TLT Symposium

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Just wanted to quickly write about how great the 2008 TLT Symposium was. It took place this past Saturday, March 29, at the Penn Stater at University Park. The keynote address by Lawrence Lessig (chair of the Creative Commons project and boardmember of the Free Software Foundation)  - "Freeing Learning and Teaching to Teach and Learn" - was nothing less than captivating. It will be interesting to see the future of Digital Copyright. The lunchtime panel discussed this year's Symposium's theme - "The Collaborative Campus and the Culture of Teaching and Learning". Nikki Gutgold from Lehigh Valley served as a panelist and talked about how she has used YouTube in her classes, in a very entertaining manner. She also gave a presentation with two PSU-LV's own Honors students, Foram Dave and Robert Thakery-Dey, on the use of Facebook to connect with students outside of the classroom. Great job Nikki, Robert and Foram.

From Schuylkill, Elinor Madigan and I, gave a presentation on the use of problem-solving videos in math and computer programming courses. The idea with these is to record the process of solving a problem for students to view when studying. Then Elinor (yes, she had a busy day) and Bim talked about using technology to connect and collaborate on research project. I am so glad they both chose to participate and share what they are doing.

The afternoon concluded with a poster session full of additional interesting projects. Overall, it was quite an informative, and enjoyable, event. I recommend it to anyone who has the opportunity and interest to attend next year. 

Schreyer Teaching Luncheon: Oct. 31, 2007

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Last week the Schuylkill campus participated in the Schreyer Teaching Luncheon - Businesses Love It/Students Hate It: Team-based Learning, via PicTel. Nine people attended, and the group overall had quite a bit of experience with team projects. There was lots of good discussion on ways to assign students to teams and the pros/cons of each, the importance of keeping in close communication with the teams, and the value of including checkpoints for projects along the way. One really good suggestion was to have classtime discussions among the teams about how the projects are going, problem areas, things that are working, etc.

If you get the chance, try to attend one of these luncheons in the future. Each campus gets the opportunity to connect via PicTel usually once a semester, and yes, lunch is provided! It's a great opportunity to meet with your colleagues and discuss current issues you might be facing in your classes.

Mii editor

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Students in Dr. Elinor Madigan's IST 402 class recently created a video where they included Mii characters as representations of themselves. Too cute. By the way, a Mii is an avatar that you can create and use in games on a Wii. Here is a link to her students' video, here is a link where you can create your own Mii, and here is a Mii I created -


My Mii



Interwrite PRS RF (Clickers)

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Penn State has entered into an agreement with Interwrite Learning to adopt the Interwrite PRS RF as the standardized Student Response System. What is a Student Response System, you may ask? From the Penn State Classroom and Lab Computing web site -

A Student Response System is a way to add interactive learning to the classroom. Using response pads (clickers), students are able to respond to questions during the lecture, and the results of those responses can be seen immediately on the screen, enabling the instructor and the student to instantly assess the comprehension of the material. Clickers can be used for attendance, quizzes, test prep, review, group activities, and more.Interwrite PRS RF transmitter

Typically, instructors use the PRS PowerPoint add-in to add interactive questions to their presentations. During the presentation, when a slide with a clicker question comes up, an easy-to-use toolbar allows the instructor to start, pause, and stop the question, and then review the results with the class.
It is possible to integrate use of the clickers with ANGEL, for example, for attendance or participation purposes. If you decide to use the clickers for your course, the transmitters (clickers) will be available for students to buy from the Penn State Bookstore. The cost is somewhere from $35-$45 (used-new). Students can use the clicker in more than one class, over multiple semesters, and the clickers can be resold to the bookstore. Instructors receive the necessary hardware and software free if they adopt the clickers for their class.

Here is the link to the Penn State Clicker web site, which provides additional information on the system:

Additional documentation, with examples on how clickers could be used in various types of classes, how to design questions, and quick-start guides, is under development.

Adobe Connect

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Adobe  Connect is a web-based videoconferencing tool that can be used for online, interactive meetings, training sessions, and even classes right from your computer. Features include the ability to:
  • Broadcast video and voice
  • Give a PowerPoint presentation
  • Communicate by typing questions in a chat area
  • Share your computer screen with the other participants

All Penn State faculty, staff, and students, as well as others with Friends of Penn State Accounts, are licensed to use the software. Faculty are using it to hold online office hours, to provide an online space for students to collaborate with each other outside the classroom, and to attend meetings online from their desks.

Online demonstration sessions are held regularly by ITS Training Services at UP - a schedule of upcoming sessions can be found here - Also, I have created Adobe Connect meeting rooms for Penn State Schuylkill and Lehigh Valley for you to see what Adobe Connect is like. Feel free to visit these sites to take a look, and let me know if you would like to schedule a time to meet online.

Lehigh Valley:

Welcome to the Penn State Schuylkill and Lehigh Valley Instructional Design Services Blog. For those of you that don't know what a "blog" is, the term is a shortened form of the word weblog - sort of an online journal where you can publish you thoughts, ideas, comments, etc. on any number of topics.

The Penn State Blog Project is currently in pilot mode. You can find more information and apply for blog space at Once your blog is up and running, others will be able to access it through your Penn State personal web space.

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