Distance Education https://www.pcc.edu/distance Thu, 27 Apr 2017 20:27:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.4 Short videos improve instructor presence – part III https://www.pcc.edu/distance/2017/04/short-videos-improve-instructor-presence-part-iii/ https://www.pcc.edu/distance/2017/04/short-videos-improve-instructor-presence-part-iii/#respond Mon, 24 Apr 2017 17:00:52 +0000 https://www.pcc.edu/distance/?p=7705 video iconIn the first post of this series: Short videos improve instructor presence – Part I, I talked about three simple options you can use to create short videos to improve instructor presence. The second post in the series: Short videos improve instructor presence – Part II, where I gave some tips for creating video and tool choices to record video. I hope you get a chance to read and explore.

Do you know that we recently added Kaltura’s My Media to improve webcam recording, screen capturing, or uploading your own media? You can easily do what you need to do with your media and have it right there inside your D2L course. Read Andy’s blog post to find out how.

This time, I want to let you know about your options for recording video and recording space.

Options for recording video
  1. DIY (Do It Yourself): Audio/Video note, Webcam, Office Mix, Camtasia, Kaltura My Media.Videographer
  2. Have a professional create media for your course. You have these options at PCC:

    Both can be requested using the Media Production Request form. It’s OK if you don’t know which one is best when you fill out the form. The professionals will be happy to discuss with you about your options and the best way to go!

Recording space

If you don’t have any place to record your video, we have several recording space at PCC. Our Faculty Production Lab at each campus is available to use, just need to booked it through the calendar. Each lab may have different recording hardware. Contact the Instructional Technology Specialist if you have any questions.


Rock Creek Faculty Production Lab, RC 7/ 117D


Southeast Recording Lab (SE Mt. Tabor 107A)

Would like more information?
  • Here’s some information that would help you make the right decision if you want to add media for your course. Michael Moss also shared his video recommendations in his blog post.
  • If you want to extend the shelf life of your instructional video, read this article for your reference.
  • During Spring term, we are offering Gear Up media sessions. These sessions will focus on using video and audio tools. Attendee may be eligible for a webcam or a headset to get them started, with the expectation that they will share one of their short videos to inspire other instructors at PCC. Watch for these in our training calendar!
Still have questions?

Don’t worry, if you still have any questions or need more guidance, the Instructional Technology Specialist will be there to help you every step of the way. Good luck!

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D2L CD 10.7.0 update for April 2017 https://www.pcc.edu/distance/2017/04/d2l-cd-10-7-0-update-for-april-2017/ https://www.pcc.edu/distance/2017/04/d2l-cd-10-7-0-update-for-april-2017/#respond Thu, 20 Apr 2017 20:50:56 +0000 https://www.pcc.edu/distance/?p=7639 The next Continuous Delivery update to D2L comes on April 28th. Per usual, there are a number of updates related to the Daylight visual update which you won’t see until June 20th. But there are a couple interesting updates that may actually make a number of you happy.

Accessibility checker in HTML editor

I’m especially excited about this one because it’s related to a feature request that I submitted last summer. The HTML editor will now have a built in accessibility checker that will help you identify if there are missing headings, missing alt-tags, table info and more. This will help you create accessible HTML content and make the user experience better. While I think this is great for accessibility reasons, it also supports good document markup, which makes your files just more usable generally for a variety of users and situations. Once we get our hands on it, we’ll try to show you how to best use the checker.

In this example, it lets me know when I try to just use BOLD for a heading instead of a real heading. Plus, it offers to change it!

The tinyMCE accessibility checker lets you know when you're improperly using headings

Document conversion service

You know how there are a couple ways to view student documents in Assignments and in the Content area? There’s a service behind the scenes that creates images and “text” versions of documents to try and make them more usable to students who may not have Office or may be on a mobile phone. That service is getting an overhaul and will create “web friendly” PDF files. For the most part, the change is not going to be noticed by anyone, but it will make life a little better for mobile users and assistive technology users. You will still be able to download the original file. We’ve tested with a couple different math documents, but if you have any complex word docs or PDFs, please reach out to our help desk (dlhelp@pcc.edu) and we can test them.

Long answer questions renamed to “Written Response”

Semantics here, but the Long Answer question type has been renamed to Written Response to help quiz authors better understand the question type.

Collaborate Ultra April updates

There are also some updates to Blackboard Collaborate Ultra (aka Online Rooms) arriving on April 2nd.

  • a “real-time” feedback mechanism so students can let you know how students are doing.
  • Updates to the scheduling interface
  • Chat window has some improvements for screen reader and keyboard users.
  • Link to Collaborate Ultra tutorials right in the interface
  • See more in the release notes for April
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Audio Feedback: More Bang for the Buck https://www.pcc.edu/distance/2017/04/audio-feedback-more-bang-for-the-buck/ https://www.pcc.edu/distance/2017/04/audio-feedback-more-bang-for-the-buck/#comments Mon, 17 Apr 2017 17:00:20 +0000 https://www.pcc.edu/distance/?p=7667 Personalized audio feedback takes very little time and helps engage online students with course content and instructors.

Audio Feedback: More Bang for the Buck

One of the biggest challenges I face as an English instructor is providing timely, constructive, differentiated feedback to my students. Learning how to compose college-level papers requires a great deal of guidance because writing is a recursive process that does not easily follow a set procedure. To be successful, students have to understand how to provide a context for readers, sense of purpose for the essay, logical organizational structure, and convincing evidence.

In face-to-face classes, negative comments on an assignment can be balanced with a student’s personal connection to the instructor because faculty members have many opportunities to demonstrate authentic care through facial expressions, gestures, tone of voice, and eye contact.

However, online faculty members must work more intentionally to build such rapport, which is extremely important when they need to deliver constructive criticism to students. Instructors who assign research papers need to provide meaningful feedback to students in a relatively short amount of time. How can these delicate but vital relationships be sustained in the ether?

My suggestion is AUDIO FEEDBACK

Although this method takes far less time than writing individual commentary to each and every student, I have to say that students LOVE this type of feedback.

The response has been very receptive. Students can hear the authentic care in my voice, and I am able to contextualize constructive feedback in a way that still recognizes student effort and writing strengths.

Thanks for the feedback about my assignment. I did enjoy your voice memo and love that option.

I have saved every audio feedback she gave me. I love how she encourages to work hard and to write more in them.

I want to let you know that I appreciate all the online support you have given us through emails and voice memos. It has will be useful support throughout the term. I believe I’m doing great in the class so far. I’ve been able to understand and complete every assignment with clarification.

Preparing for the audio comments

Reflect upon the goals of the assignment as well as the goals for your feedback. What are the most important things for students to think, feel, do, or believe after they receive your comments?

Read through the essay and mark where you want to respond. Praise? Confusion? A great sentence? An unclear connection? Make basic comments.

Consider limiting this feedback to a few bullet items, so students are not overwhelmed.

Use the Assignments feedback text box to share advice centered on common themes you have identified in this set of essays. Perhaps you have an explanation about topic sentences or discussion of credible evidence that would benefit many students.

Consider whether certain issues can be addressed with links to specific resources.

Skim the paper again. Review notes.

Put on your headphones and hit RECORD. (In D2L Brightspace, there is a RECORD AUDIO button under the text feedback box.) The internal app provides three minutes of audio.


• Slowly inhale and then exhale. Smile as you speak. (It makes a difference. I promise.)

• Greet students by name. This small gesture builds a sense of mutual respect. (If I am unsure about a pronunciation, I use Google, confess to using Google, and then ask the student to correct me if necessary.)

• Start positive. Tell them what you enjoyed about reading the paper.
The topic? The tone? The research? The passion?
Be positive, specific, and truthful.

• Reference the written feedback in the textbox. Use your voice to contextualize constructive criticism. It is important for students to understand whether the problems with their assignments are “normal.” You might mention whether certain areas needing improvement have been typical concerns for students in past classes or whether some students in the class are working on this same skill. If you have deep concerns that this student does not seem to be on track, express those, and invite the student to schedule a conference or phone call.

• Direct the student to take specific action moving forward. Do you want them to revise? Apply your criticism to future projects? Spend more time doing X or thinking about Y?

• Explain the resources you have provided (possibly in course shell or text box) to help students build this skill or accomplish this task.

• Assure students that you are invested in their success and want to help. Encourage them to contact you as needed. (Remember to smile here, too.)

• Consider ending with a look forward. Would you like to share that you want to see where the research takes them? You look forward to reading the next paper? You like hearing these ideas?

Although audio feedback was a bit outside my comfort zone, I am now a convert. Please consider adding this valuable tool to your teaching practice.

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Instructional technology, minus the technology https://www.pcc.edu/distance/2017/04/instructional-technology-minus-the-technology/ https://www.pcc.edu/distance/2017/04/instructional-technology-minus-the-technology/#comments Mon, 10 Apr 2017 17:00:18 +0000 https://www.pcc.edu/distance/?p=7647 I like to think about ways to improve instruction that have nothing to do with computers. In fact, if you consider the broader meaning of the term “technology” – the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes – you can open your teaching practice to methods that work in almost any learning situation.

I once heard Dave Merrill say, “Technology allows us to create bad instruction faster.” I think I know what he meant: our preference for using computer technology to create instruction quickly and efficiently can blind us to ways in which our instruction is less effective than it could be. What are some ways we can apply technologies – apart from computing technologies – to make our instruction more effective?

I would like to consider three areas of “application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes,” or three technologies you can use in any teaching you undertake:

  1. Spacing;
  2. Interleaving; and
  3. Variation.

But first – since spring is here (officially, anyway) – let us use an analogy from baseball to point out one way in which an intuitive method often guides our teaching, and that method goes by the name of “massed practice.” We all know how it works, as we are told, from an early age, “If you want to be good at something, you must practice, practice, practice.” There’s even a joke about a tourist in New York who asks, “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?” The local answers, “Practice, practice, practice.” Consider a young baseball player who wants to learn how to hit a curve ball: she dedicates herself to hitting nothing but curve balls – hour after hour, day after day. Eventually her skill at hitting curve balls improves – or does it? She can certainly see a difference: after four hours of practice, she can now hit five curve balls out of ten, whereas she could hit zero when she started. It feels like progress, but is it?

The problem is that in baseball, as in life, you never get just curve balls. Instead you get fastballs, sliders, change-ups, screwballs, cutters, AND curve balls. Hence the need for other kinds of practice.

The cover of the book Make It Stick

Make It Stick, available from PCC libraries

Tons and tons of research have shown definitively that, as the great Will Thalheimer has pointed out in his excellent blog, “repetitions that are spaced over time produce better long-term remembering than the exact same repetitions spaced over a shorter amount of time or massed all together.” Yet there’s an entire industry built upon the efficacy of massed practice: “crash” courses, exam crammers, intensive language-learning institutes. They fly in the face of what research clearly shows: spacing out practice leads to much longer-lasting gains in learning. Why? Brown, Roediger, and McDaniel point out, in their important book Make It Stick, that “embedding new learning in long-term memory requires a process of consolidation, in which memory traces (the brain’s representations of new learning) are strengthened, given meaning, and connected to prior knowledge” (p. 49). Our young baseball player would actually learn more effectively by hitting curve balls less often, though she might feel she is not doing enough or learning quickly enough.


Interleaved practice for our young baseball player might look something like this:

Throwing warm-up (ten minutes);
Watch and then hit curve balls (ten minutes);
Jog around bases (five minutes);
Hit fastballs (five minutes);
Fielding practice (ten minutes);
Hit curve balls (five minutes);
Hit sliders (five minutes).

The idea is to repeat different kinds of practice at regular intervals – never focusing on any one type of practice for too long. If research has shown that interleaving produces strong gains in learning, why is it not used more often? As the Make It Stick authors point out, “Teachers and students … can see that their grasp of each element is coming more slowly, and the compensating long-term advantage is not apparent to them.” Again, the seductive advantage of massed practice seems to influence most learning choices.


The Make It Stick authors describe a famous experiment in which a group of students practiced throwing bean-bags into buckets placed two feet and four feet away. Another group practiced throwing the same bean-bags into buckets three feet away. After twelve weeks, the students rested their tiny hands and then were tested on throwing into buckets three feet away. The group that did the best by far was the one that had practiced on the two- and four-foot buckets but never on the three-foot buckets! (p. 46). How is this possible? The Make It Stick authors suggest possible advantages conferred by varied practice (p. 51), in helping learners to:

  • Discern relationships between different conditions;
  • Describe and use context more effectively;
  • Develop a more flexible vocabulary (of movement, or thought, or whatever the conditions).

Whether you are teaching online or face-to-face, you can use scientifically validated practices like spacing, interleaving, and variation to produce learning gains among your students. The challenge is having the self-discipline to believe that these practices work and to stick with them in the face of the inevitable complaining you will hear from your students (“It’s too hard!” “It takes too long!” “Just as I feel like I’m getting it, you switch to something else!”). You will find, and your students will find – just as research has revealed, time and time again – that these practices lead to stronger and longer-lasting gains in learning than massed practice can provide.

Further reading:
  • Will Thalheimer’s blog: http://www.willatworklearning.com/
  • Peter Brown, Henry Roediger III, Mark McDaniel. Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning. The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2014.
  • James M. Lang. Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning. Jossey-Bass, 2016.
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Big changes to D2L for Summer 2017 https://www.pcc.edu/distance/2017/03/big-changes-to-d2l-for-summer-2017/ https://www.pcc.edu/distance/2017/03/big-changes-to-d2l-for-summer-2017/#comments Tue, 21 Mar 2017 19:24:40 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/distance/?p=7620 Announcing a change for distance education

Tired of those blue stripes, dated looking widgets, and small fonts in D2L? Summer 2017 brings a clean new design with a modern interface (and bigger fonts) to D2L! This update will also make D2L truly mobile-friendly. Additionally, PCC Gmail will be integrated with D2L so that students and faculty no longer have to manage two separate PCC email accounts.

Things to note about the Summer update

  • No major changes to how D2L functions and where to find tools, just a better looking interface.
  • Much improved mobile experience.
  • One familiar email tool for all of your classes (f2f and online).
  • Lots of options for training on email management strategies (i.e videos, webinars, in-person sessions, and 1-1 appointments).


Many of you have been using D2L since we adopted it in 2010. Visually, not much has changed with the interface. D2L has been doing intensive testing with students and instructors to modernize the interface. Many now access D2L from multiple devices and sometimes struggle with the current layout on mobile devices. Some students (and newer instructors and staff) scoff at the dated LMS look. We believe Daylight will modernize the interface without causing confusion for long-term users.

the daylight interface is much lighter

This is a preview of the Daylight interface when you first log into D2L. This is not the final version as there will be a few more updates before we launch during the break week on June 20th. However, it hopefully gives you a glimpse of some of the changes. The layout of most of the tools will remain the same.

PCC Gmail replacing D2L email

We are going to be replacing the internal D2L email tool with PCC Gmail. Having separate email systems has been problematic for students for years, and with the recent increase in campus-instructors using D2L, the complications of separate email systems has only increased confusion among our users.

Starting in summer, messages generated in D2L will be delivered to PCC Gmail. This includes messages sent from the classlist and from the homepage. The interface to send the messages will still look roughly the same, and you will still be able to send messages directly from the classlist, discussion, gradebook and other tools. Here’s the new compose window from the classlist:

The email interface remains the same when sending from the classlist

Notice that the subject automatically includes the name of the course? We know that one of the biggest concerns about this change was the potential to lose student messages in the sea of PCC email messages. Putting the course in the subject line will be just one of many ways to help you manage these messages. We will be offering a number of training opportunities, videos, and drop-in sessions over the coming months (though more in May, June, and September) to help ease the transition.

The D2L email tool hasn’t seen any development for years and is really on a end of life path. We want to get ahead of the change and move to a better platform that supports mobile users and greatly reduces confusion for students.

Next Steps

Over the coming months, we will continue to make slight updates to the interface based on our testing and feedback. We will also be offering updates as we approach the June 20th date, including a number of training opportunities in a variety of modalities. The training sessions will show you how to master your Gmail inbox and avoid losing any messages from your students. Please stay tuned for more updates via email.

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The various flavors of course development https://www.pcc.edu/distance/2017/03/the-various-flavors-of-course-development/ https://www.pcc.edu/distance/2017/03/the-various-flavors-of-course-development/#comments Mon, 13 Mar 2017 23:01:43 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/distance/?p=7604 Picture of variety of yummy ice cream

               Copyright: pitrs / 123RF Stock Photo

Baskin Robbins is known for promoting 31 flavors of ice cream. Sometimes it seems we have a comparable number of course development options here at PCC, though in this brief post, I have time to include our usual vanilla and chocolate, and add the variations of rainbow sherbet and perhaps even spumoni. This topic is complex, and throughout the years Distance Education has endeavored to find the best approach given limited funding, the desire for academic freedom in course creation, the need for guidance on quality course design, and time for course reviews. There are actually a number of methods to choose from, and much depends on personal preference and guidelines already established by a specific SAC.

One of the most common methods at PCC is for an instructor to take on an existing course that has already been developed and reviewed by an online faculty mentor using our Quality Matters based course review rubric. A number of SACs, e.g. HE, CAS, CIS, CH, have opted to maintain one main version of each online course, and they update that version on a consistent basis depending on the need. This often involves a collaborative effort of a few instructors, sometimes one from each campus. In this way, it is easier to maintain a current course that new online instructors can use as a starting point. As for flexibility to make changes, this varies by the SAC, but all disciplines that I’m aware of allow the freedom to adjust some of the discussions and add some personal touches to the content. Still, being locked into one main shell with few options for creative choice can feel quite restrictive.

Picture of man in a room with multiple doors closed, starring at one red door with a ladder up to it.

                 Copyright: ismagilov / 123RF Stock Photo

One of the often expressed concerns about starting with a pre-developed “takeover” course in this way is the desire to create a totally personalized course and the need for students to have a choice of different learning experiences. These are valid concerns. On the flip side, the barriers we run into with a system of totally personalized courses include lack of funding to support those course development efforts and lack of support staff needed to guide new course development, review those courses, and help keep them current in future years. Indeed, faculty in many SACs do have the option of creating their own personalized course from scratch, even when a previously developed and approved course already exists. There is no Distance Education funding for this type of development, but it is possible. Such courses also need to be reviewed and recommended just like any other course development.

The course development options mentioned above fall on the extreme ends of the spectrum – a SAC course that allows for minimal changes, and a completely personalized course. I would like to call your attention to possible variations of these flavors that fall toward the middle of the spectrum.

Picture of palette with mixture of paint colors and paintbrush.

               Copyright: maria111 / 123RF Stock Photo

Recently, a team from our Communication Studies SAC collaborated to develop a COMM 214 course that is basically 75% complete. The result is viewed as a “master course” that all instructors start with, yet the individual voice of the instructor is preserved because instructors need to add their own color to the mix in the form of personalized learning content. Communication Studies instructor Stacie Williams recently presented on this collaborative course development method at the national Quality Matters and ITC conferences, and I’m sure she would be happy to provide more information.

I recently learned of another variation of the “master course” concept through an ITC conference presentation by Angela Davis and Cristina Sullivan from Tarrant County College. They use a team approach to develop a “master shell” for each course. The flexible component built into their design approach is to create many more lessons than are needed, e.g. 24-40 lessons from which each instructor selects 16 to use any given term. In this way, there is choice in terms of selecting content and activities. Before going live, the course is reviewed by a team including a department chair, instructional designer, dean, and their equivalent to our district SAC. This master course needs to be maintained, but it never needs to be built again.

Colorful rainbow eye on white background

Copyright: delcreations / 123RF Stock Photo

My question to you, would one of these alternative approaches to course development, or a variation of one, be something of interest in your subject area? I know there are good chances of finding funds for collaborative design efforts. Let’s start the conversation. I encourage you to share your thoughts by posting a comment, or feel free to contact me directly, and I will help facilitate the conversation with those who need to be involved to help you discover the color palette choice that works best for your situation.

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Communication is key when it comes to serving students with disabilities https://www.pcc.edu/distance/2017/03/communication-is-key-when-it-comes-to-serving-students-with-disabilities/ https://www.pcc.edu/distance/2017/03/communication-is-key-when-it-comes-to-serving-students-with-disabilities/#comments Mon, 06 Mar 2017 17:55:12 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/distance/?p=7573 John Hinman

John Hinman evaluates the VI accessibility of 3rd party applications and online homework platforms for Distance Education at PCC . He is also a graduate of PCC and a student at PSU.

An ideal best practices educational scenario involves what I like to call the communication triangle. In truth it is more like a circle with the student on one side and the instructor on the other; however, for visually impaired (VI) students, it is a triangle. This is because the disabilities office comes into the picture.

The Student

I’ll begin with the student. The student holds all the cards. This is because the student is the one learning and paying. This means they are in a position where self-advocacy is key.
Students who query their instructors as needed stand to benefit most from the higher education system.

The Disability Services Office

Likewise, VI students who make the extra effort to keep the disabilities office as well as their instructor on the same page, will experience maximum benefit from the system. Bear in mind that the disabilities office does not police the situation beyond an initial beginning of term introduction. From there, it is up to the student and the instructor to shape a student’s educational experience.

The Instructor

As for the instructor, a willingness to be open to and keep up on correspondence is very important. Each student has different needs of course, but situations are complex. I have personally found that instructors who mention their willingness and comfort with direct correspondence for questions and advice are much easier to understand.
I once had an English instructor who told all of us on the first day of class, “If you don’t have a degree, you won’t get an A in this class.” Needless to say, I dropped the class. Later, I took an English class where the instructor made it mandatory to see her twice at different times throughout the term. At first this seemed strange but having an instructor at your fingertips for questioning can make all the difference; especially in a course where the instructors methodological preferences impact grades.

In closing it is really the communication that makes the wheels of education turn. This is doubly so for a VI student. Students must advocate for themselves. However, self-advocacy is not helpful if instructors don’t want to make the extra effort. Likewise, students may be stubborn to ask for help or unsure about asking if the situation is unclear to them. In these cases the instructor can always reach out first, which will make all the difference.

John Hinman evaluates the VI accessibility of 3rd party applications and online homework platforms for Distance Education at PCC . He is also a graduate of PCC and a student at PSU. He has been blind for 14 years.

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Project Learning Glass https://www.pcc.edu/distance/2017/02/project-learning-glass/ https://www.pcc.edu/distance/2017/02/project-learning-glass/#respond Mon, 27 Feb 2017 20:02:39 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/distance/?p=7534


Since this post is a little long I’ll give you the condensed version:

  • ‘Learning Glass’ is our team’s name for the myriad of illuminated transparent whiteboard solutions blooming in instructional technology, especially since we’ve evolved plans initially posted from SDSU
  • ‘Project Learning Glass’ is the name we’ve coined our efforts to create one with student help in our Machine Manufacturing program here at PCC.
  • PCC now has a Learning Glass! Want to produce some of this content for your course? Apply for Spring 17 Video Camp by Monday, March 13th at 8 AM
  • Faculty input on emerging instructional technology helped drive our selection and adoption of Learning Glass- your input from the field directly influences how we support you!

Background of the project

Instructor interest in transparent whiteboards began to bloom here at PCC in spring 2016 just as we were hearing about the technology in distance learning via an Instructional Technology Council (ITC) webinar titled “Learning with Glass” (Spaces- PCC login required.) Initial feedback about transparent whiteboards from the field was positive and media created seems to improve instructor presence online. At the same time, discussions in our distance ed emergent technology workgroup at the state level uncovered interest in transparent whiteboards concurrently growing at Chemeketa. Sage Freeman, Chemeketa’s instructional media specialist and I coordinated a trip to OSU with faculty to explore the pros and cons of a retail off the shelf solution they are already using in their studio. OSU’s Nick Yee and team graciously hosted our crew in their studio for a morning of intensive exploration. We discover that OSU’s off the shelf version cost approximately 8K, well above what we’ve got to explore with.

Armed with information, hope, and the creativity induced by restrictive budgets, we return to our respective institutions and move forward…


DL technology manager Andy Freed used the plans from SDSU and a little additional guidance from lightboard.info to improve our version based on feedback from our trip to OSU. He was stalwart in his following up with leads to get us connected with the Machine Manufacturing folks, a budget for ingredients, and a student who could create our mounting brackets to specification. Once bracket mount construction was concluded, we moved forward into assembling the board and conducting tests. Although we haven’t yet had our pioneer Bryan Hull back to try the PCC version yet- He’s our faculty who used the gear down at OSU and would be able to give the best comparative feedback once he returns in the spring.


  • Instructors can face the camera when they are presenting, allowing for natural body gestures and eye contact which improves instructor presence
  • Less post-production is needed, and instructors can be coached to pause whenever an error is made making ‘clean up work’ simple and quick
  • Getting our hands and gesturing involved in communication may be beneficial to guiding focus and learning
  • Students are also responding positively, reporting that being able to see their instructor and lecture content concurrently is “pretty cool”

Current status

We are now recording initial content with faculty, you can see our earliest work starting to bloom here on PCC’s Video Production Unit Playlist on YouTube – look for BA 211. Next term, Video Camp will focus on productions that will use learning glass so that we have the opportunity to build a body of work to help us all learn how to best utilize and support this technology.

Cost savings

While a commercial off the shelf solution cost OSU over 8k, PCC’s DIY solution cost approximately one-fourth. A DIY solution was possible for us at PCC because we have a large institution full of resources like the MakerSpace and budget that supports values dedicated to continuous improvement of course development and delivery.

Student participation= win

We’re always happy to find opportunities for our students to apply their skills to help our community solve problems and raise self-sufficiency. We create career collateral for our students from the participation products that emerge from these partnerships. A win/win was found in our Machine Manufacturing shop, where both equipment and abilities were available to help us machine our mounts. We now understand the process and can replicate it to improve access to this technology at a cost that makes more sense to our community college budgets.

Faculty excitement, yay!

We love to support faculty innovation, so we strive to match toolkit candidates with emergent technologies which are turning our faculty on. We explore a wide set of technology tools to instructional problems and then diligently select appropriate solutions to evolve forward in concert with faculty instructional plans and institutional goals. We were lucky in this case that Bryan Hull stepped up to inquire about Learning Glass in synchronicity to when our team had just participated in a similarly themed webinar. As faculty who use these tools ‘where the rubber meets the road, you can help us improve our luck by connecting with us to let us know which emerging instructional technologies catch your interest as they do.

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Announcing Kaltura My Media update https://www.pcc.edu/distance/2017/02/announcing-kaltura-my-media-update/ https://www.pcc.edu/distance/2017/02/announcing-kaltura-my-media-update/#respond Wed, 22 Feb 2017 22:17:02 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/?p=7519 We’ve been using Kaltura to host streaming media for over 5 years and have been very happy with the platform. We haven’t been the happiest with the upload tool, but that’s about to change. On Wednesday, March 8th, we’ll be updating the Kaltura integration so that you (instructors) will see a “My Media” link on the navbar in D2L Brightspace.

My Media will allow you to see all the videos you’ve uploaded in the past in a single place. You’ll still add videos to your pages, announcements, and discussions using the Insert Stuff tool, but now it will be much easier to add and create new media. To add media, just click the Add New button and select your media type.
add new button in Kaltura

Media Upload

This first option allows you to upload your own video or audio files from your computer (or device). When you select the media, it will start uploading and allow you to add a title, description, and tags for the media. We already have an extensive set of tags based on PCC’s subject areas (e.g. aviation science), but you’re welcome to add any that seem useful. A good description will help you find the video later.

Webcam recordings

The old webcam recorder was flaky. Sometimes it would work, and sometimes you’d finish recording your weekly update and *poof* it would stop responding. The new recorder works much better. You have the same options for titling and describing your video here as well.

the new webcam interface for kaltura

CaptureSpace Lite

Lastly, you can download and install the CaptureSpace Lite application to your computer and do screen captures, webcam captures, or both, then do some simple editing before uploading to the Kaltura server. I’m really excited about this functionality because it allows you to capture from almost any computer without having a license for Camtasia. We’ll still recommend Camtasia for the hardcore screen capturing folks or if you need better editing tools, callouts, the ability to add captions, etc. Here’s a very quick demo.

Insert the media

When you want to add your media in to your course, just launch the Insert Stuff option from the HTML editor and select My Media and search for your media.

My Media is now an option in Insert Stuff

We hope you’ll find the new interface far easier to use. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for assistance creating media for your course, but this will help those of you who already are creating content.

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D2L CD 10.6.11 update for March 2017 https://www.pcc.edu/distance/2017/02/d2l-cd-10-6-11-update-for-march-2017/ https://www.pcc.edu/distance/2017/02/d2l-cd-10-6-11-update-for-march-2017/#respond Wed, 22 Feb 2017 00:25:24 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/?p=7516 I swear I just posted the February updates, but the March updates are coming soon as well. It’s leading up to more robust changes coming this summer. The update lands on Friday, March 17th.

Grade Exemption workflow

Do you have a student with whom you arranged missing some activity but then their grade gets thrown off? This tool allows you add grading exemptions so that the missed activity doesn’t count against their grade. This may not be very exciting for most instructors, but for those of you who do end up in a situation where you’ve allowed an exception, you can now easily manage these agreements without there being too much clickety-clicking.

Further updates to Quiz tool

There are a few more updates to the new Quiz tool interface, including an option to require students to answer all “blanks” in the short answer format. You can now either score against (-.5 pts) blanks or require some input to the blanks.

If you decide not to use the new interface, there’s a quick question that pops up asking you why you’ve not adopted it. This will help the developers/designers understand your reason(s).

Non-D2L updates

There are a few updates that are timed about the same as the new CD release that are worth mentioning.

Kaltura MyMedia

I think the biggest is an update to the Kaltura streaming media server interface that will make it way easier to upload your own media and make recording your webcam far simpler. There will be a larger announcement shortly.

a preview of the My Media tool in D2L

A preview of the new My Media area in D2L. It lets you upload videos, do screen captures, and do webcam recordings easily. Click the image for a full size image.

BB Collaborate Ultra

This web conferencing tool also gets monthly updates. Some recent updates that you may be interested in include:

  • Ability to present from Firefox with a WebRTC extension
  • Chat transcript can be included in the recording
  • You can now get a shareable link to a recording, making it easier to share the link with your students.
  • Students can attend your office hours, etc., from an iOS device with the BB Student app.
  • Collaborate Ultra now supports up to 250 participants. Just don’t have everyone use their webcam….

See more updates on the Release Notes page.

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