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Academic Technology Funding Program Opens 1/5/15

ACADEMIC INNOVATION GRANTS

Looking to enrich your course through technology but need funding to purchase equipment or hire a student assistant? The Academic Innovation Grants Program exists to facilitate faculty and department innovation in teaching and learning through the application of the latest in instructional technology.

Faculty and instructors submit proposals that are reviewed by the Academic Innovation Committee in spring semester. Download the packet of information and submit proposal online.

Proposals for a single round of funding are open from Monday, January 5 to Wednesday, March 4, 2015 with winners announced in May. Questions can be directed to Sarah Knoblauch at cla-acadtech@umn.edu.

INFRASTRUCTURE FOR LEARNING

For equipment upgrades or recurring funding, the Infrastructure for Learning Program supports the long-term evolution and maintenance of the inventory of instructional infrastructure in CLA. This program option is intended to utilize strategic planning with regard to your departmental technology equipment.

Department Chairs submit a single plan for their department for the following year that is reviewed by the Infrastructure for Learning Committee, made up of technology and space professionals from departments across CLA and OIT, in the spring semester. This committee maintains inventory and reviews department plans for upgrades and new facilities.

Proposal submission is open from Monday, January 5 to Wednesday, March 4, 2015 with winners announced in May. Questions and emails of interest can be directed to Christopher Stordalen at cla-acadtech@umn.edu. Once the email of interest is received, you may contact your department's relationship manager for assistance in completing the plan documentation.

Good Luck!

Get to know CLA-OIT: Holly Leighton

Holly Leighton APPROVED (1).jpg
Name: Holly Leighton

When did you start working at the U?January 2000

Current position? Relationship Manager for CLA-OIT

What is your favorite aspect of your job? Meeting with faculty and staff.

What excites you about working at the U/CLA-OIT? Working with faculty and staff, and seeing the "light bulb" go on when they understand a technology concept or procedure.

What is your favorite accomplishment with CLA-OIT, so far? Creating the first bonafide Service Desk with Kevin Smith in 2006. That was a BLAST!

What do you do for fun? I love to run with my dog, Max.

Favorite motto or personal mantra? Tomorrow is another day, and you get to start fresh.

Interesting facts:

  • I have both a bachelor's and master's degree in French.
  • My favorite place on earth is Paris and I hope to live there one day.

Get to know CLA-OIT: John Fite

John Fite (2).JPGName: John Fite

Hometown and first place you lived after leaving home? My hometown is Huntington Beach, California and the first place I lived after leaving home was Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.

When did you start working at the U? August 2012

Current position? Relationship Manager for CLA-OIT

What is your favorite aspect of your job? Meeting, working with, and learning from talented individuals across many disciplines. I hope that someday I can benefit them as much as they have me.

What advice do you have for CLA-OIT constituents who are intimidated by technology? If I could go back in time and tell the twelve-year-old John Fite anything, it would be, "You can find a solution to almost any problem in a book somewhere." Technology is quickly reaching a similar position and will then surpass it in ways that we cannot predict. For most people I know, the time investment required to learn and stay current with technology is more than repaid in the leverage it gives them in solving more and more of life's problems.

What is your favorite place on campus?
Washington Avenue Bridge - Being from the West Coast, it is impressive to me that every time I walk across that bridge I'm going from Eastern to Western USA or vice-versa. I do seem to notice a cultural difference when I arrive at the other side, as well!

Favorites:

Authors: Kurt Vonnegut, Philip K. Dick, Neal Stephenson, Hunter S. Thompson, Alan Watts

Website:jamesaltucher.com

Sources of inspiration: Popular Science Books (esp. Dawkins, Brian Greene, Ray Kurzweil, Feynman, Michio Kaku, Steven Pinker, Robert Pirsig)

Favorite word: Yes

Phrase that annoys you: I'll try

Food and drink: Sashimi, red wine

TV show and movie: Twin Peaks, The Matrix

Musicians: Bach, Depeche Mode, Serge Gainsbourg, Morrissey

Favorite place: Joshua Tree National Park

Folwell Hall Revised Technology Plan

Following valuable feedback, the previously planned technology upgrade in Folwell Hall was revised to better fit the needs of faculty, staff, and students. Rather than a full upgrade, classrooms in Folwell will undergo a scaled back "refresh" that includes the following:

  • Replacing video projectors with higher lumen machines
  • Replacing DVD players with newer DVD models
  • Removing all DVD/VHS combo players

Since this is a refresh and not a complete upgrade, no cameras will be added during this cycle. 

The Office of Classroom Management will oversee the project that begins during winter break and continues throughout the spring semester.

Now Playing: New Streaming Materials Available For Classrooms

The University Libraries have licensed the Media Education Foundation collection and all currently available California Newsreel titles hosted on the Kanopy streaming platform! These include many of our most requested titles that circulate on DVD/VHS. Check back regularly as new titles will continue to be added. Note: This license is a pilot that will run for at least the next 3 years.

Library Media Services has launched a Streaming Video website that highlights most of the Libraries licensed streaming video collections, with tips on how to locate these materials in MNCat and how to embed these videos into Moodle. Please consult the Digital Video Collections Guide to see a comprehensive listing of all Libraries licensed and suggested high quality, freely available streaming video collections.

If you have questions regarding potential streaming acquisitions, how to embed this video content into your course site, or recommendations for finding that perfect video to use in your class, feel free to contact your subject librarian or Media Outreach Librarian, Scott Spicer. Finally, please send Scott or your subject librarian any feedback you may have on the value of this content in your teaching and students' learning. Your feedback is critical as we continue to assess our licensed streaming video collections.

Turnitin Upgrade Results In Broken Features

The issue in brief:


  • Turnitin (a Moodle assignment management tool) is not working properly, brought on by a recent update

  • The University's central Moodle Support team is working on the issue with the vendor

  • Faculty and other instructors should discontinue using the Turnitin GradeMark feature for commenting or annotating student submissions and entering grades

  • Instructors needing help with this issue should contact UMN Technology Help at 612-301-4357 (1-HELP) or help@umn.edu

  • If you would like to discuss this issue more in-depth, please contact your CLA-OIT Relationship Manager


The issue at length:


A couple of weeks ago we became aware that many of our CLA faculty were having problems with Turnitin (a Moodle assignment management tool). When we learned of this issue, we contacted those most affected by it - CLA language programs - and tried to better understand the issue. Most of the problems seem to be centered around giving feedback (i.e., commenting or annotating) on students' submissions, as well as on the grade book part of the tool. In most instances, students were not able to view graded/commented papers; in other instances, faculty-submitted grades in Turnitin were not properly channeled into the appropriate Moodle grade book.


During this time, we were also in close contact with the UMN Moodle staff, who are responsible for supporting Turnitin. They are aware of the issue and are in on-going consultation with the Turnitin vendor. They are also trying to find ways around the issue so that faculty and students can conduct their teaching and learning as close to normal as possible while the vendor designs a solution.


The UMN Moodle team is also actively working on short-term solutions. In the meantime, the UMN Moodle team recommends users experiencing problems contact them, and that all faculty discontinue using the GradeMark feature for commenting or annotating student submissions and entering grades until further notice.


Updates on the progress and issue resolution will continue to be shared through Moodle Announcements, MoodleTalk, and the Category Support group channels in Moodle.


If you have questions or concerns about how this affects your department, please contact CLA-OIT at claoit@umn.edu or 612-625-1010. Also, you may contact your CLA-OIT Relationship Manager.

CLA-OIT Services for Faculty and Staff

With the transition to the centralized UMN Help Desk complete, CLA-OIT will soon rename itself to better illustrate the robust services it continues to offer to support faculty, staff, and students.

As its core mission, CLA-OIT provides:


  • advanced research support

  • enhanced teaching and learning

  • digital humanities

  • technology consultation

  • process improvement suggestions

  • video and media services

Don't Know Where To Start?

Relationship managers work with every department in CLA to determine what services are needed and the best way to provide them. CLA-OIT specializes in custom solutions to individual issues.


This week Google announced that all Google Apps for Education customers (such as UMN) will have unlimited storage available to them at no additional charge. The program supports individual files up to 5TB in size and will be available in the coming weeks.


Every file uploaded to Google Drive is encrypted, comes with the same high-level security that protects all Drive users, and remains the property of the individual or school who uploads it.  The Google Apps for Education group of services is free to nonprofit educational institutions and will remain free of ads and ads-related scanning.

CLA-OIT's Loaner Laptop and Equipment Pool Moved to Rarig

To streamline all CLA-OIT technology pick-up and drop-off to a single location, the CLA-OIT loaner laptop and equipment pool is now located in 508B Rarig along with video cameras. CLA-OIT staff manage the inventory and equipment is available to all eligible CLA faculty, staff, and graduate students. Online reservations are currently unavailable, but will be active later this semester. In the meantime, reservations can be made by calling 612-626-5881. Equipment is available for pick-up and drop-off Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The CLA-OIT website contains additional information regard the types of loaners available.

As the University works to provide the latest technology to enhance learning, obsolete and failing platforms must be retired. During the 2015 Spring Semester, VCR and DVD players will be permanently removed from the general purpose classrooms in Folwell Hall. This is part of a multi-year plan designed to encourage the safe storage of materials online and to limit the upkeep on outdated platforms.


The Office of Classroom Management will oversee the projection system upgrades and removal of the VCR/DVD players.


Faculty and staff who require assistance in transferring their DVDs and tapes to a digital format can contact their department's relationship manager.

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