Welcome Back

Welcome Back!
As a kick-off to the new semester, I wanted to share a recent article from The Chronicle about Syllabus Day titled, The Absolute Worst Way to Start the Semester.
It got me thinking how to maximize time with my students on the first day of class this fall. It is a quick read and gives a number of easy to implement ideas that can really help set the tone for the rest of the semester. Like the old adage says “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”.
I also wanted to provide a couple of teaching technology updates.
In collaboration with Information Technology Services we are continuing the transition to Top Hat as the new audience response system (clickers). An ISU Top Hat website is available, which includes transition tips, information on how students can purchase a license, and how instructors can request user support. View ISU Top Hat website.
Blackboard technical help continues to be available through the IT Solution Center and will include evening and weekend service hours. CELT will continue to address questions that are pedagogical in nature, such as course design or instructional practices. View ISU Blackboard Support website.
CELT is offering walk-in support for instructional design (Blackboard, Top Hat and classroom technologies) Monday through Friday during the weeks of August 15 and 22 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the CELT Online Learning Innovation Hub located in 281 Parks Library. No registration is needed just stop by when it is convenient. Beginning August 29, walk-in support returns to its regular time, Tuesdays 1-3 p.m.
We have a great line up of professional development programs in place for the semester. The full list of programs is available online and you can register for the programs through Learn@ISU. View CELT Events & Registration website.
Best wishes for a successful semester,
Ann Marie VanDerZanden, Director
Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching

How ISU Faculty are using Top Hat

tophatTop Hat, a cloud-based, interactive teaching and learning platform for instructors and students, is now available for use at ISU. The Top Hat platform replaces clickers — the remote control-style devices used at ISU for the last 10 years. Top Hat was piloted at ISU during the 2015-16 academic year and was wellreceived by instructor and student users. Top Hat offers numerous excellent features, including:
  • Six types of questions for student responses
  • Synchronous and asynchronous modes of participation
  • Options for instant feedback via open-ended discussions
  • New ways for instructors to create interactive content and customize student access
  • For students, Top Hat allows for the use of students’ own smartphones, tablets, and computers. It is accessible via the Top Hat app and web browsers.
Here is what faculty are saying about using Top Hat:
Getting Started with Top Hat
  • Lauren Westerdale, Student Services Specialist II and BEST Learning Community Coordinator (Biology) explained,”I would suggest anticipating questions your students may have and speaking with a Top Hat support staff member prior to your course start date so you feel comfortable addressing those questions. Also, consider reviewing the online tutorials offered for instructors,” and, “I particularly appreciate the anonymous response feature built into Top Hat questions and discussions, which allows students to more comfortably ask questions and provide honest feedback in a lecture hall setting.”
Faculty Experiences Using Top Hat in the Classroom
  • Jesudoss Kingston, Senior Lecturer (Chemistry) shared,”I like the option of presenting the questions from my iPad, which offers me opportunity to walk around the class and I don’t need to stand near the podium. Students seem to like it so far,” and, “I am not restricted to only traditional multiple choice questions. I have started using “matching items” “click on the target” type questions which is really great for chemistry courses.
  • Beth Caissie, Assistant Professor (Geological and Atmospheric Sciences) stated, “It lets me have an active class with 250 students. I wanted to use active learning in class and Top Hat enables this without requiring another hardware device,” and, “l really like the click on target questions. That option is awesome, especially for geology. I use it a lot, it is great for looking at maps. It also allows me to show the resulting heat map of students’ answers on the projector and talk about any misconceptions they might have . In addition, I like the word cloud display option for Word Answer questions. It helps students see what the consensus is for answers.”
For more information visit the Top Hat support site.

CELT expands walk-in support for instructional design this month

CELT is offering additional walk-in support for instructional design (Blackboard, TopHat and classroom technologies) for the next three weeks at its online learning innovation hub, 281 Parks Library. Monday through Friday during the weeks of Aug. 8, 15 and 22, receive help from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. No registration is needed. Bring your laptop and your work and get answers to your questions. Beginning Aug. 29, walk-in support returns to its regular time, Tuesdays 1-3 p.m.


Top Hat representative on campus this week (Aug. 1 – 5)

tophatA representative from Top Hat, ISU’s new interactive teaching and learning platform, will visit campus this week (Aug. 1 – 5). Erin Neal will be available for two walk-in sessions for instructors who want an overview of Top Hat’s features:

  • Wednesday, Aug. 3 (2-3 p.m., 116 Durham)
  • Thursday, Aug. 4 (12:30-1:30 p.m., 116 Durham)

Neal also will host individual sessions for instructors who want more in-depth training; sign up through Top Hat Demo MeetMe website. View Top Hat support website.


Top Hat representative on campus next week

Top Hat representative on campus next week

tophat

A representative from Top Hat, ISU’s new interactive teaching and learning platform, will visit campus the week of July 18. Erin Neal will be available for two walk-in sessions for instructors who want an overview of Top Hat’s features:

  • Tuesday, July 19 (1-2 p.m., 281 Parks Library)
  • Wednesday, July 20 (3-4 p.m., 2030 Morrill Hall)

Neal also will host individual sessions for instructors who want more in-depth training; sign up for a time here. Online support is always available by visiting IT Top Hat Support website.


Top Hat, a new interactive teaching and learning platform, comes to ISU

From:
Ann Marie VanDerZanden, Director, Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching
Jim Kurtenbach, Chief Information Officer, Information Technology

tophatWe are pleased to announce that Top Hat, a new cloud-based, interactive teaching and learning platform for ISU instructors and students, is now available for use at ISU. Top Hat was piloted at ISU during the 2015-16 academic year and was well received by users, and now we are excited to open it up to all of campus.

There is no charge for instructors to use Top Hat. It offers excellent features, including:

  • Six types of questions for student responses
  • Synchronous and asynchronous modes of participation
  • Options for instant feedback via open-ended discussions
  • New ways for instructors to create interactive content and customize student access

For students, Top Hat allows for the use of students’ own smartphones, tablets, and computers. It is accessible via the Top Hat app and web browsers.

The adoption of Top Hat also means that the legacy TurningPoint clickers will no longer be sold or supported at ISU. The TurningPoint 5 software is growing obsolete as its vendor no longer supports it which makes it incompatible with software updates such as Microsoft Office 2016.

Students with legacy clickers will have the option to return them to the ISU Book Store for a $25 credit toward a new Top Hat license. We thank the book store staff for their work in supporting this transition.

We’ve created a Top Hat support site to help guide you through the questions you might have, including how to transition from TurningPoint to Top Hat. You can also read more in our Inside Iowa State story.

For instructors who used clickers in the past, we hope to make your transition as seamless as possible. For those who have not used clickers, we hope you will explore Top Hat and consider implementing it in your classroom. We think you will find it to be a very robust interactive classroom tool.

Please feel free to share this message with your departments and colleagues, and reach out to us directly with any questions you may have.


IT, CELT introduce new interactive teaching, learning platform

A new service promises to give instructors more options in creating interactive lectures for their classes.

Following a successful pilot program during 2015-16, information technology (IT) and the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) are introducing Top Hat, a cloud-based teaching and learning platform. The service, which begins this fall, will replace clickers — the remote control-style devices used at ISU for the last 10 years — with students’ existing devices, enhancing functionality for instructors and students.

New features

Top Hat offers instructors new technology-based, pedagogical opportunities in the classroom. Among features are:

  • Six types of questions for student responses
  • Synchronous and asynchronous modes of participation
  • Methods for instant feedback via open-ended discussions
  • New ways for instructors to create interactive content and customize student access

Students will benefit from the new service as well. They will be able to use their existing devices — like smartphones, laptops and tablets — to access Top Hat. They can access content outside of class time and track progress through their Top Hat accounts.

Since students will use their own devices, IT and CELT support for clickers has been discontinued. Likewise, the TurningPoint 5 software used with clickers is no longer supported by the vendor or ISU.

Blackboard integration, transition help

“We believe both instructors and students will be very pleased with Top Hat,” said Ann Marie VanDerZanden, CELT director. “It allows instructors to engage students pedagogically in ways we have not been able to before at ISU. It’s very intuitive to use and is accessible through virtually any device.”

Top Hat integrates with Blackboard, ISU’s learning management system. The current integration is simple, but a more advanced and expanded Grade Center integration is expected this fall, if not sooner.

Instructors transitioning from TurningPoint 5 to Top Hat can get expert help from Top Hat staff in transferring their legacy clicker course content and using Top Hat in courses.

VanDerZanden emphasized that faculty seeking this service should contact the IT Solution Center as early as possible to avoid the mid-August rush.

Students: How to switch

Students using Top Hat will pay for a license rather than hardware clickers. They can get licenses through the University Book Store when ordering books, or directly through Top Hat. They can create Top Hat accounts for free, but will be prompted for a license code when they try to join their courses.

Top Hat student licenses are $50 for five years, $25 for one year or $17 for one semester. Students with legacy clickers can exchange them at the bookstore for a $25 Top Hat license credit.

Making the transition

An ISU Top Hat website is available, which includes these transition tips:

  • Create a free Top Hat account at www.tophat.com, via the “sign up” link in the upper right corner of the page. Select ISU as the institution and use an ISU email address for discounted pricing.
  • Users who need support, including instructors who want to use Top Hat’s transition help, should use this online form or contact the IT Solution Center.
  • Top Hat representatives will visit campus the week of July 18 and at the start of the fall semester to offer training and assistance. Watch Inside Iowa State for details.

“Our hope,” VanDerZanden said, “is that the features of the new Top Hat service will entice more instructors to use this type of technology in their classes.”


Seeking Applicants for ISU-CIRTL TAR Project Director

For the past three years approximately 30 graduate students and postdocs at ISU have been conducting Teaching as Research (TAR) projects. These are short, scholarly investigations on student learning due to teaching innovations, community building, or through diversity. The goal is for graduate students and postdocs to develop a scholarly approach to their teaching that they will continue as future faculty. View CIRTL Reports Digital Repository webpage to see Sample TAR reports. This work is part of the CIRTL activities on campus sponsored by the Graduate College and CELT.

We are looking for a research oriented staff person or a lecturer to act as director for TAR projects. It is estimated that this may entail ~10 hours per week during the semester, so the position may suit someone looking for additional work, or someone who would like to complement their current responsibilities with a teaching buyout. We have funds for this position for one year and are currently seeking additional funding for more years.

The duties are

  • One-on-one discussions with graduate students and postdocs as they start to plan their TAR project.
  • Monthly meeting of graduate students/postdocs working on TAR project to share challenges and solutions. This meeting will also include presentations from IRB, and book discussions on TAR.
  • Coordinating the work of social scientist peer consultants on these TAR projects.
  • Record keeping of TAR projects.

Minimum qualifications

  • Participation in scholarly teaching, e.g. an investigation on student learning. This does not have to reach the level of published work.
  • Experience with mentoring graduate students or postdocs.
  • Strong organizational skills.
  • Approved IRB projects.
  • Graduate degree.

Preferred qualifications (in addition to above)

  • Demonstrated experience with CIRTL’s three pillars
    • evidence-based-teaching
    • learning through community
    • learning through diversity
  • Experience facilitating workshops.
  • Demonstrated experience with qualitative and quantitative research methods.

To apply, please send cover letter, current CV, and names of three references to Craig Ogilvie, cogilvie@iastate.edu by 15 July, 2016.

 


CELT Seeks Applicants for the Associate Director for Online Learning

The Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) at Iowa State seeks qualified applications for an Associate Director for Online Learning. The Associate Director will hold the faculty rank of Assistant, Associate or Full Professor. This appointment will be split with 75% of the incumbent’s time spent on the Associate Director role. The remaining 25% will be allocated to responsibilities in the faculty member’s academic department home (the department with the closest disciplinary fit of the faculty member). For those candidates considered for the rank of Associate Professor or Professor with tenure, tenure would reside in the academic department.

The incumbent will provide leadership in faculty development to enhance exceptional online learning experiences. Specific duties will include plan, coordinate, and collaborate on faculty development programming for online learning and teaching. Collaborate on university wide online teaching and learning initiatives. Consult with faculty on an individual and confidential basis. Assist CELT Director and staff in building partnerships that promote excellence in all teaching and learning. Serve on assigned task forces and university committees. Perform other duties as assigned by the Director.

The successful candidate will have exceptional organizational and interpersonal communication skills. The candidate will work collaboratively with the CELT Director to prioritize complex projects and multiple deadlines. The candidate will possess strong leadership and teamwork skills along with the ability to organize and direct professional development as it relates to teaching and learning.

Visit Iowa State Jobs Position Posting: CELT Associate Director for Online Learning website


New Hours for Walk-In Support for Instructional Design

Come to any of CELT’s walk-in support sessions and ask questions, learn from the experts or just come and work with an expert around to assist with Blackboard courses, TopHat (interactive teaching platform), and explore which technology tools may be used to promote student learning. Since this is NOT training, just an open question and answer session, there is no registration needed and you may come and go as you please. Bring your work, and your laptop (this is a must).

Tuesdays from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. throughout the year in 281 Parks Library (CELT Online Learning Innovation Hub)

Prior to the start of the fall semester:

  • August 8 – 12 from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • August 15 – 19 from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

First week of classes:

  • August 22 – 26 from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Beginning the week of August 29 we will return to hosting Walk-Ins on Tuesdays from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.