Monday, March 12, 2018

Guest Blogger: Dr. Kat O'Meara on using Zoom

Guest Blog – ESU Learning Technologies

Tech in Application: Using Zoom in the EMLJ Classroom (Part I of II)
Making Online Classes “Engaging and Applicable”: Zoom for Asynchronous Classroom Videos

Greetings, Hornets! This is Dr. Kat O’Meara from English, Modern Languages and Journalism, checking in as guest blogger. I’m happy to share a two-part blog series that discusses one of the many useful tools we faculty have at our disposal: Zoom.

Zoom is a free video and web conferencing platform. The #1 way I use Zoom is in its asynchronous capacity: I record weekly intro videos for my online classes.

This semester (Spring 2018), I am teaching all my courses online, including the graduate course EG 790, Teaching College Composition. I admit, I was nervous to venture into the online format, because as a teacher, I feel I thrive in the face-to-face, more participatory format of a traditional in-person classroom. How would I put a face to my name listed on Canvas? How could I humanize this very technologically-mediated, very sterile format of the online class?

I find that recording brief introductory videos on Zoom answers all of my questions and worries. My students see me, a real person, as I go through the readings, assignments, and overall expectations for each week. I can give them a peek into my life (whether I record the video in my office, in the coffee shop, or at home with my two cats) and my personality, which they don’t get in a rigid online format.

Below is a screen shot of how my asynchronous video looks to my students. You’ll notice that Zoom has the awesome feature of transcribing my words on the right-hand side of the screen. This is a feature that I love, not only because it allows students to read the information in case I talk too fast, but also because it automatically makes my videos ADA compliant for individuals with disabilities. (For more information about Zoom’s accessibility standards, click here.)

With Scouty the cat
Photo caption: Dr. Kat O’Meara records an asynchronous video for her online graduate class. One of her cats, Scout, makes regular appearances in these weekly videos aimed at informing students what’s happening for the week.
 Another feature I love about the asynchronous video recording is that it allows me to share my screen. Below is another screen shot of me doing just that: You’ll notice that my face is in a smaller window, and the main information that students see is my own computer screen (in this case, I am sharing the weekly module on Canvas), so I can click around to different pages and websites and my students can follow along.

Photo caption: Kat uses Zoom to share her screen with students, so she can record her weekly video while pointing students to various places on Canvas, Google Drive, and other important places for her class.
Furthermore, once Zoom is finished processing my recorded video, I can simply share a link to the video with my students—or I can download the mp4 file and save it for the future. Once they click on the link, they simply have to sign in using their ESU login info.

At first, I was reticent to record weekly videos of myself: I don’t enjoy being on screen, and I don’t like the sound of my voice. (Anyone else agree?) BUT, after asking my online graduate students for feedback, there was an overwhelming response to keep the videos going.

One student noted that the weekly Zoom videos “help getting [his] ducks in a row,” and another said, “It gives the class a more personal feel and makes it feel at least a little bit less like an online class and more like an in-class class.Finally, the student comment about the asynchronous videos that stuck most with me is this: That providing students with weekly videos have “contributed to [EG 790] being the most engaging and applicable class [she has] taken from ESU.” It’s tough to argue with positive feedback like that!

That’s all for today. I hope you have the chance to play around with Zoom’s asynchronous recording capabilities so that it works for you in your classroom! Stay tuned for the second post in this two-part blog series, where I interview my EMLJ colleague and Spanish professor, Dr. Rachel Spaulding, as she shares her experiences using Zoom in a different way.

To download Zoom and learn how to host a conferencing session, check out the super-easy Hornet Tutorial from IT here.

Dr. Katherine Daily O’Meara is an Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Composition and the Director of Composition in English, Modern Languages, and Journalism.

Part II of this blog post will be shared in the next several weeks!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Virtual Reality in Education

Emporia State students engaging with Google Earth VR on an Oculus Rift

VR and AR is gaining popularity in education. Kelly Walsh from Emerging EdTech provides a sample of sites that educators can use with their students.

Virtual Fields Trips

  • The Arlington Science Focus School in Arlington, VA is using the Oculus Rift to take their students on virtual field trips to places like the the Smithsonian Museum (the Smithsonian actually has a bunch of different virtual tours, using a variety of technologies)
  • Titans of Space offers a tour of the solar system, great for some science classes
  • Google Expeditions is getting a lot of attention with their growing library of field trips
  • Go back to the time to the Jurassic Age (search “Jurassic Age Virtual Reality” to find a variety of apps)
  • Another interesting example was college students identifying hazards on a job site using VR, avoiding having to be in a dangerous situation in order to learn
Content Creation

  • Gaelscoil Eoghain Ui Thuairisc school in Carlow, Ireland is recreating historic sites with Mission V 3D modeling software
  • Drury University in Springfield, MO has been teaching architecture design using virtual reality tools
Special Education

  • The Jackson School in Victoria, Australia has been using the Oculus Rift to help students with special needs
  • Silesian University of Technology in Silesia Poland is doing therapeutic exercises with autistic students using virtual reality technology
Medical Uses

Virtual campus tours available on the web are being evolved to work on Augmented Reality platforms. A couple popular platforms for this are You Visit and Georama.
The University of Michigan is using VR to let potential football playing students experience what it's like to experience being on the field in a full stadium.
New Pedagogies

  • Mendel Grammar School in Opava City, Czech Republic is teaching students about the anatomy of the eye in biology classes with the Oculus Rift
  • St. John’s School Boston, Massachusetts is using Minecraft and VR to create immersive experiences
  • Penn State University in Pennsylvania is training students to do things in the virtual world as a precursor to doing it in the real world, increasing the efficacy of learning
  • University of British Columbia in Vancouver is experimenting with virtual lecture halls

Monday, February 26, 2018

Collaborative Websites

Looking for an engaging way to improve your class discussions?  Then check out these products:

Google Docs

Google Docs can be used to create an assignment in Canvas where students can edit and annotate a single document with multiple users at the same time.  Users can see who adds which comments and it automatically saves the progress.
Google Docs can also be used to supply a template by the instructor in Canvas.  The students then create their own document in their Google Drive, edit and revise it; then submit the new document back to Canvas which can be graded with SpeedGrader.


FlipGrid is best used as an external tool in Canvas.  Students can create short video clips of themselves with their smartphones or laptop and watch their classmates videos.  They can add feedback to videos and have a more personal collaborative experience.


VoiceThread allows for multiple ways to collaborate on a slide (photo or video).  Students can upload selfie videos or screencasts, or just add an audio comment or text annotation.  VoiceThread’s free version does not work with a Canvas external tool but can be embedded into an assignment or content page.

Check out our Zoom Professional Development on this topic on our website,, click the Events button.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Student Access and Support Services at ESU

Have you wondered how books are made into accessible documents? The process is pretty time consuming. First, the book cover and spine needs to be removed. Then, each page must be scanned and converted into an accessible PDF format. This is one important reason using electronic versions of course materials can greatly assist disabled students.

Here, Student Access and Support Services Director Stephanie Adams demonstrates a Swell Machine - used for thermo-heat image transfer. This allows an image to become tactile for visually impaired students.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Professional Development Recordings

Are you looking for some professional development opportunities? We have a great lineup of sessions we think you'll find helpful!. All of our sessions are recorded and you can find the recordings on our website or locate them on Kaltura under our newly created Instructional Design channel.

Kaltura offers a great captioning tool for videos, have you seen the Kaltura guide that Instructional Designer, Kristy Duggan, created? Download the guide to get started with Kaltura!

Let's get together and discuss new ideas to help you with your instruction!

Instructional Designer

Dr. Catterson leads a tour of Learning Technologies for Dr. Dabae Lee's class of undergraduate technology students. Students are exposed to a variety of technologies, including 3D printing, coding, makerspaces, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, lightboards, and a One Button Studio.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Future Economy Demands Workers Who Can Learn Online

"Why should we care if learners learn to learn online? Because the future will demand self-directed lifelong learning from a significant portion of the workforce. Current data suggests workers could have have 12 jobs in their lifetimes. The idea that they will have access to in-person, on-campus education to prepare for even one out of every five of these job changes is absurd. There will be more demand for post-baccalaureate training and education, and it will have to be delivered online."

Check out the story at: