WordPress vs Tumblr: Not All Blogging Software Is Created Equal

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I was helping a faculty member set up a WordPress website for his course and we were having a little conceptual trouble converting what he wanted to be able to do into an actual working site. He wanted a specific look and feel to his site, but he also wanted certain functionality that just wasn’t […]

Engaging Students with Frontline and TED Talks

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I once asked my 11th grade Math Analysis teacher how it was conceptually possible to take the limit of something as it approached infinity if infinity has no limit. She told me that I didn’t need to understand it conceptually, I only needed to be able to work the formula. So I did what she […]

Worlds, Great and Small: Using Ultra-High-Definition Interactive Images in the Classroom

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I recall when I was learning to drive, and how I foolishly thought I knew where I was going. How could I not know where I was going? After all, I had spent countless hours looking out the car window as my parents ferried me around suburban Maryland and Washington DC. Once I had my […]

Learning Objectives First, Technology Second

The stages of backward design.

[This is a guest post by Sharon Zuber, Visiting Assistant Professor of English and Film Studies and Director of the Writing Resources Center at William & Mary] What comes to mind when most faculty think about “IT” services? The person who rescues a crashed hard drive? The voice behind the HELP number when a classroom […]

Beyond PowerPoint: Prezi in Education

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Even though it came to life five years ago, Prezi still manages to wow audiences — especially those who encounter it for the first time. A welcome disruption to the ubiquity of PowerPoint slides, with their overused bullet point lists and mundane clip art, Prezi is a dynamic presentation tool that by its nature makes […]

Gardens of Discussion: What Makes Online Communities Work?

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I’ve been contemplating online communities lately — specifically, that I don’t know what comprises the magic that makes one community tick and another one fail, despite the fact that I’ve participated in many different communities online over the last twenty years. I can tell you that the magic of a successful, vibrant community comes from […]

Blackboard Upgrades 2014

An example Access Log.

Blackboard is an ambitious company, releasing updates several times a year. Our most recent Blackboard update took place on January 3rd. While there are some small formatting changes, like the addition of a quick links button to the upper left of the screen, the changes below will probably be the most noticeable. Test Access Log Things […]

iPads in the Classroom: Using Reflector to Project Displays

Projecting technology has come a long way since candle slide projectors. Image courtesy of WikiMedia Commons.

One increasingly common question I get these days is from faculty members who want to use their iPads in the classroom or do a video capture from their iPad or iPhone. While there have been a few W&M faculty members who have successfully used their iPads in class over the past few years, these uses […]

Interactive Rubrics: A Blackboard Tool for Planning and Grading

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This semester I’ve been experimenting with Blackboard’s interactive rubric tool. The interactive rubric tool enables faculty to build custom (and reusable) rubrics that can be associated with Blackboard assignments and discussion forums. I created a rubric for each of the seven assignments in my course, and opted to make the rubrics visible to students. (Instructors can keep grading rubrics hidden, if they wish.) Students seemed to appreciate having clear expectations for each assignment, and I appreciated having a rubric to easily click through during the grading process. The rubric tool is extremely customizable, so faculty can determine the criteria that work best in their assignments and disciplines.

Paperless Grading: Getting Electronic Feedback on Your Work

Here's where I put all my dissertation documents in Dropbox for my committee to read.  This means that we all share the most updated versions of these documents, which is really handy.

With increasing numbers of faculty using forms of paperless commenting on student work, we’ve published several posts here on the Academic Technology Blog about doing electronic grading. I’ve used PDF editors and MS Word comments to paperlessly grade student work before, and would never go back to grading hard copies of papers. But, now that […]