We Are Now ITS Educational Technologies!

UNC Information Technology Services Educational Technologies logo

We’re excited to announce that we are now ITS Educational Technologies!

After nearly 15 years as ITS Teaching & Learning, we updated our name to help clarify the specific services and expertise our team provides to UNC. See the ITS story on our division name change.

edtech twitter profile opens in new windowFollow us at our updated @UNC_EdTech opens in new window Twitter account and check out our new EdTech website at edtech.unc.edu.

This Teaching & Learning Blog will be archived and eventually removed. We’ll continue to share tips and resources and move relevant T&L Blog content to the new EdTech Blog. Please bookmark our new EdTech site!

Spring 2021 Rosters are in Sakai

cute chipmunk wearing a carolina hat in a flower field says hey ya'll, spring 2021 rosters are in Sakai!The University just announced that the Spring 2021 semester will be delayed by a couple of weeks and begin on Tuesday, January 19, 2021. It will include five wellness days intended as breaks from the semester. Please continue to check Carolina Together for updates on the modes of teaching and other announcements for the spring.

Since moving to remote instruction, several instructors have made use of different technologies to connect with their students. Several tools are available in Sakai to help you engage your students and deliver the course content. You can now begin working on your spring course sites because Spring 2021 rosters are now in Sakai!

Step 1: ConnectCarolina

To create your course sites in Sakai, you must be listed as one of the following for each of your course rosters in ConnectCarolina opens in new window:

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

Contact your departmental course scheduler to list you in ConnectCarolina with the appropriate instructor role. If you log into ConnectCarolina and don’t see your courses listed for Spring 2021, your scheduler needs to make this change. Please note that it may take up to 24 hours to update in Sakai. Also note that Teaching Assistants in ConnectCarolina cannot create course sites in Sakai.

See more information on access:

Step 2: Create Spring 2021 Course Site

Once your departmental scheduler has listed you on your course rosters in ConnectCarolina and our Sakai data has refreshed (happens 3 times a day), here are the steps to follow on creating your course site opens in new window.

Get started by clicking on Home > Worksite Setup > New OR Sites > Create New Site. Then follow these steps:

  1. Select course site
  2. Change Academic term to Spring 2021 and Continue
  3. Check course roster you want to create and Continue — Check *only 1 roster* if you want separate course sites
  4. Edit Home Description (or later) and Continue
  5. Check tools you want to use and Continue — can add/remove later
  6. Leave as Draft and Continue — remember to publish site when ready
  7. Finish

If you want to reuse any old course material, you may do so before continuing in Step #5 through the “Re-use Material from Other Sites You Own” option. You can also wait until after you have created your site and use the Import from Site feature. See details on duplicating course content opens in new window.

Step 3: Organize Favorite Sites

Your new sites will automatically appear in your top favorites bar. You may remove old Sakai sites from your favorites bar by clicking Sites and then the star next to each site you wish to remove (star will dim). You can also completely hide sites from your view opens in new window through Preferences. The Organize Favorites tab allows you to reorder how your tabs are listed. Up to 15 sites can be displayed in your favorites bar.

Sakai Sites menu

Join Us at 2020 UNC CAUSE

UNC CAUSE is more than a conference logoWe invite the UNC IT Community to join us this year at the virtual 2020 UNC CAUSE Conference! There are a couple sessions that will be led by our Chapel Hill colleagues.

UNC CAUSE is an IT-focused organization for the 17 campuses in the UNC System, and this year’s conference will be held virtually over a 3-week period from October 6-22. Thanks to the ITS Information Security Office covering this year’s group registration, all in the UNC-CH IT community are welcome to attend! You must register for the conference to get full access to the program on Sched and join sessions via Zoom.


Natalie Nixon portrait

The conference begins at 10AM ET on Tuesday, October 6th with the Keynote Address:

Innovation IQ: How to Master the 3 Drivers to Stay Out Front and Lead

Dr. Natalie Nixon will discuss developing the 3 tenets of culture (people, process, place) to design an organizational culture that is primed for innovation and a prosperous future state.

“The more diverse the inputs, the more innovative the output.” – Natalie Nixon

Teaching & Learning Sessions

There are several sessions on Teaching & Learning, plus several other great tracks to follow! These are the currently scheduled T&L sessions:

  • Of Dragons and Myths – An Online Pilot Program for Remote Professional Development with Games
  • Click Here to Read More: Ambiguous Link Text and Other Accessibility Conundrums
  • Leading Online Conferences and Events: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
  • Facilitating Online Teaching Excellence
  • Data vs. the Hunch: Letting Data Lead Innovation in Course Design
  • CBE Redesign with the End in Mind: Course Maps, Accordions, and Connections

Please visit the conference website to register. You must register by this coming Monday, October 5th, to guarantee access to the Keynote!

Required Zoom Security Update Sept 27, 2020

zoom iconThere is an important update happening with Zoom this Sunday that will impact ALL existing and future Zoom meetings.

Important: Beginning September 27, 2020, Zoom will require either the waiting room or a passcode to be applied to meetings, including ones that have already been scheduled.

By default, the waiting room will be applied to all meetings; however, you can adjust these settings before and after September 27, 2020.

NOTE: If you are in a Zoom sub-account, your sub-account owner may have selected settings different from the main campus Zoom account. Please reach out to your department/school if you have questions.

Review Your Zoom Settings

We urge you to review your current Zoom profile settings to select your preferred default option for scheduling new meetings:

  • Waiting Room: UNC’s Zoom settings have been customized to add an option to allowing any UNC Zoom user to bypass the waiting room. If you created your UNC Zoom account before July 19, 2020, this setting will be your default. If you created your UNC Zoom account after that time, you will need to enable this option.
  • Passcode: If you enable “Require a passcode when scheduling new meetings,” you can disable the waiting room.

We also urge you to review your existing Zoom meetings. If you want to prevent a waiting room being added by default to your existing Zoom meetings, you will need to go to your Upcoming Zoom Meetings and edit each meeting to add a passcode. You will also need to resend any meeting invitations to meeting participants to share the passcode with them.

See more information on securing Zoom and privacy settings. If you need assistance, please submit a help request.

Faculty Discuss “The Great Pivot”

the well logoCheck out this great article posted on The Well: The Great Pivot

Faculty in the College of Arts & Sciences share how they were “better prepared for the shift back into remote learning this fall after working diligently since last spring to reimagine their courses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The Faculty discuss using technologies, such as Sakai and Zoom, to continue the learning experience online. For example, Brian Hogan, Assistant Department Chair and Teaching Professor in the Chemistry Department, set up student checklists and structured his classes so that “students know exactly what they’re going to get and what they need to do every day.” Michele Rivkin-Fish, Associate Professor in Anthropology, created meaningful remote global experiences by having her students “talk directly with their Russian peers via Zoom” for the first time. Several instructors have been holding their class sessions over Zoom, using breakout rooms to delve into their distinct experiences, and meeting individually with students to better address their needs.

Andy Lang, Associate Dean of the College’s Office of Arts & Sciences Information Services (OASIS), talks about how technology staff have played a critical role in teaching success. In particular, Keep Teaching, the UNC website that provides strategies and tools for remote instruction, was a joint effort between several groups on campus including our own ITS Teaching & Learning team!

We invite you to read “The Great Pivot” on The Well!

University August Updates

August updatesWhile undergraduate instruction is now remote, our campus remains largely operational. Please see Carolina Together for August Updates opens in new window from the University.

You will find information on:

  • Fall 2020 Course Instruction
  • Academic Policies & Support
  • Housing & Dining
  • Student Support
  • Activities & Events
  • Campus Operations (building access, libraries, transportation/parking)
  • Student Conduct & Compliance
  • Research
  • Human Resources and In the Workplace
  • Testing & Tracing at Campus Health & Employee Occupational Health

We also recommend that Instructors and Teaching Assistants review Remote Teaching opens in new window on the Keep Teaching website to find resources designed to support quickly adapting your courses for fully remote instruction.

Quick Transition to Remote Instruction

keep teaching: covid-19 resources for UNC instructorsYesterday, the University announced opens in new window that all undergraduate in-person instruction will shift to remote learning starting tomorrow, August 19.

We understand this may present some challenges for instructors who planned to teach in-person this semester. Know that support is available for you.

We highly recommend continuing to check the Keep Teaching website opens in new window, a resource for all UNC Faculty and Teaching Assistants on using remote instructional tools and methods. You can also request a 30-minute confidential consultation opens in new window to discuss any challenges, plans, strategies, tools, or concerns you may have.

The website is updated frequently, and there is a new Remote Teaching page opens in new window to help you quickly transition to remote instruction. Here is a gist of what you will find on this resource page.

Teaching Strategies for Remote Instruction

See Remote Teaching opens in new window for details on each of these teaching strategies, with examples of synchronous and asynchronous activities:

  • Lectures
  • Group Projects
  • Polling
  • Small Group Discussion
  • Whole Class Discussion
  • Writing / Drawing on Board

Best Practices for Emergency Remote Instruction

More information can be found on these general best practices on Remote Teaching opens in new window:

  • Stay up to date on the latest campus developments
  • Communicate often and share resources
  • ID which course adjustments must be made immediately
  • Help students navigate changes to your course
  • Anticipate that your teaching and your student experiences will be different
  • COVID-19 and students needing accommodations

If you need assistance with any campus-supported technologies, please submit a help request opens in new window. We’re here to help you and your students navigate this challenging time.

Teaching with Sakai Crash Course

sakaiger in a face maskHappy First Day of Classes!

We are starting the fall semester early this year, and everything is already in full swing. Whether you’re teaching remotely, mask-to-mask on campus, or using a combination of the two in a Hy-Flex mode, we hope you are safe and healthy. Remember to check Keep Teaching opens in new window for COVID-19 faculty resources.

Last week we held a 75-minute crash course on Teaching with Sakai Tools to Help Students Learn opens in new window. The recording of that crash course is now available for you to view on your own time!

Are you a new instructor and need to create your course site? Do you want to administer online tests to assess student learning or collect student papers? Are you interested in streamlining the student learning experience by combining all of your course content in one place? If you said yes to any of these questions, we recommend watching the recording, which we’ve broken down by topic below!

Sakai Crash Course Recording

Please note you must sign in with your UNC Onyen to view the recording opens in new window:video on teaching with Sakai tools to help students learnThe following topics are discussed at these specific times, in case you want to skip ahead in the video:

Here is the workshop summary download file with links to help guides on what was discussed.

Get Sakai Help

Have Sakai questions? Here are ways to get help:

Please stay safe, and have a great semester!

Workshops for Start of Fall 2020

sakaiger in a face maskThe Fall Semester begins early this year and classes resume in one week on August 10. Whether you’re teaching Mask-to-Mask, HyFlex, or Remote, you will likely make use of technology to connect with your students. We have two workshops this Thursday, August 6, to help you get started with Poll Everywhere and Sakai.

NOTE: See more on the different Modes of Teaching opens in new window on the Keep Teaching website.

Getting Started with Poll Everywhere

Poll Everywhere opens in new window is an easy-to-implement polling tool available for free to all UNC instructors and students. Class polls support a wide range of instructional objectives, including formative assessment, springboards for class discussion, student feedback and reflection, and ice breakers. During this session, instructors will learn more about creating effective class polls, Poll Everywhere features and question types, and best practices for administering polls in class or remotely.

Getting Started with Poll Everywhere
Thursday, August 6 | 11am – 12pm ET
Poll Everywhere Workshop Registration opens in new window

Crash Course on Teaching with Sakai

Sakai opens in new window provides instructors with a “one-stop shop” to share all of your course content with students, communicate with students, assess their learning and provide feedback, and keep track of grades. Join us at this 75-minute workshop as we discuss how to use Sakai to streamline the learning experience for you and your students! We will cover:

  • Creating your Sakai course site
  • Sharing your syllabus and course materials
  • Communicating with students
  • Setting up Assignments and Tests & Quizzes
  • Combining all course materials and assignments on a Lessons page
  • Quick overview of the Gradebook
  • Getting Sakai help

Teaching with Sakai Tools to Help Students Learn
Thursday, August 6 | 2pm – 3:15pm ET
Sakai Workshop Registration opens in new window

As always, you can request assistance by submitting a help request opens in new window or signing up for a Personal Consultation opens in new window with a Sakai expert. We’re here to help you.

Good luck with the start of classes!

Course Planning for Fall 2020

keep teaching covid-19 website

We know faculty are busy figuring how to safely teach courses in the Fall 2020 Semester. We invite you to review the training opportunities that have recently been added to the Keep Teaching Training opens in new window page. There is a new Essentials for Remote Teaching & Learning resource being offered to all instructors, as well as workshops on several different topics to help you plan for the Fall. Check out the many resources available to help you teach successfully!

Essentials for Remote Teaching & Learning

Given the limited amount of time to develop or revise courses, this new “Essentials” resource is designed to help instructors create effective remote teaching and learning experiences this Fall and will focus on the essentials for effective remote instruction.

Topics will help faculty:

  • Make the transition to hybrid or remote teaching
  • Apply research-based course design principles
  • Align course goals/activities/assessments
  • Facilitate student interactions with attention to diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Use best practices for grading and assessment

Essentials for Remote Teaching and Learning will be offered in both synchronous and asynchronous formats (available now!). Check out the Keep Teaching Training opens in new window page to sign up and to get more details!

45-Minute Workshops on Multiple Topics

Quick workshops on 10 topics are being offered over the next couple of weeks. We invite you to register for the sessions that interest you through the Keep Teaching Training opens in new window page!

  • Assessment in Sakai: Assignments, Tests & Quizzes
  • Essentials for Remote Teaching and Learning
  • Facilitating Asynchronous Student Interaction with Remote Teaching
  • Facilitating Synchronous Student Interaction with Remote Teaching
  • Getting Organized: Using the Lessons Tool in Sakai
  • Getting Started with PollEverywhere
  • Integrating Creative Maker Projects into Your Course
  • Resilient Teaching
  • Teaching with Videos: Tips to create, use and manage
  • Teaching with Zoom Breakouts

Don’t forget that previously recorded training sessions are also available on the Keep Teaching Training opens in new window page. You’re welcome to view them on your own time as needed. If you have any questions, submit a help request opens in new window. We’re here to help you!