Use the Summer to Prepare for the New Academic Year!

Toolbox

Let’s get ready for the new academic year!  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 and Snagit.

Other useful organization technology that we utilize and recommend are Future Me (https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2015/12/07/connect-with-your-future-you/), Remind (https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2015/11/26/remind/) and Group Me.

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.

© 2017 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

 

QuickBooks Desktop vs. QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online vs Desktop Compared

Have you been using QuickBooks Desktop or thinking about adding a general ledger software program to your course?   Have you heard various stories about the pros and cons of using QuickBooks Desktop vs. QuickBooks Online?  If so, this month’s blog will attempt to demystify the great debate over using QuickBooks Desktop vs. QuickBooks Online in your courses.

Let’s start with discussing what’s happening with QuickBooks Desktop in education.  You may have heard that the educational version of QuickBooks Desktop is being phased out.  It was thought that the last version of QuickBooks Desktop for education would be 2015. Until recently, this information was correct.  While new Enterprise versions of QuickBooks Desktop continued to be available, the last version of QuickBooks Desktop for education was 2015.  As educational software for QuickBooks was no longer updated, academia was faced with training on software that was behind industry.  To resolve this problem, academia began to shift to QuickBooks Online.

QuickBooks Online is available in an educational format and always up-to-date.  Some faculty members liked the transition to the cloud and others did not.  Until a few weeks ago, this month’s blog planned to talk about how to transition from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online.  However, in the last few weeks, Intuit has announced there will be a new educational version of QuickBooks Desktop available for 2018.  This will be good news to some, while others will continue to evaluate the benefits of transitioning to QuickBooks Online.

So, if you are undecided or confused as to what direction to take, let’s look at some of the differences between QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop.  This may help you decide.

        QuickBooks Desktop           QuickBooks Online
Unlimited companies. This allows students to complete similar problems, using different companies. One company limitation.  Students are required to use a continuous type problem, using one company.
Only works with Windows PCs.  QuickBooks Desktop is not Apple Mac compatible.  Additionally, some computers have difficulty installing and running the QuickBooks Desktop software. Internet/Cloud-based.  QuickBooks Online works with all operating systems (PC or Apple Mac), and all types of devices.
Does not require an Internet connection Requires an Internet connection
Currently, requires a site license or student installed CD.  Note, the 2018 version is expected to be free and available for download.  CD’s will no longer be required. Free Educational Access.  A free educational access code is provided with textbooks.  Internet-based access means no software installation is required.  QuickBooks Online can be accessed from any place, at any time.
Fixed Asset Management included Fixed Asset Management not available
Navigation.  The look and feel of the software does not change within a version year. Navigation.  The QuickBooks Online application is updated on a regular basis.  The look and feel of the application may change at any time.
Requires data files and backups Does not require data files or backups
No remote access Remote access
Certification of users available Certification of users available

So how do you decide which QuickBooks option is right for you?  Let’s look at the following questions to help you decide:

  • Are you teaching your course on campus, where students work on QuickBooks Desktop in a computer lab or have access to a computer lab for out-of-class homework?

If your answer is Yes, then QuickBooks Desktop may still be a viable solution for you.  The benefits include the availability for students to practice with similar problems, using multiple companies.  There is also a limited learning curve for instructors between version years.

If your answer is No, then QuickBooks Online may be the best option for you.  The benefits of QuickBooks Online include access to the application 24/7, from any location, using any computer or device.  Data files are no longer required and students do not have to perform routine backup procedures.  Instructors can also be given Accountant access to assist students with their work and/or view the audit trail.  Note, if you haven’t used QuickBooks Online before, there will be a slight learning curve.  QuickBooks Online has a different look and feel from QuickBooks Desktop.

  • Have you surveyed your industry partners and/or your advisory committee about their preferences?

Industry views regarding QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online still differ depending on your location and local area needs.  Since QuickBooks Desktop does not require Internet access, businesses in more rural areas may prefer QuickBooks Desktop over QuickBooks Online.  If you work with industry partners and advisory board members who have converted their businesses and clients to QuickBooks Online, then you may receive a recommendation to train your students in QuickBooks Online.  Let your industry partners help you decide which option is best for your students today, and plan for what direction you should consider in the future.

  • Are you planning on having your students earn QuickBooks Certification?

If so, there are certification options for both QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online.  Visit the Certiport QuickBooks Certified User website at http://www.certiport.com/portal/aspx?tabid=668&roleid=101 for more information.

Whether you are planning to shift from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online, or continue to use QuickBooks Desktop, there are training resources available.  Visit the Intuit website at http://quickbooks.intuit.com/tutorials/all-quickbooks-tutorials/ for various video tutorials on how to use QuickBooks Desktop or how to switch from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online.

© 2017 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

Tableau

Tableau logo

Are you looking for a way to easily provide your students with a marketable Data Analytics skillset?  Many of us already use Microsoft Excel and/or Microsoft Access in our Accounting and Business courses to organize, sort and analyze data.  We know that Excel and Access work great for smaller amounts of data, but Tableau can analyze larger amounts of data very quickly.  In addition, Tableau is easy to use and it can incorporate visual analytics into your curriculum.  Tableau allows a user to keep asking questions of the data until they find the root cause of an issue.  Furthermore, Tableau has the ability to display a bigger picture of the data by creating powerful interactive dashboards.  An advantage of using Tableau is that we have the ability to make better decisions by quickly finding trends and identifying opportunities for improvement.

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

What are you waiting for?  Get started today with Tableau by completing the simple license request process at https://www.tableau.com/academic

© 2017 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

Expanding the Classroom Learning Experience with Virtual Field Trips

skype

Expanding the Classroom Learning Experience with Virtual Field Trips

Videoconferencing tools like Skype (www.skype.com) are an inexpensive way to expand the classroom learning experience with real-world applications. It has never been easier to create these real-world learning experiences for your students.  Tools such as Skype allow students to connect with industry experts from around the world, or participate in a virtual field trip activity. In comparison to taking your students on a physical field trip, virtual field trips are free and provide experiences that might otherwise be inaccessible. Virtual field trips are a great way to link class content to real-world applications.  A virtual field trip is simple to organize and can be coordinated by the instructor or students, as part of a class project.

If you don’t have the time to create your own virtual field trips, there are multiple videos available on YouTube (www.YouTube.com) that you can use instead.  These prerecorded, online virtual field trips can either be used in class or assigned as an out-of-class activity, which make them perfect for online courses.  Many times, textbook publishers also provide real-world video learning experiences, so don’t forget to explore those options as well.

If you teach accounting and want to expose your entry-level students to accounting industry experts, AICPA’s website, StartHereGoPlaces.com (https://www.startheregoplaces.com/students/games-tools/virtual-field-trips/) provides free virtual field trips, via live webcasts, a few times each year.  These types of virtual field trips are great opportunities to connect your students with CPA’s who discuss various topics, such as the field of accounting or the role of the CPA in industry.  Participants in the StartHereGoPlaces.com virtual field trips, can even interact in a question and answer session.

As with any learning activity, it is important to have students reflect on what they learned from the virtual field trip experience.  Therefore, having students “debrief” as soon as possible after the virtual field trip, helps students link their field trip take-aways to classroom content.

Whether you are looking for opportunities that allow your students to engage with industry experts or experience the real-world first hand, virtual field trips are an excellent way to enhance the classroom learning experience. For some additional tips on how to use Skype for virtual field trips, visit Microsoft Education at https://education.microsoft.com/courses-and-resources/courses/virtual-field-trips-with-skype-in-the-classroom.

 

 

Don’t Use Technology Without a Backup Plan

Cathy and I promote and use a lot of technology on a daily basis. Whether we are on the road presenting at a conference or utilizing technology in our classrooms to engage our students, we ALWAYS have a Backup Plan for the unfortunate event of when our technology fails. The question is not “if” we will encounter technology issues, but “when” will our technology fail? For several years, Cathy and I have promoted technology use within the classroom to increase student engagement, but we always encourage an environment of being prepared for technology failure with a solid backup plan.

How would you react if technology failed in your classroom? Our philosophy is that “the show must go on”, therefore, having a paper backup copy or reverting to a group textbook exercise can insure that your classroom momentum is not stalled when technology fails. Typically, students do not demand instructors to be technology experts, but they do have an expectation that we will not panic, but rather adjust to unforeseen technology issues. Each time that Cathy and I enter a classroom or presentation situation, we always have a “Plan B” in our back pocket.

Cathy and I have had to react to technology failures within our classrooms (even once during a faculty evaluation classroom visit). In addition, we have had to respond to technology disasters when presenting at conferences. Throughout the years, internet failures, lack of cell phone / hot spot service, app crashes and equipment breakdowns have afflicted us. Having video clips downloaded and web screen shots imbedded into our presentation materials have aided in a smooth presentation. In addition, having a presentation file backup is a requirement before we hit the road or enter the classroom.

No one can fully anticipate every possible technology failure, but entering a presentation situation with a “Backup Plan” can provide you with the confidence to react quickly and deliver a great lecture.

© 2017 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

Quizlet

quizlet

If you are looking for a great, interactive study tool that can reinforce basic concepts, both in and out of the classroom, Quizlet may be just the tool.  Quizlet is a gamification technology-based study tool that students can use anyplace, anytime.  Quizlet engages all types of learners, and its multi-language capability makes it the perfect study companion for ESL students.

Don’t have computers in your classroom?  No problem!  Quizlet provides six types of PDF printing formats (tables, glossary, small or large flashcard sheets and index cards), which lets you turn any Quizlet into a paper/pencil activity. You can even embed a Quizlet QR Code in your handouts, so that students can access the activity later from their smart phone, or tablet. Quizlet’s free IOS and Android mobile apps allow students to connect from anywhere, on any device, 24/7.

Best of all, Quizlet’s basic application is free.  The free version allows for the creation of study tools; including flashcards, learning activities, practice tests and games.  For instructors, Quizlet requires very little set up time, yet the adaptive learning technology provides students with hours of practice. Quizlet is also easy to share.  Simply embed the Quizlet URL or QR Code into your learning management system.

Getting started with Quizlet is as simple as 1-2-3.  First, create an account using your email, Facebook log on or Google account.  Second, create a learning set or import existing information from any Word, Excel or Google Docs file.  Third, establish your permissions and privacy settings, then your Quizlet is ready to use.

Don’t have time to create a Quizlet?  Then assign this task to your students.  Simply set up a class or groups, then give student participant’s permission to create or edit a Quizlet.

If you are looking to track student progress, or enhance a Quizlet with images or audio, then you can upgrade to the paid version of Quizlet for a slight fee.  The paid version also allows you to use Quizlet Live, which is an enhanced, collaborative learning tool.

For more information about Quizlet or to try it today, visit https://quizlet.com/.  To learn more about Quizlet Live, visit https://quizlet.com/features/live.

© 2017 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

LastPass

lastpass

We encourage everyone to make a New Year’s resolution to better protect yourselves from identity theft.  The high tech internet and cloud based world in which we operate our personal and professional lives within exposes our private information to hackers on a daily basis.  It is no longer a question of “if our personal information will be stolen, but when?”  LastPass is a password protection tool that can help safeguard your personal data.

The “free” version of LastPass provides the following benefits:

  • Access on All Devices
  • Save & Fill Passwords
  • Password Generator
  • Secure Notes
  • Share Passwords & Notes
  • Security Challenge
  • Two-Factor Authentication

LastPass provides unlimited password storage for all your online accounts.  Once you save a password in LastPass, you’ll always have it when you need it, therefore, logging in is fast and easy.  In addition, LastPass works great in protecting your information when you shop online.  Furthermore, you can store insurance card information and membership account numbers in LastPass.

Getting started with LastPass is a simple process.  After installing the free app, you’ll be instructed to set up a new account.  It is recommended that you set up a strong master password that no one else could easily guess, and that you have not used for any other application.  Once your account is set up, you can begin adding your website usernames and have LastPass generate new safe passwords to all your online accounts.  Both, Cathy and I have been impressed with the ease of utilizing LastPass in protecting our information working in the online environment.

So make a 2017 resolution to protect your personal information by downloading LastPass today.  For more information visit https://www.lastpass.com/

© 2016 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

Calendly

calendly-logo

Are you looking for an innovative way to be more productive and improve your student’s experience with office hours?  If so, Calendly may be just the technology tool for you!   Calendly is a great way to simplify scheduling office hour appointments with students or meetings with colleagues.  I use Calendly to manage my office hours and the results have been amazing.  Calendly is as easy as 1-2-3.  Simply set up your availability preferences, and provide students with your personalized Calendly web link. Students can easily check your availability, select the day and time that works best for them, then quickly schedule an appointment from any location, 24/7.

I offer appointments in 15-minute blocks, with a 5-minute buffer between.  Once students select an appointment day and time, my Calendly settings require them to provide some basic information (e.g. Name, Student  ID Number, Course Number/Section, and a brief description about the appointment topic, such as tutoring, advising, etc.), before confirmation.   Having this pre-appointment information helps me prepare for the appointment.

Calendly’s appointment window option, allows you to close the automatic appointment scheduling feature hours or even days in advance of the appointment.  For instance, I don’t allow students access to schedule appointments on Calendly within 12 hours of the appointment day/time.  Students know they are always welcome to stop by during my office hours on a walk-in/as-available basis, but the appointment feature guarantee’s them the one-on-one time slot.

Upon completion of the appointment process, students receive a confirmation email that can be added to their Google or Office 365 calendars.  At the same time, my calendar is automatically updated.

Not only is Calendly user-friendly, it also works with any device (e.g. smartphone, tablet, or computer).  Concerned about double-booking?  No worries, Calendly even checks for scheduling conflicts.

Calendly is by far one of my favor technology tools.  It provides students instant access to my availability, eliminates email or telephone tag, improves the student’s experience in my course, prepares me for the appointment, allows me to easily blackout time for other activities,  allows breaks between appointments, and best of all, for scheduling a single activity, such as office hours, it’s free!  For a nominal fee, Calendly can be upgraded to manage additional calendar activities or projects.

For more information about getting started with Calendly visit their Knowledge Library at http://bit.ly/2gLrBSt.  You may also want to view Calendly’s tips for managing office hours at http://bit.ly/2gK6vVO.

© 2016 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

 

 

Trello

trello

Are you looking for a technology tool to help monitor tasks and checklists for classroom group assignments (or for your own collaborative projects)? Trello could be the free project management tool to help you.  Trello is a highly visual online tool that helps groups easily collaborate from a computer or by using a free app for iPhones, iPads, Kindle Fire or Android phones and tablets.

In Trello, you can create boards (projects) and within boards, cards (tasks) are created. In addition, the cards contain lists which can be used to categorize items or track the progress of any team project.  Trello has everything you need to organize projects of any size.

You can invite as many people to your board (project), all for free.  You have the ability to add people to cards (tasks) and easily distribute the work load.  All team members see the same board (project) and the task progress (and what still needs to be completed) at the same time.

With Trello, comments, photos and attachments can be easily uploaded to the board (project). You have the option to mention a member in a comment and they can receive an instant notification.  Files can be uploaded from your computer, Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive.

Whenever something important happens, you can instantly be notified with Trello. You have the option to receive notifications from inside the app, via email, desktop notifications, or via mobile push notifications.  Notifications stay in sync across all your devices.

Trello is a great addition for instructors to keep track of projects. This tool allows instructors to create group project task templates and then share them with each team.  The templates are extremely helpful when students are introduced to class group projects for the first time.  The templates allow students to approach a group project in an organized manner and allow the instructor to monitor project progress.  Furthermore, students become familiar with how to organize projects using instructor templates, which teaches them how to organize future projects using Trello on their own.

Begin using Trello for free today and discover how easy it can be to track your collaborative projects.  For more information visit https://trello.com/

© 2016 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

 

Padlet

padlet

Looking for a versatile, collaborative technology tool you can add to your Teaching and Learning Toolbox?  Padlet may be just the tool.  Padlet is an electronic multimedia wiki that resembles post-it notes or “pinning” activities similar to Pinterest.  It is a great tool for your students to organize their thoughts about a topic, project or the course.  For the instructor, Padlet is simple you use.  You just set up a Padlet, share the link, and let the learning fun begin!

There are several ways you can use Padlet in your courses.  For instance, Padlet is great for ice-breaker activities, especially for online classes.  Students can post something about themselves on an electronic sticky note, add a picture and then other students can post reply comments by attaching an electronic sticky note to the original post.  I’ve also used Padlet in my courses to introduce a new concept.  Students can research the topic, and post additional information to the main topic note.  Padlet also works great for exam reviews.  The instructor can post review questions for students to answer or a student can post questions they may have about an exam topic for peer-to-peer tutoring.   If you assign group projects, Padlet allows students to easily mind map concepts and organize their project before getting started.  Sharing options include text notes, voice recordings, photos, documents and/or hyperlinks.  Sharing Padlets is exceptionally easy.  Students can connect through a shared web link or QR code embedded in your course.

Like many of the technology tools featured in this blog, Padlet has a free version available.  For $5.00 a month (or $45 a year), educators can upgrade to the premium “Padlet Backpack” account, which provides enhanced features and free, unlimited student access.  For more information about getting started with Padlet, visit the Padlet Virtual Tour at http://jn.padlet.com/article/252-padlet-tour.