Category Archives: Classroom Technologies

Canvas Student Feedback

StudentLaptop-01In the last edition of our blog we shared what your colleagues were saying since the rollout of our new learning management system, Canvas.

So far, the response has been extremely favorable from the faculty side of the class, but what about our students? How has their Canvas user experience been?

We reached out to some of our students to find out what they had to say:

Canvas Notifications

These students were particularly fond of Canvas Notifications:

“I liked that Canvas would keep me updated on what I had due and when it was due. I also liked that Canvas would mark my assignments as done. It was a mark of achievement.

– Jacquelyn (Social Psychology Student)

“I like the notifications on the sidebar about which assignments due are coming up, and I like that it shows what you’ve submitted.”

– Melissa (Phys. Ed. Student)

“I really enjoy linking my Canvas calendar with my G-Mail calendar. It really helps with reminders and notifications.”

– Fadi (Macomb Student)

submit assignment

Holly likes the organization of Canvas and the ease of submitting assignments:

“I like that all my classes and materials are in one place. I like that I can submit assignments through canvas. It saves time from having to print out assignments, plus it saves paper.”

– Holly (English, Biology Student)

Canvas Communication

The best part of Canvas is the communication methods. From what I have used, along with what I’ve learned through Canvas’s tutorial, is that the communication functions are absolutely terrific.”

– Fadi (Macomb Student)

Print Grades

“The interface and grade reports are awesome. The interface is easy on the eyes and simple to use. The grade reports show a lot of information in an easy-to-read manner.”

– LeeAnn (Biology Student)

What If Grades

“I like the “What If” feature and the Grades feature in conjunction because together they give me a grade as of that moment and a goal to shoot for on my next assignment right in front of me. It helps in watching and maintaining my grades. It’s a great tool.”

– Ashley (Macomb Student)

It seems that Canvas is being well received from both faculty and learners. We would like to thank those students that kindly allowed us to use their comments for this month’s blog.

If you still need assistance with transitioning from Angel to Canvas, or you need help getting started in Canvas, contact us at the Center for Teaching and Learning. We are always available to assist you!

How to Create Video Lessons


Choosing to produce videos for your students can make an incredible difference in their education. If you read last month’s blog post, you’ll remember it focused on faculty experiences utilizing this resource. While we explored the “Why” of creating video lessons for class, we hardly touched upon the “How”.

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Why I Create Videos for My Students

this image shows a computer screen displaying a video paused on an instructor teaching at a blackboard.As the use of technology grows, meeting your students’ learning needs becomes more feasible. This month, we’re shining a spotlight on instructors Shaun Sarcona (MACA), Sam Sarkissian (BIOL), and Mark Champagne (CHEM) who create videos and post them online for their students. Although the three instructors represent different concentrations in the college, their stories all followed similar narratives.

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How to Connect with the Modern Learner

“If you want to change a relationship, change the way you act in it.”

When Dr. Christy Price, psychology professor from Dalton State College, began her keynote speech at Macomb Community College’s Faculty Development Day, her intent was to inspire continued action toward the increasing students’ successful behaviors. Price’s research on modern learners provided insight as to who our students are as a population and how instructors can reach them.

picture of President Jim Jacobs at Faculty Development Day

President Jim Jacobs reviewing the College Highlights at Faculty Development Day

She organized her findings into the five following categories for engaging Millennials.

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Click it -> Learn it -> Share it: Social Media’s Role in Education

Can YouTube video clips improve the lessons you teach? Will encouraging students to use Twitter reap academic benefits? Does blogging provide an effective means for instructors to connect with their class?

SocialClassroomIn short, yes, all of the above are possible.

Before continuing, let’s define “social media”, that often-used term. Whereas media refers to a means of communication (newspaper, television, or radio), social media takes those channels one step further, allowing people to interact with the presented content and with each other. The ability to have a two-way conversation is what sets it apart from traditional media.

Though the expression is beginning to feel stale, the opportunities social media provides for communication and learning are still fresh for educators across the globe. Continue reading

The Tao of Teaching With Technology

Even in the best of times, using technology to teach your students can sometimes be a frustrating process. But with patience and an open mind, that TechYangprocess can also yield tremendous rewards for both the teacher as well as the student. The CTL’s resident Taoist, Bill Drummond, has compiled a few nuggets of wisdom to help you keep calm, find your center and ultimately, to peacefully co-exist with Instructional Technology.


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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

The Virtual Field Trip

deer creek grand canyon

Much of the  information for this post was adapted from the blog, Free Technology for Teachers.

You might not be able to take your students to all the places they learn about in your classroom, but thanks to the web you can take them on virtual field trips.  Take interactive tours of  the Grand Canyon, Van Gogh Museum, and Sistine Chapel right from your computer!

Practically every week more STREET VIEW imagery is added to Google Maps. Through Street View students can take tours inside the White House, visit research stations in Antarctica, virtually hike the Grand Canyon, or go under water to explore the Great Barrier Reef. Some of these places are also featured in the Google World Wonders Project. Continue reading

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.