Happy Holidays 2021

Cartoon Humpback Whale wearing a Santa Cap

Wow, we made it through another Covid year! I know this has been a tough year, and with omicron I am asking myself, “when will this be over?”

For me, I am trying to go back to basics and be thankful for the many gifts in my life. I think this following two minute video will help you to understand what I mean. Hang in there and have a great break!!

One more piece of news… You may have observed that last weeks posting is missing. The server that houses the Faculty Learning Corner is at “end of life” and is “erroring” more often. So, this may be the last FLC in this format. I am trying to find a replacement vehicle, but it may take a bit to get this set up. So bear with me through this transition, and I hope to be back up and running by end of Spring semester 2022.

I hope you have a terrific Winter break, and thank you for reading the FLC!!

Top Tools for Learning 2021

Jane Hart, founder of the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies (C4LPT), has been ranking the top tools in technology for the last 15 years, using data she has collected from people around the world.   This years list was generated from 2,077 votes from 33 countries.  She also breaks down into categories, so I will concentrate on the Top 150 Tools in Education.

Chart showing the Top 150 Tools for Education 2021

Here is a link to the Top 150 Tools for Education in 2021.

  • About gives you background to the annual survey,
  • Categories breaks down tools into categories (so if you are looking for tools in games and testing, you can easily find them), and
  • A-Z (2007-2021) gives you every tool that has made the list over the last 15 years.

I hope you enjoyed looking at these charts.  Where did your favorite tools place?
Have a great weekend and thanks for reading the FLC!

Using Google at UAS – Part 6

Today we finish this series of videos with a look at Google Drive.  Today’s 18 minute video has Traci Taylor, from the UAS Helpdesk, giving us the final installment in how to use Google at UAS. 

Here is a breakdown of this video:

00:00:00 Introduction
00:00:43 FileShare Items
00:01:31 Starring Items
00:03:04 Priority Items
00:03:44 Folders
00:04:15 Sharing Content
00:05:54 Commenting
00:06:07 Comments Where you Assign to Someone
00:06:33 Assigning Temporary Access
00:07:37 Permissions (Editor/Commenter/ Viewer)
00:09:31 Doc.new
00:11:51 Grackle/Accessibility
00:17:05 Google Drive on Mobile Devices

I hope you gained knowledge about Google, or at least received a few tips out of this video series.

Thanks for continuing to read the Faculty Learning Corner. Have a great weekend and a great Fall break!! I’ll see you in a couple of weeks!

Using Google at UAS – Part 5

Today we are going to concentrate on the Google Calendar. Today’s video is about 7-1/2 minutes long and will show you how to manage your calendar, how to look up other’s schedules (important if you are trying to set up a meeting), how to subscribe to another employees calendar, and how to create an event.

00:00:17 Managing Your Calendar / Calendar Settings
00:02:16 Other Calendars / “Meet With…”
00:04:09 Subscribing To / Adding Calendars
00:05:26 Creating an Event

Next week we will look at Google Drive to finish up this series.

Thanks for reading the Faculty Learning Corner. Have a great weekend!

Using Google at UAS – Part 4

In today’s Faculty Learning Corner, we will be continuing our look at Google Mail. Today’s 10 minute video has Traci Taylor, from the UAS Helpdesk, looking into Mail Templates, Scheduling an email, Distribution Lists (Labels), Mail Merge, and connecting to Outlook.

00:00:24 Enabling Templates
00:00:51 G-Mail Templates (If you send a similar email, this saves typing it out every time)
00:02:34 Scheduling E-Mail (Sending a note at a future date or time)
00:03:10 Distribution Lists/Labels (Sending email to a list of recipients)
00:05:08 Mail Merge (Sending a note to a large group, but it’s personalized for each specific recipient)
00:07:51 Outlook (Google and Outlook can talk to each other, so you can use Outlook to get email)

I hope you found something new, or this video answered some questions you may have had.

Thanks for reading the FLC, and remember to contact the UAS Helpdesk if you run into trouble!!! Next week we look at Google calendar!

Using Google at UAS – Part 3

Today we are going to continue the series on using Google at UAS, and we will concentrate on G-Mail. In today’s episode Traci Taylor from the UAS Helpdesk will be looking at using the out of office tool, adding a signature, sending mail while utalizing multiple email addresses, and using filters. This is all jammed into a quick 5 minute video!!

00:00:19 Out of Office
00:01:20 Signature
00:01:49 Send Mail As –
00:03:01 Using Multiple Email Addresses
00:03:27 Filters

Remember to contact the UAS Helpdesk if you run into trouble!! Thanks for reading the FLC!

Using Google at UAS – Part 2

In the video I am sharing with you today, Traci Taylor from the UAS Helpdesk takes us through Centralized Access Management.  We look at the UAS Group Security Manager and how to add and remove people from groups (when you manage a group).  In the second half of this 5 minute video we will concentrate on the Resources page.

Here is a Table of Contents for this video:
00:00:10 Centralized Access of Resources
00:00:29 Group Security Management Link – List of Groups you Manage
00:00:54 Adding / Removing People From a Group
00:01:13 IT Created Google Resources – Managing Resources
00:02:10 UAS Helpdesk Resources Page
00:02:26 Calendar
00:02:47 Fileshare
00:03:15 Shared Mailbox
00:03:46 Distribution Lists
00:04:33 Request Form

Here is a summary (including links that were shown in the video):

  • Centralize Access Management (adding and removing who has access) and data retention has two components:
    • Departmental (easy to manage access) vs individual (have to manually add and remove access to individual documents and folders)
    • Centralize Access Management of groups with Group Security Manager
  • IT Created Google resources (2:11 in the video) includes the following:
    • Departmental or shared email
    • Google Fileshare (drive/workspace)
    • Resource Calendar
    • Distribution list

Next week we will start looking into things you might not know about Google GMail. Have a great weekend and thank you for reading the Faculty Learning Corner!

Using Google at UAS – Part 1

Here at UAS we have access to the Google Suite of tools.  Last month there was a great webinar by our own UAS Helpdesk guru Traci Taylor and Webmaster Colin Osterhout.  They dug into Google and what we can do with it here at UAS.  I was given permission to share that meeting, and am splitting the webinar into short sections for you.  I plan to show these clips over the next few weeks. 

In these videos you will see hints and tips on topics such as Google calendar, and features about your mailbox that you may not have known.  Today we will start with some overall information about Google. This should help when you are deciding if Google is the right place to store documents, and how to retain documents over time.

The following was shared in the training and is to provide guidance on how G Suite should be safely used at UAS.

Points to Keep in Mind

  • Google’s strength is in personal sharing and collaboration. It is not as strong at securing institutional/department records, especially in the long-term.
  • Google provides features to enhance security, but these are not well known and can require IT assistance to set up.
  • The suitability of Google for an application depends on the current Google contract language.

Key questions when considering the use of Google (G Suite):

  1. Is there a need to control the retention of materials (data, documents, etc.)?
    A lack of retention control may result in records being unexpectedly lost or unintentionally retained longer than they should. Retention control is especially important for some internal-use document or FERPA protected records.
  2. What kinds of documents/records/data are involved?
    UA data classification standards are found in UA regulation R02.07.094. Additional information is on the UA Records and Information Management website.
  3. University regulation provides three classifications (Public, Internal Use, and Restricted):
OK To Add To Google
If You Are Not Sure Talk to the Helpdesk
Do Not Put In Google Drive
Data approved for general access by appropriate UA authority.UA has best practice (due care) reasons to protect data.Protection of data is required by law or best practices.
Risk LevelLowMediumHigh
ExamplesPress statements; brochures; job titles/descriptionsInternal committee documents; public research; supporting
documentation for business functions
Educational records; medical records; counseling notes; protected research; credit card/banking numbers; SSNs
GuidanceRecords classified as public can be placed and freely shared in G Suite.Internal-use records can be placed in G Suite; however, records should either not be shared, or should only be shared with managed groups.Most restricted records should not be placed in the Google environment. There are exceptions. FERPA protected data can be in Google; however, precautions must be taken.
adapted from R02.07.094

It is strongly recommended that staff consult with IT prior to using G Suite for restricted data.

Retention of Records

In all Public, Internal Use, and Restricted cases, the need to control the retention of records may require different approaches to how G Suite is used.

Retention control not a concernRetention control needed
PUBLIC DATA1) Normal Google Use
Keep private or share as needed
* Draft public documents
* Press statements
* Agenda or minutes for public meetings
2) Institutional Ownership
Change owner to UAS.Docs@alaska.edu
* Campus promotional material
* Final versions of documents
* Non-confidential forms & data
3) Managed group sharing
Share only with managed groups
* Draft non-public documents
* Short-term work-team documents
* Individual professional notes
4) Google “Fileshare”
Institutionally “owned”, managed access
* Forms/data supporting department processes
* Departmental records
* Committee work, minutes, etc.
Not suitable for Google
Use alternative tools (seek guidance as needed)
* HIPAA data (ex: health records, counseling records)
* PCI/Financial data (ex: credit card info, banking numbers)
* Protected personal information (ex: SSNs)
* Sensitive/protected research

1 Normal Google Use

For public data with no retention concerns, documents can be created, retained or shared with others (both
internally or externally) without concern.

2 Institutional Ownership

Most Google documents are “owned” by the user who initially created them. Since records are purged when
personal Google accounts come and go, and it is important to change the owner from an individual to an
institutional account in order to retain control over document retention. The institutional account
UAS.Docs@alaska.edu exists to ensure records can be retained as individuals come and go.

3 Managed Group Sharing

Employees may retain their access to Google long after they are terminated from the University. This means
that they will continue to have access to any internal-use or restricted records which have been shared with
their personal Google accounts.

For non-public records, it is important to either not share the documents, or to only share with managed groups. A managed group is one which is either maintained automatically by IT, or which is actively managed by department staff. Many managed groups exist already. Example of current groups include: current faculty and at each campus, specific departments such as IT or Admin Services, and various committees and work-teams. IT can assist with creating new groups as needed.

4 Google “Fileshare”

This is the most secure strategy for storing records in Google. A Google “Fileshare” is very much like a
traditional windows departmental fileshare. It combines the functions of institutional ownership (#2) with
Managed Group Sharing (#3). Document placed in a “Google Fileshare” folder will automatically become owned by the fileshare account and access is controlled by an associated managed group. Contact the IT helpdesk to request the setup of Google fileshares.

Thank you for reading the FLC! See you next week!

Are You Creating Inaccessible PDF Documents?

As we make education accessible to everyone, we need to be aware of creating barriers due to having inaccessible items in our courses.  A major source of frustration for disabled students, especially those using a screenreader, is a “photocopied” page of text.  To a screenreader this looks like an image – a picture with no words.  There is an adage that a picture is worth a thousand words, but not in this case.

Left side image says, "This is what you want your students to read" and has visible text.  Right side image is blank and says, "This is what the screenreader sees."

In most cases what we have is a PDF file that does not have text, but has been saved as an image. One way to know for sure if you have this issue in your course is to go to the file, and try to select text using your mouse. If you can’t select any of the text, then you have an image file, which is not accessible.

Here is a 22 minute video that gives you information on making PDFs accessible.

In case you have a section of the video that you want to immediately explore, here are links:

If you still need more information on Accessible PDFs, I found that a great resource is Indiana University’s “Accessible PDF document resources” page.  

I hope you found this week’s Faculty Learning Corner informative.  Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Clearing Cache and Cookies

What are Cache and Cookies?

Both cookies and cache are items that store information on your computer to make websites and apps you’ve visited more efficient, and also help to decrease the time it takes to load those websites and apps.

Cache Memory is the fastest memory in the computer

Cookies are small data files put on your computer that contain information such as a username and password and are used to identify your computer. Cookies are created when you connect to a site and can be used to make a shopping experience better, or to save data from a previous website visit. While most cookies are totally safe, they can also be used maliciously to spy on your online activity or even steal your personal information.

Cache (pronounced “cash”) is where a website or app adds temporary data to your computer’s memory, or to temporary memory files found on your hard drive. Your computer uses this temporary information to increase the efficiency and the speed of your computer. It does this by pulling this information from the CPU (Central Processing Unit) in your computer rather than having to load it again from the website.

Why do I need to Clear Cache and Cookies?

There are a few reasons to clear cache. One reason is that cache grows as you use your computer especially when you are on the web. When visiting an app or website for the first time cache can add files, images, and other information on your computer. The benefit is that cached data makes your computer, your browser, or your app run smoother and faster as it saves information for future visits. That might sound great, but what if you never go back to that site? Accumulating cached data can end up using a lot of disk space on your computer.

Person holding an eraser over a sheet that says Clear History, Clear Cookies, Clear Cache

What this means is that all that data can actually slow your computer down, and worse give your computer unexpected behaviors. Corrupt cache can cause glitches to happen, including making your computer crash.

A red flag to watch for is if your browser doesn’t load the new version of a website, even when you know that there have been changes on the site since your last visit. Another issue you may encounter is if a website looks like it has not been fully loaded or is formatted incorrectly .

Cache can make a site show outdated content. That is why many times if you need to get help from the helpdesk, they may ask you to clear the cache before investigating further. Deleting the cache data helps to troubleshoot and can increase the performance of your computer.

Clearing cache and cookies is something you might want to do every month to keep your computer operating at it’s best!

How Do I Clear Cache and Cookies?

If you are using Google Chrome:
• Please copy & paste this link in your browser: chrome://settings/clearBrowserData
• Check the boxes for “Browsing history, Cookies and other site data, and Cached images and files” and click “Clear Data”
• Completely close all tabs/windows and restart the browser

If you are using Firefox:
• Please copy & paste this link in your browser: about:preferences#privacy
• Under the “Cookies and Site Data” section, please click on “Clear Data.” And the click “Clear.”
• Completely close all tabs/windows and restart the browser

If you are using Safari:
• Please follow the steps here
• Click on “Manage Website Data.” Click “Remove All.”
• Completely close all tabs/windows and restart the browser

If you are using Microsoft Edge:
• Click on the “Settings and More” icon (ellipsis symbol). Click Settings.
• Under Clear browsing data, select Choose what to clear.
• Select “Browsing history, Cookies and saved website data, Cached data and files, and Tabs I’ve set aside”, and then select Clear.

If are you using Microsoft Internet Explorer:
• Select Tools (via the Gear Icon) > Safety > Delete browsing history
• Make sure to uncheck Preserve Favorites website data.
• Select Temporary Internet Files, Cookies, and History, then click Delete.
NOTE: Microsoft has announced that Internet Explorer will reach end of life on June 15, 2022. After this date the application will no longer be supported and security updates will not be available.

Do you still need help? In the event you need additional assistance, please visit the UAS Helpdesk!!

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