Turnitin Service Announcement for December 21st!

Dear Turnitin Users:DSCN9475

Turnitin, a plugin service in Moodle and available separately, online through turnitin.com, may be intermittently unavailable during a scheduled maintenance period on Saturday, December 21st, from 7:00 AM to 11:00 AM.

Instructors are encouraged to modify assignment due dates either before or at least several hours after the scheduled maintenance window.

Thank you so much for your patience and support

Moodle will still be available along with all of its other features during this time.

How I chose my iPad case…

I took choosing an iPad case very seriously.  As with most purchases (and especially those that involve a technology component), I assessed my needs.  I knew I needed good functionality, flexibility and protection.  I read reviews and commentary, but nothing really resonated with me.  Most cases were too bulky, too flashy or inadequate.

First and foremost, I knew I wanted a green case, and not just any green… a spring green case.  This narrowed my choices instantaneously.

Second, I knew I wanted something versatile.  One that would give me several orientation options for horizontal and vertical interaction with the tablet

Third, I wanted a spot for my stylus to attach neatly.

I wound up selecting rooCASE’s Dual Axis Leather Folio Case and I did have to wait an additional couple of weeks for the newly released green model to be ready to ship (as Elle Woods would say, it’s my signature color–so it was worth it).

The one thing missing was a keyboard.  I’ve found that when taking the iPad to conferences, I would prefer to have a wireless keyboard to type on the screen, especially in cases where there are Google Docs to work on or emails to write–even Tweeting at conferences would be easier with a keyboard.



Turnitin Service Announcement for November 2nd!

DSCN9475Dear Turnitin Users:

Turnitin, a plugin service in Moodle and available separately, online through turnitin.com, may be intermittently unavailable during a scheduled maintenance period on Saturday, November 2, from 7:00 AM to 11:00 AM.

Instructors are encouraged to modify assignment due dates either before or at least several hours after the scheduled maintenance window.

Thank you so much for your patience and support

Moodle will still be available along with all of its other features during this time.

SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT TURNITIN MOODLE USE:  A recent bug was discovered with our current Turnitin plugin within Moodle.  This has caused submitted papers with a 0% originality report result to show as ‘pending’ in the Turnitin Inbox.  We will be implementing a fix for this in the early morning of November 1st, 2013–prior to the beginning of the work day.

Busy, busy bees!


Image of honey bees in hive

The EdTech hive is currently buzzing at a very high frequency due to the start of term!

Please be patient as we are eagerly helping our many customers as quickly and as thoroughly as possible.

We hope everyone had a fantastic summer and we look forward to working with all of you over the course of the 2013/2014 school year!

If you need assistance with digital pedagogy or other technology-related course support, please email edtech@pugetsound.edu in advance with your requests.

Image courtesy of morguefile.

Updated your SPSS prior to summer?

Screen Shot 2013-08-23 at 9.04.40 AMIf your desktop copy of SPSS no longer works, chances are you haven’t upgraded to the latest version on campus.  We are currently supporting SPSS version 21.

An email was sent out via facultycoms on April 18th, 2013, informing users that an upgrade would be occurring over the summer and that it was necessary to contact the Service Desk to schedule a software update.  This impacts previous versions of SPSS and will prevent them from operating.

Please contact the Service Desk at servicedesk@pugetsound.edu or call extension 8585 to request your upgrade.  If you had not scheduled this appointment prior to now, please be patient as this is a very busy time.  In your request, please include whether you are using a Mac or PC, laptop or desktop.

If you are needing instant access to SPSS and cannot wait for a software upgrade, you can use SPSS 21 via our virtual desktop installation on vDesk.

NOTE:  Due to licensing agreements, this upgrade is only for faculty.  We are only able to install local copies of SPSS on faculty university machines (not personal computers).

Have you read about EdTech lately?

Welcome back!

The latest edition of the New Faculty/Staff brochure is out!  This is a great overview of some of the wonderful resources Technology Services provides both inside and outside of the classroom.

Learn about the various ways we can support your teaching and learning in the coming year!  Contact your Educational Technologist if you have questions about digital pedagogy, digital literacy/competencies or come visit us for help tailoring your digital projects and ideas to meet your teaching goals and objectives!

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Attention clicker/TurningPoint users!

Over the summer, the version of TurningPoint (clicker/personal response system software that integrates with PowerPoint) was upgraded to the latest edition–version 5.2.1.

TurningPoint 5 has been installed on all instructor machines across campus in our labs and classrooms.

Launching TurningPoint 5 from instructor machines will be slightly different than the previous edition.  Follow the directions in our TurningPoint instructions for assistance.

Screen Shot 2013-08-22 at 11.11.33 AM

For any faculty using the Turning Technologies clickers, you will want to update the version of TurningPoint on your computer to the latest (version 5.2.1).

This can be downloaded for free at the TurningPoint website (the website will ask for your contact information in order to download the software).

All presentations created in older versions of TurningPoint will require you to update them once they are opened in TurningPoint 5.  We advise users to do this prior to class as it can take some additional time.  Once the presentation has been updated, it cannot be opened from any older versions of the TurningPoint software.

For questions about best practices when using clickers and how to best incorporate them into your teaching, contact your Educational Technologist for more details!

Also, if you’d like more in-depth instructions on using TurningPoint, please see their excellent support resources:



There is an irony here that I won’t pretend to ignore.

My colleague and I have engaged in multiple discussions about classroom distractions that come from laptops or smartphones, and anything in between.  We have both witnessed it first hand.

I came across an interesting video put out by Epipheo that looks into the very idea of this kind of distraction.  The video is called “What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains,” and the irony I mentioned earlier, is that I came across it while engaging in my daily ritual of flipping through Failblog (trying to ignore another commercial about cheese).  Regardless, I find the content to be of value, something worth listening to and thinking about.  Whether you agree with the creator of the video or Nicholas Carr, the author of “The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains,” is up to you, but I think in a world that is so engrossed in the internet, it is certainly worth considering.

Some of the ideas brought up are ones that I personally have pondered.  I see how things have changed in the relatively short time since I was a student.  They are conversations (and friendly arguments) that we have in the office.

I encourage you to watch the video, and consider what you think of the claims it is making.  Do you agree?  If so, why?  If not, why not?

As for me, I plan on putting Nicholas Carr’s book on my summer reading list.

And if you want to talk to someone about these ideas come on down to the EdTech office.  We would love to hear what you think about these kinds of issues!

NEWS: Mahara Upgrade

Mahara has been upgraded to version 1.6!

This version has enhanced capabilities for creating course groups and viewing student content.  It also has improved options for embeddable media.

Read the Mahara 1.6 user manual for more directions for use.  To learn more about how ePortfolios can improve student engagement and ownership of learning, read our previous blog post or better yet, call your Educational Technologist!

Screenshot of Mahara website

Assessing digital projects

GradebookI’ve always been interested in assessment and finding better ways to go about determining student performance.  Some individuals are anti-rubric, but I find that it’s one of the few transparent ways of informing students what your expectations are and conveying their grade on a specific project without having to deploy copious amounts of comments.

While rubrics are somewhat less personal (you can certainly add your own write-in feedback), they tend to make not only the directions for creating digital projects easier, but also ease scoring.  Because digital projects don’t always contain a written component or something more tangible to grade, rubrics assist with ensuring students have the opportunity to meet each requirement.  Granted, rubrics can tend to cause us to unnecessarily inflate or deflate grades due to their prescribed number values, adding an extra category, using some decimal values or even additional explanation of what’s required for each point value can go a long way towards adequately assessing student work.

Creating assignments and rubrics along side one another can also be helpful in the planning process.  Each category and description of grade values causes us to evaluate the kinds of skills, techniques and level of mastery desired from the project itself.  Actively developing these objectives together can help you determine the scope of the project and how much time you allot as well as the kinds of resources or tools to implement.

There are several options for creating rubrics.  I prefer good old fashioned Microsoft Word, but if you want some additional guidance in terms of point values and category creation, try these resources:

Rubistar has been around for awhile and it shows a bit, however, this remains one of the standard rubric creation sites available.  If you aren’t enamored with the overall aesthetics of your final rubric, you can always transfer the content into Word to pretty it up a bit.

This site contains several examples of already created rubrics for various digital assignments.  Not all of them are applicable for higher education as is, but they can certainly be modified to make them more suitable.  Regardless of the grade level, there are plenty of rubrics to get an idea of what you might want to incorporate into your own.

Looking for an added teaching challenge, but one that might have big pay-offs for student interest and ownership of learning?  Try allowing your students to create the rubric for an assignment.  Come up with some guidelines to scaffold the process, like pre-created categories or an example rubric.  You can engage students in a discussion about what makes a quality [insert digital product here].  Perhaps you can have them look at online examples of a project that is similar to the one you are assigning and ask them to look at what makes them good, better and best.  They might need your assistance with the gritty details, but this can have a huge impact on how they might go about their project creation.

Image courtesy of morgueFile:  http://www.morguefile.com/archive/display/643048