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.
Do you currently use the discussion board tool in Blackboard? If so, you may be looking for ways to increase student engagement and participation inside your discussion forums. A common complaint about discussion boards is that unless they are graded or required by the instructor, students do not want to participate. The conversations between students are full of flattery and follow the leader, and often lack the depth that is found in the face-to-face classroom environment.
One possible solution is through the use of YouTube video postings to the discussion board in place of the traditional text responses. To set this up, students will need to create their own YouTube channel using a Google Account. Luckily, anyone can create a Gmail account or for added features, BU students and faculty are also able to set up Google Apps for Education accounts through BU: (http://www.bu.edu/tech/support/google/).
Once a YouTube channel is created, students can upload their video from either a smartphone or computer to their YouTube channel and copy the video’s Share URL into the Blackboard discussion board thread by clicking on the “Insert/Edit Embedded Media” button. Students who are concerned about posting personal information on YouTube have the option of saving videos as “unlisted.”
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.
Many of you will remember Eldon Strickland, who served at BU as an Associate Director in the Office of Distance Education, as well as an advisor for centers such as CADER, CFLP and other units. Eldon attended many of our Ed Tech Collective meetings while he worked at Boston University.
Today we can congratulate him to his successful defense of his dissertation, which he accomplished on Tuesday, February 9, 2016 at BU’s School of Education. In his dissertation entitled “The Effect of Teacher Self-Disclosure on Student Motivation and Affect Toward Teacher in Online Education” he examines the effect of TSD and comes to some interesting conclusions.
Hopefully we will soon be able to point to a published article based on his work and invite him to our Ed Tech Collective to share his findings. Overall the importance of student-teacher engagement as one of the pillars for successfully motivating students is highlighted, as well as the need for us – as Educational Technologists – to support and educate our faculty in leveraging the technologies and tools we have at our disposal to achieve this beneficial level of engagement.
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.
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.