Faculty Advisory Committee on Technology (FACT) Newsletter (Fall 2014)

October was a Great Month for Technology Updates & News

Granted it is not October anymore, but we should definitely look back at October since it was Cyber Security and Ergonomics month!

October was Cyber Security Month

Thank you NMSU ICT for all you’ve done for NMSU during Cyber Security month.  Let’s do a Cyber Security check In!

  1. First, do you have a username and password on your NMSU computer/s? This is actually an NMSU policy that helps keep NMSU data secure and is very easy to do!
  2. I hope you had a chance to attend one of the many presentations and information tables that were provided by ICT throughout the month of October.
  3. Watch the ICT 20 minute Cyber Security Awareness presentation online for lots of great Cyber Security information.
  4. For more documentation and announcements regarding information security, visit the ICT Information Security webpage or IT Compliance webage and watch the following video showing 6 Ways to Improve Your Cyber Security:

October was National Ergonomics Month

Thank you to FACT Member Igor Dolgov for reminding us that October was also National Ergonomics Month (NEM). See the The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society’s NEM Website for everything you need to know about National Ergonomics Month and see The Ergonomics Plus Ergonomics Tips page for some important tips. Also, I’m a fan of the standing desk, and here are some great options to check out:

  1. For something to put on top of your existing desk, the UpStanding Desk deserves attention as there is a do-it-yourself (DIY) Back It/Hack It Plan and excellent prices on their slightly back ordered products. One FACT member would love to acquire an Ergotron add-on and also recommends the DIY project discussed at My DIY Standing – The $22/$31 IKEA Hack.
  2. For your laptop, the portable StandStand, another Kickstarter project, is pretty clever.
  3. For the best prices for the electronic sitting to standing desk, you want to check out the IKEA Bekant Corner Desk and the Stand Desk which was a Kickstarter project.
  4. And if you are ready to make an investment, my two picks are the NextDesk which has a keyboard tray, oddly missing from all of the others, and the Stir Kinetic, the world’s first smart desk.

Two bloggers have excellent posts about the standing desk topic – 1) The standing desk: I am a convert and 2) There’s a huge hidden downside to standing desks that no one told me about. The consensus around Milton Hall is that standing desks as well as other exercise/work tools provide the opportunity for workers to burn some calories while logging the hours most professionals work. The standing desk movement has been a big hit around the Office of the Associate Provost. Let us know in the comments if this is something you have implemented or have been thinking about.

FACT Teaching with Technology Tips and News

Canvas Tips

Tip 1: Use a Wiki Page as Your Front or Home Page

Are you still using the Recent Activity page (the default page for all new Canvas course shells) as the Front Page or Home Page for your Canvas course?  Would you like to make it easier for students  to navigate your course? A best practice is to use a wiki Page as your Front Page or Home Page.  Below is a set of links for instructions on setting a wiki Page as the Home Page of your course.

  1. Create the wiki Page
  2. Set the wiki page as the Front Page
  3. Change your Home Page to the newly created wiki Page by choosing Pages Front Page

For further assistance with this please visit Academic Technology in Milton Hall Room 81.

Tip 2: Adobe Connect is Now Available IN Canvas

If you are teaching online, Adobe Connect is a great class meeting tool and is now accessible from the Conferences menu in Canvas. If you are using Adobe Connect in Canvas, be sure to review the Adobe Connect FAQs.

Technology for Teaching & Learning

This is the 8th year that the Top 100 Tools for Learning 2014 has been published by Jane Hart. Every year Hart publishes this list upon compiling votes compiled from the Annual Learning Tools Survey sent to educators from around the world. In 2014, 1,038 learning professionals from 61 countries worldwide participated in the survey. Here are the top 5 from the 2014 list:

1 – Twitter

If you are wondering why Twitter is number 1 on the list for 6 years in a row, I highly recommend Jane Hart’s article, The Web is 25 years old today – so how has it changed the way we learn? where she discusses using Twitter for personal learning network (PLN) development and for “learning the new.” I use an activity with my students called the Twitter Top 5 that can be edited for any content area if you are interested in exploring Twitter with your students.

2 – Google Docs/Drive

Google Drive is probably my favorite tool of all time! And I think I’m serious about that. Two things make this my favorite – 1) I can access Drive with my documents, presentations, forms, spreadsheets, etc. anytime, anywhere (as long as there is Internet of course), and 2) the collaboration aspect is invaluable for personal and academic collaboration and for supporting my students with their collaborations.

3 – YouTube

Video is a fantastic medium to support learning, especially in at least 3 ways – 1) finding existing content for teaching and learning, 2) instructor created content, and 3) learner created content.

4 – PowerPoint

Obviously, great for presentations, but, I actually have to note that yes, .ppt or .pptx files are important for Adobe Connect purposes but I have switched over to Google Presentation (See 2- Google Drive) which allows the upload and download of PowerPoint files.

5 – Google Search

The power of the Internet, literally, in your pocket if you have a smartphone. Of course, it is helpful to have some critical digital literacy skills to use Internet searches effectively and efficiently. The 4 Principles of Digital Literacy is a quick, easy read on the topic. Of personal note, this article was the first place that I encountered the term, “digital hoarding.” As someone who is terrified of the concept of “hoarding” especially after watching the TV show about hoarding, this concept of “digital hoarding” … well let’s just say, “mind blown.”

Shoutout to the Student Technology Advisory Committee (STAC)

The Student Technology Advisory Committee (STAC) meets with FACT twice a semester and participates in FACT meetings by sending a student STAC representative to provide updates on STAC activities, as well as to take information from FACT back to STAC meetings. Thank you to STAC for the hard work and support you provide for NMSU. Here are just a few of the many awesome things STAC does to support technology at NMSU:

  • Student Technology Supports the Online Course Improvement Program (OCIP). The Student Technology Advisory Committee (STAC) has supported OCIP for the past six years. Over the years OCIP has held several trainings and programs to help improve the quality of online teaching and learning at NMSU and reduce student textbook costs. As a result from the continuing growth of the program other NMSU campuses are now participating. See http://ocip.nmsu.edu/ for more information.
  • ICT’s 9th Annual Technology Day, Wednesday, September 10 in Corbett Center.  This event was open to all students, faculty, and staff and was an opportunity for NMSU technology departments and big supports to interact and educate NMSU on the importance of the technology services they provide.
  • Knox Hall Computer lab renovation, scheduled for Winter Break of 2014. Additional seating, work surfaces, and privacy panels for individual computer stations will be added for students.
  • El Paso Electric power pole pilot coming Spring 2014.  As a result of a recent visit to the NMSU campus, during the Domenici conference, El Paso Electric has agreed to pilot, for one week, their power pole on campus for students. Wesley Jackson, ASNMSU President/ STAC Chair is coordinating these efforts.  ICT Student Technology & Planning will provide assistance with promoting and collecting data on the student usage for possible consideration of future power pole stations on campus.
  • As part of promoting Student Technology funded services for students, Chasity McNeil, Student Technology Coordinator participates in campus activities.  Each semester the Student Technology Coordinator promotes free technology services provided to students around campus, such as, extended help desk hours, free printing, free scantrons, computer labs, and software downloads.  Chasity visits and communicates with students through monthly information tables, digital signage and newspaper advertisements, social media (twitter and facebook), Krux radio, and by participating in other events hosted by non-ICT departments.
  • STAC recently approved two wireless access points in the New Mexico Water Resources Institute in Stucky Hall.

See the STAC website for more about STAC and see the STAC Membership list to see who represents your college.

We hope this newsletter was helpful. We plan to provide one per semester, so let us know what you want to hear from us. You can comment below.

Have a great rest of your semester!

Julia Parra
2014-2015 FACT Chair

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