≡ Menu


What is The Wheel?

The Wheel is UC Davis’ instructional technology blog, written by Andy Jones (Associate Academic Director of Academic Technology Services) and Mary Stewart (PhD candidate in the School of Education, Associate Editor of The Wheel).

The blog provides information about instructional technology at UC Davis and beyond so that faculty members don’t have to “reinvent the wheel” as they incorporate technology into their pedagogy.

Can I submit articles for publication on The Wheel?

Absolutely! Just email Mary Stewart at wheel@ucdavis.edu. Topics may include:

  • Ways you use technology in the classroom
  • Explorations of computer-assisted, hybrid, or online education
  • Experiences with lecture capture, flipped classrooms, clickers, social media networks, YouTube, etc.
  • Uses of SmartSite
  • Reflections on the way technology influences teaching and learning
  • Arguments for or against specific educational technology tools

I use technology in my teaching; how do I share my experiences with other faculty members?

We host a faculty spotlight series on The Wheel and are always looking for new innovators to showcase. If you and/or your colleagues are using technology in an innovative way, email wheel@ucdavis.edu and we will contact you for an interview.

Additional Resources


Faculty Technology Guide
Links to helpful information about using computers around campus.

Information & Educational Technology
Access informational and educational technology resources.

Academic Technology Services
Schedule media and educational technology consultations and services.

Log into UC Davis’ learning management system.

Faculty Mentoring Faculty Program
View videos of faculty presentations about innovative teaching and instructional technology.

Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning
Access services designed to improve the quality of undergraduate instruction.

Student Disability Center
A variety of services and resources for students with disabilities.

Student Academic Success Center
Free academic and advising assistance to all UC Davis students.

Technology News
A frequently updated blog about technology news at UC Davis and beyond.



Academic Technology Services Academic Technology Services is part of UC Davis’ Instructional and Educational Technology unit. ATS includes programming, classroom support, computer lab management, video and animation, and faculty support.
Adobe Captivate 6 Captivate is an e-learning authoring software; for example, you can import PowerPoint slides and then add interactive elements like quizzes.
Articulate Articulate is a company that sells e-learning authoring software (Storyline, Studio ’09) and e-learning management software (Articulate Online). The company also promotes an online community to support the development of e-learning courses.
Blended Instruction Often confused with hybrid instruction, blended instruction refers more to the integration of online learning activities into a course without actually reducing “seat time” in a class – for example asking students to watch supplemental videos on a SmartSite course site as part of their homework.
Camtasia Camtasia is a screen recording and video editing software commonly used for lecture capture.
Distance Education While often synonymous with online education, distance learning is a much older concept; in the 19th century it existed via the postal service.
DOLCE DOLCE, or Discussing Online Learning and Collaborative Education, is a group of UC Davis faculty and ATS staff who meet on the first Friday of each month at 12pm in 1310 Surge III. At these meetings, faculty members present on innovative uses of educational technology, followed by discussion.
Educational/ Instructional Technology A broad concept, educational or instructional technology involves the use of digital tools to enhance teaching and learning, as well as the theory behind such practice.
eTexts eText is a general term for any document that one reads digitally. Specific to higher education, eTextbooks are becoming a popular (and more affordable) alternative to physical textbooks. In addition to accessing the text via an eReader or the web, eTextbooks often contain animations and enable students to add annotations and share those annotations with others.Companies like KNO, Flat World KnowledgeSoomo, MindTap, Inkling, and Academic Pub produce these e- or web-texts.
Faculty Support Group Andy Jones leads this group of ATS staff who assist faculty in addressing educational technology needs.Steve Faith and Fernando Socorroare the instructional technology coordinators; they both answer questions and hold workshops on SmartSite use. Steve also supports faculty using lecture capture, while Fernando supports faculty using clickers.As an instructional designer, Dan Cominssupports faculty who develop hybrid and online courses, and is knowledgeable about the tools that support hybrid and online learning. Cheryl Diermyer, Instructional Design Consultant, focuses on design research and innovative instructional design processes that increase student engagement.  Mary Stewart writes The Wheel blog and @ucdaviswheel Twitter account, and helps coordinate the DOLCE meetings and Faculty Panels.
“Flipped” Classroom “Flipping the classroom” requires students to view prerecorded video “lectures” for homework, and then to devote class time to discussion or group work activities.
Hybrid Instruction Hybrid courses offer some portion its content in an online format, reducing actual “seat time” in a physical classroom, sometimes by as much as 50%, but this amount varies. For example in a typical 2- or 3-day class, the students and instructor might meet face-to-face once per week, and then students watch videos or engage in online learning activities instead of attending a second or third face-to-face meeting.
Learning Management System A Learning Management System (LMS) is a software application that enables online instruction. Most LMSs provide a way to efficiently deliver learning materials, to foster communication and collaboration between students, to distribute information from the instructor to students, and to track activity within the LMS. SmartSite is UC Davis’ LMS; other examples include Blackboard, Moodle and Canvas.
Lecture Capture Put simply, lecture capture involves the video and audio recording of an instructor’s lecture. That recording is either streamed to physically absent students, posted online for later viewing, or incorporated into an online, hybrid, or MOOC version of a course.
Massive Open Online Course A Massive Open Online Course, or MOOC, is a form of distance education where all materials are web-based. Thousands of students participate in each course for free. The courses tend to emphasize collaborative interactions between peers (e.g., papers are graded by an extensive peer review system) and revolve around pre-recorded video lectures. Examples of MOOCs include courses offered by Coursera, MITx, and Udacity.
OIPP –> UCOE In 2010, the University of California launched the Online Instruction Pilot Project (OIPP) to explore how to effectively integrate online education in the UC undergraduate curriculum. The initiative has developed into University of California Online (UCOE), which currently offers selected online courses to non-matriculated students.
Online Instruction A “fully online” course offers all content via the web; students are not required to physically attend class, though there may be synchronous elements to the online course.
Provost Hybrid Course Award Each year, the Provost Hybrid Course Award provides four faculty members with funding to develop a hybrid course. Award winners also participate in a hybrid course development workshop offered by the Center for Excellent in Teaching and Learning.
Sakai Sakai is a learning management system collaboratively created and currently used by hundreds of educational institutions. UC Davis is one of those institutions; SmartSite is our version of Sakai. SmartSite is an example of Sakai’s first system, the Collaboration and Learning Environment; CoLE is an example of Sakai’s more recent system, the Open Academic Environment.
SmartSite Powered by Sakai, SmartSite is UC Davis’ learning management system (LMS).
WASC The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) is “one of six regional associations that accredit public and private schools, colleges, and universities in the United States.” Without accreditation, a university’s students are not eligible for federal loans or grants, and employers may not consider their degree legitimate.
Wheel The Wheel is UC Davis’ instructional technology blog, produced by Dr. Andy Jones and Mary Stewart. The blog provides information about instructional technology so that faculty members don’t have to “reinvent the wheel” as they incorporate technology into their pedagogy.