CTLE Active Learning Kits Are Here!

The CTLE now has Active Learning Kits! These kits contain a number of items that are easy to use and can increase active learning into your courses. Find items for get-to-know-you activities, student engagement, class organization and grouping, and assessment. Please review the Active Learning Kit booklet below to see all of the items in the kit. Each item includes ideas for different ways to use it in your course.

Once you know what you want, you can check-out individual items at the CTLE and return them when you are done. The CTLE is open Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Please contact us to arrange a different pick-up time if you teach outside of those hours.

The Almighty Syllabus: To Protect and Inform

It’s the time of the year where we dust off our syllabi and get everything ready for the start of the semester. The syllabus has an almost mystical aura around it. We talk about it as if it is the educational bullet-proof vest that protects against cheating, grade complaints, and the hapless student who ignores due dates. We hope that reading it will give students a superhero confidence as they enter our classroom fully aware of how we expect them to behave and what they will be required to do. One problem is that very few students read the entire document, and many avoid it completely.

developing_course_syllabusA syllabus has grown from a few pages of key info to a multi-page treatise on the course content and all of the possible things that could happen in a course and how that would be handled. Technical failures? Check! Family emergency? Check! Weather or natural disaster? Check! The syllabus covers it all and if something new presents itself, then that new policy and paragraph can be added for next semester. Over time it becomes a second-text for a course.

The syllabus, with all its imperfections and potentially overreaching importance, is most definitely a key document for a course. Christy Wampole wrote a eloquent explanation and ode to the syllabus in the New York Times where she explained what the syllabus does,”First, it sets parameters and expectations, ties up logistical strings, and establishes an implicit ethic for the course. One quickly gets a sense of the laxness or rigidity of the instructor, of his or her attitude toward hierarchy and punctuality and respect.” What an amazing document that can establish expectations and give students a sense for what their next few weeks or months in a class will be like.

At Maricopa, we have some key guidelines for the syllabus. There are a number of required elements and here at GCC, we have moved the syllabus elements to a template to help you and students more easily navigate these potentially text-heavy documents. The more consistent faculty at GCC are about what information is included, where it is located, and how it looks, the easier it is for students to make sense of the syllabus and find what they need. This template helps structure the requirements. Take a look at the syllabus template and optional elements to help you craft your syllabus for next semester. The optional elements are non-required items that you may want to include.

mug15oz-whi-z1-t-did-you-check-the-syllabusIn terms of the nuance, tone, and “sense” that Wampole describes, that is up to you. She gives another view of the syllabus with the following description, “Another way to see it is as a kind of constitution, a set of guiding principles for the community at hand.” It is a great thing if the syllabus presents guiding principles for a course, but it is important to remember that guiding principles mean very little if no one reads them. It is a good practice to make sure that students read and understand this important class document. A classroom discussion, syllabus review, or quiz over the key points can help you make sure that students are paying attention to your “course constitution.”

As you review, revise, and write your syllabi for this semester, good luck in balancing the compliance and rule-establishing component of your syllabus with the community and tone-creating component of your syllabus. Take a look at the article by Wampole and harness your syllabus “artist” to make a document that best represents you and your content to a fresh group of eager students.

Changes to Turnitin

Turnitin is a plagiarism detection tool available through Canvas. The way to use Turnitin  is changing and will be easier to set-up. This post contains information on why this change is happening and what you can do about the change. 

As a result of a District decision, effective August 1st, 2019, the Turnitin GradeMark, PeerMark, Rubrics, and ETS eRater tools will no longer be available, and a new method to create assignments with plagiarism detection is available. The District has retained access to use Turnitin to detect plagiarism and to  generate originality reports (the report that identifies the percentage of the paper that was plagiarized). You can continue to create assignments with Turnitin as you have in the past, or you can use the new method. If you wish to convert existing Turnitin assignments to the new system of Turnitin, this hyperlink provides the instructions on how to convert those assignments. If you need assistance, please make an appointment with the CTLE or visit us during our open lab hours (Monday-Thursday from 9:00 am-2:00 pm).

Effective January 1st, 2020 if an originality report is to be generated with an assignment, all assignments will need to be created with the new method. In addition, after January 1st, 2020, if you want to see the originality report of an assignment submitted under the old method, you will have access to the report by logging into your Turnitin account.  

The CTLE strongly encourages everyone to start to make the transition this semester.  After January 1st, 2020, assignments that did not convert to the new Turnitin method will give an error message to students when the students attempt to submit an assignment.  

Please know the CTLE is available to assist everyone with the transition and to answer questions.

Worth your time: Webinar on how racial microaggressions are experienced in academia

In April 2019, the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) University Libraries Section Professional Development Committee hosted a webinar called “I Didn’t Mean Anything by It: How Racial Microaggressions are Perceived”. I registered, even though I couldn’t attend live, hoping they would share the recording. I finally watched it at the end of the summer and thought I would share with my GCC colleagues.

I have to commend speaker Audrey Robinson-Nkongola of Western Kentucky University for presenting information on how racial microaggressions can be experienced by people of color. It’s a brave topic to take on these days, and she did a wonderful job of encouraging the participants to think through and examine their words and behaviors in the context of implicit bias, understanding that no one considers themselves explicitly racist. I especially like how the presenter contextualized her “what you can do” information for academia. I will be reading all the materials on her reference list to educate myself further.

If you’d like to check out the webinar, it was recorded and is available on YouTube. The first 22 minutes are the presentation, with research references, and the remaining time is spent on Q&A. I recommend the whole recording, but if you’re low on time, the first 22 minutes present the bulk of the information. In addition, the presentation slides and a supplemental document have been made available on Dropbox. Here are the links:

Adobe Creative Cloud 2019 at GCC

Creativity makes the difference in digital literacy, problem solving and creative communication.

GCC’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) has published new information about MCCCD’s transition to new Adobe Creative Cloud licensing for employees and students. We’ve got the scoop on licensing, and some teaching and learning resources for faculty.

Student licensing

  • On Campus: MCCCD purchased Shared Device Licensing for campus computers, including classrooms and labs. When they launch an Adobe product, students should sign in by choosing the Google option, and use their campus Gmail account as their ID, in the form of MEID@maricopa.edu. If they need help, students can contact GCC’s Service Desk for detailed instructions.
  • Off-Campus: Our students can get a free trial of Adobe CC or subscribe at student pricing for use on their personal computers.

Employee Licensing

MCCCD purchased Named User Licensing for employees. This allows faculty and staff to use Adobe CC applications either on or off-campus, with up to two deployments per license. If you sign in on a third device, one of your other devices will be signed out automatically. This is considered an enterprise license, so employees must sign in with their MEID@gccaz.edu. If you need instructions for using this license on your personal computer, please contact GCC’s Service Desk or email ctle@gccaz.edu.

For complete details about licensing, check out OIT’s About AdobeCC 2019 web page.

Great Resources from the Adobe Education Exchange

Free stuff you can use

At the bottom of this Adobe for Teachers page, you’ll find dozens of free resources with descriptions. This includes

  • Research findings on creative problem solving
  • Free self-paced courses to get you started with your choice of Adobe CC applications
  • Free projects you can use in class with your students
  • Free technical tutorials for specific things you can do or create with Adobe CC applications

Free courses for educators

There are many free courses for educators available through the Adobe Education Exchange. You will also find free teaching resources and associated curriculum, such as projects you can assign to your students (with support from online tutorials and how-to videos). Here are a few highlighted classes you can take yourself for some fun summer and fall professional development.

course link
Course: Get Started with Adobe

Get Started with Adobe
This is a free, self-paced online course aimed at all educators looking to get started with Adobe Creative Cloud in their classroom. You’ll explore the value of creative thinking in today’s digital classroom and the benefits of enhancing creativity in your own curriculum. Since this course is self-paced, it can be completed over the summer. It’s a great way to dip your toe into the Adobe CC applications and consider ways to use them for teaching and learning with your students.

course link
Course: Motion Graphics for Educators

Motion Graphics for Educators
This is a free, 25-hour online course aimed at all educators working in primary, secondary or higher education. Explore the principles of motion graphics. Develop your skills with industry-leading visual effects tool Adobe After Effects. Learn how to teach your students the design and technical skills they need to use motion graphics in their projects. The course opens on August 12, 2019 and runs until September 27, 2019.

course link
Course: 60-Second Documentaries

60-Second Documentaries
This is a free, 10-hour online course is aimed at all educators working in primary, secondary or higher education. Explore the principles of creating short documentaries, and how to use Adobe Premiere Rush to incorporate 60-second documentary projects into your curriculum. The course opens on September 9, 2019 and runs until October 4, 2019.

course link
Course: Making STEAM Creative

Making Steam Creative
This is a free, 10-hour online course aimed at all educators working in primary, secondary or higher education. Explore the principles of digital storytelling, and how to use Adobe Spark to incorporate engaging digital storytelling projects into your STEAM curriculum. The course opens on August 19, 2019 and runs until September 13, 2019.

course link
Course/Guide: Adobe Creative Cloud Across the Curriculum

Adobe Creative Cloud Across the Curriculum: A Guide for Students and Teachers
This is a practical guide and free eTextbook created by Dr. Todd Taylor, Professor of English at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. The course can be used by students who want to tackle academic work creatively and teachers in all disciplines who want to incorporate digital assignments into their coursework. Each chapter is a step-by-step guide on how to use digital tools to help students create graphics, videos, reports, magazines, audio-visual projects, interactive web and mobile experiences, and more. You’ll find complete learning modules, how-to videos, rubrics, and examples of student work to make it easy to integrate Creative Cloud into your curricula. Use the eTextbook in its entirety or select individual modules. Whether you are in the sciences, humanities, business, or engineering departments, this resource will help you enhance teaching and learning in innovative, digital ways.

Add an image to your course card in Canvas!

Canvas feature alert! In our Canvas instance, we just enabled the dashboard image feature. You can now add an image to your course’s card, and your students will see it in their dashboards.

What? Yes! Here’s a screenshot of my dashboard. I just added an image for my Boost Your Accessibility Capability course.

Canvas dashboard screenshot showing a course tile with an image assigned
A unique image can make your course stand out!

Here is the relevant Canvas Guide: How do I add an image to a course card in the Dashboard?

Here’s a tip: black and white (grayscale) images will work the best, because they work well with a transparent color overlaid on top of them. Each Canvas user can set their own color for their dashboard cards. As the instructor, you can’t control the card color your students see, so you want to make sure the image you choose works well no matter what color your students pick (or Canvas assigns).

black and white icon of an active person using a wheelchair
This is the image used in my example.

From within Canvas you can search for Flickr images with a Creative Commons public domain license and select one for your course card.

You can also make your own! The recommended dimension is 262 pixels wide by 146 pixels high. If you already know how to make your own image that size, go for it. Or stop by the CTLE and we can help you pick a tool that works for what you have in mind. We’d love to see what you come up with!

Online Discussion Board Ideas – with a twist!

I am loving this collection of innovative discussion board ideas for online courses. If you are looking for ways to spice up discussions, check out these fun ideas from Laurie Berry and Kristin Kowal of University of Wisconsin.

We recommend trying any of these five “twists” on traditional discussions in the next online course you work on. These activities encourage student engagement and critical thinking, and they might help you feel more connected to your students as well!