Showing posts from 2016

"Creating Accessible PDFs" Session Summary

Thursday December 8th, representatives from the Library, IT, and the LEADS offices presented a session about creating accessible PDF documents. Topics covered scanning tips and working with Adobe Acrobat Pro. This was followed by a question and answer period.

Making PDFs accessible is not only important for persons who may need accommodation, but for everyone. A PDF with rendered text is searchable, may be read aloud, and may be marked up or annotated. This makes the document more inclusive and a better tool for teaching and learning, enabling students to engage with the text in different modes.

OCR - What Is It?
OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition. This is the process in which a software program identifies where it thinks words are by drawing rectangles around them, compares the light and dark pixels to what it knows are particular letters, and finally provides the output of the computer’s guess as to what the text is. In the image below, the boxes are drawn in green and red…

Create Accessible PDFs Session

Representatives from the Library, IT, and the LEADS offices will present a demonstration of how to create accessible PDF documents. Topics covered will include scanning tips, and working with Adobe Acrobat Pro. This will be followed by a question and answer period.

The session will be held on Thursday December 8, from 10:30-11:30 AM in Science Center, Room 150.

We invite any interested faculty, staff, or students to attend.
Link to event:

Link to session summary:

Scheduling Meetings: Choice Eliminator Google Forms Plugin

I happened on this plugin for Google Forms that will eliminate a choice once it has been chosen and submitted in a form. This has the potential to streamline scheduling office hours or other meetings. I am sure that there are other applications as well.

The plugin may be found and installed at the following link:

I found this plugin from a post in the Free Tech for teachers blog. It is one option in a list of options. While focusing on the K-12 venue, this blog is a great resource for any instructor regardless of teaching level, and is listed in our list of "Noteworthy Blogs."

UPDATE: Free Transcription (Speech to Text) Tool

We have updated the post about using Google Voice Typing in Google Docs for transcription to include a note about accessibility. Google Docs is not the most accessible tool. It is possible however to download any Google Doc as a Microsoft Word document.

To do so:
Click File > Download As... > Microsoft Office (.docx).

Doing so will create a Microsoft Word document of the file, which is more accessible to those who may need to use a screen reader.

ITEC Workshop: Google Classroom

ITEC presented a workshop about Google Classroom ("Classroom") September 6 and 8. Thank you to all who attended. From Google, "Google Classroom is a blended learning platform for schools that aim to simplify creating, distributing and grading assignments in a paperless way. It was introduced as a feature of Google Apps for Education following its public release on August 12, 2014. Its aim is to be a paperless educational system." Classroom is available through the Beloit College Google domain.

If you are interested in this tool, please contact Jedidiah.

Using Google Classroom Classroom is a great tool for communicating with students, discussing topics, sharing assignments and staying on top of the course schedule. As we will see, Classroom integrates powerfully with Google Drive, making the document management related to the sharing and submission of assignments easy. The collaborative nature of the Drive apps (Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Draw) make these tools espe…

Styli Recommendations

If you are considering taking notes digitally, then the following list may be helpful. While the article is titled as "tablet styli," most, if not all, should work on any capacitive-touch enabled device.

Five Best Tablet Styli - Lifehacker

Image used under a CC BY-SA 3.0 NL license from

Moodle: Grades Over 100%

ITEC just made a small update to the settings in Moodle to allow grades over 100 (which is the default). Instructors may now give more than the maximum points allowed in a single activity. Now in a scenario where the maximum points possible on a paper is 100, an instructor may give the student more than 100 (up to 500). It has always been possible to create an extra credit grade item mark an activity as extra credit in the grade book, but this hopefully will provide some more flexibility to grading in Moodle.

Swivl Pilot

Instructional Technology (ITEC) would like to announce that we are currently running a pilot for a Swivl. "What is a Swivl?" you may ask. The Swivl is a system comprised of a robotic base, infrared marker and tablet that may be used to record a presentation. The benefit of the marker-base setup is that the base will track where the marker moves. The marker also contains an integrated microphone and uses the microphone to record the audio from the presenter. This provides much better quality audio than a traditional video camera setup would. Video is recorded locally to the paired iPad and also uploaded to a free Swivl Cloud account. From there the video may be trimmed, shared, or downloaded.

There are a number of applications for the Swivl, but a few main applications are:
an instructor recording material to present to a class in a "flipped" or "blended" instructor recording "in-time" material in response to recording student presentati…

Google Sheets: Pivot Tables

In the video below, Jay Atwood shares about how and why to use pivot tables in Google Sheets. If you are curious about what pivot tables are and why you would want to use them, this video will be a help. This video demonstrates how you can manipulate data within a sheet to answer questions you have about the data.

Improved Search in Drive and Columns in Docs

This is a quick update to share that Google has made some improvements to search within Google Drive and added support for creating columns in Google Docs. You can read the full announcement  from Google here.

Below is a screenshot of how to add columns into a Google document. The ability to add columns has been a long awaited function for many Docs users.

ITEC Workshop - Moodle: IPAL, H5P

This is the first post in a series of posts about workshops that ITEC (Instructional Technology) will be facilitating over the fall semester. You can read more about the workshops and find a schedule here. This post is a summary of the first session, Moodle: IPAL, H5P. Thank you to everyone who attended. Both of these tools are plugins available for Moodle. The first is a student response plugin that allows the instructor to prose questions to students and receive feedback immediately. The second is a free, open-source tool for creating interactive web content. We will take a brief look at each tool and provide links for more in-depth documentation further on.

H5PH5P is a website that provides the means for a person to create interactive HTML 5 embed-able elements into webpages. One promising tool within the H5P suite is an interactive video element which you can see in a longer summary here. This tool lets the user overlay questions and other elements on top of an online video. They…

Moodle + Gravatar

We currently create a new Moodle instance each academic year. It can be frustrating that each time a new Moodle is created any profile pictures that were added are lost. There is a way to keep this from happening. It relies on a service called Gravatar.

Gravatar stands for globally recognized avatar. The benefit to using it is that any time you visit a site that supports it your profile image is automatically added. Moodle supports Gravatar. This means that you can create an avatar that will automatically appear each year in the new Moodle. You can set it and forget it (unless you want to update the image). Using Gravatar is free, but does require that you create an account.


Moodle1617 is now available and is running version 2.9. Summer and Fall courses have been and are being populated. This version contains a number of updates. A lot of work has gone in this version to make it as user-friendly as possible. 
A few noteworthy changes are listed below. Click here to see the full list. 
Please contact the Moodle Administrator if you have any questions about these updates.

Enhancements for everyone:Dashboard Page “My Home” is now “Dashboard” - This is the same user homepage with a new name.

Drag-and-drop in Atto It's now possible to drag and drop images directly into the Atto editor, for example when editing a course summary or when posting in a forum

New Profile Page Accessed from the user menu, the new Profile page provides quick links to blog entries, forum post, badges and, depending on the user’s privileges, a variety of reports including a new browser sessions page. The page includes links formerly in the Navigation block.
Enhancements for students:

FALL 2016 ITEC Workshops

The Instructional Technology team (ITEC) will be offering a series of workshops this coming fall semester, running September through November. There will be a Rotating schedule with broad topic categories:
Week One - MoodleWeek Two - Google AppsWeek Three - Media ToolsWeek Four - Drop-In The full schedule of workshops may be seen below. While we are planning specific topics, we invite attendees to bring their questions and we will do our best to tailor the session in the time we have.  Monday sessions will be held during Common Hour (12:30-1:30 PM) in Science Center 150.Thursday sessions will be held at 4-5 PM in the Learning Studio (Library). We hope that this staggered schedule will maximize opportunities for attendance. Each of the sessions will be listed in the Master Calendar. While the audience focus may be different depending on the topic, all faculty, staff, and students are welcome to attend.
If you have ideas for topics you would like to see addressed in a session or question…