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April 2013

I   Gateway Sciences Initiative (GSI): 2nd Round Request for Proposals
Apply Now!

II   New Classroom Technology Showcased at MSE Library
Check out the new resources on May 7th from 1-3 PM

III   Teaching Tips: Managing the End of the Semester Crunch
Beat the end-of-semester crunch

IV   Upgrade to Blackboard coming in May
Service Packs 10 and 11 to be installed

V   Attention ARTstor Users
ARTstor downloads are now Java-free

VI   Classroom Technology News and Notes
Faculty input is shaping our classrooms

VII   Homewood Campus Email Migrations
How will this affect faculty, staff, and students?  

 

I   Gateway Sciences Initiative (GSI): 2nd Round Request for Proposals

Sponsored by the President Daniels and Interim Provost Bagger, the JHU Gateway Sciences Initiative (GSI), seeks to enhance the quality of teaching and learning across the university. The program targets courses that serve as entry points or provide critical introductory material for undergraduate and graduate study in the natural, behavioral, and medical sciences, in engineering, and in other fields where basic scientific or mathematical knowledge is a necessary component. GSI Logo In the first round of funding, GSI supported a set of pilot projects to improve the effectiveness of current gateway science courses and provide a means to study and implement potentially larger scale innovations in pedagogy, course and program design, and instructional methodologies. The second round request for proposals (RFP) is now available to build upon what was learned from, and expand the scope of, the original GSI program. The objective of the second round call for proposals is to transform Gateway Science teaching and learning methods, courses, curricula, and programs in sustainable ways and to assess project outcomes to provide the best possible education for JHU students. To review the RFP or for more information, visit http://web.jhu.edu/administration/provost/initiatives/gsi/grants. For questions, please email Gateway.Sciences@jhu.edu.
 

II   New Classroom Technology Showcased at MSE Library

Winners of the 2012-13 Technology Fellows competition will demonstrate their technological innovations on Tuesday, May 7, from 1:00 – 3:00 pm on Q-Level at the Milton S. Eisenhower Library. All of the winning faculty-student teams will be available for a hands-on demonstration of how they used their $5,000 mini-grants to enhance undergraduate instruction. Tech Fellows Logo Projects cover a wide range of disciplines from Krieger, Whiting, and Peabody. This year's initiatives include an e-workbook for public health studies, an electronic textbook for those taking music theory, images and simulations for the course, Molecules & Cells, sight reading exercises for piano students, video tutorials for engineering labs, advanced bimolecular modeling tools, and more. All faculty attendees will receive a free 2GB mini-flash drive, and students will receive gift certificates to The Daily Grind. Now in its twelfth year, the Technology Fellows program was created by the Sheridan Libraries' Center for Educational Resources (CER) to assist Johns Hopkins faculty in the development of digital course resources. Funded by the Office of the President and the Smart Family Foundation, the program awards $5,000 grants to faculty/student teams for projects that integrate technology into instructional programs. CER technology experts and librarians collaborate with faculty-student teams on projects that encourage active learning, facilitate access to course materials, and enhance pedagogy. For more information contact Cheryl Wagner at cwagner@jhu.edu (410.516.7181).
 

III   Teaching Tips: Managing the End of the Semester Crunch

Office Stress Clipart With the end of the semester upon us, here are some survival tips for busy faculty. Professor Hacker, from The Chronicle of Higher Education, is offers an advice column for faculty and future faculty that focuses on using technology to simplify the lives – professional and personal – of instructors in posts that give "tips about teaching, technology, and productivity." This post, entitled From the Archives: Getting Through the End of Term, has some great ideas for managing the end-of-semester crunch with tips on grading, handling stressful meetings, and taking care of yourself in the process.
 

IV   Upgrade to Blackboard coming in May

Blackboard Logo A new set of upgrades is coming to Blackboard. On May 24th, 2013, Blackboard will be unavailable to all users from 8am-8pm as service packs 10 and 11 are installed on the servers. Here is a summary of the upgraded features and improvements to come: New Calendar One of the most anticipated upgrades is the redesign of the calendar tool. Users will notice several improvements, such as automatically posting due dates of items with a due date (tests, assignments, etc.), the option to create recurrent events, and the ability to subscribe to Blackboard calendar events from an external calendar. New Content Editor The content editor, also known as the 'visual editor' or 'html editor,' has also been completely redesigned. There are now more text editing options, as well as improved performance when copying and pasting from Word. A new math editor is also included. Blackboard Visual Editor Screenshot Global Navigation Menu The global navigation menu is a set of links designed to help users access global aspects of their courses without having to click inside each individual course to get the information. For example, users can click on a link to read all announcements from all of their courses in one place. The menu also includes icons that indicate new or unread announcements, calendar items, and discussion board posts. This menu is located in the upper right corner of the login screen. Discussion Board Improvements When expanding a thread, the discussion board now displays all posts from that thread on one page, something instructors have frequently requested. There is also a new feature known as 'post first,' which requires students to post a response to a thread before they can view any other responses; this is designed to cut down on students copying/repeating posts that other students have already posted. Item Analysis for Assessments This new feature provides instructors with detailed statistics about how students answered individual test questions. Some of the captured data include: a numeric breakdown of the number of times a specific answer was selected, the average score for each question, and the level of difficulty of each question, which is based on the percentage of students who answered the question correctly. This feature is designed to help instructors identify questions that may need revision to better evaluate student knowledge. 'Fill in the Blank' test questions The 'fill-in-the-blank' and 'fill-in-multiple-blanks' test questions have been enhanced to better accommodate variations in student responses. Instructors will be able to use the 'contains,' and 'pattern match' options to cut down on the number of possible answers they have to type into the interface. There is also now the option to mark answers as 'case-sensitive.'
 

V   Attention ARTstor Users

ARTstor Logo From ARTstor: A recently announced update eliminates the need for Java. ARTstor has been using Java for downloads of individual images, but recently the U.S. Department of Homeland Security recommended that Java be disabled due to security concerns. Now users who download single image files will receive a zip file that contains a JPEG image and an HTML file with the associated metadata. Using zip will allow ARTstor to pursue other feature enhancements, such as additional options for image group downloads. Many versions of Windows come equipped with a built in zip program, but if you need to install a program on your PC, ARTstor recommends the free program 7-Zip. Mac users will not need to install software to handle zip files as it is already built into OS X. It is recommended that you clear the cache and restart your Web browser before downloading images. Instructions on how to download images and open files can be found on the ARTstor Help Wiki. The ARTstor Digital Library is a nonprofit resource that provides over 1.5 million digital images in the arts, architecture, humanities, and sciences along with a suite of software tools for teaching and research. Johns Hopkins is an ARTstor Digital Library subscriber. Hopkins users can contact Don Juedes, Research Services Librarian [djuedes@jhu.edu], or Ann Woodward, Visual Resources Curator [adw@jhu.edu], for questions or assistance with using ARTstor.
 

VI   Classroom Technology News and Notes

Krieger IT is in the process of assuming oversight responsibility for Homewood classroom technology, and several steps have been taken to improve both technology and service. Computer Classroom Photo Two town hall meetings were held during spring break. Attended by more than twenty faculty and staff, these meetings provided useful information on what faculty members want in the classrooms. Some faculty requested expansion of what is available, including development of additional computer classrooms and more SCALE-UP classrooms like Krieger 309, and there were requests for more document cameras. Faculty also commented on existing facilities, including issues about lighting and microphones. Krieger IT will be ensuring appropriate signage in each room so that instructors know how to get help. Communication was also an important topic in the town hall meetings. There was a discussion of what information can be put on a web site to be read at an individual's convenience and what would be better to be pushed out, and how it should be pushed out. One thing that was clear from the town hall meetings and other feedback: there is a strong desire for accurate information about what is in our classrooms. To achieve this, a new database has been created to host a comprehensive inventory of all rooms. With this database, it will soon be possible to feed the online classroom search tool with up-to-date information. Faculty will have detailed information about classroom equipment and training on equipment use. The database will also facilitate life cycle planning. One more town hall meeting is planned for this semester. Please plan to attend the May 2 town meeting at 10 am in the Board of Trustees Room in Hodson Hall (Hodson 310). Contact Fred Thomsen with comments or questions at thomsen@jhu.edu.
 

VII   Homewood Campus Email Migrations

The Enterprise Message team is working on a project to consolidate email on the Microsoft platform. The project started in 2006 for existing faculty and staff when mail was migrated from Novell GroupWise to Microsoft Exchange. Student email was migrated from Sun Messaging to Microsoft Live@edu starting in 2009. MS Exchange 2013 Logo Two migrations will occur this summer. The Microsoft Exchange environment will begin a migration to Microsoft Exchange 2013, and Microsoft Live@edu email system will migrate to Microsoft Office 365. Exchange 2013 offers improved search and indexing, streamlined Outlook Web App with tablets and mobile devices in mind, and greater integration with Microsoft SharePoint 2013 and Microsoft Lync 2013. Office 365 offers shared calendars, instant messaging, 25 GB of storage per user and integration with JHED credentials. In numerous meetings over the past year, some faculty and staff not participating in the enterprise Exchange environment have indicated that they would like to participate, but they have concerns about the fees. Fees are currently $5 per user per month. Pending approval by divisional governance boards, the Microsoft email platform may soon be institutionally funded. For more information about these Enterprise email offerings, please contact Andy Baldwin (Andrew.Baldwin@jhu.edu or 410-735-4268).