Category Archives: ANGEL and online instruction

Keeping Students Engaged With Video

We at the CTL understand that many faculty prefer to remain as low-tech as possible, utilizing technology only when  necessary. Our guest blogger this month is one such faculty member. Mathematics Professor Lori Chapman had an opportunity to discover how posting her lectures on YouTube and ANGEL helped her engage students: 

I wanted to share how an out-of-classroom use of technology helped me stay connected with my students in the classroom.  First of all, I’m not a very “tech-centric” person; I can do what I need to do, but if I don’t need technology to do Chalkboardsomething, I won’t use it.  I take the same approach to teaching: if a shiny new technique genuinely enhances my courses I will use it, but mostly I stick with what I know works.  I know what works in the classroom is to stay connected with students! Continue reading

Sailing the Sea of Data: What is Learning Analytics?


Technology is supposed to aid instructors with their courses, but with the increasing amount of data generated by laptops, smartphones, tablets and Learning Management Systems, so much data can seem like a vast, confusing sea of information. How can we navigate past the rocks and shoals and steer ourselves into calmer waters where we can put the data to use? Continue reading

“Exercising” our Creative Technology Potential

Physical Education Professor Sheila Tansey likes a challenge, she also likes trying new things.  So when we heard about how Sheila has integrated the iPad, mobile apps AND video recording into her courses we knew it was too good NOT to share.  The problem was, how does one person video record, analyze, and share feedback to students in courses such as tennis, bowling and golf.  These courses require a huge amount of time and personal attention … so what’s a coach to do?

We’ll let Professor Tansey explain:

When the College was no longer able to come to my classes and record my students and hand them the VHS of their performance, I had to come up with a creative solution to make sure the students were not being short-changed. With the help of the CTL, I think I was able to do just that.

This generation of students is not camera-shy and more willing to publicly share and provide feedback. The trick was how to use this to my advantage and to facilitate the learning process. What I’ve found by using the tools below, is that I have been able to increase class participation, increase retention of information, and solved my problem of video recording with feedback. Along the way, I have been able to incorporate other tools into the teaching and learning process that have elevated the students’ ownership over their learning and has allowed me to coach them through this process. By taking ownership over their learning, students both work at a higher level and inject more creativity into their assignments.

Here are some of the tools I’ve begun using and how I’ve integrated them into the courses:

  • Use the Coach’s Eye app to record student performances and provide feedback. This allows me to share a video of individual student performances along with audio and screen annotations of my analysis.
  • Use the Swingbyte app to provide a graphical representation on the X,Y and Z axes of the student’s golf swing and ball flight. It tracks individual improvement and the data can be immediately be shared.
  • Self-Defense students were recorded, uploaded to YouTube and linked within the ANGEL course. Students review and practice using the videos before their skill assessments.
  • Pilates students wrote their own routine, recorded it, uploaded to YouTube and provided the link within ANGEL. Students can continue working out to their own routine after the class is over.
  • Use the Myfitnesspal app to record calorie intake when eating, calories burned through exercise, scans barcodes to get the nutrition information, and calculations to see the impact of their activities in health and wellness classes.

It is always quicker and less work to deliver course material in the same way as done in the past, especially if it has been successful. It does take time and effort for the initial learning and experimenting to find the solution that best fits the curricular outcomes. The CTL staff helped cut down time spent on the technical learning curve and help brainstorm implementing possible solutions. The payoffs have been well worth the investment.


Want to know more? Contact us OR drop Sheila a line. (  Are you using an iPad or mobile apps in an interesting way?  We want to spotlight the great things you’re already doing.

Say Adieu to the Red Pen and Bonjour to Turnitin


Help students turn around their writing using Turnitin.   It’s the next best thing to help student writers since the typewriter … Ok, that may be a stretch but we think that Turnitin has great potential to help our students get better feedback from instructors and peers.  Here is what it offers:

  • An easy and efficient way to deliver electronic feedback to students on their writing assignments.
  • An easy and efficient way to manage and monitor peer evaluations.
  • The ability to leave voice comments for students.
  • Access to rubrics to help your students understand what is being asked of them. 
  • Best of all Macomb has an institutional license and y
  • ou can access it through ANGEL … right now!

How to use Turnitin

When people think of Turnitin the first thing that usually comes to mind is anti-plagiarism because it runs a diagnostic report using internet sources and Turnitin’s database of submitted papers for closely borrowed and plagiarized material.  While this tool can be helpful it should be used with care.  As one professor explained, “I don’t want to begin my new relationship with students assuming that they are going to cheat and that my job is to catch them at it. My students are not my adversaries.”  Kudos to this Macomb faculty member, who has her student’s best interests in mind.  So while you may be excited about this feature we strongly suggest that Turnitin should be used as a positive tool rather than a punitive trap.  So forget the originality report for right now.  It’s small beans compared to what else the program allows you to do … and don’t fret, we’ll address this tool in a future post. So check out these cool tools instead.

GradeMark – Allows for 5 different types of engaging and individualized feedback.  You can choose from a variety of pre-made comments,  create your own or leave voice comments.

PeerMark – Easily allows students to have access to each other’s papers and provides for interactive peer feedback.

Rubrics – Connect assignments with grade level appropriate rubrics or create your own.

To get started with Turnitin, access your ANGEL Master shell, go to Lessons and then click Add Content.  Scroll down to Turnitin at the bottom of the screen.  Give your assignment a title to get started. It’s that easy!

Click here for faculty focused tutorialsmacbook13red2

Feed Me: Adding and RSS to your Online Course

You may already subscribe to RSS feeds from your favorite blogs or news sites but did you know that you can insert RSS feeds into your ANGEL course? Do your students know that they can add their own feeds to their personal ANGEL pages?

Are you still wondering what exactly is an RSS feed? Never fear, all will be explained.

Q: What is an RSS feed?

A: Incorporating RSS feeds allows you to automatically stream news, podcasts or stats from other websites into your course. No need to go to the actual website, it get’s delivered to you.

Q: Why should I use RSS feeds?

A: RSS feeds help you stay top of interests and issues that are important to you and your students.  Because the feeds point to other sources they can help connect communities of teachers and learners.

Q: How do I add a RSS to ANGEL?

A: It’s simple. From your course page click the “Edit page” in the top left part of your screen. Click the “Add Component” and scroll down to the Course feed, scroll down and check the box for RSS feed. Open the Course RSS Feed component and using the pencil open the Headline Settings Screen, click “Add Feed”. You can search for a feed, or paste the link directly into the box to the right.

Q: How you can use RSS feeds to engage your class?

A: This all depends on whether you teach an online, hybrid or web enhanced course. Here are some quick ideas to get you started. If you are interested in more detailed ideas, you know who to call.

1. Both Sides of an Issue/ Track a Topic Take a current issue that has pros and cons. For an example lets say, Ethics and Biology. Divide the class into groups. Each group tracks a specific journal/news source. Each week the group reports on the coverage and comments on any prejudice or leaning tendencies of the website, author, or journal. This can be used as an in class or online discussion.

2. Show and Tell Have each student research and subscribe to a different RSS feed. Throughout the semester have each student submit a journal or give a two-minute presentation on a topic that pertain to the course. This lesson is an excellent platform for discussing reliable resources and a great opportunity to collaborate with the librarians.

3. Make it Real Keep your examples crisp and current by using examples from your course’s RSS feeds. Having your students find examples of theories put into a real-word context will enhance their understanding. Statistics, Economics and Marketing courses lend themselves to this method.  Instead of using a problem from the text-book, why not look at the news for the data and let your students apply what they learned.

Do you already use RSS feeds in your ANGEL course? If so, share with us how you used them for a project or an assignment. Are their other resources we should know about? Leave us a comment.


New ANGEL documents

Online education is here to stay. If you don’t believe me, just see the chart below or Google “online education trends” to see for yourself! Macomb’s virtual and hybrid courses fill up faster than many of the on-ground courses, and we are making a strong effort to meet that demand.

(Source: National Center for Education Statistics,
U.S. Department of Education)

We are in the process of re-working our ANGEL “Getting Started” training just a bit, and want to share our progress with you:

  • ANGEL Getting Started – Orientation: provides an introduction to ANGEL at Macomb, takes you through the first steps of logging in, and prepares you for the workshop.
  • ANGEL Getting Started – Building your Course: used during the workshop, and can also be used as a reference guide. All the basics are covered, with step-by-step instruction of important features including the Gradebook. (We plan to visually enhance this document in the near future, stay tuned.)

We welcome your comments and suggestions!

♪ Video Killed the Telephone Star ♪

It’s a holiday week, so homages to great 80’s songs are allowed, right? Whatever happened to The Buggles, and who knew they would be so right? And… what does this have to do with instructional technology?! Today we’re going to talk about online video chat, how it can be used in higher education to enhance the learning process, and wonder if it will someday kill the “telephone star!”

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CTL Idea Exchange – Episode 4


Lena, thank you for participating! And so… what do YOU think?

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Discussion Forum Coolness

As you probably know by now, the college’s LMS, ANGEL has recently been upgraded! Many of these new features will improve both the instructor and student experience. For example, the Discussion Forums have received a make-over, and we’d like to share a few of those improvements with you now!

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What is ANGEL, anyway?! (continued)

As a follow up to the previous post, please find parts 2 and 3 of the ANGEL Getting Started training videos below.

Once the video begins playing, you can use the buttons in the bottom-right corner to expand to full-screen, or change the video’s resolution (720p is high-def but may load slower).

ANGEL Getting Started – Part 2


ANGEL Getting Started – Part 3