Welcome to fall semester! I can’t believe we are already two weeks in. Today I wanted to talk about the learning technologies that are available to our instructors. I love thinking about and working with new learning technologies – after all, I am the Coordinator of Emerging Learning Technologies 🙂 But we also have a number of great supported learning technologies here at UGA that have been tried, tested and are ready for you to use!
eLC, powered by Brightspace by D2L, is our learning management system, so hopefully you’re already using it! If you aren’t, we’ve got some great resources to get you started. Our Faculty Support for eLC page has a number of tutorials for how to do common tasks, such as uploading your syllabus or setting up your gradebook. We also have a New Semester Tips page to answer some questions that frequently come up at the start of the semester.
If you’ve already got the basics down and want to try some different tools, you could look at using video in eLC with Kaltura, or using the Groups Tool in your course. eLC is powerful and flexible, and there are a variety of ways to engage your students with eLC tools.
Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have questions about eLC – we are happy to help!
Student Response Systems
Student response systems are sometimes called “clickers.” Using a student response system, the instructor can ask questions, take polls, give quizzes and get feedback, and students participate using a clicker device or their smartphones. They can be a great way to engage students during class!
- If you are teaching in a classroom with limited wireless capability, TurningPoint might be a better solution for you. TurningPoint has the option to use physical clicker devices which do not require wireless access. Instead, the instructor will have a USB receiver that you plug into your computer when you are running a polling session. Students connect to the receiver using their clicker devices, and their responses are recorded on the computer you’re using.
- If you want your students to participate using their smartphones or tablets, Top Hat might be a better solution for you. Top Hat has a mobile app that works really well on both Androids and iPhones. Top Hat also allows for text messaging to submit answers, so students can use older phones as well! (TurningPoint does have an option for answering from a web-enabled device, called Responseware.) A good wireless connection is a must in order to use the app.
Both TurningPoint and Top Hat integrate with eLC to allow you to upload scores from a class session, and both solutions allow you to ask questions in conjunction with a PowerPoint presentation. Also, both solutions are free for instructors, but there are costs for students. You can read more about the functionality of each tool and the pricing for students on our Student Response Systems page. Still not sure which one to choose? Contact us and we can help you decide!
WordPress through CTL Sites
Have you been thinking about using blogs in your teaching? Do you want your students to create a website or online portfolio, but you’re not sure how to set it up? CTL Sites is for you! Through CTL sites, faculty can create interactive spaces such as course-level blogs, websites or wikis, as well as individual blogs and websites for each student.
CTL Sites is a multi-site WordPress installation, which means that we have one installation of WordPress that supports many sites. This allows us to manage the themes, plugins and users for each site.
How does this benefit you? We can create user accounts and sites and add users to sites for you – you don’t need to worry about having students create a website or create a user account. We can work with you to create a template that is specific for your class if you want your students to have a certain website structure for the project. We can also come to your class and do a brief introduction to WordPress, if your students need help getting started. Additionally, WordPress sites are portable – students can export their work at the end of the semester and import it into their own WordPress sites.
These are just a few of our supported technologies. If you don’t see a solution here that will work for you, set up a consultation with the CTL Learning Technologies team and we’ll be happy to talk through options with you. We are here to help!