Update to Springboard – Grid View Returns!

This morning, Desire2Learn applied a new service pack to Springboard. There was no downtime associated with the update. In addition to the normal assortment of bug fixes, a few new features were introduced:

  • For instructors and administrators accessing the Table of Contents in Content for the first time, the landing page now includes an informative message about importing course material and creating modules.
  • Improvements to navigation while viewing Content topics.
  • The HTML Editor was updated to support auto-linking of external web addresses (URLs).
  • The quiz time limit now displays the time limit in hours, minutes and seconds, making it more obvious exactly how much time is remaining to complete the quiz.
  • Save and Save and Close buttons are now available in Grades for grading a single item, a category of grade items, and the final grade.

Last, but certainly not least:

  • Reintroduction of the grid view in Discussions!

Desire2Learn has also provided a helpful video for instructors on grid view in Discussions.

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Spring 2015 Designing and Developing Your Online Course Workshop

Design and Development Services (DDS) has just completed it’s fifth “Designing and Developing Your Online Course Workshop”. This workshop was created to help faculty members with the development of their online and hybrid courses.

Our workshop focused predominantly on how to streamline information for students, how to use Springboard to its fullest potential, and how to apply sound pedagogical practices in an online environment. In addition, we covered a wide variety of topics, which included:

  • Redesigning a syllabus for an online course
  • Developing the structure of a course
  • Customization of the homepage and navigation bar
  • Creating an online gradebook
  • Developing scoring rubrics and dropboxes
  • Establishing online discussion forums
  • Selecting and creating assessments
  • Course automation through intelligent agents and release conditions
  • Designing a collaborative group work location through Wiggio
  • How to use eReserves, Creative Commons and Fair Use when developing online courses
  • External Web 2.0 Tools such as Prezi, Google Drive, Visual.ly, and TubeChop
  • Creating video introductions for an online course
  • Lecture capture with Panopto
  • Creating interactive presentations with Storyline
  • Using ePortfolio
  • Creating surveys with Qualtrics
  • Teaching synchronously with WebEx
  • Apps in the classroom and Gamification

Attendees of the workshops represent a wide variety of departments from across campus. Most of the instructors had previous experience with Springboard, but everyone comes in with differing skill levels. Part of our role in DDS is to assess where each faculty member is with their comfort level using Springboard, and to help them acquire the knowledge needed to be successful in running their online course. In order to do this, each instructor is assigned an instructional / curriculum designer, who meets one-on-one with them each session during open lab time. This helps to ensure that their course development stays on track, and provides a great opportunity to get some individualized attention.


To help faculty members visualize the knowledge they have mastered thus far, we created badges for each major lesson. During the June workshop, instructors could see how much progress they were making simply by taking a look at each others name cards. Another advantage to issuing badges was that it promoted conversation and idea sharing. We awarded instructors with “great comment” and “great question” badges.

DDS_Badge_Comment      DDS_Badge_Question

We have received wonderful feedback from our instructors:

“Overall, workshop instructors and facilitators are knowledgeable, helpful, and very personable. The workshop environment is easy-going and non-threatening. I’m learning a lot and looking forward to applying newly acquired Springboard skills!!”

“Most importantly, I became more comfortable navigating the Springboard interface. Since most of what I knew prior to [each] session was self-taught, I discovered additional meaning & process behind what I previously blindly utilized.”

“In the past, I’ve simply emailed materials & links to students. This should be much more useful in terms of linking them to useful data with minimal confusion.”

“”Online teaching tools and embedding media were the most enjoyable sessions. These two sessions were very informative because the material presented was entirely new to me and I now have choices on how to create certain aspects of my online course. I appreciated the variety of tools presented allowing ample opportunity for me to customize my course with a certain level of comfort and professionalism.”


Spring 2014 Workshop Participants

“I most enjoyed the showcase. It was a lot of fun to see how each professor incorporated some of the learned techniques into their classes. It was especially interesting to see how online courses differ from discipline to discipline.”


Summer 2014 Workshop Participants

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Our next workshop is scheduled to be on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:00PM to 4:00PM beginning February 3rd and ending on April 21st. Sessions will be held in Leigh Hall, Room 414 unless otherwise specified.

To register for the upcoming Spring 2015 workshop, please click here.

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Springboard Faculty Steering Committee – Call for Members

We are looking to expand our membership for the Springboard Faculty Steering Committee. By serving on the committee, you can help us to customize Springboard to meet the needs of our faculty and students. The committee consists of faculty members from colleges and departments around campus. Staff members from Design and Development Services also participate in committee meetings, but are not involved in voting.

What you can expect:

  • One meeting per semester (including Summer) to discuss upcoming changes and vote as needed.
  • Occasional email messages from DDS staff
  • An opportunity to connect with DDS staff to discuss and troubleshoot issues in Springboard.

What we ask of you:

  • Provide honest and constructive feedback.
  • Participate in meetings when scheduling permits.
  • Disseminate information with colleagues in your department and college.
  • Participate in voting on proposed changes.

If this sounds like something you would like to be involved in, please follow the link below to provide your information. Thank you in advance!



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Applying the Quality Matters Rubric (APPQMR) workshop on November 14th

Design and Development Services is sponsoring a free face-to-face Applying the Quality Matters Rubric (APPQMR) session for those who are interested in the Quality Matters standards, or who would like to start the process of becoming a certified Peer Reviewer. The workshop will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, November 14, 2014 in Bierce Library 274A. The new workbook (5th edition) and lunch will be provided.

There is no cost to UA participants, but space is limited. To reserve your seat for this QM training session, please log into the Institute for Teaching and Learning Seminar website and register for this workshop.  https://www.uakron.edu/itl_seminars/

For additional information about Quality Matters visit:


Direct questions to Jill Phipps at Phipps@uakron.edu or call 330.972.2431


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Register for a Free MOOC in Web Accessibility

Our Springboard vendor, Brightspace, is partnering with the Portland Community College (PCC) office of Distance Education to offer a free 5-week professional development course in web accessibility. The Web Accessibility MOOC for Online Educators, or #WAMOE, “is designed to help e-Learning professionals meet the challenges of compliance with web accessibility requirements as they pertain to electronic learning environments.”

The activity-based MOOC is co-facilitated by Karen Sorensen from PCC, a national leader in efforts to improve web accessibility for distance education, and Barry Dahl of Brightspace. Participants will:

  1. Build a personal knowledge base in web accessibility for online education
  2. Create accessible photo images, diagrams, and charts for online courses
  3. Create accessible audio and video components for online courses
  4. Create accessible HTML content pages for online courses
  5. Create accessible course content in other formats

Participants who successfully complete the MOOC will be awarded a certificate of completion from Brightspace.

The course runs from Monday, October 20, to Friday, November 14, 2014, and there are weekly modules designed to help you improve your web accessibility skills specifically for teaching online. The first module is already available for those who want to get an early start. Register for the Web Accessibility MOOC for Online Educators here. 

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Curious About Turning Technologies?

Turning Technologies’ Implementation Team is offering webinars focused on preparing faculty for interactive classroom implementation. Dedicated training specialists will guide you through the basic use of TurningPoint Cloud and ResponseWare to assess student understanding and have the ability to track their progress in a Learning Management System. The following sessions are coming October 1-3, 2014!

PowerPoint Polling with ResponseWare and Learning Management Integration
Gain a basic understanding of the PowerPoint polling option in TurningPoint Cloud. At the conclusion of this session, participants will be ready to use PowerPoint polling. ResponseWare and Learning Management integration will be discussed.

Topics Include: Hardware Setup, Pre-Presentation Procedures, Creating Basic Interactive Presentations, Facilitating Presentations and Navigating Detailed Reports.

Anywhere Polling with ResponseWare and Learning Management Integration
Learn how to expand interactive capabilities beyond PowerPoint to poll with any application. ResponseWare and Learning Management integration will be discussed.

Topics Include: Polling with On-the-Fly Questions, Polling Over Top of Another Application and Polling with a Question List.

Self-Paced Polling with Learning Management Integration
Integrate existing assessments within the TurningPoint Cloud software to administer self-paced testing. Learning Management integration will be discussed.

Topics Include: Creating an Answer Key, Facilitating a Self- Paced Test and How Students Use Response Devices to Proceed through a Self-Paced Test.

Register Now!

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Gamification Webinar

The University of Akron’s Design and Development staff will be presenting the webinar:

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We’ve Got Game – Strategies for Building Gamification into Your Blended Classroom
Date: September 12, 2014
Time: 2:00-3:00 pm ET – free to all
Presenters: Stephen Kaufman, M.Ed. & Jill Phipps, Ph.D. from The University of Akron

Gamification is a popular trend in the business world to reward customers for their loyalty and activities. It seems that everywhere you look, you are earning points, credit, or reputation based on your actions. Why do businesses do this? They want to create a sense of pride, achievement, and belonging for their customers. These intentions seem to parallel many of the same goals for higher education. We want our students to take pride in their work. We want them to demonstrate and share their achievements, and most importantly, we want them to feel a sense of belonging to a community.

The intention of gamification is not necessarily to turn your course into a game, but to reward and encourage behavior that is in line with achieving your learning objectives. We are already gamifying our classrooms through participation points. We reward students for raising their hands, contributing to conversations, and for demonstrating proficiency in subject matter. However, do these points only have to add up to a total score in the grade book? Or, could it lead to something more?

In this session, we will be discussing:

  • Strategies and ideas to integrate a sense gamification into your course
  • Promoting student engagement and active learning
  • Leveraging of existing social media platforms
  • Tying learning objectives to achievement badges
  • Utilizing gamification to motivate not only students, but faculty as well

For more information and online registration:
FridayLive! We’ve Got Game – Strategies for Building Gamification into Your Blended Classroom: Sept. 12th

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Quality Matters in Online Course Design

100% Online Workshop – Cohort 26

Starts October 6, 2014 and ends on November 2, 2014

This four-week, online workshop is appropriate for instructors who are interested in developing fully online or hybrid courses. The workshop provides a foundation for planning, designing, producing, and managing online instruction. Use this opportunity to learn practical techniques for online teaching and how to implement quality standards for excellence in online course design. Co-sponsored by the Institute for Teaching and Learning and the Design and Development Department participants that successfully complete this online workshop will receive a certificate indicating they have 20 hours of professional development credit.

To enroll go to: https://www.uakron.edu/itl_seminars/

To see who has already completed this training go to: https://www.uakron.edu/it/instructional_services/dds/qm/qm_grads.dot


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WebEx Update on September 5

On September 5, Cisco will be updating WebEx to version 29.8. Included in this release are several highly anticipated changes, namely:

  • Updated interface for Meeting Center
  • WebEx Productivity Tools for Mac
  • Audio improvements for PC, Mac, iOS, and Android clients

Also included in this release are some performance-related improvements. Depending on computer speed and bandwidth, your participants will be able to join meetings in the new version up to 30% faster!

For more information on the new Meeting Center interface, please visit the following links:

The upgrade will take place on September 5 between 10pm and 2:59am EDT. You should not experience any interruptions in service during the upgrade, but any meetings that take place after the upgrade will be on the new version. The first time you join a session, you will be automatically prompted to install the new version of the WebEx client.

If you are experiencing interruptions with any Cisco WebEx services, please call the WebEx Help Desk at +1-866-229-3239. You may also open a ticket online at https://www.webex.com/support/support-overview.html.

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Microsoft Office Discounts and Free Alternatives for Students

With classes starting back up it won’t be long before the first sets of papers and assignments are due. However, with Microsoft Office normally costing as much as $400 it makes sense to shop around and find other (read: less expensive) offers. The list below outlines some options for inexpensive ways to purchase Microsoft Office and some viable free alternatives.

This is the first in a series of posts on finding and using software and services. Upcoming posts will share information on saving your documents to the cloud, software for editing images, multimedia software and more.

Table of Contents

Purchasing Microsoft Office at a Discounted Rate

Microsoft Office 360

Microsoft officeFollowing in the footsteps of other software companies Microsoft has recently launched Office 360. This is a service where you essentially rent the program with a monthly fee. The lowest cost plan is $6.99 a month and allows installation on 1 computer and 1 tablet device (the higher costing plans offer more services and more install options).

Information on Office 360 can be found at the Microsoft store here: http://office.microsoft.com

Microsoft Office at OnTheHub

OnTheHubOne of the nice things about being a student is that there are many options for reduced cost software if you know where to look. The University of Akron and onthehub.com have come together to offer discounted (and sometimes free) software. Through this service, which can be accessed at uakron.onthehub.com, there are several versions of Microsoft Office available for both Windows and Mac.

Windows: Microsoft Office for Windows (2010, 2013) – available for $60

Mac: Microsoft Office for Mac (2011) – available for $60

The student discounts here are even cheaper than what Microsoft offers to students via their website and are extremely discounted as Office 2013 Professional normally sells for $399.99.

To access onthehub click here: http://uakron.onthehub.com. You will need to provide your UAnet ID and password to get in.

Free Alternatives

*Note: all of these are compatible with Microsoft Office and can produce Microsoft Office files and PDFs.

iWork (Mac only)

Last year Apple announced that all new iOS and OS X based products will be eligible for a free copy of a slimmed down version of their iWork office suite. This includes: Pages, Keynote, and Numbers. A word processor, PowerPoint-type presentation program, and a spreadsheet program respectively.

While the files produced from these programs cannot be opened by Microsoft Office, iWork does allow you to export the files as Microsoft files or PDFs.

If you have purchased an iOS or OS X based product in the last year you should be able to access this deal via the Apple App Store.

Google Drive (Docs, Sheets, and Slides)

GoogleGoogle Docs and their other office apps have the strong advantage of being a free service. On the fly the service is great for editing documents when no other programs are available.

The Google apps can handle of the typical Microsoft Office files – Word document files, PowerPoint files, Excel files, etc. However, when uploaded to and edited with Drive the documents are converted into a different format that Google uses. When downloading the file again it offers the option of downloading the file as different file types, including those used by Microsoft.

This is also a powerful tool for collaboration outside of the classroom. The owner of a file can share it with others and the one document can be edited at the same time by those with which it was shared.

A major issue with this is that it depends on an internet connection. If the internet goes out you can no longer edit your document. However, the plus side is that your documents are always accessible as long as you have an internet connection and a device to access it.


OpenOfficeLogoOpenOffice is an open-source alternative to Microsoft Office. The suite has been out for 12 years so it has had years to develop and become a set of powerful tools. It includes a word processor, a spreadsheet program similar to Excel, a presentation program, and even a drawing program among others. It can open, save, and edit Microsoft Office documents as well as a variety of other file formats. OpenOffice is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems.

Click here to access the OpenOffice website: https://www.openoffice.org


LibreOffice_external_logo_300pxLibreOffice is another Microsoft alternative that was actually built upon OpenOffice’s source code. As a result the two suites are actually very similar with most of the differences being in the user interface. Like OpenOffice the program is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Click here to access the LibreOffice website: http://www.libreoffice.org

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