Academic Technology - Florida State College at Jacksonville

Academic Technology

Try Adobe Spark to easily make Memes, Videos, and Websites!

Software, AppsRobyn Reese

Recently, we on the EdTech team have become moderately obsessed with Adobe Spark (OK, maybe it is just me, but my obsession is large enough to cover everyone). Spark is comprised of a free web-based tool that makes beautiful memes, webpages, and videos for the casual user. Unlike some of the other Adobe creativity tools, you don't have to have a graphic designer or video producer on staff to make something that is both informative and aesthetically pleasing. I used it to make the meme below that adds visual interest to an otherwise boring Twitter post: 

Adobe Spark contains a library of Creative Commons images that can be searched via a keyword (to find this image, I searched "old technology"), then added by just clicking on them. You can also upload your own images from Dropbox, Google, or your computer. It has ten different filters to add a specific look or style to your images. It also provides a variety of options for text color, font, and placement, and provides suggestions for a color scheme, based on the colors in your image. Who knew that design could be so easy? 

These same design tools can be used when creating webpages and videos, both of which have a higher degree of applicability to the educational user. Rather than having students create a powerpoint or prezi, encourage them to turn their content into an artifact with polish, that they will enjoy making and be proud to share. Check out the video below, provided by Adobe, for more information, then visit http://adobe.ly/1OsodWC to get started!

Students and Technology: A Recent Study

EdTech, Student ContentRobyn Reese

Educause recently released their 2016 Students and Technology Research Study, which details how higher education students in the United States use technology as a tool for learning, which types of technology they favor, and what teaching strategies enable them to engage with content. The study's purpose is to assist institutions and educators in identifying broader trends in student behavior that can be used to make improvements to college IT services, as well as to adjust teaching strategies to increase technology productivity. The comprehensive 48 page study is worth a read for those who would like a deeper understanding, but for those who would like a snapshot of the larger trends observed in the study, Educause has also produced an eye-catching infographic. Both can be viewed here, along with more information about the study's methodology.  

Future Digital Media students

DMP, PhotosRobin Herriff

Today the Digital Media Productions studio was full of excitement as magnet TV Production students from the Frank H. Peterson Academies of Technology came to visit and talk about their futures, FSCJ's program offerings, and possible careers.  The students asked great questions and even got a chance to get in front of the cameras for a change.  We're looking forward to seeing many of them back in our studios as FSCJ students in the near future!

Qwickly on Blackboard

AppsElizabeth Rodrigue

Qwickly is a free program offered on Blackboard's home screen for teachers. It's a quick and easy way for teachers to manage their classes by setting course availability, posting announcements, and sending emails collectively. Teachers can toggle course availability to their students with just the click of an on-off button. The posting announcement portion of Qwickly allows teachers to type an announcement and click which courses to send it to automatically all at once. Sending emails has never been simpler because Qwickly allows teachers to type up an email and mass send it to all of their students or only a select few with just the click of a button.

The Qwickly company offers four different products: Qwickly Platform, Qwickly+, Qwickly+Cloud, and Qwickly Attendance. If you would like more information about Qwickly their website is: https://www.goqwickly.com/

Become a Grammar Superstar!

Apps, EdTech, Student ContentElizabeth Rodrigue

When it comes to writing, whether it is for work, school, or personal use, grammar and spelling can be a constant issue. Whether you compose with confidence or struggle with the written word, the proofreading app Grammarly can help ensure that your communications are fluid and polished. Grammarly is a free tool that checks for 250 types of spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors, and can also suggest citations for research papers. It is user-friendly regardless of your comfort with technology or writing.

To become a Grammarly user,  you must first make an account on their website, which is linked to the graphic above. Once you have signed up for your free account, you have the choice to either copy and paste English text into their online text editor, or to add the Grammarly extension to the Chrome or Safari web browser. The browser extension will correct any text entered into blogs, social media sites, or online word processors. It will also correct any punctuation or spelling errors in discussions on Blackboard or e-mails as well. The screen shot below displays the portal for creating a new account, while the red arrow in the right-hand corner points to the Grammarly extension within the browser itself. 

If you use Firefox, Internet Explorer, or the Edge browser, you have the option of using the online text editor, which is shown below. Text can be copied and pasted into this screen or typed directly into it. On the left, controls allow you to determine what sorts of grammar and punctuation issues you would like to correct.  

The online text editor is different from the plug-in on Chrome or Safari because the plug-in can correct your spelling and punctuation with just the click of a button. It works on websites like Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Tumblr. The Grammarly website, on the other hand, provides extra opportunities to connect and learn. These include Grammarly Answers, an online community for writers to come together to ask and answer questions; the Grammarly Handbook, an online guide to help explain English writing, style, and grammar; and the Grammarly Facebook, Twitter, and blog communities.

During the sign up process, you can choose between the free and Premium versions of the service. Grammarly Premium is a supercharged form of the free app that includes an additional plug-in for Microsoft Office, as well as a plagiarism checker. You can choose from three different subscription plans: monthly, quarterly, or annually, and the price adjusts accordingly. The image below details the major differences between the free and premium versions of the service. 

Grammarly can help the simplest writer become polished and fluent. The plug-in will allow you to be sure that your discussion posts, social media posts, and blogs are written as professionally as possible, so that you can make a great impression. Give it a try today! 

EdTech from EDUCAUSE

The ChatBrandi Bleak

This year, I had the opportunity to attend Educause, the leading technology conference in higher education. Along with the incredible amount of information shared through sessions, talks, workshops and keynote speeches, I brought back some very beneficial technologies to share with the College and community. Here's a list of several that I recommended to the Ladies of The Chat, as well as our faculty, staff, and students at FSCJ.

 

Lynda.com

More than 5000 courses in Business, Design, Web, Photography, Marketing and much more that users can watch on a computer, phone, tablet or TV. The site also offers learning paths like Become a Manager, Digital Marketer, Illustrator, Front-End Web Developer, Project Coordinator, User Experience Designer, etc., and states that members with certificates in these paths received 3.5x more career opportunities.

Lynda.com offers a free 10-day trial, then costs $19.99-29.99 per month.

Grammerly

A free browser extension for Chrome, Safari, and Firefox, which corrects over 150 types of complex writing errors. It's currently licensed by more than 600 leading universities and corporations, and there are free and premium versions available.

Google Cardboard & Expeditions

https://vr.google.com/cardboard/
https://www.google.com/edu/expeditions/

Virtual Reality is one of the leading innovative technologies I see lots of buzz about. This low-cost tech gives users a sense of immersion by viewing a location or subject through virtual reality. 

By using Expeditions, faculty can guide their students through a number of virtual field trips including museums, urban hikes, or even the human circulatory system. 

The cost for the basic Cardboard for each student is only $15, or you can upgrade to a customized design for an additional fee.

Candor App

During the conference's opening keynote, the speaker stated that more than 11 million meetings are held in the United States each day on average. She then suggested the Candor app, which opens up the possibility for more creative thinking and divergent thinking. Use the first few minutes of your meeting to prompt attendees to submit their ideas anonymously through the app, so the facilitator can view, evaluate, and decide on each suggestion without only hearing from those who are traditionally more vocal in meetings.

The app is free, as well as the browser instance, and is extremely intuitive.

 

In Focus LIVE: Open Educational Resources

In Focus, VideosRobyn Reese

Watch the latest episode of In Focus Live, shot on Wednesday, November 9 at 1 PM. It spotlights the development and use of Open Educational Resources (OERs) at FSCJ.

Open Educational Resources are free materials (books, media, and lessons) that can be used for teaching and research. During the live show, guests Shannon Dew, Director of Online Library Services, and Dr. Peter Shapiro, Director of Creative Learning Services, explained how to access OERs for a variety of purposes and provided an overview of an new degree pathway that relies exclusively on OERs as course material.

 

Digitizing history

Robin Herriff

This week, photographer Curtis Lyles had the opportunity to photograph a 115 year old magazine/book for English professor Laura Jeffries. Dr. Jeffries wants to use some of the pages for a conference presentation, but the age of the book made photographing it a delicate process. We tasked Curtis with helping digitize the pages and he went about figuring out a set up that would work to eliminate shadows from the frame of the page without blowing out the background white of the page, or damaging the book. He placed two soft boxed lights on each side of a work table in our studio to push out any shadows caused by the book. Using our camera jib, he was able to bring the Nikon D800 between and above the soft boxes to get a clear view of the book without casting any shadows into the frame. After adjusting the camera, we were on our way to digitizing and sharing an interesting piece of literature from our history.  

Useful Apps During the Hurricane

The Chat, AppsBrandi Bleak

Although I coincidentally managed to be out of town during Hurricane Matthew, I asked my friends and colleagues which apps they found to be most useful and reviewed them this week on The Chat. Watch the segment and find my list below so you're even more prepared in the future.

The Weather Channel
This app, along with your preferred local news app for live streaming and up-to-date radar information.

Twitter

JSO kept readers aware of up-to-date info on this social media app.

Facebook Safety Check

This is a great way to let others know you're safe.

FEMA

Explains how to prepare ahead of the storm and allows users to submit photos of damage afterward.

iHeartRadio

You can listen to the local radio here, which provided great coverage during the storm.

Hotel Tonight

If you needed to evacuate during the storm, this app was helpful in finding availability of last minute rooms in a specific area. 

Grubhub

Discover which nearby restaurants will deliver and if they were open after Matthew made it's way through the area.

FSCJ Safe App

This app has so many useful features, including Emergency Contacts, Friend Walk, Virtual Walkhome, Campus Maps and Alerts. 

Firechat

The app provides public and private communications that work without Internet access or cellular data,  which is perfect during natural disasters, massive events, historical elections, or even large festivals.

Most Recommended by those asked:

JaxReady
From Emergency Preparedness Division and Information Technologies Division of the City of Jax, this app assists users in monitoring weather threats and plan for evacuation in their specific location. It also provides access to current threat levels, weather reports, and wildfire updates. 


In Focus LIVE: SharePoint Training

In Focus, DMPRobyn Reese

Did you miss our In Focus LIVE segment on Friday, October 21, at 10:00 AM?  It provided an in-depth look at SharePoint, Microsoft's file sharing app that can be accessed through Office365. Carey Robinson, SharePoint Administrator, and Samantha Beilhart, SharePoint Power User, shared tips and tricks that can help you maximize your work efficiency and improve your collaborative ability.

If so, don't worry! We have uploaded the broadcast below, for first-time or repeat viewing! Thanks for watching and stay tuned for next month's edition of In Focus.

View the Recorded Broadcast:

DMP Behind the Scenes: Diversity videos

DMP, PhotosMark Hubbard

When the client asks to have four of the same person on screen at once and your cloning machine is in the shop, what do you do? Use a green screen of course! 

We started off by filming each person 4 times. After each "actor" would read their line, we would read out the other lines to give the talent a sense of timing and direct them to look left and right to sell the effect of them all being there with each other.

After filming was complete I uploaded the clips into Adobe After Effects and composited them into the scene together. From there is was just a matter of matching the timing between the clips and animating a virtual camera to move between each character.

The final touch was making them look like paper cut-outs. This actually took me a while to figure out. I tried so many different things but they all looked bad. Then I realized it was actually a super easy solution! I won't bore you with the nitty gritty on that, but it's always good to remember when you're banging your head against the wall and coming up empty, take a step back. Go for a quick walk and clear your head. Then Google the correct answer and realize how easy it actually was. ;)

Click here to see the finished videos.

macOS Sierra

Software, EdTechBrandi Bleak

Last week, Apple release a new operating system for your computers called macOS Sierra. There are some really helpful new features that you should be aware of as you update your hardware, and here are the basics.


Siri is now in your menu bar and Dock

Now Siri can assist you in locating recent files or adding a new event to your calendar.

Now Siri can assist you in locating recent files or adding a new event to your calendar.

Universal Clipboard

This one is helpful if you have a tendency to work on multiple devices and often use them interchangeably.

Auto Unlock

This may not affect everyone, but for those who have the Apple Watch, it's a very nice option.

Photos have been organized

You can now view your photos by event, location, or search who or what was in the photos.

iCloud Drive

You can now share the content from your Desktop and Documents folder across each of your Mac devices. You can select what items you'd like to make available within iCloud Drive by going to System Preferences, iCloud then Options. Click here for more assistance with iCloud Drive

Optimized Storage

Your Mac can help reduce some of the unwanted files and delete files left in the Trash for 30 days. Click here to learn more about Optimized Storage.

Picture in Picture

This feature is great when you're viewing a webinar and taking notes or multitasking. 

FSCJ Safe App

Videos, DMP, EdTech, Student ContentBrandi Bleak

Here's a list of the features on FSCJ's new easy-to-use safety app that everyone should have loaded on their mobile device.

1. FSCJ Twitter feed
An easy way to get to the FSCJ Official Twitter feed, which offers up-to-date information such as closures, emergencies, and event information.

2. Emergency Contacts
Instantly call security, 911, or JSO for off campus emergencies while on any campus.

3. Mobile Bluelight
This feature calls campus security for you as well as sends them your location through the GPS on your phone.

4. Friend Walk
This feature allows you to connect with one of your contacts and to them your location in real time. They can watch as you travel to your destination and call for help if needed.  There is an emergency button that allows you to notify your friend if you are in danger and connects you with the emergency number.

5. Virtual Walkhome
This is similar to friend walk however, instead of one of your contacts being notified, you can be monitored directly by security while you are on campus.  To use, simply select your location and wait for confirmation that you are being monitored. This option also includes an easily accessible emergency button.

6. Report a Tip
If you encounter a situation that you think should be brought to the attention of campus security this feature provides several ways to do that.  You can email a report, email a photo or video, or phone in a tip.

7.  Personal Safety Toolbox
This feature provides useful tools when in an emergency situation.  They include a flashlight, a loud alarm, and another way to send your location to security to indicate you need help.  This is also where you can find the emergency hotline for college employees.

8. Campus Maps
This is a useful feature even when you aren’t in an emergency situation. The detailed maps are available for each campus and are interactive.

9.  Emergency Plans
It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with these plans before an emergency situation happens.  It contains detailed instructions on the correct procedure and safest behavior in several different situations, including evacuations and severe weather conditions.  It also connects you with the College emergency hotline.

10.  Helpful Resources
This feature provides basic College information such as academic schedules and catalog in an easy to navigate format.

 

A Day in the Studio with DMP

DMPRobin Herriff

Our Digital Media Productions team is a busy place these days, creating educational content for faculty and staff.  Here's a behind-the-scenes look at just one very busy day in the studio!  Projects included a video shoot about the new FSCJ Safe app with Security Director Gordon Bass, the first of ten social media interviews with TEDxFSCJ speakers, a LIVE In Focus conversation with Provost Dr. John Wall, and hand-drawing animation for a series of videos we're creating for Diversity and Inclusion Month.  Phew!

Discovering the Knowledge Base

Videos, DMP, EdTech, help.fscj.eduBrandi Bleak

Have you searched for an answer in the Knowledge Base?

One of the missions of Academic Technology is to ensure everyone at the College has access to assistance when they have a question related to technology. We've developed help.fscj.edu, which is the go-to place to submit a ticket for help, call or chat with a service desk representative.   What if you want to fix a problem yourself, or are just looking for tips on how to use college systems or equipment? For self-service information, you can search a topic within the Knowledge Base

The Knowledge Base is an always-evolving compendium of information about Information Technology systems and services, including Office 365, Blackboard, Peoplesoft, and Media Space.  New articles are constantly being added, along with links to video tutorials, screen captures, and written step-by-step instructions. Everything is searchable by topic or category, as shown on the screen shot above. If you don't see an answer to a question you have, simply email us at et@fscj.edu, and we'll be happy to create a solution that can be added for others who may have the same concern.