Creating Accessible Word Documents

It is very important to have an accessible classroom, and that includes your documents. Are your Word documents currently accessible to all students?

Below is a video (less than 5 minutes) to help you see what it takes to make your Word documents accessible.

John F. Kennedy said “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.” This is very true when making your classroom accessible. Trying to do it at the beginning of a semester, and only when you find out you have a disabled student, will lead to a lot of unwanted stress. It is best to start right away and give yourself time to repair inaccessible items.

Thank you for subscribing to the Faculty Learning Corner! Have a great weekend!

St Patrick’s Day

Saint Patrick’s day is a global celebration. Everyone knows about wearing green and the big party that comes with St. Patrick’s on March 17th, but how much do you know about St. Patrick and his history in Ireland? Did you know that he wasn’t born in Ireland?

Watch the 3 minute video below to find out the story of the most famous saint….

Just for clarification, Saint Patrick was born in the year 385 (not 35!!) as it was stated in the video.

Have a Happy Saint Patrick’s Day on Sunday and thanks for reading the FLC!!

FlipGrid

Are you looking for a “simple to use” video communication tool that can enhance teacher to student, and student to student presence? FlipGrid might be the tool you’re looking for.

FlipGrid Logo and link to the Educator's Guide

FlipGrid is easy to use, and it’s Free!!! You can set the topic and then your students can respond in a video message that is up to 90 seconds long. They can either record a message or upload a message, and they can add an outside link to their message if needed.

To demonstrate, I wanted to let you try it out. I have set up a FlipGrid and recorded a video. Now you can go in and record your own. Just give us a little information about yourself – your name, where you work, and something that people might not know about you. Then record. If you mess up, don’t worry, you can re-record easily.

Here’s the link to our test FlipGrid –
https://flipgrid.com/320c012f

The Password is Test2019 (Passwords are optional, but I wanted to try using one.)

Once you get there, tap the green circle with the white cross to record your message, or tap one of the many (hopefully not just mine) boxes to hear the messages.


Did I mention that FlipGrid is free?!? If you want to know more click this link for the Educator’s Guide to FlipGrid .

Here is more information:

I hope you leave a FlipGrid message, and thanks for visiting (and subscribing) to the Faculty Learning Corner. Have a great weekend!

Clean Up Your Weekly Modules

Does your weekly modules in Blackboard include pictures of file folders that you would like to get rid of? In today’s FLC I’m going to show you, step by step, how to remove those folders and add new “icons” to make your modules cleaner and easier for your students to navigate.

(Tip: My recommendation is to build modules with the oldest at the bottom, and newest at the top, so when the student opens it up, they see the latest first.)


This is what your course modules may currently look like.
Finished Module with new Icons
This is what it will look like when we get done!

The first step is to create the icon you want to use. You can do this in any program that you like, such as Photoshop. I created mine in Powerpoint.

Icon in Powerpoint
I added a rectangle shape with rounded corners and added text to say “Week 1” and then created the rest by duplicating the slide and changing text and color.

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Next you will save your icons. This is how I saved mine in Powerpoint. Do this for each slide by hovering over the icon image and right clicking.

Saving your Icon
Right-Click within the Icon and Click on “Save as Picture.”


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Once the Icons are saved, go into Blackboard and click on the chevron, and then “edit” in the drop-down menu as shown below.

Arrows on Edit Module Folder


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When in the edit screen move your text down and place the cursor at the top left, then click on the “Insert/Edit Table” button.


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Make sure you are at 2 columns and 1 Row. Then hit the “Insert” button.

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Stretch the table out so it’s easier to work with.

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Place your cursor in the left column box and insert your image. Just click the Insert Image button and find where you saved the icon.

If your image is too large (like mine is above), you will need to change the size and re-save it prior to inserting into Blackboard. My finished images are 187 pixels by 106 pixels, so pretty small already, but much bigger than the “folder” icons they are replacing.

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In the right column add text. In my case I wanted the students to have the exact week dates for the weekly modules.

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Now, go to the top of the page so you can modify the entire content area for all weeks. Click on the chevron to reveal the dropdown menu and click the option to “Show Text Only.” This will get rid of the “folder” icons and leave your page looking clean!

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That’s it!!! Your weekly module are clear to students, and extraneous information (the folder icons) have been removed.


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Let me know if you have any problems cleaning up your Blackboard content page, and thanks for subscribing to the FLC. Have a great weekend!!

February 2019 Sitka Newsletter

Here is the latest copy of the Sitka Newsletter! Click on the picture below:

Angie on KCAW

Sitka Campus Newsletter February 2019

Budget Advocacy

I know the Governor’s budget is on everyone’s mind this week. Now that we are over the initial shock, you may want to contact your legislator. If you are an employee at a UA school, you need to know the rules in doing this.

Street Signs with a Dollar sign and the word Budget

First the Don’ts:

  • Do not use the University network to send an email
  • Do not use University facilities or resources to have partisan gatherings (unless there is payment for the use)
  • Do not use University resources to reproduce or distribute material (Do not use University paper, letterhead, copier, etc.)
  • Do not display or distribute political material while engaged on official business.

The Do’s:

  • You can host a debate as long as all parties are invited as a public service
  • You can invite a candidate to a class to address the matter, but only if it is related to the class being taught
  • An authorized student club can use their funds to host a partisan gathering on campus or participate in a partisan event
  • You can inform legislators, candidates and the public about University priorities, requested budgets, positions, programs, and/or research activities, but only if you are a University spokesperson or UA advocate
  • You can stand at a corner on campus during your lunch hours waving a partisan sign.

Again, UA employees may not use, or permit the use of UA email or other UA property or resources for partisan political purposes. 

You can use your own computer and private e-mail account to send a note to your legislator about the budget, and I encourage you to do this. Stay positive and show how the University benefits the state. Personal opinion is fine, but fact based arguments work better, such as, in FY2015 the University system generated $1.1 Billion in economic activity, and how 95% of residents see the University as as very important or important to the State . (https://www.alaska.edu/files/opa/UA-Economics-and-Public-Perceptions-Report-Final.pdf)

UA Advocacy Information Sheet

Click the following links to find your legislators:

Thanks for reading the FLC and have a great weekend!!

Sitka Campus Newsletter

Are you interested in what is happening at the Sitka campus? If so, take a look at the UAS Sitka newsletter.

Do you have announcements or stories to share in a future newsletter?
Send in your news for the February 2019 newsletter. The Social Media Team in Sitka hopes to keep Staff & Faculty in the loop by sending a monthly newsletter via email, and now through the FLC! If you have anything to contribute contact Angie Hilsman (aehilsman@alaska.edu) for more info.

If you are on another campus and have an official newsletter that you would like to add to the FLC, just send a note, or comment, and I’ll make sure it is added. Thanks!!

Assessment Toolkit Updates

I recently had a workshop on the Assessment Toolkit that was built last summer (http://uashome.alaska.edu/~sitka_media/training/assessment/story_html5.html) and I was given some great information by participants of the class. I wanted to share two items that they brought up that are now going to be added into the toolkit. Yes, as a FLC reader, you get a sneak peak!

Main Page of the Assessment Toolkit

The two items that will be added are a rubric tool, and also information on “Understanding by Design.”

Both of these tools are being used by faculty here at UAS, so if you haven’t seen them, this is a great opportunity to “kick the tires.”

The rubric tool is called RubiStar, and it allows you to build a rubric for your assignments using a template provided. RubiStar is funded through the U.S. Department of Education, and is free to use. Just click on the image below to access it:

The second item to be added to the Assessment Toolkit is information about “Understanding by Design.” UbD is a framework for building courses and is based on the concept of Backwards Design.

Seven tenets of UbD are:

  1. Learning is enhanced when teachers think purposefully about curricular planning. The UbD framework helps this process without offering a rigid process or prescriptive recipe.
  2. The UbD framework helps focus curriculum and teaching on the development and deepening of student understanding and transfer of learning (i.e., the ability to effectively use content knowledge and skill).
  3. Understanding is revealed when students autonomously make sense of and transfer their learning through authentic performance. Six facets of understanding—the capacity to explain, interpret, apply, shift perspective, empathize, and self-assess—can serve as indicators of understanding.
  4. Effective curriculum is planned backward from long-term, desired results through a three-stage design process (Desired Results, Evidence, and Learning Plan). This process helps avoid the common problems of treating the textbook as the curriculum rather than a resource, and activity-oriented teaching in which no clear priorities and purposes are apparent.
  5. Teachers are coaches of understanding, not mere purveyors of content knowledge, skill, or activity. They focus on ensuring that learning happens, not just teaching (and assuming that what was taught was learned); they always aim and check for successful meaning making and transfer by the learner.
  6. Regularly reviewing units and curriculum against design standards enhances curricular quality and effectiveness, and provides engaging and professional discussions.
  7. The UbD framework reflects a continual improvement approach to student achievement and teacher craft. The results of our designs—student performance—inform needed adjustments in curriculum as well as instruction so that student learning is maximized.

If you have other suggestions for items that you don’t see in the Assessment Toolkit, but think they should be included – just leave your suggestions in the “comments” and I’ll take a look! Thanks for reading the FLC today and have a great weekend!

Customer Service

A big part of service is individual accountability. Do you go above and beyond? In one of my all time favorite videos, James Lloyd tells a story of great customer service. I know the story is not in an education based environment, but the principles of customer service he describes here are universal to wherever you work. Please watch this 9 – 1/2 minute video, and then share it!!

When we get right down to the basics of what we do as University employees, we are in the business of Customer Service. We are here helping students get ahead, and doing what we can to make sure they are successful. We also do this with each other, helping our peers move forward and be successful.

With the right attitude we here at UAS can change lives and become a model of customer service for the entire UA system. “Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to serve you today!”

And thank you for subscribing to the Faculty Learning Corner! Have a great weekend!!

Adopting the Hygge Lifestyle

Here’s a new concept that I have recently been introduced to. Do you wonder why Denmark is, year after year, rated as the happiest county on the planet? The answer may be that they embrace Hygge (pronounced “hoo-ga”) lifestyle.

Hygge is not easily translated, but is a concept that embraces contentment and well-being through enjoying the simple things in life.  It is both a noun and an adjective. Watch the video below to learn more!

What is Hygge?

Some things that help make Hygge might be candles, fireplaces, throw blankets, homemade sweets, comfort foods, and hot drinks. But it’s not just material things that make Hygge; the most important aspects are attitude and lifestyle. It’s the balance between enjoying a hot drink and book by the fire, and enjoying time with friends and loved ones, and might include spending time outdoors while going on a hike. It’s about embracing things that spark joy in your heart.

Hygge is not about following a trend, or buying the things that make it trendy, but it’s about remembering to appreciate the simple things that bring joy to your life. It’s all about cosiness, charm, happiness, contentness, security, familiarity, comfort, reassurance, kinship, and simpleness.

This weekend remember to appreciate the simple things that bring joy to your life, and have a great hygge weekend!!

Gunalchéesh! Thanks for reading the FLC!

Thanks to Jeanette Farah-Bucher for introducing me to, and putting me on the path to greater hygge!!