Friday, November 30, 2012

Social Learning

by Hong Kha

Encouraging Social Learning Tools in the Classroom

We still have faculty who forbid students from using their cell phones and laptops in class because they don't want students to be distracted. I say take those weaknesses and turn them into strengths. Engage your students by using their own devices. Tools such as Today's Meet, and Poll Everywhere can help you incorporate social learning to help your students interact and understand the material you're teaching. Websites like lets you create a back channel allowing students to comment or ask questions while you lead a class lecture or discussion. Other sites such as allows you to create an interactive poll to get a pulse on student understanding during a lecture. Sites like these empower students to interact during class lectures by using their own laptops and smart phones. With today's technology, I'd encourage you to stop discouraging the use of technology in the classroom but to allow them to empower you in new ways of engaging your students in the classroom.

Poll Everywhere

Today's Meet

ELI 7 Things You Should Know About Backchannels Communication, Educase

Summary of Social Development Theory by Vygotsky

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Finding free images in a Google Image search

by Alan Regan

Google Images: Finding Photos You Can Freely Use

There are millions of photos and graphics available on the web. Some of these images we can use freely in our presentations or materials, others we can't because they are covered by copyright restrictions. How do we find the images we can freely use?

One way is by using the advanced features in Google Image search.


  1. Visit and click Images in the top menu. (You may also visit
  2. Enter your search term, e.g. "desert."
  3. On the listings page, click the gear icon (Options) at the top right.
  4. Select Advanced Search.
  5. Scroll down to the "Usage rights" option.
  6. Select "Free to use or share" or "Free to use or share, even commercially," depending on your needs.
  7. Click Advanced Search.
  8. The results will be filtered by images listed under Creative Commons licenses.

Other Sources:


Of course, you still need to do your homework. Don't assume each image is automatically free to use. Visit the site and view the page for information on the Creative Commons license used and/or any other notice the copyright owner may have added to the page.

Just as we cite sources in our academic writing, we must also cite our use of images. Be sure to place a "Photo By" credit near the image and place the full citation on your works cited page or slide. Although MLA doesn't seem to require it, I always like to place the web address (URL) in the citation.

Finally, many of these images, especially from Google searches, will come from third-party websites.  Use normal caution when browsing unknown websites. Be sure your anti-virus software is enabled and up-to-date. Also, read the pages carefully. Some advertisements are deceptive and you may accidentally click on an ad rather than the view or download button for a photo. When in doubt, close the window or cancel the download.

I hope this information helps you find images you can freely use in instruction or speaking events!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Embedding a Google Doc Into Courses

by Landon Phillips

Using Resources to Link a Google Doc Into Courses

Google Docs offers a fantastic way to enable students to collaborate on group projects or create living documents that can be shared with the entire class. But did you know that you can embed these documents directly into your Courses site? The Resources tool enables you to do this.

  1. Open up the Google Doc you’d like to share, and click the blue Share button in the top right of the screen.
  2. By default, the document will be set to "Private - Only the people listed below can access." Click the blue Change... link to the right.
  3. Select the option "Anyone with the link."
  4. (Optional) If you’d like your students to be able to edit the document in addition to simply seeing it, click the blue "can view" drop down button, and then select "can edit."
  5. Click the green Save button.
  6. At the top of the share window, you'll see the "link to share." Copy that link by right clicking it and selecting "Copy." You can also use the keyboard shortcuts CTRL-C (Windows) or Command-C (Mac).
  7. Log into Courses and click the tab for your site.
  8. Click Resources in the left menu.
  9. Click Add next to the folder into which you want to place the link.
  10. Select Add Web Links (URL).
  11. In the ‘Web Address (URL)’ box paste your Google Doc link by right clicking and selecting "Paste." You can also use the keyboard shortcuts CTRL-V (Windows) or Command-V (Mac).
  12. In the "Website Name" box enter a title for the Google Doc link as you’d like it to appear for your participants.
  13. Click Add Web Links Now.
The Google Doc is now available to your site participants.

Did you know you can also link to a Google Doc as your class syllabus? You can either place the link in Resources or use the "redirect" feature in the Syllabus tool.