Some Helpful Posts for the New Academic Year

With the beginning of the semester upon us, I thought I’d bring together some posts that may be helpful for getting going this academic year. If you’re looking for something different to do with your class this semester, you might want to think about Google Hangout, one of the easiest ways to do videoconferencing in […]

Join the Discussion! The Arts of Freedom in a Digital Age

Gardner Campbell was the presenter at our first virtual meeting.

[This is a guest post written by the coordinator of W&M’s eLearning Community, Karen Conner, who is currently transitioning to a new position in support of e-learning at the Mason School of Business.] Are you familiar with the W&M eLearning Community?  Now is a great time to join if you have not already done so!  […]

W&M Self-Directed E-Learning Projects: An Update

Broadcasting from W&M Weather Vane

Last spring, Gene posted a call for faculty participation in a grant for Self-Directed Faculty Development for E-Learning. This Creative Adaptation Fund (CAF) award from the College supports a collaboration among Swem Library, the School of Education (the Technology Integration Center), and IT Academic Information Services. The objective of this project is to develop Web-based resources and a set of best practices that will help faculty navigate technology enhanced learning here at William & Mary. Phase 1 of this project is now complete, and this post is about how it went and what we’re up to next.

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More on Blackboard’s Inline Grading


I’ve just finished grading all the reflection papers from my summer data-driven decision-making class, and I think it’s safe to say that the inline grading tool is my favorite new Blackboard feature for a long while. Here’s my take on this new tool — I think it will prove to be a great time saver (not to mention a paper saver) for anyone with lots of complex assignments that require extensive comments.

Using Scrivener to Revise Your Dissertation (or Other Project) in Fifteen Minutes a Day

The commenting feature on Scrivener helps me work through my "zero draft."

This is the second post of two about using Scrivener to write your dissertation (or other writing project) while following Joan Bolker’s advice in her book Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day. Check out the first post, on getting started writing here.

In my last post, I talked about Bolker’s idea of developing an addiction to writing, and her advice on setting daily writing goals. When I did these things, they really worked, and since I was using word processing application Scrivener (which I talk about in more detail in this post), it was that much easier to get a good word momentum built up. Since starting, I’ve gotten two of four dissertation chapters drafted, and am well into the third. Speaking of that third chapter, I’ve reached what is always a very difficult stage for me: revising that bulk of words I’ve already written.

Five Selfish Reasons to Blog

Writing something down can help you clarify your ideas.

Often blogs are discussed in terms of their public expression … sharing information and experiences, creating a community, disseminating your ideas to a potentially large audience, etc. Obviously the flow from the blogger “outwards” is a very important aspect, but here I’d like to mention five reasons why you should consider blogging for what it can do for you rather than for your readers. The reasons below are applicable to any blogger, but perhaps even more so to academics, where blogs if properly used can become a wonderful compliment to more traditional methods of disseminating ideas.

Blackboard Classes and Help at W&M

As the summer starts to fade we’re excited about the Fall Semester. Soon new students will come to campus ready to learn. Here in IT we’re getting ready to help them. But it’s not just students, our faculty members deserve a chance to learn new things and try new technologies. With that in mind, we’re […]

Multimedia Content in Blackboard


From filmstrips to field trips, enhanced classes are more fun than a plain lecture format. As you plan for Fall you’re probably thinking about incorporating media to wow your students. Blackboard allows you to add a variety of multimedia content. From the Content section of your course you can upload audio, image, or video files. That’s handy if you’ve recorded a lecture podcast style or if you’d like to upload a video from your computer. You can also add multimedia from the Web, and in this post I’ll show you how.

Using Scrivener to Get Started Writing Your Dissertation (or Other Project) in Fifteen Minutes a Day

This no-nonsense message lets you know when you can stop writing and start watching YouTube videos again.

Getting a started writing a dissertation or other similarly large writing projects can be a huge challenge. I’ve found that the advice in Joan Bolker’s Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day to be some of the most helpful that I’ve come across while writing my own dissertation. Using her advice on getting started writing, along with word processing application Scrivener makes for a pretty good combination for success. In this post I talk about writing every single day to create what Bolker calls a “writing addiction” as well as daily writing goals and Scrivener’s “target goals” feature. So read on if you’re struggling to get words down on the page.