CIRT Newsletter Podcast

William Ahrens, School of Nursing
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AhrensWilliam Ahrens is a Senior Instructor in the School of Nursing. His Nursing Therapeutics I course is taught in a lab and focuses on the development of the psychomotor skills required to provide direct or indirect nursing care for individuals across the lifespan. Some of the skills covered are medication administration, wound care, catheterization, placement of gastric tubes, and patient hygiene.

Typically, Ahrens lectures and demonstrates skills in the class, and then students practice while he observes and provides feedback. He wanted to maximize the time that students had to practice and receive feedback, so he approached CIRT about videotaping his classes with the goal of making the video available to future students for review prior to class time.

After consulting with CIRT, he decided to video record all of the classes in a semester and then edit that video down to clips, or “chunks” based on the topics in the course. CIRT staff visited his classroom to do some trial recording and provided suggestions for placement of equipment. After reviewing that initial recording, Ahrens gave a lot of thought to how he wanted to set up for video recording and planned for all the material and angles he wanted to cover. During the Fall of 2009, he videotaped all of his classes in the course with the help of a co-instructor.

Over the course of the 2010 Spring semester, Ahrens reviewed and edited all of the video down to the instructional segments and demonstrations he wanted to have available for future students. He used iMovie to review and edit the video.  After editing, Ahrens had 59 video clips, that could be categorized into six topical modules. The clips range in length from two minutes and a half minutes to forty minutes

iTunesUThe initial plan was to place the video clips on UNF’s streaming server and link to them from within Blackboard. While the project was underway, iTunes U integration with Blackboard was being developed, and CIRT asked Ahrens to pilot the tool. With iTunes U, a site is set up that can be linked to from the course. Instructors can create tabs and place clips in each. Instructors use Blackboard as a gateway to upload their audio or video clips directly to UNF’s iTunes U server. Students can use Blackboard to access the clips via iTunes on their computer or sync the clips to a mobile device.  They can also subscribe to the course feed so that they automatically receive new episodes. Ahrens initially made the video clips part of his course during the Summer 2010 semester, and his students have been very pleased with the use of iTunes U. He is using it again this semester and now sharing the videos with another instructor teaching Nursing Therapeutics.

Here are comments from students in his Therapeutics course:

Having the Therapeutics course material available via iTunes was wonderful for me.  I live in St. Augustine Beach, so I was able to utilize the two hour round-trip drive listening to Mr. Ahrens on my iPod.  The podcasts added mobility and efficiency to my studies - I listened to one while walking my dogs and to several while running on the treadmill at the gym.  It was great to knock out both academic and personal tasks at the same time.  I really appreciated the fact that Mr. Ahrens was so respectful of our time as to provide us with the podcasts in order to decrease the time we sat in a lecture while allowing ample time to practice our skills.  I would be thrilled if other classes in the nursing program were to use this format as well.
-Sierra deL'horbe, Nursing Student

I loved using iTunes U for the Therapeutics I course.  It made learning much more accessible. I was able to listen to lectures through my iPod while driving.  It was a great time saver, not only for out of class study time, but also in class lecture time. Students had more time to practice skills and the professor had more time available for 1 on 1 attention.  One of the best parts of iTunes U lectures was the ability to listen more than once. With traditional lectures, you only get to hear what the professor has to say one time. A wonderful feature of iTunes U lectures is the ability to listen multiple times, and learn something new each time you listen.
-Rachel Dodd

CIRT provided consultation, equipment, and software training to support this project. If you have a digital audio or video project that you are planning, we invite you to stop by and talk with us.

Deb Miller, Director deb.miller@unf.edu
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Ten years ago, cell phones were only used for making calls and PDAs were exciting devices that you used to access calendars while on the go. Today, it is difficult to find anyone who uses a PDA - other than in a specialized data collection or medical reference situation - and smartphones can be used for email, accessing the web, and so much more.  The market research firm International Data Corp anticipates that total shipments for smart phones will be 269.9 million in 2010, up 55%, from 173.5 million units in 2009. Another market research firm , Ambient,  is forecasting a growth rate of nearly 12% for mobile learning technologies in higher education, apart from ‘traditional’ mobile devices like laptops and netbooks.

iPhone App

Significant factors in growth for the higher education market are mobile access to learning management systems (LMS) and electronic readers. Blackboard is the biggest player in the LMS market, and its offering, Blackboard Mobile Learn, allows users to access nearly all course content, and post to course discussion forums. See Erin’s article in this newsletter for more information. Moodle is developing a mobile platform as well, in a partnership with DubMeNow.

Publishers are also investing heavily in finding a profitable way to distribute their content digitally, particularly to mobile devices. CourseSmart, a privately held company, has partnered with nearly every major publisher to provide a catalog of electronic textbooks. They claim to offer 90% of the core textbooks currently in use in the US.  Students ‘subscribe’ to the eTextbook at a significantly lower cost than the typical hard copy purchase, and can be viewed online or accessed from any browser-enabled smartphone. The increasing demand to reduce textbook costs for students adds to the appeal of this model.

A study of English-speaking members of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) found that about 35% have a mobile web presence, either for the university or for its library. The most commonly accessed functions for university sites were calendar, directory, news, campus map, and video.  In addition to mobile web presences, many universities are developing apps for everything from tracking bus and shuttle locations to complete library database searches.

So, how can you and your students take advantage of this growing trend toward accessing anything, anytime, anywhere?

At UNF, there are several components already in place. We have a robust wireless network that affords connectivity all over campus. We have configured our Blackboard installation to support Mobile Learn and made iTunes U available on the private side for course sites.  The Carpenter library provides a mobile version of their website.  And perhaps the next time you adopt a textbook for your course, you’ll consider choosing one that offers a digital version.

Adkins, S. (2010). The US Market for Mobile Learning Products and Services: 2009-2014 Forecast and Analysis. Ambien Insight.

Aldrich, A. (2010). Universities and Libraries Move to the Mobile Web. Educause Quarterly. 33(2).

Nagel, D. (2010, August 31). Report: E-Readers, LMS Driving Growth in Higher Ed Mobile Learning. Campus Technology.

Nagel, D. (2010, September 8) Smart Phone Adoption Growing Faster Than Expected. Campus Technology.

Schaffhauser, D. (2010, March 2). Moodlerooms and DubMeNow Developing Mobile Campus Apps. Campus Technology.



  • Bb 101 for Professors
    Date: Friday, October 1, 1 pm – 4 pm
    Location: Building 57 (Education), Room 2520
    This hands-on workshop is designed for instructors teaching term-based courses, whether enhanced, hybrid, or distance. The session provides the basics of setting up and customizing courses, creating and managing content, and using course tools such as e-mail and announcements to communicate with students. Best practices for effective instruction are addressed throughout.
    RSVP to cirtevents@unf.edu

  • Blackboard Group Tools
    Date: Wednesday, October 6, 1 pm – 2:30 pm

    Location: Building 57 (Education), Room 2520
    This session provides an overview of the tools in Blackboard to support group and team work. Participants learn to set up and manage groups, discuss tools and strategies for collecting assignments, and explore the Blackboard Wiki tool for collaborative projects.
    RSVP to cirtevents@unf.edu

  • Blackboard Discussion Board
    Date: Thursday, October 7, 10 am – 11:30 am

    Location: Building 57 (Education), Room 2520
    This session provides an overview of the Discussion Board, an asynchronous tool available in Blackboard. Topics include: forum creation, forum settings, discussion participation, and discussion grading. Participants will also discuss strategies for moderating online discussion and best practices.
    RSVP to cirtevents@unf.edu

  • Blackboard Grade Center -Beginning
    Date: Friday, October 8, 10 am – 11:30 am
    Location: Building 57 (Education), Room 2520
    This hands-on workshop provides an overview of the Grade Center in Blackboard.  Participants learn about options for successfully recording and calculating student grades. This session covers the basics of creating and managing columns, entering scores, comments and feedback, and reviewing and scoring assessments, assignments, and Discussion Board postings.
    RSVP to cirtevents@unf.edu

  • Elluminate  Training, Part I *note date and time change
    Date: Friday, October 8, 1 pm – 2:30 pm

    Location: Building 57 (Education), Room 2520
    Participants learn how to use basic features of Elluminate, including chat, whiteboard tools, breakout rooms, recording, and audio/video permissions. Blackboard integration and session creation are also covered. Best practices for online sessions are addressed throughout.
    *Note-Elluminate is available for the following courses: School of Computing, Coggin College of Business, and all graduate courses. It will soon be available for all DL and Hybrid courses.
    RSVP to cirtevents@unf.edu

  • Student Assessment in Blackboard
    Date: Wednesday, October 13, 2 pm – 3:30 pm
    Location: Faculty Commons; Building 10 (Honors), Room 1104
    Join the Center for Instruction and Research Technology for a discussion of using Blackboard as a tool for student assessment. Participants discuss strategies for online assessment development and administration, minimizing cheating during online assessments, assessment of project-based learning, collecting and assessing assignments online and evaluating student work using rubrics.
    RSVP to cirtevents@unf.edu

  • Pep Up Your Presentations with Prezi
    Date: Thursday, October 14, 10 am – 11:30 am
    Location: Building 57 (Education), Room 2520
    Prezi is a free online tool for creating and showing presentations. It breaks from the bulleted-list approach of Microsoft PowerPoint and Apple Keynote. Prezi presentations are similar to concept maps or poster presentations. This two-part workshop will begin with a demonstration and discussion of how Prezi is conceptually different from other presentation software. The second part of the workshop is hands-on. Participants have the opportunity to create an account and start using Prezi right away.
    RSVP to cirtevents@unf.edu

  • Classroom Recording
    Date: Friday, October 15, 10 am – 11:30 am
    Location: Building 12 (Library), Seminar Room 2115
    Classroom recordings can take many forms, from recording an entire lecture and posting it unedited, to short edited recordings of group discussions, and even narrated slide presentations.  This discussion covers the tools, methods, and reasons for creating quality recordings of class meetings and making them available to students online.
    RSVP to cirtevents@unf.edu

  • Blackboard Grade Center – Advanced
    Date: Friday, October 15, 2 pm – 3:30 pm

    Location: Building 57 (Education), Room 2520
    This hands-on workshop introduces several advanced features available in the Blackboard Grade Center including: calculated columns (weighted, average, minimum/maximum), dropping lowest scores, smart views, grade history, and uploading and downloading grades. Previous participation in the Beginning Grade Center session and/or understanding of the topics covered in the Beginning Grade Center session are recommended.
    RSVP to cirtevents@unf.edu

  • Blackboard  Discussion Board
    Date: Friday, October 22, 10 am – 11:30 am
    Location: Building 57 (Education), Room 2520
    This session provides an overview of the Discussion Board, an asynchronous tool available in Blackboard. Topics include: forum creation, forum settings, discussion participation, and discussion grading. Participants will also discuss strategies for moderating online discussion and best practices.
    RSVP to cirtevents@unf.edu

  • Grading in Three Acts: Act 2: Things Get Ugly with Grade Integrity
    Date: Friday, October 22, 2010, 1pm - 2:30 pm
    Location: Building 58 (Student Union W) Room 3805
    It may be easier for students to cheat than ever before. Technology in today’s society provides a number of opportunities for students to engage in academic misconduct. In this session, faculty members will discuss various questions related to academic integrity including what defines academic misconduct, what policies are in place to deal with academic misconduct, how can one deal with issues of academic integrity in online environments, and how can one prevent plagiarism and academic misconduct. Faculty members are encouraged to bring their academic misconduct policies to apply ideas discussed in the session.
    RSVP: ofe@unf.edu

  • Blackboard  Blogs & Wikis
    Date: Friday, October 22, 3 pm – 4:30 pm
    Location: Building 57 (Education), Room 2520
    Enhance the communication in your courses by using asynchronous tools available in Blackboard. Explore the features of the Learning Objects blog and wiki tools, view sample blogs and wikis created by UNF faculty and students, and discuss tips and best practices.
    RSVP to cirtevents@unf.edu

  • Elluminate Training, Part II *note date and time change
    Date: Friday, October 29, 10:30 am – 12 pm
    Location: Building 15 (Computer Science), Room 1104

    Participants learn about advanced features of Elluminate, including polling, application sharing, web tours, file transfer, multimedia content, and quizzes. Elluminate Plan!  a standalone desktop application that enables the instructor to prepare the content of an Elluminate Live! session ahead of time and then automate the actions within a session, is also covered. Best practices for online sessions are addressed throughout.
    *Note-Elluminate is available for the following courses: School of Computing, Coggin College of Business, and all graduate courses.It will soon be available for all DL and Hybrid courses.
    RSVP to cirtevents@unf.edu

  • What do you do with YOUR iPad?
    Date: Wednesday, November 3, 2 pm – 3 pm
    Location: Faculty Commons; Building 10 (Honors), Room 1104
    In this informal session, participants discuss the potential impact of the iPad on Higher Education and share favorite features and apps.
    RSVP to cirtevents@unf.edu

For a complete list of our events, please visit:

Also, check out our past events and handouts, sortable by topic:

Dave Wilson, Coordinator of Educational Media,
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web 2.0The World Wide Web is advancing, and over the last few years it has gone from being a way to deliver static text and images to a platform for hosting full-featured applications.  One of the most important advancements is the ability to edit a webpage in real time, making applications like Blackboard and Facebook possible. Web-based applications, or web apps, actually do some things better than their drive based counterparts.  These changes are also a large part of the success of mobile devices, like netbooks and the iPhone, because web apps don’t need a lot of processing power or storage.

I’ve been using web apps on a regular basis, and moving more of my data to the web. As a matter of fact, I’m writing this article with Google Docs. One of the biggest benefits is that as long as I have access to the Internet, I can easily get to my stuff. I don't have to set up a network drive, I don't need to worry about email file size limits, and I can use any Internet device: a web phone,  a net book, a library computer, or my friend’s laptop. Another benefit is that I can easily share my stuff.  Many web applications make it easy to embed your content in another website.  Let me give you an example. Say I need to change a Word document that's on Blackboard.  The way I do this is to find the document on my local computer, or download it from Blackboard, change it, delete the old one from Blackboard, and then re-upload it. Using Google docs, you can simplify the process. Instead of uploading the document into Blackboard, you store it in Google Docs and then embed it into Blackboard. When you change the Google doc it gets automatically updated in Blackboard. This is because the document never gets copied into Blackboard. When you look at it, your browser actually shows you the original document stored in Google Docs.

Apps are not only useful for teaching; they can help with research as well. There are web-based tools that allow you to store, manage and present data, like Google Spreadsheets and tools that allow you to create interactive thematic maps from data, like Crowdmap. Maybe more important than the apps is the amount of data now available on the web. World Bank, the United Nations, and the U.S. Government all have huge data sets available and they typically provide tools for analysis and visualization as well. Along with the tools for working with data and the data sets, there are also apps, like Zotero, which help you to store and organize your research sources. Zotero ever has a bibliography creation tool. Google Reader lets you easily and quickly browse and comment on content from hundreds of websites, blogs, and journals all in one place; and you can access it from any Internet enabled device.

Given that all these apps are web-based, and accessed through a browser, they require a different set of skills to use than traditional, drive-based applications. Web apps don’t have standard interface components like a File menu, or right-clicking, but they typically do share a set of basic features. Once you learn what to look for, using new web apps is not difficult.  This semester, I am teaching a workshop that covers the use of web apps. Two sessions will be offered; on November 10 and again on November 12. If you are interested, you can RSVP here.


iTunesUInstructors can now use iTunes U in Blackboard course for posting media such as audio in MP3 format, video in MP4 and M4V format, and associated PDFs. The media you post will only be available to students in your course, not to the general public. Students will be able to access the iTunes U course site from Blackboard and download the files to play back on their computer and/or transfer to an iPod or other portable media player. They can also subscribe to the course site so that they will automatically receive new files as they are posted.

For more information, stop by to see us, or see this page: http://www.unf.edu/cirt/bb/bbtools/iTunesU.aspx


Erin Soles, Coordinator of Instructional Design,
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bb worldBbWorld 2010
This year was the fourth year I attended the BbWorld conference and, as in years past, the conference offered numerous sessions and opportunities to meet with other users of Blackboard. The Blackboard Corporate Keynote focused on improvements in openness and user support, the ANGEL, Elluminate and Wimba acquisitions, Blackboard Mobile and the future of Blackboard. Blackboard is focused on five areas for future development: social networking, incorporating the functionality of WebCT and ANGEL, integration of content from third-party providers, collaboration, and mobile learning. Blackboard is also forming partnerships with companies including McGraw-Hill, Barnes & Noble, and Follett in order to allow students access to access e-textbooks, media-rich content and other learning tools directly in Blackboard.

The BbWorld conference also provides participants with numerous opportunities to interact with Blackboard employees: Blackboard booths in the Exhibition Hall, Upgrade Centers set up throughout the conference venue, sessions led by Blackboard employees, the Blackboard Executive Listening Session (my personal favorite session of the conference) and numerous social events. I attended many sessions of interest including Optimizing Your Blackboard Learn Environment, Striving to Achieve Quality in Online Courses, Vision for the Blackboard Learn Platform, and Doing More with Less: Innovations in Online Learning.  I presented two posters at this year’s conference: “How We Survived the Upgrade to Blackboard Learn, Release 9” (http://www.unf.edu/~esoles/blackboard/) and “Deploying Video Podcasts without Putting Yourself in a Body Cast: Lessons for Educators and Institutions” with Dr. Jonathan Pabalate from the Brooks College of Health’s School of Nursing.

Blackboard Update
During the Blackboard Maintenance Window between the summer and fall semesters, Blackboard was upgraded to Service Pack 4 for Blackboard Learn Release 9. This Service Pack resolved several issues in Blackboard including:

  • a fix for the error “The end time cannot be earlier than or equal to the start time” seen when adding or editing Announcements, Assessments, and Content
  • a fix for the “Not Implemented” error experienced when an Instructor is enrolled in more than 10 course groups
  • a fix for the vulnerability which allowed students to take tests more than once in certain circumstances
  • a fix for an issue in the Discussion Board where, when using Firefox, viewing all messages displays an unreadable list
  • some improvement for slowness experienced when the Grade Center loads
  • better control over course notifications for instructors

In addition to the resolved issues, the Blackboard Course Action Request (BbCAR) tool was updated and includes a drag and drop interface which allows faculty to request multiple courses at once and to remove course sections from MULTI courses. BbCAR Instructions: http://www.unf.edu/cirt/bb/bbtools/Tools_-_BbCAR.aspx 

Mobile LearnBlackboard Mobile
The Blackboard Mobile Learn application is now available for the Apple iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad (using a WiFi connection only) and Sprint Network Android and BlackBerry mobile devices and allows Blackboard users to access Blackboard course content via a user-friendly interface. Blackboard Mobile Learn Instructions:

Office 2010The Windows 7 operating system will be available before the end of the fall term for UNF-owned computers. The new Windows 7 client will feature Office 2010. An announcement will be made in Campus Update when the new client becomes available. The new Windows 7 client brings improved performance and better security. Office 2010 introduces new features such as Quick Steps in Outlook and an improved ribbon that combines a blend of Office 2003 and Office 2007 functionality.

Beginning Spring 2011, the Mathews GP Computer Lab (15/2102), tech classrooms supported by ITS (https://csdweb.unf.edu/compserv/info/techclass.html), and teaching lab classroom (15/1104) will feature Windows 7 and Office 2010.  


There is so much new in CIRT, we hardly know where to begin!

  • New Space- CIRT has moved to a new and larger space on the bottom floor of Building 1. We are in Suite 1801, so please stop by to see us if you haven't yet. We are thrilled with the new space and the opportunities it will afford us to enhance services for faculty.

  • New Website- Over the summer, we also migrated our website into the new CMS system. We hope you are enjoying the new look and finding it easier to locate resources. Please let us know what you think!

  • New Equipment- We have several new items available for checkout: iPad, Bamboo Pen tablet, Kindle, and LiveScribe SmartPen. We've also upgraded our video capabilities; we have new HiDef video recorders for checkout and new editing stations in the lab.

  • New Faces- Donatella Schianomoriello has joined our team as a Tech Assistant.
    DonatellaDonatella is a student at UNF and an Anthropology major. She hopes one day to use the holisticknowledge gained through her studies to become an integrative physician. Her hobbies include cooking, reading, drawing, watching documentaries on bizarre subjects, investigating random Americana, and visiting museums. Donatella enjoys exploring exotic and locally known places while traveling, volunteering, raising chickens, and spending time with her fiancée, cat, hen, and family.




Google Earth is a free virtual globe program linked to online resources, providing "layers" of location–specific information, such as high resolution satellite imagery, maps, and even three–dimensional terrain and buildings. The layers can be turned off or on to show roads, borders, parks, place names and much more. Users can save places or add and share their placemarks and related information with others. Other tools allow users to overlay images and measure position, elevation, or distance between points. Google Earth allows the user to print, save, and email images and views.

We have several video tutorials for Google Earth available on our website. Please visit our Google Earth page for more information.



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

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