We had our first meeting yesterday and came up with a schedule for the summer. All COE employees are welcome to join us Wednesdays at noon. I have also attached a handout for learning on your own.
While I love Dropbox for online file storage, I wanted to try out SugarSync because it seems to have more options for sharing folders and files: http://www.sugarsync.com/sync_comparison.html
SugarSync gives you 5 GB free storage, syncing with mobile devices, and the ability to share folders with permissions and password (and it’s me so you know it’s free!). This might be a good option for working with students.
Here is a link from SugarSync to a document I created about technology being used at the College of Education: https://www.sugarsync.com/pf/D8757521_896_06556109 (that was easy!)
Guest author Wes Burns introduces four different tools that provide free file sharing functionality. Way back when I was still in school, at least half my
For the last installment of digital detours tips, we suggest that you consider creating and/or saving course materials, assignments, and quizzes outside of Blackboard so you and your students aren’t dead in the water if Blackboard is down for a few days (worst case scenario, right!?).
- Create local copies of assignments/weekly tasks (all Bb content) using external documents (PDFs) with weblinks that can be distributed via alternative methods. (Or save Blackboard webpages directly in PDF format.)
- Use an external webpage or the cloud for course materials (e.g. UAA faculty website, Google Docs, Wiggio, Edmodo, Dropbox, Publisher’s textbook companion site)
- Use Google+, Edmodo, or Facebook to create another connected classroom environment. (Here is an article on using Facebook: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/igeneration/ways-to-use-facebook-effectively-in-class/15269)
- Save all web resources (websites and videos) using a social bookmarking tool (e.g. Diigo). This way you can share just one link with students which includes all the web resources for your course or only those tagged with the topic of the week.
Thank you to Cindy Trussell, Debbi Canavan, and Kathleen Voge of the eLearning Working Group for their work on these solutions.
What do you do in case of a technology snow day? Please comment.
If you rely on Elluminate Live! (elive) for your synchronous class meetings, you know how frustrating it can be if students have trouble getting in or if elive goes down. Here are some options to consider.
At the beginning of the semester, tell students what to do if they can’t get into an elive class meeting (i.e. Plan B). Let them know to check their UAA email immediately (or another method of communication outside the university system). If they see an email from you, it is a problem everyone is having. If not, they should try these troubleshooting tips.
- Try a different browser (Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome).
- Try a direct connection to the internet (rather than wireless).
- Try clearing Java cache: http://support.blackboardcollaborate.com/ics/support/default.asp?deptID=8336&task=knowledge&questionID=145
- Try updating your version of Java: http://java.com/en/download/manual.jsp
- Call UAA call center: (907) 786-4646 or Toll Free (877) 633-3888
How can you use elive if Blackboard is down? Provide an alternate elive link (or alternate public elive session) to students at the beginning of the semester and encourage students to bookmark it or save the email.
- Here is how you can get a link to your elive session within your Blackboard course: be sure Edit Mode is ON > Click Communications on the menu > Elluminate Live! > find your class meeting link and click Modify on the far right. Without making any changes, click Submit—but before you click OK, click the Send Email link. Send an email to yourself with the subject “link to elive meeting” and the class name. Click submit. Now you can forward that email or just copy the meeting link and provide it to students/guests to get into elive without Blackboard.
- To set up a public elive session outside of Blackboard, register with your UA credentials and create a public session on https://elive.uaa.alaska.edu/index.html.
What if elive cannot be used? Identify a method to record lectures (e.g. MyBrainShark, Captivate, Camtasia) and/or identify alternative synchronous meeting space (audio conference, Google Talk, Skype, Google+ Hangouts, Vyew, DimDim, WizIQ, etc.) Find a favorite blog or other edtech resource that keeps you up-to-date with current technology tools.
Here is the first in a series of posts on digital detours. A few colleagues and I (a subcommittee of the eLearning Working Group) put together a list of proactive solutions that faculty at UAA use to keep distance courses running when Blackboard, Elluminate Live, or email are not functioning properly.
Let’s start with email. How can you plan your distance course so that if email becomes unreliable, it won’t have a huge effect Yikes! We rely so much on email!
Here are a few ideas.
Collect external contact information from students at the beginning of the semester. Create a local spreadsheet or email contact group to save your students’ contact info.
Create a content folder or menu item in Blackboard (e.g. Start Here or Precourse Activity) that might include:
- An activity for students top update their UAOnline contact information (phone/email primarily) so you will be able to utilize the Email Class feature in the Faculty section of UAOnline.
- A Blackboard quiz or form (e.g. Google Docs) to collect student alternative email/cell phone.
- Create student groups that have each other’s personal email addresses (or a phone tree).
Establish communications expectations and response times.
- Put a note in your contact info/introduction that lets students know that you will respond to emails within X number of hours (e.g. 24 or 48) and what your preferred method of communication is. That way, when they don’t get a response, they know you didn’t receive their message.
- Use an alternative communication method with students instead of email (e.g. Google Voice, Twitter, Blackboard messages, Blackboard discussion board). Consider group texting to students (e.g. Class Parrot).