Deadline for Technology Innovation Fund Grant Applications Extended to June 6, 2014

David Lees from Academic Technology & Distributed Learning recently announced an extension of the deadline for Technology Innovation Fund Grant applications to June 6, 2014.

The Technology Innovation Fund (TIF) was established by the Office of Information Technology and Academic Technology & Distributed Learning to encourage and support our faculty in their use of new and innovative instructional technologies to advance teaching and learning.

The purpose of TIF is to:

  • Promote innovation and experimentation with new techniques, tools, and technologies
  • Support exploration of new trends for technology use within a field of study or course delivery format
  • Develop new approaches to teaching, learning, service, or scholarship by applying emerging technologies and tools

Prospective applicants are encouraged to develop proposals which support their own professional development while strengthening student learning outcomes through the innovative use of new technology or through finding new ways to apply existing technology.

To complete the application, you’ll need to provide the following information:

  1. Description of teaching innovation and technology needed (250 words)
  2. List of technology (hardware/software) and services that are being requested and estimated budget
  3. Description of learning objectives to be addressed through the grant (100 words)
  4. Description of assessment plan for learning objectives (100 words)
  5. An optional literature review or research supporting the methodology and technology approach to be applied through the grant

You can read about the six previous grant-funded initiatives and view their video presentations at ATDL’s Technology Innovation Fund (TIF) web page.

Using an iPad Tablet as a Digital Whiteboard

By Duane Glover and Karl Platzer

projectionIt wasn’t very long ago that the number of AV presentation technology-equipped classrooms at SJU could be counted on one hand. Now practically every classroom here has built-in digital presentation technology with a computer at the podium and a projector aimed at the front of the room. This modern ability to show students any manner of digital content, be it PowerPoint slideshows, web pages or video clips, is an undeniable enhancement to classroom pedagogy, but frequently the directness and spontaneity of writing on a big board in full view of the students is required to get the information across.

Our newest classroom spaces were constructed with this best-of-both-worlds requirement in mind, however, in many of the older classrooms, the new projection screen is positioned directly in front of the only whiteboard or chalkboard in the room. If students need to see the board during a PowerPoint slideshow, turning off or muting the projector, manually raising the screen and turning on the lights in the classroom is cumbersome and disruptive to the flow of the class.

A much more elegant method for integrating handwritten notes into the digital classroom space is to use an iPad or tablet as a digital whiteboard so you can switch between displaying a slideshow and handwritten notes by simply pushing a button:

  1. Connect your iPad to the laptop input on the podium using the Apple 30-pin to VGA Adapter or Lightning to VGA Adapter. VGA_adapter
    (3rd party video adapters may limit the iPad’s external display to only specific apps, rather than mirroring the iPad display, and high-definition video may use HDCP controls, so be sure to test your set-up ahead of time.)
  2. At the podium AV control panel, select Laptop as your video source. You should see your iPad display being mirrored on the projection screen.
  3. Use your favorite freehand writing or drawing app to display your handwritten notes on the projector.
  4. To switch back to the display of the podium computer select PC from the AV control panel.

Basically any simple drawing app can be used as a digital whiteboard or blackboard, but when annotating a presentation or PDF, I like to use GoodNotes. GoodNotes is easy to use, with a simple but intuitive tool bar at the top of the screen that provides pen, eraser, highlighter and zoom tools. GoodNotes also has a great palm rest feature that ignores input from the base of your hand on the lower part of the iPad screen so you can position your writing hand more naturally. It also has robust import and export features that accommodate many different file formats. GoodNotes is available in a free version with a 2 notebook limitation and a full version for $5.99.

If you will be frequently using handwriting on your iPad, you should consider purchasing a stylus or pen, which will provide finer control than your fingertip. Many different flavors are available, so shop around to find what works best for your handwriting and your budget. For all-around use, I like the Wacom Bamboo Stylus Solo, which is currently priced at just under $30.

Below is a handy list providing links to GoodNotes and several other free handwriting apps for your information:







Bamboo Paper

“Using Collaborate to Provide an Accessible Environment for Individuals with a Hearing Loss”

by Samuel B. Slike, D.Ed., Director
Special Education Online ProgramsSamuel B. Slike, D.Ed., Director of Special Education Online Programs, Saint Joseph’s University, discusses Blackboard Collaborate.

The field of Deaf Education has been my home for the past 37 years. I began as a teacher of the deaf and then worked as a professor and director of a Master of Science Program for the preparation of teachers of the deaf. My first career goal was to determine best practices for teaching deaf and hard of hearing students and, more recently, my focus has changed to best practices for teaching deaf and hard of hearing college students in synchronous online environments. Currently I am the Director of Online Special Education Programs at Saint Joseph’s University where I use Blackboard Collaborate for virtual faculty meetings, faculty training in the use of Collaborate, and to teach a synchronous real-time course in American Sign Language. Below are a few thoughts and tips to consider if you find yourself with a student with a hearing loss in one of your synchronous online classes.

Students with a hearing loss in a classroom setting benefit greatly from the presentation of visual information. Creating a “real-time” synchronous online course for students with a hearing loss requires that we provide them with the same access to information as hearing students. (Note: equal access of information is also required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)). In developing a Collaborate online classroom that includes a student with a hearing loss, you should consider the following checklist:

  • PowerPoint slides or an outline of lecture material (in Collaborate, the white board is good for this) need to be provided so that students with a hearing loss can follow along by reading important lecture points.
  • The course must be closed captioned for those students who have a hearing loss, but who don’t use sign language.
  • For Deaf students who sign, the course may need to be interpreted (using a certified interpreter for the Deaf is a must!) unless the students feel that closed captioning provides them with appropriate information.
  • All students in the class should be encouraged to use the Collaborate chat box so that students with a hearing loss can read the comments of everyone in the class.
  • The course must have volume loud enough for hard of hearing people to hear what the professor is saying. (Because of my hearing loss, I have attached an external speaker to my computer so that I can increase the volume.)

On a final note, professors should be sure to use the archive feature of Collaborate every class so that all students are able to review each lecture as necessary. Interestingly, my hearing college students give as much positive feedback about the use of the archived classes as the students with hearing loss!

Technology Boot Camp Improves Outcomes for Summer Reading Program Participants

The Saint Joseph’s University’s Summer Reading Program, under the direction of Dr. Mary DeKonty Applegate, is a summer graduate studies program in the Department of Teacher Education that provides children in grades K-9 with individualized assessment profiles, small group instruction and collaborative literacy learning focused on higher-level thinking.

The program’s literacy coaches and graduate students experienced increasing technology problems from 2011 to 2012 that were disruptive to the productivity of the program participants. Some of these difficulties were attributable to the diverse models of digital video cameras being implemented as the preferred Flip digital video cameras were discontinued and reaching end of life: unintentionally large file sizes, not sure how to download video from the newer cameras, difficulty deleting videos, etc. Additionally the participants had multimedia file-handling issues such as difficulty inserting large video files into PowerPoint and uploading video files to the university Blackboard server.

In response to this growing need for technology support, Duane Glover, Technical Support Specialist for the College of Arts & Sciences, implemented an intensive Technology Boot Camp for the literacy coaches and graduate students participating in the 2013 Summer Reading Program. Additionally, dedicated on-site technical support was made available for ongoing training and support for the duration of the program. The Technology Boot Camp and the subsequent support sessions covered:

  • Camera setup and use
  • Downloading video from cameras
  • Video file formats and conversion options
  • Resources for editing videos
  • Simple editing of videos (rotate, clip, etc)
  • Blackboard video uploads (supported by a Kaltura video hosting server)
  • PowerPoint (Inserting Audio/video objects)

Pre and post program surveys were provided to the attendees of the Technology Boot Camp to collect feedback to guide future training programs and provide a baseline to assess whether the training proved to be useful to the attendees. To view a report summarizing and highlighting the survey results click here.

With the successful outcomes that were obtained at this year’s Summer Reading Program, we would like to include technology training and direct support every year. We also successfully integrated 3 Apple iPad mini tablets into the program to replace the aging Flip video cameras and would like to add more iPads in the future. The iPads enabled the coaches, graduate students and children to engage in digital audio and video projects that enhanced their learning experience and demonstrated their understanding in many different ways. It is also important for prospective teachers to have sufficient time, support and resources to prepare for implementing the iPad into their curriculum.

Technology Integration within the Modern and Classical Languages Department

Last semester, the Modern and Classical Languages department worked with ATDL to create a workshop, offering faculty a “small taste” of how they can assimilate with hybrid courses in the future.  The workshop began with an interesting presentation titled “Migrating My Course to a Hybrid Learning Environment,” and was followed up with valuable copyright information and a rubric with assigned point values from  Next the MCL faculty were given an overview of the variety of communication tools available through Blackboard (Bb) such as Collaborate, Kaltura Media, and Blogs/Wikis.  An integral piece of language learning is utilizing class time to practice speaking it; these tools will help to fill that void.  A couple of professors were kind enough to share their feedback about the workshop below:

Professor Shenk commented “I really liked the hands-on part, working with Kaltura and setting up a Wiki. For languages, audio/visual recording possibilities are a key element, and the simpler the tools are to use the better, (as well as easy to access, such as through Bb), that’s what caught my attention about the Kaltura.  I’m planning to have my students submit their beginning-of-the-semester recording for their linguistics analysis in SPA 380 this fall through Kaltura.”

Professor Caballero stated “I think it was a very helpful workshop in many aspects.  I learned a lot about a few programs I was unaware of and now I want to use them in my classes, especially in my Conversation class. In that class, the students have to create a video in pairs, and I think the tools that we learned about in the workshop would help us get things done more quickly, and in a more useful manner.  By uploading their assignments onto Bb, students would be able to compare the quality of their recordings, and share their opinions through “Discussion Board” to learn from each other.  Prior to this workshop I was doing all of the uploading of student recordings myself, and it was very time consuming.  I always think about how to incorporate technology into the classroom more and more.  This new generation of kids is so used to it, that the transition from using (iPhones, videos, etc.) outside of classroom, to inside the classroom would go smoothly.  The whole presentation was great, as were the presenters.   I liked the fact that we were allowed to create new things on our own, which is better than just listening and taking notes.  I am definitely going to apply these tools in my courses next semester.”

Although faculty have been using Blackboard for a while, time constraints and uncertainty can prevent people from examining some of the newer features available.  After seeing these tools demonstrated, it opened up peer discussions about how to incorporate them into the pedagogy.  Faculty could leave the workshop with new skills and implementation ideas to develop over the summer.  Sometimes people don’t know what questions they will have about a tool, until they’ve had time to use it.  Therefore, we plan on having a follow up workshop with ATDL to provide any additional support that maybe needed.

Enhancing Teaching & Learning with Mobile Technology

The Academic Technology Leadership Committee sponsored their second annual Teaching and Learning Forum at the Cardinal Foley Campus Center on June 7th. The theme for this year’s Forum was “Building Learning Communities” and the faculty-led program committee prepared a full-day agenda of presentations and discussions. New for this year’s forum were poster sessions and discussions from several of our technology vendors such as Apple and Extron.

TPACK Diagram

Reproduced by permission of the publisher.
© 2012

Dr. Megan Raymond, a Development Executive with Apple, Inc. led one of the afternoon break-out sessions. Dr. Raymond discussed how mobile technologies such as Apple’s iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone mark a fundamental shift in the traditional classroom. She emphasized TPACK (Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge), which is a framework to understand and describe the kinds of knowledge needed by an educator for effective pedagogical practice in a technology-enhanced learning environment. This framework is illustrated by a Venn diagram with three foci: Pedagogy, Content and 21st Century Technology. The convergence of these spheres, representing a masterful 21st century classroom focused on essential learning with the application of sound learning theory and efficient technological support, is the target of Apple’s mobile solutions for education.

Dr. Raymond highlighted a suite of apps that, while intended for the Apple iPad and iPhone demographic, are also indicative of the functional role of a tablet computing device in a modern teaching and learning ecosystem:

FaceTime — an Apple-developed video telephony application for supported mobile devices running iOS, as well as current Mac OS computers.

Evernote — a free productivity and information organization app that supports notes, photo capture, to-do lists, and voice reminders, across all of your devices.

Penultimate — supports natural, hand-written note-taking and sketching with integration with Evernote.

Explain Everything — a very flexible annotation and presentation tool that allows manipulation of a variety of presentation and document file formats.

GoodReader – a robust PDF reader with enhanced annotation and file format support.

Dragon Dictation — a voice recognition application supporting voice-to-text transcription in email, messaging and document creation applications and integration with popular social networking services.

ITunes U — a free service hosted by Apple for the distribution of audio and video podcasts and other course materials by educational institutions.

2nd Annual Teaching and Learning Forum


Dear Colleagues,

You are invited to attend the second annual Teaching and Learning Forum which will be held on Friday, June 7 from 9:00am – 5:30pm in the Cardinal Foley Campus Center. Last year, more than 120 faculty, administrators and guests attended the Forum and 85% of the attendees rated the Forum as Excellent or Good. We expect this year’s Forum to be equally valuable. The theme for this year’s Forum is “Building Learning Communities” and the faculty-led program committee has developed an agenda to promote discussion and engagement among our faculty. Given your expertise as teachers and educators, your involvement is vital to the success of the forum. I hope you’re able to attend and fully engage in the conversation. To register for the event, please visit the forum registration site.

The agenda on the 7th is:

9:00 – 9:15 Welcome by the President & Provost
9:15 – 9:45 Video: Seniors Reflect on their Learning Experiences at SJU
9:45 – 10:45 Faculty Panel:  Discussion & Reflection on the Student VideoPanel:  Jim Caccamo, Janine Firmender, Ginny Miori, Tim Swift
10:45-11:00 Break
11:00 – 12:00 Faculty Led Breakout Sessions — Focus on Course Design and PedagogyLeaders: Jim Caccamo, Janine Firmender, Ginny Miori, Tim Swift
12:00-1:00 Lunch
1:00 – 2:00 Faculty Poster SessionsTanya Brezovski: Teaching with a Smart BoardKristin Burr: Working with Video in Class

Kevin Clapano: Online Course Development

Jonathan Fingerut: iPad Author

Allen Kerkeslager: Google Earth

Christine Schwartz: Use of Blogs to Promote In-Class Discussion

Elaine Shenk: Learning Through Interaction: On- and Offline

Sam Slike, JoAnn Thierfelder:  Using Collaborate for Online Collaboration

Ken Weidner: Integrating Film, Comedy and Social Justice in First Year Seminar

2:00 – 3:00 Vendor PresentationsIncludes presentations by Apple, Extron, TideBreak and others
3:00 – 3:15 Break
3:15 – 4:30 Closing Session: Addressing the Needs of Future Students
4:30 – 5:30 Reception

It is only in partnership with our faculty that the University can advance this discussion and continue to refine our academic plans for the future so I hope you’ll plan to join us on June 7.

Brice Wachterhauser

Permission to post was granted by the Office of Academic Affairs 05/24/13.

Creating and Learning with Video

Did you know…

  • Over 800 million unique users visit YouTube each month
  • Over 4 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube
  • 72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute
  • 70% of YouTube traffic comes from outside the US
  • YouTube is localized in 53 countries and across 61 languages
  • In 2011, YouTube had more than 1 trillion views or around 140 views for every person on Earth (YouTube Statistics, 2013)

How can we leverage this societal fondness for video within our educational institutions?

Shay David, the co-founder of the open-source video and rich media online platform software Kaltura states:

“In the education space, video is a critical tool for catch-up services, as well as for distance learning – for mothers who must miss classes because their kids are sick, for example. They can watch classes remotely or watch recorded versions of the lectures later. Video is also a great tool for collaboration among class members — many of whom may be located in different geographic areas.”

SJU’s Blackboard online course management system offers a couple different video tools for both faculty and students. First is “Kaltura Media.” In order to improve the performance of video files within our Blackboard courses SJU has implemented Kaltura, a video hosting service available from your course Tools menu. Here you can upload digital video files that can be embedded in your courses. Kaltura’s excellent streaming media service has eliminated the frustration of video loading too slowly in SJU Blackboard courses.

The second video tool is “Blackboard Collaborate,” an easy-to-use web conferencing environment that combines the best features of Elluminate and Wimba Classroom: two-way voice communication, multi-point video, built-in phone conferencing, interactive whiteboard, application and desktop sharing, rich media and breakout rooms. Best of all, Collaborate provides the opportunity to record an online group discussion and have that video file archived within your course to view as needed.

Equipped with a webcam and microphone, Kaltura Media and Blackboard Collaborate can enable faculty and students to fully express their creative styles!  “Video texts, as opposed to written or audio texts, provide rich and authentic input environments as they offer learners the opportunity of observing the dynamics of interaction (discourse modes, gazes, gestures, registers, paralinguistic cues, etc.) in context.”  (Dolors Masats, 2009)

The Modern and Classical Languages Department currently requires students to submit digital audio files for assessment, but what could video add to the learning experience?  Consider one of Dr. Zmurkewycz’s Spanish classes in which students must practice participating in a job interview.  These rich media tools would allow students to record their interviews outside of class, so that class time could be spent reviewing feedback and corrections.  Video also allows students to view the use of proper and improper gestures within the culture they are speaking.  For example, comfortable “personal space” varies between cultures. In Latin America, people stand much closer together than Americans do when having a conversation.  Recorded video of a “Spanish” interviewer getting closer to an American interviewee, could help the teacher and student to see if the interviewee was unaware that they were backing away during the conversation, and allows them the opportunity to correct it.  That interviewee could have been perceived as “stand-offish” due to that mistake, and it could cost him/her the job.

If you are interested in learning more about using “Kaltura Media” and “Blackboard Collaborate” within your own courses, please do the following:

  • Log into MySJU ( )
  • Click on the School Services Tab
  • In the “Employee Training” area locate “ATDL Workshops”
  • Click on the plus sign next to “Blackboard” to view the available workshops.
  • Click “Register” and sign up for one of the many courses titled Creating Rich Media for Online Use

Joanne Piombino, Duane Glover, and Karl Platzer are also available to assist you with bringing out your creative side!

Please click on the links below to see some more imaginative ways to engage student learning through video.

Spanish II Commercial

Spanish III Commercial – Magical Mustache

You Tube Statistics. (2013, March 21). Retrieved from You Tube:

Dolors Masats, M. D. (2009, July 8). Exploring the Potential of Language Learning Through Video Making. Retrieved March 4, 2013, from

Shay David, P. (2013, February 27). Video Technology Advancements Facilitate New Education Models. Retrieved from Cengage Learning:

Using Web-based Tools in the Biology Lab Course Bioinformatics

By Rev. John Braverman, S.J., Assistant Professor, Department of Biology

Undergraduate research has become a major part of science education in the natural sciences. The Summer Scholars Program at SJU is a fine example of a research opportunity for undergrads. Yet, how can even more students experience this type of learning and formation? Is there a way to conduct authentic science more routinely? Recently, my colleagues posted a blog entry on these pages offering such an opportunity through the Biology lab course, Phage Safari. This coordinated, funded program deals with the genetic material of simple, yet diverse viruses found by students in soil samples. I wish now to share with readers a similar but different undergraduate research experience also offered through a Biology course.

My course this semester includes student research on the DNA sequences just obtained from certain types of fruit flies. This data, genomic sequences, are so new, so fresh, that no one knows what’s in it. The students are diving in, laboriously identifying stretches of DNA which are genes — a basic functional unit of heredity.

The course is Bioinformatics (BIO 420), and the research is made possible by the Genomics Education Partnership, centered at Washington University in St. Louis, MO. I have been grateful to receive their data and the web-based tools for the analysis. The main tool is called a genome browser. Sort of like a map, the browser contains and shows visually the DNA sequence, as well as preliminary analysis thereof. The students look at this analysis and see what the computer says about the DNA. However, several competing evidence tracks are shown, often contradicting one another. The computer cannot definitively sort through multiple lines of evidence to identify the genes — but a student can do so with a reasonable amount of training.

Screen capture displaying DNA sequence of D. melanogaster.

This figure illustrates information students use to annotate genes. They must study multiple lines of evidence (“tracks”) presented visually on a genome browser and judge which one(s) to accept. The process is time-consuming, yet rewarding! Perhaps you can notice the actual DNA sequence and possible translations into amino acids. This image is from a portion of the Drosophila biarmapes genome presented in the Gander Genome Browser of the Genome Education Partnership.

In the course of the semester, the students make models of genes right down to the coordinates, for a stretch of DNA assigned to them. What makes it all worthwhile is the joy of seeing all “passes” on the software called the Gene Model Checker. I find it rewarding to witness those moments. Much of this work is done on PCs in Science Center Room 209, but many of the students get set up on their own laptops so they have a personalized portable bioinformatics work station.

Most students share their results in oral presentations to their classmates at the end of the semester. Those of you coming to the Sigma Xi Research Symposium can see the results of three students who are presenting their findings in a poster there. Indeed, they will have gone the full journey of conducting research and presenting it to other scientists.  Meanwhile, all the students have the chance to be co-authors on the papers published using the genomic data, via the Genomics Education Partnership. Beyond merely documenting gene locations (annotation), these papers answer scientific questions about categories of chromosomal segments and their evolution.

For me, I assess student learning to find out if the research experience in a course really compares to that in a summer research experience. Yes, that was borne out in the past and we just submitted a second paper to a major journal documenting this result in more detail. (I am learning a lot about assessment protocols!)

In short, the work of training students to think scientifically and to imagine the intricacy of a very complex genome such as the fly’s has really been a fascinating and valuable experience for me as an educator.

TurningPoint (A.K.A. Clicker) Integration with Blackboard

TurningPoint ResponseCardTurningPoint ResponseCards (A.K.A. Clickers) are one of the coolest and most interactive instructional technology items we have at SJU. The clickers work in conjunction with a USB receiver and the TurningPoint Anywhere v.3 instant polling application that is installed on most podium computers across the campus. There are 35 clickers in a set, and they pack into a convenient carrying case.

Instant polling adds significant interactivity to your lecture and can really help increase student engagement. Polling may be performed anonymously when surveying the audience generally, or the unique identification number of each response unit can be entered for each student in a managed Participant List integrated with your Blackboard course.

TurningPoint Anywhere provides two actions that are integrated with Blackboard:

  • Import a Participant List from your Blackboard course
  • Export session Grades to your Blackboard course

To Import a TurningPoint Participant List from Blackboard (Mac OS):

  1. Launch TurningPoint Anywhere
  2. From the Window menu, select LMS Integrations
  3. Enter the Server Address:
  4. Click Continue
  5. Enter your SJU Username and Password
  6. Select the option to Remember this information and click Continue (only your server address and user name will be remembered)
  7. Select Import Participant List and click Continue
  8. Select the appropriate Blackboard course and click Continue
  9. Specify the TurningPoint participant list file name and destination (the default location is your Documents/TurningPoint Anywhere/Participants folder) and click Save
  10. Click Done

After a session has been completed and saved, the grades can be exported to Blackboard. We’ll review those steps in the next post.