OLC Innovate: Reflections on Virtually Attending

Recently, I had the pleasure to attend OLC Innovate. Well, not in the traditional sense. Rather, I participated through the available digital mediums at the conference. Twitter was a large portion of my engagement, but I also joined a couple conference sessions hosted by Virtually Connecting and even remotely played games with several attendees. All in all, I connected with many awesome people and participated in several fruitful conversations that I am exited to share.

Virtually Connecting

My favorite part of OLC Innovate was the opportunity to attend two virtual sessions. These meetings were well executed, let me connect with others, and helped me join in dialogues from the conference.

Session 1 – xMOOC & cMOOC in HumanMOOC

Matt Crosslin presented over the dual-layer model of mixing xMOOC with cMOOC in HumanMOOC. In particular, he outlined the technologies utilized, design limitations, and challenges experienced while facilitating the course. After his quick presentation, Matt provided four discussion prompts to solicit ideas about the dual-layer model present in HumanMOOC. Following several minutes of group dialogue, everyone came back and shared the ideas they had generated in their small groups.

My group focused on the fourth prompt, “How do you grade assignments that come from such different modalities?” I was excited to tackle this question since I had been thinking about it recently. The main idea we generated was requesting student input on the assessment of their assignments. For example, if a student wants to create an instructional video as a project, they need to help establish the expectations and rubric of the intended assessments before embarking on producing the video. That way, students have the flexibility of learning any way they want while instructors are able to provide some structure to facilitate this open-ended approach. If you want to hear our discussion, check out the following video (starting at 13:32):

Virtually Connecting Experience

This was my first time to participate in a conference virtually and there were several factors that contributed toward making this a positive experience.

1. Our Onsite Buddy, Autumm Caines, was excellent. She helped make conversations feel natural by angling the camera toward Matt Crosslin or other speakers at appropriate times. Additionally, Autumm helped facilitate the discussion for the digital participants when it was time to break off into groups.

2. The presenter engaged with the virtual participants. Matt made a point to engage our virtual group. This allowed us to contribute toward the overall discussion of the session and Matt made me feel like a person rather than a computer screen.

3. Home grown and accessible technologies make me want to do this again. Google Hangouts on Air was the tool used to virtually connect to this session. Since it is freely available, anyone can use it to reproduce their own virtually connecting style session. The nature of this DIY technology setup resonates with Indie Ed Tech ideas that excite me.

4. My colleagues were attending this session in person. This session was more fun because both of my colleagues, Adam Croom and John Stewart were also in attendance. Sharing this experience made participating in the conversations more meaningful.

5. Technical limitations made the session intimate. Although we did not breach the user limit of Google Hangouts, being confined to ten participants is a good limitation for a virtual session. This restriction yields a small enough group size to allow everyone to engage in discussion.

6. Documentation makes conceptualizing roles easier. There’s a great webpage on virtuallyconnecting.org that outlines the various roles of a Virtually Connecting session. Reading over this gave me a good representation of the different personnel that compose a session.

Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 6.28.11 PM
My computer screen while participating in a virtual session—using Google Hangouts & Tweetdeck.

Session 2 – Digital Redlining

Chris Gilliard, Kristen Eshleman, & Hugh Culik facilitated excellent discussion on digital redlining, privacy, and information access. I have been thinking about these topics recently, but I had not heard the term “digital redlining” before OLC Innovate. I am thankful for attending this session because it introduced me to a new perspective on a familiar topic. While I have focused on socioeconomic barriers and how personal technologies play a role in university education, I have not been addressing these issues at their systemic levels. Now when I consider mobile devices as more financially accessible productivity devices, I will think more broadly about the problems facing students. Using affordable mobile devices as an example, how does the variance of cellular data prices versus broadband internet impact students?

There is much more to be learned about these topics, so I recommend checking out the available YouTube video from the session:

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

In the middle of March, as GOBLIN was coming to an end, I connected with John Robertson as he was looking for volunteers to help with a gaming event he was hosting at OLC Innovate. John and I bonded because we were both planning on engaging faculty using the game Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes (KTaNE). Little did I know this would lead me to volunteer at OLC Innovate a month later!

John’s event, #PlugIN Gaming Session, was a combination of several games. My colleague John Stewart led a game called Artemis while I was setup in another room playing KTaNE. I was excited for this opportunity. How often do you get to remote in to a conference to play a video game with the attendees? In all seriousness, it was an excellent test case for this type of online engagement.

If you want a quick laugh, I am trying to explain how to disarm explosives in this video:

Being involved as a volunteer remotely was a positive experience for me. I got to meet some more outstanding people and connect with them through a game focused on accurate communication. It was a fun way to be involved at OLC Innovate and I want to thank John Robertson for facilitating!

Twitter

Twitter functioned as my main communication channel during OLC Innovate. More than that, it catalyzed my involvement with the @VConnecting group and the #PlugIN gaming session. Even though I was located in another state, Twitter allowed me to asynchronously engage with the content and hold multiple “innovative” conversations at once. I am grateful to all those that live tweeted during sessions (big shoutout to Laura & Mark) and fortunate to have met so many awesome people online!

TAGS Explorer

During OLC Innovate, I setup TAGS Explorer to collect all the tweets containing #OLCInnovate. Originally, I was only interested in the various hashtags used at this conference. Overtime, my interests quickly evolved as others started engaging with the dataset. Now I want to give others the opportunity to play with and analyze the tweets from OLC Innovate. If you are interested, see my post on accessing the open Twitter data from #OLCInnovate.

What Now?

If you are interested in more perspectives from OLC Innovate, here are my recommended posts & podcast (in no particular order):

Also, I invite you to explore the open Twitter dataset from OLC Innovate that I recently posted. Lot’s of interesting information is waiting to be uncovered!

Finally, thank you everyone for making my first OLC Innovate conference delightful! Even from afar, between the virtual sessions, Twitter, and volunteering in the #PlugIN gaming session, I felt as though I was truly present!

The featured image is provided CC0 by Jay Mantri via Unsplash.

OLC Innovate: Open Twitter Data

During OLC Innovate, I setup TAGS Explorer to collect all the tweets containing #OLCInnovate. Originally, I was only interested in the various hashtags used at this conference. Overtime, my interests quickly evolved as others started engaging with the dataset. Now I want to give others the opportunity to play with and analyze the tweets from OLC Innovate.

all the tweets

Access the Data!

I am providing the twitter data in a few different formats to maximize access. You are welcome to convert to any other file formats. As an open dataset, I am assigning a CC-BY 4.0 license to this content. Let me know if you have any questions!

Google Sheet

CSV

Txt File (Tweet Text Only)

JSON – For access, open the Google Sheet Link above and click “Export JSON” in the google sheet menu to create this file. For more information on the script I used to make this possible, see this post by Pamela Fox.

Data Uses

During the conference I used this data to show which hashtags were popular:

The dataset also helped me determine the most retweeted tweets at OLC Innovate:

Beyond these pieces of information, I would love to calculate how many times “Innovate” was used at the conference. Or analyze the tweets from specific users, like the top tweeters:

There are more substantial and interesting pieces of information within these tweets—I am excited to see what you find and produce! If you want to see what I am working on, here is access to some of my personal analysis.

Where To Start?

Voyant Tools 2.0 is my first suggestion for data analysis. You can copy the provided txt file into this tool to explore many interesting data visualizations. This is a great place to start because Voyant is very accessible and informative. Also, you are welcome to share any other data visualization tools you know.

Volant Tools 2.0

For those interested, I have posted my reflections on attending OLC Innovate virtually. I am excited to share my experiences about virtually attending this conference!

The featured image is provided CC0 by Bill Williams via Unsplash.

Chromebook: Manual for Mac User – 2016

I’ve been exploring the current state of Chromebooks this past week and I wanted to document all of the analogous softwares and workflows I use to be productive on a Chromebook if you are coming from a Mac. From word processing to photo editing, here is my list of recommended software alternatives if you are switching from a Mac to a Chromebook:

Mail

Chromebook: CloudMagic

Mac: Mail

CloudMagic offers similar functionality in terms of adding multiple accounts and sorting emails to their respective inboxes and folders as the Mac Mail client. On my Chromebook I added Gmail, Yahoo Mail, iCloud, and Office 365 emails to the CloudMagic app in a couple minutes. So far, I’ve been really pleased with the performance of CloudMagic, not to mention it is a nice looking app to use for reading and writing email.

Calendar

Chromebook: Sunrise Calendar

Mac: Calendar

I needed a way to access my iCloud calendars, Google calendars, and work Exchange calendars from one app on my Chromebook and Sunrise Calendar allows me to easily do this. However, first you need to sync your calendars from another device, and if you need to use iCloud calendars, you have to install the Sunrise Calendar app to an iPhone, iPad or an Android device first (this will not work from the Mac version of Sunrise Calendar). Once, you overcome this syncing hurdle, Sunrise Calendar works well and looks great for organizing meetings and events. Unfortunately, this solution may not be viable in the future as the team behind Sunrise Calendar is now working for Microsoft and does not plan to provide updates to their Sunrise Calendar product in the foreseeable future. For now, it is my recommendation, but be aware it may not be a permanent calendar client solution for Chomebooks.

Office Suite

Chromebook: Google Docs Suite –> Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides

Mac: iWork –> Pages, Numbers, & Keynote

My go to office software on my Mac is Pages, Numbers, & Keynote. Although you can use iCloud.com to access these apps, the Google Docs suite loads much faster for me on Chromebook. If you prefer using Microsoft Office, you are also able to use office.com on a Chromebook if you have an Office 365 subsription. However, the Google Docs suite still loads faster for me and benefits from the Google Drive integration that is part of the Chrome operating system. All that to say, you can always export documents, spreadsheets or presentation slides to their most universal formats (.doc, .ppt, .xls) with any of these aforementioned office suites on a Chromebook.

Music

Chromebook: Google Play Music

Mac: iTunes

If you are not already using Spotify (or another music service), I recommend Google Play Music on Chromebook. Before you move from your Mac, use the Google Play Music Manager app to upload all of your iTunes music into Google Play Music. Once complete, you are able to stream all of your music to your Chromebook from music.google.com. As an added benefit, from this point, you will be able to stream your Google Play Music to your Android phone, iPhone, or any computer that can access music.google.com.

Photo Storage

Chromebook: Google Photos

Mac: Photos

Since Chromebooks have very limited amounts of internal storage my suggestion for storing photos is Google Photos. Similar to the process of uploading your music to Google Play Music, there is a way to upload all of your pictures from your Mac before you move to a Chromebook. Use the Google Photos Uploader software to store all of your pictures in Google Photos for free. Once your images are uploaded, you will be able to access them from your Chromebook (or any other computer) using photos.google.com. In fact, this is a great solution to combine your library of photos from all of your computers and mobile devices into one place!

Photo Editor (Simple)

Chromebook: Canva

Mac: Preview

For basic editing beyond what Mac Photos and Google Photos offer, Canva is my recommendation. Canva can be used to alter the pixel dimensions of a photo and is robust enough to be used as an alternative to Photoshop for basic photo editing. Not to mention, Canva is way easier to use than a traditional photo editor. Just be aware Canva requires signing up for an account before you start creating memes and other graphics from your Chromebook!

Slack

Chromebook: Slacky

Mac: Slack

I use Slack at work to instant message my coworkers from my phone or laptop. It is a great alternative or supplement to email when having online conversations. I prefer the Slacky app to the regular Slack app in the Chrome Web store because Slacky displays Slack within its own window. This makes it is easier to separate Slack messages from other work I am doing on my Chromebook since I can minimize Slacky.

Twitter

Chromebook: Tweetdeck

Mac: Twitter & Tweetdeck

Simply add the Tweetdeck app from the Web App store to your Chromebook and you will have similar access to Twitter as you would on your Mac. The only difference is that Tweetdeck on Chromebook is used through the web browser versus its own window like the app that is available on Mac.

Trello

Chromebook: Trello External Window

Mac: Trello Website

Trello has been my main app for tracking of projects and to-do lists for the last year. I recommend using the Trello External Window app on Chromebook for the same reasons I prefer Slacky to the regular Slack app, it has an external window interface. This makes it easier to separate Trello content from other web browser work.

Feedly

Chromebook: Feedly

Mac: Feedly Website

To access RSS news feeds, I have used Feedly for a long time. It keeps me up-to-date with education blogs and technology news outlets I follow. Like with Tweetdeck, add this app to your Chromebook and you are ready to access news the same way you would have on your Mac.

Ending

This list of 10 Chromebook recommendations covers many of my major productivity needs and workflows that I am accustomed to on my Mac. I hope it has been helpful to you! Also, I am happy to continue this list if you are interested in more suggestions, just let me know.

The featured image is provided CC0 by Tran Mau Tri Tam via Unsplash.

Testing Embedded Surveys

Qualtrics

Embedded Survey
HTML Text Used to Embed This Survey

Google Forms

Embedded Survey
HTML Text Used to Embed This Survey

Explanation

Just exploring functional and visual differences between embedding Qualtrics and Google Form surveys on a WordPress website. As a reference, I used this site to make sure I had the right HTML iFrame for the Qualtrics form.

Additionally, the “<p style=”text-align: center;”></p>” portion of the HTML is not necessary for each example—I am only using it to center each of the forms within the page.

Be sure to check the embedded survey differences on mobile devices as well! 🙂

Let me know if you have any questions.

The featured image is provided CC0 by Dakota Roos via Unsplash.

Technology Enabled Learning – GTA Seminar

Tuesday, I had the opportunity to lead a seminar at the Graduate Teaching Academy (GTA), which is a program hosted by CTE that “seeks to promote and maintain a standard of teaching excellence amongst graduate students at the University of Oklahoma.”

This seminar started with everyone brainstorming their favorite classroom activities as Paper Tweets. Together, we generated a great list of engaging and memorable learning (and teaching) experiences. From building interactive and media-rich timelines to great icebreaker activities involving toilet paper, there were many great instructional examples to contextualize the rest of our seminar.

'Accurate' portrayal of Toilet Paper Icebreaker Activity

From this point, we shifted focus to our three topics of discussion: mobile devices, choice in assignments, and crowdsourcing resources.

Seminar Discussion

Mobile Devices
Choice in Assignments
Crowdsourcing Resources

Closing

The final assignment for the participants of this seminar was to think about how to adapt one of our topics of discussion—mobile devices, choices in assignments, and crowdsourcing resources —to their favorite learning experience they outlined in their Paper Tweet.

Presenting at GTA was a great experience. If you are interested in sharing your expertise with the next generation of researchers and university instructors, please contact the Center for Teaching Excellence at teach@ou.edu and schedule a session!

Also, for those interested, here are my slides and the annotated whiteboards from this event:

IMG_20160308_181454