Archives - Staff Pick of the Week




December 4 2017 - Community based learning syllabi


Interested in the idea of community based learning, but unclear about what it really looks like in practice?  The national Campus Compact maintains a rich database of syllabi from classes that feature community based learning.  The database is easy to browse by topic, discipline, institution type, or issue area and can be a great resource when developing a new class - or when considering changes to an existing class.


Visit the database via:–type/syllabi/


November 27, 2017 - Stop Motion Studio


Stop Motion Studio will assist you in creating terrific stop action movies with a plethora of unique features.  Like the frame-by-frame editor, the timeline, the sound editor, green screen, various export options and more... It's simple to use, it's deceptively powerful, and it's a ton of fun.


The following features are available on Stop Motion Studio:


  • Green screen allows you to change the background of your scene.
  • Paint lets you color your movie directly on the image with multiple paint tools.
  • Movie Effects can stylize your movie and add creativity.
  • Image editor offers the ability to crop, rotate or mirror the image.
  • Magic eraser removes unwanted parts of the image.  For example a string used to hang objects can now disappear.
  • Sound Effects are readily available with more than 40 music and sound samples.
  • Frame by Frame editor shows you all the images you captured in chronological order and lets you copy, paste, insert and much more.


Stop Motion Studio is designed for iOS, Android, Mac and Windows.  Cost varies on platform.



November 13 & 20, 2017 - Poodll


Poodll is a new plugin for Moodle that integrates interactive content directly into your Moodle course. Faculty can create quick audio feedback or instructions to students, or create language learning content and resources directly in Moodle. Students can record audio responses as assignment submissions, responses to questions, or database entries.


Poodll also has an HTML editor that allows faculty and students to draw or annotate. Faculty can create hand-drawn examples of questions or provide hand-written feedback. Students can respond to assignments and questions using hand-drawn responses.


Each of these settings is customizable for each course and each assignment or Moodle activity. Many of these options are not enabled by default, but are easily turned on through assignment settings, for example. The HTML editor is always available to both faculty and students.


If you have any questions, want to learn more about Poodll, or would like a demonstration of the new software, please contact



November 6, 2017 - Active Learning in the Age of Classroom Cellphones


The Business Dictionary ( defines active learning as “an educational process where students become vigorously engaged in assimilating the material being taught rather than absorbing it passively in a lecture format.”


As many of you know, there are two distinctive camps on many college campuses when it comes to active learning, and the use of cellphones/mobile devices in the classroom.  There are some professors that encourage the use of cellphones/mobile devices in their classrooms, and then there are those that have a strict policy against their use.  In Aubree Evans article, you will read about her own experiences with active learning, both in her classroom, and in the world in general.


Click here to view the article


Evans, Aubree. “Study Tips Backed by Science.” Inside Higher Ed, 11 July 2017,



October 30, 2017 - Teaching responsibility and benevolence


In a time when the political landscape feels uncertain, it can be difficult to know how to approach current events in the classroom.  In this article from the website Teaching Tolerance, Shanta Robinson reflects on the importance of helping students develop a sense of responsibility for what is happening in our country.  Her reflections on the meaning of benevolence and the importance of teaching students to be critical consumers of information are particularly thought-provoking.



October 23, 2017 - 5 things you didn't know you could do with Zoom

Click here for a printable version with images


1. Schedule meetings with your PMI (Personal Meeting ID)


For quick connections, users can set a Static ID for instant meetings.

• Login to and navigate to your profile.

o Click edit next to your Personal Meeting ID and Check the box for “Use this ID for instant Meetings”

*If you’ve given your PMI to many people and use the instant meeting feature regularly, you may want to lock the meeting. To lock the meeting after attendees are in, click Participants, then click on More at the bottom of the Participant list panel and click Lock Meeting. Remember to Unlock it to allow additional attendees in.

• Click Save Changes.


NOTE: If you have a Pro account, you have the ability to edit the PMI. You may wish to make this your phone number or something easy to remember. *Basic users can host unlimited 1:1 meetings (group meetings of 3 or more participants are limited to 40 minutes) **Pro users can host unlimited 1:1 and group meetings. If you need to request a Pro account, please contact Kristi Burch.


2. Share a Video Clip with Audio

• Select screen share on your PC or Mac

• Then select the desktop

• Click optimize for full-screen video clip (recommended)

• Click share screen

• Go full screen in your video clip (recommended)


3. Co-Annotate and Remote Control

Once you’ve connected to the meeting, you have options to:

• Make others the host

o Click on Manage Participants

o Click More on the participant you wish to grant control

o Click Make host – that user will now have full control of the meeting.

• Give control of your screen to any participant

o Participants may request control of your mouse and keyboard to remote control your machine for remote support. You must grant them access in order for this to happen.

• Co-annotate any document or whiteboard using screen share

o By default, anyone in the meeting can annotate a shared document or screen through screen sharing. You can disable attendee annotation under … More

o Click the Annotate button to begin annotating a document or screen.

o You will then get additional options and tools for annotating:

o To end annotation click the red X.


4. Chat with Coworkers

Zoom has a built-in Instant Messaging service, which can be accessed both in-meeting and as a stand-alone feature. Through the Zoom app, you can search for and chat with other Zoom users directly through the application.


In meeting - Click the Chat button at the bottom of the meeting window.

A chat window will open to the side of the meeting window and allow chats between all participants or between individual participants in the meeting.


Stand-alone – Click the Contacts or Chat tab in your Zoom application to begin chatting.

• Click New Chat to begin a new chat with someone. A new chat window will open.

• Start typing someone’s name in the To field to begin a new chat.


5. Use Zoom for Lecture Capture

Zoom is a handy lecture capture tool due to its ability to both record and share the screen.


You can easily record your class audio and video following a few simple steps:

1. Open Zoom and Login

• Open Zoom and click login.

• Click login using SSO authentication.

• Type centre for the domain. Click Continue.

• Login using your Centre username and password

2. Start the Meeting

• Click orange Start with Video button (if you’re only using Audio, click Start without Video)

• Click the green Join Audio Conference by Computer button

• Ensure correct webcam/microphone is selected for your purposes by clicking the arrow next to video and/or audio. *Now would be a good time to connect your webcam and tripod setup if you don’t have one connected already.

3. Share Screen

• If you plan to share a PowerPoint or other document, go ahead an open that now.

• Click the green Share Screen button

• Select the PowerPoint or other document/window to share then click the blue Share Screen button.


4. Recording Lecture

• You’re ready to go. To begin recording, click Alt + R. (To stop recording you’ll click Alt + R again)

• If you’ve already shared your screen, you can also navigate to the …More under the navigation tools at the top of the screen and click Record.

• If you have not shared your screen yet, the record button will be at the bottom of the screen.

• When you are finished you can click stop recording, click Alt + R again, or simply click End Meeting.

• The recording will be converted to an .mp4 file and automatically saved to your U: drive under My Documents\Zoom\timedatestampfolder\zoom_0.mp4.

5. Archiving/Accessing Lecture

• We recommend uploading recorded lectures to Ensemble for easy linking to Moodle for student access. You can also email or share the link with students directly.

• If you do not already have an Ensemble library, please contact the CTL to setup one for you.

• If you need help uploading files to your library or linking to Moodle, please contact the CTL.



October 16, 2017 - Pinnacle Studio


For those of you who are PC only and don’t want to use Windows Movie Maker, Pinnacle Studio may just be for you.  Sony Vegas is another quality software for PC but the price is a little higher.  Pinnacle Studio 21 can be used with Windows 7-10.


Pinnacle offers users the ability to edit HD and 4K video, apply transitions and text and export those files to burn to disc (DVD or Blu Ray) or video files.  Although some users have complained about long install times and resource heavy, it is a reliable software that has been around since 2005.  Depending on the version you go with you can add:  paint effects, morph transitions and up to 2,000 + effects, titles and templates just to name a few.


Definitely worth a try and it may become that non-linear editing system that is your go to for your PC.  Pricing range is $59.95, $99.95 and $129.95.  If you look online you might be able to find a free ware older version of Pinnacle Studio to try out and see if it is the editing app for you.



October 2 & 9, 2017 - From Passive Audience to Active Learning:  Engaging the Class in Team Presentations


You’ve probably all been there; a team presentation has been assigned, and you begin to notice that some students are doing more work than others.


In this article, Joanne Marciano Crossman talks about the well-known benefits of team projects, and the opportunities for passivity that these projects can sometimes create.  Click the link below to learn more about the approach she takes when assigning these types of projects.


Maricano Crossman, Joanne. “From Passive Audience to Active Learning: Engaging the Class in Team Presentations.” Magna Publications, 6 Jan. 2017,



September 25, 2017 - ToonyTool


ToonyTool is a free web-based program that allows you to create cartoons and comics.  You can upload your own background and/or character and then add other elements such as speech bubbles and props.  Your creation can then be saved, printed, emailed, or shared on several different social media sites.


Get creative! Try ToonyTool here!



September 18, 2017 - Blender


Blender is a 3D computer graphics software that allows you to create animated films and visual effects as well as video games.  It is an open sourced software that offers motion graphics, fluid and smoke simulation, compositing and video editing.


Blender is a perfect companion piece to your non linear editing software of choice.  It works with Windows, macOS or Linux.  Blender software has been used to create effects in several Hollywood films including:  Wonder Woman, Lights Out, Captain America The Winter Soldier and many others.


Download at



September 11, 2017 - Enhancing your Presentation Materials


Are you looking for inspiration and wanting to enhance your  presentation materials?  Then check out Adobe Spark!  Adobe Spark is a free graphic design program/app that can be used on your tablet, smartphone, or via a web browser.


SPARK allows you to create social graphics (using spark post), animate videos (using spark video) and design your own web stories (using spark page).


So why try Spark?  Perhaps your students are looking for a different way to give their presentation instead of PowerPoint. Spark page uses a photo layout which allows you to grab the audience's attention using images and very minimal text. This allows your audience to focus on you and your presentation instead of reading directly from the screen.


Get started with using Adobe SPARK.


Adobe SPARK and other Adobe programs will be highlighted in our monthly Adobe User Group. If you are interested in being a part of this group, email Candace Wentz.



September 4, 2017 - Dispelling Brain Myths


Educators have tapped into the pioneering research of neuroscientists to better understand how the brain works and, in turn, how we might improve our policies and practice based on this information. However, even as scholarship on how the brain works gains popularity outside of neuroscience, myths about the brain and learning persist. The ability to differentiate fact from fiction can allow us to make more informed and effective teaching decisions. To help us, Scientific American dispels common misconceptions about the brain and learning in their recent article, Five Common Myths about the Brain.


If you want to test your own knowledge of learning, take NPR’s quiz.


If you want a copy of any of the article’s sources, contact Sarah Lashley.



August 28, 2017 - Study Tips Backed by Science


As the new academic year begins, many of the first-year students will be learning “how to study.”  In this article, Marian Oswald gives some valuable tips that do not include sitting in the same spot for hours on end looking at the same material.  Some of the tips featured in the article include:  Get Your Blood Flowing, Take Your Time, and Teach Someone Else.  After reading the article, you might want to pass these tips long to the students in your classes.


Oswald, Marian. “Study Tips Backed by Science.” Edudemic, 22 May 2017,


August 14 & 21, 2017 - Oculus Rift in the Classroom - pulled from the Archives March 6, 2017


Have you ever wondered how your students could experience the art museums in Europe, without studying abroad? Or, experience the gravity on Mars from the comforts of the classroom. In this article, you will learn about the Oculus Rift, a Virtual Reality (VR) device

that “can make science, technology, and art come alive.”


Would you like to tryout the Oculus Rift in one of your courses? If so, please contact Kristi Burch ( or x5573) for more information on how we can make this happen.


Nguyen, Joni. "Oculus Rift in the Classroom." Edudemic. N.p., 13 May 2016. Web. 13 July 2016.


July 31 & August 7, 2017 - Can I - pulled from the Archives April 10, 2017



Have you ever wanted to stream a movie or tv program and wondered if it was even available on-line? If so, Can I is the website for you.


This free service allows you to search across popular streaming, rental and purchase services to see if the title is available for streaming. Sites that are searched include: Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and YouTube just to name a few.


So, what happens if you do a search, and don’t find the title you’re looking for? Well, that’s not a problem. You can easily set-up a reminder, and an email will be sent to you when your chosen services makes the title available.



July 17 & 24, 2017 - Innovation - The "Buzzword" We Need - pulled from the Archives April 17, 2017


It seems like everyone is talking about innovation these days yet many of our preconceived ideas of what innovation looks like, feels like, sounds like, and ultimately means for us may actually be preventing us from being innovative. In his blog post, Juliani reminds us that “there’s not some governing board that gets to decide what’s innovative and what’s not innovative…If it’s a new idea to you and your students and it works to make the learning experience better or different in your class, then it’s innovative.” The essence of innovation is opportunity and change, so let’s be encouraged to find those opportunities and embrace our own brand of innovation.



July 3 & 10, 2017 - Building a Network for First-Generation Students - pulled from the Archives April 3, 2017


As the numbers of first-generation increases, we ought to create support systems to ensure the success of our students. Let’s take a look at Elizabethtown College and see how they are best supporting their students.


“To help low-income and first-generation students succeed, build them a network, says Carl Strikwerda, president of Elizabethtown College, in Pennsylvania. Students from homes or high schools where few others have gone on to college don’t have peers they can turn to for advice when times get tough.”



June 19 & 26, 2017 - Untangling the Web of Student-Teacher Communication - pulled from the Archives December 5, 2016


Do you sometimes have the feeling that you aren’t getting through to your students?  Well, even though you are an expert at what you teach, your students could not be getting the material being presented to them due to the way you communicate.  In this article, Jennifer H. Waldeck, PhD states that “In reality, communication is a learned verbal and nonverbal skill that all of us must continually refine.  When we interact with our students purposefully, we maximize the chances that our content expertise will make a positive difference in terms of their learning.”


To read more about this topic, a link to the article has been provided below.


Waldeck, Jennifer H., PhD. "Untangling the Web of Student-Teacher Communication." Faculty Focus Higher Ed Teaching Learning. Magna, 07 June 2016. Web. 06 Sept. 2016.



June 5 & 12, 2017 - The FIZZ method: Low tech, low-barrier approach to flipping content- pulled from the Archives  February 27, 2017


When looking for methods to create engaging content for students, the possibilities are often overwhelming. While many higher-tech methods exist and can be beneficial, some simple tools and tactics can often create quality content with fewer moving parts. The FIZZ method is a video lecture creation style using three key requirements to keep it simple. (1)Each video is recorded in a simple 1-take style. (2) The teacher must appear in the video. (3) The teacher must model handwritten notes. Research shows that the concise content delivery system coupled with facial cues, gesturing, and the modeling of content creation through handwriting helps students engage with and retain material in a more significant way.








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