Reminder: CTools Project Sites to become read-only on August 31, 2018

As was reported in May, ITS is preparing to retire CTools Project Sites. As part of this transition, ITS announced that all remaining CTools Project Sites would become read-only on August 31, 2018, and remain available at least until July 1, 2019. This means that while site owners would be able to view and download the data stored on these sites after August 31, no edits or changes would be allowed. Project site owners can use a migration tool in CTools to review and delete sites, or download content to move to another service (e.g. cloud storage services such as U-M Google Drive or U-M Box):

CTools Project Site Migration Page

Exemptions from read-only status will be granted for sites that contain export-controlled data. Site owners who need an exemption should contact the ITS project team with the name of the site, reason for exemption, and how long the site needs to remain active.

Due to the sensitive nature of export-controlled research, there are a limited number of compliant solutions that can store the associated data properly. A current listing of services where this data can be stored is available on the U-M Sensitive Data Guide. Engineering faculty site owners who would like assistance with choosing an alternative service to store their export-controlled data can contact CAEN to discuss the available options.

 


Chesebrough Auditorium screen sizes and configurations explained

Last year Chesebrough Auditorium gained some new flexibility in the way the projectors work, allowing several different projected image sizes and locations. Some of the available options are listed below, including information on how to select them using the room’s touch panel (located on the lectern).

Want to show two sources?

Chesebrough Auditorium is capable of displaying two different sources on the projection screens at the same time. For example, you might have your laptop with PowerPoint presentation on one display, and your written notes on the document camera shown on the other. To do this, select the two sources you wish to use on the touch panel, one from the Main Screen column, and the other from Screen 2:

This will bring down the large screen, and the two sources will appear side by side as seen below:

Showing only one source?

If you only need to show one source, you can choose between two sizes/locations: large and centered, or medium-sized and offset to one side.

Large and centered

If you are not using the whiteboard, this will give the largest and most readable display for all students. The trick is to make sure the Main Screen (small) is turned Off, and select your desired source from the Screen 2 (large) column:

The large screen should come down, and your image will take up the space as shown below:

Medium-sized and offset to one side

If you are using the whiteboard, or prefer the projected image to be smaller, you can instead make sure Screen 2 (large) is turned Off, and select your source from the Main Screen (small) column:

The smaller screen will come down, and your image will appear as below:

If you have any questions about the A/V system in Chesebrough Auditorium or any of the other college classrooms, contact CAEN anytime at caen@umich.edu.

 


CTools Project Sites to become read-only on August 31, 2018

Over the last few years, ITS has been working to transition sites off of CTools. The transition of CTools Course Sites to Canvas was completed over Summer 2016. Since then, ITS has been working on the transition of CTools Project Sites. Background about this transition was announced in the University Record, and is available on the main ITS CTools Project Sites Transition website.

As part of this transition, ITS recently announced that all remaining CTools Project Sites would become read-only on August 31, 2018, and remain available at least until July 1, 2019. This means that while site owners would be able to view and download the data stored on these sites after August 31, no edits or changes would be allowed. Project site owners can use a migration tool in CTools to review and delete sites, or download content to move to another service (e.g. cloud storage services such as U-M Google Drive or U-M Box):

CTools Project Site Migration Page

Exemptions from read-only status will be granted for sites that contain export-controlled data. Site owners who need an exemption should contact the ITS project team with the name of the site, reason for exemption, and how long the site needs to remain active.

Due to the sensitive nature of export-controlled research, there are a limited number of compliant solutions that can store the associated data properly. A current listing of services where this data can be stored is available on the U-M Sensitive Data Guide. Engineering faculty site owners who would like assistance with choosing an alternative service to store their export-controlled data can contact CAEN to discuss the available options.

 


Peer annotation support shifting from nb to Perusall

Collaborative peer annotation tools help students actively engage with textbooks or other reading materials in a course. Instructors assign textbooks, articles, or PDFs, and students annotate these documents and respond to each other’s comments and questions.

CAEN has run a local instance of one of these tools, nb, since 2015. This local service will be discontinued for Fall 2018. Instructors who wish to continue with nb can still use the free MIT-hosted service (where nb was developed).

An alternative service called Perusall has since emerged that provides many of the same features, also adds Canvas integration, and includes the ability to purchase and use textbooks from many publishers. As with nb, instructors can upload their own PDFs to Perusall, and there is no cost for instructors or students (except when purchasing textbooks).

If you are interested in trying one of these tools, Perusall’s help and support resources provide a good starting point. You can also contact CAEN to discuss the options, and get help with any questions you may have.

 


Lecture Capture Service manual control no longer requires Adobe Flash

While most instructors opt for pre-set schedules to make recordings using the Lecture Capture Service, the system allows for manual control in cases where live movement of the camera or impromptu starting-and-stopping of the recording is desired. Previously, using the manual control required a web browser with Adobe Flash support. Flash has been superseded by improved web technologies, and we are happy to report that this last dependency on Flash has been removed from the recording system.

The functionality and appearance is very similar to the previous version. To try it out, simply create a manual recording and choose to connect with the new control interface:

Starting Fall 2018, the old Flash-based interface will no longer be an option. Also note that we still offer M-Cam for manually controlling the recorder from an iOS device such as an iPhone or iPad.

 


Cable-free presentation available in CoE classrooms

All 50 College of Engineering (CoE) classrooms are equipped with Apple TVs to allow the presentation of slides or other content without physically plugging-in a device. The type of connection supported, called “AirPlay,” is built into Apple devices including laptops, iPhones, and iPads. You do not need to be on a particular wireless network for this to work. Apple provides some instructions on how to use AirPlay:

AirPlay video from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

Use AirPlay to display video from your Mac on an HDTV

What if you are not using an Apple device? CAEN offers licenses for a utility called “AirParrot” to instructors using Windows-based computers and tablets in CoE classrooms. Note that it is necessary to connect to a special wireless network called “CAEN-Presenter” before AirParrot will work with any device. This network requires a password, which we can provide on request.

Why might you consider using wireless to display? One advantage is you do not need any special adapters, which may be needed to connect certain devices to the room’s HDMI or VGA cables. Also, if you have a tablet computer, wireless frees you to walk the stage and annotate in real-time, or even pass the device to a student to demonstrate a solution if desired.

What are the steps to get connected? It’s pretty simple. Just select the “Apple TV” source on the room’s touchscreen panel. Then connect your device to the AirPlay destination named for the room number, for example, “Dow 1013 Apple TV.” To ensure the connection to the display is coming from inside the classroom, a 4-digit code will be shown on the screen, and your device will prompt you for this code to enable the connection.

The big question: Is this all reliable? The wireless connection is typically very reliable, however it is possible that interference from other devices can cause a disconnection. CAEN is working to minimize this by relocating antennas and upgrading hardware as needed. If you run into any problems with wireless display, let us know at caen@umich.edu. A backup option is to use the wired connections at the lectern, and we are available to advise on what adapters, if any, would be needed for your device.

If you would like to meet with CAEN staff in a classroom to go over the process for getting connected, or if you have any other questions about presenting over a wireless connection, contact us anytime at caen@umich.edu.

 


Enhanced Gradebook functionality now available in Canvas

There are a number of enhancements that have been added to the Canvas Gradebook for this term. These features are intended to help instructors easily view and enter grades for students, making grading more flexible and intuitive. Additions include Late Policies, which allow instructors to set up rules and be more efficient about grading late and missing submissions.

Other new Gradebook enhancements include:

  • New menus with more filtering and sorting options
  • Visual crosshairs to make it easier to see the current student or assignment cell
  • Custom color coding for assignment status (late, missing, resubmitted, dropped, or excused)
  • Keyboard shortcuts to improve accessibility on grade entry
  • Capability to drag and drop total columns

Features coming soon include:

  • Ability to override final grades
  • Defining if grades should be posted automatically or manually

For the Winter 2018 term, New Gradebook must be manually enabled at the course level under Settings >> Feature Options. In future terms, it will be enabled automatically in all courses. Until then you can revert back to the old Gradebook, except in cases where you have added a grading policy.

Tips for using these enhancements can be found on the Canvas New Gradebook Guide. In addition, ITS has created a video screencast highlighting many of the new features on the Canvas at Michigan site.


New classroom & computer lab entrance display pilot

This term, CAEN is piloting new electronic displays outside select computer labs and College of Engineering classrooms. The displays show room availability at a glance, and allow searching for rooms based on course or event name. For CAEN computer labs, the displays show the current workstation availability. All displays will indicate when a recording is in progress using the lecture capture service.

In addition to information about the rooms, the displays show DPSS alerts for campus. Also, to aid accessibility, a two-finger swipe down the screen will speak the room’s current status. An update later this month will add building and campus maps, directions to building lost-and-found locations, and emergency information.

Displays have already been installed outside of the following classrooms:

  • 1670 Beyster
  • 1690 Beyster
  • 1008 EECS
  • 1012 EECS

and the CAEN computer labs in:

  • B505 Pierpont Commons
  • B507 Pierpont Commons

We value your feedback on these new displays. Feel free to send your comments and suggestions to us at caen@umich.edu.


New lecture recording status lights in every classroom

You may notice a new attachment to the cameras used for lecture recording in College of Engineering classrooms.

Each camera now has a light that will illuminate when a recording is in progress. The intent is to provide instructors a quick visual confirmation that the recorder is running.

Additionally, the light acts as a presentation timer by changing colors to indicate the time remaining in the recording. It will change from green to yellow (10 minutes remaining), and finally red (2 minutes remaining). Manually-started recordings will be indicated with a cyan (greenish-blue) color.

Any questions or feedback on the new status lights can be directed to caen@umich.edu.


New features now available in Canvas

Since Canvas was adopted as the learning management system (LMS) for course sites at the University of Michigan, there have been many feature updates and additions to make teaching with Canvas easier for faculty, and enhance the learning experience for students.

Canvas Skill for Amazon Alexa

The capability to integrate voice recognition with Canvas has been added to assist both students and instructors. By using the Canvas Skill with Amazon’s Alexa service, students and instructors can verbally ask questions, perform quick tasks, and get information about their courses from any Alexa-enabled device. The Alexa voice service will respond with the relevant information according to their Canvas account. For example, students can ask about “what assignments are due,” or “what are my grades?” Instructors can ask about tasks like “what submissions still need to be graded?”

The Amazon Alexa App can be downloaded for free from the Apple iTunes Store and Google Play.

Further information about setting up Alexa with the Canvas skill, including examples of useful voice commands, can be found on the Canvas Community page.

BluePrint Courses

Blueprint Courses allow sub-account admins (i.e. individuals within departments who manage Canvas course sites) to create, deploy, and maintain a course design “template” across any number of courses or instructors within the department. For example, if you have a newly-created Canvas course that has not yet been configured, you can use a Blueprint Course to automatically:

  • Push out content (pages, files, assignments…)
  • Update settings (sections, apps…)
  • Organize the course navigation (menu, links, redirects…)

This process can save time for instructors who have a standard way to organize their Canvas courses. It is especially useful if a course is taught each term, and the curriculum/site navigation does not vary greatly. A sub-account admin can create a Blueprint Course in Canvas and push (or sync) out a standard set of settings and features to the new course each term, so there’s no need for the instructor to set it up manually. In addition, if a department would like to have a standard navigation menu for all of the courses they offer, a Blueprint Course can be used to sync those settings to each Canvas course site within the department.

When syncing occurs, any content that has already been added or updated by the instructor will not be overwritten, and new content created in any associated course is also not affected (i.e. this is an manually additive function, and it will not overwrite what has already been added by the instructor).

More information on using Blueprint Courses as templates for Canvas course sites can be found on the Canvas Community page.

Teacher App

Canvas Teacher App

The Canvas Teacher App allows instructors to interact with their Canvas courses and data, both inside and outside the classroom, from their mobile device. This app provides quick access to the most frequently used Canvas tasks – Announcements, Assignments, Discussions, and Quizzes. For example, instructors can browse submissions and provide feedback to their students, post announcements, send messages, and participate in course discussions. They can also update course content such as due dates, and even publish assignments or adjust quiz options.

The Canvas Teacher App can be downloaded for free from the Apple iTunes Store and Google Play.

Guides for using each version of the Canvas Teacher app can be found on the Canvas Community page.

Updated Canvas App for Students

Canvas continues to offer a separate “Canvas by Instructure” app that students can use to access their course sites and data. The app is updated frequently to apply bug fixes and performance improvements, so students are encouraged to download the latest version. It is available at no cost to students from the Apple iTunes Store and Google Play.

Guides for using each version of the Canvas by Instructure app can be found on the Canvas Community page.

Future Feature Updates & Support

ITS provides a Canvas at Michigan course site, where faculty and course instructors can sign up for announcements and updates about the service. College of Engineering faculty and instructors are also welcome to contact CAEN with any questions or problems they may have using Canvas in their courses.