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”


Add a New Twist to your Research Papers and Projects

Infographics are a great way to display information in a visual and succinct way.  Infographics can be used to communicate information and present large amounts of data in meaningful ways.  This is not meant to replace the large research posters done for projects but it can enhance it.  Think of an infographic as a way to get the information to the masses in an understandable way.


Student Infographic Contest Paints Bright Picture of Youth Concern on Energy and Climate – The Great Energy Challenge Blog

Get stats for understanding visual vs text


13 Reasons Your Brain Craves Infographics |

Student Designed Infographics: Process & Products | Catlin Tucker, Honors English Teacher

A Must Have Rubric for Infographic Use in The Classroom ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning

Great Infographic Making Tools for Teachers ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning

Many Eyes

Interpreting the Data: 10 Ways to Teach Math and More Using Infographics – –

1-1-1, Faculty Technology Institute, iPad, Mobile

Faculty Guest Post: eTextbooks and iPads as teaching tools

Our guest blogger is Vijay Vulava, an associate professor in the Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences. Dr. Vulava was a participant in the Summer 2013 Faculty Technology Institute.

Like any of you at the College, I used to carry a few textbooks on me a lot of times. I had even resorted to keeping a second copy in my home, so I didn’t have to shuttle textbooks with me. One of the great advantages of having a connected device (laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc.) at your disposal is the ability to access digital versions of your textbooks (eTextbooks) anywhere there is internet access. This, of course, depends on whether the textbook publishers make eTextbooks available. A few years ago a publisher’s representative introduced me to CourseSmart (, a consortium of textbook publishers that publish their textbooks online. An exact copy of a textbook I requested was made available in eTextbook format and was accessible on any internet browser within seconds – I just had to login to my account. On this site, all eTextbooks are available for free to any instructor (you have to request access for each textbook), so you get to review a bunch of textbooks before you adopt one for the class. The eTextbooks look identical to hard copies and contain basic note taking, highlighting, sharing, and printing tools. And because the eTextbooks are available on any computer, you could easily take screenshots of selected pages, sections, or pictures to include in your lectures and notes. I found this very convenient in helping my students navigate through textbooks or helping them find information they need. The big downside of this eTextbook platform is that the publishers have not exploited the full potential of eTextbooks. The content in the text is not hyperlinked within the document (e.g., you cannot click on a figure citation to go to the figure), with the publishers’ own teaching resources (often videos, photos, animations, etc. provided in a CD with the textbook), or to any sources online (e.g., videos, government websites, etc.). The publishers could certainly learn a lot about how to make good eTextbooks by looking Al Gore’ 2009 publication, Our Choice and the accompanying app (

iPads have now made accessing eTextbooks more convenient. CourseSmart apps are now available for Android, iOS, or Windows tablets. I now carry these eTextbooks to class, flip to the required section, and show to my students. These eTextbooks are also available offline when there is no internet access available. I often take screenshots of the eTextbook sections right on the iPad (press Power and Home buttons at the same time and find the screenshot in the Camera Roll) and make annotated notes for the class. TLT’s website has tutorials for projecting from an iPad to a digital projector (

There are other eTextbook platforms such as Amazon Kindle and Kno that offer alternatives to CourseSmart, but I did not find as large a textbook selection in either of these platforms. Amazon Kindle does offer a large selection of wider interest titles than any other textbook consortium. In addition to the Kindle eReader, the Kindle app is available for all major connected devices as well.

CourseSmart is a good option for students that are digitally adept and those that prefer content from devices rather that physical textbooks. They can rent textbooks for 180 days and the prices are a lot less than what they would pay for a hard copy at a bookstore.


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