Paperless Grading in Sakai

The Drop Box tool in Sakai allows instructors to connect with students’ homework using the iAnnotate PDF app on a tablet. Instructors can mark feedback and corrections directly on the document. By utilizing this tool, assignments can be graded and returned digitally.

 

How Does it Work?

  • To use the system, the professor needs to have an iPad or Android tablet available.
  • Students need to submit work through the Drop Box portion of Sakai.
  • The WebDAV protocol is used to connect the file with the iAnnotate PDF app.
  • On the iPad, WebDAV URL and authentication can be entered directly in the app. For Android, a WebDAV app must be downloaded.
  • Once the assignment is loaded in iAnnotate PDF, it can be directly marked, highlighted, commented on, and saved.

 

What are the Benefits?

  • Paperless grading is more cost effective, uses less resources, and requires less paper storage than traditional grading.
  • Students receive feedback more quickly than waiting for a paper copy to be returned in class.
  • Class presentations can be graded as they happen by marking a blank rubric and saving it directly to the student folder in Drop Box.
  • By more efficiently grading papers, the instructor has more time to work with students or focus on research.

 

iAnnotate is used by a large number of higher education institutions around the world. However, this application of the app in conjunction with Sakai has not been seen beyond Notre Dame. The method is currently available to Notre Dame faculty. If you are interested in learning more about paperless grading, contact Kevin Abbott at 574-631-8707 (kabbott@nd.edu) or Chris Clark at 574-631-7434 (clark.96@nd.edu) to set up a meeting.

 

For more about Dropbox, visit:

http://ltlatnd.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/using-the-sakai-drop-box-tool/

To learn more about Sakai, visit:

http://ndedtech.wordpress.com/2012/04/26/sakai/

Piazza Has the Answer

Students often have similar questions about course material making it is inefficient for instructors to respond to multiple emails, especially in large lecture classes. Piazza provides a solution using an answering board system to minimize repeat inquiries.

 

Piazza is an online platform that allows professors and students to efficiently collaborate in a single space. To use the system, students post questions on the Piazza site. Instructors, TA’s, and other students can respond, providing feedback much more quickly than professors could on their own. Answers serve as a collaborative space, as students can continually contribute to and develop an answer. Posts needing immediate attention are highlighted, so the professor can get to them quickly, and updates are shown in real time. Pizza also benefits the instructors, allowing them to see when in the term the most questions are being asked, and how student discussion aligns with class lecture.

 
The Piazza system is easy to set up and free for instructors. It has been used at Notre Dame since 2011, and is very successful.  As of fall 2014, there were about 64 Notre Dame classes using Piazza, and this number is expected to grow.  If you are interested in learning more about Piazza, contact Kevin Abbott (kabbott@nd.edu) at 631-8707.

Mobile Lecture Capture Cart

About a year ago, we featured a story on our blog about our efforts to evaluate two competing lecture capture systems.  As a result of this evaluation, the Echo360 lecture capture system was selected and deployed to a few classrooms on campus. The Office of Information Technologies has recorded lectures for many years, but the number of lecture requests has been growing rapidly. This requires additional manpower, time, and resources, as videographers move around campus and record in different locations. Recording a one hour class requires the time needed for scheduling, staffing, going to and from class with equipment, set up, filming, and editing. This can become quite a time consuming process!

 

Our colleagues wondered whether a standard Echo360 capture device could be used to create a mobile lecture capture cart to simplify and automate part of the recording process. Academic Technologies explored this and created a prototype cart. It is rolled into the classroom, turned on, and the microphones and cameras on the cart record the contents of the lecture. With the cart, there is a minimal setup and a videographer does not need to remain in the classroom for the duration of the class. The content is uploaded to the server automatically and is ready to be viewed by the class within a few hours.

 

The prototype cart was created at the beginning of the semester to pilot the new technology. The Echo360 system also provides detailed analytics which allows faculty to see who watches the content, and what parts are watched multiple times. Professors can use this data to determine what content may need to be focused on in later lectures. The cart has been successful, and is currently being utilized by a graduate level theology class that has 30-35 students viewing remotely. With the success of the prototype cart, new equipment has been ordered and a production ready cart should be available soon. This new cart will allow filming to take place in more locations, expanding the Mobile Lecture Capture program on campus.

Navigating Campus with Leap Motion

Leap Motion controller device is being used for virtual tours of Notre Dame.

Leap Motion controller device is being used for virtual tours of Notre Dame.

On my first class day of freshman year, I eagerly grabbed my backpack and headed to DeBartolo Hall. Looking at my campus map, I navigated my way to the DeBartolo building I had circled in red, but the walk started to feel a lot longer than it had when practiced my schedule a few days prior! The building was beautiful on the inside, but why did it look so different than I remembered? Confused, I swallowed my pride and asked for help. Imagine my surprise when I was told that I was at the wrong DeBartolo. With both a DeBartolo Hall and a Debartolo Performing Arts Center, Notre Dame’s campus seemed impossible to figure out!

Having spent a few years here, it’s easy to forget how confusing campus once seemed. Luckily, the Academic Technologies department hasn’t forgotten. At Freshman Orientation this year, they debuted a virtual tour, allowing users to navigate their way across campus simply by using their hands and the Leap Motion device.

 

 

Waleed Johnson developed this virtual tour by linking the Leap Motion device with Google Maps and Maps.nd.edu. Leap Motion is able to track the natural movement of the hand, providing 8 cubic feet of three dimensional, interactive space. Take a look at the technology in action:

 

 

As Waleed demonstrates, there are two options for navigation. The street view map combines Leap Motion technology with Google Maps street view. This allows users to look at a three dimensional version of campus, navigating as if they are actually walking across the quad. The second is a satellite view, linking Leap Motion to maps.nd.edu. While not as realistic, this option has labels for campus buildings. When the user hovers over a label, information about that building opens up. The virtual tour provides visitors and new students with an interactive experience in learning their way around Notre Dame’s campus.

 

Go to the Board, Wirelessly

Apple TVs in Jordan Hall 105

Apple TVs in Jordan Hall 105

We all remember the feeling: hiding in the back of the classroom hoping the teacher will not call on you to write your solution on the chalkboard. I know that for me, it was scary to display my work for everyone to see. However, it caused me to be more engaged in class, taking care to ensure I was working through problems correctly. While some may consider chalkboards to be a thing of the past, promoting student engagement during lectures is not. Classrooms in Notre Dame are exploring new applications of the Apple TV for this purpose.

 

When Apple TV was first being tested in Notre Dame classrooms, a separate wireless network had to be installed for students and faculty to connect to the device. This was limiting, as too many wireless networks interfere with the existing Notre Dame networks, and provide additional hassle for students. To resolve this issue the Apple TV has new wireless connectivity capability. Students with an iPad 2 or an iPhone 4s and later can connect through bluetooth discovery. The device can find the Apple TV if it is in the proper range without extra hardware or installation. In this way the Apple TV becomes a portable wireless projection system for iOS.

 

The improved wireless capability is expanding the use of the Apple TV on campus. Professor David Hyde’s genetics class in Jordan Hall 105 uses three screens with Apple TVs. This is the first time that multiple devices are being utilized in the same classroom at Notre Dame. The class has about 90 students, each with an iPad they owned previously or leased from OIT. Professor Hyde can display his teaching material on the center screen, and utilize the two others for displaying class solutions to problem sets. The screen will mirror what the student worked through on their personal device. This technology increases student overall engagement because it is new, interesting, and interactive. Like the traditional chalkboard, the potential of having their work displayed on screen creates a sense of accountability and engagement among the class.

 

After seeing Professor Hyde’s use of the Apple TV, there was a request for the same set up in 101 Jordan Hall. This classroom also utilizes three Apple TVs. However, this room was already set up with its own wireless network, and thus connects under the old method. This allows for comparison of the two methods to determine which will be most beneficial to utilize in the expansion of the Apple TV program on campus. As professors continue to explore new ways to engage students, the Apple TV can provide an effective solution. In the future, there is the opportunity to create a system where a teacher could check out an Apple TV for use as needed.

 

Make Your Media More Interactive and Engaging

Have you ever wondered how to make your video accessible for people who have a hearing problem or speak a different native language? Have you ever wondered how your video can benefit visual learners who absorb and recall information best by reading as opposed to listening? Have you ever wondered how to give the audience the freedom to search across your video and jump to the exact keywords that interest them? You are not alone, we have been wondering about that for a while. Fortunately, we now have a solution … interactive transcript.

Interactive transcript provides the audience a new way to enjoy your media content. Similar to subtitles in many ways, interactive transcript is displayed next to the audio/video source. As the audience hears the words being spoken, they can also see matching words highlighted or underlined in the transcript. The entire transcript is clickable, users can click on any word and start to enjoy the audio/video from that exact point. They can also search the transcript and jump to the part that interests them. Interactive transcript provides users a much richer experience with media content.

1. Click on word "mammals", the video jumps to that point and starts to play from there.2. When "mammals" is spoken in the video, it's also highlighted in the transcript.3, Search "fish", all the parts that mention "fish" are highlighted in the transcript.

1. Click on word “mammals”, the video jumps to that point and starts to play from there.
2. When “mammals” is spoken in the video, it’s also highlighted in the transcript.
3, Search “fish”, all the parts that mention “fish” are highlighted in the transcript.

There are a nurmeous of interactive transcripts providers, of which 3PlayMedia and SpeakerText Captionbox are among the most popular. We ran a small pilot with 3Play Media’s service. We provided them audio/video files along with the transcripts, and they synchronized the text with the media using automated speech technology. The result has been very satisfying, except we find the price to be a bit high.

Can the price be a showstopper? If you are like me, a strong believer in OpenSource, you must be wondering if there is something like that available for free. Well, after some digging, voila! Pipwerks already published the API(s) for adding captions and interactive transcript for online videos. And it’s completely OpenSource. Now it’s time to roll up our sleeves and climb onto the shoulders of giants. Thanks to the EasyCaption and Kaltura API, I was able to help an Irish Studies professor build a repository (Irish Stories) to collect and share Irish Immigrants’ stories in a more interactive and engaging way. If you are interested, here is an example.  Please feel free to contact me at xiaojing.duan@nd.edu for any technical details.

IrishStory1IrishStory2

 

3D Printing Update

Check out Eric Morgan’s blog for an update on the fledgling 3D printing group at ND:

http://blogs.nd.edu/emorgan/2014/03/working-group/

Next meeting Friday, April 4, from noon to 1 pm.

Also please note that the Library’s Center for Digital Scholarship will host a workshop, From Imagination to Realization, for anyone interested in 3D printing. The workshop will be held March 28, from 1 to 5 pm.

Mobile Device Lab

Mobile Device Lab in B003 DeBartolo

Mobile Device Lab in B003 DeBartolo

Not having the proper resources for technology can be a major obstacle for developers. Notre Dame’s new Mobile Device Lab solves this problem, creating a space for developers to test applications on a variety of smartphones, tablets, and laptops free of cost. The Lab is located in the OIT Academic Technologies offices in the basement of DeBartolo hall, B003. Students can use any of the devices while in the Lab. Staff and faculty can check out devices for up to one week. To inquire about device availability or ask any questions, email mobile@nd.edu.

 

 

 

 

Currently, the Mobile Device Lab offers:

  • 14 smartphones running Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry OS, and iOS
  • 9 tablets running Android, Windows 8, and iOS 7
  • 2 laptops running Chrome OS and Windows 7
  • Google Chromecast
  • Unlocked GSM 3G Modems

 

The Lab is unique because it offers a wide spectrum of devices. It features both the most popular devices on campus and the newest devices on the market. These are often not the same. For example, while Apple’s iPhone is currently the most popular phone on campus, the 3rd most popular device is the LG Optimus S, a smartphone released in 2010 running Android 2.2 (Android 4.4 was just released). The Mobile Device Lab has both, along with 25 other devices. This creates a unique opportunity for mobile developers on campus to see how their applications run on the devices that students and faculty use most.

A complete listing of available devices is provided on the mobileND website. Additionally, the Lab is accepting donations of both new and used mobile devices.

The Mobile Device Lab exists to serve. Contact mobile ND at mobile@nd.edu or visit DeBartolo B003 to get started!

Poll Everywhere

Poll Everywhere allows presenters to determine the current level of understanding, gather feedback, and reinforce key points. They can create a poll with multiple choice or free response questions, utilizing images and formulas. The poll can be presented online, or directly embedded into a presentation. As the audience watches the presentation, they can easily respond to poll questions from their cell phone, smart phone, or computer. Votes are routed to web servers, where the vote is recorded. Once recorded, charts update in seconds, visually displaying live results. This feedback allows the presenter to make sure that the audience is following the material, and even incorporate their opinions directly into the presentation.

 

At Notre Dame, the Poll Everywhere system has been in place for six years in a wide variety of applications across campus. It has been successfully implemented for classroom use and campus events. Some recent events using Poll Everywhere include the Gigot Center Ideas Challenge and the Student Film Festival, both of which use Poll Everywhere to allow the audience to vote and determine award winners. In the classroom, 19 faculty members are currently using the premium version of Poll Everywhere and many other faculty are using the free version to engage students in learning. Poll Everywhere is a valuable educational tool, and the number of Notre Dame professors looking to incorporate it into their courses has been growing every year.