Technology, Training and Outreach group in IS&T is looking to fill two new positions: an educational technologist supporting our LMS (currently Blackboard although alternatives are being considered), and a combined platform-administrator and educational-technologist position for a new video-streaming system.
In addition, we expect to have another educational technologist position open later this year, relating to lecture capture and audience response systems. If you apply for the LMS position, you can be considered for that position as well (if you are willing to start later). Please forward this invitation to anyone whom you think might be interested in any of these positions.
IS&T ETTO is exploring the possibility of a user group for faculty and staff working with NVivo, and perhaps other data-analysis software such as Qualtrics, to meet and share ideas and experiences. We’re trying to gauge interest in this possibility. If you think you might be interested, please take our survey and let us know what you think.
As part of the Learning Management System (LMS) investigation, the LMS Steering Committee will be conducting several live demonstrations from vendors, including our current LMS, Blackboard. All faculty and academic staff are invited to attend these sessions, but we ask that you register in advance so we can plan accordingly.
Canvas by Instructure Demonstration
Following the Blackboard demonstration on Monday, May 4 we will be hosting our fourth annual Blackboard Boot Camp. This annual event gives faculty an opportunity to hear from their colleagues and to learn more about what our current Learning Management System has to offer. Seating is limited, so please be sure to register in advance.
We look forward to seeing you! Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.