Using technology

Learning technology encompasses the full range of tools and media that can be used to facilitate teaching and learning.

There are many ways that technology can enhance teaching and learning; an important thing to remember when exploring and choosing any technology is that it should be used in a way that furthers your teaching and learning goals.

Courses and workshops

We have many courses and workshops on topics related to using learning technologies.

Ways to incorporate learning technologies

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Activities using technology

The following are some activities you can do that can use educational technology.


Blogs

Blogs are a common mode of written online communication. They are a great avenue for students to develop written communication skills because they require regular updates and, thus, make writing about course content a habitual practice.

  • Blogs can be set up as individual or group activities
  • You can ask students to alternate between contributing their own blog posts and commenting on those of their colleagues
  • As the instructor, you can also create blog posts yourself and give students the task of commenting on your posts

The university hosts and supports the Wordpress blogging platform.


Online quizzes

Online quizzes can contain many different question types, including multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, short answer, and more. You can embed them into the course content or have students complete them before or after class. The benefit is that students are frequently checking their comprehension of materials. Quizzes can be created within either Blackboard Learn or Top Hat and you can automate the feedback and guidance that students receive.


Wiki updates

A wiki consists of one or more webpages or online documents that can be created or edited by multiple authors.

  • They can be public to the entire internet or restricted to a select group of people (e.g. students in a shared course, or one section of a course)
  • Wikis are a great platform for collectively updating information or even creating Open Education Resources. You can use wikis in many different ways in your courses

The university hosts and supports the Confluence wiki platform.


Video or audio projects

Video or audio projects can take a variety of different forms including:

  • having students create instructional how-to videos,
  • interview segments,
  • story-based media to illustrate a concept, or
  • even short music videos

The university offers and supports the use of Panopto to facilitate the production and sharing of video projects.


Learning portfolios

Learning portfolios are an effective tool to have students collect artifacts and reflect on their learning activities.

  • You could ask students to maintain a weekly learning portfolio, where they select a learning activity they did for the class (e.g. a discussion) and reflect on what they learned through engagement in that activity.
  • You could also ask students to post to an online learning portfolio about how they are applying course concepts in their lives outside the classroom.

The university hosts and supports the Mahara ePortfolio platform. Portfolios can also be created using blogging tools like Wordpress.

Choosing the technology

Choosing which technology to use

The SAMR Model, developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura, can help you keep evaluate technology you currently use, or may use, in your class. It consists of four levels with Modification and Redefinition being the most powerful:

  • Substitution: the technology substitutes for another technological tool, without a significant change in the tool's function.
  • Augmentation: the technology replaces another technological tool, with significant functionality increase.
  • Modification: the technology allows for the redesign of significant portions of a task to be executed.
  • Redefinition: the technology allows for the creation of new tasks, inconceivable without the technology.

Technologies on Campus

Blackboard Learn

Every course has a corresponding Blackboard Learn (also named Course Tools) course associated with it. This is a good place to post your syllabus, assignments, notes and other learning resources. Copyright’s Fair Dealing allowances are extended to BBLearn as it is an online extension of your classroom.

Blackboard Learn has many additional features, including:

  • online Assignment Submission tool, now including Inline Grading and Annotations
  • online Grade Centre
  • online Testing and Quizzing (multiple choice, true/false, short answer, more)
  • online Discussion Boards
  • Open CourseWare (ocw.usask.ca) allows you to easily share your course materials with the general public

Academic Video Powered by Panopto

The academic video service engages students and enhances instruction by enabling the capture and sharing of video content throughout the teaching, learning, and discovery experience. Panopto, a cloud-enabled service, powers the University of Saskatchewan’s Academic Video service. Integrated with the Blackboard learning management system, recordings are viewable by eligible users on most Web browsers and mobile devices.

Academic Video allows instructors to:

  • Record and live-webcast your lecture, seminar or presentation
  • Create Personal Recordings
  • Record and upload video content from mobile devices
  • Perform simple editing of recordings
  • Assign and collect Student Video Assignments
  • Share and publish content

Web Conferencing (WebEx)

Instructors and students have access to the Webex conferencing suite. It may be used for a variety of virtual events from one-on-one meetings to teaching classes. As an instructor you can use it for virtual office hours. You may also encourage your students to use it to help alleviate potential difficulties with getting together to work on group projects. 

Top Hat Audience Response Systems

If you want to engage students in polling and questioning throughout class, you may use Top Hat to do this. Top Hat is a web-based tool that would allow students to respond to questions using their smartphones, laptops, and tablets at no additional cost. You are able to ask a variety of question types, including multiple choice, word answer, numeric answer, and click-on-target.

ePortfolios

The university has recently introduced an ePortfolio system using the Mahara platform. Some departments and colleges have instituted portfolios as part of their programs.

Wordpress Blogs

Every instructor and student has access to his or her own personal Wordpress blog hosted by the university. Many instructors include blogging assignments as part of student course work.

Wikis

Every instructor and student has access to university-supported wikis. Wikis allow you to share and collaboratively manage documentation and other information in easily editable online locations. The wikis can be public or private to the members. Instructors may set up a wiki space as a place for instructors and students to collaborate on and share resources. 

Individual File Sharing and Storage (ownCloud)

Every instructor and student has access to individual file sharing and storage. This cloud service is similar to other private services (e.g., Dropbox, Google Drive) but with ownCloud your files are stored locally on University of Saskatchewan servers.

Online Training

Every instructor and student has access to free and unlimited online training videos from Lynda.com. You can use this resource to learn various skills, such as how to use Excel or Photoshop. As an instructor you may direct students to it to learn necessary skills for your course.

Virtual Computer Lab

Instructors and students can access much of the computer lab licensed software (ie. SPSS, MATLAB, R) remotely from home or on campus.

Classroom Equipment

You can learn about equipment and technology available in classrooms and lecture rooms in our buildings.

Online

Online learning creates challenges and opportunities not found in the face-to-face classroom. 

Getting Help

Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching and Learning

Ryan Banow and Heather Ross in the GMCTL can provide consultation and advice if you would like to incorporate learning technologies into your teaching practice.

Information and Communication Technologies

ICT provides support for the various e-learning tools available on campus. Support is available for PAWS Course Tools, Blackboard, and Top Hat, as well as support for technologies related to quizzes, examinations and final grade entry, as well as course evaluations.

Media Production

Provides support and service in media development and capture for teaching, research, and events.

Training Services

Offers effective and up-to-date technology training solutions for the entire campus community.