August 21, 2017

Summer 2017 announcement from Instructional Technology

Instructional Technology made a few changes over the summer, which we’ve outlined below.

As always, if you’re considering using technology in your coursework this semester, please feel free to reach out to Jason Simms, Instructional Technologist, at (610) 330-5632 or simms@lafayette.edu for a consultation. If you have any questions what the Instructional Technology team can do for you, please reach out to anyone of us, but you’re always welcome to contact Jason Alley, Director, Instructional Technology at (610) 330-5884 or alleyj@lafayette.edu.

Now, onto the updates…

Smart Classrooms

  • All smart classroom computers were replaced with machines running Windows 10. These computers also support extended desktop, though the default behavior will be to mirror one’s display. If you wish to use extended desktop, you will need to update the display settings on the classroom computer.
  • If the computer is displaying the Windows desktop picture, click the mouse or press the  Escape key to bring up the login prompt.
  • This summer, ITS replaced the smart classroom equipment to use the digital standard in Ramer History House, Kirby Law, Simon Center, Scott Hall 104, and the classrooms in Skillman Library. All smart classrooms have been updated except for the three remaining in the Williams Center for the Arts.
  • Logitech R400Each year, a significant number of the wireless presentation clickers go missing in the classrooms. Rather than continuing to replace these year-after-year, we removed these devices from the classrooms. For those interested in using them, we recommend purchasing the Logitech Wireless Presenter R400 for use in the classroom as well as for use at conferences though you’re certainly not limited to purchasing this model. If you have questions about these devices, please contact E.J. Hudock at hudocke@lafayette.edu or (610) 330-5869.
  • You will see a new face this year should you need to click the “Help” button on the touch panel in a smart classroom. On August 21, Mark Bomgardner started as our AV Support Technician. Should you ever find yourself in a misbehaving smart classroom, we encourage you to press the “Help” button and Mark will be there as quickly as he can to assist. For assistance using the smart classroom equipment, please contact the Help Desk at help@lafayette.edu or (610) 330-5505.

Moodle

This summer ITS upgraded Moodle from version 3.1 to 3.3. Some new features include:

  • Example of the Moodle course overviewA new Course overview block was introduced on the Moodle dashboard/home page organizing courses into three categories: In progress, Future, and Past. This block also contains a Timeline of dates allowing instructors and students to see a snapshot of due dates.
  • The annotation tool is back when grading assignments! There were about a dozen instructors using this feature before we needed to disable it last academic year due to a bug with the tool. Additionally, comments now default to a collapsed view until one clicks the comment to reveal it.
  • For graded items, instructors now can set a “grade by” date. Further, instructors can set the types of files they’re willing to accept for an assignment (e.g., only permit students to upload PDFs for an assignment).
  • Like documents, instructors can now drag-and-drop media (e.g., MP3s) directly to the course page with editing turned on.
  • Activities now have the ability to be hidden to students, but can still be made accessible with the URL. This is helpful when an instructor creates a number of quizzes, but to help reduce clutter on the course home page, would like students to access these quizzes from a single page.
  • Most all text input areas in Moodle now support emojis. Emoji thumbs up

Other notable changes

Office 365 and Adobe Creative Cloud

  • Office 2016 logoThis summer, ITS began installing the newest version of Microsoft Office, Office 2016, for both PC and Mac. Office 2016 is installed in the labs and User Services will continue to install Office 2016 on faculty and staff computers. Employees may also install Office 2016 and use the Office 365 ecosystem on up to five personal devices.
  • Adobe Creative Cloud logoThis August, ITS upgraded its Adobe license to Adobe Creative Cloud. Adobe Creative Cloud is installed in the labs and faculty and staff wishing to have it installed on their College-owned computer should contact the Help Desk. Our license does not permit Adobe Creative Cloud to be installed on personal devices.

An updated faculty FAQ

Web Community of Practice and monthly workshops

  • The Web Community of Practice will meet monthly beginning Wednesday, September 13. Lunch will be provided and attendees will have an opportunity to learn about web-related topics such as web accessibility, writing in such a way to ensure your web pages are found by search engines, and how to use the Lafayette WordPress theme.
  • This year, each Web Community of Practice meeting will be followed later by a related workshop. To kick things off this year, the first workshop will focus on using Qualtrics and is scheduled for Wednesday, August 23 from noon to 1:30 p.m. with Greta Brubaker, Technology Training Coordinator. Lunch will be provided so please register if you’re interested in attending.