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Learning: It’s virtually the easiest thing to do!

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It’s a rainy Wednesday afternoon, and you’ve signed up for a workshop with CTRL.
Getting some support using Prezi (or TopHat, or Piazza, or Google Drive) would be great, but getting to Hurst Hall for a workshop with the Teaching and Learning Resources Staff just doesn’t seem possible. Maybe your kids are home from school today, or you’re working from home, or you can’t get out of your office. There a million possible reasons why coming to a workshop in person might not be doable. We understand that, and that’s why we’ve developed a new live streaming service to attend our workshop series online. With a few clicks, you can pop into one of our many workshops without needing to even change out of your pajamas (seriously).

ctrlworkshoponlineIntroducing Adobe Connect!
Using a system new to the Center for Teaching, Research and Learning called Adobe Connect, our staff can host virtual sessions during workshops all semester long. As an online attendee, you can sign up for a topic of your choice on our web page. We’ll email you detailed instructions on how to proceed, but suffice to say that the process is as easy as following a few links and entering a login name. On the day of the workshop you’ve selected, simply sign in and voila – the session will appear on your computer screen as if you were there alongside the in person attendees.

The process is similar in its simplicity.
We host these sessions to allow the maximum number of participants to benefit from our workshops, and installing a camera in the front of the classroom makes the experience as seamless as possible. The TLR group has even assigned an additional consultant for each workshop solely focused on facilitating the experience for the online attendees. If you have any questions about the topics covered in the workshop, you can type them to our moderator who will relay them to the presenter. In the future, we hope to incorporate voice and video for the online attendees, but for now it’s as easy as opening up your laptop and experiencing the live workshop from the comfort of your home or office.

This new technology also allows us to record and archive our workshops. Even if you can’t attend virtually, feel free to browse our YouTube channel for the collection.

We love to see American University faculty and teaching assistants in person, but we’re just as happy to see you pop up online. If you have any questions or comments about this new initiative, please feel free to contact our consultants at CTRLtlr@american.edu. We hope to see you soon!

TLR Happenings Logo

Video is Worth A Whole Bunch of Words

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“If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth ten thousand.”
That’s the theory, anyway, when it comes to online content. Video is increasingly becoming the lingua franca of the digital realm. As advertisements, educational technology, and entertainment all train us in the visual and auditory vocabulary of this content style, it becomes incumbent upon us as educators to incorporate this skillset into the classroom. It’s a powerful tool in the toolbox of the educator.

To that end, the Teaching and Learning Resource Group has unveiled a new project that will put this theory into practice. We looked around our office and saw not only a wealth of information on a variety of instructional technologies and methodologies, but a group of engaging and creative teachers. Why not (we asked ourselves) create a video repository to leverage our collective knowledge? And so we have begun to do just that, figuring that if video is the language of the Internet, then it can also serve our purpose to supplement our workshops, events, and trainings.

Beginning this month, we plan on releasing a series of videos illuminating some of our favorite instructional technologies. From Google Drive, to Prezi, to RSS feeds–we want to develop a range of content that will be accessible and useful to AU faculty and staff. The videos will function as both promotions for various instructional aids, and as primers for their specific functions.

Take, for example, our Google Drive promo. We created this video specifically for educators, focusing on how Docs can be used to comment on students’ work, how Google Presentation can be used in lieu of PowerPoint to develop classroom lessons, and how Forms can be used to administer tests and quizzes. These videos are selected and designed for you.

If you have any suggestions for future video topics, or questions about the process, please feel free to contact us at CTRLtlr@american.edu. And stay tuned for our first video on Google Drive, to be released later next week!

TLR starts… blogging!

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The Teaching & Learning Resources group is excited to take part in the new CTRL Connect blog! This blog will serve as a space for us to share some useful and (hopefully) interesting information with the amazing faculty and staff of American University.

Some things you can expect from us:

  • News and updates from the TLR office, including the upcoming Ann Ferren Conference 2015
  • Interviews with AU faculty/staff on how they’ve incorporated technology in their classes in innovative and interesting ways
  • Monthly reviews of new apps, tools and software that could make teaching (and life in general) easier
  • Quick tips and guidelines on the various tools from our Technology in the Classroom Workshops

We do hope that you join us in this amazing adventure. Stay tuned!

Call For Mobile Learning Projects

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Experiment with mobile devices in your teaching

Do you want to explore ways to incorporate your own or students’ mobile devices (e.g., smartphones, tablets, or laptops) into your teaching? This is your opportunity, you can now submit a Mobile Learning Project proposal for the AY 2014-2015.

Mobile Learning Projects

Your project can take any shape or form, and you can request reimbursement for app or software license purchases or other related expenses. CTRL will provide instructional design and help develop a strategy to incorporate and assess your Mobile Learning Project. Past projects included screen-sharing mobile accessories, crafting mobile-friendly survey tools, restructuring course syllabi to include mobile technologies, or use of social media to extend coursework beyond the classroom experience.

How to apply

Apply HereWhen you plan your project, please consider some of the Mobile Learning Principles developed by the Mobile Learning Task Force: e.g. to facilitate engagement, interactivity, collaboration, and other learning opportunities in and out of scheduled courses and develop opportunities to use mobile learning tools, regardless of course format. (See all the principles here).

You are encouraged to consult with Lucas Regner, Coordinator of Faculty Technology Initiatives at CTRL, before submitting your application. The Mobile Learning Task Force will review proposals submitted before September 30th, 2014. (Click the “Apply Here” button to the right).

You need the following to complete the application:

  • Name(s) of participating Faculty Member(s)
  • Project Description (200-300 words)
  • Project Budget
  • Name of course(s) and approximate number of students

The Mobile Learning Initiative is coordinated by CTRL, Office of Information Technology, the University Library, and University Communications and Marketing.

2014 Pilot Year Proposals

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AU’s Mobile Learning Task Force invites faculty proposals that initiate, enhance or assess mobile learning projects as part of the 2014 Mobile Pilot Year program. We especially encourage proposals for tools that are scalable to other courses or disciplines. First-round proposals are due by September 30. For more information, contact Laura March, CTRL’s Coordinator for Faculty Technology Initiatives.

2014 Mobile Pilot Year Proposal Submission Form

 

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SIS Student Quantitative Research Festival

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It’s that season again – the end of the semester! Check out some of the fascinating research conducted by SIS Graduate students, Friday November 30 from 5-7 PM in the SIS Atrium.

Chat Online with a Lab Consultant!

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Chat Hours: 10:00 am – 3:00pm, Monday – Friday

There’s a new way to communicate with the lab if you find yourself unable to visit us in the flesh.

Introducing LIVE Chat with the SSRL!  From here, you can type in your burning questions and a consultant will be on the other end to answer them. This way, you’ll be able to get quick answers about our services without travelling all the way to the lab.

Our online chat service will be available between 10:00 am – 3:00 pm,  Monday – Friday.  During these hours there will be a consultant around to answer you.  If you have a question or issue that is too complex to answer quickly via chat, please email  or call us instead!  As always, drop by the lab too if you need face-to-face assistance.

Overwhelming quantity for qualitative

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I am excited to see the positive response to RSG’s NVivo workshops! Within hours of sending out initial email announcements of workshops, we had RSVP steadily emailed to us. Last week I led two introductory workshops with 22 people RSVP’d for each! Due to this high demand and space limitations of 22 computers in our training room in Anderson Lab, we had to turn some people away. But I also promised we’d schedule additional workshops. Now I can share the dates.

Who would use NVivo?

Consider using NVivo to analyze your qualitative research

Introduction to NVivo
Wed. Mar. 21, 2:30-4:00 pm
Thurs. Mar. 22, 12:00-1:30pm
Anderson Lower Level, B-13
RSVP at ssrl AT american.edu

There are many students across AU who prefer to do qualitative research for their SRP, thesis or when working for professors as research assistants. Of course it would be awesome to find a software program that could aid the process! Many of the people who attended last week fell into these prior categories: I’m preparing to analyze for my SRP now; I hope to use it next year on my SRP; I’m working with a professor’s research project this semester; I’m a PhD student and think this would be excellent! Faculty members also attended or requested private trainings.

NVivo is one of the most respected and robust software programs for qualitative research projects including content analysis, open-ended surveys, focus groups, etc. It is not the only software, but the RSG team has been building staff capacity to support it and now train others to use it. Last semester we offered NVivo 8, but we’ve just upgraded to NVivo 9. This brings a learning curve for our staff, but also some very cool new features!!

If you have an interest, check out these video tutorials created by the company:

Coding your data
Importing your “data” or sources
What’s new in NVivo 9?

Each qualitative or mixed method research project is unique and requires a slightly different approach. Our introductory trainings, as advertised above, will provide a nice overview of the basics for coding text, audio or video. I hope you can attend, but please remember to RSVP! Also, you can always stop by our lab to “play with” NVivo 8 or 9 using our staff-created tutorial found on the CTRL website here.

How to Get a Copy of a Stats Program

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Usually at the beginning of the semester (or at any time during the semester!) we get requests from students, faculty, and staff about installing software onto their personal computers.  Remember that we support a wide variety of quantitative and qualitative statistical programs here in the lab computers, but if you need your own copy of the software, we may be able to help. The three kinds of statistical software on demand for distribution are SAS, SPSS, and STATA.  Here is our general policy on software distribution:

If you’re a student

SPSS:  We do not distribute SPSS to students. Students who want to own a copy of SPSS on their personal computer must purchase the software online. You could also download a trial version of SPSS for a limited time use.

STATA: We do not distribute STATA to students. If you would like your own copy of STATA, you must purchase it online. There is a special AU discount on the STATA website.

SAS : You can get a free copy of SAS on your personal computer IF you are taking a statistics class AND/OR you are a PhD student.

If you are a staff or faculty member

SPSS: We can install SPSS on any AU-owned computer*.  Come by the lab or make an appointment with us.

STATA:  If you would like your own copy of STATA, you must purchase it online. There is a special AU discount on the STATA website.

SAS:  We can install SAS on your personal or AU-owned computer.

*AU-owned computer means that you have a computer or laptop that was distributed to you by American University.

For more information on additional software supported by our lab that we can or cannot distribute, visit our website to learn about statistical packages such as R, EViews, and alternative open source software.

If you have questions about any of this, or about obtaining a different statistical program, please do not hesitate to contact us!