September/October 2015 Communicator
Following almost a year of evaluations, the Tennessee Board of Regents LMS bidding process has been completed. We are happy to announce that a new contract has been awarded to Desire2Learn. This is good news for us and to the approximately 70 percent of course sections each semester along with colleges, departments, and committees that use D2L to deliver and/or support teaching, learning, and administrative efforts. Contract negotiations are pending to determine when new features will be available. A version update is planned to occur over the December break, and workshops will begin in January to help faculty learn any new features.
The annual MTSU Faculty Fair will be held October 28 in the Learning, Teaching, and Innovative Technologies Center (LT&ITC) in Walker Library 348 from 10:00--12:00 and 1:00-- 3:00. This annual open house event provides an opportunity for faculty members to learn more about the many services and resources available to them at MTSU. Recent MTSU faculty award winners and grant recipients will be presenting their work. Faculty Fair exhibitors from last year included LT&ITC programs and services, including Faculty Fellows, Faculty Learning Communities, and Scholarship of Teaching and Learning; Faculty Instructional Technology Center; Experiential Learning (EXL); Course Redesign Project; Reacting to the Past Initiative; Faculty Fair to be Held October 28 Honors College; Undergraduate Fellowships Office; Disability and Access Center; University Writing Center; Office of Research Services; Student Success Initiatives; June Anderson Center for Women and Nontraditional Students; Child Care Lab; News and Media Relations; American Association of University Women; Public Safety; President’s Commission on the Status of Women; Walker Library; Access and Diversity Advisory Board; NSF ADVANCE Grant. We hope you will be marking your calendars and inviting colleagues to attend with you. Get to know more about the offices and services on campus as well as the great teaching practices and research happening at MTSU.
ITD’s Telecommunication Services recently completed a reorganization of the channel lineup on the campus cable TV system. In addition to providing a more reliable service, the channel reorganization allowed for three additional channels to be added to the programming. Channels are also now grouped into categories, such as news, sports, movies, and family. Users must rescan channels on their TV for the changes to take effect. Please consult your TV user’s guide for detailed instructions on how to scan for channels. The updated channel lineup is available on the Telecommunication Services website at http://mtsu.edu/itdtele/services/ cable-tv.php. Please contact Telecommunication Services at 615- 898-2991 for questions concerning the campus cable TV system.
Watch for the fall 2015 Learning, Teaching, and Innovative Technologies Center faculty workshops. Upcoming sessions include workshops on copyright and fair use, best practices in online assessment, active learning techniques, flipped classroom pedagogy, role-playing as a pedagogical tool, teaching students with disabilities, and veterans in higher education. We have something for everyone! Announcements of dates and times for each workshop will be sent out separately to the faculty email list. We will also be recording most of these sessions. If you cannot attend, the workshops will be available at the Center’s workshop video archive (http://www.mtsu.edu/ltanditc/workshop_videos. php).
How can a totally blind college student pass a statistics class, which requires students to understand such visual items as graphs and charts? Dr. Stuart Bernstein, a professor of psychology at MTSU, found ways to help rising senior James Boehm of Memphis, Tennessee, in his Statistics 2030 class during the fall 2014 semester. That ingenuity earned Bernstein an award from the National Federation of the Blind. The Stones River Chapter of the organization gave Bernstein its 2015 Educator of the Year Award and his own white-tipped cane at a chapter gathering in mid-April in the SunTrust Room of MTSU’s Business and Aerospace Building. Mark Riccobono, president of the national organization, congratulated Bernstein via speakerphone. “When I think of a professor who does whatever it takes to make a student’s education fully accessible and rewarding, I cannot help but think of Dr. Bernstein,” Boehm said in his nomination entry to the local chapter. Bernstein said Boehm learned about a special tablet that would create raised lines on paper when heavy pressure is used to draw on it. The tablet, which is about the size of a mouse pad, enabled Bernstein to draw columns and graphs that Boehm could read by touching them. “The probability tables are incredibly dense with columns and columns of numbers,” said Bernstein. The professor also used a multimedia interactive textbook paid for with a grant from the National Science Foundation and saved his PowerPoint presentations to the class in an outline format so that Boehm’s text reader could make the presentations audible. “This is just a regular part of my job, to make sure that everyone I’m teaching understands and has access to stats,” Bernstein said. “It’s just what I do. And he (Boehm) did the hard work. I just simplified the tables. He learned everything.” Boehm, who attends classes with the help of his service dog, Shep, wrote, “Dr. Stuart Bernstein always made himself available to me if I needed further explanation on a lesson. If I emailed him, rarely did I wait more than an hour for a response.” Boehm and Bernstein also credit MTSU’s Adaptive Technology Lab and Disability and Access Center with providing critical assistance. For more information on MTSU’s services for the disabled, contact the Disability and Access Center at 615-898-2783 or go to www.mtsu.edu/ dac. Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on mtsunews.com and was written by Gina K. Logue.
Have you recently moved to a new office? Has your campus phone number recently changed? Don’t forget to update your personal directory information by logging into PipelineMT. Click on the RaiderNet tab, then “Update Addresses and Phones.” It is important to keep your campus information current, including campus location and phone number, as this information is available via the electronic directory on the MTSU website, as well as through the campus operators and the automated directory system. Updates to the Departments, Administrative Offices, and Personnel section of the Campus Directory, http://mtsu.edu/documentation/ Phone_Directory.pdf, can also be made anytime by emailing the change to campusdir@mtsu. edu.
As Computer Information Systems professor Stoney Brooks agonizingly hovered over a stack of papers with a red pen in hand, he imagined there had to be a more effective way to provide feedback to his students.
“I remember classes I took as an undergraduate and the stress and struggle that could have been reduced with today’s technologies,” he said. “Technology should play a supporting role in higher education. I do not believe that education that comes solely via technology is the best solution for the students. However, there are a number of tools, techniques, and resources that can greatly improve the face-to-face learning experience.”
So, Brooks decided to make his life easier by dispensing with the red pen and paper and began to provide more dynamic feedback to his students by using Panopto, a video and screen recording platform. Panopto enables instructors to record, webcast, and organize video content.
“When I provide this video feedback to my students, it allows them to follow along with what I’m seeing, what I’m thinking, and what specifically might be wrong with their homework,” Brooks said. “It allows the students to get much greater insight than just marks on a piece of paper. Additionally, they are able to view the video at their leisure and repeatedly if desired. That way, if they forget something in the feedback, it is easy for them to go and determine what I had said.”
Embracing innovative programs like Panopto comes naturally for Brooks, who traces his proclivity for technology to the days when he played videogames as a child.
“Technology has always fascinated me due to the increasing number of possibilities that it allows,” he said. “As technology continues to grow, we as mankind are constantly placed in new directions and new opportunities are enabled. Ten years ago, who would’ve thought that the bulk of the world’s information would be available on a phone? Playing Super Mario Brothers for hours on end led me to believe that there is so much that can be done with the proper technologies.”
Brooks’ fascination for technology inspired him to incorporate it into all of his classes.
“I truly believe that the capabilities provided by the technological tools we have can provide a much better learning experience for the students,” he said.
At first, Brooks’ students were a little confused when they didn’t receive their homework returned to them adorned with the traditional comments marked in red ink. Brooks reminded them that their assignment feedback would instead come in the form of a video. In the end, the videos actually saved a substantial amount of time for both the students and the instructor.
“The program did not take very long to become familiar with, and once you’ve made one video, you feel comfortable to make as many as needed,” Brooks said. “One challenge that educators might find is that it takes a good amount of time to make each of these videos. However, I have found that making these videos actually saves me time. This is because students will not have as much need to ask me questions face-to-face or during my office hours about the feedback received on their work.”
Some of Brooks’ students didn’t quite know what to make about Panopto at first because of the novelty of receiving personalized videos instead of marked papers, but after viewing their first couple of videos, they began responding positively, Brooks said.
“It cleared up a lot of confusion and enabled them to continue to improve their work much faster than to wait for me to hand it back to them,” he said. “As long as it remains as user-friendly and feature-rich as it is right now, I will use it indefinitely. I have really enjoyed my experiences with it.”
OS X Yosemite – See All of Your Open Safari Tabs Tabs have always been an indispensable part of our multitasking workflow, but Yosemite will make us more productive than ever. Where the old system merely let us browse two or three sites at once, Safari’s new tabbed view radically rethinks the way we interact with them. With a nod to iOS, a click on the new tabs icon instantly brings you into a screen where you can see all of the open tabs on your machine, all arranged neatly and grouped by site so you can quickly switch between them.
Because of technology’s capricious nature, there’s always something new to learn because it’s always evolving. Some of us may find that daunting, but not Ying Ding. In fact, the senior systems analyst embraces it.
“I learn to focus on now and the future,” she said. “There is always new knowledge to learn, new projects to tackle.”
As a senior systems analyst, Ying provides technical support collectively with the other ITD staff for the University administrative system. “I coordinate and facilitate with system installation, upgrades, and testing,” she said. “I also develop and maintain customized applications. Currently my main focus is in the Financial Aid area, but I also work in other areas as needed. Various departments I have worked with include Student Affairs, Business and Finance, and Academic Affairs.”
Ying’s various other duties include project feasibility analysis, programming development, and solution implementation and maintenance. Before joining the Information Technology Division over three years ago, Ying previously served as a principal research analyst in the Office of Instructional Research and Planning Support and as a senior systems analyst in the University Information Technology System at the University of Arizona.
Her previous responsibilities included providing statistical data analysis to support university administrative decision-making and developing programming to automate workflows in the administrative system. She was also an instructor in information technology in Beijing City University for six years and a data analyst at the Arizona Cancer Center for two years.
She relocated to Murfreesboro after her husband got a job at the VA following his retirement from the Air Force. Ying holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science and engineering from Central South University in China and a master’s degree in higher education management with a focus on finance from the University of Arizona. Ying said her overall goal at ITD is to exceed her customers’ expectations.
“After effectively communicating and thoroughly understanding a customer’s needs, I explore all resources and solutions to be able to deliver the most satisfactory solutions,” she said.
When she’s not in the office, Ying enjoys spending quality time with her family, volunteering, cooking, gardening, and walking. She lives in Murfreesboro with her husband, Jon, and son, Nathan.
Chesney Cannon is the Information Technology Division’s new technical clerk. Chesney will provide imaging services to University departments to create and maintain computer imaged records and also will review, prepare, and scan critical documents. Chesney previously worked as a department assistant for Special Projects in the Customer Service Department at 21st Mortgage, where she notified customers of payments received and determined the disbursement of payments. She also audited delinquent accounts, re-amortized loans, imaged time-sensitive documents for all departments, and determined future private mortgage insurance removal dates. Her employment at 21st Mortgage began in the imaging department, where she scanned critical documents into a database. She would regularly verify imaged documents for their accuracy as well as indexing them into the correct archive for the company. She attended Mt. Juliet High School and is an alumna of MTSU’s Global Studies program.
Ryan Lau recently joined ITD as a systems analyst, where he will handle budgetary issues, finance, converting HR reports from Microsoft Access to Argos, and he will generate new Argos reports on request. Ryan previously worked with Eco-Energy as a business systems analyst. His various job responsibilities there included document creation for Solarc Right Angle interface errors such as possible causes and resolutions; monitoring the email invoicing distribution and providing notification of distribution failures; monitoring the system for incomplete transactions and providing notification and possible solutions to the issues related to the appropriate business department; daily use of Navigator 6 to track and resolve incidents; adding all reference data requests into the Solarc Right Angle Powerbuilder, Solarc Right Angle.net and JD Edwards. In addition, he added new counterparties with a relationship of suppliers, vendors, carriers, and traders. He also incorporated new user setups into the system such as licensing and group authority privileges. Ryan has knowledge of logistics operations including provisions, payment terms, and demurrage rates. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems and has more than two years of experience as a business systems analyst. His education and experience have afforded him with SQL programming, Access database, and report writing capabilities. He believes sharing knowledge and discussing new ways to improve processes and procedures will benefit ITD. He currently lives in Murfreesboro with his wife, Taryn, and son, Ashtyn.
ITD’s Enterprise Application Services area is further merging such that its two main areas, AISS and DAS, will be collectively reporting to James Foster as interim director. John Patterson will serve as assistant director of AISS