Beyond Four Walls: Leveraging Technology for Learning
Have you ever had a discussion with your students that was so rich that you wished it could continue beyond the end of class? Good news – technology can help! There are many easy-to-implement technologies that can be used to have discussions, deliver content, and facilitate interaction. This week's Teaching Note describes a set of educational technology resources that can help you extend your courses beyond the traditional classroom.
New Web Site: Educational Technologies for Teaching and Learning
Members of the Educational Technology committee have contributed to the development of a website that lists various tools, most of which are easy to use. Each tool has been used by one or more NYIT faculty members for instructional purposes. Names of faculty and staff who are willing to share their experiences with you and support your initial attempts at using these technologies are listed on each page.
The web site is built using Google Sites, part of NYIT's Google Apps for Education. Google Sites, itself, may be a useful tool for your students as a way to collect, organize, and present information. Some of the tools listed there are synchronous, like Skype. People can connect from different locations, but must use the technology at the same time. Others are asynchronous, like a bulletin board, meaning that people can contribute from different locations and at different times.
If you would like to add anything to the site – your name as a faculty member who uses a particular tool, or another tool that we missed – please contact the Educational Technology Committee chairs, Jim Martinez (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Fran Glazer (email@example.com).
Blackboard Exam Converter
If you have ever tried to create an exam on Blackboard (Bb), you know how time consuming it is to create questions. Bb gives you a great deal of control over how the questions are presented and how the exams are configured, but the trade-off for that is a seemingly endless set of fields to fill in … for each question.
Thanks to the Web Systems group in the Office of Information Technology and Infrastructure, you now have a much more efficient option! The Bb Exam Converter allows you to copy and paste your “gently modified” exam from your standard text editor (e.g., Microsoft Word), and will produce a formatted file that you can upload directly into Bb. The Converter supports five types of questions: multiple choice, multiple answer, essay, true-false, and matching. After you've uploaded the questions file, it's easy to go into specific questions to add an image.
The web page provides directions, a sample test so you can see the formatting and try it out, a brief video demonstrating how it works, and links for more support.
Pearson MyLabs now integrate easily with Bb
If you use a textbook published by Pearson, it's very likely that you have received promotional materials from them about their online supplements. After careful evaluation and testing, the Pearson building block has been installed in Bb. It allows you to integrate their "MyLab" exercises, available in many disciplines, so that students can access them from within Bb rather than having to log out and go to a second web site.
If you are interested in taking advantage of this feature, you need to contact the publisher to see what resources are available for your textbook. You may also want to register for a free webinar offered by Bb on December 10, in which a faculty member who uses Pearson MyLab within Bb will discuss her experience with the tools and answer questions. For more information and to register, visit http://go.blackboard.com/BITS.