Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Connecting with Your Students using Adobe Connect

Today we had a great workshop led by Lisa. She led us through many of the ins and outs of Connect. One of the biggest practical issues she helped us with was how to deal with multiple participants. We all needed to have our own headphones and have our mic, otherwise echos could be heard by everyone involved. Another gem that came out of the discussion was how to make students feel included. One key to this is having a brief check in with participants at the start of a meeting. This allows people to put voices and faces together with names. Lisa also exposed us to many of the useful tools that connect has, like chat, screen, application or monitor share, polling, uploading documents, and more. Adobe Web Connect can be used to teach online courses, hold office hours, perform webinars, and go on virtual field trips. It could also be used to allow ill students, or students who are unable to physically join class, to attend from a remote location. Although it is limited in some capacities, Adobe and other web conferencing software systems allow unique opportunities for collaboration from afar and interaction with people who would normally be inaccessible. If anyone would like to contact Lisa about Adobe Web Connect, please email her at l.auchincloss@gmail.com. She is happy to answer questions or direct you to someone who can help.

If you would like to purchase Adobe for your classes, click here for information on pricing.
To learn more about adobe connect, click here.

Contributed by: Robert and Lisa

Monday, April 23, 2012

Getting Smart About SmartSite

This week in GTC we were guided through some of the tools that SmartSite had to offer by SmartSite guru Steve Faith.  We went through how to create quizzes and tests on SmartSite and also how to program SmartSite to grade the tests and quizzes for us.  With the SmartSite tool you can write multiple choice, short answer, short essay, and other question types and assign point values to each question.  You can also use the tests and quizzes tool to create question pools from which SmartSite can draw random questions for quick quizzes.  Instructors can design anonymous polls to see if their students are attending class and absorbing the material.  SmartSite also has the ability to upload and download all turned in assignments via the “upload all” and “download all” selection in the upper right hand corner on a ‘grade assignment’ page.  Steve ran through how to create quizzes, polls, upload and download assignments and answered our many questions about SmartSite capabilities. 

While SmartSite does currently have a blogging platform, it is being improved to act more like a traditional blog for future use.  Up and coming SmartSite attractions also include compatibility with google documents and enhanced networking capabilities.  I personally am hoping to see more advanced question and answering tools, so that students can post questions and have one universal answer that instructors and students can contribute to (maybe I should talk to Steve about that J

The bottom line is that our current system, while constantly being improved, has many tools that we can use to more effectively teach our classes.  Many of us are not aware of all of these capabilities.  The good news is that with just a phone call or a visit to SurgeIII you can get your questions answered. 

Call the support line: 530-754-HELP (4357)

Or email smartsite-help@ucdavis.edu  to get your questions answered or schedule a consultation to go in and have someone help you design an individual fantastic site for your course. 

Fantastic course design and assistance is just a few electrons away if you only know the URL. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

GTC Spring Technology Certificate Kick Off

We began our Spring Technology Certificate Workshop Series with introductions and briefly discussed why GTC members were interested in taking a technology workshop series; a broad range of expertise and varied motivations abounded.  It was exciting to meet all of the new participants and see several returning faces.  The breadth of experience ranging from those who have taught traditional classrooms for years, to those with lots of technology experience and all points in between, was impressive.  This spectrum is fertile ground for the workshop series.