EdTech Tip Sheet: September 2023

Related people and/or projects: Quercus Updates (August 2023)

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What's happening in the world of FASE EdTech this month? It's Quercus time! Yes, Quercus is part of our EdTech-y lives all year, but it's especially prominent as we start a new term. This Tip Sheet catches you up with what's new in Quercus as well as highlighting things to think about while you're developing your Quercus courses. 

MS Stream (Classic) retirement postponed! You will have a bit more time to migrate your video content from MS Stream (Classic) to MS Stream (SharePoint). See how to check if you have content on MS Stream and, if you do, how to manage this change to Stream (on SharePoint). A new date (previously August 29, 2023) for retirement will be announced soon. For more information, reach out to stream.support@utoronto.ca  or read the U of T Stream Classic Retirement page on the EASI website.

Read on for our September 2023 Tips:

  1. Enable auto-recording of your course (using OpenCast)
  2. Get up to speed on Quercus
  3. Watch the new ePump promotional video 
  4. Listen to Ep. 09 of the MADE Podcast (with Dr. Philippa Hardman)
  5. Enroll in the Active Learning Hub (built by CTSI)

1. Enable auto-recording of your course (using OpenCast)

Whether or not you plan to release recordings of your class sessions to your students, we always recommend enabling OpenCast (see if your classroom has this built-in content capturing tool using LSM's Instructor Portal). It comes in handy when you are supporting an accommodation request, if you want to review your own teaching practice, or if you decide that you'd like to release the recordings openly to your class via your Quercus course. For more information, see our overview of OpenCast's features
Read the OpenCast Operation Guide

Looking for more in-classroom support?

Login to the LSM Instructor Portal to join the Tech2U program. Via this Portal, instructors can also view which classrooms they are scheduled in, book classroom technology equipment, and request site visits. For further assistance, email lsm.tech2U@utoronto.ca.

2. Get up to speed on Quercus

Welcome to the Quercus section of this newsletter! We've compiled a few resources to help catch you up on what's new in the world of Quercus. We're happy to offer 1-1 consultations wherein we can discuss any aspect of your course as it relates to technology, focusing especially on helping you map your learning goals to available institutional technologies.

Explore new Quercus Updates

This month's update highlights new and/or updated Quercus features for the Rich Content Editor: Drag and Drop or Copy/Paste Multiple FilesModules: Bulk Publish and Unpublish Module ItemsSpeedGrader: Emojis in Submission CommentsSettings: Microsoft Immersive Reader, and Assignments: External tools add rubric button.

Check off your Quercus to-do list

Included are not only our top questions but also our top recommendations on how to structure your course to promote learning and usability. We cover everything from how to add course staff (e.g. Teaching Assistants) to creating a course homepage.

Review changes to Crowdmark

The Crowdmark license has been renewed for the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering for the 2023-2024 Academic year. Just in time for the new academic year, Crowdmark has released two big upgrades: Improved assessment set-up process and an updated interface for student tables. Learn more about these changes to Crowdmark. Or, if you're thinking about Gradescope, review our comparison table to help you select between the two tools.

Not seeing your Quercus course? 

If you can't see your Quercus course yet, email your departmental ROSI contact for more information. 

3. Watch the new ePump promotional video 

ePump gets an introductory video! The online Preparation for University Mathematics Program (ePUMP) is offered to incoming students at the University of Toronto as a way for students to fill in the gaps in their mathematical knowledge. This project has been in development for a few years and is one of the ETO's biggest. We're this close to publishing it as an open, editable, and publicly available resource across Ontario. We're releasing ePUMP in a format that allows it to reach many individuals and also to be used by other institutions (they can tweak it for their own use). The project is funded through U of T's Learning & Education Advancement Fund (LEAF).
What went into the making of this video? Read more about how this video was designed, including how we promote viewer retention through technical techniques in the blog post: Intro Video vs Intro Video - How things have changed over 7 years.

Make quick video edits with QuickTime on Mac

MacOS's built-in app QuickTime has some very handy video editing capabilities. You can not only trim the start and/or the end of a video, but also remove and rearrange any parts in the middle of the video. Once you are done, you can just save the edited video directly, without exporting. It's a really quick way to get some quick video editing done without having to open a video editing app and rendering a separate video. An alternate option is to download Techsmith Snagit, available to Faculty, Staff and Students with a valid UTORid.

How to trim your video using QuickTime


To trim the start and/or the end of a video clip:
  1. Double-click the clip; it should open in QuickTime by default. If not, right-click on the clip > Open with > QuickTime
  2. Press Cmd + T. QuickTime should enter trim mode
  3. Drag the left handle left or right to trim the start, and/or drag the right handle left or right to trim the end. (Bonus tip: if you left-click and hold on the handles, you will be able to make finer adjustments.)
  4. Once you have set the trim handles, hit "Done"
  5. Don't forget to press Cmd + S to save the trimmed video!

4. Listen to Ep. 09 of the MADE Podcast (with Dr. Philippa Hardman)

In the 9th episode of MADE for U of T (see all episodes), we hear from Dr. Philippa Hardman, who discusses the role of AI in learning design and delivery and what educators should consider if they want to use it in their teaching. This episode quickly became the top listen/download, edging out Christy Tucker's Building a branching scenario. Both are worth a listen (or read)!

5. Enroll in the Active Learning Hub 

Built by the team at the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTSI), The ALC Hub is designed to provide pedagogical guidance and support resources for instructors teaching in Active Learning Classrooms (ALCs) at U of T. Instructors and Teaching Assistants can leverage the resources and activities in the Hub to help them navigate teaching in ALCs across all three campuses and maximize the affordances in these classrooms to enhance student learning in line with their pedagogical goals.
Enroll in the Active Learning Hub

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

Why am I getting an error when I try to import course content into this year's course? (August 24, 2023) | I get a failed error "Unsupported content package.” I’ve tried repeatedly but keep getting the same error.
Can I use AI-detection software to check my students' submissions for writing assignments? (August 17, 2023) | I suspect that some students in my course used generative AI. Can I use an AI-detection software to check?
Will students see a Quercus announcement I post before I publish my course? (August 10, 2023) | I'm not quite ready to publish my course yet. Will they see the announcement if I post it before I publish the course?

What technical guides were updated this month? 

We usually update guides as questions come in, changes are made to systems, or as we expand our resources. Here's a summary of the changes we made this month:
  1. How do I connect my Quercus course to Crowdmark? We improved the step-by-step navigation instructions on how to:
    1. Import your Quercus course
    2. Synchronize student enrollments between Crowdmark and Quercus
    3. Add your teaching team to Crowdmark
  2. How to administer an Administered (paper-based) Crowdmark Assessment This guide now reflects the new and more flexible assessment creation process. 
  3. How to set up an Assigned (online) Assessment in Crowdmark – This guide now includes the the improved process for assigning group assessments. 
  4. How can I add accommodations for a Crowdmark Assigned Assessment? See how the new interface allows you to create accommodations for assigned assessments. 
  5. Which tool should I use for asynchronous discussions? We've updated the documentation to flag that the Ed Discussion tool is only available by request for this upcoming academic year and that after April 2024, it will no longer be available as part of the Academic Toolbox. 

September's 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. 10 Things You Should Know About Generative AI for Fall 2023 | Generative AI is a branch of artificial intelligence that can generate new content, such as text, computer code, images, or music. It uses algorithms to learn patterns from existing data and then generate novel, realistic outputs. 
  2. The Syllabus Survival Guide | Alexandra Mihai. Whether you are designing a new course or revisiting a course you taught before, the moment when you start planning your course “script” and writing your syllabus is a very important stage in the teaching process.
  3. Is #AcademicTwitter Over?Zachary Schermele. In its rise to internet prominence, the popular social-media platform has contoured the typically rigid structures of higher ed in ways both good and bad.
  4. Let’s focus on ‘Learning’ in MicroLearning | Dr. Nidhi Sachdeva. Microlessons have tremendous appeal. They are ubiquitous on YouTube, TikTok and other platforms and they’re wonderful for informal, just-in-time learning applications. But how might they be adapted for formal learning contexts? 

Curious about the photos in the banner?

This month's banner images are a few photos taken during the past month:
Row 01: Left: Boardwalk at the Pinery (Inga Breede)
Row 01: Right: Raspberry delight (Irina Belaya)
Row 02: Left: View of Belle Isle (Allison Van Beek)
Row 02: Right: Fruits of Summer Pickings (Anna Limanni)
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