Technology Training and Integration
Welcome to the Technology Training and Integration (TTI) Group's TTI Tech Tips! Tech Tips are intended to announce new technology tools that are available to the community and to reintroduce and remind the community of the many technology tools that are currently supported and available to help us do our jobs. TTI Tech Tips will be updated weekly. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or suggestions via email@example.com.
Tech Tip #103:
Canvas: Student Groups
Canvas makes it easy to divide your students into groups. Student groups have their own discussion boards, collaboration tools and calendar, making them ideal for working on group projects or other assignments. To learn more about groups, please check out the Canvas Guides.
Tech Tip #102:
Canvas: Help and Support for Students
With the Canvas transition quickly approaching, we've been asked the question "will students be trained in Canvas?" There are no training classes offered for students at this time but there are many resources available to them to ensure they have a successful transition to Canvas.
- Canvas Student Orientation Course
- Canvas Student Guides
- MSU Canvas Orientation Video
- Canvas Support (Hotline or Chat) available via Help in Canvas
Tech Tip #101:
Canvas: Profile Picture
Uploading a profile picture in Canvas puts a face to the name! Profile pictures are visible in Announcements, Discussions, the Gradebook, etc. Personalize your course - add a profile picture.
To learn more about Modules, please check out the Canvas Guides.
Tech Tip #100:
Canvas: Mute Assignments
Wouldn't it be great if you could hold student grades until all students have been graded? Muting an assignment in Canvas allows you to temporarily hide student grades until everyone has been graded and then release grades to all students at the same time. A muted assignment displays a "mute" icon on the student grades page so students know the assignment is muted. A muted assignment will not send out grade change notifications or any of your comments until the assignment is unmuted.
To learn more about Modules, please check out the Canvas Guides.
Tech Tip #99:
Tech Tip: Canvas: Modules
Why Would I Use Modules?
- Modules help keep course content organized not only for the instructor, but also for the students
- Modules allow you to define content delivery
- Modules help students navigate the course content
To learn more about Modules, please check out the Canvas Guides.
Tech Tip #98:
Canvas: Peer Review
Peer Review is a tool that allows communication between students and allows students to master the concepts of a course. A peer review assignment in Canvas enables students to comment on other student’s submitted assignments. Whenever students submit an assignment or post to a discussion that requires peer review, they will see a list of their assigned reviews. Clicking a name on the list will bring them directly to a review pane with their peer's draft or discussion postings. Instructors can access a peer review overview screen that indicates which students have completed assigned reviews.
To learn more about Peer Review please check out the Canvas Guides.
Tech Tip #97:
Canvas: Draft State
Canvas has a new feature called Draft State which allows content in assignments, quizzes, discussions, pages and modules to exist in an unpublished (draft) state. Unpublished content is invisible to students and those items being graded will be excluded from grade calculations until instructors publish them.
Currently, Draft State is a course opt-in feature and needs to be manually turned on in each course. To turn on Draft State, click Settings in a Canvas course, click on Feature Options and click ON for Draft State. Please note that existing content in a course will remain published when Draft State is turned on.
This feature will be turned on across ALL Canvas instances on July 12 (this is a change from the original date of July 5).
Click on the links below to access a brief video regarding Draft State as well as the online help guide.
Tech Tip #96:
Canvas allows you to create assignment and course level rubrics based on assessment criteria. Rubrics can be added to assignments, quizzes and discussions and are useful when giving grades as you can provide feedback to the students.
Click here to access the Canvas Guides and learn more about rubrics.
Tech Tip #95:
Canvas: Attendance (Roll Call)
The Attendance (Roll Call) feature in Canvas allows you to quickly and easily record attendance with a drag and-drop seating chart. When you take attendance using Roll Call, Canvas automatically adds a column to your Gradebook for Roll Call Attendance. By default, Roll Call Attendance is listed as an assignment worth 100 points.
Click here to access the Canvas Guides and learn more about Roll Call.
Tech Tip #94:
Canvas: Student View
The Student View is one of the best features that Canvas offers. Student View creates a "Test Student" user in each Canvas course. As the "Test Student", you can submit Assignments, post to Discussions, take a Quiz and view the course as a student. You can also Reset the Test Student to clear the "Test Student's" history and re-check content in the course.
To Access Student View:
- Click Settings in the Course Navigation
- Click Student View
To Leave Student View:
- Click Leave Student View in the bottom right corner
Tech Tip #93:
Tech Tip: Canvas SpeedGrader
The SpeedGrader tool in Canvas makes it easy to evaluate individual student assignments and group assignments quickly. This tool is powered by using a technology called "Crocodoc". This technology allows teachers and peer reviewers to create annotations and provide feedback in writing or audio/video format when evaluating online submitted assignments. For more information on SpeedGrader check out the Canvas guides or watch a short video.
Tech Tip #92:
Tech Tip: Downloading Your Blackboard Grade Center Data
As you know, Canvas will be replacing Blackboard effective Fall 2014. Before Blackboard goes away, we are strongly recommending that faculty archive their Bb courses. This process will create a backup file of all course content. Did you know that you can also create a backup copy of just your grade center data by downloading it to an Excel spreadsheet? For instructions on downloading your grade center please click here.
Tech Tip #91:
Canvas Draft State
Draft State allows content in your Canvas course to exist in an unpublished (draft) state. Unpublished content is invisible to students and those items being graded will be excluded from grade calculations until they become published. Draft State is a course opt-in feature and needs to be turned on in each course. To turn on Draft State, click Settings in a Canvas course, click on Feature Options and click ON for Draft State.
To learn more about Draft State please click here to watch a short video.
Tech Tip #90:
On 5/24/14, the Gradebook, Calendar and Conversations tool in Canvas will updated and the new versions will be active by default. Please click the links below for more information about these tools.
Also, Internet Explorer 9 will no longer be supported by Canvas from 5/24/14. After that date, Internet Explorer 10 will be the oldest version of IE supported. For more information regarding supported browsers and technical requirements for Canvas please click here.
Tech Tip #89:
Did you know that the Calendar feature in Canvas has a scheduling tool? Scheduler allows you to easily create office hours, set up time slots that your students can sign up for, assign presentation times, etc. Visit the Canvas Guides to learn more!
Tech Tip #88:
Canvas is Coming! As you begin using Canvas, we would like to inform you of the Canvas Support that is available. After you log into Canvas at http://montclair.instructure.com click on HELP in the top right corner and choose your preferred method of support - the Canvas Support Hotline or Chat with Canvas Support. It's that easy!
Tech Tip #87:
Big Blue Button
What is Big Blue Button you ask? Big Blue Button is integrated with Canvas through Conferences and makes it easy to conduct synchronous (real-time) lectures for all of the students in your Canvas course. Conferences allow you to broadcast real-time audio, video, demo applications on your desktop, share presentation slides, demo any online resource, and facilitate class interactions. Learn more about Big Blue Button via the following resources:
Tech Tip #86:
Looking for Canvas tutorials? Canvas Guides is an online documentation site providing easily accessible documents and tutorials that can answer all of your Canvas questions. Please take advantage of this informative resource.
Tech Tip #85:
Record/Upload Media in Canvas
Want to enhance your course content and engage your student? One way to do this is by incorporating video and/or audio into your curriculum and Canvas makes it easy! Simply click on the Record/Upload Media icon on the Rich Content Editor toolbar to get started. For more information, please consult Canvas' tutorial: How do I record a video using the Rich Content Editor?
Tech Tip #84:
CanvasLIVE is a free webinar series designed to give Canvas users additional training and an outlet to share their knowledge with the community. Each session includes a brief tutorial on a Canvas tool or feature, a focused demonstration and a short Q&A with Canvas experts. Check out the upcoming sessions on the CanvasLIVE Schedule.
Tech Tip #83:
Canvas - Granting Students Extra Attempts and Extra Time on a Quiz
With Canvas, you now have the option to grant extra time or attempts on a quiz to an individual or several students. To learn more about creating quizzes in Canvas please register for the Designing Assessments in Canvas workshop.
Tech Tip #82:
Canvas Faculty Orientation Course
TTI would like to remind you to check out the self-paced Canvas Faculty Orientation Course. This course was designed in the Canvas environment to assist faculty with familiarizing themselves with all of the tools that Canvas has to offer and prepare for the transition from Blackboard to Canvas effective Fall 2014.
Tech Tip #81:
Analog Sunset: What's That?
Do you know what "Analog Sunset" means? Beginning January 1, 2014, PC vendors will stop producing devices with a VGA jack to connect to a monitor, flat panel or projector as Apple did years ago. All new PC computers will be built with either a HDMI or display port jack. There will be more changes to come as the market place advances from an analog world to a digital world. To learn more, please visit our Analog Sunset page.
Tech Tip #80:
Canvas Orientation Course
Are you interested in taking a look at Canvas but can't find the time to attend one of our Canvas training classes? Take a look at the self-paced Canvas Faculty Orientation course. Explore the Canvas environment and learn about the new and exciting tools Canvas has to offer - all at your convenience.
Tech Tip #79:
Importing Course Content into Canvas
Have you been archiving your Blackboard courses as recommended? Are you wondering what to do next with the archive given the switch to Canvas is quickly approaching? We recommend that you come to our Importing Blackboard Course Content into Canvas workshop. This workshop will guide you through the process of importing your archived Bb course content into Canvas. Therefore it is beneficial to bring your archived files with you to training. If you need assistance with archiving your Bb course, please visit our documentation page Archiving a Course in Blackboard.
For additional information on Canvas and importing content, please visit our new Canvas information site.
Tech Tip #78:
Excel - Data Validation
Tech Tip #77:
Canvas Early Adopter
Are you interested in using a dynamic and global calendar to manage all of your courses? Are you looking for a video/audio-enhanced technology to facilitate interactions with your students? Are you seeking a quicker, more effective method to grade and comment on your students’ assignments? Canvas can help you!
Why wait until Fall 2014 to start officially using Canvas! Sign up to be a Canvas Early Adopter and start using Canvas for your Winter, Spring and/or Summer 2014 courses. Please fill out the online form to get started!
Tech Tip #76:
Tech Tip #75:
What's this Canvas Thing I Keep Hearing About?
Are you hearing the buzz around campus about Canvas and wondering what it is and how it affects you?
Tech Tip #74:
New and Improved Documentation Site!
TTI is excited to announce our new and improved documentation site. It has been redesigned with a more user-friendly navigation in which we've sorted the documentation into categories. As you delve into these categories you will see that we have included some video tutorials along with the documentation for a more interactive learning experience.
Please take a look!
Tech Tip #73:
Creating a Distribution List in Thunderbird
Creating a distribution list is helpful when sending the same message to multiple people on a regular basis. Just address the email to the list name that you have created, and everyone included on the list will receive your message, eliminating the worry of possibly forgetting someone!
To create a distribution list:
- Click on Tools
- Click on Address Book
- Click on New List
- Make sure Add to: is the Personal Address Book
- Type a name for the list under List Name
- Type the email addresses
- Click OK
To send an message to the new group, simply type the List Name in either the TO, CC or BCC field.
NOTE: To avoid exposing every email address to everyone on the list, type the List Name in the Bcc: field – NOT the To: field.
Tech Tip #72:
Google forms is a useful tool to help you plan an event, send a survey or collect other information quickly and easily - and it's free! To learn more about creating a google form click here.
Please note that google forms is not a university supported application and you will need a personal google account in order to access it.
Tech Tip #71:
Enhancing Teaching and Learning with Emerging Technologies
Looking for new technologies to enhance your teaching and learning? TTI has created a list of tools that highlight key resources, including both University supported and outside tools, to support online teaching and learning. Please visit our Technology Training & Development Services website and click on Technology Toolkit.
Tech Tip #70:
Restricting Access to Course Content with Adaptive Release
Sometimes content within your Blackboard course does not apply to all users. Some content may be audience-specific. Through Blackboard's Adaptive Release tool, instructors can create a rule which limits access to certain contact to individual students or groups.
Creating an Adaptive Release Rule
- In your Bb course, navigate to the content you are restricting access to
- Click on the chevron next to the content
- Click on Adaptive Release
- Under Membership you can restrict access to either individual users via their username or by groups
Tech Tip #69:
The Mac Interface
Have you recently switched over from a PC to a Mac and find the switch to be a bit challenging? Apple has a great resource that can help! Please click here to get a tour of the Mac interface and get your questions answered.
Tech Tip #68:
Resource Calendars in Google Calendar
Did you know that you can have a separate calendar in Gcal for your department or for a conference room? These types of calendars are referred to as "resource calendars". To request a "resource calendar" please click here to access the Gcal Resource Calendar Center (GRCC). You can also use this site to manage existing "resource calendars".
Tech Tip #67:
Google Search Tips
What did we do before Google? With a simple Google search we can find anything and everything quickly and easily. But did you know that you can refine that search so your results are more accurate and efficient? Please click here to learn how.
Tech Tip #66:
Repeating Rows and Columns in Excel
When your Excel spreadsheet spans over multiple pages, you run into the problem of only having the headings print on the first page. Print Titles enables you to print specific row and column headings on each page to ensure that the data is labeled correctly.
- On the Page Layout tab, click Print Titles in the Page Setup group
- Click on the Sheet tab
- Under Print titles, type the rows to repeat at top and/or the columns to repeat at left
(If you are repeating multiple rows/columns, Excel will list the range as follows, adding the colon and the $ (for example; $1:$3)
- You can also click the Collapse Dialog button at the right of the rows to repeat at top and columns to repeat at left, and then select the rows or columns that you want to repeat. After you finish selecting the rows or columns, click the Collapse Dialog button again to return to the dialog box.
Tech Tip #65:
eReserves for Faculty
Did you know that you can request certain course related materials from the Library to be placed on electronic reserve and then made available to your students through Blackboard? It's called eReserves! When adding items to the eReserves section of a Bb course the Library adheres to the University's Copyright and Duplication Policy. To learn more about this policy and eReserves, please check out the Harry A. Sprague Library/Electronic Reserves webpage or our eReserves in Blackboard 9 documentation.
Tech Tip #64:
Copying a Content Item/Folder in Blackboard
Did you know that you can copy any content item or folder into another area within your Bb course or into another course without having to perform a Course Copy? Please click here to learn more!
Tech Tip #63:
Put an End to Boring Presentations!
Want to add some pizazze to your PowerPoint presentations and find that the existing Design Themes in PowerPoint 2010 aren't exciting enough? There are additional themes available through office.com templates. Follow these steps and take a look at the backgrounds available and start adding that "POW" that your presentations may be missing!
- Click on the File tab
- Click on New
- Under Office.com Templates double-click on PowerPoint presentations and slides
- Double-click on Design slides (backgrounds)
Tech Tip #62:
Blackboard's Performance Dashboard
Need an easy way to read a student's discussion board posts? Want to see the last time a student accessed your course? The Performance Dashboard provides valuable information regarding a student's activity. Use it at the beginning of the semester to check that all students have successfully accessed the course. As the semester progresses, use it to quickly see if students are accessing the course regularly, reviewing course content, and contributing to the Discussion Board. Please click this Performance Dashboard document to learn more.
Tech Tip #61:
Microsoft Office: Save Time Using the Format Painter
The Format Painter feature in Microsoft Office 2010 allows you to copy formatting that is applied to one area in the document and apply it to other areas. It's like a copy and paste but for formatting! Format Painter is very helpful in documents that have a variety of different styles as it eliminates the need to manually make the formatting changes.
How to Use the Format Painter
- Select the area of the document with the formatting you wish to copy.
- Click the Format Painter Tool once from the Clipboard on the Home Tab. This will turn the Format Painter ON.
- Move your cursor to the area you wish to apply the new formatting to and click and drag over that area.
- If you want to apply the same formatting more than once, select the area with the formatting you want and double-click the Format Painter button. You will then be able to apply the formatting to multiple areas within the file.
- When you are done making all of your formatting selections, click on the Format Painter again to turn it OFF.
Tech Tip #60:
Getting Weather Forecasts in Your Calendar
Do you want a quick way to stay up-to-date on the local weather? Google Calendar's Weather feature displays the weather forecast directly in your calendar. Once the Weather feature is enabled, you'll be able to view the four-day forecast, including the expected highs and lows for each day.
To view weather forecasts in Google Calendar:
- Click the gear icon at the top of your Google Calendar page
- Click Settings
- Click General
- In the Location section, enter your desired location information (e.g.,Montclair, NJ)
- In the Show weather based on my location section, click either °C or °F
- Click Save
Once you've enabled the Weather feature, a Weather Calendar will be added to your calendar list under Other Calendars. You will also see weather icons in the upper left corner of today and the following three days. Each icon serves as a visual representation of the forecast for that particular day. For more detailed weather information, click the weather icon or point to it with your mouse.
Tech Tip #59:
Blackboard: Downloading Grade Center Data
This is an excellent time in the semester to remind you of tech tip #25: Downloading Grade Center Data. Instructors have the ability to download their Blackboard Grade Center data to an Excel spreadsheet for further evaluation. They can select specific data to download, or download the complete Grade Center. For more information, consult the How to Download/Export Your Grade Center from Blackboard to Excel tutorial.
Tech Tip #58:
Weighting Grades in Blackboard
Are you using the Grade Center in Blackboard to calculate and report to students their grades? With the semester coming to an end, you may find the weighting option to be useful in determining the final grade! Instructors have the ability to set a weight for each Grade Center item. For example, a final exam may be worth 25% while a quiz may be worth only 10%. Blackboard will calculate the weight for each item (or category) no matter how many grades are in each. To learn more about weighting, please check out our Blackboard documentation page on the OIT website.
Tech Tip #57:
Guidelines for Creating Successful Online Tests in Blackboard
With the end of the semester upon us you may be considering creating online tests/quizzes in your course. Or maybe you've been using the test function and want to ensure that your students are having a positive test-taking experience. Blackboard has shared a list of test guidelines for creating successful online tests that can help!
Tech Tip #56:
Hiding Cells in Excel
Have you ever wanted to hide one cell or a group of cells in your Excel worksheet without having to hide the entire row(s) or column(s)? The solution is easy. Simply use a custom format for the cells whose content you wish to hide.
- Right-click on the cell or group of cells
- Click on Format Cells
- On the Number tab click Custom at the bottom of the Category list
- In the Type box, enter three semicolons ;;;
- Click OK
The information in the cell(s) is now hidden and will not print. You can, however, see the information in the Formula Bar, and it can be overwritten if you enter anything else in the cell.
To unhide, follow the steps above but choose General from the Category list.
Tech Tip #55:
Gartner Campus Portal
Looking for the latest trends in business and information technology? Gartner Research delivers the technology-related insight necessary to make the right decisions. It's what you need to know, what you need to do, where you need to look, and who you should be paying attention to. Part of MSU's Gartner Research subscription includes the use of a "campus portal" which is available to all MSU faculty, staff and students.
Tech Tip #54:
A New Set of TTI Web Resources
The TTI group has developed a new set of web resources to more effectively assist the University community. Please check it out at http://tti.montclair.edu/ and take the time to look at the following resources:
- Technology Training and Development Services
- Instructional Design Services
- A Guide to Becoming a Successful Online Learner
Tech Tip #53:
NJVid: New Jersey Digital Video Repository
Do you have instructional videos you want to share with your students but don't know how? This week's tech tip is to remind you of NJVid: New Jersey Digital Video Repository. NJVid can seamlessly streamline videos and provide access to you and your students on computers, tablets and mobile devices through the Internet. To learn more about NJVid please click here.
Our Blackboard Learning Management System is not a video service, therefore we highly recommend you use NJVid for your video storage and streaming needs - not Blackboard.
Tech Tip #52:
Web 2.0 Workshop Series
Have you heard the term Web 2.0 and not sure what it is or how it could help you? Or are you overwhelmed by the amount of Web 2.0 tools that are available on the Internet and don't know where to begin? TTI has developed a series of Web 2.0 Workshops where we have chosen a few Web 2.0 tools that we feel would be beneficial to teaching and learning. These workshops are offered numerous times throughout the month. Please view our training calendar and register for one of these Web 2.0 workshops and see what Web 2.0 can do for you!
Tech Tip #51:
As you know, all faculty, staff and students at MSU have space allocated to them on the Active Directory server. Not only do you have a private (home) directory but you also have your own personal web space where you can publish your web files (MSUWEB). These two directories have a combined capacity size of 3GB for faculty/staff and 500MB for students
What you may not know is that faculty/staff can adjust their personal storage allocation between their personal (home) directory and their MSUWEB directory by visiting the Quota Slider at https://oit-app2.montclair.edu/ad-quota/login.php. You may adjust this allocation as often as you like as long as you have free space to allocate between the two directories.
Tech Tip #50:
Are you looking for a quick and easy way to poll your students? Poll Everywhere is your answer! With Poll Everywhere you can gather live responses in any venue: conferences, presentations, classrooms, etc. without using any annoying audience response hardware. It works with texting, the web and even Twitter, and it's free for an audience size of up to 40.
To learn more about Poll Everywhere visit http://www.polleverywhere.com.
Please note that Poll Everywhere is not a University supported application. For additional information visit http://www.polleverywhere.com
Tech Tip #49:
Copying Single Files or Folders in Blackboard
Are you teaching two sections of a course? Do you have content that you want to share within multiple courses? As you know, uploading the same content in multiple courses can not only be time consuming but also frustrating! Did you know that you can copy single items or folders from one course into another? Well you can and here's how:
- Navigate to the content you want to copy
- Click on the double-arrow next to the item
- Click on Copy
- Choose the Destination Course
- Click Browse to select the Destination Folder
- Click Submit
Tech Tip #48:
Dividing a Column in Excel
Have you ever received an Excel spreadsheet where the first and last names were in the same cell and you wanted them in separate cells? Excel 2010 has a very simple solution!
- Insert a blank column to the right of the column that contains the first and last names
- Highlight the cells that contain the names
- Click on the Data tab
- Click on Text to Columns
- Make sure Delimited is selected
- Click Next
- If the names are entered with a space between them, check off Space
- Click Next
- Click Finish
Tech Tip #47:
Increased Email quotas
Have you ever received notification that your mail is over quota? Or are you concerned by the amount of emails you have and are waiting to receive such a notification? We have good news! Mail quotas for both Faculty, Staff and Generic email accounts have increased to better serve you.
- Faculty and Staff email accounts increased from 1GB to 3GB
- Generic email accounts increased from 500MB to 1500MB
Tech Tip #46:
Experience Your Blackboard Course from the View of the Students
Do you often wonder how your students see the content in your Blackboard course? Or have you ever wanted to take one of your online tests/quizzes to confirm that it's been set up correctly? We can help by creating a fake student account that you can enroll into your Bb course. When you login to your course as the fake student you can get the true student view and student experience of your course. Please click here to request a fake student Blackboard account.
Tech Tip #45:
Saving a Microsoft Office Document as a PDF File
PDF (Portable Document Format) files are a great way to make sure your documents are viewed with the correct layout and fonts – even when the recipient doesn’t have the program you used to create the document. It also secures the document so others cannot modify and redistribute your work. Some other benefits of saving to PDF format include:
- Compatible across platforms – PDF files can be opened on basically any system
- Compact and small – PDF files are smaller in size without losing any quality
- PDF files are easy and quick to create in Microsoft Office
- PDF files are viewable within most web-browsers
- Software to view PDF files is completely FREE!
Saving a File to PDF in Office 2010:
- Click on the File tab
- Click on Save and Send
- Click on Create Adobe PDF under File Types
- Click on the Create Adobe PDF button
- Type a file name and choose a location
- Click OK
Tech Tip #44:
Word 2010 - Making Repetitive Tasks Quicker Using Autotext
Have you ever been working in Microsoft Word and found that you often use the same content throughout multiple documents? Autotext can help save you both time and additional typing! AutoText is reusable content that you can store and access again and again.
- Select the text or content you plan on frequently using
- Click on the Insert tab
- Click on Quick Parts located in the Text group
- Highlight Autotext and click on Save Selection to Autotext Gallery
- Type a name for the Autotext entry and click on OK
*You can create a new category if you intend on having many different Autotext entries
- Click on Quick Parts
- Click on the Autotext entry from the list
Tech Tip #43:
Voice Mail Tips
Do you want to leave a message for a coworker but want to skip over their voice mail greeting? You can bypass the greeting by pressing  when the greeting starts.
For additional voice mail tips check out the Modular Messaging System Reference Guide.
Tech Tip #42:
Web 2.0 Tools
Are you looking for a particular Web 2.0 technology that allows you to create, collaborate, edit and share user-generated content online? Do you feel lost in the overwhelmingly growing number of Web 2.0 tools? TTI has chosen a few that we feel can be beneficial to teaching and learning. Check out our Web 2.0 Workshop Series!
Tech Tip #41:
Although scanner software varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, there are a few basic rules to follow when scanning and distributing scanned documents for courses or for business. For a list of details and tips, please visit our full Scanning 101 document.
Tech Tip #40:
Grouping Messages in Mozilla Thunderbird
Do you get overwhelmed by the amount of emails you receive everyday? Do you find it difficult to concentrate on the most recent messages, even when your Inbox is sorted by date? Grouping your messages can help ease your frustration!
Mozilla Thunderbird can group and collapse messages according to the sort order. For example, if you are sorting by date, you'll have a group for emails received today, yesterday, last week, and so on.
To group messages in Mozilla Thunderbird by date:
- Click View
- Select Sort by
- Select Date
- Click View again
- Select Sort by
- Select Grouped by sort
*Please note: not all sort order options support grouping.
To return your folder to an un-grouped state:
- Click View
- Select Sort by
- Select Unthreaded
Tech Tip #39:
Private Group Training
Did you know that in addition to our Training & Events schedule, TTI also offers private group training for departments or groups upon request? The benefit to this is that the training content can be tailored to your groups' specific needs.
To schedule group training or for more information, please contact Susan Graham at ext. 5449.
Tech Tip #38:
Convert Your PowerPoint 2010 Presentation to Video
In PowerPoint 2010, you can now save your presentation as a Windows Media Video (.wmv) file, and distribute it confidently, knowing that your animated, narrated, multimedia presentation will play without a glitch!
When recording your presentation as a video:
- You can record and time voice narration and laser pointer movements in your video.
- You can include animations and transitions in your movie.
- Viewers do not need to have PowerPoint installed on their computers to watch it.
- If your presentation contains an embedded video, the video will play without your needing to control it.
Depending on the content of your presentation, creating a video may take some time. Lengthy presentations and presentations with animations, transitions, and media content will likely take longer to create.
To convert your presentation to video:
- Click on File
- Click on Save & Send
- Under File Types click on Create a Video
- Click Create Video
Tech Tip #37:
Automated Voice-Response Telephone Directory
Are you aware that MSU has an automated voice-response telephone directory available both on-campus and off-campus?
- On-campus, simply dial extension 2000
- Off-campus, dial (973) 655-4000
When you hear the announcement "Welcome to Montclair State University" you can speak the first and last name of the individual, or department, you wish to reach. The system will locate and dial the number for you. If there are multiple matches you will be able to select which one you want.
Tech Tip #36:
Creating Course Links in Blackboard
A well organized Blackboard course is essential to enhancing student learning. When building your course in Blackboard, using course links may help you organize all materials or activities relevant to an individual learning unit/session to a central location. Course links are shortcuts from one place in a Blackboard course to another location within the same course. You can add a course link that will direct students to a particular location, tool, or document within your course. For example, when posting an announcement that new material has been added, you can create a course link that will take the students directly to that new material.
To create a course link, follow the steps below:
- Go to the Content Area where you would like to place the link (be sure Edit Mode is turned on)
- Click on Build Content and select Course Link
- Click Browse to view the course menu and select the item you want to link to
- In the Name field, type a new name if you want something different than the name of the item you are linking to
- Choose any other options as you wish
- Click Submit
Tech Tip #35:
Blackboard Online Course Template
Are you teaching online or getting ready to teach online or hybrid for the first time? Montclair State University has developed an online course template informed by research-based best practices. Online courses at MSU adopting the course template are designed using a learner-centered and interaction-facilitated approach. To learn more about the Course Template, we suggest viewing the Interactive Course Template video. To request a copy of the template simply fill out the Blackboard Course Template request form
Tech Tip #34:
Best Practices for Copying Content from Microsoft Word into Blackboard
It is not recommended to copy and paste content from Word into Blackboard. This is because Word uses complex and specialized code to create formatting within documents. Although this code is invisible on the page, it can sometimes be included when copying and pasting from one program to another.Therefore, it is recommended to create new content within Blackboard and utilize the formatting toolbar on the text box editor to format the text.
If the content already exists in a document outside of Blackboard, copy and paste it into Notepad before importing into Blackboard. Notepad is a basic text editor. Any code generated by Word will be stripped away when pasted into Notepad.
Tech Tip #33:
Your MSU App (Rave)
Montclair State University continues to be a leader amongst higher education institutions in utilizing mobile technology for students to assist them in all aspects of campus life. Through our partnership with Rave Wireless, Inc., we provide safety, academic and auxiliary applications through use of the voice, text and data capabilities of today's wireless carriers.
Here is an overview of the Rave applications:
- MSU Alerts - Rave Alerts is the primary mobile communications tool at Montclair State University that notifies the campus community in emergency situations as well as other vital scenarios that might impact the campus. You are automatically registered through your MSU email address and you can add your mobile phone to Your MSU App at any time. All broadcast alerts for situations including school closings, power outages, security threats, weather hazards, evacuations, and natural disasters will be texted to your phone or your preferred email address, or both.
- Guardian - Guardian is the award-winning safety application that makes your safe campus here at Montclair State University, safer. Guardian is a timer-based system accessed by calling 973-780-1493 and entering a PIN number that you create upon registration.
- E-TIPS: E-TIPS is a text-based tip hotline. You can text a tip to the MSU Campus Police reporting anything from bullying to a broken car window. All you have to do is text keyword "E-TIPS" a space and your message to 67283.
- Mobile Blackboard - Receive text messages and/or emails when new announcements, assignments and grades are posted to your Blackboard courses.
To register your cell phone through Your MSU App, please go to the Your MSU APP Website.
Tech Tip #32:
Doodle - Take the Hassle out of Meeting Scheduling!
Doodle is a basic, free service that helps with the scheduling of meetings when a number of people are involved. It eliminates the chaos that comes from scheduling group events and trying to find a time when everyone is available. Coordinating meeting times can be time-consuming—Doodle can help! Instead of offering just one date/time option, you can propose several dates and times and the participants can indicate their availability online. With one look, you’ll be able to see what the best time is for the meeting. Doodle is simple and quick and requires no registration. In addition to scheduling meetings, Doodle also supports polls. Groups can conveniently decide on options other than just dates and times. Visit Doodle at http://www.doodle.com/ to learn more.
Tech Tip #31:
A Guide to Becoming a Successful Online Learner
Are you getting ready to teach an online course? Are you concerned that your students aren't ready? Or perhaps you're a student thinking about taking an online course and aren't sure what's involved in online learning. We have the answers for you! The TTI group has developed a website intending to help students self-assess if online learning is right for them and learn about what strategies and tips are required to become a successful online learner. To access this exciting new web resource please click here.
Tech Tip #30:
Embed a YouTube Video into your PowerPoint 2010 Presentation
If you’d like to include a YouTube clip as part of your PowerPoint presentation, you can easily embed a video to play directly within your slideshow.
After copying the YouTube video’s URL, you need to add the Developer tab to your PowerPoint Ribbon
- Click on File and select Options
- Click on Customize Ribbon
- Under Choose commands from: select All Tabs
- Click on Developer and click Add
- Click OK
- On the Developer tab, click on More Controls in the Controls group
- Select Shockwave Flash Object from the list
- Click OK
- Draw a box on the slide where you want the video
- Right-click on the box and select Properties
In the Movie line, paste the YouTube video’s URL. You must change the watch?v= to v/ in the URL. For example; when you paste the video URL it will look something like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlPqL7IUT6M. Change the highlighted section to v/ so it will look like this:http://www.youtube.com/v/AlPqL7IUT6M
Run the slideshow to see the video
Tech Tip #29:
Create Speaking Avatars and Use Them as an Effective Learning Tool
A Voki is a a talking voice character or speaking avatar. Adding a Voki to your Blackboard course creates a more "human" element to online/hybrid courses. A Voki avatar motivates students to participate, improves message comprehension, introduces technology in a fun way, and can be used as an effective language tool. The best part is that it's free and easy to use!
1. Click on the Create tab
2. Pick your character and give it a voice
3. Publish when done
4. Copy the embed code
5. Log in to Blackboard and go to your course
6. Click on a content area in your course
7. Click on Build Content and choose Item
8. Type a name for the new item
9. Click the button Toggle HTML Source Mode in the text toolbar
10. Click in the text area and paste the embed code
11. Click Submit
Tech Tip #28:
Embedding a YouTube Video into Your Blackboard Course
The more engaged your students are, the more interactive your lesson will be, the more your students will enjoy the lesson, and the more they will retain the information from your lesson. Videos are a great way to promote interactive instruction. YouTube has some excellent educational videos that can be embedded directly into your Blackboard course.
- Once you find a video on YouTube, click the Share button under the video
- Click the Embed button
- The embed code will appear
- Highlight and copy
- Within your Bb course, click the content area you wish to embed the video in
- Click on Build Content and select Create Item
- After giving the item a name, click on the Toggle HTML Source Mode icon in the Text toolbar
- Paste the video code here
- Click Submit
Tech Tip #27:
Creating Your Own Excel 2010 Templates
If you can't find a ready-made Excel 2010 template that fits your needs, create your own! The easiest way to create your own template is to create an actual workbook that contains all of the elements you need. For example, create a workbook that contains text, data, comments, formulas, formatting, etc. and then save it using the template file format (.xltx). You can then open the file from the Templates folder to create new workbooks as needed.
- Create an Excel workbook that contains all of the elements needed for the template file.
- Click the File tab and choose Save As.
- Type the name for the template in the File name box. (Make sure you use a descriptive name so you can easily find the template)
- In the Save as type drop-down list, select Excel Template (*.xltx).
- Click on the Save button.
The file will be saved to the Templates folder (unless you specify another location). This allows easy access to the file when you later need to create a workbook based on the template.
Tech Tip #26:
Using Wimba Voice Authoring Tools in Blackboard
Whether teaching an online class or a face-to-face class, adding audio content to your Blackboard course can create a more engaging and effective learning environment for your students. Audio content can provide explanations for difficult concepts, verbally explain complex ideas, post assignments or simply highlight important ideas that will be discussed in upcoming lessons.
To add audio content, click on a content area within your Blackboard course, click on Build Content, and click on Wimba Voice Authoring under Mashups.
Tech Tip #25:
Blackboard: Downloading Grade Center Data
Instructors have the ability to download their Blackboard Grade Center data to an Excel spreadsheet for further evaluation. They can select specific data to download, or download the complete Grade Center. Please click here to learn more.
Tech Tip #24:
Scroll Bars Missing in Word?
Have your scroll bars disappeared in Word? Don’t panic! This can occur if the Horizontal and Vertical scroll bar check boxes are not selected. To ensure the check boxes are selected, follow the steps below:
Using Word on a Mac
- Open Word
- On the Word menu, click Preferences
- Open View
- Click to select the Horizontal scroll bar and the Vertical scroll bar check boxes in the Window section
- Click OK
Using Word 2010 on a PC
- Open Word
- Click the File tab
- Click on Options
- Click on Advanced
- Under Display, click to select show horizontal scroll bar and show vertical scroll bar
- Click OK
Tech Tip #23:
Google Calendar has a New Look!
Google Calendar is getting a makeover! The changes are mainly cosmetic and have not affected the way the Calendar works.
A summary of the changes are:
- The Quick add function is now under the down arrow next to the Create button.
- Calendars selected for viewing in the My calendars and Other calendars lists will no longer display with a colored background; instead, only the boxes next to them will be colored.
- The Print and Refresh buttons are now icons rather than text links. The Print button shows a printer, and the Refresh icon is a circular arrow.
- Visual indicator icons (alarm clock icon for events with reminders, person icon for events with guests, etc.) will only show when the event is hovered over.
- The My calendars and Other calendars lists on the left are now collapsed by default and may be expanded using the small gray arrow.
- Once expanded, they will remain expanded on refresh or open.
- The mini month view calendar under the Create button is collapsible using the small gray arrow.
- The Save and Discard buttons and Back to calendar link are only available at the top of the event page, not the bottom.
- You can switch between the “classic look” and the “new look” by clicking the gear icon in the top right corner of the Google Calendar screen.
Tech Tip #22:
Blackboard’s Mashup Tools
The Mashup tools in Blackboard allow the viewing and sharing of media content from external websites. A Mashup can be used in a variety of ways within a course, such as a standalone learning object, part of a test question, a topic on a Discussion Board thread, or as part of an assignment. Although fully integrated within the Blackboard course, the Mashup resides on an external website, reducing file space within a course.
Blackboard Mashups include:
- Flickr: a site for viewing and sharing photographic images
- SlideShare: a site for viewing and sharing presentations and documents
- YouTube: a site for viewing and sharing online videos
Mashups can be found under Build Content within a content area. Please click here to learn how to add content to your Blackboard course.
Tech Tip #21:
Creating Groups in Blackboard
A group is a subset of students enrolled in a Blackboard course. Instructors may create Group Pages, where members can privately discuss projects, share files, and send e-mail. Setting up groups is also helpful if instructors plan to use the Blog or Wiki tools for group projects. More about creating groups Blackboard.
Tech Tip #20:
Creating a Jeopardy Game in PowerPoint 2010
Have you tried to manually create a table of contents only to find that it never comes out quite right? Either the
Games are not only a way to add excitement and fun to the classroom, they can also help to motivate students. Creating a jeopardy game in PowerPoint is a great way to review course material, as well as a new way to present course content. Click here to learn more.
Tech Tip #19:
Creating a Table of Contents in Word 2010
Have you tried to manually create a table of contents only to find that it never comes out quite right? Either the spacing doesn't line up or you have to repeatedly change the page numbers every time you modify the document. Microsoft Word has a simple solution! Click here to see how you can easily create a table of contents using Word's built-in styles.
Tech Tip #18:
Snipping Tool - Windows 7
The Snipping Tool in Windows 7 can easily capture a screen shot, or snip, any object on your screen and then annotate, save or share the image. Check out this fun and easy to use tool!
To get started, click on Start - All Programs - Accessories - Snipping Tool
In the Snipping Tool dialog box, click on the drop-down arrow next to New and choose one of the following snip options:
- Free-form Snip: draw a free-form shape around an object
- Rectangular Snip: drag the cursor around an object to form a rectangle
- Window Snip: select a window, such as a browser window or dialog box, that you want to capture
- Full-screen Snip: capture the entire screen
After you capture a snip, it's automatically copied to the clipboard and opens in the mark-up window. From the mark-up window, you can annotate, save, or share the snip.
To Annotate the snip, click on Tools and choose either Pen, Highlighter and/or Eraser
To Save the snip, click on File - Save As....
To Email the snip, click on File - Send To - E-mail Recipient
Tech Tip #17:
Password Protect Your Office 2010 Files
Did you know that you can use passwords to prevent other people from opening your documents, workbooks and presentations? Following are the steps to password protect your files. Please note that passwords are case-sensitive. Make sure the CAPS LOCK key is turned off when you enter a password for the first time.
- Click the File tab
- Click Info
- Click Protect Document/Workbook/Presentation (depending on the program)
- Click Encrypt with Password
- In the Encrypt Document box, type a password, and click OK
- In the Confirm Password box, type the password again, and click OK
Tech Tip #16:
Creating Groups in Google Calendar
Do you find that you invite the same group of people to meetings? Are you tired of adding attendees one by one? Creating groups can help! Please click here to learn how easy it is to create groups in Google Calendar and how much more efficient the inviting process can be!
Tech Tip #15:
ePortfolio in Blackboard
Electronic portfolios enable students and faculty to assemble, present, and share information online for documenting academic growth, career evaluation, and course preparation. Blackboard’s ePortfolio tool is a collection of digital files (artifacts) that are shared electronically for the purpose of reflection, comment, and evaluation. To learn more, please click here.
Tech Tip #14:
Ribbon Customization in Office 2010
Ribbon customization is now available in Office 2010! You can group your favorite and most frequently used commands in one location, or remove seldom used commands. Or maybe you have a repetitive task that you’d like to accomplish in fewer clicks. You now have the ability to put those commands on a custom tab, or add them to a new group on an existing tab.
To start customizing the Ribbon, either right-click on the Ribbon and click “Customize the Ribbon”, or click on the File tab and click on "Options" and then click on "Customize Ribbon". To learn more, please click here to access our "What's New in Office 2010" documentation.
Tech Tip #13:
Using Templates in Office 2010
Sometimes you need to create a spreadsheet or a quick presentation for a meeting. Or maybe you need to create a brochure or just want a simple calendar. Office 2010 has a wide range of templates that can help. Click on File in any of the Office 2010 applications and click on New. Here you will find a list of templates broken down by category which you can download for use.
Tech Tip #12:
Built-in Screen Capture in Office 2010
All Office 2010 programs now include a screen clipping function to help you quickly captures any area of the desktop screen. This tool will automatically take screenshots of all open applications on your desktop (that are not minimized) so you can insert them directly into your document. To learn more about screen capture and the many other new features of Office 2010, please click here.
Tech Tip #11:
Elluminate Live! is a virtual classroom tool that allows instructors to meet their students synchronously online. Instructors can use Elluminate to generate instant feedback, share instructional presentation, hold virtual office hours, and record classroom sessions for review at a later time. If you would like to learn more, please click here for a listing of our training sessions and to register for Elluminate Live!
Tech Tip #10:
Wimba Pronto is an academic based instant messaging platform that is integrated with Blackboard. It enables students and teachers to uniquely collaborate and learn in an informal "virtual venue". Wimba Pronto synchronizes with MSU's enrollment records so students and teachers are automatically connected with other Wimba Pronto users enrolled in the same course(s). To learn more about Wimba Pronto, please click here.
Tech Tip #9:
Adobe Acrobat Pro X
Acrobat Acrobat X Pro can help you increase your productivity and deliver better, more polished work. It’s more than just a simple Portable Document Format (PDF) creation tool. Adobe Acrobat X Pro allows you to create PDF files, modify them and securely sign and authenticate them. You can also generate editable forms and combine documents. Adobe Acrobat X Pro helps you get more done - easier, faster and better! If you would like to attend a training session to learn more about Adobe Acrobat X, please click here.
Tech Tip #8:
Did you know you can do everything that Microsoft Office can do online…for free? Google has free office tools called Google Docs. Google Docs has applications to build spreadsheets, word documents, and presentations. It also allows you to create and share your work online. Your files are stored securely online. All you need is a Web browser and you can access and edit your files from anywhere at any time! You can either upload files from your desktop or create them right in Google Docs. You can also invite people to your documents and make changes together, at the same time. How many times have you had to send a document or spreadsheet back and forth to others to be checked over, edited or just shared? With Google Docs, you can simply upload your files, choose who to share them with, and work away! To get started, visit Google Docs at https://docs.google.com/. Please note that Google Docs cannot be accessed using your MSU NetID. If you wish to use Google Docs you will need to create a Google account. So many features, easy to use… and it’s FREE!
Tech Tip #7:
Web 2.0 Technologies
Are you aware of the web 2.0 technologies available in Blackboard such as blogs, journals, and wikis? For more information, please click here.
Tech Tip #6:
Color Code an Event in Google Calendar
Google Calendar has just added a new feature that allows you to color code events. This is similar to using labels in Meeting Maker. Color coded events lets you assign specific colors to certain events. It's a great way to stay organized, keep track of recurring events and add some pizazz to your calendar! For the complete overview of Google Calendar at MSU, click here.
Tech Tip #5:
Are you looking for a tool to streamline and deliver your instructional videos? Are you wishing to define access permissions to your streaming videos based on the courses you teach? Do you expect to record a video, directly streamline and then publish it on the web? Then NJVid is the tool you need! For more information please contact Susan Graham at ext. 5449 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tech Tip #4:
Did you know that the OIT website contains documentation and instruction on the technology tools and applications supported by IT? Please click here to check out our documentation page!
Tech Tip #3:
Need to create a survey? Montclair’s online survey tool (https://surveys.montclair.edu) allows you to create and distribute professional-quality surveys, collect responses, and download the data quickly and easily. This simple-to-use survey tool provides a variety of questions and options to meet your needs. Click here for documentation on how to use this survey tool.
Tech Tip #2:
Blackboard Mobile takes interactive teaching and learning mobile giving faculty and students access to their courses, content and organizations on a variety of mobile devices. To learn more about Blackboard Mobile, please click here.
Tech Tip #1:
Blackboard Communities, also called "organizations" are intended for use by formal and informal organizations within the university for information sharing, collaboration and communication. A Blackboard Community is similar to a Blackboard course but is designed for organizations or administrative work groups. Communities allow any department or group at MSU to easily communicate, collaborate, and share information. To request a Blackboard Community please click here.