Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Google Suite by Bryan Kopp

If I had to pick a favorite technology, I would have to go with the Google Suite. Though the products are familiar, instructors are not always aware how they can combine them to meet their needs. Here is an example of one of my attempts to coordinate group learning, writing and critical thinking:
  1. I created a Google site for a class project. 
  2. This site contained a page within which there was an embedded Google presentation (which could also be posted in D2L).
  3. Within the presentation there was rich content, including an embedded YouTube video and step by step instructions.
  4. One of the tasks included a link to a Google form that enabled students to share the results of some research they had conducted.
  5. After sharing their results, they could click on a link on the next slide, which led them to a Google spreadsheet that provided near real-time submissions from the whole class. 
  6. After reviewing them, they could then move to the next step: discerning patterns, trends and anomalies across all submissions.They did this in a shared Google document. Students could see what others were writing (avoiding redundancy) and insert comments to discuss responses. 
  7. This document then served as a group memory that enabled more advanced work in future class sessions. 
This sounds complicated, but students just clicked through some slides and completed some tasks. In such assignment modules, I try to select and sequence the right tools for the job at hand. When everything works, it is amazing how much progress can be made. When Google is unreachable, well, that's another story!

Submitted by Bryan Kopp, English/CATL

Comedy Central Clips by Adam Hoffer

I am a huge fan of integrating media clips in my teaching. My favorite clips are modern satirical clips that come from television shows on Comedy Central. These clips can be streamed in class from and may be anywhere from 30 seconds to a few minutes in duration. I make a concerted effort to bring modern issues and current events into my classes to demonstrate how basic concepts they learn relate to the current world outside of the classroom. The Comedy Central clips are ideal for this, especially clips from the Colbert Report and the Daily Show.

Why Satire? First, there are several topics I cover in class that can be very controversial or polarizing. The satirical nature of the information in the clips I play cuts the tension surrounding many topics, allowing a more open-minded, casual class discussion.  Example 1: Colbert Super PAC - Trevor Potter Second, there are additional issues that are so frustrating, so maddening, so ludicrous that I just have to laugh to avoid getting upset. Fiction writers may struggle to invent some of what we can see on modern news. Example 2: Colbert PAC SHH! 501c4 Disclosure - Trevor Potter 

I tend to use the clips either at the beginning of class or to break up the lecture. I’ve found clips at the beginning of class can be great to review material from last class and the clips get the students interested in new material. If I use the clips to break up the lecture, I’ll integrate a quiz with a few questions about the clip itself, course material related to the clip, and at least one thought-provoking question that will help transition to the remaining lecture material. The mid-class quizzes can simultaneously serve as a reward/penalty to students for class attendance and as a feedback mechanism for evaluating student comprehension.

Submitted by Adam Hoffer, Economics

Ulrich’s Web Global Serials Directory by Sloan Komissarov

I use Ulrich’s Web to look up detailed publication information for journals and other serials. If you are a faculty member, graduate student, or professional looking for journals in which to publish, Ulrich’s is a great tool that can help you identify potential publications for your work. You can limit your search by the type of publication and content, subject area, language, or country. Searches can also be limited to only peer-reviewed, e-only, or open access titles. Once you have run your search, you can resort the results by the desired feature and explore records for each title more thoroughly.  Ulrich’s can save you time by pulling together titles that meet your search criteria in one place. To find Ulrich’s Online on the Murphy Library website, go to Articles & Databases by Title. Resources are listed alphabetically by title.

You can also view this short video that will show you how to use Ulrich’s.

Submitted by Sloan Komissarov, Murphy Library