My first experience with the Windows 8 operating system began in December 2012 when I helped friends install their new desktop computer. Windows 8 was installed on the computer and my goal was to set-up Wi-Fi and install their printer. I thought the process would be easy, it was not. I quickly became frustrated during the installation process, because I like many others could not easily find the programs for which I had become accustomed to using, such as the Control Panel. After a few hours of mulling my way around the system, I was able to get everything successfully installed and went happily back using Windows 7. Fast forward to now… I recently began using a Surface Pro tablet, which comes with Windows 8. I really like the Surface Pro tablet and decided (this time) to explore features of the operating system more deeply. This post is designed to share the answers to initial questions you may have about the operating system.
1.) How do I take a screen shot with Windows 8?
2.) Where is the Start button?
The Start button has been replaced with the Start screen in Windows 8. The Start screen is the initial screen that you will see upon logging into the Windows 8 environment. The files and programs that were listed on the Start button are now presented as tiles on the Start screen. You can accesTiles can open desktop programs and system tools, such as, Microsoft Word and File Explorer, and Windows Store apps.
Windows 8 does not show you all of the tiles on your Start page. In order to see all of the tiles, scroll or swipe to the right side of your screen. As you can see, I loaded a variety of apps and programs.
Using Blackboard’s Retention Center along with Course Signals allows instructors to see how students are currently performing in a course as well as predict student success based on current behaviors. If you would like to identify those students who are logging in much later than their peers in the beginning of the semester, the Retention Center can identify them and allow you to send those students a message encouraging them to log in. It can also help instructor’s flag individuals so they can monitor specific students. The rule creation and editing tools help to customize and fine tune how you want to group students and which behaviors you want to watch. Instructors can select the grades they desire to monitor, how many days are acceptable to go without logging in, and if they want to be alerted when deadlines are missed. Rules can be added such as to identify high achieving students and rules can be deleted and easily activated again.
Faculty who use Retention Center are able to monitor current activity or inactivity, depending on the situation. Those who use Course Signals as well are able to predict future behavior if students continue on their projected path based on current activity. By virtue of instructors providing feedback to students via Course Signals, advisors are also able to monitor and intervene with their advises who are in courses using Course Signals. Course Signals, unlike the Retention Center, divides students into three groups, allowing for a middle group of students who are neither high performing nor low performing. This at-risk group of students, identified by the yellow signal, can be shown resources in their messages that are sent with their signal, which can help them pull themselves out of this risk area.
Having both tools available gives instructors the ability to use whichever tool best fits their needs or even both tools. No matter the size of the course, the monitoring tools within the Retention Center can provide valuable information as to the details of your group right now. Course Signals can help determine if your students are on a path to success. Both tools, particularly when used together, give instructors a powerful resource in providing student feedback.
For additional information comparing Retention Center with Course Signals: http://www.itap.purdue.edu/learning/innovate/hdiseries/bbanalyticsvssignals.html
What are easy tools to create personal or professional blogs and portfolios online? WordPress is a ready-to-use self-hosting blogging tool with numerous plugins and themes available.
First, blogs enable both faculty and students to publish thoughts, comments, images, links to other sites and multimedia through a blog post, which consists of a title, a publication timestamp, an article body and is often tagged by one or more categories (Rollett, Lux, Strohmaier, Dösinger & Tochtermann, 2007). Blogs have frequent updates (at least once a month) and posts that are displayed in descending chronological order.
Second, why use blogs for teaching and learning? Blogs have the potential to 1) increase online social interaction (Beldarrain, 2006); 2) promote students’ analytical skills and critical thinking (Oravec, 2002); and 3) improve student-teacher relationships (Ferdig & Trammel, 2004) in both small and large classrooms.
Next, Purdue supports two blog platforms. Bb Blog is embedded within the BlackBoard Learning Management System. The other one is WordPress. Here is a detailed comparison between WordPress and Blackboard Learn Blog: http://www.itap.purdue.edu/learning/innovate/hdiseries/bbvwp.html
Here are some use cases of WordPress for teaching and learning on campus:
- Students set up WordPress blogs/Portfolios to write reflections on seven cases in the class and provide comments. – Professor Abdelfattah Nour in Basic Medical Sciences
- Display and archive students’ projects. – Associate Professor John Lumkes in Agricultural and Biological Engineering
- Students set up WordPress blogs/Portfolios to document scientific investigation in the discovery learning activities. - Associate Professor Kari Clase in Technology, Leadership and Innovation
Last, there are free social media monitoring tools available to track your students’ work. For example, Netvibes (http://www.netvibes.com) is a free portal you can personalize. All your students’ blogs could be in one page so it’s easier for instructors to keep track.
If you are interested in more information about integrating WordPress blogs into teaching and learning, please contact us at email@example.com.
Beldarrain, Y. (2006). Distance education trends: integrating new technologies to foster student interaction and collaboration. Distance Education, 27(2), 139–53.
Ferdig, R. E. & Trammell, K. D. (2004). Content delivery in the ‘Blogosphere’. Technological Horizons in Education.
Oravec, J. (2002). Bookmarking the world: Weblog applications in education. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 45(7), 616-621.
Rollett, H., Lux, M., Strohmaier, M., Dösinger, G., & Tochtermann, K. (2007). The web 2.0 way of learning with technologies. International Journal of Learning Technology, 3(1), 87–107.
Wei Liu Zakharov, PhD