Posts

The eLearning Technology team creates posts in order to teach eLearning concepts, pass on information gathered from conferences, and bring attention to eLearning events.

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    How to Create and Grade Paper-Based and Written Assessments on Gradescope

    Updated on November 2, 2022 by Rim Zakaria

    This is a guide for instructors who would like to use Gradescope for grading paper-based exams and quizzes.
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    What to do if you experience issues accessing online technology

    Updated on October 13, 2022 by Shawn Foster

    Here are some suggestions of what to do if you have issues while using eLearning technologies at Western.
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    OWL Template CSS Changes for Fall 2022

    Updated on September 15, 2022 by Jodie Roach

    For those using the Basic or Advanced OWL templates provided by WTS, an updated version of the .CSS file is now available.
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    eLearning Spotlight: VoiceThread

    Updated on September 13, 2022 by Allyson Steward

    Learn more about the features and benefits of using VoiceThread in your course.
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    iClicker Resources and Training Opportunities

    Updated on August 23, 2022 by Jodie Roach

    After receiving feedback from the campus community and engaging in a competitive evaluation and comparison of audience response systems, Western has again selected iClicker as the best tool to serve the university's instructional needs.
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    Upcoming Zoom Live Training

    Updated on July 26, 2022 by Jodie Roach

    The Zoom Live Training Team is offering a special education-focused training series this August. These live training sessions are interactive, with opportunities for live Q&A with Zoom Trainers and will inform you on best practices for using Zoom in an educational setting and as an educational tool.
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    OWL's Email Archive tool will retire May 1st

    Updated on February 28, 2022

    OWL's Email Archive tool will be retired on May 1, 2022. Here is what you need to know to prepare if you use Email Archive in your OWL site now.
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    Video Captioning

    Updated on January 5, 2022 by Deanna Grogan

    With a rapid shift to online, instructional videos are continuing to gain popularity with both students and instructors. Including captions when posting videos will ensure the content is accessible to all students. Captioning is a service that makes video content more accessible and supports students with disabilities (hearing loss, auditory processing disorders, concussion, mental health, ADHD to name a few). At Western, the number of students already registered as having those types of disabilities exceeds 2000. 
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    Resources for Rapidly Moving a Course Online

    Updated on December 22, 2021 by Deanna Grogan and Joe Lipsett

    In light of the announcement that Western will be delaying the start of term until January 10, 2022 and moving to a virtual format for the month of January, the Centre for Teaching and Learning and the eLearning Technology team have created this resource document to support instructors with this transition. 
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    Western Transitions Away from In-Person Exams

    Updated on December 17, 2021 by Jodie Roach

    To facilitate Western’s transition to online exams, a condensed mini assessment request form has been created.

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    Creating Rubrics in OWL

    Updated on December 17, 2021 by Jodie Roach

    The Rubrics tool can be used to create custom rubrics for use across several OWL tools, including Assignments, Forums, Tests and Quizzes, and Gradebook. Rubrics can also be shared with other OWL instructors and site maintainers. 
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    Adding Exceptions to your Assessments

    Updated on December 17, 2021 by Jodie Roach

    In the most recent upgrade, OWL gained a new feature within Tests & Quizzes which allows for availability exceptions for individuals and groups of students. This eliminates the need to duplicate entire assessments to create varied delivery dates and time limits. This option is especially important in adjusting your assessments for academic accommodations 
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    Using OWL’s Date Manager

    Updated on December 17, 2021 by Jodie Roach

    The Date Manager is located within Site Info. It allows you to see the dates being reported by all other tools in OWL, including due dates from Assignments and Tests & Quizzes, and “hide until” dates from hidden Lessons pages. 
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    Auto-Captioning Now Available in VoiceThread

    Updated on November 25, 2021 by Allyson Steward

    A new feature has been enabled in VoiceThread that automatically generates captions for all video and audio comments created on any VoiceThread.
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    OWL Template Updates

    Updated on May 10, 2021 by Alexander Quiquero

    To address formatting changes in the newest version of OWL, WTS has developed updated OWL templates.
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    OWL Changes for CSS Users

    Updated on May 10, 2021 by Jodie Roach

    Over the weekend of May 1st, OWL was upgraded to a newer version. With this update came a wide array of new features and improvements. However, this update also brought some changes within the Lessons tool that impact users who implement custom CSS files in their sites.  
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    Changes coming to OWL - May 2021

    Updated on April 26, 2021 by Shawn Foster

    During the weekend of May 1st and 2nd 2021, we will be releasing an upgraded version of OWL. This upgrade includes exciting new features, an improved interface, a redesigned mobile experience, and many improvements and performance enhancements throughout OWL. Here are the details about the new release.
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    New features coming soon to OWL

    Updated on April 26, 2021 by Shawn Foster

    This May, we will be releasing an upgraded version of OWL. This upgrade includes exciting new features, an improved interface, a redesigned mobile experience, and many improvements and performance enhancements throughout OWL. Here is a preview of some of the new features coming to OWL.
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    Teaching with Microsoft Teams

    Updated on April 22, 2021 by Allyson Steward

    As part of Western’s Office 365 license, staff, faculty, and students have access to Microsoft Teams. Teams is a group collaboration app that supports class activities, collaboration, and communication in an online environment.
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    Upcoming Turnitin Service Changes in OWL

    Updated on April 20, 2021

    Starting May 2021, OWL will be using Turnitin Similarity for plagiarism detection in the Assignments tool. Feedback Studio will no longer be integrated with OWL.

    Please note that some features in Feedback Studio, such as annotations, comments, and rubrics, are not available in Turnitin Similarity. Previous originality reports that were generated prior to May 2021 using Feedback Studio, will no longer be accessible through OWL. Feedback Studio can still be accessed independently of OWL at Turnitin.com to view older similarity reports. 

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    Blackboard Collaborate is being discontinued at Western

    Updated on April 13, 2021 by Deanna Grogan

    Over the past several years, there has been a large increase in use of both Zoom and Microsoft Teams Meetings for web conferencing, while usage of Blackboard Collaborate has been steadily declining. Zoom has become the preferred web conferencing and live classroom tool for most Western courses. MS Teams Meetings has grown significantly in capability and usage. This has resulted in Western having multiple viable enterprise-grade options for web conferencing for teaching and learning. 

    As we look to the future, considering the decreased use of Collaborate, two viable alternatives (Zoom and Microsoft Teams Meetings) as well as the fact that Collaborate has not kept pace with its competitors in terms of feature set and usability, we are currently intending to discontinue the use of Collaborate as of this summer.

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    Tips for Online Exams

    Updated on December 8, 2020 by Allyson Steward

    The following resources, tips, and strategies will assist instructors to anticipate issues when setting up online tests and exams, as well as prepare students and assist them in the event of technological challenges.
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    Academic Integrity and OWL's Honour Pledge Feature

    Updated on December 8, 2020 by Allyson Steward

    When teaching online or in-person, it is important to establish expectations for students regarding academic integrity as "showing trust and respect for students, and addressing cheating consistently and fairly sends the message that you value academic integrity” (Tatum and Schwartz 2017).
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    Test Tool: Best Practices

    Updated on November 5, 2020 by Deanna Grogan

    For the best experience we recommend students have only one browser window and tab open during an exam, whenever possible. For students writing open book exams, students may need to access course material or other allowed online content during the exam; in these cases, students should ensure that they do not open an OWL quiz in more than one browser tab.
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    New OWL Q&As

    Updated on October 28, 2020 by Jen

    Now that we're well into fall with winter around the corner, you might be thinking about midterms and maybe even final grades. We want to help make sure you feel prepared and ready to tackle these topics and many others that relate to your online course.To that end we've scheduled events for the next few months to help answer your questions.

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    Resources for OWL Tests and Quizzes

    Updated on September 29, 2020 by Allyson Steward

    In order to help instructors prepare their online midterms and final exams, the WTS eLearning Technology Team has developed a series of videos on how to use the Tests and Quizzes tool in OWL, including how to create an assessment, how to publish, and best practices for using the tool to assess your students.
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    External Tools In OWL

    Updated on September 16, 2020 by Deanna Grogan

    Instructors may want to supplement the features of OWL by adding an external tool. This may be a software package from a textbook publisher, or eLearning tool from an ed-tech company. These add-on software tools extend the functionality of the Learning Management System (LMS). These tools are considered “external” because they are not applications owned by Western University and, even though they can be integrated with OWL, they are not part of the OWL application.
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    Web Conferencing at Western

    Updated on August 19, 2020 by Deanna Grogan

    To add another layer of security to your Western Zoom sessions, you can now restrict meeting access to only participants who have logged into Zoom using a Western email address (note: this includes both @uwo.ca and @ivey.ca addresses by default). This will help mitigate the risk that an unwanted party will join your Zoom session.

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    OWL Templates are Here

    Updated on July 15, 2020 by Jen Sadler

    In order to help instructors transition their spring and summer courses to online delivery, the eLearning Technology Team (ELT) and Instructional Technology Resource Centre (ITRC) have developed two new OWL templates.

    The templates include common OWL tools, course homepage banners, and organized Lessons ready to be populated with content. Instructors can choose from two designs: Basic and Advanced.

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    Getting eLearning Help During Covid19

    Updated on July 15, 2020 by Jen Sadler

    Covid19 is difficult for everyone, including instructors who are now thinking about how to get their courses online for the fall term. The eLearning Technology Team, the Instructional Technology Resource Centre, the Centre for Teaching and Learning, Western Libraries, and the WTS Helpdesk are working together to try and make life easier during this stressful time.We are doing this by creating resources, advising on tool choice, providing technical help, and guiding instructors on pedagogically sound teaching choices. Here is a list of resources, as well as ways to get in-person help.
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    Set your work free

    Updated on June 26, 2020 by Jen Sadler

    Instructors who build digital learning resources such as videos, diagrams, images, slideshows, podcasts and textbooks put huge amounts of effort into creating content. However, when the semester is over and the students have headed home, those resources stagnate. With open licensing instructors can choose to share the authoritative learning content that they create with a wider audience, reduce costs for students, and benefit the global community while still retaining rights to their hard work.

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    Make it Accessible

    Updated on June 26, 2020 by Jen Sadler

    When you think about accessibility in the classroom, what is the first thought that comes to mind? Many instructors provide a link to Student Accessibility Services in their course outlines. This is a good first step, but there are many other low-effort, high-impact ways that instructors can improve access. Students don’t need to have a physical disability like vision or hearing impairment for small changes to be effective. Improving accessibility also benefits people who face situational impairments such as low light conditions.  

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    eLearning Toolkit

    Updated on June 26, 2020 by Jen Sadler

    Planning lessons can be a challenge, especially when teaching a blended or online class. There are a lot of digital tools available. Some of these can replace the tools and strategies used in an online class, and some of them can completely reframe and improve the learning experience for your students. You might ask yourself: where is the best place to start? What is the best way to choose eLearning tools for your classroom?

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    Ask ELT: Online Communities

    Updated on June 26, 2020 by Jen Sadler

    Q: I teach an online course, and I would like my students to get to know each other and to foster a sense of community in the class. Every year I set up a forum in OWL for my students to communicate with each other. I encourage them to post introductions and questions there, but students rarely participate. Are there other tools that I can use to get my students to talk to each other?