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Information & Educational Technology Services is in search of a new Chief Information Officer (CIO). Interviews are currently taking place, and as part of the interview process, the UC Davis community is invited to attend public forums.

At these forums, the CIO candidates discuss the topic, “What are the key challenges and opportunities for large public research universities today, and where might Information Technology help address them?” A moderated Q&A session follows the candidate’s presentation. 

The first forum took place last Monday. Upcoming forums are scheduled for:

  • Tomorrow (Thursday, April 17) from 1:30pm-2:30pm in the UC Davis Conference Center, Conference Room B, and
  • Monday, April 21 from 3pm-4:15pm in the UC Davis Activities and Recreation Center, Ballroom B.

Your participation in the process is strongly encouraged and your feedback is very important in helping IET to select the next Chief Information Officer–please send comments about the candidates to ciosearch@ucdavis.edu no later than April 23.  


Video: Hybrid Courses & Active Learning

In the DOLCE (Discussing Online Learning and Collaborative Education) faculty forum this month, Professor Laramie Taylor discussed his experiences with developing a hybrid communication studies course, and Cara Harwood led a discussion on active learning spaces.

For those of you who weren’t able to make the event, please find a video recording below.


Dan Comins, instructional designer for Academic Technology Services, and Cara Harwood, Faculty Developer for the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, have been selected as “best in track” presenters at the upcoming Sloan-C Blended Learning Conference and Workshop.

They will give their presentation, “Promoting Hybrid Course Development: An Integrated Grant and Workshop Series Approach,” on July 8 in Denver, CO. We’ll post a longer piece about their experience after they return!


Steven Wade croppedSteven Wade, a fourth-year Film Studies student at UC Davis, offers an interesting perspective on the way digital devices influence relationships in the below essay, which he wrote in response to the “Perfect Page of Prose” assignment for Dr. Andy’s Technocultural Studies 191: Writing Across Media.

Wade aspires to be a screenwriter and illustrator for film, especially in the horror genre.


The Social Collective

Star Trek’s Borg may be an apt, albeit unintended, metaphor for the average smartphone/tablet/netbook user. Whereas the Borg cube is a vessel in the Star Trek universe which assimilates terrified alien species into the Borg collective, our real world equivalents are cell phone retailers, who facilitate entry into the social media collective. In our real world, entry into social media networks is voluntary and often necessary for those who desire to maintain some level of social interaction. This interaction occurs within environments which encourage group-thought such as Facebook and Twitter, among others, which represent our own “collective” of social network users.

The merits of maintaining constant connectivity with the people in one’s life are undeniable. Yet for some, this connectivity can largely replace physical conduct. This trend epitomizes the Borg analogy: a person can constantly monitor his phone or other device, engrossed in the “collective” while in physical proximity to another human being.  Like a Borg drone, this person has no need to communicate verbally since he has access to the collective, and therefore the thoughts of each other member of the “collective.”

Overexposure to thoughts, feelings, and opinions of others within the “collective” may influence the increasing emotional distance to those encountered within the physical world. While the overarching implications of this trend are difficult to see, the annoyance on your friend’s face when he must repeat himself for the third time because you were checking your Facebook should be clearly visible. As free-thinkers, we should maintain a clear divide between one’s physical and electronic interactions, lest they fuse together inextricably.


FLIP this Friday: Google Tools

We hope you’ll join us this coming Friday, April 11th at 12PM in Surge III 1310 for this month’s Future of Learning in Practice (FLIP) workshop, at which Dan Comins and Steve Faith will present Google Tools.

As you are no doubt aware, all faculty, students, and staff at UC Davis have access to Google Apps for Education as a part of their standard UC Davis accounts, including Google Drive, Google Plus, Google Hangouts, and numerous other useful Google applications.

In the workshop on Friday, we’ll discuss educational uses for Google Drive, including ways to use Google Forms, as well as third-party apps and add-ins that can be used with documents in Google Drive. In particular, we’ll look at an interesting application called Flubaroo that allows for grading within Google Spreadsheets. Steve and Dan will also demonstrate how to create and use Google Hangouts, which is Google’s answer to Skype and Adobe Connect.

Steve and Dan will also answer questions about particular Google Tools/Services that you may have heard about, but aren’t sure quite if they meet your pedagogical goals.

As always, please bring your laptops so that you can try out these tools as we walk through their features together.  


CETL Offers Faculty Workshops in April & May

The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning is offering a series of faculty workshops in April and May that will lead you to explore new ideas to enhance your teaching effectiveness and improve learning for your students.

Faculty from all disciplines and with all experience levels are invited to participate in one (or all!) of the workshops. You’ll find the calendar below–all workshops will be held from 12:00-1:30pm, with lunch provided

  • Tuesday, April 15: Promoting Creativity: Teaching our Students to Think Innovatively
  • Tuesday, May 6: How to Propose and Teach an Outstanding First Year Seminar
  • Tuesday, May 27: Digital Devices and Distraction: Dealing with Disruptive Technologies During Class

Please visit the CETL website for a detailed description of each workshop and to register. Space is limited and advance registration is required.


The new quarter means another round of teaching and learning conversations at the Discussing Online Learning and Collaborative Education (DOLCE) faculty forms. We’ll meet in 1310 Surge III this coming Friday (April 4) from 12pm-1pm. 

Laramie Taylor, a recipient of the Provost Hybrid Course Award, will join us to share his story with developing a hybrid Communications Studies course. Innovative and collaborative, Taylor is actively including his colleagues in the course content development. Eight to ten of Taylor’s faculty colleagues, each experts in different sub-fields in Communication, will develop materials for one to two units of the course. Taylor himself is creating question-and-answer style videos with the experts.

Additionally, faculty developer Cara Harwood from the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning will lead a discussion on active learning spaces. Harwood was the primary writer on a recent learning spaces report and proposal that advocates for more active learning spaces at UC Davis.


Twitter as Professional Development?

Brave New World published an article about participatory learning and teaching in the 21st century, which asserts that educators cannot ignore the technologies that permeate our students’ lives, especially since social media creates participatory and communal environments that support a very different kind of learning than the traditional classroom in which an authoritative instructor delivers content to passive students.

The author further argues that teachers need to be constant learners, and contends that Twitter may be a way to accomplish this: “Educators who participate in Twitter networks are well placed to support students in the use of relevant digital technologies because the Twitter community shares knowledge, resources and expert advice.”

I think the author brings up an interesting question of what teachers need to pay attention to in order to position themselves as lifelong learners. Another way to think about this is where and how educators seek professional development. I’d love to hear from our UC Davis community–how do you seek support for your development as an educator? Do you find yourself using social media networks? Institutional professional development programs? Published articles? Conversations with colleagues? 



Update for Spring Quarter: Preferred Name

Many UC Davis students use a name other than their legal name; to support these students,  members of the campus registrar and other campus organizations have been working to create a service that allows students to indicate their preferred name in the Campus Directory

The name they use on the campus director form will appear in place of their legal name in many university records and documents, including the campus directory, AggieCard, Bannar, SmartSite, and the Library. Other records, such as paychecks and financial aid, will continue to use the legal name.

To update your name, simply edit the name in the UC Davis Campus Directory. (Please note that faculty and staff are welcome to use this service, as well!)

For more information, read the registrar’s Preferred Name page.


FLIP this Friday: Zaption & Thinglink

This month’s Future of Learning in Practice (FLIP) workshop will occur this coming Friday, March 14th at 12pm in 1310 Surge III, and will focus on Content Curation/Digital Mashup Tools.

There is a wealth of great education material on YouTube, TED, MIT, and other open educational resource vendors, but it can be challenging to organize this content in a way that is useful for students. Content Curation and Digital “Mashup” tools offer a solution by allowing you to organize content from a multitude of sources in a format that your students can easily navigate. Some of these tools also are a great for student projects.

On Friday, workshop leader Dan Comins will specifically demonstrate two such tools: ThingLink and Zaption. ThingLink is an easy-to-use platform that allows you to upload and tag images with links to content found all over the web. Zaption is a tool that allows you to make video truly interactive by creating “caption tours,” which integrate various types of questions, polls, timeline-based discussions, graphical markups, and more. Zaption also features basic analytics that allow you to investigate how your learners are using the content you create.

Please bring your laptops so that you can try out these tools at the workshop.

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