Improve Your Virtual Meeting and Classroom Presentations

Toolbox

With the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have been communicating fully or at least partially within a virtual environment.  Virtual delivery has allowed us to continue to connect and collaborate with students and co-workers while maintaining social distancing practices.  Throughout the past several months, we all have encountered good and poor virtual experiences, including meeting and screen fatigue.  Cathy and I have reflected on our personal experiences and we decided to identify some virtual delivery best practices.

First, make sure that you have the correct equipment to effectively deliver your course or meeting content.  This includes having a reliable web camera, and luckily, most laptops and tablets have adequate built in web cameras.  If you prefer a higher quality camera or if you have a desktop, many external web cameras are available at very reasonable price points.  In addition, sufficient internet speed to support streaming content and video is required.  Many households have implemented a family internet usage calendar to avoid too many devices streaming content during the same time of an important virtual meeting.  To improve privacy during virtual delivery, Cathy and I suggest using a headset or a pair of earphones.  Many listening options are available depending on how much someone wants to spend on this option.  Cathy and I prefer wireless options like Apple AirPods or the Anker Liberty Air.  The final piece of equipment that we have invested in is a quality microphone for recorded presentations.  Cathy and I prefer the Blue Yeti microphone, which is available with a desk stand or a boom arm.  To further reduce microphone noise and acoustic transparency, an optional pop filter can be placed in front of the Blue Yeti microphone.

After you are assured that your equipment can support the delivery of your meeting or course, there are other great practices that should be observed.

  • Prepare Yourself Ahead of Time and Incorporate Some Transition Time – Make sure to mindfully transition from all other tasks before you deliver or participate in a virtual meeting. Make sure to close other apps and browsers to increase internet speed and to help reduce distractions.  In addition, it is important to get into the correct mindset before the virtual meeting begins.  Cathy and I suggest reviewing the course topics or meeting agenda for a few minutes before the start of the virtual meeting.  Decide if you are going to stand or sit during the virtual presentation.  If you normally stand when you teach, we suggest that you stand during the virtual presentation.  Also, make sure that your lighting is adequate for others to see you during the presentation.  Test your video camera and the lighting before your meeting begins.  Furthermore, make sure that all screens that you plan to share during the meeting are ready to view on your device.
  • Don’t Do Too Much at Once – Typically, it will take longer to cover material in a virtual environment compared to when we meet in person. Consider covering less material and allowing more time for questions and conversation.  Online delivery models require more repetition and additional time for discussion.  PowerPoint can work well with presentation organization and delivery, but we should avoid putting too much material on individual slides.  PowerPoint can help facilitate keeping meetings and classes on track, but the slides should include only the main discussion items.  In addition, try to avoid having long virtual meetings or classes.  We as humans can only stay engaged virtually for a certain period of time.
  • Set Some Ground Rules – Participants should develop a habit of muting themselves when they are not talking. To avoid everyone talking at once, a process to ask questions or contribute to the discussion should be in place.  Utilizing the chat or raising your hand features are great practices to insure a fair an equitable process for everyone to have a voice during the meeting.  Decide ahead of time if all participants will be required to have their camera on during the entire meeting or only when they speak.  Cathy and I like the human element in our virtual classroom environments and it is more engaging when students have their cameras are on.  At a minimum, everyone should introduce themselves at the beginning of the semester (or meeting) and then state their name when they ask questions.
  • Increase Engagement – Cathy and I cannot stress enough that engagement during virtual delivery is essential. We utilize polling software to insure that our students are participating and understanding the material being presented.  Poll Everywhere, Kahoot, Mentimeter, Socrative, GoSoapBox, and Nearpod can be used for virtual meeting polling activities.  In addition, we use online breakout rooms to promote smaller group discussions.
  • Finish Strong– We should always end our virtual meetings with either an overview of what was covered or what still needs to be completed. Many times, we can ask everyone for closing thoughts, what they learned, or what they still are confused about before they exit the meeting.  The online chat feature or polling options can help facilitate the end of the meeting discussion.

Cathy and I are always trying to improve our classroom delivery and student engagement.  Our goal is to provide others the techniques and technology tools that have been successful in enhancing the student learning experience within our on-campus and virtual classroom environments.  Hopefully, our best practices will help with your virtual meeting and course delivery planning process.

 

© 2020 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

Zoom

Zoom logo

With the COVID-19 pandemic, many educators, including Cathy and myself, were displaced from our campus classrooms and then quickly adopted Zoom to deliver our course content in an online teaching environment.  Zoom has become the current leader in virtual collaboration classroom tools.  In addition, Zoom easily provides video communication across mobile devices, desktops, telephones, and conference room systems.  Its free version hosts up to 100 participants and allows unlimited meetings.  Zoom’s free version also allows unlimited 1 on 1 meetings; however, group meetings are usually limited to 40 minutes (NOTE: The 40 minute limit has been lifted during the COVID-19 crisis).  Zoom is a very easy tool to learn and set up.  All meetings include features like a conference call-in number, private and group chat, screen sharing, group collaboration, and an electronic whiteboard to name a few.

This new unprecedented Zoom learning course delivery has resulted in some problems and concerns.  Unfortunately, “Zoombombing” is a new form of cyber trolling that has emerged.  Zoombombing occurs when an uninvited participant uses Zoom’s screensharing feature to interrupt and disrupt meetings and classes, usually with inappropriate content.  Since Zoom was not originally created for the educational environment, the company is continually improving the virtual collaboration tool to increase security and privacy.

Below are a few tips that Cathy and I have implemented to keep our class meetings private and prevent ourselves from becoming “Zoombombed”:

  • Turn OFF the ‘Use Personal Meeting ID’ when hosting your class meeting. By turning off this option, Zoom will create a one-time unique ID for your class meeting.
  • Turn ON the ‘Required Meeting Password’ – select a simple password and share it with the invited meeting participants. If you have different classes that you are teaching, we suggest setting up a different password for each class.  This practice will help protect the FERPA rights of students.
  • Turn ON the ‘Enable Waiting Room’ – This option places everyone into a waiting room until you recognize them and allow them into the meeting. If you use this option, you need to keep an eye on the waiting room to see if anyone needs to join the class meeting late or had to rejoin due to technology failures.
  • Select ‘Allow Participants to Chat With’ to chat with ‘Host Only’ – this option prevents inappropriate side conversation chats.
  • Turn OFF the ‘Allow Participants to Share’ – this option only allows the host to share their screen.
  • Turn ON the ‘Mute on Entry’ – this option mutes everyone at the start of the meeting, which prevents unnecessary background noise. The participants have the option to unmute themselves if they need to ask a question.
  • During the class meeting you have the option to ‘Kick Out Unruly People’ by hovering over the participants name and selecting the option to kick them out.
  • Also, consider logging into your hosted Zoom class meeting as a participant through a different device. This will allow you to monitor what your students are viewing during your class session.

Cathy and I have utilized Zoom extensively throughout the past few weeks.  Zoom is a great option to enhance and expand classes with powerful collaboration tools, including video breakout rooms, multi-sharing, polling, and group chats. In addition, attendance and attention tracking allows educators to know who’s engaged in the online learning environment.  Zoom also allows a host to create and re-purpose video content into easy hosted videos that allow students to learn at their own pace.

Breakout rooms in Zoom are a great option to help with group project implementation.  Breakout rooms are sessions that are split off from the main Zoom meeting. This allows class participants to meet in smaller groups. Breakout rooms are a great way to replicate the classroom environment by engaging students in small group discussions and collaborative activities.  Instructors can join any group activity, which is very similar to walking around the classroom or students can “raise their hand” to request the instructor join their room.

In addition to hosting our virtual classrooms in Zoom, Cathy and I have utilized Zoom for virtual tutoring, campus hours, and faculty meetings.  This has provided our students with opportunities to learn beyond the classroom.  In addition, Zoom has allowed us to share our successes and challenges with our colleagues through weekly virtual meetings.

Do you need more help adopting and securing your Zoom classroom?  We suggest checking out these great Zoom created video tutorials:  https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/206618765-Zoom-Video-Tutorials?_ga=2.47859235.520390637.1586184035-254639170.1585840704

To learn more about Zoom and to set up your free account, click https://zoom.us/.

© 2020 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

 

Are You Ready for Remote Learning? Technology Tools to Quickly and Effectively Shift Your Lecture Courses Online.

When teaching with technology, Markus and I always promote having a Game Plan B and sometimes even a Game Plan C.  This same mindset can apply to having a contingency plan for taking lecture courses online.  This plan might be the result of weather or as we are seeing right now the Coronavirus (COVID-19).  If you are in the process of shifting your lecture courses online or facing this prospect in the future, here are some tips and technology resources that may help.

Transition Strategies

  • First and foremost, it is important for you to remain calm. Making this transition can be stressful for instructors and students.  How you present yourself with students will set the stage for a successful transition.  Strive for a smooth transition, not perfection.  Remember you aren’t perfect in your lecture classes, and you don’t need to be perfect in the online classroom.
  • As part of the planning process, try to mirror your online course as closely as possible to your existing lecture class. This will help your students adapt and provide everyone the best transition and learning experience. Check out your publisher’s materials first.  They are already prepared for online delivery, including content being accessibility approved.  When you have the time, create your own lecture videos.  Being able to see the instructor in the course, keeps students engaged.  For online learning, be sure to keep videos short.  Five minutes or less is ideal.  Having more short videos is better than one long video for both the students and the instructor.
  • Make yourself “present” in the course through Discussion Boards, collaborative tools, etc. It is important for students to feel connected.  Remember, many students believe they learn best in a lecture environment.  It is essential to make them feel comfortable in the online course too.
  • Set expectations immediately. Communicate what has changed in your course format and be clear about your expectations. Also, make sure to highlight the differences in online learning. In addition, revise your syllabus to reflect any remote learning expectations.
  • Include frequent feedback mechanisms or knowledge checks. Utilize your learning management system, homework management system or other assessment technology tools listed below.

Let’s look at some technology tools that can help you make a quick and easy transition from the classroom to online.  Don’t try to use too many tools at once.  Pick the best tool(s) to supplement the learning experience you are trying to achieve at the time.

Immediate Transition Tools

  • Communicate: Post an announcement in your learning management system about course changes.  Remind students to check the course and their school email regularly.  It might be helpful to have your students sign up with Remind (November 2015) as a way to stay connected.  Both Markus and I use Remind to redirect students back to our learning management systems.  This tool can be especially helpful for working with lecture students who may not regularly check their school email or learning management system course.
  • Updating Your Course: To quickly insert supplemental material into your course, look at all available publisher material.  Publisher homework managers often have various study tools and supplemental teaching tools, including adaptive learning plans, videos, etc. that can be easily inserted to help with the initial transition.
  • Campus Resources: Use any campus resources available that are supported by your IT staff first.  This will ensure that you have professional assistance available if needed.
  • Stage the Transition in Steps: Look at the activities you can easily transition to online learning first.  Then look at how you can enhance or add to your course.
  • Be inclusive: Remember that some students will not have computer access to your course.  Will the activities in your course be accessible to students on smartphones or smart devices?  Be sure to consider how you will accommodate a student who might not have access to any technology.

Video Creation Tools

  • Doceri:  Markus and I have used Doceri (October 2019) for several years as a lecture capture tool as well as a method to provide students with short tutorials.  Doceri has a free version if you don’t mind the watermark or you can pay a one-time fee of $30 for the desktop license and training support.
  • TechSmith (Snagit):  The TeachingAndLearningToolBox featured Snagit (August 2017).  Snagit is a screen capture, screen recorder that can be used to create tutorials and lectures.  TechSmith is now offering this technology for free through June 30, 2020.  Click here for details.
  • Video Hosting:  There are several video hosting sites including Vimeo and YouTube.  Markus and I use YouTube because of the closed-captioning feature.  Click here for how to upload videos to YouTube. Note:  If you use the public setting, anyone can find your video.  Markus and I prefer to use the unlisted setting where we share a link with our students.  We would recommend you avoid using the private setting as that requires you to input/approve your student email accounts before they will have access.  Accessibility is a concern when shifting to online learning.  Click here for how to add closed captioning to your videos on YouTube.

Virtual Collaboration Connections

Many learning management systems have a collaboration feature (Blackboard Collaborate, Canvas, etc.), or your school may have technology such as Adobe Connect or WebEx.  Check with your school resources first to see what type of collaboration tools may be available.

  • Zoom:  Zoom is a virtual collaboration tool that is available for most devices.  Its free version hosts up to 100 participants and allows unlimited meetings.  Zoom’s free version also allows unlimited 1 on 1 meetings; however, group meetings are limited to 40 minutes.  Zoom is an easy tool to learn and set up.  All meetings include features like a conference call-in number, private and group chat, screen sharing, group collaboration, and an electronic whiteboard to name a few.  To learn more about Zoom, click here.
  • WebEx: WebEx has just extended its free plan to 90 Days.  WebEx allows you to record meetings, share files and it also has a whiteboard feature.  It also accommodates up to 100 attendees and can be accessed through both computer and mobile devices.  To learn more about WebEx’s extended free plan special, click here.
  • Logme.in: Logme.in is part of the GoToMeeting family.  It provides similar features to Zoom and WebEx.  To learn more about Logme.in’s free plan special, click here.
  • Microsoft Sway:  Microsoft Sway (December 2017) is a virtual collaboration tool that is referred to by Microsoft as a “digital storytelling app”. This tool is an alternative to PowerPoint that lets you share video, text, images, and any other media to “tell the story” to your students.
  • Evernote: Evernote (March 2016) is a great tool for remote group work collaboration.  It allows students to easily share with their classmates and instructor.  Evernote is also a great tool for student portfolios.
  • TechSmith Video Review:  This is a collaborative feedback tool that records presentations as well as allows students to interact with the videos and provide comments.  This tool lets you keep a meaningful conversation going in an asynchronous environment. TechSmith is now offering this technology for free through June 30, 2020. To learn more about TechSmith Video Review, click here.
  • Microsoft Teams:  If your school has Office 365, Microsoft Teams (March 2018) is another great collaborative tool you can use to create classroom teams.
  • Slack:  If you want to bring classroom collaboration and teamwork together online, check out Slack (January 2018).
  • GoogleHangouts Advanced (Gsuite):  Normally, Markus and I talk about GoogleHangouts for virtual office hours; however, Google has just announced free access to their Advanced GoogleHangouts/Gsuite as a response to the needs of organizations affected by the Coronavirus.  Gsuite will allow users to hold meetings up to 250 participants, live stream to up to 100,000 viewers within a domain and record meetings that can be posted to Google Drive.  To learn more about GoogleHangouts, click here.  To learn more about free access to Gsuites, click here.

Virtual Office Hours

In addition to some of the virtual collaboration tools listed above, below are some technology tools that can help you streamline your virtual office hours.

  • Calendly:  Calendly (November 2016) is a simple way for students to sign up for virtual office hours.  This is a tool I use regularly and couldn’t live without.  Simply set up your office hour schedule in the application and provide students the link.  They can pick the best time to connect with you based on your availability.
  • Google Voice:  Many schools are asking faculty to provide some type of phone number to their students.  To avoid giving out your personal phone number, Google Voice offers a free number that you can link to your home or cell phone.  Markus and I both use Google Voice with our students.  This allows you to separate your personal and work life calls. To learn more about Google Voice, click here.
  • Skype:  While Markus and I have talked about using Skype for virtual field trips, it is also a great tool to connect with students during virtual office hours.  To learn more about Skype options, click here.

Interactive Assessment

  • Peergrade:  If you do individual and group evaluations, Peergrade (August 2018) is a great online tool to use with your students.  While there is typically a charge, Peergrade just announced that they will provide this application for free for the next four months. Use the code COVID19 when prompted.  Click here for details.  What a great time to give this assessment tool a try!
  • Quizlet:  Quizlet (January 2017) is a great tool to reinforce basic learning outside of the classroom.  The free version allows for the creation of study tools, including flashcards, learning activities, practice tests, and games.
  • Kahoot Challenge:  Bring the gamification of Kahoot from the classroom to online with Kahoot Challenge (November 2017).
  • Poll Everywhere Competition:  If you are using clickers or other polling devices in your classroom, try Poll Everywhere Competition (September 2018) with your online learners.

Enhanced Discussions

  • Flipgrid:  Create a vibrant learning environment by bringing your discussion boards to life with Flipgrid (February 2018).  Students create short videos for discussion posts from their cell phones.  Flipgrid gives every student a voice!

Document Submission

  • Office Lens:  You may have students who don’t have access to a computer while off-campus.  While most students can access class materials with their smartphones, they may not be able to electronically complete or submit work. If you have students who need to submit manual assignments, suggest that they download the Office Lens app by Microsoft (May 2018). Office Lens lets students take a picture with their smartphone, then convert it to a PDF.  This app provides more clarity than a regular smartphone picture and the PDF file is easy for the instructor to grade.

Markus and I know we have given you a lot of information.  You may feel a bit overwhelmed.  We recommend that you only pick one or two items to start.  Remember to use technology that serves a pedagogical purpose.  That may help you narrow down your selection.

Markus and I are closely monitoring free or low-cost technology options that may help you provide a better learning experience for your students.  As new information is available, we will post it to the blog.

Best of luck!  Remember this transition will be an evolving process.  You and your students will be adjusting together. You don’t need to be perfect. You just need to stay positive.  You’ve got this!

If you have questions during your journey, feel free to reach out to Markus or myself at info@teachingandlearningtoolbox.com.  You can also sign up for automatic notifications for future posts by clicking on the link on the bottom right corner of the Tip of the Month home page.

©2020 TeachingAndLearningToolbox

Grammarly

Grammarly

Are you interested in a technology tool to aid your students (and you) to improve grammar skills and to help detect plagiarism?  If so, Grammarly may be the perfect solution for you.  Grammarly is a digital writing tool that uses artificial intelligence through machine learning and deep learning algorithms.  Depending on the level of service purchased, Grammarly offers grammar checking, spell checking, and plagiarism detection services.

Grammarly’s online writing assistance and plagiarism tools encourage good grammar and a more professional writing style.  In addition, Grammarly’s integrated plagiarism checker instantly catches plagiarism from over 16 billion websites.  From grammar and spelling to style and tone, Grammarly helps users eliminate errors and find the perfect words to express themselves.

Grammarly can provide real-time edits while writing or the live edit can be disabled, which then only provides feedback during the revision portion of the writing process.  This option allows an update as a final check for errors and inconsistencies.  Other features available include Goals and Performance.  Goals launches whenever you import a new document and it helps Grammarly adjust its edits based on the context of your writing.  The Performance score informs a user how accurate the new document is compared to documents written by other Grammarly users who set the same goals.

Currently, Grammarly Is Trusted by Over 1000 Educational Institutions.  Research has shown that a high number of high school graduates do not possess successful writing skills. Grammarly can help younger students prepare for college-level writing.  In addition, many college freshmen are not adequately prepared for college-level writing courses. Grammarly can work one-on-one with students to develop essential writing skills, reinforce proper revision habits, and prevent plagiarism.  Each week, Grammarly can send an email recapping a user’s writing activity, called Grammarly Insights.  The recap has the ability to provide a list of the three most common errors made and the number of unique words used.

Cathy and I have utilized Grammarly as a teaching tool for our students.  In the past, we have required students to submit written assignments to the following free Grammarly plagiarism detection link: https://www.grammarly.com/plagiarism-checker before the assignment is submitted to us.  The link provides students with feedback regarding how much of their written assignment is possibly plagiarized.  The premium service provides additional details regarding what specifically is plagiarized, which we can view as premium subscription instructors.

A great benefit of Grammarly is that it works in many places across your daily workflow.  Grammarly works seamlessly across several platforms including Gmail, Outlook, Messenger, Yahoo, Twitter, Google Docs, Slack, LinkedIn, Facebook plus many more.

Currently, there are a few improvements to Grammarly that could make it more appealing.  The premium plan is not free, but it can be purchased for under $12 per month.  Also, there is not an offline editing mode and there is not support for Office on Mac.  In our opinion, the benefits of using Grammarly greatly out weigh our noted limitations.  Furthermore, our students have greatly benefited from developing better writing skills by utilizing Grammarly.

For more information about Grammarly go to the following link: https://www.grammarly.com/

© 2020 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

2019 Year End Review

Toolbox

As our semester and 2019 come to a close, we feel that it is a great opportunity to reflect upon the fantastic technology tools and topics that we explored throughout the year.  A great resolution for 2020 is to integrate one of these tools into your classroom environment.

Doodlyhttps://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/01/

Integrating Data Analytics https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/02/

Google Keephttps://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/03/

Piazzahttps://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/04/

Sli.dohttps://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/05/

Identity Guardhttps://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/06/

Integrating Data Analytics #2 https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/07/

Let’s Get Ready for the New Academic Year – https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/08/

Go Soap Boxhttps://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/09/

Doceri (Revisited)https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/10/

Formative https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/11/

We look forward to exploring more teaching and learning technology tools in 2020.

© 2019 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

Are You Ready for the New Academic Year?

Toolbox

The new academic year is here and it is time to organize ourselves.  This is a great time to reflect and utilize technology that can help organize yourself and your classroom for the upcoming year.   Where should you start?  Cathy and I think that this is the perfect time to share how we stay organized and to recap some of our favorite and most useful technology tools.

To maintain easy access to our documents from anywhere or any device, Cathy and I utilize Dropbox for document cloud storage.  In addition, Dropbox allows us to easily share documents with anyone.  Other cloud storage services that we recommend are Google Drive (https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/google-drive/), Microsoft One Drive and Apple iCloud.

In addition, a great note taking app is a must have for increasing productivity.  Both Notability (https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2016/07/31/notability/) and Evernote (https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2016/03/30/evernote/) are tools that we utilize on a weekly basis.  Additional note taking tools that we recommend are GoodNotes, Notes Plus, Noteshelf and Apple Notes.

Furthermore, Cathy and I utilize technology to convert our typical classroom into an interactive whiteboard environment.  Doceri (https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2015/09/18/doceri/) allows our hand held devices to project images through the classroom overhead projector and to record our lectures.  Additional whiteboard and/or lecture capture technology that we recommend are Explain Everything, Educreations, ShowMe, Notability, Splashtop, Scoodle Jam, Camtasia, Tegrity ,Snagit https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2017/08/31/snagit/ and Microsoft Whiteboard https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/10/.

To increase student engagement in the classroom environment, Cathy and I utilize several polling and gamification technologies.  Poll Everywhere https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/09/30/poll-everywhere-update-poll-everywhere-competitions-now-available/, Kahoot https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/?s=kahoot, Piazza https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/?s=piazza, Sli.do https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/05/31/sli-do-a-student-engagement-and-data-analysis-tool/, and Socrative https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/?s=socrative are a few of our favorite polling options.  These  student engagement technologies work great for on campus or online learning environments.

Cathy and I integrate many group team activities into our course curriculums.  Some of the technologies that we use to support the group workflow and grading are:  Google Keep https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/03/, Slack https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/01/31/slack/ and Microsoft Teams https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/03/31/microsoft-teams/.  Another technology option to consider for team communication is Group Me.

If you are looking for technologies to introduce data analytics into your curriculum, Tableau and PowerBI https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/02/ are very user friendly tools.  In addition, Cathy and I describe how we introduce data analytics into our curriculum at https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/07/.

Finally, Cathy and I try to utilize technology to engage our students outside of our classroom lectures.  Some effective technology tools that we use to accomplish student engagement are: Kahoot Challenge https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2017/11/30/kahoot-update-now-available-create-out-of-class-assignments-with-kahoot-challenge/, Flipgrid https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/02/28/flipgrid/, Google Slides https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/04/30/engaging-students-with-google-slides-qa/, and Recap https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/06/30/recap/.

We hope that you take this opportunity to discover at least one technology that can help you become more organized throughout the upcoming year.  We recommend checking with your institution to see if they currently provide any of these technologies at little or no cost to faculty.  Many technologies provide similar benefits; therefore, we identified several tools within each organizational category listed above.  We suggest utilizing tools that compliment your teaching style and that can be acquired for the least amount of resources.  Good luck and have a great academic year.

 

© 2019 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

Protect Your Personal Information – Identity Guard

Identity GuardIt seems that every month we are informed of a new data breach at a retailer, bank, credit card company or insurance company.  Protecting our identity now is more important than ever.  What can we do to protect our personal information?  The first step is to protect our passwords.  The Teaching and Learning Toolbox discussed the importance of password protection in a previous Tip of the Month: https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2016/12/31/lastpass/

Next, we suggest keeping a close eye on your personal credit by enrolling into a credit monitoring and/or identity theft service.  These services offer a variety of layers to protect our personal information.  At a minimum we should be monitoring our personal credit reports.  Credit monitoring involves a regular review of credit reports for accuracy and a credit monitoring service allows us to keep an eye on our credit report and score.  We can receive early warnings of changes to our credit and respond quickly.  Credit monitoring also allows us to detect instances of identity theft.  Protecting our credit from identity theft is key to ensuring that others don’t open credit in our name and then leave us with a big problem to fix.  When we compare credit monitoring services we need to compare the fees.  Some services are free while others charge for their services.  Also, it is very important when choosing a credit monitoring service to choose one that covers all three credit bureaus, not just one.

If you’ve already been a victim of identity theft or a data breach, it’s worth it to pay for credit monitoring.  There are many services to choose from, but Cathy and I utilize Identity Guard.  According to Identity Guard, twenty years ago, our identity was our name and our social security number. Today it’s a complex web made up of hundreds of digital pieces we share on a daily basis.  For a reasonable annual fee, some of the features that we like with Identity Guard are:

  • Dark Web Monitoring
  • Risk Management Report
  • Safe Browsing Tools
  • Anti Phishing Mobile App
  • Monthly Credit Score
  • Address Monitoring
  • 3-Bureau Credit Monitoring
  • Tax Refund Alerts
  • $1 Million Identity Theft Insurance

You can get started today with a “free” trial period utilizing Identity Guard today at: https://www.identityguard.com/

 

CLASS NOTE:  This is a great topic to cover when discussing Internal Controls, Financial Literacy and Personal Finance.

NOTE: Other credit monitoring and identity theft services to consider are:  Credit Karma, Experian, ID Shield, ID Watch Dog, Identity Force, Identity Protect, Identity Works, Intelius, Life Lock, My FICO, Privacy Guard.  These companies provide a variety of services and fee structures.

© 2019 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

 

Increase Student Engagement with Piazza

Piazza

Do you strive to be a better teacher?  Are you looking for an easier way to communicate with your students or respond  more quickly to their questions?  Piazza may be the tool that can help you achieve these goals.

Piazza is a social learning platform that is used by over 50,000 professors in 2,000 schools and 90 countries.  Piazza was designed as a tool for students to ask questions and receive answers.  Students have the ability to ask questions privately, to the entire class or to groups.  Many instructors require all questions to go through Piazza instead of individual emails to the instructor.  This format allows all students to benefit from the question and answer.

Piazza’s wiki style format enables collaboration in one place.  Anyone in the class can respond to questions and the instructor has the ability to ensure that the responses are correct.  Piazza allows students to ask questions anonymously, which provides our quiet students the opportunity to submit questions within a safe environment.  The questions and answers are community edited, but there are separate student and instructor edited submissions.  The wiki style format allows the user to see only the high quality question and answer instead of reading through a long thread of submissions.  The questions and responses occur in a real time environment, which allows students to submit questions through Piazza during a class lecture.  The faculty response can even occur during the class session.

Some great features of Piazza’s “free” question and answer platform are:

  • Rich, group edited question and answers
  • All questions in one workflow space
  • Free iOS and Android Piazza mobile apps
  • Integrates with every major Learning Management System
  • Highly customizable real time online polls
  • Detailed participation statistics
  • Instructors can endorse answers to keep the class on track
  • Increase student collaboration

You can view a short video Piazza demonstration at the following link:  https://youtu.be/2jLSiN8E18w

What are you waiting for?  Get started for free at https://piazza.com/

 

© 2019 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

 

Google Keep – Another Great Tool from Google!

Over the years, several of the TeachingAndLearningToolbox blogs have highlighted some great Google tools for use in the classroom or to improve productivity.  Google Keep is another wonderful tool you can add to your Google Suite toolbox.

Google Keep is a free, simple and effective productivity and collaboration tool for both students and instructors. If you want to be more organized, productive and collaborative, Google Keep captures your notes and ideas, provides a collaborative sharing resource and offers a great To Do List feature.

Google Keep is available for your computer on the web or as a download through the Android or iOS mobile store apps. Google Keep also integrates with Google Docs [January 2016, Google Drive Blog, now Google Docs], which is helpful when collaborating.  Additionally, if you download the Google Keep Chrome Extension on your computer, you can save webpages, images, quotes, URLs, text, and your notes with a single click.

Google Keep is visually appealing.  It uses a sticky note, color coding format for listing projects, notes and activities.  The sticky note feature also lets you pin your most important tasks at the top of your screen or device, so they are not overlooked.  Google Keep’s note feature allows you to include text, lists, images, and audio. Voice recordings are automatically transcribed to text, which meets ADA compliance requirements, and text notes can be easily converted to checklists.

Need to pick something up for class?  Add a location-based reminder to your To Do List activity.  This feature sends a message to your mobile device when you are in the location area, saving time and consolidating trips.

Google Keep is similar to Evernote [March 2106, Evernote Blog], although not as robust.   Google Keep allows you to collaborate and share notes with others, which makes it a great tool for students to use for group projects.  It is easy to share, simply add individuals as collaborators.  Google Keep allows group members to see changes happen in real time, which makes it easy for everyone to track completed and outstanding project tasks. Google Keep also allows notes with images to be annotated, which is another great feature.  Evernote is still probably the best option if you want to organize your notes in files and notebooks, attach external files, or utilize work chat, but for Google Suite users, Google Keep may be just the tool you and your students need.

To review some of the other great Google Suite tools we have previously shared, click on the following links:

Google Slides Q&A (April 2018) https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/04/30/engaging-students-with-google-slides-qa/

Google Hangouts (May 2016) https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2016/05/31/google-hangouts/

Google Forms (April 2016) https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2016/04/29/google-forms/

To learn more about getting started with Google Keep, visit https://www.google.com/keep/.

© 2019 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

Integrating Data Analytics Into Your Accounting Courses

Are you looking for an easy way to integrate data analytics into your accounting curriculum?  Programs like Tableau and Microsoft Power BI combined with free educator resources provided by the Big Four Accounting Firms can aid in this task.  The Big Four Accounting Firms have developed data sets, projects that utilize Tableau and Power BI and a variety of class assignments and cases.  Educators can start with exercises that have students analyze data visualization results.  This allows students to develop critical thinking skills when analyzing trends from the provided data.  After students master the interpretation of the data visualization sets, they gain a more wholistic approach to utilizing the data sets.  The resources provided by Microsoft Power BI, Tableau and the Big Four Accounting Firms allow first-time users with simple step by step resources.

 

Power BI - 3

Business intelligence encompasses the strategies and technologies used for data analysis of business information and Microsoft Power BI is a tool which allows non-technical users the ability to assemble, analyze and share data.  Many individuals who currently use Excel have discovered Power BI to be a natural fit.   The interfaces of Excel and Power BI are very similar and simple visuals are easy to create and import.  Power BI is a natural migration for analyzing data sets when they become too large for Excel’s capabilities.  In addition, many extra analysis tools are available in Power BI compared to Excel.  Power BI allows users to create relationships between data sources and create various visualizations.

Review the following links to learn how Power BI can fit your data analytic needs:

Power BI Introduction Video:  https://youtu.be/_OOyJfszJXY

Power BI Frequently Asked Questions:

https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/powerbi-frequently-asked-questions/

Getting Started with Power BI:

https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/powerbi-service-get-started/

PowerBI VideoTutorial Playlist:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL1N57mwBHtN0JFoKSR0n-tBkUJHeMP2cP

The best part is that you can get started for free today with the Power BI single user version, which includes 1GB of storage.  Create your free account at:  https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/

 

Tableau logo

You don’t have to be an expert to try Tableau.  To help you get started, Tableau provides free ready-made curriculum materials, including lecture notes, student handouts, and assignments.  Visit the Tableau Instructor Resource Page at https://community.tableau.com/community/teachers/overview

Benefits of Utilizing Tableau:

  • Free Instructor and Student Tableau Software
  • Free Start Up and Training Materials
  • Free Curriculum Materials
  • Free Learning Resources
  • Free Tutorial and On Demand Training Videos
  • Basic and Advanced Functionality for any Field of Study
  • Network Community for Tableau Academic Users
  • Allows for Cloud Based Document Sharing for Students and Instructors
  • Basic and Advanced Functionality for any Field of Study

Get started today with Tableau by completing the simple license request process at https://www.tableau.com/academic

 

Big Four Accounting Firm Resource Links

Deloitte  Deloitte – https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/about-deloitte/solutions/educator-resources.html#

EY  EY – https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=2ahUKEwiJ8duEg5ThAhWyZd8KHUFkBkIQFjAAegQICRAC&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ey.com%2FPublication%2FvwLUAssets%2FEY_Academic_Resource_Center%2F%24FILE%2FEYARC-brochure.pdf&usg=AOvVaw1rfm6VonL418WH8-Tm0d9m

KPMG  KPMG – https://www.kpmguniversityconnection.com/search

PWC  PWC – https://www.pwc.com/us/en/careers/university-relations/data-and-analytics-case-studies.html

 

© 2019 Teaching and Learning Toolbox