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CIRT News is published 
four times a year by  the 
Center for Instruction 
and Research Technology 
at  the  University of North  Florida. 

To view past 
newsletters, 
current events,  and more, visit  

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Featured Faculty Member: Dr. Lauri Wright- Department of Nutrition and Dietetics
When Dr. Lauri Wright, assistant professor in the Brooks College of Health was hired as director of the Doctorate of Clinical Nutrition (DCN) program, she had her work cut out for her. As the founding director, Wright developed seven distance learning courses for the program within a year of her start date.  UNF's completely online DCN program is only the second of its kind to be offered in the country, and began course delivery in the fall of 2016.
 
To create so many courses in this time frame while maintaining the integrity and quality of the program, Wright works one-on-one with an instructional designer who supports the development of the DCN program. All instructors in the DCN program, including Wright, completed CIRT's Teaching Online Seminar (TOL). Using best practices for online course development learned in TOL, Wright creates high quality online courses that are reviewed with the Quality Matters (QM) rubric, a national benchmark for online course design.


As part of the program development, Wright and other Nutrition faculty met with CIRT staff to develop a course template unique to the program. Use of a course template, designed specifically for the program, not only speeds course development, but also maintains consistency in design throughout all of the program's courses. The template contains introductory material, instructor information, and institutional resources that are common to all the courses in the program, saving faculty from having to re-create this information in each new course. All the course banners for the program maintain a constant theme centered on visuals of food and include a program seal. Students recognize the consistent structure and layout, which makes it easy for them to locate information and navigate the courses. 
 
Another benefit of collaborating with an instructional designer is that Wright is able to focus on the program curriculum and course content without being burdened with the content building in Canvas or any formatting and design issues. CIRT also manages the processes necessary to make the course accessible to all learners. A transcription service is used to provide textual representation of all non-text (audio/video) content and CIRT staff obtain transcripts and captions of the instructor-provided media and add those to the LMS.
 
For more information on developing an online course or program, contact CIRT


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 Director's Message: CIRT Annual Report 2017
Dr. Deb Miller, Senior Director
Welcome back! The start of the fall term and the increased student activity on campus is always a wonderful reminder of our shared mission. I hope that our new learning management system, Canvas, is proving to be a good tool for you and your students. Now that the transition is over, CIRT will focus on driving deeper adoption and working with faculty to integrate tools that support your teaching and learning needs into the system.
 
I invite you to review  CIRT's 2017 annual report which reports on achievements, planned initiatives, and activity data for the last year and identifies strategic goals for the coming year.
 
During the past year, we've completed several important projects which you'll read about in greater detail in the report. In addition to transitioning the university's learning management system from Blackboard to Canvas, these include:
  • Improving the process of reserving and checking out equipment
  • Refining the faculty development model for online teaching to provide more flexibility and ongoing development opportunities
  • Investigating and identifying  a modern web publishing service for faculty
  • Deploying an instructional design liaison program to promote connections between instructional designers and the academic communities they serve
Here are a few fast facts, and I hope you'll take the time to learn more by reading the report.

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 Upcoming Events
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 Digital Thinking: Announcing Faculty Domains
Andy Rush, Course Media Developer
 
 
How can a technology that is almost 30 years old still be important? In 1989, a British computer scientist named Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. It's a technology so interwoven into society that it exists almost on par with the need for electricity. Therefore, I can't think of a topic with more relevance to the philosophy of Digital Thinking than UNF's newest initiative - the Faculty Domains Project.
 
Before I explain what UNF Faculty Domains is, I'll start with a bit of history. First, let me say that the idea of faculty webspace is nothing new. In fact, it is literally how the World Wide Web was born.  Note that I am talking about the World Wide Web (henceforth I'll just refer to it as the Web), a subset of the thing we call the Internet. Before the Web, there were Internet components with weird names such as telnet, gopher, Archie, and email. OK, that last one is not so weird because it's a staple of modern communication amongst humans. All of these exist because of the Internet, which essentially is a set of rules for sending bits of information over wires (or through the air wirelessly) from one computer to another.
 
Now back to how the Web was born. Tim Berners-Lee worked at CERN in the late 1980's. CERN is a laboratory on the French-Swiss border that studies particle physics. Berners-Lee wanted to design a system that would enable better management of information associated with large projects. He would travel the world and meet with other computer scientists and demonstrate his "hypertext" system and also show them how they too could write their own web pages and share their information. Eventually, web pages were popping up all over.
 
At the same time, I was beginning my career as a technology support person at a state university in New York. I learned HTML and published my very first web pages thanks to some server space that the fine folks in the IT department were providing. Fast forward to 2004 where I was now an instructional technologist supporting faculty. After many iterations of web pages using HTML, my colleagues and I tried a bold new approach to website creation where we each got our own web server space that offered technology beyond just HTML. We now had access to technology that could be used to deploy much more dynamic websites, using richer programming languages and taking advantage of the flexibility of databases. And while that sounds more complicated, the initial configuration wasn't insurmountable with most of that new software. Once configured, the content creation was much easier since it was separate from the website design. It was no more complicated than using Microsoft Word.
 
As we played in our new "sandboxes", we wondered if this fun, new technology could be adopted by faculty for the sharing of their research and scholarly work. What if we gave faculty their own sandbox to play in? One of the advantages of having our own webspace was that we could spin up as many sites as we wanted. If faculty wanted to try out WordPress, we could almost instantly create a site and give them an account to login with. The next idea was to let faculty set up their own spaces with their own domains names. After a pilot program in 2012 where we offered faculty their own space, in 2013 we opened the "Domain of One's Own" program to everyone at the university.
 
So what is UNF Faculty Domains? Well, it will offer UNF faculty the opportunity to create academic publishing spaces using modern web applications such as WordPress, Omeka, and Scalar. Faculty will receive their own subdomain (web space) to install the available applications, as well as easy to use management tools. These faculty domains can function as hubs for a professional presence. The service provides both simple templates for common needs and more sophisticated tools and support for faculty who wish to experiment.
 
But we don't want you to simply experiment with your space. We want you to wildly experiment. We want to give you a sandbox and permission to play, just like we instructional technologists had the opportunity to do once upon a time. And while we will completely support you in making the "perfect" website, we also want you to feel free to explore the possibilities of a unique toolbox. Heck, we will even encourage you to break things. And we'll say "Good, you broke it" because you'll learn about how the components that undergird the Internet and the Web work. We want you to be not just thinking, but making. 
 
Because...
"Young cat! If you keep
Your eyes open enough,
Oh, the stuff you will learn!
The most wonderful stuff!"
Dr. Seuss


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 Best Practices Online: Communication in Canvas  
K. Megan Bracewell, Instructional Designer
Cultivating instructor presence is essential to successfully facilitating an online course.  Many instructors communicate their expectations to students through weekly reminder announcements, grades, and performance feedback.  While these standard forms of correspondence certainly contribute to instructor presence, Canvas offers a number of convenient features that can be used to enhance learner-instructor interactions and open lines of communication in an online course.
 
Announcements
While sending announcements may not be a novel approach to communicating in an online course, considering and applying strategies to make the most out of Canvas' Announcements feature may pave the way for more engaging and effective correspondence.  Many instructors opt to send a routine weekly announcement reminding students of upcoming deadlines and events.  This type of announcement is a useful tool in supporting students, but consider the following tips to ensure the announcement successfully delivers its message:
  • Keep it short and sweet!  Avoid cognitive overload by only including essential information.
  • Reduce repetition by avoiding the restatement of instructions or expectations; link to this information in the course if needed.
  • Use bulleted lists to organize important deadlines and events. 
If an announcement becomes overcrowded with text or seems too lengthy, consider splitting it into a Monday announcement and a Wednesday announcement.  While delivering too much information in one announcement can cause cognitive overload, sending announcements too frequently can cause students to become frustrated with the influx of information.  Finding a balance between too many and too few announcements in a course is important to structuring an effective flow of information between the instructor and the students. 
 
Want to take the Announcements feature a step further?  Personalize communication with students by sending a video announcement; see Canvas FastTrack: Video Announcements .  Or create a visually appealing announcement by delivering information in an infographic.  Construct images to creatively display information in an announcement with a user-friendly infographic creator like Canva .  Revamping the standard weekly announcement is a great way to engage students and effectively deliver important information.
 
Conferences
The Conferences feature in Canvas is quickly being adopted by instructors as a virtual meeting space for office hours.  Rather than inviting students to attend scheduled office hours on campus, create more opportunities for learner-instructor interaction by encouraging students to schedule a virtual meeting.  Utili zing Conferences allows for more flexibility in scheduling office hours, and this feature offers a fully functional workspace for students and instructors to communi cate. Conferences allows for students and instructors to chat via text, talk via microphone, or sign via webcam.  And among other useful tools, Conferences also allows for screen-sharing and  document uploads to add clarity and enhance one-on-one help sessions.
 
In addition to office hours, consider using Conferences for a variety of synchronous session types to bolster instructor presence.  Schedule a study session in Conferences before an exam to allow students to ask questions and review complex concepts.  Conduct group presentations in Conferences to allow students to report on their course projects and gain experience in utilizing virtual meeting spaces.  Host synchronous class sessions to provide specialized instruction or present a guest speaker.  Whether using this feature for direct instruction or interactive discussion, Conferences is well-equipped to enhance instructor presence and support communication in an online course.
 
Messaging in Grades
As an alternative to email, Canvas Inbox allows instructors and students to communicate with personal messages.  While a Canvas user can click the Inbox in the main navigation menu to read or send messages, instructors can find one of the most helpful messaging tools in a less expected location - the gradebook!  To provide timely and personalized feedback for an assignment, instructors can access Grades and opt to send messages to students who have not yet submitted the assignment, who scored less than a designated point value, or who scored more than a designated point value.  See How do I send a message to my students from the Gradebook? for detailed instructions.
 
Create a dialogue to support students by using this messaging feature in Grades to deliver feedback and resubmission opportunities to students who scored less than 70 out of 100 points on a midterm exam.  Or congratulate students who scored more than 80 out of 100 points on a final paper!  Opting to send a message to students who have not yet submitted an assignment by its deadline is also a great strategy to reduce unneeded correspondence to the whole class while supporting the population of students who may benefit from this reminder.  In coordination with other communication efforts including Announcements and Conferences sessions, the messaging feature in Grades serves to enhance instructor presence and support student progress in online courses.
 
References
Costa, K.  (2016, Feb. 26).  The Art & Science of Quality Course Announcements: How to Avoid the 
Trap  of the Info Dump.  Retrieved from Faculty Focus .
 
John A. Dutton e-Education Institute, Penn State.  (2016).  Best Practices and Expectations for 
Online  Teaching.  Retrieved from Penn State .
 
Weller, K.  (2016, April 28).  Tips for E-Learning: Announcements, Like All Good Things, Are Best 
in  Moderation.  Retrieved from LinkedIn .



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 Canvas News
Justin Lerman, Coordinator of Online Learning Training
InstuctureCon 2017 Debrief
InstructureCon 2017, the annual Canvas conference, offered several  opportunities to meet with other Canvas users and representatives. Since Canvas is an open-source LMS, Instructure, the company that  developed Canvas, places an emphasis on creating an open environment for conference attendees. At an altitude of over 9,000 feet, scenic Keystone provides the perfect location for collaboration among Canvas users. The conference also provides a great venue for Canvas to announce new improvements and features to the LMS.  Two of the most exciting announcements at this year's conference were a new modernized quizzing engine, Quizzes.Next, and the new Canvas Teacher mobile app.

The Canvas community is buzzing about the upcoming quizzing tool, Quizzes.Next. Canvas has opted to integrate this feature in the Assignments area rather than adding it to the current Quizzes area. Doing so will condense the navigation menu options once the classic Quizzes tool has been eliminated. Quizzes.Next will also bring new question types and features. HotSpot and Categorization question styles will be offered in the new tool and instructors will be able to reorder questions using drag-and-drop. A feature to lock response options in a certain order (i.e. All of the Above or None of the Above) while shuffling other response options will also be helpful.  In looking ahead, the option to align outcomes to individual questions will allow for the use of quizzes to assess department and programmatic outcomes. Unfortunately, a release date for Quizzes.Next has not yet been announced.

While at InstructureCon 2017 I had the opportunity to demo the new Canvas Teacher app, and I was really impressed. The new app makes using the SpeedGrader really simple;  I especially enjoyed being able to annotate student's papers straight from a mobile phone. Through the app you can access Announcements, Grades, Assignments, Discussions, and Quizzes. This seems to cover all the major areas used when facilitating a course. The Canvas Teacher app is now available for download in the app store and it replaces the existing SpeedGrader app.

Canvas Online Training
UNF instructors can participate in instructor-led online workshops geared toward new and advanced Canvas users presented by Canvas trainers. Workshops include course basics, managing, quizzing, outcomes and rubrics, and data for teachers. You simply create an account and sign up to participate. Multiple sessions are offered each month. If you have any questions or need assistance signing up, email CIRT at cirtlab@unf.edu .


Secondtolast 
CIRT's Teaching Online Faculty Development Model Refined
Kevin Hulen, Assistant  Director, Online Course Development

To accommodate the growing demands of teaching online at UNF, CIRT has refined the faculty development model for online teaching to offer a more personalized curriculum and add support for blended learning. CIRT now provides a four-tier faculty development model that includes a foundation course with separate learning tracks for part-time and full-time faculty, a suite of mastery modules covering a range of topics, support for online course development and quality certification, and participation in a master online teacher certification. Please take a moment to view our new Faculty Development Model and review the changes.



To summarize, the new faculty development model has four tiers:
  • TIER 1: Teaching Online (TOL) Foundation Course - A foundation course for faculty developing and/or delivering online courses. Contains separate learning tracks for part-time and full-time faculty.
    • TOL-Track A (formerly TOL6100) - Designed for full-time faculty members who are developing a distance learning or hybrid course.
    • TOL-Track B (formerly TOL5100) - Designed for part-time faculty members who are ONLY delivering a distance learning course.
  • TIER 2: Mastery Modules - CIRT has developed a suite of  Mastery Modules that offer a more in-depth mastery-level understanding of topics related to online teaching and learning. The mastery modules are available to all faculty that have completed the TOL Foundation Course (Track A or B).
     
  • TIER 3: Course Development and Quality Certification
    • DL Course Development (DCD) (formerly TOL7100) - Participants design and develop a fully online course and complete a successful Quality Matters course review of that course.
    • Quality Matters Certified Reviewer (QMR) - Faculty that have completed the DCD module are eligible to become certified QM peer reviewers.
  • TIER 4: National Certification - Faculty that have completed Tiers 1-3 may pursue further professional development through UNF's MOT Certification in online teaching. 
To complement the new FD model, CIRT has also developed a Teaching Online Faculty Development (TOFD) Portal to provide faculty with a centralized location (within Canvas) to easily access all the materials from previous TOL courses, participate in the new Mastery Modules (mentioned above), engage in ongoing discussions about course design and delivery, and browse additional resources related to online teaching and learning.
 
Access to the TOFD Portal
The TOFD Portal is only available to TOL Graduates . To enroll in the TOFD-Portal, complete the TOFD-Portal Enrollment Form and within 48 hours you will receive a notification from Canvas inviting you to join the course: CIRT.TOFD-PORTAL . Once enrolled, you can immediately start accessing all of the resources available.
 
Questions may be directed to Kevin Hulen, Assistant Director of Online Course Development, kevin.hulen@unf.edu .


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 New in CIRT: People and Equipment
Welcome Nick and Courtney
Please join us in welcoming two new members to the CIRT team. Nick is a full-time Academic Support Tech and Courtney is one of our student CIRT Techs.


Nick graduated in 2008 with his Bachelors in Sociology from Mercer University. Shortly after graduating, Nick knew he had a strong interest in technology, so he immediately started pursuing a career in IT through taking additional courses at Northwest Florida State College. This led him to acquire his A+, Network+, and Security+ CompTIA certifications. He formally started his IT career in 2014 as a help desk technician at UNF in the Coggin College of Business. He is very passionate about helping others to better understand and utilize a wide variety of technology in both his personal and professional life. Nick's interests include playing video games, guitar, and basketball.




Courtney is in her fourth year at UNF, double majoring in Journalism and Graphic Design in the Hicks Honors College. She is from the small town of Titusville, Florida but enjoys the diverse areas of Jacksonville. Courtney's interests include exploring hole-in-the-wall places of Jacksonville, finding new murals, visiting art museums, going to the beach, and spending time with family.



New iPad Pro and Poster Printer
CIRT now has an iPad Pro for checkout. We have also updated the iPads in our checkout inventory and replaced the wide-format poster printer.

The iPad Pro is Apple's most powerful and advanced iPad to date, and the largest at 12.9 inches. It is capable of displaying a gorgeous 2732-by-2048 resolution at 264 pixels per inch. Included is a keyboard that facilitates seamless word processing with the convenience of a tablet. The new Apple pencil enables users to take notes and sketch with ease as well. Our 2nd generation checkout iPads were updated with new 5th generation iPad Airs. This upgrade greatly increases the speed and functionality of the Pads available for checkout.
 


CIRT's wide-format poster printer was replaced last year with a new HP DesignJet Z5600. This printer is capable of automatically switching between two rolls of paper, allowing us to print both 36" and 42" poster, reducing the need for manual trimming. It also provides better print quality and speed that its predecessor .






This is a publication of the
at the University of North Florida.

Deb Miller, Editor

Please direct any comments, or questions to  cirtlab@unf.edu.