Friday, June 28, 2013

FacProfDev Summer 2013 - Day 9

FacProfDev Summer 2013 - Day 9

by Varun Khanna

Class assignments have always been a part of academic learning.

Most professors go through excruciating pain to put together a syllabus that has copious amounts of information about tests, quizzes, personal pedagogy, mid term exams, final exams, email address, office address, day and time for their office hours, online office hours...everything except, maybe, their home address.

While most students are conscientious about their school work - it comes with some baggage.

Tom: "Do I write 400 or 500 words?"
Professor: "I mentioned in class. 500 words."
Alice: "Is the due date the 14th. I could have sworn you mentioned it was the 14th but, Janice says it is the 15th"
Professor: "17th!"
Mark: "I know it's 3 am Professor and I had just finished writing my paper when my dog ate it."
Professor: "Shoot the dog! :)"

We have all heard our share of "the dog ate it" stories.

We have a robust, confidential and environmentally sound solution for you!

Sakai (Pepperdine University's choice of online learning management system) has the Assignment tool.

Graphic representation of Sakai's unique Assignment tool assignment submission
Graphic representation of Sakai's online submission process
Sakai offers a two way transparent online process to communicate with your students for all your class assignments. The diagram above is a representation of your submission process. Example: students can submit between June 2 and June 5. However, your choice may be to accept the assignment till 5pm, June 6  with a 10 point deduction.

Sakai's Assignment Tool Submission Process
Pepperdine faculty attending FacProfDev Summer 2013 - Day 9 found tremendous value in Sakai's online assignment submission process.
  • Students can get a due date announcement email.
  • Professors can clearly announce and publish their expectations for the assignment including any late submission point deductions.
  • Professors may allow the student to resubmit 0-9 times or unlimited.
  • Professors will receive and see only the very last submission. Not multiple versions of the student assignment submission.
  • There is a digital footprint including time and date stamp when the student uploaded their assignment. Both, student and professor receive email notifications with a unique code number.
  • With the Single Uploaded File only submission, Pepperdine professors can check mark the TurnItin option. Should professors choose unlimited submissions, students can view their TurnItin report and make corrections up until their final submission.
  • Students will not be able to upload their assignment past the final deadline.
  • Professors can download all submissions with one click. Grade the assignments. And, with one click upload all the papers.
  • Enter the grades (points only) in Grade Scale (as seen above), which in turn automatically posts in Sakai's Grade Book tool.
  • No paper. Environmentally friendly.
Still want hard copies of student assignments? Still want to get woken up when the student emails you at 3 am and your smartphone ring tone plays the Beach Boys ringtone?

Pepperdine faculty at FacProfDev 2013 may advise you otherwise!

FacProfDev Summer 2013 - Day 8

FacProfDev Summer 2013 - Day 8

by Varun Khanna

Do you tweet?

Do you facebook?

Do you linkedin?

Do you google+?

Up until a few years ago words like tweet, facebook, google, linkedin were not exactly used as verbs in our everyday vocabulary. Today, most people could not go 12 hours without using at least one of these big social media brands in a sentence as a verb.

How many times have professors heard their students say "But, I googled it and Google says....?" Or, "I read it on Wikipedia!" That's right! Once a Wikipedia page says it, that's the end of the research. It can now be published. At least, that's what students would have you believe!

It's a whole new world out there. A whole new language. And, keeping up with generation Z, mandates (did I just say "mandates?") we all speak the same language or at least parts of it.

See any similarities between the keyboard shortcuts and the photographs below?

Strangely, I do!

 =:o] is a keyboard short cut for Bill Clinton

 7:^] is Ronald Reagan

Would you like to be a history teacher in a large classroom filled to capacity with 175 students tweeting keyboard shortcuts with #BluePresident or #RedPresident @PepHist101?

Well? The big question came up during Day 8 of FacProfDev Summer 2013. Can educators can use social media before, during or after class to further engage today's student?

Dr. Sharyl Corrado, Assistant Professor of History and Dr. Lynn Newman, Practitioner Faculty in Organizational Behavior, both believe that social media can play a successful role in today's teaching and learning environment, when used judiciously.

Social media platforms are being used during intense three day business simulations at Pepperdine University's Graziadio School of Business & Management for the rigorous MBA program as a gateway for real time reporting between student simulation teams and four supervising professors located in different rooms. 

Dr. Stella Erbes, Assistant Professor of Teacher Education,  leading the FacProfDev 2013 Summer workshop series on social media and the role it can play in a classroom and educators stressed:
  • Use the @ symbol to follow people who are leaders and trendsetters in your area of teaching expertise.
  • Resources from following these experts can be shared with your students by retweeting or sharing knowledge articles, podcasts, videos etc.
  • Encourage students to follow subjects that could be trending within the topics of your syllabus or curriculum by using the # symbol in Twitter. # symbol is now also being used by Facebook.
  • An educator might consider encouraging students to post on Twitter or as  back channel platforms for a face-to-face, blended, or an online classroom discussion that could provide insight as to what students have learned about a particular class topic.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

FacProfDev Summer 2013 - Day 7

FacProfDev Summer 2013 - Day 7

by Varun Khanna

Gerard Flynn, Sr. Director, IT Administration & Client Services
presenting BB Collaborate at FacProfDev Summer 2013

It's day 7 (out of 10) at Pepperdine University's FacProfDev Summer Workshop 2013.

Gerard Flynn, Senior Director, IT Administration and Client Services in his presentation on Blackboard Collaborate (formerly known as Elluminate) highlights 10 things to keep in mind when Pepperdine faculty use this powerful online classroom collaboration tool. 
  1. Go to to confirm you have the latest Java version.
  2. Plug-in your microphone and headset before you launch the Blackboard Collaborate application. Use the audio setup wizard.
  3. Up to 200 people (including faculty member) can join the online collaboration tool but, only 6 people can talk at one time.
  4. Students can now call into the session using their telephone or VoIP.
  5. Talk to your students about online classroom ethics before the session. Make and share a list of your own do's and don'ts with your students.
  6. The left hand panel of Blackboard Collaborate (including Participants window) requires your time, attention and practice. 
  7. Powerpoint slides will be stripped of any and all animations. Keep your slides engaging but, simple with no animations or transitions.
  8. Everyone will have a varying degree of connectivity to internet speeds. Keep that in mind when you load a slide or document. Wait a second or two before you start talking about it.
  9. There are global settings for the entire class and there are local settings (for an individual student). You can globally apply a setting to the entire class. For example: muting everyone's microphone. Or, you can turn off a single student's microphone.
  10. A powerful tool to keep in mind - polls. You can take a live poll, keep the responses private or public as well as publish the poll results to the whiteboard.
For detailed information and resources on Blackboard Collaborate please click here

FacProfDev Summer 2013 - Day 6

FacProfDev Summer 2013 - Day 6

by Varun Khanna

CNN'S Elizabeth Landau in her recent article titled This Is Your Brain On Your Music,  quotes Valerie Salimpoor, a researcher at the Rotman Research Institute in Toronto, Canada, "There is actually a network of activity (in the brain) that predicts whether or not you're going to buy this music as you're listening to the music."

Essentially, what the authors of this study are saying that there is an actual monetary payoff that can be predicted by mapping brain activity when it responds to certain types of music. In the article, Salimpoor goes on to say, "The more activity in the nucleus accumbens, the more money people said they were willing to spend on any particular song in the "auction" set-up that the researchers designed."

Photo of Stella Erbes

Dr. Stella Erbes, Assistant Professor of Teacher Education at Pepperdine University's Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP) is no stranger to using music effectively in her classroom. Leading the FacProfDev Summer 2013 workshop on day 6, Dr. Erbes shared her experience in training teachers with other faculty members.

Dr. Erbes makes extensive use of free music apps like Spotify and Pandora. Whether they are filing into or leaving the classroom at the end of a long session, Dr. Erbes plays her carefully selected music pieces for her students.

Dr. Erbes does not stop with making use of just music in her classroom. She believes that students also need the carefully chosen visual stimulus coupled with music that is uplifting and inspiring to her young teachers-in-training.

Dr. Erbes played the following video of a 6 year old prodigy who had the audience on its feet on The Ellen Show.

Click here to see the 6 year old prodigy

A slow early Monday FacProfDev morning was magically transformed as the 6 year old mesmerized the Pepperdine faculty and staff in attendance.

Sure, we have seen George Clooney perform surgery to Beethoven on the television show ER, but, it took Dr. Erbes this week to remind us that we can dramatically transform our classroom energy by choosing the right music for our students.

Daniel Abrams, lead author and postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University School of Medicine concludes in the CNN article, "Brain regions involved in movement, attention, planning and memory consistently showed activation when participants listened to music -- these are structures that don't have to do with auditory processing itself. This means that when we experience of music, a lot of other things are going on beyond merely processing sound."

FacProfDev Summer 2013 - Day 5

FacProfDev Summer 2013 - Day 5

by Varun Khanna

It was the deal of the century!

I had just stumbled upon an online television deal for a 50 inch, flat screen, LED, 120 Hz, multi-billion color display with HDMI, s-video, component get the drift!

The television soon arrived in pristine condition. I carefully removed it from the box and had a little ta-da moment in front of the family room mirror. Daddy had done good. With the installation complete in less than 15 minutes, I turned the multi-billion color phantasmagoric television on and voila - it was HD TV at its best. I wiped my moist eyes with great pride as I called upon my family to take a look at the new member of the house.

My 5 year old was impressed as she walked up to the TV and nonchalantly swiped her hand across the screen.  Once, twice, three times. She turned around, this time quite unimpressed and emphatically stated "It's broken, daddy," and sailed back to her room with great intent and purpose.

I looked at my wife perplexed. What did she mean "broken"? It was after all the multi-billion color, 50 inch, LED, 120Hz deal-of-the-century TV. I ran into my daughter's room and asked her why she thought the new TV was broken. Busy watching Dora the Explorer on the iPad, she barely looked up and repeated herself - "It's broken, daddy." Not one to give up easily, I walked out of the room slowly pondering to myself.

I turned around and looked at my daughter one more time.

And, then it hit me!

My 5 year old was wondering why the 50 inch TV that daddy had been raving about did not work like the iPad touch screen!

The Huffingpost Post reports that the second largest school district in the United States, LAUSD (Los Angeles Unified School District) has ordered $30 million worth of iPads for the initial phase of introducing the tablet to 31,000 out of its 640,000 students (K-12).

So, what does this mean for students entering Pepperdine University and hundreds of other colleges in the United States starting Fall 2013?

To start with this generation "was born in 1995 and their world has always existed with the internet and the world wide web," says Gerard Flynn, Senior Director of Information Technology and Client Services to a rapt Pepperdine faculty attending day 5 (of a 10 day) of the FacProfDev workshop series in Malibu.

According to Einstein, my daughter's generation might as well be called Gen-I?  

Flynn makes a solid counter argument by quoting the prolific 19th century Danish writer and philosopher, Søren Kierkegaard, "If you wish in helping someone to reach a particular goal we must first find where he is now and start from there." 

If you add up what Einstein and Kierkegaard are saying then, human interaction is a must, however, that in itself is not enough. It is also imperative to keep in mind where the end-user is and start the interaction from there. 

Flynn says, "Their (generation Z) brain is re-wired. We need to find new ways to teach this generation."

Landon Phillips, Multimedia Specialist, further amplified Flynn's point in his presentation titled Designing Better Lectures - "Visual imagery that engages and keeps the attention of the student must be kept in mind when faculty put together their class presentations."

Chip and Dan Heath, co-authors of the popular book titled Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die are educators and idea-collectors.  Echoing the two educator's opinion on thinking out-of-the-box, Flynn also stressed the importance of new learning methods and technology in teaching.  "It is important to come up with ideas that really stick (to generation Z)," said Flynn, as he closed the address to Pepperdine faculty on day 5.

In order to assist Pepperdine faculty with new learning methods and technologies, the university's Tech & Learn group's objective is to:
  • Research - new technologies and learning methods for today's and tomorrow's student body
  • Partner - closely with Pepperdine faculty to exchange best practices that enhance our face-to-face, blended and online programs.
  • Promote - promote technologies and learning methods that are a direct result of good research and strong partnership.
If you missed FacProfDev Summer 2013 workshop series, you can contact Pepperdine's Technology and Learning group by writing to or registering for free for one-on-one consultation with one of our team members.

Friday, June 21, 2013

FacProfDev Summer 2013 - Day 4

FacProfDev Summer 2013 - Day4

by Varun Khanna

Sakai. Spotify. QR Codes. Zamzar. Prezi. Google docs. Google Hangouts. Google this and Google that…

The list of technology and its applications is endless!

On day 4 of FacProfDev Summer 2013 workshop series, Pepperdine faculty found tremendous value in three things we would like to share with you.

What is an RSS feed?
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. An RSS feed automatically allows publishers to syndicate their content. So, how can an RSS feed be of value to the teacher and student?

Let us take a look at CNN's Technology RSS feed. 

CNN  > Tech > RSS

Log onto Pepperdine Courses, go to Edit Tools and add News to your left side bar menu. Once News appears in your left side bar menu, click on it and paste the link (this link is used as an example). 
Click on Update Options. Now every time your students log onto Courses they can click on one or multiple News links that will show the latest RSS feed on the news item of the teacher's choice. The following image is an example of what your RSS feed might look like within Courses.

What is a QR code?
A QR code is an abbreviation for Quick Response Code. It is a bar code that can be scanned with an iOS or Android app that can be downloaded to your smart phone for free.

How do I generate a QR code?
Some websites will allow you to generate a QR code for free. You enter a website url, or a link to your vCard contact or even a Google doc and the site will auto generate a QR code image. Save the image, copy and paste to your website, business card, or presentation. 

How can I use a QR code in class?
Students can scan a QR code directly from the projector screen using their smartphone or tablet device and in seconds launch a google doc and comfortably follow along taking notes directly into the google presentation. QR codes could especially be useful in large class sizes where not everybody has the best seat in the house. You can scan the QR code above and immediately connect to the Pepperdine Technology and Learning website. Try it now!

What are Google Forms? 
Once you have signed up at for your Pepperdine Google Apps account you now have free access to Google Drive, Google Apps, Google Docs, Google Forms and much more.

Google Forms allows Pepperdine students and faculty to quickly set up evaluations, surveys, student feedback, gather data and share it with your class, student groups or fellow faculty within minutes. 

Pepperdine Google Forms can be auto populated with students and faculty email addresses (as long as the users are signed up (for free) with Pepperdine Google Apps.

Simple text fields can be filled with question/s and you can also choose question type: multiple choice, short answer, long answer, scale, grid, date, as well as time. 

For more information on how to use Google Forms, you may contact Pepperdine's Tech and Learn department by sending an email to or fill out a short registration form request for free a one-on-one consultation.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

FacProfDev Summer 2013 - Day 3

FacProfDev Summer 2013 - Day 3

by Varun Khanna

With the overwhelming amount of digital information available, it has become imperative to have useful data at our disposal so we can make informed and quality decisions. Individuals, companies, and even our government is looking for relevant and useful information that is purposefully extracted from big data, so that knowledge can be converted to actionable intelligence.

So, how does Sakai, Pepperdine University’s powerful learning management system (LMS) of choice, help its faculty mine data that leads to better understanding of student interaction and engagement?

Graziadio School of Business and Management’s Professor Lynn Newman found that combining three Sakai tools; polls, announcements, and statistics provided tremendous insight prior to the commencement of her 2013 summer classes.

Logging onto, Professor Newman created the following in Sakai.

  1. A quick poll in Sakai. Note: if you do not see Polls in your left side bar within Courses, professors are advised to go to Site Info > Edit Tools > Polls (select the Polls item), click continue and then click finish.
  2. She then sent a customized announcement to her students requesting they take the poll, also highlighting that she had posted the syllabus and Harvard Business Review (HBR) cases within Sakai.
Results were almost immediate and positive. In less than twelve hours, 15 out of 23 students had responded to the poll, taken a look at the syllabus, as well as the HBR cases she had uploaded in the Resources section of Sakai. Just the day before not a single student had visited the site!

How did she know how many and which students had taken action?

Using Sakai’s powerful Statistics tool.

The following three graphs (taken from Pepperdine’s FacProfDev Summer 2013 workshop) are representative of information that may be of value to a professor.

 Pie Chart 1: Visits

Pie Chart 1 is a graphical representation of the names of the attendees who visited the FacProfDev 2013 project site. Not only does it list the number of times attendees visited the site but, also the names of those who did not visit.

Pie Chart 2: Activity

The second chart depicts where (in the FacProfDev Summer 2013 site) the attendees visited the most. Resources came in at number 1, followed by Forums, Site Info, Messages, Lessons etc. It is important to note that the data is for the past 7 days and may be customized for the day, week, or month etc. 

Pie Chart 3: Resources
The last graph shows activity by Resource sorted by attendee visits from most to least.

If you missed the Summer 2013, FacProfDev conference, Pepperdine’s Technology and Learn department can meet with you, at your convenience, in a one-on-one session. You can send an email to or fill this simple form and register for free.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

FacProfDev Summer 2013 – Day 2

FacProfDev Summer 2013 - Day 2

by Varun Khanna

Daniel Morrison, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Pepperdine University was actively looking for a solution.

Professor Morrison found himself repeating the same instructions “35 times” a semester to his students on how to use resources on  - an online sociology tutorial and resource management site.

The amount of time Professor Morrison was duplicating the information verbally, via email, and answering text messages was clearly wasted. He would rather spend that time teaching.

At FacProfDev Summer 2013 – Professor Morrison was introduced to Jing – a video/audio screen capture tool. This free software allows up to 5 minutes of screen capture and the media can easily be uploaded to allows up to 2GB of free online storage as well as 2GB of data transfer (you can purchase additional storage and data transfer). The uploaded content belongs to the author and not

The entire process took Professor Morrison approximately 15 minutes and he will never have to repeat himself to his students on how to use Once he was done uploading his screencast, he emailed the link to his students.


There are many tools to create screencasts. In addition to Jing, you may consider Camtasia, Quicktime and It is important to note that some of the software applications listed above may not be free. Camtasia offers additional features such as zooming in and out, transitions, adding text, etc. With Camtasia you can also export your finished screencast to multiple formats and upload to is an online solution and does not require downloading an application.

Three Do’s To Keep In Mind:

1.    Treat yourself to a good unidirectional microphone to ensure good quality audio.
2.    Plan, write and rehearse your script in advance.
3.    Keep the videos short and to the point.

If you would like to find out more about using Jing or any other screencast software for your classes, you can contact Pepperdine’s Technology and Learning Group at for a one-on-one consultation or you can sign up online for free,

FacProfDev Summer 2013 - Day 1

by Varun Khanna

Remember a younger looking Ben Stein as the boring economic professor in the cult hit Ferris Bueller’s Day Off starring Matthew Broderick?

Roaring with laughter to the scene from the film, Pepperdine faculty attending FacProfDev 2013 on Day 1 vowed to never be the monotone teacher Stein portrays in the film.

"FacProfDev" is short for Faculty Professional Development.  In its second year, FacProfDev is hosted by Pepperdine University’s Technology and Learning group whose mantra is to "focus on course design that integrates technologies into the classroom that are learner-centric and shift how you deliver course content."

Be it using the chisel to create a tablet centuries ago; the printed word on paper; or today’s messaging on mobile devices -- technology has evolved and with it professors are learning to adapt their content delivery methods without necessarily having to change their core pedagogical beliefs.

On Day 1, the interactive group of Pepperdine faculty from Seaver College, Graziadio School of Business and Management and the Graduate School of Education and Psychology had some note-worthy take-aways.

  1. Using images in presentations can result in a higher rate of information retention.
  2. Peer-to-peer interaction on using mobile, cloud, and learning technologies as well as personal pedagogical do’s and don’ts combined with new media content delivery scored high with the faculty.
  3. - lists scientific data that correlates neuroscience to pedagogy provided insights that were useful to the group.
  4. A teaching style survey designed by Grasha-Reichmann allowed the faculty to analyze where they were in their teaching style techniques. Calculated out of a total score of 5, Pepperdine faculty got a chance to answer a series of questions that revealed if they were Experts, Formal Authority, Personal Model, Facilitator, or Delegator. You can take the short Teaching Style Survey right here.

  5. The importance of using websites like screencast-o-matic and free software like Jing, both, powerful video/audio screen capture tools that enhance the flipped classroom learning experience not only for the student but, when combined with feedback from the student can provide valuable insight to the professor to have focused in-class discussion on topics that beg to be readdressed.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Use "Watch" to receive email notifications in Forums

Get Notified! Use "Watch" in Forums

by Alan Regan

You're a professor or a student and you want to receive an email whenever someone contributes to one of your class discussions. How do you do it?  Use the "Watch" feature.

The "Watch" feature is optional and turned off by default. You can access it by clicking the Forums tool and selecting "Watch" in the top menu. Select a desired option and then click "Save."

Please be aware that this feature is site-by-site.  If you want to watch the discussion in multiple class or project sites, you will need to visit each site and save the desired selection.

NOTE: The "Watch" feature is only available on the first screen of the Forums tool.  If you are within a topic or conversation, you can either use the breadcrumb navigation or click the blue reset arrows to return to the first screen.