Tech Xpress Spring 2017

 Spring 2017 Tech Xpress masthead


Link to pdf version         

Prosser spring 2017 Tech Xpress

MTSU Animation major Joey Prosser urges everyone to take advantage of access to learn skills that will help them in their chosen academic field and career. 

MTSU students "animated" about 
new access      

MTSU student Joey Prosser gets very “animated” when he talks about the benefits of student access to

The junior from Winchester, Tennessee, began watching video training tutorials recently as part of his Animation major. His professor, Kevin McNulty, assigned some of the videos as part of an Advanced Animation and Rigging class.

But soon Prosser was going beyond the assignments and soaking up numerous other sessions, even those not directly related to his chosen field of study.

“ is extremely insightful. Over the fall break I blasted through a whole class on on building (animated characters) from the toes to the skull. Come to find out, it is very easy to just jump into a tutorial and go crazy with it. It makes learning really fun,” Prosser said.

Along the way he began watching other tutorials such as comic book design and layout and game development.

“It piqued my interest, and I have been watching game development courses. I am halfway through a programming course,” he said.

“You only have so many hours in class within a week, and there is so much you can learn out there. Unfortunately, you can’t learn all that in the classroom. And when you’re done with school, you have this great resource there to not only teach new skills you haven’t discovered yet, but to keep up to date with software changes.”

Prosser believes many of his fellow students either don’t know about the free access or aren’t using it to its full potential.

“I am trying to let people know. I’m glad we have this at school. I feel students are not aware enough how awesome it is,” he said. “Most of the time I tell them to check it out and see what is on there. We watch videos all day anyway, so if you’re just sitting there vegging out, check it out.”

MTSU Media Arts Professor Marc Barr agrees.

He’s been following from its earliest days and used it previously as part of his classes at MTSU. Several years ago, his department chairman, Billy Pittard, a former employee, made arrangements for it to be used in classes.

“Actually, I first saw nearly 20 years ago when they first started. They had a booth at a computer graphics conference I attend ... and I was able to test it out there and set up a trial subscription for myself to use in classes,” Barr said.

But with MTSU acquiring a site access for students, faculty, and staff in summer of 2016, that has changed. While it hasn’t yet been made part of Desire2Learn, “it can be a very valuable tool for all of us,” Barr said.

“It is a great way for all of us to learn software at our own pace and be inspired by their documentaries. It can also enable faculty, in classes that use software, to get out of the business of teaching software and get back to content and helping students to develop critical thinking skills,” he said.

For example, in his beginning animation and compositing classes, Barr had students view tutorials related to the software they are using—Maya, Adobe, Apple, and other packages.

 “I assessed their knowledge prior to and after viewing, and there was a consistent increase in their scores after viewing. After completing an assigned playlist, the students receive a certificate, which they can provide me,” Barr said.

It allows faculty to move past square one—training students how to use software—into more what to do with those skills.

“For those of us who teach classes that depend on software skills, we have gotten too far into the realm of being a training facility instead of being a university. This takes away time in class for discussion of concepts and critiques. Access to resources like can help move us away from being a place where class time is used to show students how to push buttons,” Barr said. 

Music industry PR pro-turned-professor suggests some titles to help students gTammy Donhamet started

Recording Industry Department Professor
Tammy Donham sometimes jokes that she
has a colleague named “Professor Lynda."

That is how valuable free student access to the video tutorial website is, Donham said.

Donham worked 16 years for the Country Music Association, overseeing marketing
and digital efforts. She discovered during that time and began using it in teaching when she joined the MTSU faculty in 2013.

“I am a lifelong learner, so I find the courses extremely valuable,” she said. “You can generally find random videos that cover similar topics on YouTube, but with Lynda I know the instructor is going to be qualified and the course will be well produced.

“I’m so thankful all students now have access to this amazing resource,” she said.

Donham offered these suggestions for students interested in social media, web development, and digital marketing:

  • Advance Facebook Advertising
  • Advertising Fundamentals
  • Advertising on Twitter
  • Content Marketing Fundamentals
  • Facebook Advertising Fundamentals
  • Facebook for Business
  • GIMP Essential Training
  • Google AdWords Essential Training
  • Google Analytics Essential Training
  • Google Docs Essential Training
  • Google Drive Essential Training
  • Google+ for Business
  • iMovie 10.1.1 Essential Training
  • Instagram for Business
  • Instagram: The Basics
  • Intermediate Google Adwords
  • International SEO Fundamentals
  • Introducing InDesign
  • Keynote 6 Essential Training
  • Learn InDesign CC Essential Training
  • Learn PowerPoint 2016: The Basics
  • LinkedIn Advertising Fundamentals
  • LinkedIn for Business
  • Mail Chimp Fundamentals
  • Managing Email Marketing Lists and Campaigns
  • Marketing and Monetizing on You Tube
  • Mobile Marketing Fundamentals
  • Office 365: Learn PowerPoint
  • Office 365: PowerPoint Essential Training
  • Photoshop CC Essential Training
  • Photoshop CC 2015 One-on-one
  • Photoshop Elements 13 Essential Training
  • Photoshop Elements 14 Essential Training
  • Pinterest for Business
  • PowerPoint 2013 Essential Training
  • PowerPoint 2016 Tips and Tricks
  • PowerPoint 2016 Essential Training
  • SEO Fundamentals
  • SEO Link Building in Depth
  • Social Media Marketing with Facebook and Twitter
  • Squarespace 7 Essential Training
  • Twitter Essential Training
  • Twitter for Business
  • Up and Running with Canva
  • Up and Running with LinkedIn  

Tech Coaching can help students

get the most out of D2L ePortfolio

Tech Coaching
So you got an assignment from your professor last fall asking you to use ePortfolio to create a presentation.

Your first question wasn’t what source materials, photos, and font styles to use.

It was “what’s an ePortfolio?”

The Desire2Learn (D2L) ePortfolio tool was open to all MTSU students in fall 2016 after a period of testing in select pilot classes. It is part of the University’s MT Engage initative to improve student performance.

It allows students to collect “artifacts” of their educational careers, organize them, and present them to prospective employers or grad schools in the form of a mini personal website.

Along the way, ePortfolio also offers numerous tools for classroom presentations, collaboration with fellow students, and communication with teachers.

What is ePortfolio?

    As part of the renewed Desire to Learn/Brightspace contract, MTSU students now have access to the ePortfolio tool.
         D2L’s Brightspace Learning Environment provides educators flexibility to tailor the learning process to match their own unique approach, and provides tools to help facilitate communication, collaboration and community-building with students.
         The ePortfolio feature allows students to present what they’ve learned in what has been described as “mini websites.”
         This collection of digital “artifacts”—reports, publications, videos, audio files, photos, web links etc.—can be shared with prospective employers or graduate schools.
         More information and tutorials are available here.

But how do you use it?

One place to start is with a tech coach through the Walker Library.

Sana Wilson is one of the coaches. She works with students by appointment to give them a basic 30-minute startup session, with the option to come back for more.

Wilson, a grad student and library tech services staff member, worked with several dozen students last fall after the campus-wide introduction of ePortfolio, but expects it to get a lot busier this semester.

“It is going to be an amazing tool once it is completely rolled out and in place,” Wilson said. “It will allow you to send a selection of your work to an employer or grad school.”

Valerie Hackworth, coordinator of library public technology, said ePortfolio shouldn’t replace your resumé when seeking a job, but can complement it by providing one digital location to collect, organize, and present the highlights of your education at MTSU.

“It is an exceptionally cool resource. You are creating a website about you to showcase everything you’ve done, what you are proud of, or what fits the job you are applying for, ” Hackworth said. “The point of ePortfolio is to encourage students to use critical thinking and reflecting about how their classes connect to real career situations. "

How to get a Tech Coaching session

Want to sign up for a 30-minute ePortfolio training session at the library?

Go to this website to make an appointment with a Tech Coach. (Make sure you get a confirmation email for the time requested before you show up.)

Bring the actual assignment from your professor and any resources you want to use for your presentation.

Online ePortfolio tutorials: Video tutorials on using ePortfolio can be found on the MTSU Desire2Learn website.

 MTechnology Briefs


MT offers Microsoft Imagine Academy

MTSU is member institution of the Microsoft Imagine Academy.

That membership provides faculty, staff, and students access to Microsoft’s Imagine Academy—a collection of downloadable learning resources and self-paced tutorials that you can use to prepare to take Microsoft certification exams.

Categorized into Productivity, Computer Science, and IT Infrastructure, the materials make up a catalog of more than 250 tutorials.

In conjunction with this access and sponsored by the Tennessee Board of Regents, MTSU has a limited site license allowing faculty, staff, and students to take Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certification exams (i.e. WORD, EXCEL, PowerPoint, Access) at no cost.

If you are interested in exploring the self-paced tutorials, incorporating the materials/resources from the repository, or learning more about taking a MOS certification exam, visit

Faculty who have questions on how to incorporate the academy into coursework should contact the Faculty Instructional Technology Center at 615-904-8189.

Makerspace now open at Walker Library

Makerspace held its grand opening Wednesday, Feb. 1, at the James Walker Library.

On the second floor in the Digitial Media Studio (DMS), it offers use of 3D printers, resin printers, vinyl printers, laser cutters, virtual reality, augmented reality, micro-circuitry, robot-building kits, and more to students in one location.

DMS equipment already includes high-capacity Dell PCs and Apple iMacs, high-resolution screens, multimedia software, color and black-and-white printing, scanners, and accessories.

The goal is a self-directed, collaborative, problem-solving lab that draws upon digital literacy and entrepreneurship.

Priority is given for education-related projects, but use isn't limited to course materials. There could be some cost involved, either in the form of buying materials or bringing your own. Students are required to receive training before using the equipment.

Possible academic applications include computer science, education, art, mechatronics engineering, geoscience, architecture, aerospace, fashion design, theater, business, education, and health care.

Find out more at

Student Technology Handbook available online

Digital versions of the Technology Handbook for students and faculty/staff are now available on the ITD website.
Go to

 Office 365 Clutter can provide email spring cleaning

Clutter is an email sorting tool available to MTSU students who use Office 365.

It keeps track of what emails you read, which ones you ignore, and moves emails you’re likely to ignore into a folder called Clutter so that you can review them later.

While Clutter can help keep your Inbox less crowded, sometimes important emails can go to the Clutter box instead of the Inbox. ITD implemented rules this fall so that any email you receive from someone at or will always go to your Inbox.

However, emails delivered before that time may have been sent to your Clutter box. Be sure to check there to find emails you think you might have missed.

If you would like more information on how to enable or disable Clutter or how to use it more effectively, go to:

Be prepared with Critical Notification System

Lightning photo Tech XpressBe ready for spring storms
and other potentially
dangerous situations with the MTSU Critical Notification System.

All MTSU staff, faculty, and student email addresses are automatically entered into the MTSU Critical Notification System. If you wish to add
phone numbers for texting, voicemail, and/or additional email addresses, log in with your PipelineMT username and password.

You may also access your account through your PipelineMT account by clicking on the Alert4U tab.

If you are new to MTSU, you will receive an email with instructions on how to access your account. You are responsible for keeping your account phone numbers up to date.

For more information, visit or contact Alana Johnson at 615-898-2677