ITS Annual Report: 2013-2014

its_report_13-14The ITS Annual Report is in! See what Information Technology Services has been working on in 2013 and 2014, with special highlights on Teaching & Learning!

As the report states:

ITS is building a new, higher standard of connectivity in both on-campus and digital classrooms…we focus on how technology can enhance learning objectives and create a richer student experience.

See the full report here.

Classrooms Go Digital

As we previously mentioned, several campus classrooms have been undergoing upgrades since this summer, including the addition of new Document Cameras. This new equipment is part of a multi-year project of converting 200 analog rooms to digital, ten of which were completed this summer! All 200 analog classrooms are scheduled to be completed by mid-August of 2016. Here are some key points:

  • classroom_before_afterWe now have 56 digital classrooms
  • 21 rooms with only a chalkboard converted
  • 13 rooms outfitted for web conferencing with cameras and ceiling mics, ranging from 15-seat to 190-seat rooms
    • New Doc Cams enable web conferencing
    • Allows for guest speakers and subject experts in the classroom!
  • Added HDMI cable outputs to project tablets and smartphones
  • 232 new wireless access points to bring wireless internet to 182 classrooms!

Don’t forget that red telephone in the classroom! Any time you need assistance, just pick up that red phone to connect directly with the Classroom Hotline. Because the Hotline monitors classroom equipment remotely, chances are that we may have already discovered and fixed the problem before the classes started, allowing you to focus on what’s truly important–learning in the classroom!

MOOCs at Carolina

If you have not heard, there has been a big movement towards Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in higher education these past few years. UNC became a part of the MOOC Movement in 2013 by offering several MOOCs through Coursera.

By the Numbers

  • mooc_unc7.5 million Coursera learners
  • 160,000 students enrolled in UNC MOOCs to date
  • 190 Countries represented in UNC MOOCs
  • 30% Students from emerging economies
  • 38,000 Students currently “watching” UNC Course MOOCs for new offerings

Check out Coursera to see all the MOOC offerings by UNC! They are FREE and open to anyone. Here is some more information on MOOCs in higher ed:

Sakai Migration

The Blackboard to Sakai Migration officially ended early January 2013, which was a collaborative effort between numerous people across campus to provide support to Faculty, Students, and Staff to make way for the new learning management system at UNC. The transition included many outlets of support, several of which are still available to the UNC Community today

Way to go, Carolina! It’s been a great year for teaching and learning!

“Building on success…is an atmosphere of collaboration that we foster at ITS
and with our students, faculty, staff and broader community.”
- Chris Kielt, UNC Vice Chancellor for IT and CIO

Create your Spring 2015 Course Sites in Sakai

guinea_pig_bikeGet ready to ride into the Spring Season because Spring 2015 rosters are now in Sakai! With Fall Break at the end of this week, this is a great opportunity to find a little free time to start preparing for the Spring Semester.

Remember that you must be listed as either of the following in ConnectCarolina in order to create your course site:

  • Primary Instructor
  • Secondary Instructor
  • Proxy
  • Dean’s Designate

Teaching Assistants cannot create course sites in Sakai. Check out What to know about ConnectCarolina and Sakai for some important reminders!

Create Sakai Course Site

To create your course site, follow this tutorial by getting started in My Workspace > Worksite Setup!

If you are teaching the same course and want to reuse old course material, you can easily do so as you are creating your course site or any time after the site has been created. You have three different options:

  • Re-use Material from Other Sites You Own
  • Import from Site
  • Show other sites in Resources

See Duplicate your content between Sakai sites for full details!

Sakai Maintenance Outage this Thursday, 5-8AM

planned-maintainWe will have an extended Sakai Maintenance Outage over Fall Break this Thursday, October 16, from 5am until 8am (regular maintenance window is 5am-7am) as we update our server operating systems. Please plan accordingly and contact the ITRC Help Desk at 962-HELP if you have any questions.

We appreciate your patience!

VoiceThread Usage Soars with Sakai Integration!

Since we integrated VoiceThread into Sakai this summer, we have seen a huge increase in usage! VoiceThread allows users to share media, such as images, slides, and videos, for others to view and add comments. With the integration of VoiceThread in Sakai, the sharing process is much simpler and straightforward.

Check out the usage comparison between Fall 2013 and Fall 2014 for the months of August and September. The total number of VoiceThreads created in Fall 2013 doubled from 506 to 1,003 in Fall 2014!


See the full comparison of total VTs created in the two months between FA13 and FA14:


Sharing VoiceThreads
Sharing VoiceThreads in your Sakai course is easy! Once you have enabled VoiceThread and created your VTs, follow these steps to share your VTs–

Instructors, all you need to do is change the VT view to All My VoiceThreads, move your cursor over the VT you want to share, and click on +Share with course. That’s it!

Students, you will first click on My Voice at the bottom of the VT page in Sakai, which takes you to In the new VoiceThread window, drag-and-drop your VT into your Course name on the left hand-side under UNC-Chapel Hill. It’s now shared!

Free VoiceThread Workshops

Starting October 15, VoiceThread is offering seven free online sessions to assist educators in developing ideas to enhance their classes with VoiceThread! Here are some topics of interest:

Many people on campus are already using VoiceThread for more interactive communication amongst one another. Consider joining them!

Don’t forget to subscribe to our Teaching & Learning Newsletter to stay up-to-date on learning technologies on campus!

Create Sakai Tests the Quick & Easy Way

laptop_calculatorWith midterms around the corner, administering online tests can be an excellent way of checking how well students understand the course material. If you are using the Sakai Tests & Quizzes tool – great! However, we understand creating questions one-by-one can be time-consuming. This is why we often recommend creating assessments in Sakai using markup text and then making any additional changes with the assessment builder.

Creating a test using markup text allows you to create all test questions at once. The questions must be entered in a specific format for Sakai to recognize the question type, question text, point value, answer selections, and correct answer(s). The markup text option recognizes these question types:

  • Multiple Choice
  • Multiple Correct Answers
  • Fill in the Blank
  • Short Essay
  • True/False

Please note that the markup text option is only available when creating an assessment and not after the test has already been created. To add questions to an existing test, you must use the assessment builder (Select Action > Edit).

If you have not already enabled Tests & Quizzes, you can easily do so through Site Info > Edit Tools.

Create assessment using Markup Text

1. Navigate to Tests & Quizzes in your Sakai course site
2. Enter an Assessment Title
3. Select Create using markup text and click on Create

tq_markup_create4. Under Instructions & Examples, select the type of question you want to create to see the text format. Enter the questions in the left box

tq_markup_questionNOTE: We recommend creating all questions ahead of time in a document outside of Sakai and then copying and pasting the questions into Sakai all at once.

5. Click on Next
6. Review the questions, point values, and answers to verify everything is correct. Click on Create Assessment

If you need to add questions, provide feedback, or make additional edits, click on the Select Action menu > Edit of your assessment to make those changes.

Don’t forget to publish your test to make it available to students! Call 962-HELP if you have any questions.

Tackling the Sakai Gradebook


Image by rosipaw on flickr (CC BY)

Keeping track of student grades on paper not working out too well anymore? We recommend using the Sakai Gradebook! There is much more to this gradebook than just having a place to store student scores–the Sakai Gradebook also allows you to:

There are different options for setting up your Gradebook and many functions available, but don’t let that intimidate you! We have a Sakai Blog Gradebook Series and several Sakai Tutorials to assist you in getting started. You may also request one-on-one help, where a TLI Consultant will work with you every step of the way in getting your Gradebook ready! Check out available appointments on our Events page.

Setting up your Gradebook

There is no one way to set up the Gradebook, however instructors typically use Categories & Weighting. What’s great about this option is that it allows you to drop the lowest score within a category. See what other options might work for you!

If you are using Sakai Assignments, Tests & Quizzes, Forums, or Discussion and Private Messages, you can link these tools with the Gradebook! See how to enter grades.

TAs & Grading

Have Teaching Assistants helping with the grading? The preferred method is to add TAs in ConnectCarolina through your departmental course scheduler due to FERPA restrictions. Instructors can add TAs manually to their course sites as well.

Tips & Tricks

With busy schedules and heavy workloads throughout the semester, it is easy to overlook certain things in the Gradebook. To help make your lives a little easier, we have provided some Gradebook Tips & Tricks and will post the Final Gradebook Checklist at the end of the semester as a reminder.

If you have not yet created your Sakai course site, you can easily do so by following this tutorial. Contact the ITRC Help Desk if you have any questions at or 962-HELP!

Did you know your Doc Cam can…

doc_camClassroom Hotline has been hard at work with several classrooms on campus going through big upgrades! One of those upgrades you may have noticed in most rooms is an updated document camera. We cannot always rely on electronic versions of content, which is when doc cams come in handy!

So what exactly is a document camera?

doc_cam_audienceDocument cameras are visual presenters that project physical objects onto a screen. They are great tools for sharing printed copies of material in class, such as textbooks, sheet music, and art, or working out math problems, annotations, and other hands-on activities. You could even project yourself and your students! Doc cams basically display any object or activity to a larger audience.

See more uses for doc cams from the University of Notre Dame.

But wait, your Doc Cam can do even more!

While the new doc cams are great for projecting content, they are actually capable of doing so much more! In addition to displaying objects, your doc cam also:

  1. Doubles as a webcam and mic for Skype, MS Lync, WebEx, etc.
  2. Records to USB storage with one-touch still-image & voice/video recording
  3. Provides annotation with audio/video recording to cloud storage, such as Dropbox or YouTube

doc_cam_connectWith the built-in microphone and camera, these doc cams are great for ad hoc lecture capturing and web conferencing. You can very easily save your work and share it live with your colleagues and students. It is now easier than ever to connect! See the full ad on what your Doc Cam can do.

Contact Classroom Hotline for details on using any of these features in your next lectures and meetings!

Andrew Cohen explains CCI Printing: Print. Swipe. Release.

cci_print_anywhereStudents, do you need to print your course syllabus, readings, or lecture slides? CCI Printing is here to help you! All fee-paying students receive a printing allotment each semester through the CCI Printing Program, which may be used to send print jobs to any of the CCI Printers on campus from their own computer.

Andrew Cohen on CCI Printing

Andrew Cohen, an Undergraduate Student in the College of Arts & Sciences and Student Assistant in ITS-Teaching & Learning, explains the process of sending print jobs through CCI Printing, “the key to printing on campus.” Just print, swipe, releaseit’s that easy!

How CCI Printing Works

Install: You must first install the Pharos Printing Client on your computer. Several campus computers and Virtual Lab also have CCI Printing installed.

Print: Once installed and you’re ready to print, select ITS Print Queue or CCI_Printing from your list of printers. Enter your Onyen and a print job description in the Pharos Pop-up Client. You have 60 minutes to pick up your print job from any of the CCI Printers on campus!

Authenticate: At the CCI Printer, enter your Onyen and password at the release station, swipe your One Card to pay, and select the print job from the release station.

Your print job should now print!

Benefits & Tips

You’ve already paid your student fees, which went towards the CCI Print Plan – might as well use it! Here are some benefits and tips to using CCI Printing:

  • Don’t forget your One Card! This is the only way to pay
  • Jobs stay in the print queue for 60 minutes
  • CCI Printing is defaulted to double-sided printing
  • Print jobs disappear if Onyen is misspelled, including spaces, when sending jobs
  • There are 55 printers in 35+ locations, including 2 color printers
  • You can send print jobs to anyone at UNC or ask colleagues to send print jobs to you. Enter Onyen of the person picking up the print job in the CCI Pop-up Client on your computer
  • Faculty and Staff may use CCI Printing, however funds must be added to One Card Expense account. Students must also print from Expense account when CCI Printing balance is equal to $0

Help Docs

Happy Printing! Please consider the environment when printing.

What to know about IT @ UNC

IT@UNC_FA14Welcome to the Fall 2014 Semester! Classes are back in session, and now is a great time to familiarize yourself with UNC resources available to you to make your semester a success!

Information Technology Services has made the following infographic available for a quick go-to guide on important things to know about IT at UNC. Click on the image to view the full infographic or read on for some important IT tips!

IT Tips

It is very common nowadays for someone to own multiple devices, such as a laptop, smartphone, and tablet. With more devices on hand, there is a bigger chance of accidentally exposing information that was not intended to be shared. Be sure to protect your devices by staying up-to-date with browser and security updates, installing anti-virus software, and storing sensitive data in a secure location. When viewing private information, such as student grades, keep FERPA regulations in mind. See FERPA Documents from the University Registrar for details.

Using multimedia is a great way to enhance discussion and learning in a classroom, but do not forget about copyright concerns! Violators could lose network access and potentially face fines and criminal charges. For more information on copyright policies, visit the Scholarly Communications Office and do a web search on these three terms:

  • Copyright
  • Copyright infringement
  • Fair Use

Get IT Help

Don’t forget that IT help is always here! The ITRC Help Desk is available 24 hours, every single day of the year! There are several ways to get in touch with the ITRC:

You can also visit the (newly redesigned!) ITS Website for more information on IT Services at UNC. Remember to share with care!

Getting Ready for Fall Semester

old_wellFall Semester is just around the corner! This is the perfect time to do some preparation for the start of classes. Instructors, you can set up your courses now and enjoy this last bit of Summer before the busy semester begins!

Classroom Demo

Are you familiar with the technology in your classroom? Don’t waste your valuable class time trying to figure out how to work the technology–schedule a classroom demonstration with Classroom Hotline!


If you are looking for an online collaborative space to communicate with your students, share course content, set up student assessments, and keep track of grades, Sakai is the place for you. You can easily create your course site.

Important Notes:

Sakai Workshops

Need more help with Sakai? We have two upcoming Sakai Workshops at the House Undergraduate Library and invite you to join us!

Drop in for Sakai Help [Register]
Monday, August 18
2pm – 4pm
UL 124

Have last-minute Sakai questions or need quick help from a Sakai expert? Drop in any time between 2pm and 4pm for help from a Sakai expert!

Intro to Teaching in Sakai [Register]
Tuesday, August 19
11am – 12pm
UL 124

Teaching in Sakai for the first time or need a refresher? This is the perfect workshop for you! Please join us as we review creating course sites, uploading course content, setting up assessments, communication tools, and much more!

You can contact the ITRC Help Desk at | 962-HELP if you have any questions. Let us know how we may assist you!

Group Conversations around Media

Media can be a powerful tool. Sharing media and allowing others to provide feedback and thoughts can make media even more engaging and powerful. A tool called VoiceThread, which is available to all UNC users, can be used to have group conversations around media or simply share presentations and recorded lectures.

VoiceThread allows you to upload files, such as images, video clips, slides, and documents to be shared with other users. You have control over who has access to your VoiceThreads, as well as the option of allowing those users to leave posts on your threads using voice, video, or text comments.

Interested in using VoiceThreads for your class? It is easier than ever to share your threads as VoiceThread is now integrated with Sakai! Simply add the the tool to your site and you are ready to go!

What is a VoiceThread?

So, what exactly is a VoiceThread? Click on this VoiceThread to find out!

what_is_a_vtWant to learn more about VoiceThread? Check out these tutorials to get started!

We also invite you to sign up for our workshop on VoiceThread on Tuesday, August 5th. Join us and your colleagues to experience first-hand how a VoiceThread works and how you can use it for your course!

Digital Storytelling and Presentations [Register]
Tuesday, August 5
2pm – 3pm
UL 034

We hope to see you there!