Thursday, October 12, 2017

Learning Technologies Update

Good afternoon ESU Canvas Community!
We haven’t sent a Canvas product update for a couple of months – primarily because the updates have been relatively minor. So, we’re catching back up…

Vericite. We noted 345 users in September, so utilization is definitely on the uptick. Important: We plan to discontinued Turnitin when the license expires in early December. Therefore, you should refrain from any finals assignments that may rely on Turnitin because the license will expire prior to the end-of-term. Some of the advantages of Vericite include:
    • Easy to enable a plagiarism check directly from the Canvas Assignment page. (Much more difficult with Turnitin.)
    • Reports are non-static. If Student A submits a paper and receives a plagiarized score of 0, and then Student B in a different class submits the same paper, then both reports and plagiarism scores will update to 100 to show that they have been plagiarized.
    • Faster submission returns than Turnitin.
    • Submissions remain the intellectual property of the student and not the company. Submissions are stored in an institutional index/repository.
    • VeriCite searches approximately 3,300 open access journals and millions of papers published by professional organizations.
    • VeriCite accepts multiple file formats including .pptx, .html, .docx, .pdf, .txt, .rtf, .ppt, .doc, and .odf

It is VERY important to think about accessibility in your Canvas courses. New changes coming to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act in January 2018 will mandate that course content be made available to all students with equivalency. This means that videos will need to be captioned, PDF, PowerPoint, and Word files will need to be readable using screen readers, and so forth. Being proactive and adjusting your content now may save you the burden of mandatory compliance later. To learn more about creating accessible content, check with one of the instructional designers in Learning Technologies. We also encourage you to visit the Disability Services web site for specific instructions related to creating accessible content:  Learning Technologies will soon be rolling out a site dedicated to accessibility and assistive technology as well. (See Tip #2 below for more information on captioning.) Remember that UDOIT (located on the sidebar of every Canvas course) will scan your course and check accessibility problems.

If you would like to record a quick video introduction of yourself for an online course, check out the new One Button Studio (OBS) located inside Learning Technologies. One Button Studios originated at Penn State and have multiplied across the globe. ESU is one of only a handful of Kansas universities that have one. You have the privacy of a small studio setting that you control. You simply insert a flash drive > press a large button and begin recording. The button turns on the lights, microphone, and the camera. When finished, press the button again and the recording will stop, the lights, microphone, and camera turn off and you’re on your way. The video is complete and ready for upload to Canvas. You can even combine it with a lightboard for more enhancement. We hosted more than 60 students in September who all recorded in the One Button Studio. If interested, stop by and check it out!

CANVAS TIPS/TRICKS #1: A Student’s Perspective
This blog from a student at Northwestern University provides some excellent Canvas tips:

 CANVAS TIPS/TRICKS #2: Enabling Automatic Screen Recording (ASR) in Panopto
This tutorial will enumerate the steps involved with adding automatic captioning to a Panopto video. Keep in mind that automatic captions are only about 70% accurate. You will almost certainly need to edit them further to correct words, but it will save you time. With the new changes forthcoming in Section 508, captions will need to be at least 85% accurate. Some universities strive for 99% accuracy. BTW, you can upload any video into Panopto and then add the captions. Kaltura (My Media and Media Gallery) will support ASR functionality in the very near future.

If you want more information about anything you read here, check out our blog at or follow us on Twitter @esulearningtech.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Upcoming Professional Development Opportunities

Welcome back ESU community! Learning Technologies will be offering something new this semester, Professional Development on the Go! If you have not used Zoom, it's a web conferencing tool and/or a tool to record quick notes or lectures to students. It's easy to use and has many options for accessibility. If you have a mobile device, you can download the Zoom app to your phone. You can also donwnload to your computer. Here is a  helpful guide to download Zoom: There are actually several tutorials, one for participants and a couple for presenters.

We will be offering Professional Development every Monday, twice a day, via Zoom. Please take a look at our offerings:

Professional Development Schedule

All you will need to do to join is either use your Mobile App OR simply paste this link into your browser right before the PD is to begin:

Please contact Anna Catterson at or phone her 620.341.5107 if you have questions or need help setting up Zoom. See you soon!


Friday, August 25, 2017

Accessible Technologies

Making your course accessible is critical; do you provide alternative formatting to lectures, handouts and other multimedia? Dr. Catterson recently wrote a 7-Things article that focuses on Course Accessibility and, check-out these quick tips and tricks to make your course accessible and inclusive for all learners. . .

7 Things You Should Know About Accessibility


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Welcome back!

Good Evening ESU Canvas Community!


Instructure (Canvas) continues to release updates and enhancements to DocViewer – the replacement for Crocodoc in Speedgrader. They have completed five of the top nine user community concerns. If interested, you can follow the product updates here:

  • Vericite (plagiarism detection) has been fully licensed at ESU! We plan to collect more user feedback over the fall term with the goal of replacing Turnitin at the end of the fall 2017 semester. There are three primary concerns with Turnitin: First is the intellectual property of the student submissions. Using Turnitin, submissions are forfeited to the company and added to an international database of papers. While this increases the potential matches, the university and the student no longer control the ownership of the submission. Using Vericite, the university maintains control of the intellectual property and can download/save all student submissions if necessary. Second, Vericite is easier to set up in Canvas. A simple checkbox in the Assignment creation section. Third, the cost for Vericite is a fraction of Turnitin. Other campuses using Vericite include the University of Washington, Colorado State, and the University of New Hampshire. 
CANVAS TIPS/TRICKS: We have a couple of tips and tricks in this communication….

Course Cards: Did you know you can add images to the course cards? This option is available inside your course Settings > Course Details.

Connect an Amazon Echo to Canvas. If you’re an Amazon Echo user, you can download a free Alexa “Skill” for Canvas. This voice-activated skill provides up to 50 different voice commands. Students can check course grades, announcements, upcoming events, and a number of other features. Instructure and Amazon worked together on this new feature. You can watch a short video of how it works here:
If you want more information about anything you read here, check out our blog at or follow us on Twitter @esulearningtech.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Summer Updates!

Good Morning ESU Canvas Community!
The latest Canvas update – scheduled for June 3rd - includes several new features related to the Rich Content Editor, Grades, Course Announcements, and more.

·         June 3rd Detailed Release Notes

The third party company known as “Box” is deprecating their Crocodoc product at the end of the year. You know Crocodoc as the content previewer in Speedgrader. All the major LMS companies that rely on Crocodoc have been building alternative products in response. Sometime between June 14th and June 24th Instructure (Canvas) will release the replacement to Crocodoc. You can read more about the new Document Previewer.

Several enhancements have been implemented for the start of summer courses:
·         We added Microsoft Office365, OneDrive, OneNote, and Google Drive/Apps capabilities to all courses. These tools provide easier access to cloud-based documents and journaling. Students can also collaborate on cloud documents using these resources.
·         Vericite (plagiarism detection) has been added as a test product until mid-August. You will find it listed as a checkbox when you create an assignment. If you are teaching this summer, we strongly encourage you to try Vericite rather than Turnitin. We are considering moving to Vericite as a replacement to Turnitin and would welcome your feedback.
·         Adobe Connect will be discontinued on July 1 in favor of Zoom. ESU participated in a voluntary Zoom pilot sponsored by KanREN (Kansas Research and Educational Network) about 2 years ago to gauge faculty interest in an improved statewide webconferencing product. With very little solicitation, Zoom usage skyrocketed. The adoption rate has been tremendous with over 320 faculty, staff, student, and GA Host accounts created in that 2-year period. Zoom is used by KSU, KU, FHSU, JCCC, BCC, HCC, Tabor, and scores of Kansas municipalities and academic organizations, to name a few. Hence, IT made the decision to adopt Zoom as our webconferencing platform.

Do you want to make document annotation in the Speedgrader a little easier? The ESU Math Department makes extensive use of Wacom graphing tablets that allow faculty to use a stylus to markup student submissions. This is particularly useful for quantitative assignments where the faculty want to see a problem resolved in a series of steps. These tablets include a screen and writing pen that allows for a more natural notation process – versus a mouse that can be less dexterous. If interested, let one of the Instructional Designers know and we can arrange for a demonstration.

If you want more information about anything you read here, check out our blog at or follow us on Twitter @esulearningtech.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Needing help with Lecture Capture?

Instructional Designer, Mark Summey, has generated a new 7-Things You Should Know About...article. Take a look and review; need help or have questions? Contact us!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Update from Learning Technologies

Good Afternoon ESU Canvas Community!
The latest Canvas update – scheduled for May 12th - includes one new beta feature that is of particular interest: Customizable Course Cards. This feature was originally developed last summer, but later withdrawn to make improvements. Once enabled by Instructure (Canvas), the instructional designers will review the feature and determine if/when to enable it at ESU.


·         May 12th Detailed Release Notes

Several enhancements are planned for the start of summer courses:
·         We will add Microsoft Office365, OneDrive, OneNote, and Google Drive/Apps capabilities to all courses. We have been testing over the spring term and are now ready to enable them for everyone. Some tools, such as OneDrive, will appear on your course sidebar. Other tools will appear wherever you see the Rich Text Editor.
·         We are planning to pilot a product called Vericite as a possible replacement for Turnitin. There are several reasons for this consideration: improved plagiarism setup, much lower cost, dynamic plagiarism detection, and fewer student copyright/ownership concerns. Vericite is used by Colorado State, the University of Northern Colorado, the University of Washington, the University of New Hampshire, and several other universities. You can watch a video regarding Vericite in advance of our pilot installation - scheduled for the start of the summer term and extending through August 15th.

Zoom has been one of our most popular instructional technologies to date. In April there were 426 webinars involving 116 faculty, staff, and students. We are now up to 312 Pro accounts at ESU – 4x more than our former webconferencing product in only a fraction of the time.
·         Zoom Tip/Trick 1: Where do your Zoom cloud recordings go? Through work we did along with technologists at the University of New Hampshire, we were able to integrate Zoom Cloud Recording with Kaltura, which appears as ‘My Media’ and ‘Media Gallery’ in your Canvas courses. Look there and you will find your Zoom cloud recordings. If you are unfamiliar with Kaltura, check with one of the instructional designers.
·         Zoom Tip/Trick 2: Did you know Zoom has a polling feature? Watch this short video regarding how to enable a poll in your meeting. You will not see a Poll button in the Zoom client until you have created a poll through the web interface.

If you want more information about anything you read here, check out our blog at or follow us on Twitter @esulearningtech.