Inviting Guests to Elive Sessons

Here is how to get a link to your elive session:

  1. Click the elive link from your Blackboard menu then look for the meeting link you have created for your course in the Live Sessions list. Click Modify on the far right.
  2. No need to make any changes. Click Submit.
  3. From the next screen, click the Send Email button. Send an email to yourself. I like to use the subject {Course Name} Plan B. Click submit.
  4. Check your email, click the meeting link, and bookmark it. (Note: If you use this link to get into elive, you will not have moderator privileges.)
  5. Send the Meeting Link to a guest speaker to join your elive class.

I like to send an email to all students in the class that looks something like this:

The primary way of getting into our elive class session is as follows: Log into Blackboard > click on the link for this course > click Elive! on the menu on the left > click the live class meeting link (this may take a few minutes). If you have any trouble, try the same steps again using a different browser (such as Mozilla Firefox). Plan B: if Blackboard is down or you have other technical difficulties, use this link to get into our elive session: (insert your link here). Log in as a guest; enter your email address and use your first and last names for the display name, then click log in. Bookmark this “Plan B” link in case you need it later in the semester.

NOTE: If you want to invite someone when you are already in elive, click the Invite New Participants button on the toolbar  (or find the same option under the Session menu). Next, click compose email to send the invitation and link to a guest speaker or other participant.

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ePortfolios

There are some free tools out there for eportfolios including Mahara (http://mahara.org/) and Sakai (http://sakaiproject.org/).

I have played around with Mahara a bit thanks to Bart Quimby’s work for the UAA ePortfolio Working Group. It is unstructured and would require quite a bit of instructor/student time learning to use it. It has a wide variety of possible uses for academic and employment purposes. You can create groups and each portfolio is referred to as a “view.” I think the idea is that you add a bunch of artifacts and pick and choose from them for each new “view.” This doesn’t seem like it would be as useful for program assessment as the student’s work will not remain available neccessarily and I don’t think there any reporting features. The good part is that it is free and can be set up on a local server (Bart set it up for the ePortfolio group to evaluate). According to Mahara, “What makes Mahara different from other ePortfolio systems is that you control which items and what information (Artefacts) within your portfolio other users see.” For more features, visit http://mahara.org/features.

Sakai is more than an eportfolio system; it is a full blown LMS (Learning Management System). It would be a huge change to switch everyone from Blackboard but worth considering since Sakai is free and since the university is really interested in portfolios.

The UAA ePortfolio Working Group agrees that the tool isn’t as important as the work to develop appropriate outcomes and agreement on what constitutes evidence of reaching an outcome. That’s the hard part! (particularly at the program level).

Adding pictures to Blackboard

Adding pictures to Blackboard can add interest and break up the text!

Here is the method I use. Let me know if you have a different or better way! Below is a screen shot from one of my courses. See how the text is above and below the picture?

Pic1

Quick steps to add a picture: (Be sure you have the legal rights to use the picture.)

  1. Blackboard > Assignments (or whatever section you want) > Edit View > New Item or Folder > Name it as usual
  2. Click in the text box > Add your text > Click the Attach Image button (second button the second row of tools)
  3. In the Insert Image dialog box > click Browse and find the picture file you have saved on your computer > Set Width (between 150 and 600 pixels) > Leave the Set Height blank to keep the picture proportional > Click No for Launch in new window > Add descriptive Alt Text for screen readers > click Submit
  4. Copy and paste the attribution information below the picture and format size 1

Below is another screen shot from one of my courses. See how the picture is beside the text?

Pic2

Quick steps to add a picture beside text (using a table):

  1. Blackboard > Assignments (or whatever section you want) > Edit View > New Item or Folder > Name it as usual
  2. Click in the text box > Click the Create Table button (middle of the first row)
  3. In the Enter Table Information dialog box > Rows 1 > Columns 2 > Submit
  4. Click in one cell and add your text (this may make the second cell skinny but don’t worry)
  5. Click in the other cell > Click the Attach Image button (second button the second row of tools)
  6. In the Attach Image dialog box > click Browse and find the picture file you have saved on your computer > Set Width (between 150 and 600 pixels) > Leave the Set Height blank > Click No for Launch in new window > Add descriptive Alt Text for screen readers > click Submit
  7. Copy and paste the attribution information below the picture and format size 1
  8. If you don’t want to see the table border, click the Toggle HTML Source Code button (second to last button in the first row) and look for the table code <table border=”1″ align=”baseline” style=”width: 100%;”> and change the table border to 0. Click the Toggle HTML Source Code button again to view the result.

Where can I find high-quality pictures related to my topic?

There are a lot of great sites where you can find pictures in the public domain. Go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Public_domain_image_resources then scroll down to find some good collections.

You can also use FlickrCC http://flickrcc.bluemountains.net/ to search for images that are free for non-commerical use. Once you find a good picture, select and copy the attribution information, then click on the image name to go to Flickr. Click All Sizes and dowload the size you want. Once the file is saved, right click and edit the properties (details tab) to keep the attribution information with the picture (so you can give credit when you use it).

What if I want to use my own digital photos?

You should resize your picture before you bring it in to Blackboard if it is a full size high resolution photo from your digital camera. You can (1) use an image editing program such as Photoshop (Use the Save for Web and Devices option) or (2) use a website such as http://www.picresize.com/. Depending on the picture and where you want to put it, you will want it to be anywhere from 150 to 500 pixels wide (and don’t enter the height to keep it proportional).

Microsoft Home Use Program

All UAA employees are eligible to purchase Office Professional Plus 2010 for $9.95. Go to http://www.microsofthup.com/hupus/chooser.aspx?culture=en-US and enter the program code: 26E6052D4F.

Office Professional Plus 2010 includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Publisher, OneNote, Sharepoint Workspace, Access, and Infopath.

Thanks to Cindy Trussell for passing this along!

> Visit the UAA software page at http://www.uaa.alaska.edu/informationtechnologyservices/computersoftware.cfm for other software discounts and deals.

Elive Resources for Students/Participants

Ellen Brigham and I put together this one-page overview of the elive toolbar for students/non-moderators.

Here are participant quick reference guides provided by Elluminate Live! (They have lots of great resources available on their training page: http://www.elluminate.com/Services/Training/?id=70/)

I added a guide for Elive version 9.6 (which UAA is currently using) and Elive 10 (which UAA will be upgrading to soon).

You can also include this link in Blackboard to give your students an elive orientation: http://www.elluminate.com/resources/orientation/v10/index.php

Promethean Interactive Whiteboard

PSB rooms 217 and 219 each have a Promethean interactive whiteboard. Training is scheduled for the following dates:

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Friday, January 28  from 2 to 3 pm
Wednesday, February 2 from 10 to 11 am
Friday, February 4  from 2 to 3 pm

Hardware. A Promethean board is an interactive smart board that is intended to give students hands-on practice and personal involvement with their learning. It comes with Activpens which are used to tap, write, draw, and drag objects around on the whiteboard. (Do not write on the whiteboard with anything else.) Along with the whiteboard itself there is a projector mounted on the ceiling to project the display of the laptop that is connected to it (just like any projector). You can command the display using the laptop, but the idea is to have students (and teacher) use the Activpens to manipulate the objects on the whiteboard.

Software. The Promethean boards work with ActivInspire software. ActivInspire is installed on the laptop connected to the whiteboard in room 217. Let me know if you need the information to install ActivInspire on your own computer. (We have a site license.) You can create flipcharts using ActivInspire (kind of like slides) and you can find premade flipcharts for free or cheap on Promethean Planet (http://www.prometheanplanet.com/). You can use ActivInspire with the “primary” look and feel for younger students or the “studio” look and feel for older students; this changes the colors and configuration of the workspace and the look of the toolbox buttons. (On the Dashboard, go to Configure and check the box to launch it next time with the other look.)  Here is some more information on ActivInspire: http://www.prometheanworld.com/server.php?show=nav.16874

You can work in presentation mode or design mode (switch between using the Edit menu or the snowflake button on the top right). In design mode, the actions are turned off as you work.

View > Browsers or Ctrl + B if you don’t see the browser panel on the left side of the screen.

  • Page Browser: view the pages (just like viewing slides in a presentation such as PowerPoint), drag and drop the order of the pages in the flipchart
  • Resource Browser: find shared resources like clipart or sounds to drag and drop onto your pages (you can find more resources on Promethean Planet)
  • Object Browser: view and alter layers on each page (annotations are on the top layer and objects are on the middle layer)
  • Notes Browser: add notes to a page for the teacher or user or yourself (like slide notes in PowerPoint)
  • Property Browser: click on an object then you can modify the object properties, like adding a caption that will appear on mouseover (tooltip)
  • Action Browser: add interactivity by dragging an action and dropping it on an object
  • Voting Browser: for use with handheld devices