Archives - Staff Pick of the Week



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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