Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tired of the same old PowerPoint?

Try using a web-based presentation software called Prezi. It's now also available for your Mac, iOS and Windows devices.  Prezi is a storytelling tool that uses a single canvas instead of traditional slides. That feature will let you be a lot more creative than you can with PowerPoint. Great for teachers or anyone trying to add more spice to a presentation. To learn more go to:

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

CGU Faculty Retreat

On Friday afternoon, CGU faculty gathered for the Fall Faculty Retreat. OIT was asked to participate in this year's event by providing a brief view of a few 'opportunities' for using technology to enhance teaching and learning in the classroom. In this post, I will focus on the first of the three that I presented to faculty, using blogs as electronic reflective journals.

Currently, I am teaching online as adjunct faculty in an MBA program for a small institution in the Chicago Area. My students are required to maintain a weekly reflective journal using either Wordpress or Blogger. I ask them to reflect upon the content, assignments and/or discussions as well as updates on progress with their midterm papers and Final Projects. The course is eight weeks long. A few of the benefits include:

  • Continuing 1-on-1 interaction
  • Student take-aways that assist in course updates
  • Feedback to assist with ongoing course adjustments
  • Utilization of a strategy that is student-centered
In the beginning, many students are timid and hesitant, but they quickly find value in their weekly time to reflect and often include issues and obstacles that may emerge and affect learning outcomes. Several have enjoyed reflective blogging so much that they continue to do so for subsequent classes or personally with family.

For further reading and consideration, you may enjoy reviewing the following research article:

If you need assistance with getting started using reflective electronic blogs, please feel free to contact me at carleen.shaffer@cgu.edu


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Few Free Learning Tools You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

 Ever want to take a class on a subject but not sit in a class? Ever want to learn about some cool new site or service like Facebook or Twitter but do not know where to get started? Take a look at the blog below and see a few sites and services that are absolutely free that will offer you anything from training on specific tools/services to formal classes offered by peer institutions, absolutely free. 

15 Free Learning Tools You've Probably Never Heard Of

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Turmoil in the LMS Marketplace

This year has been quite tumultuous in regard to the LMS (Learning Management System) marketplace. In the spring, Blackboard announced a major change in its business model in that it would start supporting several LMSs including open source, instead of focusing just on its own solution (Inside HigherEd "Blackboard's Open Source Pivot"). Since then, it seems like the "Wild Wild West" in the marketplace! Many institutions are evaluating their current LMS environments, scanning new options, and evaluating opportunities. Since CGU selected Sakai in 2007 there are many new and exciting LMSs to consider, including Desire 2 Learn and Canvas. Additionally, Moodle has made major inroads into the marketplace while Blackboard is quickly losing ground. The image below (in an e-Literate blog post) provides a visual to illustrate the current LMS MarkeetShare.

For more information regarding newer offerings like Desire 2 Learn and Canvas, you may want to visit: