Center for Technology Enhanced Learning

March 2014

CTEL Newsletter- March 2014

  1. CTEL Gorham Hours
  2. Accessibility Series Part 4/4: Blackboard For Diverse Learning Experiences
  3. CTEL Speaker Series: Support in Hand
  4. Online Assessment Workshop
  5. CTEL Video workshop Series
  6. Faculty E-Learning Technology Grants from UMS
  7. Vault: Multimedia Recording Studio in the Glickman Library
  8. Mid Term Evaluations Pilot
  9. Video Captioning service via CTEL TEL grant
  10. UC faculty institute (May 15, 2014)
  11. Featured Article: Dr. Robert Kozma (1994) Will Media Influence Learning? Reframing the Debate (Reviewed by Rucha Modak)
  12. Featured Course: CLA 171 (Faculty: Jeannine Uzzi | CTEL Learning Designer: Pieter Tryzelaar)
  13. National Center for Academic Transformation (NCAT) Free Webinar: "Getting Started on Course Redesign"
  14. Tech Tip: How to Convert Files Using Zamzar


1. CTEL Gorham Hours

CTEL piloted office hours on the Gorham campus during the Fall 2013 semester. Many faculty with offices on the Gorham campus benefited from this resource. We will continue to offer these hours in Gorham during the spring semester.

Location: 104 Bailey Hall

Hours: Wednesday, 8:30am - 5:00pm



2. Accessibility Series Part 4/4: Blackboard For Diverse Learning Experiences

Join us for the final installment of the Spring 2014 CTEL Accessibility Series led by USM Faculty members Cynthia Curry and Julie Alexandrin and USM’s Director of Disability Services Center Joanne Benica.

  • Blackboard For Diverse Learning Experiences

Participants will leave this session energized to make their Blackboard sites not only more accessible for students with disabilities, but also more interactive and engaging for all learners.

3/6/2014 | 12:00-1:30pm | 423/423 Glickman | USM Portland Campus

Learn more & RSVP:



3.CTEL Speaker Series: Support in Hand

Support in Hand: Mobility, Nudges, & Great Academic Success

In her talk, Jill Frankfort, co-founder of Persistence Plus ( will describe their innovation which involves providing time sensitive, interactive, and automated academic support ("nudges") to students via their mobile devices. Persistence Plus is developing algorithms that generate support triggers grounded in behavioral science. Jill will share lessons learned from their work with students in introductory courses at University of Washington-Tacoma (UWT). Preliminary results from the UWT study indicate that students respond and value such support and that students receiving such support have higher passing rates and GPAs than other students. The team has shared results from this study in an EDUCAUSE Review Online brief:

5/7/2014 | 1:00-2:30pm | USM Portland Campus

Learn more & RSVP:



4. Online Assessment Workshop

The Online Assessment workshop is open to any faculty members who are interested in exploring alternatives to paper-based course exams.  

As mentioned to you last fall semester, the paper-based exam-scanning services, provided by the Office of Academic Assessment, will no longer be offered at USM after May 2014.

The first part of the workshop will provide an "overview" of online assessment options and best practices, and the second part of the workshop will cover a demonstration of the "specifics" on how to get started with setting up online assessment in Blackboard.

The workshop dates are listed below; dates are available in February and March, on the Portland and Gorham campuses.

  • Friday| 3/14/2014 |12:00-1:30pm | Room 212 Abromson- Portland campus
  • Wednesday | 3/26/2014 | 12:00-1:30pm | Room 104 Bailey Hall-Gorham campus
  • Friday | 3/28/2014 | 12:00-1:30pm | Room 214 Abromson- Portland campus

Learn More:



5. CTEL Video Workshop Series

CTEL is proud to offer a series of workshops focused on the production and use of video in teaching and learning. These will cover Panopto, Camtasia, Screencast-O-Matic, Wacom tablets and the 'Vault'- a small recording studio in the Glickman Library. All workshops will take place in March and April on Fridays at noon in 521, Glickman, Portland Campus. 

a. Panopto

Panopto is a software that is designed to capture, edit, stream, and share recorded lectures and presentations.

3/7/2014 | 12:00-1:00 pm | 521 Glickman | USM Portland Campus

Panopto also offers free access to their monthly training webinars. To register, please go to:

b. Creating Screencasts Using Camtasia and Screencast-O-Matic

Screencasts allow you to record your computer screen while simultaneously recording using your webcam.  

3/14/2014 | 12:00-1:00 pm | 521 Glickman | USM Portland Campus

c. Using Wacom Tablets to Create Khan Academy-Style Instructional Videos

Wacom Tablets allow instructors to create digital handwritten instructions and notes. 

3/21/2014 | 12:00-1:00 pm | 521 Glickman | USM Portland Campus

d. Creating Video Content in the “Vault”

This workshop will introduce several methods for recording video content using the “Vault” recording studio.

4/11/2014 | 12:00-1:00 pm | 521 Glickman | USM Portland Campus

Learn more & RSVP



6. Faculty E-Learning Technology Grants from UMS

The University of Maine System Adult Baccalaureate Completion and Distance Education (ABCDE) Committee is pleased to announce the availability of Faculty E-Learning Technology Grants for the 2014/2015 academic year. This grant provides professional development funds to faculty who want to engage emerging e-learning tools, or leverage existing UMS-provided technologies, for their potential to support high-quality learning experiences for students at the University of Maine System campuses.

For details please visit:

Question: Please contact, Bonnie Sparks, Executive Director of the University College (



7. “Vault” Multimedia Recording Studio in the Glickman Library

Located in the Learning Commons on the 2nd floor of Glickman Library, "The Vault" serves as a small media production studio for faculty. It is called "The Vault" because the room originally served as the bank vault for the bakery that was located in the present day Glickman building.

The room has excellent acoustics and contains a computer workstation equipped basic media production tools and software for faculty to record and edit digital projects- including screencasts, whiteboard video lectures, podcasts, or Khan-Academy style instructional videos.

The Vault is now designated exclusively for faculty use. Students can access recording equipment through Instructional Technology & Media Services. CTEL has assumed the responsibility for scheduling and supporting faculty who wish to use the vault. Faculty who wish to schedule an appointment can contact Rucha Modak ( or Pieter Tryzelaar (

Learn more:



8. Mid Term Course Evaluation Pilot

CTEL is partnering with a few faculty members teaching online this semester to roll out a mid-term course evaluation to their students. The goal is to focus on the student experience of taking an online course in terms of its design, the technology it employs and to a small extent, the learning that takes place. Gathering this information formatively- in the middle of the semester- rather than summatively - in the end- will hopefully offer insights that can be used to make improvements while the course is still in progress. This evaluation will take the form of a Google survey.



9. Video Captioning Service Via CTEL TEL Grant

During the spring 2013 semester, CTEL successfully piloted a video captioning service to caption videos for Dr. Wayne Cowart and Dr. Dana McDaniel's LIN 185 course ( You can look at a captioned video:

The cost for captioning is $2.50/minute of recorded video. Funding for captioning videos can be requested through a CTEL Technology-Enhanced Learning grant:

Over the past few weeks, you might have had the opportunity to attend one or more sessions in the USM Accessibility Series presented by Dr. Julie Alexandrin, Joanne Benica, and Cynthia Curry:

Accessibility of video content, among many other topics, was addressed in these workshops. Video recordings of the workshop will be available soon.



10. UC Faculty Institute

University College is sponsoring the 2014 Faculty Institute on Thursday, May 15 from 8:30 - 4:00 on the campus of the University of Maine at Augusta. The Institute is a tradition where faculty, instructional developers, student services staff, and campus administrators gather to share their experiences and expertise in eLearning with colleagues around the University of Maine System. It is an opportunity to highlight your own successes and develop new strategies for dealing with educational challenges. CTEL Learning Designers Rucha Modak and Pieter Tryzelaar will be presenting two sessions.

For further information and to register:



11. Featured Article: Dr. Robert Kozma (1994) Will Media Influence Learning? Reframing the Debate (Reviewed by Rucha Modak)

Dr. Robert Kozma’s paper (1994) on the role of media in learning (“Will Media Influence Learning? Reframing the Debate”) is a rebuttal to the ideas proposed by Dr. Robert Clark. Clark’s (1983) position as stated in ‘Do Media Influence Learning? is that content trumps media in the learning process and that the media used are incidental to the impact on learning.  Kozma rebuts this stance by claiming that the functionalities offered by different kinds of media - such as text, audio, video and computers- determine the kind of interactions in which learners can engage.  Thus, interactions with a text about the laws of physics are very different from those with a computer where learners can manipulate digital objects and visualize the impact of those laws more readily. In addition, Kozma recommends that we understand learning not simply in terms of cause and effect but the causal mechanisms inherent in it, as evidenced by the context and components involved. This, he believes, has implications for how we research learning as well as design it.

While technology has gained a critical role in schools and universities during the 20 years since Kozma’s paper was published, its use and research still fall short of the ideals envisioned by him. Kozma’s words ring especially true today as the Internet provides students in distant parts of the world the opportunity to connect, collaborate and construct their knowledge.

Learn More:



12. Featured Course: CLA 171 (Faculty: Jeannine Uzzi | CTEL Learning Designer: Pieter Tryzelaar)

CLA 171, Etymology for Everyone, is a new online course offered by USM’s classics program. Dr. Jeannine Uzzi is teaching this course. CTEL Learning Designer Pieter Tryzelaar collaborated with Jeannine on the course design. CLA 171 focuses on the many words in English that have their origins in ancient Greek and Latin. This course includes the study of these roots and the typical alterations they undergo as they make their way into modern English.  CLA 171 is being delivered using a combination of Blackboard and a private Google+ Community. Google+ Communities is a social media platform. It is a great interactive tool that can be used to enhance engagement in online courses. In addition to threaded conversations, you can record and share videos using your webcam. Hashtags and categories allow you to sort through posts by topic or author. It integrates seamlessly with other Google tools, including Google Drive and Hangouts. Through readings and constant interactions in the Google+ Community, students in CLA 171 engage in participatory-based learning activities and discussions. They watch video lectures, complete weekly group assignments, play study games, and record video responses. Blackboard is used to provide a roadmap of weekly tasks and to administer tests and quizzes. 



13. National Center for Academic Transformation (NCAT) Free Webinar: "Getting Started on Course Redesign"

“Getting Started on Course Redesign” is a webinar for those of you who are thinking about beginning a large-scale course redesign project. This two-hour-long webinar will provide participants the opportunity to learn about how redesign efforts have begun at both four- and two-year institutions. NCAT Redesign Scholar Teresa Overton from Northern Virginia Community College will describe how their redesign of developmental math, impacting almost 10,000 students, got started and how they resolved problems that arose. NCAT vice president Carolyn Jarmon will give examples of what has been experienced by four-year institutions in a variety of academic disciplines as they began their redesigns. The agenda includes plenty of time for discussion to help you think about how to get started. If you have questions about NCAT, course redesign and related issues, please don't hesitate to contact John Broida  in the USM psychology department – he has been affiliated with NCAT since 1999 and is one of their redesign scholars.




14. Tech Tip: How to Convert Files Using Zamzar

This month’s Tech Tip explains how to use Zamzar to convert files. Zamzar is a free online file converter. It is a great time-saving tool for instructors when a student student submits an assignment, but the instructor can't open or view the attached file.

Learn more: