Tuesday, July 23, 2013

D2L Fusion conference summary: Joyce

Guest post by Joyce Johnson, CPS Learning Design, Regis University


  • V10.2 – knowledge/information gained from talking to others who have upgraded.  Also, having the ability to have the hands on experience using the new version during some of the sessions.
  • Support Meeting: I came away feeling like D2L really cared about Regis.  Had we not had the meeting I doubt that we would have received the “free” refresh of our test server.
  • Collaborating with others, talking about how the system is used, managed, courses developed, etc. PRICELESS.

Surviving Your Next Upgrade – presented by Vida Barker, Centennial College of Applied Arts and Technology: The session provided a great deal of insight to the upgrade process: things to considers, strategies for mapping changes from the test server to the production server as well as some new ideas for informing and training faculty.

  • Binder – learners would find this tool very useful specifically the annotation feature and the ability to arrange content to suite their learning style
Poster Session:

  • Minnesota State University: linking the QM template into courses
  • Northland Community and Technical College: Intelligent Agents

  • Semester Start Planning –presented by D2L: the analysis of issues and strategies that D2L is putting into place to resolve term start issue.  The Change Freeze that has been put into place.  Account Manager: are we not being informed of these changes because we do not have an account manager?
  • Support: D2L is putting a lot of things into place to provide better support.  However, they have not addressed major issues that were identified a year ago (at the last conference, through tickets, etc.).
  • Rapid Version Changes: many are worried that too many changes will come too fast and that existing issues will not be addressed.  Forced upgrades because older versions will not be supported.
  • Enhancement Request – D2L stated that they should be placed on their Community website.  The more people that are interested in the enhancement, the more D2L takes it into consideration for development

  • Town Hall meeting for faculty: a strategy for showing and informing faculty of the changes in the new version. This would not be a training session, just a show and tell with Q&A.
  • Term Start documents developed by D2L.  We should incorporate those items/documents into our processes.

Friday, July 19, 2013

D2L Fusion conference summary: Jennifer

Guest post by Jennifer Sorensen, RHCHP School of Nursing 
·         The collaborative networking with other faculty as well as tech support to gain numerous tools and tips was extremely beneficial. I was energized and wanting to learn more each day that I attended the conference. These tools and tips ranged from things to enhance student learning through gamification, apps, and websites to ways D2L can enhance student learning as well as instructor efficiency through rubrics, assignment grader, etc.
·         Being able to work in the sandbox of the new version we will soon be adopting: 10.2.
How to build and use competencies and rubrics within D2L.
·         D2L Assignment grader:  This app appears to increase efficiency for grading.
·          Respondus lockdown browser upgrades: We now have 200+ seats available for webcam monitored testing. This can enhance monitored testing for faculty when needed in emergent situation.
·          Kaltura app – This will allow students and faculty to upload videos to D2L with the app. This can be very beneficial for multiple reasons such as autonomy and flexibility.
·         The new version of D2L is very different from our current version. It does not look like our current version at all. It did not seem intuitive at first and was difficult to find items. After working in it several times, it did get easier.
·         The fact that rubrics have been available in D2L all along and I was not sure how to use them. I use rubrics in word to grade assignments; however, using them within D2L is much more efficient.
·         Seeing and hearing different methods of teaching and learning as well as tools/apps utilized. Gamification is something I am interested in utilizing. The session I attended had some good initial data to support the use of gamification.
Use of verbal recorded feedback in dropbox.

D2L Fusion 2013 summary: Doug

The 10.2 upgrade is going to present a great opportunity for online faculty and students. New tools and the re-formatting of existing tools will offer greater efficiencies and the ability of users to customize their work flows.
·         Intelligent agents coupled with release conditions and replacement strings can assist instructors in providing more personalized feedback to students in a timely manner automatically.
·        Analytics, which will become “Insights”  in 10.2 will be much more useful to faculty than what is currently available. 
Meeting with support team from D2L was excellent dialogue. Regis’ concerns were laid out and reasonable explanations were offered as to why some of the issues that other users experienced won’t be problems in our upgrade. The fact that they were high up in the support hierarchy took away the concern that it was just a sales pitch and they discussed openly what their concerns were and how they would approach them. Meeting Nick was a bonus, but it also gave us the opportunity to openly praise him to others in his organization which I think is important as it showed them that we recognized and appreciated the excellent support we received.
·         The Binder app could be a very useful tool for students. Though just for IPads currently, it will become very useful to students as it becomes available to other browsers. Could be especially useful to the PT iPad initiative.
·        Approach training with a theme and collaborate efforts rather than approach in our silos.
·        The Vendors Top Hat has a student response system that utilizes student owned devices that eliminates expensive clicker systems. The pickup involves a dedicated browser that doesn’t result in data charges to the students.
·        Version 10.2 is going to come with document templates that may help with some of our current battles over consistent format, however, if no controls are placed on their use, it may only exacerbate the issue
       Drag and drop will be a wildly popular time saver, but it is going to wreak havoc on the back end file structure. Drag and drop will simplify the upload process, but the uploaded file is simply dropped into the root folder. It is very likely that faculty either through ignorance or lack of concern will ignore the backend file structure all together which will lead to difficulties in managing the content. This will need to be addressed in training.
      If not addressed early, faculty may view analytics as a way for administration to scrutinize instructors rather than improve education for facul
·         Use training to cohesively train not just in what’s new and how to use, but to also train to avoid creating identified problems in our workflow.
·        There are additional issues with the change that may create new problems, but knowing and anticipating them will give us the opportunity to assess how we can try to prevent them with training.

·         Utilize Insights to identify struggling students early and support them to be successful. Interventions can be as simple as encouragement or making students aware of existing resources that target their needs. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

D2L Fusion Summary: Vinnie


 I had the opportunity to talk to the support guys at Fusion to discuss two issues I had been working.  This turned out to be a really good discussion.  There is an issue with the group settings not copying into live courses.  This requires instructors to setup their groups each time the course is taught.  This turned out to be a bug and the support team is going to be investigating.

The second issue is with quiz categories not copying over.  This issue has been identified and fixed in 10.2

 Dr. Alec Couros the keynote speaker provided a great presentation outlining where technology has been years ago and where it is today.  Students learn much different than we did, they will look at YouTube and other resources to solve problems or how to learn certain tasks.  As designers and developers we need to start looking at how students currently learn and not how it’s always been done in the past.

We had a meeting with our Technical Account Manager and director of support and it was very informative.  We learned that we will be keeping our Technical Account Manager.  We had a great discussion regarding our Test Server.  They are going to copy all our third party apps and about 15 courses onto our test server.  The test server will then we upgraded to 10.2 and this will identify any issues that will occur.  This will be a huge benefit for the administrators of the colleges.

  • D2L Binder app available in 10.1.  This app can used by students or faculty.  The app enables users to interact with pdf or office files to make annotations.  Files can be downloaded from Dropbox, Skydrive or the D2L Learning Environment.  Users can work on files online or offline.  Work can be sent back to the cloud
  • Kaltura D2L Integration – The integration has been improved in 10.1.  Users can now upload and embed video from with the insert stuff menu.
  • Kaltura app – They have an early beta app allowing admins, students and faculty to upload videos to D2L with the app.  Stay tuned for the app this fall.

·         Respondus monitor – Respondus integrates with lockdown browser to add webcam and video technology for proctoring students not present in the classroom.  Regis currently has 200 available seats with Lockdown browser.
·         I attended a session on delivering an environmental course on the Ipad.  The presenter said the IT department had to make some upgrades to the network infrastructure to support the increase in Ipad usage on the network.  This was surprising and makes me think if we need to make any upgrades to our network.
·         Uploading documents to D2L from the Ipad has been unavailable with the exception of pictures from the Ipad camera.  I had the opportunity to talk one of the support folks and he said the reason is how the IOS operating system is set up.  Apple would need to modify the coding in the operating system or an app would need to be developed.  The Samsung Galaxy tablet does not have this issue.
·         I attended a session on mobile and the use of apps.  The presenter provided us some development that I want to investigate to determine if its applicable for Regis.  The apps are Appcelerator and Sencha.  For experienced developers Jquery mobile is one that should be investigated.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Get more out of Google Search by using operators

Hack College recently published a Google infographic titled Get More out of Google. The infographic defines a number of operators for refining Google search results. The operators can greatly reduce the number of results in a search query.

Here are some of the more commonly used operators. Note that operators can be strung together by separating each operator with a space.

Operator Use Example Result
site: Only searches the specified site pages site:regis.edu Only regis.edu sites are included
" " Searches for the exact phrase "service learning" Returns only phrases that include "service learning"
- Excludes the term -CPS Excluded all results with CPS
filetype: Searches only for the specified doc type filetype:jpg Returns only jpg image files
~ Includes words related to the primary search word ~college Also returns related terms such as 'university' and 'higher education'
intitle: Shows only results with the specified word in the title intitle:learning technologies Returns results with the phrase 'learning technologies' in the page title
.. Specifies a time range 2009..2011 Shows only results between 2009 and 2011
* Wild card *technologies Includes learning technologies, instructional technologies, information technologies, etc.

The complete infographic also includes tips for using Google Scholar, keyboard shortcuts, word definition searches, and more. The infographic is published under a Creative Commons license and can be shared with others by following the Hack College attribution instructions, located at the bottom of the infographic web page.