August 14

Intelligent Agents Tool in D2L Brightspace

A list of all tools under Course Admin i nD2L with Intelligent Agents circled

 

Intelligent Agents is a tool in D2L Brightspace that can increase instructor presence by sending pre-set, automated emails triggered by pre-set criteria.  I like to call it the Virtual Teaching Assistant as it helps with some administrative tasks, acting on your behalf.  You can see on the picture above where it is located under Course Admin. Below are the details about the tool, as well as how to set them up in D2L.

  • Automated Messaging System: Sends emails once pre-set criteria is evaluated for students.
  • Most common: log-in criteria or release conditions (e.g. no submission to a folder).
  • Notifies the course instructor about a potentially troubled student (providing additional background information, such as an unattempted quiz, a quiz grade or a task (in)completion).
  • Only the instructor sees this tool. When users are evaluated as true on the condition you have set, an email you have previously wrote is automatically sent. A personalized message with the ability to link to resources (remedial or reinforcing) leads to increased instructor presence and student satisfaction.

To set them up in D2L:

  1. Go to Course Admin, find the tool by name or in Communications category. Go to settings and Set custom values for this course (name that emails come from (your name) and put your preferred reply-to email). Save.
  2. Click on New.
  3. Name it, check it as enabled, set criteria (Course Activity log-in or Create and Attach a Release Condition (determine the Condition Type and Details from the dropdown menus)).
  4. Determine whether the Agent will act only once or set a schedule for running dates.
  5. Choose HTML as the Email Format. Copy-Paste the replace strings (To*: {InitiatingUser}; Email Subject: e.g. Reminder for {OrgUnitName}; start the email with, for example: Hello, {InitiatingUserFirstName}). Save and Close. Do a Practice Run, if you wish, to see identified users.

August 8

Short and Reusable Recordings

Our colleagues from the U of M presented at the Minnesota E-Learning Summit on using videos in your courses. The handout below summarizes their main points about creating engaging, relevant, sustainable videos. One interesting point they made is that students will rather watch several videos that make up 20 minutes total, than just one 20 minute long video. I guess the “binge watching” culture prevails. 🙂 The Reusable Relevant Recording Creating Engaging and Evergreen Course Content handout: granualr, modular, reusable, quality, aligned, engaging, short (video), sustainable

June 19

D2L Brightspace Awards Tool: What do you need to know?

Photo credit: www.brightspace.com

With the new D2L update SCSU went through  earlier this month, the Awards tool has been made available. I will summarize the main functionality and features here,but you can always access the full Awards Tool Guide here and a Webinar on the Awards tool.

WHAT IS THE AWARDS TOOL?

The Awards tool can be used to create Badges and Certificates to reflect the achievement of different milestones within a course offering. In the Awards tool, instructors can design badges and certificates and link them to release conditions to allow automatic awarding. Learners can see the awards that they have already earned, as well as those that they have yet to earn, in the associated My Awards tool.

WHY USE THE AWARDS TOOL?

  • Reward learners with badges and certificates immediately after they have completed an activity or assignment.
  • Build an element of gamification into your course and better engage your learners.
  • Provide a consolidation/ celebration piece to the completion of an assignment or activity.
  • Track learner progress and development.
  • Build a hands-off method of instant feedback.
  • Provide learners with certificates that they can share through social media.

CREATING AWARDS

Go to Course Admin and find the Awards tool. Select Create Award to build from scratch. Add a name and description, and select the Award Type (badge or certificate). The award icon image can be selected from the existing images in the Award Icon Library, uploaded from your computer, or created using Badge Designer.

Once your award has been created, you can associate it with release conditions and credits by selecting Edit Properties on the Course Awards page.  Once associated with release conditions, the award will automatically be awarded to all learners who achieve that condition, including those who completed the condition in the past.

D2L Awards five badgesD2L Awards handshake badgeAwards a description of an issued badge

June 8

D2L Visual Design Change to Daylight Experience

As we have previously announced, D2L update brought a visual design change that is much more responsive – works the same on different devices and matches our students’ needs. Below you will find a quick overview of “before and after”, so you can easily navigate the new design right away. The text describes the circled areas on the D2L homepage and course page.D2L Dayligh Visual Design Changes

D2L Dayligh Visual Design Changes

March 10

Improving the Quality of Instructional Videos

Richard Rose wrote for Campus Technology on “6 Dimensions for More Effective Online Instructional Videos” (click here to view full text). Here is some of his advice:

1) Sound-to-Silence Balance

Sound-to-silence balance is the ratio of talk to empty space on the soundtrack of your video. Tools like Camtasia and Captivate show the soundtrack as a display of the visible waveforms, which makes it easy to see this balance at a glance without listening to the content itself.

2) Visual Context-to-Detail Balance

Visual context-to-detail balance is the control of how often your video editing tool is zooming in and zooming out. Some video tools, such as Camtasia’s Smart Focus, allow the software to make these decisions for you, based on the movement of your on-screen cursor, but the top-end instructional designer will always want to control location and magnification precisely and, therefore, manually.

3) Feature-to-Application Balance

This is the balance between showing program features in the context of the entire application and giving specific examples of their use. One of end of this continuum is the feature/function/benefit (FFB) approach, popular in the early days of computer software instruction. It could be summarized as, “It has this, which does that, which allows you to achieve this type of task.”

4) Balance Between Framing/Assessment and Substance

The old military training model had three parts:

  1. Tell them what you are going to tell them.
  2. Tell them.
  3. Tell them what you told them.

Today we call this framing and it is supported by David Ausubel’s classic Advance Organizer model. Having a sneak preview graphic at the front-end and a review graphic at the back-end of a step-wise training segment is often a fine idea.

5) Personality Balance

Personality balance is how much of yourself as an individual you choose to express in your instructional video. The ideal tone for most presentations is that of a clearly competent and enthusiastic professional who is visibly excited about the great stuff he or she has to share, and is delighted to be the one who is sharing it. Once this persona is established, the talent gets out of the way and lets the subject matter be the star of the show. But this is not always the right balance, depending on subject and audience

 

January 31

Upcoming MOQI & SIG Free Webinars

If you have an hour to spare, some really awesome topics are being presented in Learning Spaces & Instructional Technology Special Interest Group (SIG) and Minnesota Online Quality Initiative (MOQI) webinars. It is very easy to register, so just try out one of the topics of your interest and I am sure you will be back for more. 🙂

Click here to browse the events and register.

Below you will see webinars happening this February. Plus, don’t forget, a one-day virtual conference STAR Symposium will be held on February 10,  2017 (Register here for STAR Symposium).

October 20

CBE 101: Competency-based Education Lessons

EducationDive newsletter provided a summary about a study on CBE:

  • A new study from the American Institutes for Research outlines the profile of students in competency-based education programs and how they are engaged to participate in the curriculum. But researchers say it is too early to determine the efficacy of such programs on postgraduate success.
  • The study reveals that 68% of CBE programs are comprised of adult learners, with more than 70% of participants having previous college experience. Retention rates in the programs range from 63-80%, while completion rates range between 15-80%, depending on the type of program.
  • With challenges in schedule flexibility and technology to track student performance, CBE still presents as a valuable learning environment, but there is not enough data to suggest that graduates fare better in professional placement or earnings as a result.

However, if you are interested in learning more about CBE and its future, sign up for the five free lessons from the D2L Brighstspace team here.

img-cbe-badgeYou will learn:

  • What is Competency-based Education (CBE)?
  • Who is CBE for?
  • How does CBE work?
  • Where has CBE succeeded?
  • When will I be ready for CBE?
September 20

Inserting Media in D2L Brightspace’s HTML Editor

There are plenty of options when you work in your course to create a file and edit it in the HTML editor. When you go to a specific content module you have created in your course, for example Week 1 (under Materials > Content > “Week 1”) you get the Upload /Create button. By clicking on it you get several options, where the second option is commonly used to upload your syllabi or any other file, and then the third option is Create a File. Once you click on Create a file you get a window, as shown below,  that is the HTML editor with myriads of editing options that make it easy to work in right from D2l Brightspace. The first tool, called “Insert Stuff” (marked red on the picture below) is how you insert media to your new file. Further below is a list of inserting media options with descriptions.

html-editorInsert a media file from your computer

  1. Click the a859_htmleditor_insert_stuff.jpg Insert Stuff icon.
  2. Select a944_htmleditor_mycomputer My Computer to browse and select a file from your computer.
  3. After you select a file, click Choose Destination to select and create a storage location for the file.
  4. Click Upload.
  5. Click Insert.

Insert a media file from your course offering files

  1. Click the a859_htmleditor_insert_stuff.jpg Insert Stuff icon.
  2. Click a944_course_offering_file_icon.gif Course Offering Files to browse and select a file from your computer.
  3. Select your file from the file directory and click a946_upload Upload to upload a file to the directory. You can also select a file type from the Media Type drop-down list and click Apply to filter your directory search.
  4. After you choose a file, click Next.
  5. Type a Link Text and an Alternate Text.
  6. Click Insert.

Insert a media file from Learning Repository

  1. Click the a859_htmleditor_insert_stuff.jpg Insert Stuff icon.
  2. Click a946_lor_navbar_icon Learning Repository to browse available learning object repositories for objects and assets.
  3. Select your file from the repository and click Next.
  4. Enter a Link Text and an Alternate Text. If you text is decorative, you can select the This is decorative checkbox to avoid entering alternative text. Select Start playing automatically if you want your media file to play as soon as the content item opens.
  5. Click Insert.

Create and insert from My Media

Note: St. Cloud State D2L Brightspace has the My Media integration with Kaltura Mediaspace. Once you click on it, you are able to Add New Webcam Recording or Upload Media from your Mediaspace library.

  1. Click the a859_htmleditor_insert_stuff.jpg Insert Stuff icon.
  2. Click My Media. Click Add New > Webcam Recording.
  3. Click Allow if the Flash player prompts you to allow camera and microphone access.
  4. Click Record and record your video. Click Stop when you finish recording.
  5. You can click Play to preview your video notes.
  6. If you want to re-record, click Clear. If you are satisfied with your recording, click Next.
  7. Enter a Title and an Description of your videos.
  8. Click Next.
  9. You can preview the video notes before you insert it.
  10. Click Insert.

Insert a YouTube video

  1. Click the a859_htmleditor_insert_stuff.jpg Insert Stuff icon.
  2. Click a946_htmleditor_insertstuff_youtube YouTube to browse and select a video you want to insert.
  3. Click Next. You can preview the YouTube video from the YouTube Properties page.
  4. Click Insert.

Insert a URL link

  1. Click the a859_htmleditor_insert_stuff.jpg Insert Stuff icon.
  2. Click a946_htmleditor_insertstuff_insertlink Insert Link to insert the URL for an online media file.
  3. Enter the URL in the URL field and click Next.
  4. Click Insert.

Enter Embed Code

  1. Paste the embed code you have previously copied from your Mediaspace Kaltura.
  2. Click next then insert.

Films on Demand

  1. Click on Films on Demand and Search by Keyword
  2. Once you have found the movie you wanted, click Embed
  3. Finally, click Insert.
August 9

5 WAYS TO SAVE TIME WITH RESPONDUS 4.0

Respondus 4.0 News can be found here.

Instructors use Respondus 4.0 because it saves them time preparing online tests. Lots of time. Here are just five ways Respondus 4.0 accomplishes that.

1. Import Wizard
The feature with the greatest time-saving potential is the Import Wizard. Questions for an entire exam can be imported with Respondus 4.0 in minutes. For example, an exam already in MS Word format can be imported with images, equations, tables, and most types of formatting. This article explains how it works: Importing Questions from MS Word with Respondus 4

2. Respondus Test Bank Network
Publisher test banks typically include thousands of questions for a textbook, but using the questions to create online exams can be cumbersome — unless you use Respondus 4.0. Over 25 of the leading textbook publishers in higher education make their test banks available from the Respondus Test Bank Network. These ready-to-use questions make creating an online exam a breeze with Respondus 4.0. Learn more by watching this video: Using Publisher Test Banks with Respondus 4.0

3. Publish Wizard
The Publish Wizard is part of the “magic” of Respondus 4.0. Once an exam is created, it takes less than a minute to publish an assessment to one or more courses in a Learning Management System. When an institution has a campus-wide license, administrators can input “preconfigured server settings” so instructors only have to enter their user name and password for the LMS. This video shows how it can be set up: Using Preconfigured Server Settings

4. Moving Exams Between Learning Systems
Respondus 4.0 makes it easy to move exams from one learning system to another. This is useful when more than one LMS is used at an institution, or when an instructor moves to an institution using a different learning system.  Simply “retrieve” the original exam using Respondus 4.0 and then “publish” it to the new system. The entire process takes just a few minutes, as shown in this video: Moving Assessments Between Two Learning Systems

5. Working Offline
Sure, you usually have access to an Internet connection. But when you don’t, it’s nice to be able to get work done with Respondus 4.0 because most tasks can be done offline. The client-based interface for Respondus 4.0 is also faster than web-based applications because you don’t have to wait for web pages to load.

A few minutes here, a few hours there … it all adds up to tremendous time savings with Respondus 4.0. You won’t find a faster way to create online test.

(This post taken from Respondus.com Blog.)