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CIRT Newsletter Podcast

Scott Brown, Department of Art and Design
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Dr. Scott Brown teaches art history in the Department of Art and Design. His subject area requires that he incorporate high-quality images into his lectures. He previously used PowerPoint or Keynote, but found the process of locating and managing the images to be cumbersome. He now uses ARTstor, an image database provided by the UNF library, to find, manage and present images.

ArtSTORAt the heart of ARTstor is a huge community-built collection of works from over 200 organizations including museums, universities, private collections and libraries. The collection can be browsed by collection, classification, or geography and is comprised of more than one million digital images in the arts, architecture, humanities, and sciences. It was designed as a teaching and research tool for scholars, and the collection contains images useful in a variety of disciplines. ARTstor provides subject guides for many disciplines including Art, Anthropology, History, Music, and Religious Studies.

After creating an account, users are able to save images into image groups. Image groups allow users to work with a set of images, that can be downloaded as jpeg files (at presentation quality), or as a PowerPoint presentation. Additionally, ARTstor provides a link for each image group that can be used to add the group to Blackboard courses. There are also tools to save or email citations in popular formats like EndNote and RefWorks.

The most important tool provided by ARTstor is the Offline Image Viewer (OIV). The OIV is a tool designed for creating and delivering presentations.  It allows users to work with full quality images from ARTstor and also to import other images and PowerPoint presentations. Creating a presentation in OIV is similar to creating one in PowerPoint, but presentation delivery is where OIV really shines. The viewer allows for zooming, panning, and side-by-side image comparisons.

In Brown’s own words, ARTstor and the OIV have “revolutionized” the way in which he integrates images with teaching.  In the past, Brown drew his visual content from a wide range of different resources including museum websites, Flickr, hobbyist websites, Google, etc.  Work that formerly took many hours—scouring the internet for a particular image and teaching students to do the same—now literally takes minutes.  Brown uses ARTstor to permanently house every image that he shows in class and configures his folders in ARTstor to be freely accessible to the students in his classes from any computer with internet access. ARTstor’s ease of use and depth and breadth of content have significantly expanded the possibilities in his courses in both instructional content and student research

If you are interested in exploring this tool to create material for one of your courses, please stop by to talk with us.

Deb Miller, Director deb.miller@unf.edu
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PIIn a recent Chronicle blog post, Robert Talbert described Peer Instruction as a “middle ground between pure lecture and pure group work.”  Peer Instruction is a cooperative learning instructional strategy created by Eric Mazur at Harvard in order to increase interactivity in lecture courses. Used properly, the strategy encourages cognitive activity in students, thereby increasing learning. It promotes critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills in students.

The strategy works like this; the instructor presents students with a conceptual question and gives them a minute or two to think about the question and come up with an answer. They then spend a few minutes discussing their answers in small groups, attempting to reach consensus on the correct answer. The correct answer is revealed after the second response. By engaging in discussion about the best answer and articulating the reasons for that, students must think through the arguments being developed which enables them and their instructor to assess conceptual understanding in the classroom.  Peer Instruction can also be used effectively with computational questions, with response times adjusted accordingly. This strategy for collaborative learning can be particularly effective in large lecture courses. Recent research indicated that this method can decrease student attrition, and was equally effective for students with low and high background knowledge in a subject.

While not necessary, clickers and other polling tools are often used with the Peer Instruction method to facilitate the collection of responses and to allow students and instructor to view answer distribution. UNF is currently standardized with eInstruction clickers. If you are interested in learning more about this method, clickers, or other polling options, please let me know.



Faculty Bio/Faculty Expertise Database
Date: Friday, November 18, 2011, 2 pm – 3 pm
Location:  Building 10 (Honors Hall), Room 1106 (Faculty Commons) 
This session will provide  information to faculty about a new system designed to gather and coordinate faculty biographical information and also to promote and celebrate the depth and reach of our faculty expertise to both internal and external community members.  Academic Affairs, CIRT, and ITS have partnered to build a “bio template” easily accessed in Blackboard for faculty to enter information about themselves. The faculty bio is then available on the UNF website and will eventually contribute to a comprehensive faculty expertise database. For a complete description of the project, please go to http://www.unf.edu/acadaffairs/Faculty_Experts.aspx. CIRT will provide general support as well as photography services to supply faculty with a professional headshot that can be used for this and other purposes. Session participants will hear more about the faculty expertise database, see a demonstration of the tool, and have an opportunity to sign up for a photography session.
RSVP to cirtevents@unf.edu 

Introduction to Blackboard Collaborate 11 with Corey Spivey from Blackboard
Date: Tuesday, November 29, 2011 3:00 – 4:00 
Location: Building 1 (JJ Daniels Hall), Room 2800 (President’s Conference Room) 
Join us as Corey Spivey, Customer Success Manager with Blackboard Collaborate, discusses new concepts and changes in Collaborate 11. Topics covered in this session include: Accessibility Activity Window, Application Sharing, Ease of Use, File Transfer, Multimedia, New User Interface, Video Enhancements and Web Tour. UNF will begin using this version after the end of the fall semester.
RSVP to cirtevents@unf.edu 

Introduction to Blackboard Collaborate 11 with Corey Spivey from Blackboard
Date: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 2:00 – 3:00 
Location: Building 1 (JJ Daniels Hall), Room 2800 (President’s Conference Room) 
Join us as Corey Spivey, Customer Success Manager with Blackboard Collaborate, discusses new concepts and changes in Collaborate 11. Topics covered in this session include: Accessibility Activity Window, Application Sharing, Ease of Use, File Transfer, Multimedia, New User Interface, Video Enhancements and Web Tour. UNF will begin using this version after the end of the fall semester.
RSVP to cirtevents@unf.edu

Dave Wilson, Coordinator of Educational Media, david.wilson@unf.edu
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Digital ThinkingDuring the digital revolution video has been, well, revolutionized.  There have been advances in the quality of video capture devices, and more importantly in the ease of production. The latest version of the iPhone, the 4s, captures video that rivals expensive “prosumer” camcorders. Anyone can edit and produce quality video on a home computer or laptop and easily distribute it over the World Wide Web.

The shift to digital video has encouraged new academic use. For many years, some textbooks included CDs or DVDs that contained supplementary videos. Now, instead, the supplementary videos are delivered over the web. Video supplements are not limited to textbooks. Journals are also starting to use them in much the same way, by referring to them as online resources in the print article.

At CIRT we have experience assisting faculty with the production of video to supplement paper-based materials. Over spring break, we supported a professor in the Department of Clinical and Movement Sciences by recording the footage used to produce 21 short videos published as a textbook supplement. CIRT has also helped prepare videos for web delivery by a journal as resource.

Video is beginning to support traditional scholarship in other, more novel ways. Some journals, including the Journal of Number Theory and the Journal of the American Chemical Society are using “video abstracts” as a way for authors  to introduce, promote, and provide  background information about their papers. David Goss, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Number Theory  explains the idea in his video, Introduction to Video Abstracting, where he says “In a few minutes of video you can present the motivational history of the information contained in your article, as well as some of the ideas of your proofs.”  It seems that video abstracts are mainly being used in the fundamental and life sciences, but the idea would also work for other disciplines. 

The online service SciVee takes the concept of using video to support academic papers a step further, allowing authors to sync a video explanation to a paper. It works in a similar way to a narrated PowerPoint.  As the author discusses the paper, sections of the text are highlighted and figures appear on the screen. SyncViewSciVee is a creation tool and a publishing service. It enables you to publish to popular web services like YouTube and FaceBook. Scivee also works with some journals directly. Like video abstracts, Scivee is popular with fundamental and life sciences researchers, but people in other fields are using it as well.

The natural culmination of video scholarship is a journal of video articles. Currently, there are not many video journals. I’ve only found two, the Journal of Visualized Experimentation (JoVE) and the Video Journal of Orthopedics. JoVE describes itself as “... a video journal for biological, medical, chemical and physical research indexed in PubMed.” JoVE explains the reasons for using the video format: “Visualization greatly facilitates the understanding and efficient reproduction of both basic and complex experimental techniques, thereby addressing two of the biggest challenges faced by today's life science research community: i) low transparency and poor reproducibility of biological experiments and ii) time and labor-intensive nature of learning new experimental techniques.” The videos in JoVE are high quality and information rich. The audience can watch a procedure, see exactly how it was done, and perform it themselves.

I would like to hear your thoughts on using video in scholarship.  Please feel free to email me your comments, or stop by my office. While I do have reservations about using video for scholarship, I am also excited by the possibilities it presents, and I am happy to see so much experimentation in its implementation.  If you are interested in creating video abstracts, working with SciVee, or producing video for a video journal, please contact me. I would like to assist you.


In response to low response rates and requests from faculty, the Distance Learning Committee has been reviewing the online instrument over the past year and working with ITS to make modifications to the way that students are notified about and access the online instrument.

The following modifications been implemented for the Fall 2011 evaluation period:

  • Hybrid courses will no longer have multiple evaluation links in myWings.
  • Student Email Notifications will be automatically sent out on days 1 & 8 of the evaluation period, and on each of the last 7 days if there are outstanding evaluations.
  • Students can access the instrument directly from the student tab in myWings.
  • Students also see a reminder channel in Blackboard below their course list.
  • Instructors can monitor student completion during the evaluation period from Faculty Self-Service.

For additional information, including screenshots, please view the Online ISQ Project report.


posterWe invite you to visit the updated CIRT poster gallery to find a variety of new and improved PowerPoint documents designed for poster development. The new galleries are set up in three formats; horizontal, vertical, and trifold, and offer many options in a variety of sizes. After browsing the galleries, you can easily download your template by clicking on the size that you prefer. CIRT staff are also available to assist with poster design by appointment.

You can view the new gallery at:

Please call x. 3927 with questions or to set up an appointment.

Julie Carter, Coordinator of Instructional Design, julie.carter@unf.edu
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onlineIf you are interested in building a richer learning community with and among your students and engaging your students in more critical-thinking learning activities, consider implementing a blog as an instructional tool for either your distance learning or traditional course.  According to the Educause’s Guide to Blogging, a blog - a shorthand term that means “web log” – is an online, chronological collection of personal commentary and links.  In our Blackboard Learning Management System (LMS), a blog is similar to a journal where a student can “blog” (or write) privately or openly. The diminutive effort to create a blog consists of tasks similar to the tasks you complete to set up a discussion board forum.  When setting up a blog, you can choose whether the blog will be a private journal, where each student can only view her/his entries and you can see and comment on all entries, or a group blog, where all students and you can view and comment on all entries.

Here at UNF, blogs are used as instructional tools to enhance teaching and learning in both distance learning and traditional courses.  Through my instructional design support of courses, I’ve seen faculty members successfully use both individual student and group blogs. For example, individual blogs have been used in some of the health profession and education courses for the students to journal or reflect on their clinical and teaching experiences, respectively. Within these individual blogs, students can attach files and include text, images, and hyperlinks to other websites, audio and video files.  Group blogs have been used to help build a learning community among the students. For example, I’ve seen faculty members create at the beginning of a term a course group blog where everyone, including the instructor, blogged an introduction of her/himself, and the course-related and personal collaboration continued via the blog throughout the course.

Not only is blogging used as an active learning tool to help the students reflect on and learn from their own learning experiences, but it is also used as a tool to help the students strengthen and develop their analytical, critical thinking and writing skills.  In several courses, I’ve seen faculty members create group blogs, where groups of 4-5 students blogged about a discipline-related case study.  Since blogs can be set up to allow students to view, edit and comment on each other’s blogs, students collaborated about their understandings of the case study and how their discipline-related theories, principles and/or standards applied to the scenarios of the case study.

If you implement a blog as an instructional tool and expect your students to blog as part of a graded learning activity or throughout your course, I recommend that you have them practice using this tool first, by completing a practice exercise to become familiar its functionality. Actually, I’ve seen quite a few faculty members at the beginning of a semester create an assignment where students are required to create a blog entry that must include certain information based on a blogging functionality rubric. 

At this point, are you wondering WIIFM (What’s In It For Me)?! One of the advantages to you, as the instructor who grades blogs, is that you will have access to various filters to view your students’ blog posts. Also, you can recycle blogs from one semester to another – meaning your students’ blog posts will automatically be deleted so that the blog can be reused when copied between courses. By implementing blogs, you have acquired another formative assessment tool that can be used to improve students’ learning experiences. Other than your own evaluation tools for measuring the effectiveness of blogging, there is a wealth of viable higher education resources available to advocate blogging to support teaching and learning in distant learning and traditional courses. For more information, go to http://www.educause.edu/eli/GuideToBlogging.


Erin Soles, Coordinator of Instructional Design, esoles@unf.edu
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Blackboard Mobile Learn
Blackboard Mobile Learn, which was recently acquired by the University of North Florida, provides instructors and students access to Blackboard courses, content and organizations on mobile devices including iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, and Palm smartphones on both wireless and cellular networks.  Tech Fee

  • Announcements - Students can view announcements and instructors can post announcements.
  • Grades - Students can view posted grades in the app.
  • Roster - View your full class list.
  • Discussions - Instructors and students can view, reply, and create new threads in discussions. Additionally, students can upload media files to discussions.
  • Media - Students can access music, videos and images uploaded by their instructors using appropriate media-specific software on their mobile device.

The following features may not work properly when accessed from Mobile Learn and should only be used when accessing Blackboard from a non-mobile browser:

  • adding new content to a course
  • building and submitting tests and surveys
  • submitting and grading assignments
  • adjusting Grade Center settings
  • participating in Elluminate Live sessions

Note: features such as Flash, Java-based video, and Quicktime may not work properly on all devices
More information on Blackboard Mobile Learn is available here.

Upgrade to Blackboard Collaborate 11
Elluminate Live! will be upgraded to Blackboard Collaborate 11 after the end of the fall semester. Blackboard Collaborate 11 is completely redesigned with a simplified user interface for conducting online courses and meetings.

CollaborateFeatures of Collaborate 11:

  • Audio & Video Panel – now appears at the top of the Collaborate interface and includes audio and video options, speaker photo display and easy access to audio setup wizard.
  • Collaboration Toolbar – provides easy access to 3 commonly used tools: the Whiteboard, Application Sharing and Web Tours.
  • Activity Window – reports various events that take place during a session and includes a filter for narrowing events displayed.
  • Chat Panel – enables you to exchange text messages with other participants in the session. Chat includes options for emoticons, tabbed viewing of messages, and a moderator chat.
  • Participants Panel – provides options for changing permissions, inviting or removing participants from the session, breakout rooms, polling, user profiles and activity indicators.

Introduction to Blackboard Collaborate 11 with Corey Spivey from Blackboard Collaborate
Date: Tuesday, November 29, 2011 3:00 – 4:00
Date: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 2:00 – 3:00
Location: Building 1 (JJ Daniels Hall), Room 2800 (President’s Conference Room)
Join us as Corey Spivey, Customer Success Manager with Blackboard Collaborate, discusses new concepts and changes in Collaborate 11. Topics covered in this session include: Accessibility Activity Window, Application Sharing, Ease of Use, File Transfer, Multimedia, New User Interface, Video Enhancements and Web Tour.

Please note: All sessions created in Spring 2012 courses prior to December 11, 2011 will be created in Elluminate (version 10) rather than in Blackboard Collaborate 11. If you wish to upgrade these sessions to Blackboard Collaborate 11, please email cirtlab@unf.edu and include the Blackboard Course ID and session name(s).

Blackboard Catalyst AwardsCatalyst Award
The University of North Florida won an Exemplary Course Program Award in 2006 for the Community Nursing Service: Fun 2 B Fit course in the Brooks College of Health, School of Nursing. The 2012 Blackboard Catalyst Awards (which includes the Exemplary Course Program) submission period is quickly approaching. The Blackboard Exemplary Course Program began in 2000 with the goal of identifying and disseminating best practices for designing engaging online courses.  The ECP uses an extensive rubric to evaluate how well a course conforms to best practices for Course Design, Interaction & Collaboration, Assessment and Learner Support. Click here for more information and to apply for a Blackboard Catalyst Award.

Important dates:

  • December 1: Program is Open for Submissions
  • February 29: Submission Deadline
  • March 15 – April 7: Peer Review Period
  • Early May: Winners selected for all categories

Blackboard Maintenance
The Blackboard Semester Maintenance window previously scheduled for December 18 – 22, 2011 is cancelled. Although Blackboard will remain available during this time, Fall 2009 courses will be removed from Blackboard and Fall 2011 courses will be set to “unavailable” and will be renamed by prepending “zz2011Fall” to each course name.

Blackboard will be unavailable during the electrical power upgrade December 26, 2011 until December 31, 2011.  During this system downtime, users will be unable to access Blackboard courses and Blackboard Course Requests (BbCAR). More information: http://www.unf.edu/anf/its/Info/IT_Services_Affected_by_NOC_Power_Upgrade.aspx


Academic Affairs, CIRT, and ITS have partnered to build a “faculty bio template.” The project goals are:

  • To create an “expertise” database easily accessed by the community.
  • To consolidate faculty data and provide a one-stop resource for various constituencies to get faculty information (media, institutional advancement, Academic Affairs, ORSP, etc.).   
  • To address a common need for access to an accurate faculty listing which will be automatically updated (deleted, revised to reflect new title, etc.).
    • a comprehensive directory of all faculty
    • an option for departments and colleges to pull in a faculty listing of their faculty into the department/college main website.
  • To provide a template for faculty which is easily accessed through a familiar environment, Blackboard, to input biographical information and expertise keywords.

The template is easily accessed in Blackboard, and designed to be very straightforward and easy to enter and maintain your biographical information.  The information will be displayed on a CMS website and not only present individual faculty information but also contribute to a comprehensive faculty expertise database.  While not required, we encourage your participation in accessing this template in Blackboard and entering your biographical information in order to achieve the goals developed for this project.

For a complete description of the project, please go to http://www.unf.edu/acadaffairs/Faculty_Experts.aspx.
For directions on accessing and using the Faculty Bio tool, please go to http://www.unf.edu/cirt/bb/bbtools/Faculty_Bio.aspx

Faculty Bio/Faculty Expertise Database Demonstration Session
CIRT is hosting an information session this Friday to provide information to faculty about this new system designed to gather and coordinate faculty biographical information and also to promote and celebrate the depth and reach of our faculty expertise to both internal and external community members. Session participants will hear more about the faculty expertise database, see a demonstration of the tool, and have an opportunity to sign up for a photography session.
Date: Friday, November 18, 2011, 2 pm – 3 pm
Building 10 (Honors Hall), Room 1106 (Faculty Commons) 
RSVP to cirtevents@unf.edu 

If you can't make this event and would like to sign up for a photography session please contact Mike Boyles, mboyles@unf.edu, to make an appointment.


iTunesUiTunes U enables you to publish audio and video materials and make them available online to only the  students enrolled in your course(s). These recordings (podcasts) are accessed through Blackboard using iTunes, so it's easy to download content, play it on a computer, and transfer it to an iPod.

Files added to iTunes U are stored on Apple’s servers so the Blackboard file size limit of 50 MB does not apply. Anything posted on iTunes U can be downloaded, copied, and redistributed without limitation, so you should only post materials you create or have permission to redistribute.

All of your Blackboard courses connect to one course in iTunes U. This makes it easy to share media between courses.  You can organize your media by using groups in iTunes U.  In Blackboard you can link directly to a group or a particular media item, allowing you to incorporate media directly into course modules and syllabi. For more information, visit http://www.unf.edu/cirt/bb/bbtools/Tools_-_iTunesU.aspx

The iTunes program must be installed on the computer to use iTunes U.  It is installed on all campus computers.  If you need to install or upgrade iTunes, for Windows or Mac, you can download it for free from Apple’s web site at http://www.apple.com/itunes/download/. It is a good idea to launch this program at least once on your computer before trying to access iTunes U to make sure it is set up and ready to go

Mike Boyles, Coordinator of Graphic Design, mboyles@unf.edu
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Turn your iPad into a portable interactive whiteboard!
ShowMe is a free app that allows you to record audio-narrated whiteboard tutorials that can then be shared as online videos on the ShowMe website or can be embedded into other websites. With this app, you can write directly on the screen as you record your voice, pause at anytime, and easily start the recording again when you are ready. You can also import various images from your photo library to help illustrate and enhance your lesson. ShowMeThe pause and start buttons are easy to use, as are the pen and the erase tools. Your ShowMe can be as long or as short as it needs to be, and you can create as many screencasts as you want — the sky's the limit. When you have finished creating your ShowMe, you can upload the file to share with the community, or you have the option to keep it private and just email the url to your audience. You can also keep the ShowMe file on your iPad and view it with a projector in a classroom environment. It is an extremely intuitive app that you and your students will find remarkably easy to use, regardless of age or background. There is minimal equipment needed — only an iPad. Registration is required to upload the video files.

The app also makes it possible to collaborate on projects. ShowMe allows instructors and students alike to build and share videos. You can create screencasts and have students preview them before attending class, or — if the students have iPads — you can have them create their own screencasts and share them with the others in the class via the ShowMe website or Blackboard discussion boards.

The features in ShowMe are quite simple, but allow limitless possibilities — voice-recording, multiple brush colors, pause and erase, image import, unlimited lesson length, free upload, and easy embedding for sharing anywhere. While ShowMe is a wonderful education tool for professors, it's also a great app for students to create their own presentations or share with each other. Check out the impressive tutorials created by the community at www.showme.com.

Link: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/showme-interactive-whiteboard/id445066279?mt=8&ls=1
Cost: Free
Platform: iOS
Requires: iOS 3.2 or later
Current Version: 1.1.6
Updated: Oct 21, 2011
Size: 2.0 MB



Most Information Technology Services Unavailable Dec. 26 through Dec. 31
Most Information Technology services will not be available from Monday, Dec. 26, through Saturday, Dec. 31, while the University installs new electrical wiring, power supplies and generators. During this time, only campus phones and the Code Blue emergency phones will work on campus. Computers on campus will not be operable and only UNF Web pages in the Content Management System will be online. From off campus, faculty, staff and students will have access to the following services:

  • The myWings portal (although Blackboard will not be available)
  • Banner systems, including Self-Service and Internet Native Banner
  • Faculty and staff e-mail available by using myWings, http://webaccess.unf.edu, or smartphones
  • Ospreys E-mail for students available by using myWings, http://outlook.com, or smartphones

For more information, click here. Questions may be directed to ITS-infomail@unf.edu.

Ospreys E-mail, UNF’s New Student E-mail System, Available Now
A new student email system is coming Dec. 12 called “Ospreys E-mail”. Students can start using their Ospreys E-mail account now by logging into myWings and clicking on the “Ospreys E-mail” icon.  Ospreys E-mail provides students with more storage space than they currently have and additional services such as a Skydrive (online storage for files) and use of Microsoft Office Web Apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote).  Students who activate their Ospreys E-mail account before December 12 will be entered in a drawing for an Xbox 360 Kinect Bundle and other prizes.  Visit http://tinyURL.com/UNFemail for more information, FAQs, and setup instructions for smartphones.


We are moving to a new equipment check-out system and will need to scan the barcode on your Osprey1 Card to check out equipment, so please bring the card with you when you are picking up equipment.


(Relax... it’s much easier than airport scans!)


This newsletter is a publication of the
Center for Instruction & Research Technology
at the University of North Florida.
Deb Miller, Editor

Please direct any comments or questions to cirtlab@unf.edu

Click here for past newsletters