As the Fall Semester gets underway, I wanted to communicate to you about several items that may impact your teaching. To follow-up or get more information, contact DEIT at firstname.lastname@example.org or 610-282-1100 x2290. In addition, my personal contact information appears at the bottom of this message.
- Blackboard course template change
As you know, all DeSales University courses are associated with a Blackboard “course shell.” This course shell has a template applied to it that results in a default course structure. After testing a new template in the ACCESS program during the second half of last year with positive feedback from faculty and students, a new template is now being applied to all courses in all programs. This instructor-customizable template is intended to incorporate best practices in technology-enhanced learning and provide students with a better and more consistent navigation experience. The functionality of Blackboard is unchanged. Some of the cosmetic changes you will immediately notice are the addition of a “Start Here” section and the relabeling of “Content” to “Weekly Units”.
It is NOT mandatory to use all elements of the template nor is the intent to change the way you teach. Indeed, although application of the template can benefit many courses, aspects of the template may be inappropriate for some courses and teaching strategies. Instructors are free to hide or delete content elements that they do not wish to use (in fact, many items are already hidden by default). If you need assistance in configuring your course or in using (or not using) the new course template, contact DEIT. You are also invited to attend one of the upcoming evening online workshops on the new template (see http://www.desales.edu/workshops).
- Classroom tech upgrades
Under the leadership of Instructional Media Engineer Mike Yorgey, each summer DEIT takes the opportunity to perform various classroom technology upgrades. Here is a quick run-down of this summer’s activity:
Dooling Hall – 1st Floor Classrooms:
The 1st floor classrooms (104-109) have gone digital. Instructors that teach in these classrooms need to know that the DOOLING HALL 1ST FLOOR CLASSROOMS NO LONGER HAVE VHS VIDEOTAPE PLAYERS. The DVD/VHS players formerly in the Dooling 1st floor classrooms have been replaced with BluRay players (these players play both BluRay and DVD disks). The 1st floor classrooms also have new screens and projectors and digital HDMI connections for newer laptops. Instructors that rely on VHS tapes have several options, including replacing tapes with DVDs or BluRay disks or having DEIT digitize (free of charge) content from the tapes so it can be played from a DVD or streamed from our media server. If you anticipate the need to digitize VHS tape content, please contact DEIT as soon as possible for assistance as the conversion process takes time.
Dooling Hall lower level, New Social Sciences and TV/Film labs:
As part of larger projects involving Campus Environment and IT, Mike Yorgey did the instructional media work on the new Social Sciences lab and refitted the Academic Computing Center classroom, Dooling Hall Room 14-D, for use by TV/Film students.
Dooling Hall Room 227:
Replacement of SMART Board, addition of ultra-short throw projector.
Hurd Science Center:
Work to allow display of digital imaging microscopes, work in process to add projector to 2nd floor conference room.
- New faculty support (any faculty, for that matter!)
DEIT has a variety of support resources available for new faculty members or experienced faculty members that want to try something new. Our instructional designers, Jim Holton, Chris Hewatt, and May Truong-Merritt (new as of this summer), are here to help you use technology effectively in your teaching. Contact DEIT to schedule a one-on-one collaboration session or access http://www.desales.edu/workshops to register for a scheduled workshop. DEIT staff are also available for hands-on technology walk-throughs in the classroom where you will be teaching. We also have a variety of self-service resources available in the faculty community in Blackboard as well as on the DEIT Web site http://deit.desales.edu.
DEIT is here to support the faculty. Let us know how we can help!
Peace and blessings,
Eric J. Hagan, Ed.D.
Director, Distance Education and Instructional Technology DeSales University