Faculty Guest Post: Apps for productivity

This week our guest faculty blogger is Dr. Silvia Sabater-Rodriquez from the Hispanic Studies Department.  Dr. Sabter-Rodriquez   attended the FTI in May 2013.  I sat down with her to talk about what tools she learned about in the FTI that she is using and hear is what she told me:

 Goodnote=For teaching.  Before would grade papers by hand but now uses Goodnotes and using a stylus makes commenting easy.  Uses the different pen colors to denote different issues in the paper like blue for grammar, green for vocabulary.  Do not have to carry all those papers and students do not have to print.  Allows for quick turn around time, don’t loose a copy and easy to resend.  Goodnotes keeps papers very organized and can work anywhere even without wifi as long as the papers were downloaded first.  No more clutter of papers at home!  Also personal uses: download large files like conference schedule and can write and highlight on the schooled which are of interest.  Can copy and paste words from program into Notes talking for the session.

Evernote= For personal organization of notes, ideas, information from conference, ideas from readings, sabbatical proposal.  Great way to organize, easy to search and can take a picture of any handwritten notes as well as handwritten notes with the app Penulitmate.  Did use for a candidate visit to take notes during the interviews and presentation which was less conspicuous than a laptop.  Also used for department meeting notes and took pictures of hand outs.

 Dropbox= Had an account prior to the FTI but did not see the possibilities until the FTI .  With the new ipad plus computer it is a useful tool that she can have access to anytime anywhere.  Uses it to share documents instead of emailing back and forth.

If you would like to know more about these apps, please contact your instructional technologist .


Product Review: HoverCam Mini 5

More than just a document camera  or a scanner the HoverCam Mini 5 at $249.00 is a desktop camera that can be used for web conferencing,  document scanning, recording a video and a visual presenter for interactive teaching and distance learning.

Just plug it directly into a USB port of your laptop, no cable required. For even greater flexibility when making a presentation or to connect to a desktop, use the Mini’s case as a stand and connect a USB cable from the case to your computer. Not just a protective carrying case, the Mini’s case converts into a docking station.

Here are a couple of short video demos at and

Compatible with: Mac, PC, YouTube, Twitter, Google +, Dropbox, Evernote and Skype

I tested this both on a Mac & PC laptop; used to scan documents and export into Evernote, created a video of annotating a paper and exported to YouTube and XXXXXXXXX ( add connect test here)

Pros and Cons


  • Liked that OCR is included with text to speech, built in mic
  • Easily exported projects directly to Evernote, Dropbox and YouTube so no “space” on my computer was need to store any of these projects
  • Annotation tool bar that I could use both on my video as well as my documents
  • Freeze frame saves viewers from getting dizzy as I transitioned from one document to another
  • Auto focus and HD
  • Can share a document/image when on Skype or Google+


  • Software runs on Adobe Air app and when recording there is a slight lag so may be a bit off from your annotation to your audio recording (although this can be a good thing as it forced me to not talk as fast as I normally do!)


  • Never a whiteboard when you need one?  Place paper under the Hovercam and you have yourself a whiteboard
  • No document camera in your lpatop ready classroom?
  • Record your presentation and then send students a copy or post on OAKS (via YouTube or link)
  • Great scanner for oversized materials
  • Have a computer/laptop without built webcam?  Use the HoverCam for Skye calls
  • Record an instructional video for a flipped class   LINK IPAD TUTORIAL HERE
  • Time-lapse record an experiment

Tutorials:  When you install there is a comprehensive User manual

For more information and to purchase click on the following link 


Create a display of images from a Google search with Imagequilts

Think wordle for images and you have Imagequilts a Chrome browser extension that allows you to create and edit a tiled display of images resulting from a Google image search

How might you use this with your class?

  • A visual representation or collage of research
  • A presentation (alternative to PowerPoint)
  • Visual rhetoric
  • Displays results of effective web searching


NOTE:  this will only work on a Mac!

  1. Add the extension to Chrome
  2. Do an image search on any term
  3. Click the IQ button next to the search bar
  4. Create your “quilt” by adjusting the  image size, removing any image, reordering the images, change the color mode
  5. To share or export; take a screenshot or click “Download Quilt” to create a .png file on your desktop *

*Keep copyright in mind as not all images from a Google image search result can be shared.  See our post “Finding Acceptable Images for Use in Projects” for images you CAN use and share.


ImageQuilt 2014-21-01 at 3.02.17 PM                                                               Search term “teaching learning technology”


OAKS User Progress tool: View maximum and minimum final grade

User Progress is a tool that provides progress reports to the student  in OAKS.
Grades Progress
The Grades summary area shows the current value of the final grade if it has been released, along with a value for maximum grade (which assumes 100% on
all remaining items) and minimum grade (which assumes 0% on all remaining items). This area also includes a visualization of the current final grade along
with scores of the last 15 items. Hovering over each bar provides details of each column, including grade item name and score. It may be valuable to consider
directing students to the User Progress tool in order to access their grades and reserve the Grade Book tool for instructor view only.

The Grades box plot graph represents the full range of possible grades (0%-100%) in one bar. The start and end brackets represent the actual range of grades for the item. The start bracket represents the lowest grade achieved for the grade item, while the end bracket represents the highest grade achieved for the grade item. The blue bar represents the middle range of grades for the class, excluding the bottom 25% of the class and the top 25% of the class. A black square () represents the individual user’s grade for the item. Their grade also displays numerically, along with any previously established grade and color schemes. A vertical white line ( ) represents the mean grade for the item.

 Accessing User Progress

The Progress tool for individual students can be accessed from two locations in OAKS courses:

1. The Classlist tool: Communication>Classlist>click on drop down arrow next to students name>View Progress>click on Grades

Progress link in Classlist tool
Progress link in Grades tool

From Desire2Learn Resource Center site


Three Reasons to Attend the Teaching, Learning & Technology Conference

  1. Learning

Learn from your colleagues who will address a variety of topics in an interactive setting.  Attend a non-discipline specific conference with others who are enthusiastic about teaching and learning.

2. Networking

Network with colleagues throughout this 3 day event

3. Exploring

Explore resources available to you and your students from CofC exhibitors

For more information and to register visit


OAKS: Changes to the Navigation bar and Homepage

Please note the changes to your OAKS My Home navigation bar and home page.  This is ONLY for the MyHome page.  Individual Course Navigation bar and Homepages are not affected.

Navigation bar changes:

Added Self Registration – Allows any student to register for a how to use OAKS non-credit course.  This is the only course that uses Self Registration.
The self-registration tool for the Introduction to OAKS for Students course allows students to enroll themselves automatically into this course only (students will have to go through normal registration process to register for CofC courses). Once a student has filled out the self-registration form, they will then be added only to the “Introduction to OAKS for Students” course. This is a non-credit course, therefore, this course has been designed for students to learn and understand basic OAKS navigational functions and features.

Added Help – Links to the CofC HelpDesk, OAKS Help  (which you can use to request assistance  or to report a problem with OAKS),  Faculty and Student OAKS tutorials.

Added OAKS Monthly Updates – lists upcoming updates  and new features to OAKS.

Removed Resources  – “Library” link has been added to the Navigation bar now as it own link and “OAKS tutorials” has been moved under the new “Help” link on the navigation bar.

Removed – Links.  Tool was not being used.

Removed – Locker.  Tool was not being used. Tools that can be used for storing and sharing notes and files are part of Office 365 .  They are OneNote which is a a digital notebook that allows you to take notes anywhere, save and synchronize them, and collaborate with others. And OneDrive which is a file hosting service that allows users to sync files and access them from any web browser or mobile device. The storage limit for OneDrive is 1TB.

Homepage changes:

Added How to view your courses – this widget contains steps on how to view you course.  This widget and its information will remain visible throughout the semester.

Changed OAKS Request Forms – now contains only the name of the form.  To see a full description of a specific form/request, click on the form name. (this is only for Instructors and Staff)

Moved Online Help – now called “Help” and resides in the Navigation bar.  Help now contains links to the CofC HelpDesk, OAKS Help  (which you can use to request assistance  or to report a problem with OAKS),  Faculty and Student OAKS tutorials.

Removed – Updates.  OAKS updates can now be found under “OAKS Monthly updates” link on the Navigation bar.


Flashcards? Yes!

Here are two flashcard creation tools as well as information supporting the use of flashcards and their effectiveness.

Recommendation 1: Quizlet

Quizlet offers both free and paid version of its web-based tools and is also available on the App Store and Google Play.

To learn more about this tool go to

And also check out Quizlet Live a free in-class game where students work in teams to learn study sets on Quizlet.  Teams work together to correctly match the terms and definitions in a study set.

Recommendation 2: Brainscape

Brainscape also has free and paid versions. To learn more about this tool go to

And here is what Brainscape has to say about flashcards:

Why Flashcards Help Us Learn

1. Flashcards engage “active recall”

When you look at the front side of a flashcard and think of the answer, you are engaging a mental faculty known as active recall. In other words, you are attempting to remember the concept from scratch rather than simply staring at the passage in your textbook or recognizing it on a multiple choice quiz. Active recall has been proven to create stronger neuron connections for that memory trace. And because flashcards can so easily facilitate repetition, they are the best way to create multiple memory-enhancing recall events.

2. Flashcards utilize your metacognitive faculties

When you reveal the answer side of a flashcard to assess your correctness, you are essentially asking yourself “How did my answer compare to this correct answer?” and “How well did I know (or not know) it?” This act of self-reflection is known as metacognition. Research shows that applying metacognition tends to ingrain memories deeper into your knowledge.

3. Flashcards allow for confidence-based repetition

Because flashcards exist loosely, rather than tied to a book or document, you are able to separate them into piles based on whether (or how often) you need to study them again. This practice of confidence-based repetition is proven by decades of research to be the most scientifically optimized way to improve memory performance.

Of course, where possible, you should always try to learn new concepts using project-based learning, or by asking your own questions. But when it comes to studying or reviewing concepts in the most effective way possible, nothing comes close to flashcards. Especially adaptive learning flashcards.

Taken from Cohen, A. (July 25, 2017) The Top 3 Reasons Why Flashcards Are So Effective. Retrieved from



Turn your mobile device into a portable scanner

CamScanner app for iOS and Android turns your mobile devices into a portable scanner. Simply take a photo of the page you wish to digitize, and the app will give you the option to convert it into a PDF/JPEG file, store in the cloud, and even print or fax the document. Smart cropping and auto enhancing make the texts and graphics look clear and sharp; easily share documents in PDF or JPEG format with others via social media, email attachment or sending the doc link; instantly print out docs in CamScanner with nearby printer via AirPrint; directly fax docs to over 30 countries from the app; and extract the scanned text (Optical Character Recognition) and make PDF files searchable.

Price: Free, but $4.99/month to unlock all the capabilities.

Unlike many apps I have tried this has a very thorough User Guide accessible in the app itself.

NOTE: a phone is not always the best way to capture documents; there may be times when you need a flatbed scanner and at the FTC (Faculty Technology Center) located in room 323 in the J. C. Long Building there is a flatbed/document feed Scanner that you can use.  Visit the following link for more information  about the FTC



Chrome Extensions Part 2 – Tools for Productivity

I am always looking for ways to be more productive and that search has led me to Chrome Extensions.  These are applications that run inside your Chrome browser and enhance the functionality of that browser.  Back in July 2015,  I shared a list of Chrome Extensions that I use and now I would like to add to that list!

  1. Save to Google Drive   The Save to Google Drive Chrome extension helps you save web content or browser screenshots to your Google Drive.
  2. You can shorten a URL with just one click from your Chrome browser with URL Shortener    
  3. Read Google Docs and web pages aloud with Read&Write for Google Chrome.  A great tool for multitasking and double checking your grammar. It’s like having a digital proof-reader (or story reader) built right into your Chrome browser.
  4. Awesome Screenshot  for capturing screenshots.  This easy-to-use extension provides great annotation features including text, lines, shapes, highlights, and more.  The clean interface makes creating tutorials and visual aids a breeze with a myriad of screen capturing options including defined selections, delayed capture, and desktop capture.  Save your screenshots directly to Drive, download, or add to your free Awesome Screenshot project library.M
  5. Manage all of your Chrome extensions  with Extensity.  You can quickly access your Chrome extension settings, organize your extensions by category, and disable or enable extensions with one click

Visit Chrome Web Store Help for instructions on how to install and manage extensions.

TLT, Video

Make videos interactive

What is ?   RooClick is a patent-pending concept in click-to-interact technology utilizing web browsers and mobile applications to allow students and teachers to engage in video content in real time. Thus allowing curriculum and information to be accessed with one click. RooClick was founded on the premises of giving viewers what they want when they want it. By eliminating disconnect between seeing content and engaging with content through a simple click. No more searching for relevant information; teachers associate the material they want with the video content. This allows instructors to customize all assignments for their class.  From

Price: Free for individual teachers

Platform:  Android, IOS and a laptop (look for “RooPlayer” in the App store and “RooClick Video Player” in Google Play)

More Information:

To learn more about visit

RooClick Instruction Manual for Educators and Students found at

Check out the following articles about RooClick:

Rock Your use of Video as a Teaching and Learning Tool With RooClick