Sharing What I Find

Instructional Design and Technology in Education

September 28, 2017
by Heidi Olson
Comments Off on Bb Exemplary Course Program Part II

Bb Exemplary Course Program Part II

Following are my notes based on the second part of a series that Blackboard is giving showing off some of their Exemplary Courses. (note: you have to register for the entire series to watch the recording.) This week we looked at COMM 3500: Technical Communications taught by Dr. Han Nee Chong from Hawaii Pacific University.   This session looked specifically at Interaction and Collaboration which is the second part of the Exemplary Course Rubric.

Interaction —   what happens in each of these three groups

  1. student-to-student
  2. student-to-content
  3. student-to-instructor

Collaboration — subset of interaction where groups are working on a shared result

This is the instructor’s  presentation.

Dr Chong has gamified her course and has created weekly quests that take students through the research process, which is one of the objectives of her class.

Discussion – creating characters personas as well as avatars — all based on Dungeons and Dragons for the class

  • fights
  • wizards
  • clerics
  • rogues
  • rangers

In the introductory post students introduced themselves and their persona and what special powers they might have.

The instructor carried the theme of the game through her tone and changing (or renaming) names of common Bb tools and features.

Librarians are the wizards, instructor was the Game master and students are Adventurers; Procrastination Monster, First Draft Dragon, etc.

Groups (Safe Haven) were formed as a place for peer review to share papers   (hide tools that weren’t available to cut down on choices) 5-6 members.

Structured weekly forums in Discussion Forum (The Tavern)

  • extra credit for answering each others questions

Announcement Tool (The Oracle)

  • weekly announcements including anticipated questions for the week

Badges for successful quest completions – didn’t base on merit but only on submission and participation

It sounds like once the introductory discussion was over, students who didn’t like the theme could following the syllabus and move forward through the assignments.

It wasn’t clear that these persona’s were actually used later on in the class or if it was just a one-time thing. Did doesn’t sound like the student user their “special powers” later on in assignments or discussions nor did the persona’s come back into how students answered discussion questions? For example – like the Rogue character taking on the devil’s advocate?

Shared resources:

Welcome video


Course Blueprint (xls)


September 26, 2017
by Heidi Olson
Comments Off on Mapping the Course Path to QM!

Mapping the Course Path to QM!

These are my notes and takeaways from watching this webinar sponsored by Quality Matters.

A course map is a document that outlines the overall course objectives, module level objectives and the alignment with assessments, instructional materials, course activities and interaction and technology.

Sample Course Map  this is based on the workshop given but is a decent example of what a “map” might look like. Missing would be Instructional Materials (4.1) and Technology (6.1).

A course map is/can

  • a planning tool for development
  • identify gaps, redundancies, and misalignment
  • an outline of the course
  • ensure link between instructor goals and objectives and what the student is doing (watching, reading, participating, submitted, etc.)
  • supports answering students questions such as: why are we doing this, where are we going, and what are we doing to get there
  • fulfill institutional requirements for accreditation and program review

Course Sample  (again, I don’t see  Instructional Materials (4.1) and Technology (6.1) in this example)

The speaker advocates for including a course map in the course, at least for QM review. although says it would be optional and is not prescribed by QM.

It is a little maddening that the way QM saves the webinar recordings doesn’t allow you to fast forward or rewind. If you get bumped off or close the webinar you have to start over at the beginning.

September 22, 2017
by Heidi Olson
Comments Off on Notes from Video Accessibility at UW webinar

Notes from Video Accessibility at UW webinar

First off, they have a department dedicated to Accessibility Technology that works with a Disability Office that supports students who need accommodations. This department’s sole mission is to integrate technology in an accessible way. How cool is that?

This unit has a nice, thorough website with lots of good information including DIY support.

For DIY captioning, their go-to tools include editing the auto-capture in YouTube or Amara. One cool thing about Amara is that you can set things up so that subtitles can be public or crowd sourced. Language classes could provide subtitles for other class topics. Amara says, “For example, the band OK Go used the Public Editor to have their fans subtitle their videos  into  many  different  languages!”

This got me thinking, there may not be a need to caption recordings from a lecture since the recordings may only be watched soon after they are posted or maybe throughout the semester, but as a student wouldn’t the act of captioning be an interesting way to study and put to memory the conversation that happened in class? It probably isn’t sustainable for a single student to do in a semester and it might be too overwhelming, but it also might be a good way to study.

Interesting use of captions for a music-only video where the captions are used to description the progression of what the music is doing to drive emotion.

Fast forward to 0:45

It could probably have been expanded with more captions (like at 0:17, 0:31, etc.)

Here’s another example of the same video with audio descriptions incorporated into the video

Audio Descriptions — this is where the conversation started to get complicated for me. Not necessarily the process for creating an audio description, but what to do with it after you have the file.


audio descriptions 1 of 2


audio description notes 2 of 2

Apparently, current browser’s aren’t able to read/play the files yet, so UW created a player.

Able Player    is a fully accessible cross-browser media player. It uses the HTML5  <audio>  or  <video>  element for browsers that support them, and (optionally) the JW Player as a fallback for those that don’t.

Examples and more information  using the Able Player

Captioning Lecture Capture Videos: A Promising Teaching Practice

Captions: Improving Access to Postsecondary Education

DIY for caption and descriptions: NCAM – CADET (Caption and Description Editing Tool)

Finally – a YouTube Caption Auditor for YouTube Channels – open course through GitHub





Webinar Recording and Slides  (along with test transcript, of course!)

April 17, 2017
by Heidi Olson
Comments Off on Fulfilling UAF Graduation Requirements

Fulfilling UAF Graduation Requirements

Courses supported by eCampus strictly adhere to  the Faculty Senate guidelines for fulfilling core requirements for baccalaureate degrees. Processes and examples are provided here:

Oral Communication Intensive  Designator

Students can engage in public speaking in their home town or surrounding communities and record their speeches. Students give presentations at local schools, at community organization meetings or in political forums. Not only do assignments like this encourage community engagement, they allow for students to experience both online and face-to-face speaking environments to demonstrate their skills and identify what works for specific delivery methods.Students can deliver their presentation to the class either with a topic of their choosing. In some upper level and graduate courses, the topic may be assigned by the instructor.  Film review presentation, content presentation, final presentation, group presentation, class participation, peer review, peer evaluation, for example.

Presentations are spread out throughout the semester and students will be given feedback along  the way.  Presentations are evaluated by the instructor using various evaluation tools: presentation rubrics, competency standards or other evaluation forms.

Activities may include: individual presentations, class presentations, small group presentations, peer review, and peer evaluation. These are accomplished through multiple video/recording platforms using both face-to-face and online forums, synchronous and asynchronous methods. Presentations may be either recorded and presented to the instructor and to the class for review delivered via Google+ Hangout, Blackboard Collaborate, or other web-based conference software or recorded and shared through YouTube or Google Drive. Question and answer sessions are facilitated through a combination of asynchronous and/or synchronous methods.

Incorporating visual aids in public speaking is a big part in presenting your message. If a presentation is videotaped, presentation material is shared with a class before the presentation begins. If the  presentation is offered live, presentation material is either incorporated into the presentation or is distributed to the  class prior to class meeting.


Students can engage in public speaking in their home town or surrounding communities and record their speeches. Students give presentations at local schools, at community organization meetings or in political forums. Not only do assignments like this encourage community engagement, they allow for students to experience both online and face-to-face speaking environments to demonstrate their skills and identify what works for specific delivery methods.

Group Presentations

Student groups are responsible for meeting with the  instructor during office hours or at a time convenient to the  instructor prior to making a presentation to the class to review presentation strategy.

Peer Review and Support

Students complete peer evaluations concerning the other individual and/or group presentations.

Speaking Center’s resources as well as other online resources on presentations, videotaping tips, and video uploading directions are made available to students. Students who can access the Speaking Center on the UAF campus or a campus center near them, are encouraged to do so.

Asynchronous Methods


Google Drive
The Instructor creates a folder in their Google Drive and shares it with the class. Students will receive an email invitation to access the shared folder. Students should click the “Open” button listed in the email and log into UAF Google Drive.

Students  will be taken to a screen with an “Add to Drive” button in the upper right. Clicking  this button will make it easier to find this folder. Videos are shared in this folder.


Students can either use the New button in the menu to browse for their video file or drag and drop the file into the shared folder.
Google drive accepts these types of video files:
  • WebM files (Vp8 video codec; Vorbis Audio codec)
  • .MPEG4, 3GPP and MOV files – (h264 and mpeg4 video codecs; AAC audio codec)
  • .AVI (MJPEG video codec; PCM audio)
  • .MPEGPS (MPEG2 video codec; MP2 audio)
  • .WMV
  • .FLV (Adobe – FLV1 video codec, MP3 audio)

Synchronous Methods

Blackboard Collaborate

Google Hangout

Tips for Google Hangouts (UA Google log-in required)

Presentation Resources

UAF Speaking Center

The ComCoachVideo Tutorial

9 Tips for Nailing the Classroom Group Project Presentation

Tips for Video Recording Oral Presentations

Adding Google Drive Link to Blackboard Discussion

October 20, 2016
by Heidi Olson
Comments Off on Google Updates

Google Updates

The big news it that there is a name change for all those pieces that make up The Google. Google Apps is now Google Suite. Google says, “So we’re excited to introduce a new name for Google Apps for Education that better reflects the collaborative power of these tools and reinforces our dedication to teachers and students: G Suite for Education.”

Explore replaces Research

What can you do with explore?

Sheets: ask a question and get suggestions for formatting, using a chart or formula you might use.

Slides: get design suggestions based on content of your slide

Calendar: explore will help you find free times for your meeting attendees as well as room assignment based on previous bookings.

Docs and Slides: search for topics, images or web resources to include in your documents

Drive Search

Can’t remember the title of your document? Try “find my budget presentation from last March” or “show me planning spreadsheet from Heidi.” Search has been updated to use Natural Language Processing.

Table of Contents in Docs

You now have the option to add page numbers to a table of contents. Choose either headers with page numbers or the headers with blue links that take you to the header. Too bad there isn’t a third option that combines page numbers and links.



Updates to Forms

You can now add an “upload image file” question in Google Forms. This will allow students to upload images as well as other file types. Forms have also been updated to be able to anticipation the kind of question optons you might want to use based on your question. For example, if you ask a question about which day of the week is best for a meeting, you will be given options that make sense.




August 19, 2016
by Heidi Olson
Comments Off on Interactive presentation using Smithsonian Learning Lab

Interactive presentation using Smithsonian Learning Lab

The Smithsonian Learning Lab is an interesting website where you can create interactive collections using media from the Smithsonian archives (over a million items) along with adding your own images or files (various image file formats as well as word docs, powerpoints and spreadsheets). Intersperse your own quiz -type questions (true/false, multiple choice, short and long answer and upload a file) within the content to give students a chance to reflect on that content.

As a teacher, you could create a learning lab collection as a way to provide learning content for students. Create a roster of student names and share a link with your students. After students create their own account, you’ll be able to monitor their quiz answers.

One of the great features of this product is that you can view collections that have already been created, make a copy of that collection and then edit all of the content to make it your own. You could actually create a collection template and then ask students to make a copy of your template and have them add to it. And in addition to teacher use, this could be a great solution for assigning a creative assessment that students could build themselves and share with the class.

Here’s an example created by one of the Smithsonian curators about the Historic Iditarod Trail.

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 7.58.45 AM

Each of these thumbnails is either an image, file or a text annotation. The thumbnails with the orange icon are slides that have quiz-type questions attached to them. One nice feature is that you can also create hotspots on images so you could highlight specific areas of an image for closer inspection and identification.

May 4, 2016
by Heidi Olson
Comments Off on Google Apps for Education April and May 2016

Google Apps for Education April and May 2016

New things from Google Apps for Education that are helpful or fun!

Google Sheets

You can now resize the formula bar so that you see complicated formulas or data that you’ve entered in a specific cell and see what you’re doing! If you use this area to add one of the  function capabilities available in Google Sheets, you may have found it hard to troubleshoot  your formula when it isn’t working because of the size restrictions of the formula bar.

spreadsheet-formula bar expand (1)

So extend the viewing area!

Update a  Chart or Graph automatically from within Docs or Slides with the new Update button. If you have inserted a chart or graph into a Doc or Slide, you can now automatically update that visual right inside the document.

Embedded Charts

Google Slides

There is a new feature added to the presentation side of Google Slides, which accepts questions from the audience  through a short URL. The questions appear on the presenter side and the presenter can decide it he or she wants to show these questions to the audience and when to address the questions.

From the  presenter side, when you get ready to present your Slides, you have the option to present with Q and A.

Slides - qanda option

When you make this selection, in addition to your presentation window, a separate window will appear. From here you can see your slides, the slide (speaker) notes and a  new tab called “Audience Tools” which is basically all the questions that have been asked. (I know, it would be more convenient if these weren’t on separate tabs. A bit of a cognitive overload when also trying to present.)

Be sure to pay attention to accepting  questions – your choices are “anyone at your organization” (in our case, the @alaska domain) or “anyone.”

slides-presenter side

Viewer can vote up or vote down questions to help filter those that are most important or intereting. Check out this video for how this feature was used.

Google Calendar

Have you noticed anything new in the event information in your  Google Calendar? The  location for your event may now  appear in the description when  you are in the day or week view mode, as long as there is room. Now you may be able to see where you’re supposed to be without clicking into the details.

Google Calendar room shows in view

And here is another Calendar update…if you have set your options to be notified of upcoming events, you may have been annoyed that the notification actually interrupted you while working in a different browser tab. The calendar notification comes  to the surface and you had to click it away to continue your work. You can now elect to have event notifications  sent as browser notifications instead of those interrupting alerts.

From the Calendar settings look for the notifications options.

calendar notifications

When you make your selection, you’ll get a confirmation.

calendar notifications confirmation

And you won’t get interrupted again!

Google Apps

Google recently purchased Synergyse who is a leader in providing training videos right inside of Google Apps. Synergyse was a paid service and now, with the new acquition, you can add this service for free. This is a chrome extension so you need to be using chrome with your Google Applications in order to use it. View quick 2-min-or-less videos to help understand application functionality right when and where you need it.    For more information.

From within any of the applications, look for this icon:

Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 11.30.22 AM



April 7, 2016
by Heidi Olson
Comments Off on What’s new with Google Apps for Education March 2016

What’s new with Google Apps for Education March 2016

Google is always moving forward with new tools, techniques and processes. Here are some of the new things that pertain specifically to Google Apps for Education and are of interest to faculty and students.


Google has raised the participant limit from 15 to 25. This means that in most cases, you could use a Google Hangout to support an entire class. It sounds like you’ll only be able to visually see the 10 most prominent speakers at the bottom of the hangout window. I am guessing that those 10 images are those who are speaking the most. Google made this decision so that the video quality would not be compromised.

Hangout Chat

I find  the instant chat function of hangouts very useful. I get immediate answers to questions that I might need quickly. I try not to abuse it with my co-workers too often. Google programers have included some silliness to chats by including some easter eggs that appear when you  type in a specific word string into the chat box. For example, type in “/bikeshed” (without the quotes) and the background of your chat window changes colors for you and the person you’re chatting with. Type  “/bikeshed” again to change colors again. The colors do not stick after you close the chat window. Try “/pitchforks” and this is what you get!



Google Calendar

In addition to creating Events and Appointment slots, you can now create Reminders in your calendar.

  • Reminders carry forward to the next day unless you mark them as done.
  • Reminders are private to your calendar even if you share it with others.
  • You can add Reminders from Calendar or  from Inbox.

Google Drive

Getting a sharable link  for a file within Google Drive has changed. When you select a document and then click on the Sharable Link icon from Google Drive, you get the option to turn Link sharing on or off directly without having to click into the advanced settings to make this change. Thanks Google, for streamlining this feature!

link sharing

Another new features has to do with expiration dates. You can now set expiration dates on files in Google Drive, Documents, Sheets and Slides. Perhaps you want to set a limited amount of time on accessing a file. You can set a date for when access expires. From the Advanced settings under Sharing, hover over a name until you see a watch icon. Click on the icon to establish an expiration date. The time is set by default to be 1 minute before midnight.

Expiring Access


Google Sheets

Convert text to columns is now available in Google Sheets. Look at Data ->Split text to columns. You select how you want the column information is to be split: comma, semicolons, periods, spaces, and custom indicators. And immediately after pasting data, you’ll see a small clipboard icon by your selection. Use the contextual menu approach to quickly separate the data.

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 2.02.12 PM

Google Docs

It can sometimes be hard to manage a  long document but Google has added a new tool that provides an outline of the document  in a Document outline side panel. From the Tools menu option within your document, select Document outline. The outline is based on headings that you apply, but if you don’t apply them, Google will try to select obvious headings for you.

google doc outline

Another feature added to Google Documents is the capability to export as EPUB publications. EPUBs is a file format that publishes accessible documents and digital books that is responsive to a variety of mobile devices and E-readers.


Looking for some professional looking templates? Five experts have created templates that have been added to the  collection of templates for Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Get inspiration to look like the experts! Try out the Annual Business Budget sheet created by Quickbooks or the Lesson Plans and Book Report template from Reading Rainbow.


In honor of Music in Our Schools Month, Google created the Chrome Music Lab. Check in out!

Want more? March 2016 Google Apps  Newsletter




September 9, 2015
by Heidi Olson
Comments Off on Google Drive Permissions and Downloading, printing and copying

Google Drive Permissions and Downloading, printing and copying

Let’s say you want to share a specific Google  video that you’ve created, but you don’t want viewers  to download a copy. Or maybe you have a file that you don’t want viewers to print or to make a copy for their use. Look at the Advanced Sharing features in Google Drive for the option to make these restrictions.

google drive disable share options


How do I view the Advanced Sharing settings?

From Drive:

  1. “Select” your file
  2. Right-click (control-click) to get the contextual menu and select “Share.”
    Or, click on the “Share” icon in the menu drive share icon
  3. The “Share with others” box appears. Click on “Advanced”
  4. The Advanced settings will appear. At the bottom of the options are the options to disable download, print and copy.

google drive share-disable download

June 2, 2015
by Heidi Olson
Comments Off on Two helpful video enhancements

Two helpful video enhancements

There are two applications that add functionality to video that could be very helpful in delivering content to students, for both online classes or for flipping your class lectures, as well as having students use the applications for homework assignments or to create artifacts for more formal assessments.

Movenote  creates an online experience  that allows  you to combine video or audio alongside  a slide show. Movenote accepts a variety of file types to prepare a slide show, and also allows you to add slides on the fly as you are recording your video.

Movenote can be accessed on any browser through your Google account or with a separate user identity. The advantage of syncing your Google account with Movenote is that it enables access to your Google Drive documents (slides, images, etc.). Movenote can be added as an extension to record directly from  Gmail or Google Drive and it is Android and IOS friendly.

Quickly  share your final product through social media, embed in Blackboard, a Google Site or a WordPress site or download as an .MP4 and upload to YouTube. You can also just share the link. Artifacts are stored on  There is a paid version  – the free version may have advertisements.

The other application is called This application  gives you the ability to add notes alongside of a video. As a video plays on one side of the screen, you can add notes at specific points (timestamp) in a separate notes areas on the other side of the screen. As a viewer, you can read the notes and skip around the video by clicking on the timestamps.

This application  is integrated with Google Drive to take advantage of Google’s sharing capability. You can share the you have created with your students and allow them to add their own notes or you can give read only access. Peer review? Feedback on presentation style? Video analysis for individual study note taking. There are lots of possibilities.


To see an  example, you’ll need to download into your Chrome browser.