Center for Teaching Excellence and Learning

March 24, 2014
by Margaret Wood

Free Online Streaming Conference Featuring Gamification and Digital Storytelling

Brenda White, Assistant Director ITS

Brenda outside photo2

The Office of Distance Education and eLearning at Ohio State University invites anyone to attend their annual conference through a live stream tomorrow Tuesday, March 25th.  Their conference theme this year is Createdemonstrating how technology makes creating more collaborative.  No registration required and no fees to attend!  Learn about everything from Creating a Motivating and Engaging Online Learning Module  to Mobile Gamification or Metaliteracy and Digital Storytelling.  Sessions run from 9am-4:30pm.  Check out the schedule at the link below. 

Select the Video Link to view the Live Stream of the session(s) or Caption Link to view the stream with captions. 


March 22, 2014
by Margaret Wood

A Different Option to Engage and Assess

James Barraclough (Career Services)


Last year I attended the annual conference for the Kansas Association of Colleges and Employers, KACE, and one of the sessions introduced me to a Text Message polling system. As an educator, an important aspect of any lecture or presentation is the ability to assess your audience and check for understanding. This tool, Poll Everywhere, has a free version that allows for quick assessment of your audience in an interactive way that allows them to use the cell phones and mobile devices they are already using every day.

Some of you may have used Clickers in the past to allow your students to provide feedback during a lecture. The idea behind Poll Everywhere is similar to this but it allows your audience to engage using platforms they already use on a daily basis. With this tool you have the ability to create polls/questions that allow multiple choice responses or open-ended responses for more qualitative assessment. Results to your polls can be displayed in real time to your audience by being embedded in a PowerPoint presentation or using their web-based tool and displaying a generated URL. In addition to using the polling tool to check for understanding during your lecture, you can also use it to guide the direction of your lecture based on the interests of your audience.

I was recently giving a presentation to a class of FYE Peer Educators and I used this tool as a conversation starter. I simply asked them – “What made you decide to be a Peer Educator?”  Here is a screenshot of a few of the responses I received that led to a great discussion about why their chosen role is very important to each of them.

Screen Shot of Poll J. Barraclaugh

The ability to submit anonymous responses allows students who might otherwise be reserved and quiet to still feel comfortable sharing their opinion in a large audience. If you have a particularly quiet class, or one that is dominated by a few outspoken individuals, a tool like this provides a medium for more introverted individuals to feel comfortable to engage. If you are not a fan of the text message display option and you’d like something a little more creative, a simple click can change the reporting feature from the above visual to a word cloud.

Screen Shot of Word Cloud

The free version of Poll Everywhere allows up to 40 unique responses to each poll. There are other tools that are similar to Poll Everywhere that you can explore but it’s the one I have used successfully in my presentations. It is a little on the cheesy side, but the website Learn It In 5 has a short video that shows the Poll Everywhere tool in action. Happy polling if you decide you’d like to give this tool a try!

March 9, 2014
by Margaret Wood
1 Comment

Remaining Relevant in the Digital Age is More Basic Than You Might Think


By Jericho Hockett (Lecturer, Psychology)

Recently, C-TEL sponsored a number of faculty’s attendance at the Kansas Association for Educational Communications and Technology’s (KAECT) spring conference. Although an obvious emphasis at the conference was that technology is increasingly important in education, that wasn’t actually the most important message that I took home. No, I grew up in the Technology Age, and was privileged to have early access to various learning technologies. Thus, I got the message that technology is important in learning from the many hours I fondly remember poking around on my Speak and Readmunching numbers, and trying to figure out just where in the world Carmen San Diego was.

Now, of course, the pace of technological change makes the learning technologies of my childhood seem like ancient history–and I’m not even that old! In fact, technological advances are made so quickly, it is expected that “we will advance roughly the same amount in the next 18 months as we did in the previous thirty years.” I don’t care how tech savvy you are (or think you are), that’s a staggering amount of technological development to even imagine keeping up with! Given all the tech tools–and tech distractions–that exist, we must be strategic and clearwith the technologies we decide to incorporate into the classroom. That’s the biggest message I took home from the KAECT conference.

When I say strategic, I mean that we must be careful to use technologies to serve specific educational goals–not just because they are available, and not just because they happen to be innovative. For example, I’ve heard sung the praises of Prezi as an amazing Power Point alternative. However, I have yet to see a successful Prezi presentation (ironically, even at the KAECT conference). Perhaps this outcome may be explained by the fact that I’ve only seen Prezi being used–from all appearances–because it was cool and new, not because it was intended to add anything substantial to the point of the users’ presentations. Conversely, there are certainly scenarios in which Prezi could help fulfill educational outcomes. For example, Power Point is more than sufficient for most linearly-ordered presentations, but maybe Prezi would be better for projects that rely on concept mapping. Whatever the specific tools at our disposal (and there are many of them–Prezi isn’t even the hottest new thing any more), we should use them strategically or not at all; otherwise, the tool is superfluous for the job. And let’s face it–our students have enough digital distractions.


Strategic use of learning technologies is only half the lesson, though. We must also be clear. Why we use the various available technologies–and particularly why we ask our students to do so and how they should go about it–should be transparent. Students shouldn’t have to guess why you’ve incorporated any aspect of technology into your educational approach, and they definitely shouldn’t have to guess how you want them to use it. For example, one colleague at KAECT suggested using evaluation rubrics for the effective use of technological learning tools (such as those available in the book Mastering Media Literacy, Solution Tree Publications, 2014). Without this clarity, our students may suffer in showing their learning, not because they don’t “get it,” but because we haven’t appropriately equipped them to demonstrate that they get it through the technological tools we’ve required.

In sum, instead of becoming digitally distracted ourselves, let’s stay forward-focused by being strategic and clear in our use of educational technologies. That way, when this generation’s Carmen San Diegos (that is, their Tweets, their Vines, their I-Clickers, their Prezis, etc.) fade into fond memories (remember, that should only take about 18 months now!), the technological lessons we teach our students–that is, when and how to use tech tools–will remain relevant.

March 2, 2014
by Margaret Wood

Musings from the Kansas Association for Educational Communication Conference

By: Vickie Kelley (SAS – Allied Health)


I have been teaching fully online for almost 6 years here at Washburn – through 3 learning management systems and multiple courses in different disciplines. With support from a C-TEL Small Grant I participated in the KAECT conference in February to get a fresh infusion of ideas for online teaching.  So, here is a little of what I brought back.

First, I was introduced to ThinkLink, a great presentation tool.  ThinKLink is a free App that allows users to imbed text, video, and sound content onto an image.  Based on the notion that every image tells a story, ThinkLink starts with some sort of image as it’s base.  You can upload images from your hard drive or import them from the web.  Once the image is imported you can insert comments and embed videos, music, or other media links.  The comments or links appear as small tags which you place on the picture.  They “open” when you hover over them with the cursor.   ThinkLink is pretty fun and easy to work with, and great for a threaded unit that students can take time to explore different aspects of a topic.

From the standpoint of instruction, I can imagine more uses for ThinkLink than other presentation tools which are currently popular like Prezi (which is a great little tool, but limited to a single objective). While Prezi relies on movement and zoom action to create more dynamic presentations, ThinkLink actually allows you to elaborate and scaffold the information being presented.  Either of these tools is more visually appealing than a standard Powerpoint, but the novelty of tools like this wears off quickly.  To keep students interested and engaged it is important to keep a variety of these tools available and to vary their use.

Attending the conference reinforced several thoughts  I already had bouncing around in my head. Technology is great, and I will be the first to applaud all the changes and applications. It is important to keep in mind, however that the tools need to support your objectives and meet your needs.   When overused or used merely as a glitzy gimmick they may either become a source of frustration (or envy for those that have time to do it all).

I am going to try spicing things up over the summer – maybe a little Thinglink or freshening up some of those Powerpoint presentations. Either way – I have some new ideas and that was the whole point for attending the conference.

February 24, 2014
by Margaret Wood

The Best Apps for Teaching

Some of my best conversations about teaching have occurred at the Rec (SRWC).  Trapped on a stationary bike or treadmill for 45 minutes I often find myself next to Roy Wohl (Kinesiology), Russ Jacobs (Philosophy), Liviu Foria (Business), Rick Ellis (LINC), or Joel Bluml (SRWC).  Last month I found myself on an elliptical next to Jennifer Ball (Business).  She started to tell me about a great app she was using for her classes.  This app allowed her translate her old Power Points into e-content into which she would embed quizzes.  “Fantastic!”  I said.  “Please tell me the name of this cool tool.”   Jennifer was happy to share this information with me, but 30 minutes (and 275 calories) later the name had completely escaped my mind.  This happens to me all the time.  So I am putting out a call today.  Please burn some calories by moving your fingers to post a comment about your favorite App that you use in your teaching.

P.S.  You burn 29 calories an hour typing.  Its better than nothing.


February 24, 2014
by Margaret Wood

Welcome to the SeeTell Blog!

Hello everyone!  Over the next several months I hope to develop this Blog as a place where you will find weekly posts from faculty and staff bloggers from across campus.  Topics discussed in this blog will include a variety of topics including: the hottest apps for teaching, creative assignments, e-portfolios, easy assessment, transitioning classes to on-line formats, active learning, grading, feedback, and learning outside the classroom.  In short, anything that has to do with teaching and learning at Washburn and Washburn Tech.

If you See teaching as a craft and you are willing to Tell others about it through this Blog please give me a call or send a quick e-mail.  I hope to establish a list of regular featured contributors.  Once C-TEL gets rolling, the SeeTell Blog will also include contributions from faculty and staff members who have attended teaching and learning conferences, published papers related to teaching, redesigned courses or programs or completed teaching related projects.

I hope that this blog space will provide an opportunity for faculty ans staff to share their insights, challenges, and successes related to teaching with one another.