EdTech Tip Sheet: December 2023

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What's happening in the world of FASE EdTech this month? We're getting ready to close up shop for the holiday closure! On the content production side, this means wrapping up the lecture capture program for the term, sneaking in a few scratch track recordings (see our prep sheet to learn more about scratch tracks) for the latest online course we're working on, and (of course!) putting the lightboard into action. On the academic toolbox side, we're reminding instructors to wrap up your Quercus course using our end-of-term checklist and including some tips in this issue to guide you in thinking about your Quercus (and other academic toolbox) decisions that you're likely making over the holidays. 
Upcoming Holiday Closure! Reflecting the University closure over the holiday break, the FASE EdTech Office will be closed beginning Thursday, December 21, 2023 and will re-open on Wednesday, January 03, 2024. Any inquiries submitted during this time will be responded to as quickly as possible when the office resumes regular activities in the new year.

The ETO's December 2023 Tips

You can keep scrolling or select on a link to jump to a specific tip:
  1. Use a tool comparison table to help you make some tech decisions
  2. Meet the ETO's new Learning Module Designer: Maggie Laidlaw
  3. Go behind-the-scenes on the ETWS Digital Colouring Activity
  4. Check out Tech2U's upcoming instructor training series
  5. Explore an AI video creation app

1. Compare and select your tech tools with our handy comparison tables

While you're relaxing over the holidays, sipping hot chocolate, it might pop into your mind that you'd been meaning to decide on what annotation tool you wanted to use. Or maybe you're thinking about where to host your videos? Enter our compare-and-select-a-tool-comparison tables!

Over the years, we've developed a special collection of comparison tables that compare and assist you in selecting a tool. We know there's a lot of technology options to choose from and that it can be overwhelming to decide on what to implement in your course. Each tool has benefits and limitations and these guides can assist you in picking the one that aligns most with your specific goals.

We review these guides frequently, trying to keep them up to date as changes are made to features and interfaces (while we do our best, we do miss things - if you notice something incorrect, let us know). If we don't already have a comparison table, and you are looking for one, let us know and we'll create it (and probably thank you for the suggestion in the next newsletter!). 

Here are all the comparison tables currently available on our technical support site
  1. Compare and select your collaborative annotation tool. Use this guide to review Hypothesis, Perusall, and Library Reading List (Leganto). 
  2. Compare and select your online grading tool. Use this guide to review Crowdmark and Gradescope. 
  3. Compare and select your scheduling tool. Use this guide to review Quercus Calendar Scheduler and Microsoft Bookings tools.
  4. Compare and select your backchannelling tool. Use this guide to review Microsoft Forms, MS Teams Q&A, iClicker, Kahoot!, Mentimeter, Piazza, Padlet, Poll Everywhere, and Top Hat. 
  5. Compare and select your videohosting/streaming service. Use this guide to review MyMedia, MS Stream, and YouTube.
  6. Compare and select your asynchronous discussions tool. Use this guide to review Quercus Discussions, Piazza, and PeppeR. 
  7. Compare and select your webinar tool. Use this guide to review different types of MS Teams meetings and Zoom.  
  8. Compare and select your online assessment tool. Use this guide to review Quercus Quizzes, Quercus Assignments, and Crowdmark Assigned Assessments.
  9. Compare and select your teleprompter app. Use this guide to review CuePrompter, Teleprompter Mirror, PromptDog, BIGVU Teleprompter, and Teleprompter Premium.
This guides contains information and recommendations about non-vetted tools. These tools are not part of the academic toolbox and are not supported. If you are implementing a non-vetted tool in your course, we encourage you to review our guide to safely implementing un-vetted tools in your course. It helps to ensure that you are implementing these tools according to U of T's guidelines for third party tools. We want you to use great tools in your course - but safely, securely, and thoughtfully. 

2. Meet the ETO's new Learning Module Designer: Maggie Laidlaw

The ETO is happy to announce our new Learning Module Designer! This is a new term role for the ETO and directly addresses the growing need for this specialized work. As part of the ETO's production process, Maggie will be working with faculty and industry experts to analyze what they currently do and transform it for digital consumption. 
Read more about Maggie

3. Go behind-the-scenes on the ETWS Digital Colouring Activity

At this year's EdTech Workshop (ETWS) 2023: CTRL +Shift, the ETO had a Digital Colouring station that offered attendees the opportunity to explore their inner artist. In this ETWS behind-the-scenes article (the last in the series!), Marisa and Cheryl explore designing and setting up the Digital Colouring Activity. Large-scale poster colouring was 2023's on-trend collaborative conference activity (there was even one at this year's One of a Kind show!) but we knew we wanted to take it up a notch and go digital. 

The activity provided attendees with the chance to tap into their inner "Builder," "Artist," or "Achiever," all while also introducing them to new tools and technologies and allowing for some fun throughout the experience. One of the Artist activities was a Digital Colouring station that was set up at the Myhal Visualization Facility (VF). This activity incorporated the use of different types of tablets that attendees were encouraged to play with, while digitally colouring in a line-based illustration (created by our Educational Graphic and Media Developer, Cheryl) that was displayed for the VF's large, high resolution display wall.
Read more about the digital colouring activity

Looking for more ETWS Behind-the-Scenes?

After the EdTech Workshop (ETWS) 2023, we wanted to document some of the major conference elements. This is the last article in the Behind-the-scenes series.

4. Check out Tech2U's upcoming instructor training series

Tech2U, part of Learning Space Management (LSM), is dedicated to empowering instructors and students in navigating the evolving technological landscape of the classroom experience. Sessions include Tech Essentials for Instructors, Classroom Tech Integration, Innovate with Classroom Tech, and Tech Lab (see the full brochure for more details and to register for part or all of the program). Any questions can be directed to lsm.tech2u@utoronto.ca.

Upcoming Training Dates:

  1. Option 1: Thursday - Dec 7, 2023
  2. Option 2: Friday - Dec 8, 2023
Register now!

Use different MS Teams meeting types

There are now multiple ways to meet in teams and each option has different features and tools for structuring the session. See the Microsoft documentation for an overview of meetings, webinars, and town halls. You can also refer to our guide on choosing the right virtual meeting tool for you.

How to create different MS Teams meeting

After logging into MS Teams, navigate to your Teams calendar and:
  1. Select on the option (downwards arrow) to expand your different meeting options

5. Explore an AI video creation app

We stumbled on a new AI video creation tool and James recorded a few proof-of-concept videos to share. One really interesting tool that caught our attention was HeyGen (take caution when investigating these tools; they are not part of the academic toolbox and we recommend reviewing our guide to safely implementing non-vetted tools in your course). It's one of many emerging tools that creates videos (after uploading a sample video for training and then using a script). You can imagine that as a shop that makes a lot of videos, we're always curious about ways to decrease production time while increasing the positivity of a learner's experience. A common tension is that the instructors and industry experts that we work with don't have a lot of time. Join us as we very hesitantly (and with some trepidation) experiment with an AI video creation tool. 
Read more about our experiment with AI video creation

Faculty Questions of the Week

Each week we answer a real question that we've received about Quercus and other Academic Toolbox tools, keeping the questions timely and relevant to you. You can select on the question to read the full inquiry and response or see all previous faculty questions of the week.

Read the Faculty Questions of the Week

How can I provide feedback to individual students on a rubric for a team assignment? (November 30, 2023) | Students have a group assignment. I want to give both individualized and group feedback on the rubric. 
Why is Quercus randomly changing grades from my in-class exam? (November 16, 2023) |  After the grading was complete, overnight two grades (out of a class of 200) reverted to zero. This is causing a lot of stress for students.

New (or updated) ETO Technical Guides

We usually update our technical guides as questions come in, changes are made to systems, or as we come up to certain dates in the academic calendar.

Here are the new guides published in November:

Worthwhile clicks from the Web

Looking for something to read/watch/listen to? Each month we round up things that we've interacted with that we think are worth sharing:
  1. On fostering peer-to-peer learning at work | The Educationalist. Whether we are aware of it or not, we learn from each other constantly, through watching and observing, getting or giving advice or simply by exchanging experiences. This often happens informally and we may not even label it as learning. But how about acknowledging this great resource as one of the most important sources of learning and intentionally using it in our work? 
  2. SMEs Shouldn’t Write Branching Scenarios (And What To Do Instead) | Experiencing eLearning. Christy Tucker says, "Instructional designers and training managers sometimes ask me, “How do I train SMEs to write better branching scenarios?” While I understand the perspective of the folks asking that, I think it’s the wrong question. I believe SMEs shouldn’t write branching scenarios."
  3. How and Why to Humanize your Online Class | Michelle Pacansky-Brock. Humanizing leverages learning science and culturally responsive teaching to create an inclusive, equitable online class climate for today's diverse students. When you teach online, it is easy to relate to your students simply as names on a screen. But your students are much more than that. 
  4. Instructional Designers as Institutional Change Agents | EDUCAUSE. Systems thinking and change strategies can be used to improve the overall functioning of a system. Because instructional designers typically use systems thinking to facilitate behavioral changes and improve institutional performance, they are uniquely positioned to be change agents at higher education institutions.

Curious about the photos in the banner?

This month's banner images are a few photos taken by the ETO team during the past month:
Row 01: Left: First snowfall on Lake Weslemkoon (Allison Van Beek)
Row 01: Right: Cozy fire lakeside (Allison Van Beek)
Row 02: Left: Throwback to the winning cake (Tom Coyle)
Row 02: Right: Best Decorations? (Inga Breede)
Copyright © *|CURRENT_YEAR|* *|LIST:COMPANY|*, All rights reserved.

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What is the FASE Education Technology Office? The Education Technology Office (ETO) supports academic teaching activities in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering by providing leadership, consultation, development and support of academic technology solutions. If you’re using a technology tool in the classroom (or thinking about using a technology tool in the classroom), we are here to help you plan and support it at every stage.


Article Category: EdTech Newsletter