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EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative

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Academic Technology Services invites the UC Davis campus to attend the virtual webinar of the annual EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative, on Tuesday, February 10, 2015, in 1310 Surge III, the Large Conference Room.

Feel free to come and go throughout the day or stay for all sessions.

Refreshments and snacks will be provided.

Featured Sessions are:

9:15 Examining the Student Voice in the Impact of Quality Matters

10:45  What Does Unizin Mean for Digital Learning?

11:45 Learning Spaces for Digital Discovery

2:15 Framing the Future: Are We Playing on the Right Side of the Chessboard?

3:15 Faculty Development: 60 Small Changes and Gaming

4:15 Learning Spaces

Additional information about ELI can be found at http://www.educause.edu/eli/events/eli-annual-meeting/virtual-meeting.


January 16 Faculty Panel on the Future of SmartSite


Friday, January 16th, 2015


1310 Surge III (note the return to our favorite conference room in Surge III)


Please join us this coming Friday (January 16th at noon) for a Faculty Panel on Learning Management Systems (also known as LMS) and the Future of SmartSite at UC Davis.

As you probably know, our contract with the vendor for our learning management system, Sakai (and known as SmartSite at UC Davis) is coming to a close, and this has given us to consider all the best options for supporting instruction with an LMS. With the many concerns that have been raised about Sakai in recent years, 18 months ago the Campus Council for Information Technology charged an LMS working group to review LMS options. To that end, that working group has invited the major vendors to give public presentations, to respond to a request for proposals, and to support pilots of UC Davis classes this past fall. The three learning management systems under consideration are Brightspace from Desire2Learn, Canvas from Instructure, and Sakai / SmartSite.

Tomorrow at noon we will hear from some of the participants in that pilot, share some samples of the responses that we are hearing from faculty and students, and discuss the future of course management systems at UC Davis. We hope you will join us tomorrow / Friday for this event, and that you will bring you own learning management system stories and questions.

This event will take place at noon in 1310 Surge III, three buildings west of the Silo. We hope to see you there!


Staff Interview: Cheryl Diermyer

Diermyer, Cheryl_004

Cheryl Diermyer joined UC Davis IET/Academic Technology Services in November 2014. Prior to coming to UC Davis, Cheryl worked at the Division of Information Technology (DoIT), Academic Technology (AT), at the UW Madison as a Senior Instructional Design Strategist. She is passionate about human-centered design, mixed-method approaches to research, and co-creation processes that creatively address needs in higher education.


Your greatest professional achievement? Personal?

My proudest professional achievements come when the people I work with move beyond their own expectations as a result our connection. For example, while at UW Madison I was the recipient of a UW-System Digital Storytelling Curricular Redesign Grant that supported statewide efforts (15 campuses) to implement digital storytelling in the higher education curriculum as a way for students to practice skills in research, communication, and digital literacy. At that same time, a UW Madison faculty member was looking for a creative way to teach difficult course concepts while at the same time humanizing her classroom for an enriched learning expereince. She tells the story of how she barely knew how to hold a computer mouse, yet after our work together she produced her own digital story. Each semester she uses this story as a way to introduce herself to her students so that her students know her as more than just their professor. The following semester I worked with her to integrate student produced digital storytelling assignments into her course. The result? She and her students won the Hirsh Family award for “imaginative endeavors which showcase a UW Madison initiative, department, or division.” Playing a role in others’ successes are times when I’m most proud of the work I do.

As project manager of the campus MOOC pilot, Office of the Chancellor, I worked on Educational Innovation efforts that included a complex matrix of individuals and committees. The MOOC process led to new and invigorating approaches to teaching, learning and building community. I enjoyed envisioning and shaping the possibilities, as well as the detailed work on the MOOC project. However, the best moments came when reading the MOOC discussion forum thank-yous from the MOOC participants to the professors for offering innovative and high quality education. One woman shared a story of how she and her husband bonded in deeper and new ways when working through a MOOC on Anthropology, all while her husband was bedridden in a hospital. Anthropology was a topic they’ve always wanted to explore. Knowing that the work my colleagues and I accomplished made a difference to this couple, is testimony to the value that good pedagogy design, supported by appropriate technology, can improve people’s lives.

The personal achievements that I am most proud of are my strong relationships with my life partner, the rest of my family, and my friends. My three sons — Harvey, an HVAC specialist, Phillip, a chef and aspiring civil engineer, and Joseph, an international entrepreneur  — are kind, thoughtful, strong, ethical, and adventurous men and they make me very proud.

How do you personally use educational technology?

I’m a fan of Google Applications. I find them easy to use, highly collaborative, and allow for easy access no matter what devise I am on. I am a mobile devise fan. As a former CBS video journalist and professional photographer, I can easily pass an entire day using the video/photo mobile applications. I’ve created media-rich videos using nothing but my iPhone. This technology came in handy while in Nicaragua and Guyana for the production of quick short field training videos while on a sustainable hydroponic farming assignment. However, a professional designer will never focus on the technology first when it comes to creating good educational experiences. I start with design research methods to understand the needs of the individual, in this case the learner, and then I consider the instructor’s teaching style, the classroom/delivery mode, available resources, the mission of the campus and Academic Technology, and the campus infrastructure. I also keep in mind state and global possibilities that can connect learners in ways that go beyond the classroom, making learning real and lifelong. I depend on learning theory research and current practices to guide decisions on the use of educational technologies.

Read any good books lately?

My current work-related favorites are Managing Technology in Higher Education: Strategies for Transforming Teaching and Learning (Tony Bates) and Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation (Tim Brown). I was unbundling a leadership lesson on delegation when I met Tim Brown last year. Tim clarified for me the lesson of “do less and lead more” by recasting it into needing to balance doing, managing, and leading. He said, ”You have to be good at all three.”

I rarely dedicate time to fun reading, but when I do I always rediscover that it’s one of the pure pleasures in life. About a year ago, on a fight from Wisconsin to California, I read Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (Cheryl Strayd). The book consumed my attention to the point of feeling like I on was on the Pacific Crest Trail rather than a long plane ride. Another book that captured me was Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel (Robin Sloan), which is a good mix of adventure, suspense, geeky tech stuff, and a small bit of romance. The protagonist is a curious out-of-work graphic designer. The book is definitely a page-turner.

What advice do you give aspiring designer?

Be curious. Be adventurous. Never stop learning your craft. Find ways to ignite people’s creativity. Be Collaborative! Human needs first, learning goals second, technology third, and assessment first, second, third, and fourth. Designers need to be good listeners to identify needs and bridge gaps. Know where and how you can make a difference, then do it. Let others mentor you, and mentor others.

To learn more about Cheryl’s career path and experiences you can visit her on LinkedIn.


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Dan Comins, an instructional designer with Academic Technology Services, will be hosting the second of this year’s Future of Learning in Practice (or FLIP) workshops tomorrow Friday, November 14th, in the School of Education Computer Lab (Academic Surge 2363) at Noon. The workshops are held on most second Fridays of the month during the school year, providing an opportunity for faculty to practice using the tools that can help us teach more effectively with different media, especially video and images.


Continuing with this year’s FLIP theme, Tools for Creating Video and Interactive Media, Dan will discuss ThingLink for Images and Video, a web application that allows instructors (and students) to mark up images and video with interactive hot spots, thus providing additional information, links, and functionality to otherwise static images and videos on the web. The workshop will help participating faculty understand how this tool to create rich, interactive content.


Please join Dan for this workshop from 12 – 1PM with an open lab for practice and additional questions following from 1-1:30. There is no need to RSVP – just drop by. I hope to see you there!


P.S. If you have any questions, please contact Dan at djcomins@ucdavis.edu or 530-752-1032.



ThingLink for Images and Video

A FLIP workshop hosted by Dan Comins

Friday, November 14th

12 Noon

Academic Surge 2363

(the same building as the Bohart Museum of Entomology)


FLIP Flyer Fall 2014

Textbooks: Paper or Digital

Textbooks: Paper or Digital?

Faculty from across the disciplines will meet on Friday, November 7th at noon to hear from four different speakers on teaching and technology initiatives on campus. I hope you can join us in 307 Surge IV (just west of the Silo) to receive updates from the following.


Jason Lorgan of the UC Davis Bookstore will present on The UC Davis Bookstore Online Textbook Pilot Program. Imagine that two weeks before the quarter begins, a student in your class receives access to an online version of your textbook, with adaptive digital content. Such a pilot has begun this fall, and of the 4,000 students in participating courses, 95% have chosen to stick with the digital adaptive content rather than switching to print.


Steve Faith, Faculty Technology Training Coordinator, will preview how a future Learning Management System will allow all of us to teach with multiple media, especially video, using Kaltura. Kaltura is a versatile product for uploading, managing, and distributing rich media including images, audio, and video. As part of Academic Technology Services’ Video Initiative, Kaltura will be integrated into our learning management system (LMS). At Friday’s DOLCE you can preview what Kaltura looks like in the SmartSite, Canvas, and Brightspace, and thus consider all three learning management systems that we are considering for the future of SmartSite.


Andy Jones will catch us up on the LMS pilots being conducted this fall, and the planned timeline for the LMS transition. According to a 2012 article in Inside Higher Education, “More than 90 percent of all colleges and universities — small and large, public and private — have invested in an institutionwide LMS, according to data from the Campus Computing Project.” Having benefited from a learning management system at UC Davis for about 15 years, we are currently using Sakai to power our SmartSite; your feedback will help the LMS working group make the best recommendations to the Academic Senate, CIO, and Provost at UC Davis.


Finally, Professor James Carey from Entomology will give us a brief update on his plans as chair of the Educational Technology Subcommittee of the Campus Council for Information Technology.


Bring a lunch if you are inclined, as well as your curiosity and questions.


DOLCE — Discussing Online Learning and Collaborative Education

Friday, November 7, 2014 at Noon

307 Surge IV (west of the Silo)


Image courtesy of Alan Levine.


Welcome to a new school year and to new discoveries in teaching and learning!


As the Academic Associate Director of Academic Technology Services, I get to host a number of teaching and learning-centric events for UC Davis faculty and support staff. Every first Friday of the month, for example, we meet for DOLCE, which stands for Discussing Online Learning and Collaborative Education. At DOLCE meetings, anywhere from 12 to 30 teaching and learning enthusiasts gather to enjoy presentations from UC Davis faculty and staff on new innovations and ongoing initiatives. We hope you will join us.


Tomorrow’s speakers will include the following:


Paul Salitsky, a faculty member in Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior, will discuss his experience as a fall pilot for Canvas by Instructure, one of the three learning management systems that faculty are testing this fall as we all consider the future of SmartSite. For more information on the coming LMS transition, please visit http://lmstransition.ucdavis.edu.

Dan Comins, an instructional designer with Academic Technology Services, will preview the schedule of FLIP events for the coming year. At meetings of FLIP, which stands for Future of Learning in Practice, participants will explore the (mostly) online tools that we can use to help students engage in independent and collaborative learning activities.

Dan will also tell us about the daylong Online and Hybrid Learning Showcase, to be held starting at 9 AM on October 17 at the Student Community Center. Visit http://cetl.ucdavis.edu/courses-and-events/hybrid-showcase.html to find out more about this event, to be hosted for The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning by Dr. Cara Harwood Theisen.

A faculty representative of the EdTech Subcommittee of the Campus Council for Information Technology will preview topics to be discussed at EdTech during the coming year, including the learning management system transition, video initiatives, and classroom upgrades.

Finally, Information Security Consultant Dewight Kramer will update us on Cyber Awareness Training initiatives that he has been spearheading. Find out more about such initiatives at http://security.ucdavis.edu.


Because of interior construction in Surge III, this fall we will meet in 307 Surge IV (see map with helpful arrows). DOLCE will be video-recorded and posted online for future review, but you should still plan to join us at noon tomorrow. As we are meeting across the parking lot from the Silo, you are invited to bring a lunch.


Dr. Andy Jones
Academic Associate Director, Academic Technology Services



DOLCE – Discussing Online Learning and Collaborative Education

The LMS Transition and Other Topics

Friday, October 3rd

12-1 pm

307 Surge IV (new location)

Directions to 307 Surge IV

Directions to 307 Surge IV


The SITT 2014 Schedule of Talks and Workshops


The Summer Institute on Teaching and Technology

Friday, September 12, 2014


The Art Annex / Technocultural Studies Building

(Behind the Art Building, and next to the Theatre Building)



Title Time / Speaker          Room
Welcome 9:30-9:40 AM

People milling around, looking at the program and making new friends.

Art Annex
A formal Welcome from Viji Murali 9:40-9:50 AM

Viji Murali, our new CIO and Vice Provost for Information and Educational Technology

Art Annex
Welcoming remarks from Andy Jones 9:55-10:00 AM

Five minutes on SITT enthusiasms!

Art Annex
Getting Started with Teaching Hybrid and Online Courses


10-11 AM


Cara Harwood Theisen, Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning

This interactive session will introduce key differences between online, hybrid, and face-to-face classes. Participants will leave with new ideas for how to incorporate technology and online tools to promote student interaction, deliver content, and assess students.

Art Annex
Update on Teaching with Technology Projects 11AM-12PM

  • The Future of SmartSite: Andy Jones
  • CETL Initiatives: Chris Thaiss
  • The CETL Faculty instructional technology resources hub website: Mary Stewart
  • Classroom updates
  • Preview of faculty concerns about student devices in the classroom: Cara Harwood Theisen
  • Description of afternoon sessions
Art Annex
  • 12-1PM


Burritos provided by Dos Coyotes. Brave participants will dine outside in the delightful heat of mid-September in Davis.

Art Annex
“Teachnologies” (Presentation of 20 instructional technologies in 40 minutes) 1-2PM

  • Andy Jones
  • Steve Faith
  • Dan Comins
  • Paul Salitsky


Technologies to be reviewed (briefly) include Camtasia, Videoblocks, EduCreations, Zaption, and a variety of other portmanteau words that may make no sense until after this rapid-fire four-way presentation.

Art Annex
Now we move to the computer classrooms in the basement of Olson Hall. Choose a workshop!
Creating a WordPress Website 2-3:30PM

  • Andy Jones
  • Charlie Turner
  • Simon Dvorak
Olson 1
Teaching with Video Workshop 2-3:30PM

  • Professor James Carey
  • Dan Comins
  • This will be an abbreviated version of the video boot camp.
Olson 21
Technology Tools Workshop 2-3:30PM

  • Steve Faith
  • Fernando Socorro
  • Paul Salitsky

This workshop will cover a few of the aforementioned “Teachnologies,” and give faculty an opportunity to explore new SmartSite tools, and consider aspects of other Learning Management System candidates (i.e. Canvas by Instructure and Brightspace by Desire2Learn) that will be piloted by UC Davis faculty this fall.

Olson 27
Wrap-Up 3:30-4:30PM

  • We will be joined CCFIT Chair Michael Kleeman, and ATS Director David Levin
  • Review of other resources, if we have time
  • Sharing of hopes, concerns, and discoveries
Art Annex



Directions to the Art Annex for SITT 2014

Directions to the Art Annex for SITT 2014

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The 2014 Summer Institute on Teaching and Technology

The Art Annex at UC Davis

The Art Annex at UC Davis

The one-day Summer Institute on Teaching and Technology (SITT) will take place this year on Friday, September 12, and we hope that you will join us. We will meet primarily in the Art Annex, behind the Theater Building on campus, from 9:30-4:30, with a break for lunch, and an opportunity for hands-on discoveries in computer classrooms in the afternoon.


At this year’s SITT we will learn from UC Davis faculty and content-expert staff about the following topics:


  • Blended and hybrid teaching,
  • Plans to pilot new learning management systems this fall (with a new or improved replacement for SmartSite to be adopted in 2015),
  • Faculty concerns about student use of portable devices during lecture,
  • Online tools to facilitate discussion,
  • Sources for copyright-free images, audio, and video,
  • Embedded YouTube videos,
  • Time management during lecture,
  • Teaching and conducting outreach with WordPress,
  • Class (and classroom) designs that encourage collaboration,
  • And many others.


Lunch will be provided to those who register.


For those of you who have not attended SITT in the past, the one-day institute provides all participating faculty an opportunity to learn from our colleagues about teaching practices and innovations, and to meet others with similar enthusiasms for student-centered learning.


I hope you can join us!


Andy Jones

Chair, SITT 2014


Digital Course Content Pilot from the UC Davis Bookstore!

Good news from the UC Davis bookstore about new opportunity to teach with digital resources while saving your students money on fall textbooks.

UC Davis Stores are spearheading a Digital Course Content Pilot that is taking place on campus this fall. During the 2013-2014 school year, the UC Davis Stores have been working with faculty and publishers to reinvent the way content is delivered to our students. Please find a summary below of how the pilot will work and some real price comparisons for different forms of delivering content. The UC Davis Stores plan to assess the performance of the pilot from a faculty and student perspective in November.

  • The Digital Course Content Pilot begins in Fall Quarter 2014 with nearly 5,000 students using Digital Adaptive Content
  • The content adapts to student performance on exercises and is interactive (in contrast to an eBook which does not adapt or interact)
  • The Pilot Intent: To Improve Student Access, Drive Down Student Costs, and Improve Attainment of Student Learning Outcomes
  • The Delivery method: In most cases, digital access codes will be delivered via email two weeks before the quarter begins. In limited cases, students will receive access and be registered during their first class session
  • During the add/drop period, students can use the content at no cost
  • If students choose to opt-out during the add/drop period, their digital access will be turned off, and they will pay nothing
  • If they choose to retain access, the course materials cost will be added to their University bill
  • If students would like a print copy to go along with their digital access, they can visit the Memorial Union Store for a low-cost print copy to accompany their digital content

Digital Resource Price Comparisons


Video from June DOLCE

If you weren’t able to attend the DOLCE (Discussing Online Learning and Collaborative Education) meeting last Friday (June 6), we invite you to watch the recording below.

Antonella Bassi (professor of French & Italian) gave a talk, “From Stencil to Smart Panel: Teaching Italian at UC Davis, 1988-2014,” Charlie Turner provided an update on the faculty website initiative, and Andy Jones discussed summer plans for educational technology initiatives at UC Davis.