Planetary line up May 2013 May 13, 2013Posted by aquillam in MichiganAstro, Urban Observing.
Tags: Jupiter, Mercury, Moon, Saturn, urban_observing, Venus
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Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, and the crescent Moon line up very nice at sunset this evening.
Unfortunately, Mercury will be hidden in the Sun’s glare.
Keep an eye on them from now through the end of the month. The Moon may not hang around, but the other 3 form a pretty tight group from the 23 – 30!
And don’t forget to look eastward to Saturn while you’re out there!
ES 2013 CTools Hidden Treasure May 10, 2013Posted by aquillam in Astronomy, teaching.
Tags: 2013, CTools, enriching scholarships, technology
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Warning: long post! CTools is the Sakai based LMS we use at Michigan. If you don’t understand that sentence, this won’t be useful. You should go outside and play instead.
Jeff Zeigler presented some tips, tricks, and tools in CTools. Some of these were underused or unusual implementations of old tools, some were new features. I have rearranged things slightly, and added screen shots from a couple of my own sites to illustrate these.
Make a site joinable
When you create a new site, you can choose whether or not to make it joinable. If you forget to make it joinable (or you want to do this with a pre-existing site), go to Site Info, Manage Access. Click the radio button next to “Allow anyone to join the site with valid login id”. Note right above that is Site Visibility, where you can determine if people need the link to find your site (but remember, anyone with the link can send it to someone else, so making it private is NOT a way to make it secure.)
Also, note that Friend accounts pose a challenge. If they are already on a CTools site, they can join your site using the email link. If they haven’t been added to any CTools site, you will have to add them manually, regardless of whether or not they already have a friend account.
You can find publicly visible joinable sites by going to Membership in My Workspace and clicking the Joinable Sites button.
Join a site through an email link
Jeff sent an email with a link so we can add ourselves to the site by clicking a link.
This would work particularly well if you are looking to expand services for an MCommunity (online directory) group.
Joining using the link worked fine for most of the people in the class, but others had some trouble. No one who was already logged in to CTools had trouble, so you may want to include instructions telling people to go to CTools.umich.edu and log in, THEN come back to the email and follow the link. Remember, although both CTools and the mail system use CoSign for authentication, CTools makes you re-log after about half an hour of inactivity, so the user could be logged in to email, but not to CTools.
MCommunity sometimes needs a couple hours to sync across all services (especially at the start of term), so give it some time if you make a bunch of updates.
To do this:
- Create your new site and make it joinable, or make an existing site joinable (see above)
- Go to the site homepage
- Copy the url from the address bar
- paste that url into an email.
Customize the Homepage
The Site Information Display is displayed on the homepage of every site. It can take text input, or it can take a url. Note it won’t show both, but you can create a webpage in Resources and point to that.
Jeff added the URL to the root folder in Resources, which displays an easily navigable but read only version of resources tool.
To do this
In Resources there is a url for each item. Click the Actions button for the folder you are interested in and select Edit Details.
- Next to Web address (URL) click Select URL (for copying), then copy the URL.
- Go to Home page and click Options under Site Information Display. Scroll down to where it says Site Info URL and paste URL into the box.
The reset button next to the tool title takes you back to the default view for the tool (handy if you are lost deep in a tool, like the test center or Resources). It is available in all the tools.
There is an expand all or collapse all arrow in Resources. It toggles, starting from expand all.
Use the expand all button, then the browser find command (command+F on Mac),to search for a word, date, owner, etc. Note this is not the same as search, so you’ll have to mach the words, including the order and spacing, exactly.
Check quota button in Resources
If you are a site manager, you will see a Check Quota button at the top of Resources. 3 GB is default quota, and is plenty for most sites. ITS can grant more space if there is a good reason, so if you really need more, contact 4Help.
CTools isn’t really designed for streaming video, so saving video in Resources isn’t recomended. It is better to embed the videos.
In Resources, click Upload-Download Multiple Resources to go to the WebDAV instructions. This will allow you to mount your Resources folder like a folder on your computer. However, it’s a little touchy – sometimes works, sometimes doesn’t, and there’s no good idea why. So if you try it and it doesn’t work, try cyberduck instead. You’ll need to install it on your computer, which probably means calling 4Help. There are also mobil apps, like iAnnotate that use WebDAV, so you may be able to
Whatever WedDAV method you use, you need the uri from the upload/download page.
Other thing are possible (like renaming things), but only upload and download are actually supported, so doing other things isn’t recommended.
Note if you rename folders, the name will not change in WebDav because the new name in CTools is a display name, not the actual folder name.
It is also possible to use WebDav with the Dropbox tool
Add a Google Calendar to a site
- Find or create the calendar you want to display and open the settings.
- Go to the Sharing settings and make sure the events will be visible to your users. You can make it public if there’s nothing you don’t mind everyone seeing, or with everyone at UM, or you can use the “Share with specific people” section to share it with an MComunity group, or specific people. For more on setting up sharing see the Google support page https://support.google.com/calendar/topic/1672470?hl=en&ref_topic=1665165
- Once you think it will be visible to the right people, go back to the Calendar Details section and scroll down to the Calendar Address: section. Click the HTML button, then copy the URL that pops up.
- Go back to your CTools site, to the Site Information section.
- Click Edit Tools.
- Check the box next to Web Content and click Continue. This opens a new window where you can enter a display name for your calendar and the URL that you copied a minute ago.
- Click continue, and a new item should appear along the left for your calendar.
You could also use the embed code from Google to create a webpage in Resources, or paste the URL into the site info to display the calendar on the home page.
Sign up tool
Currently available in stealth mode only but it MAY be ready for general use by fall.
Essentially an appointment scheduling tool. Some users find it VERY useful, especially for things like office hours.
like iClicker anonymous polling, it records whether or not someone responds, but their actual response in not associated with their name.
Embedding a youtube video
Embedding the video means its still on youtube’s site (not taking up your quota, or forcing students to download video to their local machine), but students don’t have to leave CTools, watch adds, or get all the (sometimes inappropriate) related content.
- Find the video you want, and click the Share button.
- Click the Embed link. You need the URL, which will look like http://www.youtube.com/embed/<identifier>. You may have to copy the whole box, paste it into a text editor, and delete all the other stuff. You could also copy the identifier from the address bar and type the rest of the URL (at least until YouTube changes things)
Go back to your CTools site, to the Resources section.
- Click Add next to the folder you want to add the video to and choose Add Web Link (URL)
- Paste the URL into the box for the address, and give it a nice display name. Click Add Web Links Now to save.
- If you want, you can add this to the home screen, or add it to the list on the left. Go to Actions -> Edit details and copy the URL for the video in CTools. Then you can add it using one of the methods outlined above for adding a URL to the Site Information Display on the Home screen or adding Web Content under Site information.
ES 2013 Tech and Trends May 8, 2013Posted by aquillam in teaching.
Tags: Patricia Anderson, technology
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ETech guru Patricia Anderson presented. As usual, there are tons of resources.
The mind map for this is available at http://www.mindmeister.com/289740657/tech-talk-2013#
Members of the UM community may want to sign up for the Cool Toys Conversations email group in MCommunity. You can also follow the Cool Toys blog http://cooltoysu.wordpress.com/ or the ETechLib blog http://etechlib.wordpress.com/
The talk follows the mindmap, starting from the upper right and working around clockwise.
What is emerging tech?
It’s what’s new and hot and relavant and important.
New media consortium Horizon report is a good resource, and is what they usually focus on in the Cool Toys email group. Find out more about the project at http://www.nmc.org/horizon-project. Download the higher ED report in English from http://www.nmc.org/pdf/2013-horizon-report-HE.pdf
The future is here (at UM)
examples – last year’s ES poster winners http://www.crlt.umich.edu/node/514
would have liked to have this year’s winners too. Our instuctors are doing amazing things with today’s technology, and we’re developing things that can be next year’s tech. http://www.crlt.umich.edu/tipwinners2013
many of these are issues we face year after year. For example, do students with the money for laptops or tablets to bring to class have an advantage over those who can’t afford portable tech? Should we be introducing students to high end computers and software if they won’t have access to those things in the jobs they get when they leave here? What competencies do the students actually need in the future?
How we answer those questions now will determine what higher ed looks like and whether or not we survive.
Resources and past years
The Resources bubble provides a lot of resources for exploring further.
The 2011 and 2012 Tech Trends are provided so you can compare where we were a year or two ago, and where we are now.
Tech Trends 2013
Wearable tech generated a lot of chatter on the cool toys email group http://pinterest.com/rosefirerising/wearable-tech/. However, what was is the Cool Toys chatter was not the same as what was in the horizon report. The Horizon report focused on things like the much hyped Google Glass, and smart watches like Pebble. But there are all sorts of things, like biometric tattoos that can warn diabetics if their blood sugar is too low, or buttons for your jacket that detect if you’ve had too much to drink. Also, some slightly disturbing options, like the tattoo that vibrates when you got a phone call. (This tattoo is not MRI safe. And what do you do when the technology changes??) Wearable tech can be big too, like the scarf with sensors so it you crash on your bike, it turns into an airbag bike helmet, or the power suit designed for soldiers but usable by paraplegics to allow them to walk again.
Patricia also discussed the power of technologies like Personal genomics, Personalized medicine, Quantified self and Biohacking. These let the individual learn more about themselves and their health through things like developing a personal genetic profile, tracking exercise goals or finding correlations between symptoms and diet. Lots of data helps the user and their doctor diagnose problems more quickly and treat them more effectively.
3D printing was also a big item. These bring their own set of questions and issues. What will it mean if everyone had the ability to print whatever they want? WILL everyone be able to do this, or will this be another thing that separates groups (those who can afford it and those who can’t). Are there things you shouldn’t be allowed to print, and how would a bad be enforced? http://io9.com/you-can-now-3d-print-a-fully-operational-handgun-493142303 Bioprinting is also an emerging technology, with things like replacement bones and ears already possible.
Related to the 3D printing is the Maker Culture. Here in A2 we have MakerWorks http://www.maker-works.com/ and All Hands maker space http://www.allhandsactive.com/. There’s also the Maker Faire Detroit each year at The Henry Ford http://www.makerfairedetroit.com/. Groups like http://www.thingiverse.com/ make it easy for designers and makers to make their designs available to other makers, and to anyone with a 3D printer.
Gartner Hype Cycle
Handy for checking on what might be overhyped right now (like 3D printing, social analytics, and gamification), under-hyped, what’s likely to be a hot topic next year, and what we are seeing turn into practical, usable, and realistic tech (and as a slow typist, I’m rather glad to see speech recognition finally becoming useful!)
10 Breakthrough Technologies 2013
A list by the MIT Technology Review.
Again, wearable tech like smart watches and 3D printing apear on the list.
Also on the list are memory implants. While intended for people with cognitive dysfunction, could these be used by “normal” people who want a better memory.
Deep (machine) learning – AI is closer to reality. This have some unintended consequences too. For example, programs were designed to make spam look more like normal human speech, so it could get around the spam filters. However, it was still mostly gibberish. Poets found some of it interesting and started using the “creative” content from the computers to generate Spam Poetry (is that plagiarism?)
Big data from cheap phones also has some potentially profound implications. In Kenya, a database that used text messages from users to track the location of prescription medications eventually lead to (democratic) political upheaval. The Boston Marathon bomber was caught largely due to cell phone video. These open up privacy questions. According to David Brin, that can be OK os long as there is data equality. However, we will face serious problems if one side is transparent and the other is not. http://www.davidbrin.com/transparentsociety.html
ES 2013 – Third Century Initiative May 7, 2013Posted by aquillam in teaching.
Tags: 2013, enriching scholarships, teaching
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The University is just a few short years from the start of its third century, and we face some of the biggest challenges ever to higher education. The traditional model of researchers who act as sage-on-the-stage teachers is not going to cut it moving forward. The 3rd century initiatives from the Provost’s office are meant to spark the innovation and changes needed to help Michigan remain the Leaders and Best into our third century and beyond. Learn more at the Third Century website, http://www.provost.umich.edu/thirdcentury/.
As with the keynote, I’ve summarized what the panelists said rather than reporting it in chronological order. Also, as I type names over and over, I start typing them wrong and forgetting to capitalize. My apologies if I get a name wrong, and I hope no one is offended by my use of first names.
- Melanie Sanford, Student Learning Advisory Committee Chair http://www.provost.umich.edu/thirdcentury/student.html
- Tim McKay, Learning Analytics Task Force Chair https://sites.google.com/a/umich.edu/um-latf/
- Becky Lang, Global Challenges Advisory Committee http://www.provost.umich.edu/thirdcentury/global.html
- Mark Burns, M-Cubed http://mcubed.umich.edu/
- Laura Patterson, U-M’s Chief Information Officer (speaking about NextGen Michigan) http://nextgen.umich.edu/
- Sean DeMonner (Moderator)
About the committees:
Melanie: we want to ensure students have “experiential experiences”, modern programming to keep ahead of our competitors. We want Michigan to be one of the best schools out there.
Tim: Learning Analytics (LA) is made possible by data generated by large classes and tools like CTools. The students work, habits, and activities are recorded and preserved in a way that never used to be possible. This gives us the opportunity to explore things like what habits lead to success, AND if you really need to take class A before class B. LA can lead to greater personalization of the student experience.
Becky: We usually think of teaching & research as the two things we do, but the Global Challenges program asks faculty to address real world problems, collaboratively, with their students.
Mark: When talking to researchers, they found that there were a lot of ideas out there, but many people had trouble finding funding and appropriate collaborators.
MCubed seeks to resolve some of that by providing seed money. Anyone can apply, but the units have control over who gets the ” tokens”. Also, there must be 3
collaborators (hence the cube), including at least one person from another department or school.
Laura: The past decentralized technology structure will not support the action based teaching, international team based research and big data analytics that these programs need. We need new IT services – NextGen Michigan.
Mark: MCubed wanted to change the dialogue from “what does [insert funding agency name here] want to fund?” to “What issues can we tackle or solve?” The large number of cross-school collaborative projects that have already started make him think that is happening, and in an economical way.
Tim: It’s early days yet for LA, but they have already had a fellows program symposium and produced a set of SLAM videos http://www.crlt.umich.edu/slam
Melanie seconds what Tim said about it being early days. Her group is working on a website to help disseminate the information.
Becky’s group is also working on a new website.
Laura mentioned the collaboration tools that have already been implemented like Google and Box. Also, the Flux cluster that provides high performance computing cycles to faculty and students for analyzing big data. These things allow people to “fail fast, innovate, and not be held up by the environment.”
Since many of these initiatives involve taking risks, how do these affect the tenure process?
Becky (speaking as a chair): Young faculty interested in these programs should pursue them in parallel to their other, more traditional work. Mark seconds that (wearing his chair hat.) Tim points out that the learning initiatives are aimed at changing things, so its rare for young/new faculty to have enough experience to have something they need support changing. The ones that have the experience and enthusiasm from the start usually have no problem with tenure.
Can LA translate to research analytics?
Tim – interactions and collaboration in things like Google and CTools leave a research trail now, so RA should be possible. eg there is a project analyzing how office placement affects the probabilty of research collaboration. In the future, we need to have better metrics than the number of citations to determine research success.
Do these initiatives allow for the assessment of higher learning (content mastery vs. content recollection)?
Tim – the work itself is now retained (unlike in the past when a paper was given back to the student and was gone from their academic record), so researchers have now have access to the record of what students did. Also, with tools like Google Docs, researchers can see who edited the document, when, how much, etc. Provides fantastic opportunity for researchers, even if we dont know what to do with all that data yet.
Melanie - One of their grants is for how to use writing in the sciences. Ideally, the results should show if learning is enhanced by writing instead of the normal multiple choice type questions.
Do any of these programs specifically address disabled students?
Melanie - not specifically part of their charge, but projects that enhanced learning or targeted different learners would fit the grant criteria.
Tim – LA should make education MORE personal, so there could be different tools used in one class.
Mark – very visual learner, so ideas for visual learners into their plans, even though not specifically part of goals.
Laura- did not plan on visualization tools this year, but expect it soon. It will be a high priority for Google too, especially general accessabiliy. She believes it is a goal of Google to have a very similar experience for users of all different abilities, so blind or deaf users won’t need a different set of tools.
How will these initiatives break down silos?
Laura – deans have been talking about experiential and action based leaning and changing the classroom experience. North campus has been talking about freshman cross-discipenary class where students from different schools have to collaborate and present an end of term project together. When you interview people at the university, you find lots of expertise, and everyone is busy. There is a great deal of value added if you can collaborate.
Mark – MCubed’s goal is to break down silos. On the curriculum level, we want students to reach across units, but only to a limit - employers need to know how they were trained. In research it doesn’t matter so much, and the collaboration makes new things possible.
Melanie - one of the goals is to adress this. Especially, they want to determine the best ways to teach: maybe cross disciplinary is the way to go. Silos lead to redundancy. We need to break that down and put students doing the same things together, even if they are in different schools.
Tim – want to move the expertise and collaboration to student level. Make them a valuable team player even if they aren’t in their usual place. A physics student in an art class may find a unique way to balance a sculpture.
How will staff and students be involved?
tim – many students are on the LA teams already, usually as the ones doing the number crunching. However they didn’t really think about this in the first round. One way to be different is to have the students doing more. Staff expertise is important, but including them is hard because they already have ful time jobs. Working on these projects would be on their own time for most.
Mark MCubed money must go to students or post docs, although 15% may be allocated to staff (but again, paying staff is a problem because they already have jobs). There are so many students that it is difficult to give them tokens directly.
Melanie - student orgs are doing amazing thing on pennies. Including them or exploring how they function is a good way to go.
Becky – seconded the comments about student orgs. Her group would probably aim for including student orgs, not individual students
How to encompass all different students (undergrad, grad and post-doc), and collaborate at all levels?
Tim: personalization – LA would be able to help direct the message to the student who wants that info (like a umich news aggregator for your phone). He suggests empowering students to design something for that, since they know better what they need and would probably do a better job.
Couldn’t tailoring messages be the antithesis of collaboration and creativity?
Tim – Students already have something to recommend classes, instructors, etc – their roommate. We can improve this. Students need to be able to put in what they want, or dont want to see, but then the data from LA can fill in the holes, tell them about things their roommate doesn’t know about.
How do these projects scale?
laura – the issue of scale is interenting. the interest of most people is not how do we get 100k people in a course, it’s how do we change how people interact to make a class of 60 as good as a class of 10. Michigan must always be a place where students want to come to do a residential program. Its a matter of effectiveness and efficiency, not scale. Students come here for the bredth of program and quality of faculty.
What is action based learning?
Tim – anything that moves the focus to doing instead of receiving information.
He also said students need to be empowered to make decisions about their own learning. For example, gamify a course so students accumulate points instead of loosing them. Provide the opportunities within the class context, don’t expect it to burble up from below.
In a sense, inquiry based learning is less efficient because students are exposed to less content. How do we balance the deeper learning with the necessary breadth?
Tim – right now, we teach a certain amount of material in the introductory phyics classes because the instructors of the higher level classes say the students need this information. But when the students get to the higher level class, instructors find they dont actually retain what they learned! LA should help us figure out how much to teach deeply, and how much to brush over so they’ve at least seen it once. We need the ability to prove that that inquiry based learning leads to deeper/better learning, and that that deeper learning is more important than exposure.
In 2 – 3 years as current programs wrap up, what are the hallmarks of success?
Mark – that MCubed would be a permanent program, that enables more creative work, and leads to Michigan being seen as premiere university for innovation.
Becky – success would be if the NYT or Atlantic notices these global initiatives and has articles about them.
Tim – that anyone who is on campus can get an answer backed up by real data (open tools with portals for faculty and students). That students can base decisions on classes on something better than Rate My Professor.
Laura – problems today need to be solved by teams, not individual. NextGen gives UM a competative advantage to colaborate quickly and efficiently.
Ann Arbor is also invested in innovation. Can we engage with those local innovation communities?
Laura – the fact that the community is more aware of us than we are of them is a powerful statement. We need to do more to enhance those community connections.
Becky – when developinng criteria for which ideas to fund, we wanted to solve complex problems. But, all else being equal, something that engages the local community and created connections was important.
Tim – The LSA instructional team created Blue Core – people who just graduated and were willing to stay here in A2 for a year to help faculty with teaching technology.