EdTech Tip Sheet: February 2024

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What's happening in the world of FASE EdTech this month? An interesting email came through the ETO inbox this month, asking us about a specific commercial add-on feature in Quercus. I was inspired by Anna's response in which she deftly addressed the request (the community can request new ideas through the central U of T submission form) but also asked these questions:
  1. What current pain point (in Quercus/Canvas) does this tool help you address? 
  2. Is this a new issue or is it something that has always been present?
  3. Have you already tried something and it fell short?
  4. Could there be a way to address the issue from a course design perspective?
  5. Is there anything currently in the Academic Toolbox that might also address this issue? 
It can be challenging to crystallize the work that the ETO does and then something pops up in your email that clarifies things. With these crisp and clear questions, I was reminded how often I jump to solutioning without stepping back and considering the issue. This is what the ETO helps people do; step back, consider your options, and then connect you with an effective solution for your individual needs (the word "thoughtful" is included in our team's value statement). 

If you're experiencing a pain point, if you've had a new issue arise (or are finally done with a chronic one), if you've tried something that didn't work, if you're seeking work arounds or new perspectives, or are looking to expand your knowledge of available tools, consider booking a consultation to discuss. 

The ETO's February 2024 Tips

You can keep scrolling or select on a link to jump to a specific tip:
  1. Try using a teleprompter
  2. Listen to the latest MADE Podcast
  3. Join CTSI's new Active Learning Community of Practice (CoP)
  4. Apply to the Learning & Education Advancement Fund (LEAF)
  5. Confirm use of your U of T Zoom Account

1. Try using a teleprompter

The ETO is currently filming for a new online course, working with industry experts who come into the studio to film content for modules. In combination with preparation and planning done before the subject matter expert goes on camera, we've found that a teleprompter makes it easier to stay focused and on scope when being recorded.

Our "new" teleprompter set up (thank you, Prof. Ramsay!) vastly improves our ability to capture natural-feeling scripted presentations because the text is visible on a glass screen. Having the text appear in front of the camera lens allows for direct eye contact and a natural connection with the (future) audience. In the photo on the left, James manages the camera while the instructor reads their script. We'll add in a nice course-themed background in post-production.

If you're someone who likes to work with a script, this style of filming might be for you (if you're not, we have many other set ups that would work for you). If you're interested in learning more or coming to the studio to do some testing, you can book a consultation with our content production team to get more information:
Book a 30 minute consult
Want to set up a teleprompter remotely? See our guide to self-capturing with a teleprompter for instructions on how to record yourself talking to the camera while using a teleprompter (that displays your script). Depending on what you have available, there are different ways to set this up; you can jump to Setup #1: Computer with built-in webcamSetup #2: Computer with separate camera, or Setup #3: Phone only.

2. Listen to the latest MADE Podcast

In the 10th episode of MADE for U of T (see all episodes), we hear from educator and researcher, Nidhi Sachdeva, who discusses educational myths, a term used to "describe a commonly held but inaccurate belief or misconception about education and educational practices." For more, you might (re)watch Dr. Nidhi's EdTech Workshop 2023 Keynote Address Take the Load Off
Want to learn more about the science of learning? Dr. Nidhi is chairing an upcoming Toronto conference! You can register now for researchED Canada - The Science of Learning. The conference takes place in Toronto on May 3-4, 2024. The conference is inspired by the global researchED movement and their focus is on exploring recent advances in the science of learning. Keynote speakers include Daniel Willingham and Barbara Oakley

3. Join CTSI's new Active Learning Community of Practice (CoP)

The Centre for Teaching Support and Innovation (CTSI)'s new Active Learning Community of Practice (CoP) has been created to establish space for instructors, librarians, and staff at the U of T to share their questions, experiences, and ideas about enacting active learning in their classroom. This inclusive online space is designed to create connections, fuel dialogue, and build knowledge to support faculty in enhancing
the design and implementation of active learning across a variety of spaces spanning all three campuses.

If you are interested in participating, CTSI is collecting expressions of interest via an online form by February 5, 2024. If you miss this deadline, not to worry - the community is open to new members on an ongoing basis, but the hope is to collect interested people for a community launch.
Sign up for the Active Learning CoP

4. Apply for project funding through LEAF

The Office of the Vice-Provost, Innovations in Undergraduate Education (VPIUE) has launched the 2023-2024 round of proposals for the Learning & Education Advancement Fund (LEAF). The VPIUE will be accepting Expression of Interests for LEAF Seed Grants as part of the winter intake cycle beginning in January 2024 and due on Tuesday, February 27, 2024.

LEAF supports two streams of funding, with the following timelines:

  • Seed grants are intended to encourage experimentation at the local level, either within a course or a set of courses, as a means of fostering small-scale enhancements or pilots with the potential for future scalability. These projects should have the potential for either scalability within their home unit or transferability into other undergraduate learning contexts. Grants in this category range from $5,000 to $10,000 per year for up to 3 years.
  • Impact grants are designed to support large-scale projects with the potential to significantly enhance core elements of undergraduate education within or across academic units and divisions at the University. This can range from scaling high-impact teaching practices that have already experienced successful experimentation in their local contexts, to the development of new pedagogical or curricular approaches and practices. Grants in this category range from $10,000 to $100,000 per year for up to 3 years.
Visit LEAF homepage

Use Loop to manage your agendas and meeting chats

When you send a Loop component, everyone in your chat will be able to edit it inline—and see changes instantly. You can choose a paragraph, table, checklist, or other component to help focus your team on tasks like co-authoring content, compiling data, or tracking next steps. You’ll be able to collaborate right inside your message, minimizing the need for long chat threads. 

How to send a Loop component in Microsoft Teams chats

In an MS Teams chat, navigate to the Chat and:
  1. Look for the option on the right side of the compose box, select Actions and apps > Collaborate with Loop (Loop icon).
  2. Select the type of component you want to insert into your message.
  3. Enter content into the component.
  4. When ready, select Send (Send a message icon.). Everyone in the chat will be able to edit the content inline. 

5. Confirm use of your U of T Zoom Account

If you have more than one Zoom account, we recommend confirming that you are logged into your U of T Zoom account when conducting or participating in U of T activities. The U of T Community (e.g., faculty, staff, students, teaching assistants) can access licensed University of Toronto Zoom accounts.

Why use the U of T Zoom account?

Using your U of T Zoom account ensures that you'll be able to join meetings restricted to the U of T community and provides access to more Zoom features than a free Zoom account.

How do I activate my U of T Zoom account?

If you do not have a U of T Zoom account, you can activate your U of T-provisioned Zoom account via the U of T Zoom Portal (using your UTORid and password).

Verify use of your U of T Zoom Account
Note: The above guide is for those who have already activated their U of T Zoom account but want to verify that they are using their U of T Zoom account.

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 set up a recurring Zoom meeting with more than 20 occurrences? (January 25, 2024) | Also, please remind me how I can set up an easy link on Quercus for students to click to go to a particular Zoom meeting room.
How can I automatically publish all of the Zoom Cloud recordings I share via the Quercus integration? (January 11, 2024) |  I am recording my course lectures using Zoom, but in the Quercus zoom app I need to manually publish each one.

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's what we've been up to over the past month:
  1. Compare and select your backchannelling tool - We've updated this comparison chart to reflect the recent update to the iClicker tool (updated to the new “iClicker Cloud” version).  

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. The Power of Authentic Assessment in the Age of AI | Faculty Focus. Siham Al Amoush, PhD, and Amal Farhat, PhD write about how we "should design assessments as an engaging, ongoing process for students, helping them learn and achieve their learning outcomes rather than considering it as a one-shot test or quiz and focusing merely on the score."
  2. Social cues and the embodiment principle; the educational benefits of pre-questioning | The Science of Learning. Profs. Nidhi Sachdeva and Jim Hewitt write about the effectiveness of on-screen pedagogical agents (human-like characters) and of pre-testing (or pre-questioning) on student learning.
  3. 7 Things You Should Know About Generative AI | EDUCAUSE. The release of ChatGPT and similar AI tools that generate content including text, images, and audio has prompted both excitement and apprehension among leaders, faculty, students, and others in higher education.
  4. How to Have Asynchronous Meetings for Your Remote Team | Grain. The ETO is reviewing our internal meeting schedule (how often do we meet? what is the value of the meeting?) and we're dabbling in asynchronous meetings. This guide contains helpful tips if you're considering the same.

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: Cats snuggling in bed (Anna Limanni)
Row 01: Right: Liam (cat) investigates tree (Maggie Laidlaw)
Row 02: Left: Ice skating (Inga Breede)
Row 02: Right: Skiing at Mt. St. Louis (Maggie Laidlaw)
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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.