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!

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!

T&L Assists Faculty with Remote Instruction

keep teaching covid-19 website

The Spring 2020 term has been a whirlwind of a semester but we all made it! Check out the story that ITS Communications wrote about our Teaching & Learning team as we and several other groups on campus have provided instructional support in response to campus moving to remote instruction.

ITS Story: ITS Teaching & Learning assists faculty with remote instruction opens in new window

Don’t forget that we’re continuously updating the Keep Teaching website opens in new window with teaching resources and upcoming trainings. Instructors can also view recordings of past trainings and post to the Help Forum for ideas and suggestions from colleagues and support staff.

Students can also find information on the Keep Learning website opens in new window on academic, financial, wellness, and career resources. Please reach out if you need any help.

We wish everyone a safe and relaxing summer!

ATLAS 2020 Awards Competition

sakaiger with apereo logoAre you using Sakai in innovative ways to advance teaching excellence? The Apereo Foundation opens in new window is seeking submissions for the annual Apereo Teaching and Learning Awards (ATLAS) opens in new window competition. The international award recognizes innovation and excellence in the use of digital technologies and Apereo tools, such as Sakai opens in new window, to enhance teaching, academic collaboration, and student engagement and learning.

The innovative method, practice or strategy used may not be new in the world, but its implementation may be out of the ordinary in your field of practice or new to you. It is more than simply using new technologies; rather it is an approach to teaching and learning that results in a much-enhanced, even transformative, educational experience for students.

ATLAS Application Form & Rubric

Applications are due Friday, March 20, 2020. To apply and view the application rubric, select the appropriate form:

Please see the ATLAS FAQ opens in new window to learn more about the award.

We encourage you to reach out to us if you have questions about the application process or would like to brainstorm ideas. Contact us through help.unc.edu opens in new window. We’d love to hear from you and help you get recognized!

ATLAS 2020 Winners

Winners will be announced by end of April 2020 and recognized at the Open Apereo Conference opens in new window June 15-19, 2020 at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI. Registration and travel expenses will be covered for award winners.

*This post was drafted in collaboration with the ATLAS Awards Committee

Faculty Showcase Keynote on Retrieval-based Learning

center for faculty excellence faculty showcase on teaching march 27, 2020

UNC Faculty, we encourage you to register for the CFE Faculty Showcase on Teaching opens in new window if you have not already! The Faculty Showcase brings together faculty members from all over campus to celebrate teaching at Carolina. You’ll have the opportunity to learn from colleagues about promising teaching practices and make new contacts across disciplines.

CFE Faculty Showcase on Teaching opens in new window
Friday, March 27, 2020
The Carolina Club

Faculty Showcase SPOTLIGHT:
Keynote on Retrieval-based Learning

Jeff Karpicke

This year’s keynote address will be given by Dr. Jeff Karpicke opens in new window, James V. Bradley Professor of Psychological Sciences at Purdue University.

Dr. Karpicke will provide some background on the research behind retrieval-based learning and share practical suggestions for using this powerful learning strategy to support student learning. Learn more about the keynote address:

Retrieval-based Learning: Active Retrieval Promotes Meaningful Learning download file

At the conclusion of the keynote, instructors will:

  1. Know the most common study strategy used by college students, why it does not work, and how to guide students not to use it
  2. Be able to describe how retrieval practice can be used as an effective learning strategy
  3. Have a toolkit of possible ways to implement retrieval-based learning techniques

Register for the Faculty Showcase opens in new window today to reserve your spot!

Take Attendance with UNC Check-In App

checkin app on phoneAre you manually taking attendance in class and keeping track of a semester’s worth of attendance on pieces of paper? Save yourself valuable class time and the trouble of potentially losing these records by using the new UNC Check-In app opens in new window.

The UNC Check-In app allows instructors to specify brief time intervals during which students mark themselves present when in proximity to Bluetooth beacons, which are now available in all General Purpose Classrooms opens in new window. More great news — you can import your class attendance directly into the Sakai Attendance tool and link it to the Gradebook.

We are very excited to release this app to campus and want to give a huge thanks to Teaching Professor in the Psychology Department, Dr. Viji Sathy, who has been instrumental in the development of this app and its continued improvements. Hear more from Dr. Sathy about the benefits to students and instructors in the ITS Annual Report opens in new window.

“When I contact students about missing [class], they’ve been surprised that I’d do so given the size of our class. They are genuinely touched that the instructor would reach out to them individually to check on them.”

— Dr. Viji Sathy

We’re also thrilled that our project team won a UNC IT Team Award opens in new window at the 2019 CTC Retreat. Thanks to Dr. Sathy and everyone who has provided feedback.

1) Getting Started

Instructor: Add your course to the UNC Check-In app system opens in new window. Your course should be added within 30 minutes.

Students: Install the UNC Check-In app on your smartphone [Google Play opens in new window | App Store opens in new window]. Allow Location access only “While Using the App.” Log into the app with your Onyen.

2) Take Attendance

Instructor: In your classroom, go to the UNC Check-In Dashboard opens in new window and manually open the 15-minute check-in window. If a student cannot check in, you can manually enter their attendance on the dashboard.

unc checkin logoStudents: On your phone, open the UNC Check-In app, select your class, and click “Check Into Class.” You must be in the classroom with the Bluetooth beacon assigned to your class to manually check yourself in. You should receive confirmation once successfully checked in.

Note on Student Privacy: Location services must be enabled only while using the app in order for your smartphone to detect the Bluetooth beacon in the classroom. Your location is never saved or shared. Students must actively check themselves in, as the app does not automatically record your attendance.

3) Review / Grade

Instructor: Access the UNC Check-In Dashboard opens in new window to manage your class attendance. On the dashboard is where you will open the check-in window, manually check-in students, make updates, and export the attendance data. The attendance data can be imported into the Sakai Attendance tool and linked to the Gradebook.

Students: You may view your “Check-In Records” on the app (hamburger menu) or through the UNC Check-In Dashboard opens in new window for the current semester. If you want to see past terms, contact us through “Support Request” from the app menu.

Get Help

We invite you to review the Instructor FAQ opens in new window and Student FAQ opens in new window to see step-by-step instructions with screenshots. Within the app hamburger menu, you can:

  • Submit a “Support Request”
  • See a quick “Tutorial” on using the app
  • “Send Feedback”

ITS Annual Report 2018-2019

We hope you’re all relaxing and enjoying the holiday season! To end the year, we wanted to share that the 2018-2019 ITS Annual Report opens in new window is available for you to review. Here is a quote opens in new window from the report on a big ITS project (ServiceNow) that involved all of campus from J. Michael Barker, Interim Vice Chancellor for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer:

We showed, together, an ability to lead, to listen, to act, to deliver, to see uncertainty as an opportunity to learn, to experiment and adjust according to results, and to take on organizational change with optimism.

Keep reading to learn about some Teaching & Learning highlights opens in new window from the past year. You are welcome to view the full 2018-2019 ITS Annual Report opens in new window!

Faculty Feedback

Here are a couple quotes included in the report from faculty on receiving support on learning technologies.

Jeannie Loeb opens in new window, Director of Undergraduate Students and Teaching Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience:

I cannot emphasize enough how wonderful and amazing ITS is in supporting instruction…I can’t imagine teaching without them.

Heather Knorr opens in new window, Teaching Assistant Professor of Romance Languages:

I have received extensive support for Sakai from Morgon Haskell, Marla Sullivan and Thao Nghi Tu. They are fabulous and always support me with any questions I have…I appreciate all they do and how knowledgeable, thorough and fast to reply they are.

By the Numbers
teaching & learning stats

Teaching & Learning stats:

  • Virtual Lab hours usage: 147,372
  • Virtual Lab Sessions: 137,340
  • Polls created on Poll Everywhere: 14,497
  • VoiceThreads created: up 60% from previous year
  • Sakai course sites created: 7,559
  • Viewers of videos hosted on Warpwire: 51,843
  • Pages printed using CCI printers: 6,617,881

Expanding Availability of UNC Check-in App

When I contact students about missing [class], they’ve been surprised that I’d do so given the size our class. They are genuinely touched that the instructor would reach out to them individually to check on them.

This is what Viji Sathy, Teaching Associate Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience, shared in regards to the attendance checking app called the UNC Check-in App opens in new window. Students download the app and check into class when they are by the bluetooth beacon in the classroom. Find out what enhancements we anticipate in the future!

10-Year Partnership with the CFE

We have worked closely with the Center for Faculty Excellence opens in new window “over the past decade to innovate and experiment with new technology-supported approaches in the classroom.” With this partnership, we are better able to provide instructional support as the “CFE helps provide a goals-focused context for the use of ITS-supported technologies,” said Bob Henshaw, liaison between our two teams. “When instructors have easy access to all teaching options, students stand to benefit the most.” View the article to learn about our ongoing projects!

Modernizing the Classrooms

Announced by Provost Robert Blouin back in February, the Flexible Learning Spaces Initiative opens in new window will modernize 50 general-purpose classrooms opens in new window, over the next five years. A vital part of this initiative is the Classroom Hotline staff, who serve on the planning and implementation teams to ensure the updates happen quickly and are based on input from campus stakeholders.

There are several other stories on our Teaching & Learning team opens in new window and all of Information Technology Services. We invite you to check out the full report opens in new window!

We wish you all a wonderful and safe holiday season. See you in 2020!

Register for the CFE Faculty Showcase

center for faculty excellence faculty showcase on teaching march 27, 2020

Early registration is now open for the CFE Faculty Showcase on Teaching opens in new window! The Faculty Showcase is the University’s one-day campus conference on teaching and learning, and will be held on Friday, March 27, 2020, at the Carolina Club. Learn about promising instructional techniques and technologies and connect with faculty colleagues from a wide range of disciplines. All UNC Faculty are invited to attend and encouraged to stay for as much of the day as your schedule allows.

If there is a topic that you would like to see covered during the Showcase or if you are interested in sharing something yourself, consider submitting a program idea by December 31!

Showcase details, registration, and program idea submissions can all be found on cfe.unc.edu/showcase opens in new window.

The CFE Faculty Showcase on Teaching is sponsored by the following:

This is always a great event for UNC instructors, and we encourage you to register now!

Celebrating 10-Year Partnership with CFE

Furthering the educational mission of the University is all about supporting new and innovative technologies in the classroom and in the digital world. We are able to most effectively provide instructional support by working together with groups across campus. Our ITS Teaching & Learning team is celebrating a 10-year partnership with the Center for Faculty Excellence opens in new window in supporting faculty and graduate instructors at UNC! As Bob Henshaw, our Liaison to the CFE, says:

“When instructors have easy access to all teaching options, students stand to benefit the most.”

instructor and students write on whiteboard wall

ROML Prof Glynic Cowell and students use whiteboard walls in flexible classroom Dey 205. Photo: Lars Sahl

It is with this idea of providing instructors with all teaching options that we continue to expand on the resources we provide and the projects we work on together. Many exciting new things have come out of or are in the works through our partnership with the CFE, including:

Before becoming our Teaching & Learning Director, Suzanne Cadwell served as another ITS liaison to the CFE and therefore understands and appreciates the many benefits that come with building relations across campus through these partnerships.

The partnership between Teaching & Learning and CFE has enriched the experience and efficacy of instructors and IT professionals, spurred innovation and experimentation with new technology-supported approaches and enabled instructors to provide a richer learning experience for students.

Read the full story on ITS News.opens in new window

Be the New Face of Sakai

Welcome back from Spring Break! We hope you’re feeling refreshed and ready to take on the second half of the semester.

sakai welcome photo of four carolina students with laptop on the QuadIt is time for the Sakai landing page to get a refresh as well, and we need your help. We are looking for photos of you and your friends using technology on campus to use as the new header image on Sakai. The carousel of photos on Sakai includes real UNC students — this could be YOU.

If you want to check an item off your UNC bucket list (The Daily Tar Heel) by being the next face of Sakai, we encourage you to submit your photos by Tuesday, March 26.

Don’t worry. Any photos we receive after March 26 may still make it onto Sakai, as we rotate photos every few months. We welcome photo submissions not just from students but faculty and staff as well!

Photo Guidelines

Please note that we may use any of the photos we receive for online and/or printed material for Information Technology Services.

Here are some guidelines regarding the Sakai header photo:

  • Group of UNC students, faculty, and/or staff using technology
    • Mobile devices preferred
    • The idea is that you are using your devices for class work
  • Show wealth of diversity of UNC community
  • We must be able to crop photo down to 980 x 375 pixels
    • Wide landscape orientation — zoom out!
  • Enough empty space to add “Welcome to Sakai @ UNC” text
  • Photos on UNC campus and/or in Carolina gear encouraged
  • Avoid looking at camera
  • Be natural and have fun with it!

As always, the Sakaiger will sneak his way in!

Photo Release Form

In order for us to use your photos, the photographer and everyone photographed must sign this Release Form, stating that you give consent to the University to reproduce, distribute, and display these photos and identify you. If there is anyone in the picture who has not signed the Release Form, they must be far away enough where we can crop them out or blur their face.

Email your photos and everyone’s signed release forms to tnt@unc.edu. Identify the photographer and everyone in your photos.

Past Sakai Photos

You can view some past photos we have used for inspiration. Go to the Sakai landing page and click on the left or right edges of the current photo to scroll through the carousel.

Here are a couple of great examples!

carolina students with laptops outside

carolina students with laptops on wilson library steps

We’re looking forward to seeing your submissions! Thanks!