EdTech Tip Sheet: November 2020

Related people and/or projects: Prof. Lisa Romkey

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November 05, 2020

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.

New in the Q · Newscaster-style Video Example · 2020 ITIF Call for Apps · Importing a Q course template · Crowdmark · New blogs · Top EdTech Qs · Piazza Update · EdTech Services  · Schedule a consult

What's new in the Q?

Q as in Quercus, of course! Each week, the EdTech Office shares updates on new feature and function deployments in Canvas (see What is the difference between Canvas and Quercus? Spoiler: it's just nomenclature!) in our Weekly Quercus Updates blog posts. Unlike Portal (Blackboard), our current learning management system is software as a service (learn more about SAAS), so we do get updates happening during terms in actively-taking-place courses (though these changes are not supposed affect workflow, we also see that, too). If you'd like to deep dive into upcoming changes, you can review the upcoming deploy notes on the Canvas Deploy Archive. Below is a summary of the major ones over the past few weeks:

Our new default for the Grade Posting Policy is...manual!!

If you've ever forgotten to manually set when your grades are shared to your students, then this news bite is for you! Starting with Winter 2021 courses (current courses will not be effected), we've successfully advocated that the new grade posting policy will be set to manual. This means that grades will not be shared to students until you un-hide them in the grade book. This is by far the preference for most, who would much prefer to release the grades to the course en masse (versus having one TA's released earlier than others, let's say) and to allow for grade calibration before sharing. For more, see How do I select a grade posting policy for a course?

Note the new icon for the embed function in the rich text editor

Are you embedding a lot of videos lately? This got a bit easier recently with the new embed toolbar icon location in the rich text editor. To enable this, the Embed tab has been removed from the Upload/Record Media window and displays as its own icon in the toolbar (see How do I upload and embed media from external sources for the new Rich Content Editor?).

Try out the new page history tracking and display feature

It can feel like you spend half your day selecting back and forth from one Quercus page (or course) to another - or following a bread crumb back to where you started - a new history and tracking feature aims to alleviate at least some of that clicking. As an instructor, you can now view a list of your recent Canvas course page views from the History link in the Global Navigation menu (the navy blue left side menu, just outside of your course menu). The Recent History list displays page view history within the most recent three weeks (see How do I view my recent page history as an instructor?).


"How to" make your own newscaster-style videos

We wish we'd thought of it, but we didn't! Prof. Romkey created asynchronous video content for her students to watch, on their own time, in preparation for live, synchronous interactive "lecture" sessions. By combining the different course modalities, she (and co-instructor, Prof. Rob Irish) reduced the in-person two hour lecture component to 1 hour of "async" videos and 1 hour of "sync" lecture session. If you're curious about other video styles, check out our review of popular video styles (e.g. Khan Academy, TedTalk, MasterClass, etc.)
See other examples from colleagues

2020 ITIF is now open for applications!

The Provost’s Instructional Technology Innovation Fund (ITIF) is now accepting applications for the 2020-2021 academic year! This year’s theme is Supporting Students Learning Remotely. Applications are accepted only from fully appointed Faculty (both streams) and Librarians and all projects must be for supporting degree credit courses and/or programs (proposals for continuing or professional education are no longer being accepted) (see submission details).
Deadline for applications is Friday, Nov. 28, 2020 at 5:00 pm.

Engaging Students through a FASE Quercus Course Template

Register now! | Tuesday, November 26, 2020 | 2:00 - 3:00 pm

Time is in high demand and Quercus is a varied and multi-functional system. Teaching teams might not have as much time as they’d like to spend developing and building their own unique Quercus courses, which is why we’ve developed a FASE Quercus course template that can be imported and customized within your Quercus course shell. Through effective course organization, you can support your students’ online learning experience even before your course starts!

What will we do in this session?

We’ll import the course template as well as look at ways to use Quercus tools to improve course structure and navigation, create consistency and predictability across course materials, and ensure a supportive and accessible learning environment for all students.  

In the session, we will:

  • import and edit a Quercus course template,
  • provide an overview of the tools that support effective course organization and content structure (including Course Navigation menu, Modules, and Pages),
  • explore how to use these tools in combination with other tools (Calendar, Announcements, Inbox) to help students navigate your course and find materials with ease, and
  • introduce a course set-up checklist to help get you started with your course organization.
This session is open to the FASE community (including but not limited to faculty, staff, teaching assistants, librarians and more!).

What should I do if I can't attend the session?

If you can't attend the live synchronous online session, but would like to be emailed a link to the recording, please use the registration link and select that option.
Register for the session now!

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).

Recent blog posts

Virtual Labs: Labster Under the Lens
By Priscilla | November 03, 2020
Thinking about conducting your labs online? This blog reviews a session that shared the experiences of three professors who used Labster.
Accommodations and Accessibility in Remote/Online Teaching
By Priscilla | October 27, 2020
Learn more about registering with accessibility services, facts and figures, and considerations for online and remote learning.
Read all the articles posted on the ETO Blog

This week's top EdTech questions

  1. Which tool should I use for asynchronous discussions? Discussions can be a great way to engage students in the online environment. They can be flexibly integrated into your course, offering real time (synchronous) or self-directed (asynchronous) opportunities for students to interact with the instructor and with each other, and to explore and reflect on course content.
  2. How do I extend time for a Quercus Quiz? You can use Moderate Quiz for extra time and attempts, and to manually unlock a quiz (note that the quiz does need to be published before you can moderate it).
  3. What Quiz analytics can I see? Please visit Quercus Course Data and Reports and navigate to the Quizzes section for more detailed information.
  4. How can I add accommodations for a Crowdmark Assigned Assessment? Accommodations are often related to the time a student has to take the assessment and when they have access to the assessment. Crowdmark offers two ways to build these parameters into an assessment.

Do you use Piazza?

If you use Piazza in your course, you likely got a notification this week when you logged in announcing (quite suddenly, without any notice, mid-term) that ads would now be part of the experience of using their discussion board tool. With (strong) feedback from faculty, Piazza has pulled their plan to deploy these ads for the immediate future. Centrally, the U of T is working with Piazza to develop a longer term plan regarding ad use and is investigating possible licensing options.
Are the other options? If this has left a bad taste in your mouth regarding the tool, other discussion (discourse) tools are available within the Academic Toolbox (see Which tool should I use for asynchronous discussion?).

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.
  5. Book in-studio filming - Coming soon! While this service is not currently up and running due to access restrictions, we do hope to offer this soon. In the meantime, please fill out this form to let us know your interest.
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