EdTech Tip Sheet: January 2021

This issue includes a checklist for End of Term Course Care, double checking your Grade Posting Policy, adding a clock widget, administering Oral Exams, upcoming sessions, a how to for Large Collaborate Sessions and more! Not subscribed to the EdTech Tip Sheet Newsletter? Sign up now!



January 25, 2021

FASE's EdTech Tip Sheet

Compiled for the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering Community, straight from the Education Technology Office, and sharing everything you should know about education technology news, events, & support.

End of Term Course Care · Grade Posting Policy · Add a clock widget · Oral Exams · Upcoming sessions · How to: Large Collaborate Sessions · Recent Blog Posts · Top EdTech Qs  · Best reads from around the Net

And....we're back!

First - have you wrapped up your Fall 2020 course? In the hustle and bustle of term end, it can be easy to put off archiving your course and (especially this term) video content (see our End of Term Course Care tips to make sure you're saving what you need to save). If you are using Bb Collaborate to record your lectures, we do recommend that you download your recordings for safe keeping. If you're thinking of re-using some of those videos, the EdTech Office can help you edit them (maybe trim off the ends or cut out bits you don't need) and re-upload them to a video hosting service (see select your video hosting/streaming service).

Second - have you double checked your Winter 2021 course settings? If you've copied your course from a previous term, we recommend that you review any settings that might have migrated over. A big one is to check your grade posting policy - is it set to manual or to automatic? You likely do not want grades showing to students as you enter them, so confirm that your policy is set to manual. This is the new default policy but for existing and copied courses, we've seen the old automatic posting setting stick.

Did you import your course from a public course template? Your course may have inherited some settings from the imported course template. For example, if the course template is set to public visibility and public domain license, your course may inherit these settings. Please check your course settings to ensure that the copyright license is set to Private (1) and the course visibility to Course (2), as shown below.

Low Effort, Big Impact Tips:
Add a clock to a Q page!

With a bit of code, you can add a dynamic widget to your course (perhaps your homepage?) that displays the current time at U of T. This is helpful for students who are not learning from the EST timezone but who are still expected to submit work based on EST. See How can I embed a clock widget into a Quercus page? to do it yourself!
Third - are you ready for your assessments? I know, it's early, but, it's not too early to start considering changes to how you ran your assessments last semester. You might choose to use a different tool (like Crowdmark, especially for hand written/scanned submissions) or design an oral exam. We're also happy to review your Quercus Quiz or Assignment settings (see also how to copy a quiz during from one course to another) an Assessment Review session.

Fourth - and last! - are you using a discussion tool in your course? One of the things we hear most often is that students struggle to find the routine in each of their courses (when to be where) and discussion tools (both synchronous and asynchronous) serve as outlets for students to assist each other, engage in conversation, and allow you to respond to questions in one place, for the whole class. Even if it doesn't relate to course content, a frequently asked questions board can improve communication and clarity within your course. Learn more about your options at our upcoming sessions (including a new alternative to Piazza): 
  1. Facilitating Effective Online Discussions in Quercus: Asynchronous Tools and Techniques
  2. Facilitating Effective Online Discussions in Quercus: Synchronous Tools and Techniques
We encourage you to attend both sessions - the first focuses on self-directed "on your own time" discussion tools while the second focuses on "live" discussion tools available in webinar platforms. If you can't wait and want to discuss discussions sooner, book a consult and we'd be happy to chat.

Large Sessions in Bb Collaborate

Regular Blackboard (Bb) Collaborate Ultra sessions can host up to 250 participants. If you have a session that involves more than this amount of people, you can select to enable your session as a large scale session  (also referred to as 'webinar mode') which can host up to 500 people. If this is your first time using a large session, review whether a large session right for you. If you're an experienced user, you can jump right to how to enable a large session

Unable to watch on YouTube? View the Large Sessions clip or the entire session in MS Stream (log-in required).

Recent blog posts

Weekly Quercus Update
By Priscilla | January 21, 2021

This week: BB Collaborate Issues, Canvas Update, This Week's Faculty Question: I want to assign students to project groups in a large class.
Lessons Learned from the Pandemic
By Allison | January 19, 2021

Prof. Micah Stickel and Prof. Susan McCahan have been sharing Lessons Learned from the Pandemic in presentations. What have we learned after a full semester online?
Weekly Quercus Update
By Priscilla | January 14, 2021
This week: Canvas Technical Updates, BB Collaborate Update, This Week's Faculty Question: Where can my students get help for MyMedia content access issues?
EngSci's Top 10 Recommendations for Online Learning
By Allison | January 13, 2021

This list was compiled by the Division of Engineering Science (EngSci) Leadership Team. Links to resources were added by the ETO Team.
Read all the articles posted on the ETO Blog

This week's top EdTech questions

  1. How can I report MyMedia video playback issues? If your students are experiencing technical issues with content that you've shared on MyMedia (i.e., with video content access or with video playback), please ask them to follow the steps below.
  2. What should I do if I can't see my courses? Canvas/Quercus is an information display system. This means that all the pieces of information that are "contained" in the Q actually come from other U of T systems and databases.
  3. I've heard about a new discussion tool, Ed, What is it? A few things that are unique about Ed are that it allows you to create Post Templates to define a structure for student posts (e.g., you can outline expectations for what should be included in each post) and allows for insertion of programming code snippets that can be run within the platform itself for easier debugging.
  4. How can I run an anonymous survey? Asking students for feedback during the term can help you address concerns before they become issues. Make it easier to submit feedback using an anonymous Microsoft Form.


This week's interesting EdTech reads from all over

  1. Appearance, Social Norms keep students off Zoom cameras (Cornell News)
  2. Do Instructional Videos Work Better When the Teacher is On Screen? It Depends. (EdSurge)
  3. Virtual reality makes unique chemical engineering lab accessible from home (UofT Engineering News)
  4. Student Engagement in the Online Classroom: Eight Quick Tips to Spark Students’ Learning (Faculty Focus)

Crowdmark is licensed! Yes, Faculty-wide!

Crowdmark has been officially licensed across the Faculty for the current academic year! Crowdmark is particularly effective for assessments that involve uploading digitally scanned handwritten work for marking and feedback (see How can I submit handwritten (or paper-based) work for tips on how to create a submission template and suggested apps to use for submission).

How else can the EdTech Office help?

Check out our service catalogue to get started:
  1. Schedule a consultation - We're happy to meet with you to discuss any element of your course (related to technology, of course!).
  2. Request a new Quercus course - We can create courses for both academic and administrative purposes (so no, it doesn't need to be a course, phew!). If you're running a program, committee, group (especially one that has students), this might be a great hub for your work.
  3. Request guest Quercus Accounts - These can be used to provide access to external guests or to be used in testing.
  4. Participate in the Remote Editing Process - We've designed a remote editing process that you allows the Education Technology Office to provide editing services for your self-captured video content. This program will only be offered during the Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 terms.
Looking for 1-1 support? We're happy to schedule individual (or teaching team) consultation(s) to review your course and current stage of design. You can also email us to get started!



Article Category: EdTech Newsletter