Nov 16, 2015

Starting Nov/Dec and Jan/Feb: Free MOOC's (Courses) for Educators and Teachers

I've found a few excellent MOOC's (Massive Online Open Classes) starting this November/December and January/February that are free and easy to register for. Most courses are a few weeks, others are longer. You decide how much time you want to invest in your course, too.
From: CC (BY-NC-ND 4.0)

I've taken MOOC's with, Coursera, and Open2Study, but also listed courses below from organizations I've heard good reviews of: EdX and FutureLearn. I took an earlier version of the Humanizing Online Instruction MOOC in 2013 (listed below) and it was excellent. I may take it again to see what they've come up with since then.  I don't work for any of these companies, I just enjoy learning new things, and the price is right:


Nov 9, 2015

Favorite Fall Interactive Tool: Office Mix

We were big fans of myBrainshark and were very disappointed when they decided to stop supporting their free version of the product. Why was it loved? PowerPoint users could easily add audio narrations to their slides and upload the finished product to the web. Instructors put a link to their narrated PowerPoints in their online/hybrid classes on our LMS. Now what?
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Since we had dozens of instructors who had created myBrainsharks, Karen went into hyperdrive and researched a number of tools. Since we have Office 2013 available for all of our faculty and staff, she looked into Office Mix, an Add-In for PowerPoint 2013 or Office 365 (sorry, doesn't work with earlier versions or with Macs). 

What can you do with PowerPoint's Office-Mix Add-In? 
  • Narrate slides and if needed, update audio for any slide
  • Add picture-in-picture video
  • Add "test" questions, and get analytics of student answers and performance
  • Record slide animations
  • Record digital ink on your slides (write on slides) 
  • Use a Google account or a Microsoft acccount (both instructors and students)
What did our faculty think of it? Loved it and thought it was easier to use than myBrainshark.

What are the "gotchas"? 
  • If you use test questions, you can't save it so mobile devices can access it; it can only be accessed from a desktop or notepad 
  • Closed captioning is not generated
  • Doesn't work with Macs or earlier versions of Office
Tools for Teaching: Office Mix Handout and more
Office Mix for Teachers:
Office Mix Help Guide For Educators (pdf, 22 pp)

Sep 8, 2015

Web Conferencing 101 with Sakai TLC Workshop Recap!

Tara MacDonald and Charmaine Akiwenzie, of Blindside Networks "met" with us in the Durham Tech Teaching Learning Center on September 2 via a BigBlueButton online web conference session. Tara and Charmaine were actually in their offices in Canada.
BigBlueButton is the open-source web conferencing software we call the Meetings tool, which can be added to Sakai courses or project sites. Blindside Networks founded the BigBlueButton open source project and is also our vendor who supports our Meetings tool. Some of our colleagues joined the web conference remotely as well!
Tara MacDonald shared with us a bit of the history of BigBlueButton and showed us the web conferencing features available for students and instructors in Sakai. She also demonstrated a new feature we now have available to us, Polling. Charmaine Akiwenzie pointed out some of the troubleshooting tips we can use to help our students, if they lose their connection or have audio issues.
If you'd like to learn more about Meetings, our first Fall workshop is full, but a new Meetings workshop has been added that you can now register for that is being held:
Thursday, September 17, from 2-4 pm.  

Aug 26, 2015

2nd Annual Sakai Virtual Conference: Nov 4, 2015

Mark your calendars for the second annual online Sakai Virtual Conference, with a focus on teaching, learning, sharing, best practices, and community building. This is a faculty-friendly event. Plus, no need to travel-the whole day's workshops will be online.

Last year we hoped 100 people would attend the conference. Instead, over 350 faculty and staff attended the conference from around the world! There were so many excellent presentations to choose from, but if you missed any, the recordings were provided later for you to watch.

The Sakai Virtual Conference web site already has the following information posted:
  • Proposals: Submit now. Due by September 6 ( Now Sept 20) . 
  • Nine Conference Tracks: (listed on the Proposals web page with descriptions)
    • Faculty Course Showcase
    • Instructional Design/Support
    • Effective or Innovative Practice
    • Learning Analytics
    • Birds of a Feather, Lightning Talks, UX Testing
    • Sakai en Espanol, and a Technical Session
  • Registration: Starts August 3
  • Cost: $50. If you are a presenter: $25.  
  • Schedule: Tentative list is provided.
  • Sponsors: Longsight and Apereo. 
Save the Date: Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

"See" you there!

Aug 19, 2015

NC3ADL Conference: Mark your calendars for Oct 25-27: Register now!

Make sure you update your calendars with the dates for:

What: The North Carolina Community College Association of Distance Learning (NC3ADL) Conference
Theme: eLearning: Breaking Barriers and Building Connections
When: October 25-27, 2015
Where: Raleigh Convention Center
How: Register before 9/15 for the early rates otherwise by 10/15 for regular rates
Why: Network with faculty, staff and distance learning folks from across the NC community college system and beyond. 
Present: Register by September 1 to present your great e-learning idea

What are some of the workshops presented at the last NC3ADL conference?
  • Exploring Web 2.0 Tools to Build Collaboration
  • Using Technology to Foster Deep Learning in Online and Hybrid Courses
  • A One-Stop Shop for Free Tech Tools
  • Creating Engaging Student Communities in the Online Classroom
  • Teaching and Learning with iPads
Hope to see you there!