Dr. Sharon Novalis – Occupational Therapy

Project Overview

This project utilizes the Feedback Survey feature in Moodle for students to assess their levels of confidence in various aspects of the Evidence-Based Practice/Process (EBP) (including objectives contained within the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education Standards).  An accompanying One Sheet assignment challenges students to address the results of the self-assessment.  Through the use of a pre-/post-test design, students level of confidence is assessed before and after completion of the One Sheet assignment.

Planning Process

I selected this project because of the timeframe in which the Tech Fellows presentations were scheduled to occur.  Though I have other courses that would also benefit from additional use of instructional technology methods, a project that was focused on the EBP courses was more feasible, most notably as it related to implementation.

Because a large portion of the EBP series process involves student group projects, assessment of individual learning, particularly in the application of EBP processes, is challenging.  Although the group processes address clinically relevant content that requires an exploration of available evidence, the skills that are needed to complete the EBP process are varied in level of complexity.  Identifying individual strengths within the group at times results in student performance of tasks that are aligned with areas of strength.  This may facilitate a more successful group process/product, but this approach is not optimal for individual skill building/individual learning.  This project utilizes each of the course objectives from EBP I and applicable objectives from EBP II which are based upon the ACOTE Standards.  For the purposes of this project, these objectives serve as the primary items for each student to individually self-assess their level of confidence.  Some of the objectives are knowledge-based, while other objectives require active demonstration of skill (for example, the ability to articulate an EBP concept).

Because the Master of Occupational Therapy program curriculum sequence is based upon the concepts of skill acquisition, development, and active learning, this project is also the foundational underpinning, both for the assessment components and for the process of creating the One Sheet.


This project was developed and implemented as follows:

  • Consultation with Lauren Panton regarding project concept/idea occurred.
  • Confirmation of concept from Lauren Panton was received during this consultation.
  • An individual exploration of the Feedback feature in Moodle was undertaken to determine applicability to this project.
  • OTH612/EBP I, applicable OTH628/EBP II, and ACOTE Standards were collected.
  • Each objective was formulated into the question beginning with “How confident are you in …….” (Actual examples will be provided).
  • A total of 26 questions were loaded into the Feedback feature in my Sandbox.
  • Consultation with Becky Borello occurred in order to trial the administration of the Feedback survey and to determine the reporting features associated with Feedback.
  • A workaround was identified in order to achieve numerical data in Excel for purposes of analysis (utilization of the Find and Replace function).
  • Students completed the Feedback survey, having been instructed to complete this survey outside of class, individually, and to base their responses in consideration of their own reflections and based upon any feedback they’ve received from any professor since their admission into the MOT program.
  • All data was converted to a numerical score in an Excel file.
  • Student averages were calculated.
  • Individual scores were examined for the associated content area.
  • Once all students had completed the Feedback survey, the students were randomly paired with a peer for the One Sheet assignment.
  • Students received instruction on the One Sheet assignment while in class.
  • A rubric was provided (Actual example will be provided) to facilitate the content level of the One Sheet.
  • Students were asked to identify their lowest scored (based upon their self-assessment in the Feedback survey) items/content areas.
  • Students received their responses via individualized email from the instructor.
  • Students prepared the One Sheet with their peer which contained two items/content areas.
  • Students had one week to create and submit their One Sheet.
  • Submission deadline was set for an hour prior to the scheduled class.
  • Students completed the Feedback post-survey while in class.
  • All data was converted to a numerical score in an Excel file.
  • Pre/post data was analyzed for the presence of change in scores and for changes in the individual average score (pre to post).


This project contained formal assessment.  Because of the pre and post design and through utilization of a Likert scale to assess self-confidence, scores could be analyzed by individual item or by content area and could further be assessed in terms of change over time.

This project provides both formative and summative assessments specifically related to students’ level of confidence in specific evidence-based practice/process skills.  Students are encouraged to reflect upon their knowledge-base and EBP skills and are also able to compare their change in levels of confidence.

This project also gives the instructor valuable information that may impact the information that is presented within the first course within the EBP series, how learning is assessed and what additional assignments might be used to facilitate active, self-directed learning.

Students also benefited from this project, in that 35 out of 39 students demonstrated an overall increase in their level of confidence upon completion of the pre/post Feedback Survey and the One Sheet assignment.

Reflections and Next Steps

The concept of using a survey to assess students’ level of confidence worked well.  The ability to compare pre/post scores by individual item, by content area, and overall average contributes to the usefulness of this project.  Utilization of the One Sheet, as well as the pairing of students, also contributed to the usefulness of this project.

Moving forward, it would likely be beneficial to utilize this survey at the very beginning of EBP I to get a baseline on students’ level of confidence.  This might also result in changing the emphasis on various content areas/objectives.

Pairing the students on an assignment that requires selection and discussion of content areas, creativity, examination of additional resources, and development of individual, measurable goals all encourage self-reflection, self-directed learning, and accountability.

I would likely utilize a different avenue within Moodle to administer the survey (such as Questionnaire) because of the limitations of the Feedback option on students’ ability to retrieve their submitted ratings.  Otherwise, I believe that the overall project was a success and would definitely utilize the various components of this project again.

The additional points I’ve learned…..again that there are many ways to utilize technology to enhance teaching/learning opportunities.  Personally, I believe that my own growth (and level of confidence!) related to the use of technology has been noteworthy.  The anxiety that initially presented itself in contemplating the use of the various forms of technology has been remediated with a growing knowledge base, an expanding skill set, and a knowing that persistence and patience (primarily with myself) will lead to great opportunities as an instructor and as a life-long learner.

Several additional notes:  I want to express my thanks to Chatham University for providing such a wonderfully generous program.  Without the time and the actual technology ‘equipment’ provided, it would be quite challenging to make the gains that I’ve experienced.  The ability to interact with colleagues, my fellow Tech Fellows, and my Tech Fellow buddy regarding specific application of technology to the classroom has been very helpful as well.

Beyond that, a point that I have learned numerous times over since I joined the Chatham Community….that Lauren and Becky are amazing teachers, guides, facilitators, ….completely willing to problem-solve alongside, provide direction, provide numerous tips, strategies, presentations, all to facilitate successful use of technology for instructional design and implementation.  Their calm, kind approach, combined with their sense of humor really have encouraged me to keep taking my next steps in exploring technology.  This all has been a great triumph for me professionally, but has also been a wonderful personal achievement as well.  My deep gratitude to Lauren and Becky.

Dr. MaryDee Fisher – Nursing

Project Overview

This project involved a redefinition of existing assignments in an online MSN course (Fall 2, 2017 – NUR/HCI 503), and in an online RN to BSN course the subsequent semester (Spring 1, 2018 NUR 412). Both assignments promote content learning. However, in order to better emulate the required teamwork required for clinical practice, both projects were redefined to afford learners the transformational opportunity related to a paired project within a collaborative learning space.

Planning Process

Both projects were redefined in order to afford learners a more realistic learning opportunity that mimics teamwork, specifically collaboration and communication elements, required for actual clinical practice.

The original MSN assignment was intended to create a draft of an automated Electronic Report of aggregate dashboard data that could be used to assess patient outcomes or staff compliance within the clinical arena. Learners in this course were from both the HealthCare Informatics and MSN graduate programs.

The original RN to BSN assignment was designed to have students use a Quality Improvement tool (FMEA) to analyze a clinical quality or safety issue related to the process of care delivery. All online learners in this course were or had been practicing as direct bedside caregivers.

In redesigning the project, some elements that underwent consideration include:

  1. How will this type of assignment (project) be completed in the actual clinical situation?
  2. How should/could the students be paired for the assignment? (self-select; random; specific assignment methodology)
  3. Is it a reasonable expectation for students to complete a paired project, given the lifestyles of online and various level learners?
  4. How might embracing of vs resistance to the assignment best occur with students?
  5. How to successfully cue for peer to peer communications?
  6. How can student choice be offered with a selection of collaborative learning space?
  7. In what format should the assignment be submitted (word doc vs link to actual space)?
  8. How will grading be accomplished? Individual vs. grouped?
  9. Peer Review needed for overall collegial (communications and collaboration) workings? How to incorporate feedback? What percentage of project grade?

Both assignments previously existed in the courses to meet specific learning outcomes.

In the MSN course related to Informatics Foundation and Health Care Technology, several learning objectives were enhanced by project implementation. They include:

  1. Analyze current and emerging technology utilized at point of care within a structured health setting and within a virtual community environment that supports safe practice.
  2. Discuss opportunities and strategies for extracting data from various systems to assess patient outcomes supporting a higher level of evidence-based care.
  3. Identify how technology and electronic data sources can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of clinical prevention interventions that affect individual and population-based health outcomes.

In the RN to BSN course related to Nursing Communication & Quality Improvement, specific learning objectives involving were targeted and enriched. They include:

  1. Demonstrate leadership and communication skills to effectively implement patient safety and quality improvement initiatives within the context of the interprofessional team.
  2. Participate in quality and patient safety initiatives, recognizing that these are complex system issues.
  3. Apply concepts of quality and safety using structure, process, and outcome measures to effectively implement and monitor patient safety initiatives.
  4. Demonstrate knowledge of interprofessional roles communication and effective teamwork.

Related to the personal goals of the author, a collaborative learning space had not been previously utilized and offering this project created a forced opportunity to learn about them.

The Substitution, Augmentation, Modification and Redefinition (SAMR) Model was used in planning both of the assignment revisions.  Use the teaching-learning process to instill technology in the design process enhanced communication and collaboration skills.


Steps to completion (ins & outs):

  1. Understand the value of collaborative learning spaces.
  2. Revise assignment guidelines and rubrics.
  3. Create peer review form.
  4. Secure resources from Hoonuit for collaborative learning space and place in courses with clear direction.
  5. Craft detailed directions for parings – who will do, by when and why will do.
  6. Reflect on and design a plan on when to offer repeated announcements and encouragement for project completion.

Plan B was to revert to individual assignment as per previously used in both courses.


Both projects were summatively assessed in formal fashions.

The Peer Review form, required for project submission, solicited feedback on five quantitative behaviors for evaluation and qualitative questions specifically r/t teamwork effectiveness, teamwork behaviors and overall team functioning.

Value of the group assignment was overwhelmingly reinforced in both courses on these peer review forms. Interestingly, students did not always rate each other as 5/5 on the quantitative behaviors. Qualitative comments included those related to: working well together; the need for flexibility, as there is more than one way to get things done; technology being invaluable; need to utilize strengths of team members; learning about constructive criticism; communication is key, one needs to pay attention to the style used, and it is a the center of teamwork; need to establish a good rapport; importance of trust and respect; opportunity to practice leadership skills;  enjoyed opportunity to work with someone form another profession; importance of clearly understanding other’s expectations.

Course Evaluations for the 503 course included qualitative comments such as: indicating learning to work in a group was one of the most important things learned in the course and enjoying working with other students on a project that at first seems overwhelming.  412 course evaluations are not at the time of this writing.

Anecdotally, the quality of assignment submissions was elevated overall in the MSN/HCI course; likely not as significantly in the BSN course for this challenging QI assignment.

Project Reflections and Next Steps

What worked and what didn’t work?

Worked – Clear guidelines expectations and rubric for assignments; communications related to the rationale for pairings; responding promptly and patiently to student inquiries; affording/encouraging students to hold one another accountable.

Worked, not so well – Not adjusting the peer review points for percentage moving from MSN to BSN course (math able to be calculated however).

Continue to strive towards more collaborative versus group learning where learners are mutually dependent on one another, yet held individually accountable. Promote increased group effort versus divide and conquer mentality; encourage an emphasis on process, in addition to the final product. With collaborative projects, the learners co-create knowledge and meaningful learning.

What would you change for next time?

In MSN course – leave as is if appropriate mix of HCI and MSN students.

In RN to BSN course – provide weekly reminders about the upcoming project and specifically direct to communicate one on one with their partner early in the course.

How would you modify the project?

Consider student submitting a link to the collaborative learning space instead of submitting in Word; afford the opportunity to self-select partner; tweak guidelines to further promote collaborative project outcomes.

What did you learn?

Technology can be slowly integrated into assignments to afford to learn by students and faculty alike; all techno changes do not have to be flashy; reinforced need to stay focused on learning outcomes and goals; and not all digital native students maybe be as technologically advanced and savvy as others.

Dr. Mary Beth Mannarino – Counseling Psychology

Project Overview

My project involved re-designing a course that had been taught for years on land for an online format. The course, PSY645 Environmental Psychology, includes exposure to such topics as climate change, ecopsychology, ecotherapy, environmental justice, and the relationship between humans and the rest of nature. It has in the past required students to engage in personal and in-class exploration of their own political, religious/spiritual, social, and environmental identities, and has necessitated thoughtful management of in-class discussions so that differences were respected and even welcomed. The primary challenge of converting the class to the online format was how best to build community online so that students could comfortably express ideas to and ask questions of the instructor and peers. A secondary task was creating an online classroom experience, through assignments and recorded lectures, that engaged students with the material, stimulated active thought, and contributed to later online forum discussions.

Planning Process

The course is an elective for students from several graduate programs. This class included students from two graduate programs, Masters of Science in Counseling Psychology and Masters of Food Studies. As I designed the course with a focus on the learning objectives listed below, I felt that it was important to find ways to meet the educational and professional needs of students in both programs:

  1. Define concepts related to environment and psychology
  2. Define concepts related to health and well-being
  3. Discuss the effects of humans on the environment, and the environment on humans, in the context of global climate change
  4. Reflect on and discuss own beliefs, values, and behaviors related to the above topics
  5. Discuss implications of topics for profession
    1. Discuss implications of topics for counseling and psychology roles, including assessment, treatment, prevention, and advocacy OR
    2. Discuss implications of topics for food studies work.

The initial steps in building the online course were as follow:

  1. Consultation with Lauren Panton, IT Manager, Becky Borello, Instructional Technologist, and Mark Kassel, Director of Online Education, about how best to design and structure the course on Moodle (separate from content).
  2. Actual design of the course on Moodle in a format that was clean, not visually overwhelming, and inviting with nature photographs.
  3. Planning about how to sequence the course in a deliberate way to move students through Bloom’s taxonomy from taking in and comprehending information to integrating the various topics studied across the semester to, finally, thinking about how what was studied could be applied to one’s life, personally and professionally, and creating plans for doing so.
  4. Careful selection of readings for the first part of the semester that addressed ways to embrace and talk across differences, and inclusion of group assignments that would foster intentional practice in doing so.
  5. Use of VoiceThread to create weekly PowerPoint lectures, which included links to videos and pauses for thinking and note-taking to facilitate discussion. Since the PowerPoint lectures were created week-to-week, it was possible also to integrate specific issues or comments that had been raised in the previous week’s student discussions.

NOTE: The class did include an option for a group field trip OR individual field trip; these experiences were included as a topic in a discussion forums.


Initial planning for the project took place during Summer 2016, and the course was implemented in Fall 2016 with 14 students (12 MSCP and 2 MFS). Changes were made to course delivery throughout the semester in response to student feedback.

Below is a summary of steps taken to address the two tech goals outlined above.

The first goal was to build an online community that fostered brave and respectful discussion of issues that had political, religious/spiritual, or environmental aspects to them. The first two weeks were critical for laying this foundation, as described below.

1.  Week 1Place Identity and Attachment – Students read articles and watched a video about place attachment and identity, and introduced themselves in a discussion forum by sharing information about and a photo of one of their own special places. This was a relatively “neutral” topic that allowed students to be creative in what they shared and to get to know something unique and personal about each other student.

2.  Week 2Creating Brave Spaces for Learning – Two readings specifically addressing talking across differences were assigned (Parker, 2011, and Arao and Clemens, 2013, referenced below). In addition, I used VoiceThread to record a PowerPoint lecture entitled “Civil Discourse.” The lecture reviewed both articles and included specific exercises for the students to complete at home that mimicked what might be done in a classroom, but at the same time allowed greater privacy for student contemplation prior to discussion (unlike the live classroom). Examples of questions and exercises that were included in the lecture and then discussed as a group in the forum are described below:

a.  Where do you stand? In the privacy of their home, each student was asked to take a large piece of paper and to mark the four corners of the paper with Likert-like ratings (Very Important, Kind of Important, Not Very Important, and Not Important at All – with Neutral in the center). They were then asked to mark where they stood with regard to the relevance of your political identity, religious/spiritual identity, social identity (including race, age, SES, gender, etc.), and environmental identity to their daily lives. I did NOT ask what the specifics associated with these identities were, only the relevance/importance of them to the person. The goal was for students to think, as they completed the exercise privately, about peers whose religious or political or other identity might be different from theirs in content but equally strong in terms of personal relevance. The exercise was designed to build empathy, thus contributing to the development of a healthy and respectful online discussion culture.

b.  Think about the current election cycle (Fall 2016). Students were encouraged to apply the readings, in private, to their own experience of the current election cycle, and to think about how this was playing out in relationships, conversations, etc. Again, a goal was for the students to imagine peers who might also have strong thoughts and emotions related to the election, with different beliefs or political orientations.

c.  Discussion forum – Students were asked to respond to the following prompt, and then to read and respond to several posts from peers:

-“List and discuss a couple of ideas that would contribute to the creation of a healthy ‘brave space’ discussion forum culture in our class.”

3.  Throughout subsequent weeks, students were reminded to review the discussion and readings from Week 2 as they tackled talking about challenging topics.

The second goal was to learn how to create an online class experience that actively engaged students. To do this, I included questions and exercises throughout the PowerPoint lecture that required the students to pause and DO something that would then be incorporated into the discussion forum (as described above). I also embedded videos of varying lengths into the lectures. Finally, the course material included links to online sites that required active exploration, in addition to traditional peer-reviewed academic articles.


The project was assessed through an anonymous survey monkey questionnaire focusing on the online delivery process (administered a couple of weeks before the end of the course), the regular Chatham-administered course evaluations, and a final discussion forum requiring students to describe their “3 Take-Aways” from the course. In addition, comments and suggestions were invited throughout the course. Below is feedback from the assessments.

SURVEY MONKEY (9/14 responded)

1.  Have you taken an online graduate level course before?

YES                                          11%

NO                                           89%

2.  Rate your degree of ease in navigating Moodle for getting information about assignments and making your posts and comments.

Very Easy                               44.44%

Pretty Easy                            33.33%

So-So                                      22.22%

Kind of Difficult                   0

Impossible                             0

3.  How comfortable did you feel sharing your opinions and ideas with your classmates?

Very Comfortable                 44.44%

Pretty Comfortable              55.55%

So-So                                      0

Kind of Uncomfortable       0

Very Uncomfortable            0

4.  What suggestions do you have for improving the online course delivery process? (SUMMARY OF RESPONSES)

  • More specific training in tech aspects of class
  • Better posting schedule – posting 3x week was challenging, especially when due on weekends
  • Have first class in–person

5.  Describe least favorite part(s) of course. (SUMMARY)

  • Schedule of posts
  • Back and forth nature of posts and comments – sometimes confusing
  • Required too much time – wish it had been in-person

6.  Describe favorite parts of the course. (SUMMARY)

  • Able to get into issues in a way that wouldn’t have been able to in person
  • Variety of materials – readings, videos, internet resources
  • News item discussions (based on a particular assignment)
  • Opportunities for discussion with other students
  • Course topics and content

7.  Any surprises for you in the course? (SUMMARY)

  • Amount of time required for online course
  • What I learned from content of course
  • Learned more than in in-class course because of in-depth discussions and time to think before “speaking”


The formal Chatham course evaluation comments were consistent with those summarized above.

In addition, students completed a final discussion forum related to their “3 Take-Aways” from the class. Below are some comments that are related to the goals of this project:

  • I have rediscovered and even improved my critical thinking skills as a result of this class. (I’m not sure my husband is happy about this. LOL…) I am able to look at events, debates, studies, and see even more angles to what I am analyzing. It has helped me through this election as well as not to argue with people. This is very beneficial to my counseling skills because it also allows me to see more process that is going along with the content.
  • I will also remember the conversation we had about brave spaces vs safe spaces. For some reason, I always thought of the therapy space being safe, but I was neglecting the idea of the space being one where clients feel brave enough to take the next step, or to help to become brave so they can use that quality in their everyday lives.
  • The first major take away that I would like to talk about is the fact that we, as a class, were able to work and learn together. We formed an online Chatham community where I was able to learn more from everyone’s contributions than the material itself. I had never taken an online class before and although it’s not my personal favorite style of learning, this was a great experience! I really felt that the creating brave spaces in week two helped contribute to this style of learning.
  • I enjoyed the non-traditional format of this course. I felt like I was able to learn more without relying on one textbook, and was offered many different perspectives on environmental psychology within the readings. I also enjoyed that we were able to have thoughtful in depth conversations through the online discussion boards.

Finally, I was able to do informal comparisons of this online class with the many previous times the course was taught in a traditional on land format. First, I heard substantively from every student in every session throughout the semester; in the “live” classes, in spite of my efforts to draw quiet people out, certain students stayed in the background during most of the discussions and did not express ideas that, based on my online experience, might have contributed significantly to the larger discussion. Second, the ideas discussed in the online forums were more thoughtful and detailed than most of those in the on land class; I believe that the chance to think things through privately before posting allowed for careful deliberation of both what to say and how to say it. And third, the requirement that students “talk” to each other in the discussion forums resulted in very respectful and personalized responses. While I weighed in on the discussions, the discussions were really conversations between the students themselves; sometimes it seemed like my own posts were superfluous! This was very different from the traditional format where so many comments, even if I tried to redirect them, were from the students to me rather than to each other.

Fourth, knowing that the online class lacked the energy of the actual students’ presence during the lectures, I needed to make sure there was great variety of materials for students to review each week and thus expanded readings with more internet sites and videos than I had used in the traditional format. I think this helped students stay engaged, and appealed to different ways of learning.

Finally, I want to note a change that I made in course expectations mid-semester. I assigned lots of readings each week. In reviewing early student discussions, I could tell that not every student read every assigned article (which I am sure happens in on land classes as well! It is just harder to track). I had a couple of choices: 1) I could decrease the number of readings and hold students accountable for reading all of them through a grading process, or 2) each week, I could continue to assign multiple readings, videos, etc., and even expand the number of offerings related to the week’s topics, and allow students to choose what to read. The second choice felt less conventional but more attractive to me, as an experiment, so I took it. The result was that – while not everyone reviewed everything, everything was reviewed and posted about by someone, AND students read posts about things they had not chosen to read, learned something, and contributed to the discussion. What I personally liked about this option was that it allowed me to post LOTS of interesting material each week that might otherwise, in an on land class, not get presented; I think the students were thus exposed to more material through the discussions.

Reflections and Next Steps

I was satisfied with this first offering of the online version of PSY645 Environmental Psychology, and with the outcomes for the project. First, I believe that the efforts to structure the course with careful sequencing, specific readings, and a focused lecture on “Civic Discourse” contributed to the students’ abilities to tackle challenging material and to discuss it with peers both bravely and respectfully. I also believe that this experience is one that many students will carry with them into their professional and personal lives. Second, most students seemed to appreciate the multiple formats in which information was presented.

I enjoyed learning how to present an online class and hearing from students about ways to make the process even better. I will be teaching the course again in a six week format during Summer 2017 and will make a few changes in it, including the following:

  1. I will provide more instruction in online/tech processes at the start.
  2. I will be more thoughtful about the posting schedule, particularly since students will be doing two class sessions per week.
  3. I will do a weekly individual check-in with each student via email.
  4. I will do also quick surveys each week about how the class is going, so that I can make adjustments in terms of pace, content, and load.
  5. I will be intentional at the outset about the “I am offering scads of material for you to review each week; you must read X and you can choose among the other materials” format.
  6. I will continue to offer a field trip (group or individual) activity.


Arao, B., and Clemens, K. (2013). From safe spaces to brave spaces: A new way to frame dialogue around diversity and social justice. In L. Landreman (ed.), The art of effective facilitation: Reflections from social justice educators (pp. 135-150). Sterling, VA: ACPA

Palmer, P. (2011). Healing the heart of democracy: The courage to create a politics worthy of the human spirit. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Pierette Appasamy

Pierette Appasamy, Ph.D. Biology

Project Overview

I incorporated the use of ThingLink, an interactive multimedia platform, into my Histology (BIO458/558) course in the fall of 2015. This course teaches students the skills needed to identify and characterize the various parts of the human body at the microscopic level.  In previous years of teaching this course, I have had each student give a presentation on a specific type of tissue or part of the body as part of the course requirements.  The students would project digital images that they would describe the class and they would include question and answer session for the other students in which they would ask students about to identify specific parts of an image. However, I found that these were increasingly using up precious classroom time and I also wanted an opportunity for the other students to evaluate the images on their own time as they prepared for examinations.  When ThingLink was introduced in the Tech Fellows meetings over the summer, I realized that this could be a useful tool to allow each student give a presentation outside of the classroom, using digital images that they could annotate and attach other media to, and would be available to all the students to review whenever they wished.

Planning Process

The first thing that I had to do when planning the project was learn how to use ThingLink.  I practiced using some digital images of histology slides that were available to me, and annotated them using the tools available in ThingLink.  It was also necessary to set up an account that the students could log into and then be able to use all the functionality of ThingLink.  Chatham purchased several accounts for this purpose, although I needed only one.

A major course objective was the development of skills to correctly identify and characterize different parts of the body using microscopic images, and this project fit well with that objective.

This technology allowed for a substitution of an in-class project with an outside project that would be available to allow students via the classroom Moodle site.

The use of ThingLink for this project allowed for all categories of Bloom’s taxonomy to be used, including recalling basic concepts (Remember), explaining concepts (Understand), using information in new situations (Apply) since they had to identify the various parts of each section using what they previously learned, and they had opportunities to draw connections (Analysis).  The final product was uniquely their project, and therefore was new work (Create).


Each student was assigned a password and given an access code to my ThingLink “classroom”. I first had all the students learn how to use ThingLink by annotating a single image, and they received a grade for that assignment.

Once I was comfortable that they were proficient at using ThingLink, each student was assigned a specific part of the body or a tissue to present using ThingLink.  These were spaced out through the semester, and each ThingLink was completed just before an exam, so that the other students could use the ThingLink for a self-testing tool to help prepare for the exam.  A link to each ThingLink presentation was posted on Moodle by me, so that it was easy for students to access the presentations.

An example of a couple of ThingLink presentations that were completed by my students can be found below:

Fortunately, it was not necessary to have a plan B.


I used both formal and informal assessments.  I would ask the students about how they liked ThingLink from time to time.  The most common complaint was that some students had trouble creating a set of annotated images in the order that they wanted.  All ThingLink presentations could be viewed like a slide show.

The formal assessment was in the form of a questionnaire that each student completed.  Based on the questionnaire results, the students found ThingLink relatively easy to use, most students viewed other students’ projects,

Surprisingly, a relatively large number of students felt that viewing the ThingLink presentations of other students was of little value.   In contrast, slightly more students felt that it was of significant value when they were preparing their own presentation.  One student suggested that I have some way of requiring students to view other’s presentations, and possibly give bonus points for that.

92% of the students agreed that ThingLink should be used in next year’s Histology course.

Results of ThingLink questionnaire, given at the end of the fall semester:

1. On a scale of 1-5, with 1 being the least difficult, and 5 being the most difficult, rate how difficult you felt the process of learning ThingLink was and applying it to the histology unit to which you were assigned:

Responses 1 2 3 4 5 Total
not difficult at all 9 (75%) 1 (8%) 1 (8%) 1 (8%) 0 12
a little difficult 5 (42%) 4 (33%) 3 (25%) 0 0 12
moderately difficult 7 (58%) 2 (17%) 2 (17%) 0 1 (8%) 12
difficult 8 (67%) 3 (25%) 0 1 (8%) 0 12
excessively difficult 10 (83%) 1 (8%) 1 (8%) 0 0 12

2. Rate how often you viewed other students Thinglink sessions:

Responses 1 2 3 4 5 Total
never 11 (92%) 1 (8%) 0 0 0 12
one or two 8 (67%) 3 (25%) 1 (8%) 0 0 12
three or four 8 (67%) 1 (8%) 2 (17%) 0 1 (8%) 12
most (more than 4) 10 (83%) 1 (8%) 0 0 1 (8%) 12
all 7 (58%) 1 (8%) 0 3 (25%) 1 (8%) 12

3. Rate the value, to you, of viewing OTHER STUDENTS ThingLink workshops, in terms of how it helped reinforce the histology concepts for that section.

Responses 1 2 3 4 5 Total
no value 11 (92%) 1 (8%) 0 0 0 12
a little value 11 (92%) 1 (8%) 0 0 0 12
some value 7 (58%) 2 (17%) 2 (17%) 0 1 (8%) 12
moderate value 8 (67%) 1 (8%) 1 (8%) 2 (17%) 0 12
considerable value 8 (67%) 1 (8%) 1 (8%) 0 2 (17%) 12

4. Rate the value, to you, of preparing your ThingLink, in terms of how it helped reinforce the histology concepts for that section.

Responses 1 2 3 4 5 Total
no value 10 (83%) 0 0 1 (8%) 1 (8%) 12
a little value 8 (67%) 2 (17%) 0 2 (17%) 0 12
some value 9 (75%) 1 (8%) 1 (8%) 1 (8%) 0 12
valuable 6 (50%) 1 (8%) 0 4 (33%) 1 (8%) 12
extremely valuable 6 (50%) 0 0 1 (8%) 5 (42%) 12

5. Do you feel that ThingLink workshops should be used for next year’s histology class?

Response Average Total
Yes   92% 11
No   8% 1
Total   100% 12/12

6. If you said NO, ThingLink workshops should not be used next year, please describe why you said no.

It should be used again next year.
I said yes to the ThingLink being available for next year’s histology class.
I did not say no.
Answered yes
I would rather spend more time looking at slides than making a ThingLink, it was more helpful talking about discussing the slides in class.
just some minor tweaks and I feel it could be used again
I said yes.

7. Briefly describe the things that you liked about making or viewing ThingLink workshops:

it’s easier. I review them after I study to quiz myself.
I think it was a good study tool
I looked at and interpreted a lot of digital slides while preparing for my ThingLink assignment.  Great study tool.
I liked seeing images and diagrams from other ThingLink workshops that I did not find yet. I definitely think that the ThingLink helped provide additional images and questions for studying. Personally creating a ThingLink did a really good job at reinforcing the materials for the assigned section.
Uploading images from online is easy and helps facilitate the projects. Identifying the different parts of the cells helped with memorization of the units we were studying.
You can reinforce learned topics that were discussed in class at your leisure.
Making up questions within the ThingLink was a great study tool because it made you think about the concepts that may be seen on the test.   Also, searching for different histology slides to put in the ThingLink helped with remembering what to look for in the glass slides.  Finally, the way you could see an overall picture and then have a zoomed in view under the microscope put the information of the material in a better perspective.
I barely viewed others ThingLinks however, making them helps reinforce what we learned in class that day.
Creating my own ThingLink helped me learn the material the most… I just didn’t really look at others’ ThingLinks, so I’m not sure how to make it possible every project to help each student. Maybe make some of the questions on the ThingLinks bonus so everyone will look at all of the projects?
It was helpful getting to know everything about the topic assigned, and I had a full knowledge of the workshop I posted, but not much helpful when it came to other’s and their workshop.
I think making the ThingLinks was helpful because if forced you to have a reinforcement of the materal. Maybe if it doesn’t remain a part of the coursework for future classes, something along the lines of a pre-test that would make the students have to think about the material in terms of how it would be asked on a test.
How it was up to you to make the audience engaged

8. Briefly describe the things that you disliked about ThingLink workshops:

At times it was difficult to find different images from .edu websites
The interface was difficult to learn, but once I got the hang of it, the program was easy to use.
The only problem with the ThingLink workshops are some of the labeled images provided wrong answers or mislabeling. This was the only hinderance to the workshops since it made me second guess myself a few times on the material.
The icons were not very specific. Having a more specific icon would allow for smaller identification of details.
It was a little confusing at first because I didn’t know how to follow individuals in order to view their channels but sending the links to the professor and having her upload the link helped fix the problem.
It was just a pain to find photos that were able to upload in the web url portion.
Since my project was closer to the end of the semester, I felt that I couldn’t dedicate enough time to the project with all of the other assignments that I was also working on.
Cannot make corrections or move slides around so some presentations were a little out of order, which confused me.
Sometimes student would have two dots: on for a question and one for an answer. I would sometimes scroll over the answer first and then the question was kind of wasted. If there was a way to hid the answers it would have been helpful.
That depending on the subject it took long to find pictures and to add certain details

9. Please provide any additional information or comments about ThingLink workshops not covered by the previous questions.

it worth it
Good supplemental study tool to test yourself
I think the workshops were a good job at providing the class with additional digital images for outside of class. Some of the images selected by classmates were very similar to ones on the exams, so I felt very prepared from studying from the workshops.
The separation of units seemed fair and it was appreciated that not every unit only had one thinglink
Overall, it was good to use other classmates ThingLinks as an extra study tool.
No comment.
I definitely think that ThingLink is a useful resource for Histology.
Thank you!
It was user friendly, it just took time to figure how to work it.
Maybe find some other way to engage the class and also to help study, in addition to ThingLink?

Reflections and Next Steps

For the most part, the entire process worked well.  Some students put more effort into their presentations than others, but this was a graded assignment, so that the greater effort resulted in a higher grade.  Next year, I would like to modify the project by having the students take pictures of microscope slides, instead of using digital images acquired from the internet.  This would require a higher level of skill, and was what I originally intended to have them do, but realized that the digital camera setup that I intended to use wasn’t quite ready for them to use.

Deanna Hamilton video

Deanna Hamilton, Ph.D. Counseling Psychology

Project Overview

My technology fellows project was not terribly creative.  I have been resistant to the idea of creating online classes, but I know that there are online instructors who do an incredible job teaching in that format, and I also know that students will benefit if I learn some best practices of online teaching.  So, during Fall and Spring semesters (2015-2016) I turned three class meetings for the Human Development across the Lifespan course into online classes.  I used various technological components for each of the three classes and I surveyed students about different aspects of the online classes.

Planning Process

In planning my project I considered how to reach the course learning objectives via online activities.  All of the activities for the 3 online class meetings were asynchronous through the Moodle shell created for the class.  The course, Human Development across the Lifespan, (graduate level psychology) has one overarching objective “Upon completion of the course, students will be able to describe major concepts and empirical findings related to human development.”  This objective is operationalized across four learning outcomes:

  1. Theories of individual and family development and transitions across the life-span
  2. Theories of learning and personality development
  3. Human behavior, including an understanding of developmental crisis, disability, exceptional behavior, psychopathology, and situational and environmental factors that affect both normal and abnormal behavior
  4. Strategies for facilitating optimum development over the life-span

I used technology to substitute an online learning environment for 3 different on the ground class meetings.  I modified the assignments and activities that I do in person to fit the online format.

For each of the three classes I used increasingly more technological tools.  For each online class there was at least one activity that addressed each of the four learning outcomes.  For example, in the third online class students watched and critiqued videos/articles describing the transition to emerging adulthood.


The structure of the graduate level human development class (meets one time per week for 3 hours) is that each week a different age group is the focus from a physical, cognitive, and psychosocial perspective.  I first identified three weeks of content that I believed could most easily be translated to an online format.  The first online class occurred three weeks into the semester.  The topic was cognitive and emotional development in early childhood.  The second online class occurred at week 5 and the topic was cognitive development in middle childhood.  The third online class occurred near the end of the semester, week 13, and the topic was cognitive and psychosocial development in emerging and middle adulthood.  Please see below for the specific description of the class activities.  Though all of the technology I attempted to use did work (miracle!), my plan B was to do the most basic online course by simply posting activities to Moodle (like in my first online class).

First Online Class:
PowerPoint slides posted to Moodle, a Microsoft Word document explaining the activities for the day (below).

Figure 1: Human Development Fall 2015 Moodle Week 3

Online class information sheet (posted to Moodle to guide students through the online activities)

1).  After you have read the textbook chapter(s) (primarily chapter 3, a little bit on 4) go through the PowerPoint presentation. Are the concepts making sense?  Are you able to connect the ideas in the PowerPoint with the info in the text?  Think about how it relates to the counseling work you will do in the future.  You’ll do a closer reading of the slides after this overview (about 40 minutes)

2).  Return to slide #2 (it says typical development at the top).  There is a link to a TEDtalk that summarizes some of what we know about prenatal learning. The name of the talk is “what we learn before we are born.”  First, watch the talk.  Then, write down one or two of the findings that you found most interesting.  You can hand write this on a piece of paper or you can type it on a Microsoft word document – either way you will need to show me the document (on your computer screen or the paper where you wrote your responses) next week in class. (video 17 minutes, response 10 minutes = 27 minutes total).

3).  Slide #3 summarizes some of the postnatal milestones of “normally” developing motor, visual, and auditory skills (highlights from the table on page 83 of your text).  Take a look at the slide or the table on page 83, write down one or two of the processes that surprised you in terms of when then developed or what other processes were developing simultaneously, or anything that you found interesting about the development of milestones across the first 5 years. (about 8 minutes)

4).  Slides #4 & 5 provide an overview of Piaget’s theory.  Do they make sense?  Now take a look at the Biographical sketch on page 80 of the book and/or the PDF from an article of his that is on the moodle page.  What comments or observations do you have about Piaget, his writing, his background, or his theory?  This should be a couple of sentences. (about 15 minutes).

5).  Slide #6 describes the substages of Piaget’s sensorimotor stage.  Note:  you will not have to memorize the substages, I just wanted you to see that they exist.  Can you summarize what generally occurs over the Sensorimotor stage?  What would be the newspaper “headline for this stage?  (about 5 minutes).

6).  Slide #7 describes the concept of object permanence (also refer to pages 84-85 in the text).  What’s the big deal about “object concept”?  Why is having an object concept so important to cognitive development? (5 minutes)

7).  Slides #8 & 9 describe other ways of measuring infant cognition (other an Piagetian methods).  The depiction of Baillargeon’s research is different than page 85 of your book (just a different version of the same type of research).  What do you make of the difference in development of object permanence as found by Piaget (in the first year) as compared to more recent research by Baillargeon and colleagues (as young as 2.5 MONTHS!)?  (10 minutes)

8).  Take a look at the YouTube video showing examples of Piagetian conservation tasks.  You will see children in the preoperational stage who fail the tasks (give the wrong answer) as well as older children (in the concrete operational stage) who pass the tasks.  Based on the information on the slides (12 & 13) and the text (pages 92-95, section on Preschoolers’ cognition – though our text focuses on numbers, Piaget looked at conservation through different types of tasks) what make preschoolers thinking illogical?  How come they fail the conservation tasks?  (video 3 minutes, response 7 minutes = 10 minutes total)

(if you Google “Piaget conservation task, YouTube” it is the first thing that comes up).

9).  Piaget described preoperational egocentrism as measured by the three-mountain task.  Take a look at an example in this YouTube video — keep this in mind as we continue to discuss perspective taking ability. (5 minutes)

10).  Slides #15 & 16 describe some information related to the concept Theory of Mind (pages 95-99 in the text, section in Chapter 3 “Understanding the Mind.”  Is this a concept with which you are familiar?  Why is it important to our cognitive and psychosocial development?  Review the information and get a feel for the concept and how it is measured.  This is something we will discuss further in class.  (10 minutes)

11).  Slides #17-19 provide a very brief overview of some language development milestones.  Entire courses are taught on the topic of language development.  At this point, familiarize yourself with the general progression of language development.  Then, consider the finding described on page 104 of the text related to the difference in vocabularies according to how much parents talk to their children:  “In a 100-hour week, a toddler in a professional family might here 215,000 words on the average, in a lower-middle-class family children here about 125,000 words, and in the poorest homes about 62,000 words.  All of the children learned to talk on schedule, but the differences in parental input were correlated with the children’s vocabulary measures by age 3.” (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015).

What does this research suggest about the importance of caregiver-child conversation?  You do not have to write anything down, just think about it.  (5 minutes)

12).  Slide #21 describes some important terms developed by Vygotsky.  Use the slides and the text (starting on page 105, section called “Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory”) to make sure you are familiar with the important contributions made by Vygotsky in understanding how young children learn.  (5 minutes)

13).  Slides #24-27 provide an introduction to some of the important points from Chapter 4 (Emotional Development in the Early Years).  Review the concepts on the slides (5 minutes).

Then, using your favorite search engine, find something that has been posted related to the emotional development of children.  The idea is to pretend that you are a parent who is looking online and reads something about young children and their emotional development.  For example, when I just did a google news search for “young children emotional development” the first thing that came up is an article with the title “Is your child a psychopath?”

Next, quickly skim whatever article/video/tv clip that you find.  This SHOULD NOT be a scholarly or peer reviewed piece.  How do you understand the article / news item that you found in relation to the information that you have read on emotional development?  Please post the title of what you found and your reaction to it on the forum post that is on the Moodle page for today.  The post should be no more than a sentence or two.  (15 minutes)

14).  On the Moodle site for tonight there is a PDF for an article called The Origins of Attachment Theory:John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth we will use the article as part of our discussion next week.  Please spend 15 minutes going over some of the article.  At this point you do not have to do a super close reading of the article, it just provides a great overview of the attachment literature and is a really good reference to have – we will talk about it next week!!!!!!!!!!!

Second Online Class:
Narrated PowerPoint slides posted to Moodle, a Microsoft Word document explaining the activities for the day, and introduction video (recorded on my iPad and uploaded to Moodle) of me welcoming them to class and giving them the plan for the day.

Deanna Hamilton video

Figure 2: Intro Video

Online class information sheet

Part I.  The Bridge (20 minutes total)

  • Please look back at the last online class activities that you completed (Sept 15th). Please identify one area / concept / idea that needs further clarification.  Please post your question to the Moodle Forum.  I will try to make sure I’ve prepped answers to all (or most) of your questions by the time we meet next week.

Part II.  Paper Portion

  • Go through the plagiarism PowerPoint that is posted on Moodle. Some of it may be review, but it is really important to keep in mind as you start to work on your papers. Let me know if it makes sense or if you have any questions – you do not have to upload anything or write anything down. (30 minutes)
  • Check out the example papers that are posted on Moodle (located in the section for this week). What are some initial ideas you have about how you will organize your paper?  What are some of the sections that will be involved that you’ll want to make sure to cover?  You do not have to upload this anywhere, just be prepared to talk about it / show me that you gave it some thought.  (30 minutes)

Part III.  The PowerPoint for Chapter 6

  • Go through the Middle Childhood PowerPoint (45 – one hour…but probably less. A couple of the slides are narrated)
  • Go to slide #11 – Selman’s Stages of Friendship. (15 minutes).  These stages are described on pages 231-234.  You do not have to write anything down, just see if you can imagine what “friendship” looks like at the different stages.
  • Glossary activity (30 minutes, probably less). There is a tab in the Moodle section for this week that says “glossary.”  Go through Chapter 6 and choose any of the concepts or ideas that are described in the chapter.  Use the paraphrasing skills you practiced in Part II of this assignment to make a glossary entry for that concept or idea.  Basically, describe one of the concepts or terms from the chapter in your own words using the glossary tab that is set up for you in Moodle.

Third Online Class:
A video of me teaching class that was recorded using the SWIVL video capture system. Throughout the “lecture” I directed students to online activities that they completed via Moodle, I also created an online class information sheet (below).

Part I (maximum amount of time to spend on this section is 1 hour, it is ok to spend less)

The slides begin with a review of the ideas related to emerging adulthood, which is where we ended class last week.  Please go over and/or listen to that slide (#3).  Reflect on what you think about emerging adulthood?  Do you believe it is a new stage that is independent from adolescence and young adulthood?

Next watch the following videos (if you can’t watch the videos, that’s ok, I just think they are brief and super helpful in seeing the two people who often write / research about emerging adulthood.  After the videos, read the Generation Me and Generation We article.

Jeffrey Jensen Arnett: Emerging Adulthood Video

Twenge: Generation Me Video

Next, do a brief forum post (a couple of sentence) on a). which perspective / article you find more persuasive? B). what it is that you find compelling? and c). how this information (related to emerging adulthood OR generation me) may be helpful to counselors?

Part II (maximum amount of time to spend on this section is 30 minutes, it is ok to spend less)

Take a look at / listen to the video for slides 4-12.  Contemplate the information.

Part III  (maximum amount of time to spend on this section is 1 hour, it is ok to spend less)

Look at / listen to the slides on the Five Factor Model of Personality (#13 & #14, pages 483-485 in your text).  Next take the following “big five” assessment (there are loads of these measures available on the internet. This one is free and comes from a reputable group of researchers.

Upload a couple of sentences about what you thought was interesting, useful, problematic about this way (the five factor model or the actual measure you took) of understanding personality and how it may or may not be useful for counselors.

Part IV  (maximum amount of time to spend on this section is 30 minutes, it is ok to spend less)

Look at / listen to the information on slides 15-21.  What comes to mind when you think of the term “midlife crisis?”  Then watch the following video, or if you are having trouble getting the video to work you can read the article The Real Roots of Midlife Crisis (from The Atlantic):

What do you think about the idea of a “midlife crisis?”  Is it a “real” or useful construct?  Is it more helpful to think about the notion of turning points?  How so?  Write two sentences-ish of a forum post.


I assessed my project by asking students to complete an anonymous survey after the online classes (see below).  While I have not done a formal analysis of the responses, a frequency count indicates that, in both sections, no students (0/40) reported “learning more” in the online format.  In the Fall semester, 90% of students reported “learning less” in the online classes.  In the Spring section, students were evenly split between those who reported learning less (49%) or about the same (51%) in the online format.  The most common reason students felt they learned less had to do with preferring the in class meetings and discussions (finding the in person setting more valuable).  Students indicated that they enjoyed the time flexibility of the online class (could complete it in chunks or whenever they had free time) as well as posting/responding to forums.

Online Classes Feedback Form

  1. As compared to “in person” class meetings I felt like the online classes led to:

Please Circle One

The same amount of learning
More learning
Less learning

  1. If you indicated more or less learning in your answer above, could you explain some of the reasons why?
  1. One thing that felt really useful about the online classes was (your favorite activity)…you can list more than one thing 🙂
  1. One thing that you really didn’t like about the online classes (or would like to change; your least favorite activity)…you can list more than one thing J
  1. Ideas and / or suggestions for future online class meetings?

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Reflections and Next Steps

All of the technological components of the classes worked well (Swivl, uploading video, various Moodle activities), and I certainly felt like I had support to make the project happen.  The thing that didn’t work so well was my attitude and the attitudes of the students.  That is, the first semester I tried the online classes I was not very confident that it would “work” in terms of helping students to meet the class objectives, and my lack of confidence translated to (or at least contributed to) students’ dislike of the online meetings.  The second semester, I felt more confident about the online classes and students seemed to be more accepting of the format.

There is not much I would change.  I did the three different formats in order to “experiment” with what worked best with the course content (which was informative), and I think the variety helped keep students interested.  I may narrate more of the PowerPoint slides and have more “interactive” activities such as forums to increase synthesis of the content and facilitate student engagement with the material.

I have two goals for year two.  First, I am going to put one or two other age groups in the online format – it was really great to have the online versions ready to go when two of the weeks were snowy and icy during the Spring semester.  Second, I am going to work with Jen Morse to figure out the best way to use a writing app (Noodle Tools) to help students construct the research papers they write for the course.

Diane Hunker, Ph.D. Nursing

Project Overview

My goal for year one of the Faculty Technology Fellowship involved expanding the ways that I have promoted visual communication with my online students. Some specific activities that I wanted to implement included using video messages to provide feedback and information to students rather than inserting a text box or forum message.  Other ideas to overall enhance the visual communication with students involved the use of images/photos in the Moodle shell, the use of a standard Panopto Welcome message to be placed in all courses being taught by me, and uploading a personal profile photo in Outlook.

Planning Process

Since the curriculum is set for all programs in Nursing and the assignments are also prescribed, my goal was to focus on the student experience and likability of the courses. I found that some of the tools already available to us as part of Moodle can be cumbersome and not always quick and easy to use. I wanted to find a solution that can be done with little notice, planning or effort. I also wanted to be able to grab my iPhone or iPad when I thought of something I wanted to tell my students. By videotaping a message in this way, I was able to substitute it for a written message. This provided a different means in which to quickly communicate with students. Ease of accessibility and convenience were most important when searching for a solution.


With the help of Lauren and Becky, I identified “Capture” as an application on my YouTube Capturehandheld device that could be downloaded for free. Using my handheld device (mostly iPhone), I was able to record and store a video message wherever I was at the time.  After the Capture app was downloaded, all I had to do was open the app and search for the video I created for my students using my iPhone video recording function. I selected to “upload” it and after a few minutes, a URL was created for private use. For step-by-step instructions on using Capture, please read these directions. Finally, I emailed this URL to my Chatham email, and then coped and pasted it in a Moodle Course shell into the applicable block (week). By posting the URL as a Label in Moodle, the video box displayed in the course rather than just a link.

Diane Hunker Capture

Figure 1: Capture Video in Moodle


The assessment was informal and based on student and faculty feedback. Students seemed to like the informality of the message and the ability to see and hear me. A faculty member who first saw the video message in my course said she was surprised to see the video and thought it was a friendly way in which to communicate the students. Some faculty didn’t like the “close up” effect of the video if you held your own hand held device in your hand while you were recording (kind of like a selfie). A way around that would be to rest it someplace at a suitable, desirable distance for recording. Some faculty thought this seemed much more convenient than Panopto whereas other faculty found Panopto to be just as convenient.

Reflections and Next Steps

Being an online educator for the past 9 years, my courses/programs were already developed to adequately capture formative and summative assessments. All content and assessment methods in each course were designed well to capture the accreditation requirements for the various nursing degrees. My goal as a tech fellow is to find easy, convenient solutions to use technology as a tool for student and faculty workflow, promote student satisfaction, and foster faculty and student relationships. A future project will involve the use of technology to help further explain content or projects that are found to be more difficult for students to grasp. By using technology to aid in student learning of a particular component of the curriculum, student work flow and satisfaction should improve.

Chapter 1 Rubric PDF

Jennifer Lape, OTD Occupational Therapy

Project Overview

As part of year 1 of my Technology Fellowship (2015-2016), I wanted to focus on enhancing feedback to online doctoral students on their capstone projects, and improving the peer review process already in place within the occupational therapy doctorate (OTD) capstone courses.  As a result, I explored the use of Turnitin’s GradeMark and PeerMark in detail, and piloted use of these tools in several courses.  As part of this process, I also undertook the task of revising the analytic rubrics for each of the 6 capstone chapters.

Planning Process

In planning this project, I had to consider both the course learning objectives as well as my personal goals for the project.  In the OTD program, students take a series of evidence-based practice courses designed to guide them through the development, implementation, and evaluation of their doctoral capstone projects.  This process includes the writing of 6 capstone chapters with peer review integrated throughout the courses.  Goals of peer review include helping the students to increase the quality of their work and to emulate the peer review process inherent in pursing publication, since this is also an objective of the courses/program.

Previously, the peer review process involved instructor pairing of peers, exchange of papers among peers, and general provision of feedback to each other using the assignment rubric as a guide.  In the past, both instructor feedback and feedback from peers was delivered via the Track Changes feature in Microsoft Word.  This process entailed downloading the student’s file, pasting in the rubric, saving to your computer, adding comments, completing the rubric, resaving, and then uploading the feedback file to Moodle.  This process is cumbersome and time consuming, so my personal goal was to streamline the process and be able to provide each student with richer feedback in a timely manner.

Goals for the project included:

  1. Improve the quality of feedback/grading provided on student assignments, to increase quality of student work and student satisfaction and decrease instructor time commitment. (Technology used to augment, modify)
  2. Improve peer review process to improve quality of student writing/publication. (Technology used to modify)


The first step in the project was to redesign the analytic rubrics for the capstone courses.  The prior rubrics were analytic in the sense that they listed the assignment criteria with each criteria having 4 possible scores, including outstanding, meets criteria, approaching criteria, and below expectations.  Since these courses are taught by several full time faculty, as well as adjunct faculty, it became apparent that the scoring needed to be more objective.  A variety of resources on Bloom’s taxonomy and rubrics were consulted in development of these rubrics.  Weighting was also used for assignment criteria to emphasize categories according to course objectives.

redesigned rubric

Click to see redesigned rubric.

Next, to improve the quality of feedback that students both give and receive in the peer review process, structured peer review questions were developed for each capstone chapter via modification of questions within the PeerMark library.  For example, these are the peer review questions for the chapter 1:

Scan this paper for errors in formatting of in-text citations, direct quotes, and the reference list. Give several examples of these errors, if they exist.
Question type: Free Response
Minimum answer length: 5
Does the writer use sufficient evidence/references to support the existence of and the need to address the identified problem? If yes, explain your rationale for this answer. If no, explain where support is lacking and how this section of the paper could be strengthened.
Question type: Free Response
Minimum answer length: 100
How effective was the writer’s use of language related to readability and clarity of the subject matter? Very effective would be similar to the language used in professional journals.
Question type: Scale
Highest: very effective, Lowest: very ineffective
Does the writer give a clear and concise description of the setting (omitting all extraneous details and leaving no unanswered questions)? Please provide the rationale for your answer as well as suggestions to improve this section if necessary.
Question type: Free Response
Minimum answer length: 100
Does the writer acknowledge all applicable supports and barriers in the setting? Provide suggestions of additional supports and barriers to be considered if applicable.
Question type: Free Response
Minimum answer length: 1

Next, the revised rubrics and peer review questions had to be entered into Turnitin within Moodle, and I had to test/pilot these features to be sure that I understood the functionality and settings available.  An additional benefit of using Turnitin, is the availability of the originality report, since these capstone assignments involve increased use of external resources, quoting, and citations.

I also had to consider that this would likely be NEW technology for most of the students, so tutorials on how to navigate the technology would be necessary.  As a result, 4 videos demonstrating how to upload a paper to Turnitin, how to retrieve instructor feedback, how to complete a peer review, and how to access peer review comments were created by Instructional Technology and posted within the courses.


I assessed the project both formally, through a survey created within SurveyMonkey, and informally via dialogue with students during synchronous classes, an onsite visit, and phone conversations.  Some info about the project was also gleaned from Chatham course evaluations as several students commented on this process in those evaluations.  These formative assessment methods revealed the following:

  • Some students struggled with navigation of the technology, but not all students took advantage of the how-to videos posted within the course. An extra synchronous online class was held to answer students’ questions specifically about Turnitin & PeerMark.
  • 56% of students who responded to the survey said they preferred feedback via Turnitin (as opposed to the Track Changes files within Microsoft Word) or liked both methods equally.
  • Features that students liked best about Turnitin: the originality reports, audio feedback from the instructor, ease of use and retrieval of feedback, variety of options to mark papers with ease.
  • Students struggled with the use of PeerMark to complete the peer review process. Issues included: difficulty with technology, not viewing how-to videos, mismatched pairs for review resulting in some students getting multiple reviews of their papers and other students getting none.
  • Despite these glitches, the average of all student responses to the question “How valuable do you feel the peer review process is to the capstone process on a scale of 1 to 10? (1=not valuable at all; 10 = extremely valuable) was 7.5.
  • 88% of students reported utilizing outside sources to verify information when completing their reviews of peers’ papers and reviewing others work helped them to better understand course content and strengthen their own work.
  • As an instructor, I also felt the comments students made on their peer reviews were more appropriately directed toward the content and of higher quality than previous.

Reflections and Next Steps

I consider the use of Turnitin’s GradeMark a success.  Students had little issue with submission and retrieval of feedback via this system and I found it easier to give detailed feedback.  I particularly valued the ability to record an audio comment with each assignment and to save custom QuickMarks for use in future papers.

The use of PeerMark for the peer review was definitely a challenge on many levels.  Going through the process helped me to hone the questions that students answered about their peers’ papers, and to realize that the students do understand the purpose and value of the activity.  As a result of the issues encountered with this process, I’ve moved the peer review process to an online forum within Moodle, but continue to have students answer the more detailed questions.  I’d consider piloting the use of PeerMark again in another course, but would likely opt to hold a live synchronous class to review the process, in addition to posting how-to videos in the course.

My goals for year 2 include:

  1. Trying to use Turnitin on the iPad for grading on the go!
  2. Exploring a reference manager, such as Mendeley or Zotero.
  3. Exploring software for qualitative data analysis that could be accessed remotely for online students.

Steve Karas, DSc Physical Therapy


My original plan was multi-focused. I wanted to create an online elective in manual physical therapy.  Second, I wanted to incorporate more technology in my teaching.  The first goal was specific and focused, and the second a bit more open-ended.


As part of my initial planning in year one of the Technology Fellowship, I focused on designing an online course for spinal manual physical therapy.  This would be an elective for the class and would be offered toward the end of their education.  The course has been designed, objectives created, and video components were made for student viewing.  However, within the year of my fellowship, our curriculum calendar changed and the time I planned to do the course was no longer available.  I was able to utilize a portion of that planning to host a course for some of our program’s Clinical Instructors and pilot the technology in that course.  The participants took video recording of themselves performing the techniques and I was able to offer feedback at the follow-up class.  I will expand on this during the summer, having the comments entirely online.  Portions of this course and the ideas we initiated have been placed in my core teaching in PTH 703.  I am using videos for techniques as well as PBL.  These can be found on Moodle: 703 2015 Management of Musculoskeletal Systems.


I have spent time utilizing and learning how to begin paperless exams on Moodle for both courses that I coordinate.  I have found this to be user-friendly for the most part, with the only concern being loss of a student’s wi-fi connection.  I have utilized Panopto in PTH703 for a Classification Lecture that will be utilized for the students.

Moodle and Panopto


As noted, the majority of smaller items are in place in my courses.  (exams, Panopto, video techniques, and a video PBL case)  The on-line course may still be offered at a later date as part of a continuing education option.  Additionally, after multiple attempts with the technology staff, we settled on the YouTube platform for posting of student technique videos and commenting.  This will be initiated this summer.  I found that the “ask” in my continuing education offering was a bit too much for older therapists who do not have access to or are not traditionally exposed to technology in the clinic.

Next Steps

Posting and assessing maul therapy techniques using the YouTube platform will be a novel approach to learning.  I believe it will help the students excel and also lead to very focused technique performance if they are aware they are being accessed or evaluated.  I am not sure what the time commitment for this will be or how critical students will be of each other as part of the feedback process, so a reassessment of the project will be needed after the summer course.


Although the larger project has hit some road blocks, I have still benefited from my time with Becky and Lauren and their ability to answer my questions and guide me to use more technology.  The general steps I have put in place have given me some confidence to expand what I have put in place.


Sheila Squillante, MFA Creative Writing


During last summer’s Technology Fellows workshops, my primary goals were to learn technologies that could help instruct and connect our low-res MFA students to the program and one another. I imagined focusing on Panopto to record videos of campus readings and talks to share with them. A second, and more urgent, objective emerged, however, when a low-residence student (located in Florida) enrolled at the last minute in one of my on-the-ground classes: The Fourth River practicum. Because we are taking steps to more fully merge the full and low-res programs, we have opened all on-the-ground courses to low-res students should they choose to enroll. So far, we have not had a lot of experience with this, so I was heading into a truly experimental space. I had to quickly put together a course that would work for both populations, and in doing so, tried out several technologies, including Panopto, Skype, FaceTime, Moodle discussion forums, and Submittable.

Planning Process

I knew from discussions during summer workshop that there are real obstacles to creating a truly synchronous learning environment for distance and residence students, both in terms of technology and pedagogy. Skype calls drop. Internet connections fail. And even if they didn’t, requiring a distance student to sit, captive, in front of a screen for three hours at a time would not make for a healthy intellectual experience. I determined that the synchronous component of the course for my student would have to be much shorter if she were to feel engaged and invigorated. I settled on requiring her to be “present” for half of the class time—one and a half hours—and began to construct EIAs that would comprise the rest of her seat time. This also helped mitigate some of the technology problems I anticipated, in particular being able to connect with a remote location reliably every week for that length of time.


I planned to have my student use some kind of video-conferencing with her genre group for discussions each week, because I felt these were the two students who would be working most closely with her, and thus would offer the greatest possibility for engagement and connectivity. For the second half of each class, they would meet via video conference to talk about the essays from that week’s submission queue. I allowed them to choose which they preferred and they ended up going back and forth between Skype and FaceTime on the iPhone.

For the rest of her seat time, I did a variety of things, including:


  • Welcome and regular check-in videos with Panopto, that oriented her to the week’s goals and expectations
  • Guest editor conversations that took place over the course of the term

 Sheila Video

Moodle Discussion Forums

  • Individual, where she would respond to my orientation videos with questions or comments about the week’s expectations;
  • Whole-class, where everyone would introduce themselves or respond to various assigned articles about publishing
  • Whole-class, where they would upload blog posts, and then comment on their peers’ work

Moodle discussion forum


This is the online platform The Fourth River uses to accept submissions. It includes text boxes that allow student editors to have substantive discussions about the merits of a piece of work. Students anywhere can log into this system with a free account, and it is quite easy to use.



The students ended up finding that FaceTime worked best for video conferencing, in part because they all had Apple phones, and in part because the low-res student’s internet connection was often unreliable. The low-res student commented that she liked the Panopto videos both because they helped her feel connected to me—to see my face and  hear my voice, as opposed to being just an email filled with instructions each week–and because they helped her feel like she was experiencing some of the same in-class learning as her peers. All of the students commented that while the Moodle forums were functional, they felt a little removed from the class experience, and that they didn’t work as well for critiquing work as they did for general responses to articles. From my perspective, they worked well—especially for quieter students– for inspiring thoughtful, thorough conversations. Everyone agreed that Submittable was reliable and streamlined.

Value/Next Steps

I think for a last-minute effort, the course adaptations worked well enough. In the future, however, I think it might make more sense to have the low-res students synchronously “present” for the more pedagogical part of the class, and asynchronous, using the Submittable comment fields, for genre group discussions. Last fall I was most concerned that my low-res student have a robust educational experience and that she feel included in the community to the fullest extent possible. But my overall goal is to make this sort of hybrid class work for all students, full or low-res. Two other options I’m considering are making the class hybrid for everyone, including full-res, and creating a fully online version of the class that will run every other semester.

Peggy Stubbs

Peggy Stubbs, Ph.D. Psychology


My experience as a tech fellow has been mixed.  I applied, knowing that I was behind many of my colleagues in using online tools.  My approach to technology at Chatham has been gradual  –  I never used PowerPower in my first few years of teaching here.  I believe that switching my presentation notes to a PowerPoint format was my first foray into “technology.”  Then I began to “embed” clips from the Internet into my PowerPoints – not without technical difficulty.  Somewhere along the line, we posted our courses, and PowerPoints on Blackboard.  Then more recently  the switch to Moodle happened.  I thought using a course shell was a great way to post required readings – ever so much more accessible to students who were not incorporating using the library “reserve” as a part of their class preparation.  And that’s about as far as I had come, for a variety of reasons, until online classes were introduced as part of our curricula.


One of the reasons I approached technology as a minimalist had (and has) to do with a lack of time to really learn how to make use of new strategies – even those that came with Blackboard and Moodle.   It seemed to take me more time than it was worth to incorporate new strategies when I do it faster using my own way of keeping track (for example, of completed assignments, grades).  So I came into “technology” with the perspective of it as mostly an organizational tool and not an adjunct to my actual teaching and students’ learning.

I have come to notice though, that using PowerPoint turned me more into a lecturer than I had been, and than I am really comfortable being, really.  While after the fact the PowerPoints may have helped students organize the material, I have had the suspicion that when students actually had to take notes in the days before PowerPoint, they were more “involved.” One of my colleagues had a great strategy of preparing two PowerPoints for class:  one was the one that she used with all the details; the other presented only the barest outline of the material and students’ had to fill in as the class went on.  To me, if a posted PowerPoint (with or without VoiceThread) or a Panopto lecture simply highlights text material, it really only serves as a kind of short hand.  Of course there is no doubt some additions of explanatory value in these.  To my way of thinking, reading the material before the class was the original flipped classroom, with class time free then for discussion, answering questions, and involving students in hands-on activities to reinforce major concepts.  But the sad fact is that many students don’t prepare for class by reading the material themselves, and still others are.  And so to some extent, these tools may actually reinforce their passivity.

I pushed myself to apply to be a tech fellow because I wanted to know more about technology from a perspective other than the one that had guided me thus far.  I wanted to explore the use of technology, not only as an organizing tool, (for me and for students) but as an adjunct to enhance actual teaching and learning.  After 40 some years as a teacher of students from preschool to graduate school, and whose pedagogy is grounded in what I have learned from psychology about human development and motivation, I have some strong opinions about teaching and learning.  If there is ground to be gained here in becoming more effective at educating, I want to see it for myself.  I want to know how to use cool tech strategies to make my classes better.   I want to learn how to teach online in a way that does not compromise my pedagogy in ways that I think will not serve students well.

And so, I ventured warily into the program.  What I have been doing on the micro level is what many have already done:  I have been learning more about Moodle features; I have been exploring techniques that students can use to talk to each other (This is really important to me because I do a lot of group work in my classes and I have observed that when students talk to each other and in front of others – orally – they become more articulate about and better able to critique what they think);  I have been a voyeur  in my colleagues’ online classes (with their permission, of course!); I have learned to use an iPad.


My specific classroom project changed over time.  At first it is was to implement a way for students to have synchronous conversations in order to plan a presentation in my Critical Thinking in Psychology Course.  I gave up, partly because this was a fall course, and I needed more time, but also because I was encouraged to think that this was not perhaps the best use of my time – that is I might better approach my macro goals by what various online strategies and tools could do, before bending them to my will!  I’ll get back to this.  Instead I opted for something far simpler:  to assign my students in Theories of Counseling to do their interview (practice in communication skills) using Panopto within Moodle – a small step in the scheme of things but a big step for me.


Next Steps

I remain firmly invested in exploring the macro level related concerns to technology in the classroom and online teaching and learning.  I look forward to more in depth discussions of pedagogy.  Just before Chatham’s tech fellows program, I attended (as an online attendee!) a conference organized by Ms Magazine and the Women’s Studies Program at the University of Maryland.  It was sobering in that the technology to facilitate the “conference” was rough, but I was comforted by knowing that this whole endeavor is really in its infancy and far from systematized.   I was thrilled that the conference connected the exposure to various tools, best practices in online course design to feminist pedagogy.  I highly recommend the following article to those with similar interests.

“Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Virtual”: Feminist Pedagogy in the Online Classroom
Feminist Teacher, Vol. 19, No. 3 (2009), pp. 195-215
Published by: University of Illinois Press

Dr. Ali Panopto

Ali Abdulsattar Abdulrahman, Ph.D. Biology


PanoptoI was really totally blind to many items regarding usage of technology before joining Chatham at Dec. 2011. Yes, I have a little bit knowledge on PowerPoint and Word for preparing lectures and while in 2012, I recorded my lectures using Panopto,  I wanted to KNOW, more and more.

So, I applied to the Technology Fellowship program in 2014 and entered with a healthy combination of ambivalence, skepticism, and lack of confidence.  Like a moth to a flame, I knew that I wanted to learn some new teaching skills and to see if some of this technology stuff was really helpful to me and students.

My project goals were:

  1. Gain confidence in the technology, especially doing Moodle quizzes and tests.
  2. Explore ways to deal with online quizzes in case of system collapse during the test.
  3. Become familiar with a variety of technology teaching tools that would help me save time grading as my graduate classes typically have no less than 40 students in a given term.
  4. Learn about technologies in order to improve my teaching in a way that makes items simple and easy to be absorbed by students.

Implementation and Assessment

In addition to learning more about the iPad, VoiceThread and other technologies, I experimented with learning Moodle quizzes and understanding the AIKEN file format needed to upload multiple choice questions. It is a very simple format, but also very specific regarding spacing and formatting. For example, the question must be all on one line. Each answer must start with a single uppercase letter, followed by a period ‘.’ or a bracket ‘)’, then a space. The answer line must immediately follow, starting with “ANSWER: ” (NOTE the space after the colon) and then giving the appropriate letter.

Which LMS has the most quiz import formats?
A. Moodle
B. ATutor
C. Claroline
D. Blackboard
E. WebCT

Which LMS has the most quiz import formats?
A) Moodle
B) ATutor
C) Claroline
D) Blackboard
E) WebCT

Successes and Challenges

The advantages of this approach are many. The convenience of being able to import questions into Moodle is worth the time and effort as it avoids quiz questions by having to be added one by one. In addition, once the questions are in Moodle, they are saved in a quiz bank, so they can be edited and reused in a later course. Since the AIKEN format includes the answers, Moodle will automatically grade the questions saving time for the instructor. Finally, online quizzes are useful for students to be able to review material in preparation for future exams.

The challenge to this approach is learning the AIKEN format and making sure the formatting is absolutely correct. A missed space, an additional period, or incorrect numbering can quickly halt the import process. Also, potential technical issues are a concern during any online testing. Having a backup plan is important when doing anything with technology.

Next Steps

I plan on implementing the Moodle quizzes into my BIO 503 in Fall 2015. I also plan to survey the students to see if the prefer online testing and make changes if needed. In addition, my goals for next year are:

  • Implement online quizzes for the MOT students
  • Continue to learn new technologies that will enhance my teaching
  • Continue to learn new technologies to help me become a more proficient technology user
  • Explore the variety of Anatomy Apps for the iPad for potential use in the classroom

Katie Cruger, Ph.D. Communications

Using Turnitin’s “Grademark” features to Increase Efficiency and Efficacy of Written Comments

Dr. Katie Cruger
Assistant Professor, Communication
Director, Professional Writing Program


While I used this first year as technology fellow to tweak my courses (online, on ground, and hybrid) in many different ways, I’ve chosen to use this space to share my success incorporating Turnitin for efficient and effective paperless grading at the undergraduate level.

I wanted to achieve the following outcomes:

  • Decrease the amount of time I spent downloading papers, making comments, uploading feedback to moodle, etc., which was much greater than hard copy grading practices
  • Increase usefulness of comments to students
  • Increase the likelihood that students would actually read/incorporate electronic feedback in future work or revisions
image 1

Image 1: The grademark screen in Turnitin.


Beginning in Summer of 2013, once Moodle 2.0 was available, I used Turnitin Assignments for all student submissions of written work (both group assignments and individual papers and proposals). I utilized the following key features of Turnitin:

1)    Originality Report: This is the part of Turnitin that faculty members are most familiar with, and we often use it as a way of catching/proving plagiarism. However, in lower level courses, this is also a great tool for reinforcing information literacy. It lets students see, in a relatively low-stakes environment, when they are relying too heavily on any particular source, when they haven’t done enough to move from a quotation to a paraphrase, etc.

2)    Quickmarks: This feature allows an instructor to drag and drop a standardized comment anywhere in the document. You can edit or make additions to any of these comments, as well as create your own quickmarks for feedback you provide often to students. For sentence level errors and suggestions, it both decreases the time spent giving comments and increases the amount of information students receive about a punctuation rule or the difference between there/they’re/their.

Image 2: A customized quickmark with additional comments for the student.

Image 2: A customized quickmark with additional comments for the student.

Image 3: The quickmark as it appears in the paper. Students hover over the mark or click to read full comments.

Image 3: The quickmark as it appears in the paper. Students hover over the mark or click to read full comments.

3)    Grademark General Comments: Turnitin allows instructors to leave overall feedback on the paper either in text format or as a voice comment.

Image 4: General Comment view, including text feedback, voice comment, numerical grade, and percentage similarity with other sources.

Image 4: General Comment view, including text feedback, voice comment, numerical grade, and percentage similarity with other sources.


When I compared the amount of time I spent grading a Turnitin Assignment (vs. a regular moodle assignments the previous semester, or using iAnnotate and a stylus to mark PDF copies of papers two semesters ago) I spent less than a third of the time (7.5 minutes vs. 25 minutes) per 5-page paper.

Furthermore, I was much happier with the quality and quantity of feedback I was able to provide students. Quickmark comments are thorough, and offer students enough information (in clear text they can read easily) that they are able to incorporate changes in future writing. Their customizability allowed me to tailor a few comments to the style of writing we were working on for a particular assignment without recreating the feedback each time. Voice comments (which limit me to 3 minutes) allow me to quickly talk through the good and the bad of student work and convey enthusiasm and emotion through my voice. This felt particularly important during online courses, where I didn’t have the same face-to-face connection to students.

However, Turnitin does require a little bit more effort from students to retrieve my comments than some other forms of electronic grading. They must first log into moodle, then click on the actual assignment, at which point they are directed to their paper on Turnitin’s server. The process takes about 1 minute, but we know this might be too much effort for some. Once there, students need to toggle between different views in order to see general comments, specific Quickmarks, and the originality report. Although we think of our students as technologically savvy, this has not been my experience when it comes to instructional technologies. Anecdotally, I know a few students struggled to gain access to my comments and asked for help. I can only assume that others struggled and chose not to pursue the matter further. However, I was able to address some of these challenges in productive ways.

Overcoming Challenges

1)    Student User Error: Many students said they “couldn’t see” my comments in Turnitin. This was usually because of one of two problems: either they hadn’t actually clicked on the link and entered turnitin (meaning that they expected all the info to be present in moodle) or they were using a browser that was not compatible. Both were relatively easy fixes. I provided students with instructions for how to use the Grademark feature in Turnitin (see “Resources” below) and stated explicitly in assignment descriptions and in the syllabus that Firefox is the optimal browser for use with moodle and Turnitin. In the future, I may devote classtime to showing students a sample and getting them familiar with the platform.

2)    Instructor User Error: Moodle isn’t always the most user-friendly interface. One quirk with the Turnitin Assignment plugin is that, unprompted, it creates randomized deadlines for all assignments. These parameters are not something that an instructor can amend or disable while they are creating a new assignment. Instead, they must go in and amend the assignment after the fact, so there are two steps to this process. Until I recognized this, students were erroneously notified that their submissions were late, which created some panic.

Next Steps

I will continue to use Turnitin for all my grading in all courses in the future; it’s the best option for my needs and the needs of my students. Additionally, I’d like to incorporate the Peermark feature in my writing-intensive courses, where students must often review one another’s work. Currently, I use Moodle forums or hard copies of papers for these exercises.

I’m also continuing my work exploring VoiceThread to increase student engagement and interaction around course readings in hybrid and online courses.


Student training and GradeMark overview for students

Anthony Isacco

Anthony Isacco, Ph.D. Counseling Psychology



I am a paradox to many – I am an early career professional but a complete late adapter when it comes to technology!  Case in point – I still have a basic talk/text phone from 2008.  Nope, no iPhone or Samsung Galaxy for me yet.

So, I began the Technology Fellowship with a healthy combination of ambivalence, skepticism, and lack of confidence.  Like a moth to a flame, I did know that I wanted to learn some new teaching skills and to see if some of this technology stuff was really helpful to me and students.

My project goals were:

  1. Learn a bunch of technology teaching tools
  2. Gain confidence in the technology
  3. Use the technology to improve my teaching and help students learn

Implementation and Assessment

Panopto: I taught a Research Methods class and made an instructional video about qualitative research coding.

Student Feedback: The video was underutilized by students.  The feedback that I received from most students was that they forgot the video was posted to Moodle because they never had a professor post supplemental videos before.  A couple students did remember and reported that the video was helpful with their homework.

Google Hangout/Skype & Google Documents/DropboxThe Research Methods class included a group project that required students to analyze a dataset as a team.  In the past, students complained about the logistics of the assignment (e.g., multiple in-person meetings, emailing documents, etc…).  I gave extra credit to students if they used technology to improve logistics.  Many students used a combination of video-conferencing and cloud-based, shared storage to manage the project.  The students loved the convenience that technology provided and the extra credit points! : )

Group 1: Throughout the development of our research project, we found technology to be very beneficial.  We found Dropbox to be a very useful tool. Dropbox is a program that allowed us to access one document which could be edited at any time by any of the group members. We were able to track everyone’s progress by each member choosing a font color, signifying it was he/she who had written the post. Instead of getting in your car, driving to campus, opening up a notebook, Dropbox allowed us to work from home at any time that was convenient to us. We found this to be especially helpful because our group was the largest containing four people.

Group 2: We used google docs for our technology and we just completed the entire lab on this document.  This was very helpful, as it allowed us to contribute to one document even if we were not in the same physical location and on the same computer.  It also allowed us to just sign onto google docs to contribute instead of having a flash drive or other type of document.  This made updating our lab much easier.

Group 3: Our group capitalized on the use of technology and virtual communication throughout the project. By using the easily accessible and user friendly Google Drive and Google+, we were able to communicate by sharing documents, progress notes, and questions that surfaced throughout the project. Google+ allowed us to create a communication circle where we could easily communicate through posting to our group wall with links, comments, and meeting reminders. Google drive allowed us to upload our documents so that each member would have access to update the documents, all while being revised and saved in real time.

Sample Feedback from Students

Poll Everywhere: Poll Everywhere is a simple way to compose a poll as part of a presentation.  I used Poll Everywhere in all of my classes as well as for professional conference presentations.  The technology increases engagement and often is a catalyst for larger group discussions.

Feedback:  Universally, students and professionals love Poll Everywhere.  You get to text in your answers and the results show up on the screen in real time.  Students like being able to use their cell phones during class instead of being told to put them away.  Below is an email I received after the conference from a colleague.

Dear Anthony,

Quick question–I thought I had written it down…but what was the name of the app you demonstrated so beautifully in Atlanta during our presentation?


VoiceMemos for Grading and Student Feedback: I bought a voice memo app for .99 cents, which I use for grading assignments and giving feedback to students.  Very easy to use.  I like the voice grading a lot better than writing all of my feedback on student assignments because students can understand my tone and style a lot better and seem to accept constructive feedback easier.

Sample Feedback from Students

Student 1: I think the voice memo is FANTASTIC!  It totally took me by surprise, but it felt as though we were having a face to face meeting!

Student 2: Wow! What a cool way to give feedback. Thanks Dr. Isacco!

Successes and Challenges

When I received my iPad, I didn’t even know how to turn it on!  I knew implementing my ideas was going to be a challenge.  My first success was turning on my iPad.  Since that magical moment, I had a lot of fun using Polleverywhere, VoiceMemos, and encouraging students to use technology.  I also use my iPad for note taking all my meetings, to-do list (Wunderlist is a great app for this and free), and has basically replaced my laptop.

I can see how technology can increase student engagement, make classes more fun and interactive, and improve logistics on assignments.  Making instructional Panopto videos as supplemental material for my Research Methods class was a challenge.  Even I found the video a bit boring and I would like to figure out a way to increase student utilization of the videos.  Learning new technology is frustrating at times and not everything works all of the time.

Goals Met!

1. Learn a bunch of technology teaching tools
2. Gain confidence in the technology
3. Use the technology to improve my teaching and help students learn

Next Steps

  1. Make better use of Panopto videos for upcoming Research Methods class in Fall 2014.
  2. Develop a hybrid or purely online course within the next year.
  3. Keep using the tools that I learned and like.

Thanks, Anthony


Vadas Gintautas, Ph.D. Physics


Google Moderator is a system for soliciting and aggregating responses on a given topic. For example, before the 2012 Presidential election over 20,000 people participated in the Google Moderator poll “Your Questions for the Candidates.”


I set up a new Google account for use with the class, then created a new Series for my PHY251 class. I then created on topic for each day that we covered new material, such as “Unit 4: Newton’s Laws”  (click above image for full size screenshot). The students were expected to view a smartPhysics pre-lecture before class, then participate in the Google Moderator poll for that day. They were instructed to either ask a question about the pre-lecture or vote on another student’s question rather than post duplicates. This way I could start the next class by going over the most popular questions, and just answer the less popular ones individually by email (or directly in Google Moderator).moderator-screenshot


This was tricky. I wanted the students to have the option to post anonymously so they would feel comfortable asking anything. However, with Google Moderator, even the administrator (me) is not shown the identity of anyone who posts anonymously. To solve this problem, I created a link on Moodle to each topic, and students were instructed to access Google Moderator using these links in order to receive credit for participation. Moodle can generate a report of which students clicked on a given link, and this is how I was able to assign credit. Of course, I could not determine whether a student actually did anything after clicking on the link, but once students got used to the system there was not a significant discrepancy between the number of participants in Google Moderator for a given topic and the number of students who clicked on the link in Moodle.  It is worth noting that early in the semester a few students went to the topics through Google Moderator directly, rather than via Moodle, and did not receive credit.

Successes and Challenges

Overall, Google Moderator was not as useful as I had hoped, but I had a class of only 15 students. Because I use a lot of group activities in my classes, after a few weeks into the semester, students seemed to be comfortable asking questions during class or emailing me when they had trouble. Some days the most popular question was something that would obviously be covered that day.  An example of such a question might be “Can we go over Newton’s Laws?” for Unit 4: Newton’s Laws.

Perceived pedagogical or teaching value

This facilitates Just-in-Time-Teaching, especially for large classes in which there may not be enough time to answer every question.

Next steps

I would try this again in a bigger class.  I would also consider requiring students to post using their names, so that assessment is easier.  The class I am teaching currently (PHY252) is even smaller, so I did not use Google Moderator again.  Instead I solicit feedback directly through smartPhysics and use that to prepare before class.


Tracy Bartel, Ph.D. Education

NOTE: For more information on any of these technology tools, please click on the tools name and it will take you to the coordinating website.

simSchool : Instructors can use this tool with pre-service teachers as an applied activity in classroom management and differentiated instruction in this game-like application.

I am presently piloting this technology tool in my Child Development course and I am hoping that I will be able to expand it to the Adolescent Development and Contemporary Education and Technology course.

VoiceThread : Students can engage in an on-line forum discussion using varied modes of responses (microphone, webcam, text, phone and audio-file upload).  Instructors can present the topic for discussion several different ways: uploading a document, image(s), audio file(s) or video(s).

This tool was piloted in my Contemporary Education and Technology course last semester.  At the end of the semester, I found that students enjoyed using this tool and that their level of discussions were at a higher level in comparison with the other courses that used the “written text only” forum discussion in Moodle.  I now use this as a tool in all my online, hybrid and “on the ground” courses.

VoiceThread Snip
: Instructors can embed classroom polls into PowerPoint lectures and student responses can be seen on the screen within 2-5 seconds of responding.  Poll questions can be either open-ended or multiple choice in format.

I piloted this tool last semester in my Contemporary Education and Technology course as well.  In order to keep the students’ responses anonymous, at the beginning of the class I took attendance so that students would receive class participation points for participating in this in-class activity.  There is an option in Poll Everywhere to track individual student responses instead of having the students’ responses be anonymous.

PollEverywhere SnipPanopto : Instructors can use a webcam to record their image in sync with PowerPoint lectures or use audio to discuss a document.

I use this technology tool predominantly in my online courses.  I have also had my students use it to give presentations to upload to the Moodle course shell.  This tool is beneficial when the instructor cannot make it to the regularly scheduled class time (illness, weather, conferences).

Panopto Snip

Rubistar : Instructors and pre-service teachers can use this tool to create rubrics for a variety of assignments.  Rubistar allows you to select from a wide variety of grading categories to add to the template and permits editing of any content.

For years I have hand-made my grading rubrics as a teacher, administrator and as a college professor.  Rubistar saves me time and increases the clarity of the rubrics for each of the courses that I teach.

Rubistar Snip


Congratulations to Tracy for recently having her work published in the online peer-reviewed Journal of Interactive Technology & Pedagogy. The article, Inspiring Student Engagement with Technology, addresses the question of how to replicate the educational benefits of in-class discussions and lectures in an online environment.

Kudos to Tracy and the other technology fellows for their ongoing work!!

Sherie Edenborn

Sherie Edenborn, Ph.D. Biology


In the Fall of 2012, I developed a series of paperless grading modules using Moodle and iClicker  to conduct weekly assessment in a large (50-100 students) microbiology class for students from the Shadyside School of Nursing.  The assessment modules (Figure 1 ) were integrated into three-hour classes along with activities such as case studies and lectures, and were designed to encourage the development of  basic learning behaviors defined in the cognitive domain of Bloom’s Taxonomy  (knowledge/remember, understand, apply, analyze). These modules do not require the students to have laptop computers in class.

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Figure 1. Example of a weekly Moodle module.


Each week students were given a homework assignment in Moodle that was designed to help them gain a basic understanding of terms and concepts in microbiology (Knowledge/Remembering). When they came to class each week we reviewed and discussed this information during the first hour of class using an iClicker quiz (Understand).  After the iClicker quiz, the students were asked to use the knowledge they had gained to work through a case study (Apply). In the final hour of class, new information for the following week was introduced using a standard lecture format. After each class, students took a post-quiz using Moodle that integrated what they had learned from the homework, iClicker review, and case study.  This pattern was repeated each week  (Figure 2).

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Figure 2. Use of Moodle homework, iClicker reviews and case studies to engage different thinking skills as described by Bloom.


  •  Polls and evaluations from students suggest that this approach improved their ability to retain information and apply what they had learned to real-world problems (see student comments).


  • Setting up three electronic quizzes each week and troubleshooting problems was more time-consuming than paper quizzes.
  • Students who had little experience with technology struggled at the beginning of the class.


Student comments on teaching evaluations were largely positive (see below) and in-class polling suggested that the paperless system was preferred to paper exams.



  •  I thought the iClicker was really helpful. We knew right/wrong answers immediately AND discussed them which helped learn information. The Moodle quizzes and homework also help solidify the content of the material. I also like the paperless path. Best of all, the instructor’s passion for microbiology was infectious. Get it? Infectious.

  •  This professor tried, for the first time I believe, to make this course completely paperless. I was worried because I am much older than most of the other students. However, I really liked it. I especially liked the clicker quizzes every week. There were some glitches, which I’m sure can be worked out, but when we took the quiz one question at a time we not only got the results immediately, but the professor then explained why a certain answer was right.

  • There was instant reinforcement. For me, it was a great way to learn. Waiting a week to get a quiz back and then finding out the right answer, I sometimes forget my thinking process in putting the answer that I did. This was so much better. Also, I appreciate the way the professor gave us the resources to be able to find answers as we move on in our nursing careers. She repeated certain topics throughout that she knew we would see in the hospital and gave us the skills to think critically about diseases. I very much appreciate that. I will miss the classes!

  • I liked the case studies and applying the knowledge I learning to working out problems. I liked how everything was online.

  • I loved being able to do the homework and quizzes online from the comfort of my own home and at my own pace.

  • I enjoyed the paperless testing.

  • Loved all the quizzes and clicker tests gave a chance to see the material multiple times and help me retain the information.

  • There is a ton of work but it is what reinforces the concepts and let me retain the info.

  • I enjoyed weekly clicker quizzes rather than larger tests. More work weekly but less stressful. Made class more enjoyable.

  • The best feature was the online assessments. She has this course set up for people to pass it. Plus, with online homework , and quizzes we didn’t kill tons of trees to complete the course. At first it seemed like a lot, but it was definitely manageable. With all of the assessments I also feel like we had a better opportunity to learn the information.

  • I was initially nervous about the majority of assignments being online, but by the end of the semester, I thought this system worked very well. It allowed the students to have a multitude of opportunities for points and how the assignments were layered (homework, clicker quiz, post-class quiz) truly did increase my understanding of the course content.

  • the weekly iClicker quiz was a way to keep me up to date on material. Labs were helpful too.

  • Paperless course is very nice concept! I enjoyed the format, and I think it especially applies to non-traditional students.

  • The best thing was the way she tested us. I liked the paperless system. Also, there were lots of opportunities for points.

  • Its best features are the fact that so much of it was online and Dr E lays out a very specific routine for quizzes and homework. You always know what is expected of you

  • I believe Dr. Edenborn has carefully constructed a wonderful way for us to learn through repetition & application of the material. I think this would be beneficial for other courses to consider using.

  • I found that the homework submissions, the clicker quizzes and post quizzes really made the information stick.

  • The way the Moodle modules were set up with the homework questions and post class quizzes was very beneficial in learning the material. I believe it helped in understanding and applying the material being taught.

  • I believe Dr. E. set the course up in a way to facilitate learning and retention of the material. It was one of the hardest courses I have taken but one in which I feel I have learned the most and will remember the most.

  • I think that implementing the paperless course went well.

  • I liked the clicker quiz every class. I also liked the tons of opportunities to get points in this class.

  • I loved the paperless format. The regular clicker quizzes and online assignments kept the class at a good pace. I retained a lot more information than if the entire class had had only a few tests.

  • I like the new integration of paperless tests and quizzes. I know it was the first year for it and I think it went very well. I like the constant application to real life situations, this definitely aids in learning.

  • I love how it was set up for weekly modules-this really helped me retain the information, because it was reiterated at least 2-3 times.

  • I liked the various learning techniques, even though getting it all done sometimes was challenging.


  • I don’t like the way Moodle is set up. ALL assignments should be displayed in the drop down box, I missed a lot of assignments when the course started because I thought that’s how they were.

  • Well, a lot of her tests and quizzes come from Moodle and there have been more than one occasion where I was taking a quiz and my computer froze or I submitted it and it actually didn’t go through. I would appreciate it if when an error like this did occur if she would be a little more understanding and allow for one to retake it. I think it’s important considering the student actually WANTS to partake in the activity.

  • The online work was adequate but I did get penalized in the beginning of the semester by not taking the lab quiz which closes Friday. It was just strange with so many different due dates in one week.

  • What suggestions do you have for improving either the teaching or the materials of the course? Little bumps in the road with the paperless grading system

  • What suggestions do you have for improving either the teaching or the materials of the course?Learn how to use Moodle before using it with your students.Have you had special difficulties in this course? If so, how could they or how have they been helped? Not using Moodle.

Pedagogical or Teaching Value 

See student comments.

Next Steps

Cross my fingers, migrate the Moodle shell, and try the system out on my class in the Fall of 2013.