Teaching with Tech: August 2021 Update

Welcome back from Digital Learning Support! This post provides an overview of notable feature improvements in some of the instructional tools in our supported toolbox as well as helpful “start of the semester” reminders, guides and some new information about using technology in teaching spaces. As always, we are here to consult with you about your course – just book a time and we can collaborate with you. 

Canvas 

  • Canvas Support: As a reminder, UMW has access to 24/7/365 support from live Canvas technicians. This is usually the fastest way to get support for Canvas issues, especially on evenings, weekends, holidays, or other times when Digital Learning Support and Center for Teaching staff are not available. There are many ways to contact Canvas Support, all of which can be accessed from directly within Canvas using the Help “?” button in the Canvas sidebar. 
  • ‘Where to Get Help’ Canvas module for Students: The student academic support centers maintain a “Where to Get Help” Canvas Module that gathers resources to help students succeed in their classwork. This Module can be imported to any Canvas course via the Canvas Commons. See the Canvas Commons guide for more information. 
  • Canvas Minimum Requirements for All UMW Courses: In the message from the Provost Office on 7/29, minimum expectations for using Canvas in all courses included posting a syllabus with a course schedule, contact information, office hours, means of communication and information about accessing grades and feedback, as well as any links to other sites/platforms utilized in the course with an explanation of the expectations for utilization. This guide outlines some ways to achieve this. 

Zoom 

  • Allow participants to choose breakout rooms: Hosts now have the option to allow students to select their own breakout rooms, rather than assigning them. This can be enabled when setting up breakout rooms. More information on our Zoom Breakout Room guide. 
  • Live captioning: Zoom now offers the option to automatically generate closed captions and transcription during a Zoom meeting. Meeting hosts can enable this feature using the Live Transcript button in the Zoom toolbar. Non-host participants can request that this feature be enabled but cannot enable it themselves. More information on this is in our Zoom Overview guide. 
  • Update your Zoom client: Many Zoom features, including those noted above, are unavailable with older versions of Zoom. See our guide on Updating your Zoom Client for more information. Note: Mac users without administrative account access will need to contact the IT Help Desk for assistance installing Zoom updates. 

Screencast-O-Matic 

  • Screen recording, editing, and hosting tool. As a reminder, Digital Learning Support still offers faculty Premium Screencast-O-Matic accounts by request. This tool is a great fit if you need to create asynchronous video/screencast content for your course. See our Screencast-o-matic Overview guide for details on how the tool works. Faculty can request an account on our contact form

Domain of One’s Own & UMW Blogs 

  • New sign-up page. Domain of One’s Own had a frontpage refresh including the addition of a more robust sign-up page to help guide new users through the account creation process. 
  • Addition of SSO. UMW Blogs had single sign-on added so all users can use their NetID and password to login instead of a separate login credentials. 
  • New to these platforms or been away awhile? Check out our Domain of One’s Own overview guide and UMW Blogs overview guide to learn about them. Also, check out this guide that explains the difference between them. 

Using Technology in Teaching Spaces 

  • Practice, practice, practice!  It can be beneficial to visit your classroom before your first class meeting to see the AV system and test things out a bit. This guide will help you be ready on day one. 
  • Using Zoom in a classroom.  All UMW classrooms are equipped with a webcam and document camera that can be useful if you want or need to have a Zoom session.  This guide will take you through the process of setting up and using Zoom in your classroom.   
  • Using a document camera as a whiteboard replacement with Zoom.  If you are using Zoom in a classroom, it may be difficult for remote students to see what you write on a whiteboard.  One way to address this is to use the document camera instead of the whiteboard.  This method allows you to write, diagram and draw on a piece of paper in a way that is like using a whiteboard.  This guide and video walk you through the process. 
  • Getting help.  IT Support Services AV Technicians can provide an in-person overview of the AV system in a classroom if you would like a guided tour.  Just contact the IT Help Desk (540-654-2255) to schedule a meeting.  Additionally, if you are having a technical issue during a class, contact the Help Desk and they will do their best to send a technician to your classroom to assist as staff are available. 
  • Have a “Plan B.”  As no technology ever works 100% of the time, having an alternate plan in mind is always a good idea to help reduce the stress and impact a technical glitch can introduce into your class time.  Think about what you might do if something doesn’t work – it doesn’t need to be an extensive plan, just a way to get through the material in a different way than you planned to that doesn’t rely on technology. 

As always, Center for Teaching and Digital Learning Support are here to help you.  Contact us to ask a question or schedule a consultation.  We hope your semester gets off to a great start!