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Friday, December 18, 2009

Brief Introduction to UMSurvey

UMSurvey is an online survey tool managed by the U's central OIT. It is available to current students, staff, and faculty at the University of Minnesota. The tool provides a convenient way for instructors, staff and students to quickly design and administer surveys for academic purposes, administrative purposes, or simply for practices of survey designs.

The tool is simple to use, but yet powerful with a lot of features. You can create, implement,and analyze surveys using University templates, with research consultation from the Digital Media Center. UMSurvey even allows you to export the results to SPSS or MS-Excel to perform analysis of the results. Your survey can be anonymous and open to the public, or be restricted to only UMN members. It can be activated or deactivated easily. A survey you have created can by reused as many times as you want.

To use or learn more about UMSurvey, go to the UMSurvey site at http://www.oit.umn.edu/umsurvey/ You can also find an online orientation at http://umconnect.umn.edu/umsurvey

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sharing Mac DiLL audio recordings with students

Instructors often ask us, "How can students access the files recorded using the Mac DiLL?" Unfortunately, there isn't a way for students to log-in to the Mac DiLL server and access their recordings. But, with a few simple steps, instructors can download student recordings using the Archive Task to ZIP File function on the Mac DiLL server website, copy the files to the LC_Server drive on the Macs in the classrooms, and then let students save their files to their own flash drives or to their Netfiles accounts.

First log-in to the DiLL website at https://lcdill.cla.umn.edu/ and find the recordings you'd like to share under Recording-Only Activities or Synchronized Activities.

Click on Archive Task to ZIP, at the top of the screen.

Then, name your file using one of the options from the pull-down menu (shortname.mp3, last name.mp3, etc). This names each .mp3 file according to each student log-in name.
Type in a name for the Activity so that it is easier to find it after it downloads.
Type in your email address in the email field; a link to the zip file will be sent to your email address.
Click Create ZIP Archive.

Wait for the files to process. A weblink will appear with a ZIP file containing all of your students' recordings.

Click on this link to download the files to your computer. In the Mac classrooms, the ZIP file will automatically download to the Local_Save drive.

Local Save Icon

Open the Local_Save drive and double click on the ZIP file to unzip the files. A new folder will appear with all of your students' .mp3 files.

Local Save

Copy this folder to the LC_Server drive.

LC server icon

LC Server

Your students can copy their individual recordings to a flash drive or to their Netfiles accounts. Keep in mind that with this process, any student could listen to another student's recording. So, if privacy is a concern, you'll want to avoid using the LC_Server as a means for sharing because it is viewable from all computers in the Language Center. Instead, you could email files to individual students, or use Netfiles to securely share student audio recordings.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Computer Dialogue

Halloween always reminds me of Edward Kuhlka, our former office specialist who decorated Jones Hall so gothically in October. Edward is now working as an Administrative Project Manager at an architecture firm in Seattle. Here's an Elsie's Backside style submission he forwarded to us.

COMPUTER: Monitor, display this document, ok?

MONITOR: No prob, boss.

COMPUTER: OK, now it looks like Mouse is moving around...so, Monitor, will you move the pointer icon accordingly?

MONITOR: Anything you ask, boss.

COMPUTER: Great, great. OK, Mouse, where are you going now?

MOUSE: Over to the icon panel, sir.

COMPUTER: Hmm, Let me know if he clicks anything, OK?

MOUSE: Of course.

KEYBOARD: Sir, he's pressed control and P simultaneously.

MONITOR: Oh God, here we go.

COMPUTER: *sighs* Printer, are you there?


COMPUTER: Please, Printer. I know you're there.

PRINTER: NO! I'm not here! Leave me alone!

COMPUTER: Jeez. OK look, you really need...

MOUSE: Sir, he's clicked on the printer icon.

COMPUTER: Printer, now you have to print it twice.

PRINTER: NO! NO! NO! I don't want to! I hate you! I hate printing! I'm turning off!

COMPUTER: Printer, you know you can't turn yourself off. Just print the document twice and we'll leave you alone.

PRINTER: NO! That's what you always say! I hate you! I'm out of ink!

COMPUTER: You're not out of in...


COMPUTER: *Sighs* Monitor, please show a low ink level alert.

MONITOR: But sir, he has plen...

COMPUTER: Just do it, damn it!

MONITOR: Yes, sir.

KEYBOARD: AHHH! He's hitting me!

COMPUTER: Stay calm, he'll stop soon. Stay calm, old friend.

KEYBOARD: He's pressing everything. Oh god, I don't know, he's just pressing everything!

COMPUTER: PRINTER! Are you happy now?! Do you see what you've done?!

PRINTER: HA! that's what you get for trying to get me to do work. Next time he...hey...HEY! He's trying to open me! HELP! HELP! Oh my god! He's torn out my cartridge! HELP! Please! ERROR!

MONITOR: Sir, maybe we should help him?

COMPUTER: No. He did this to himself.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Technology Tips to Prepare for H1N1

We are offering some quick tips for instructors to use technology to minimize the negative impact of H1N1, whether it affects 1 or 2 students or a large number of students.

1. If you are not using any course management system yet, this should be a good time for you start using one. A course management system, such as Moodle and WebVista, offers convenient tools for instructors to communicate with students, to distribute course content, and to conduct class activities online. The University supports both the WebVista and Moodle course management systems. To request to have a site set up for your class, go to http://webvista.umn.edu/forms/request-site.shtml for WebVista, or http://www1.umn.edu/moodle/instructor/request.html for Moodle.

2. Use Netfiles. Netfiles is a file-storage resource with collaboration and sharing features. With Netfiles, you can upload class-related files and share them with colleagues and students. Current UMN Staff, Faculty and Students are eligible for a NetFiles account. To activate your account, go to your internet account options page at https://www.umn.edu/myaccount.

3. Use iTunes U to distribute audio and video content to students in the form of a podcast. iTunes U provides both restricted and public access to educational content and makes the distribution of audio, video or pdf files to your students an easy task. To sign up for an account, go to http://itunes.umn.edu/

4. Use the Digital Content Library to deliver copyrighted movies and other audio/video content. To find out more information and to submit content, go to http://dcl.umn.edu/

Other tools that we recommend include Media Mill and Media Magnet for creating, managing and distributing media content, and Camtasia Relay for capturing your class. Please contact the Language Center for help if you are interested in using these tools.

Stay healthy!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

World Languages Day, May 18, 2010

After the success of World Languages Day (WLD) 2009, the College of Liberal Arts Dean's Office and the WLD Planning Committee have decided to go forward with the seventh annual event. It is scheduled for Tuesday, May 18, 2010, the week after U of M classes end.

WLD is an opportunity for Minnesota high school students to explore some of the languages and cultures of the world and to experience life at the University of Minnesota. The event is intended for sophomore-level language classes, and all students in those classes may attend, even if they are not sophomores. Teachers, counselors and parents are also invited to attend.

Demand for the 2009 event far exceeded capacity, and we attracted the most diverse group of students in the event's history. The biggest change for 2010 is a more controlled registration process that we hope will result in even more geographic, linguistic, and cultural diversity.

We are in the early stages of planning, but some information is available at http://worldlang.cla.umn.edu/. Information on the event, particularly for high school teachers and counselors will also be available via Twitter at https://twitter.com/StephTreat.

Please let me know if you have suggestions for the 2010 event or would like to be involved.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

7th Annual Sundae Social

On Tuesday, September 22, the Language Center celebrated language learning and recognized language instructors, support staff, and even some learners with the annual Sundae Social. At least 200 dishes of ice cream were served despite the chilly weather. Thanks to everyone that helped organize the event and joined us outside of Jones Hall to make the event such a success!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Staffing changes in the Testing Office

We are pleased to announce some staffing changes and additions in the Testing Program for fall semester. Joanne Peltonen, the Spanish Testing Coordinator, will reduce her appointment to 75% through December 18 so that she is available to conduct proficiency evaluations for Spanish-immersion students in the public school system.

To fill this void, Gabriela Sweet will join the Testing Program staff part-time for fall semester. Gabriela has taught Spanish at U of M and has worked for CARLA as an assessment coordinator. 

Welcome, Gabriela!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Language Center Launches New Website!

If you think you've noticed some differences with the Language Center website -- well no, you're not wrong -- some updates have been made.

The new design based is on the University templates for University of Minnesota websites and adds a number of soon to be required features for University sites.

Along with being University-compliant, the new site has a new organization. Instead of the former headings Instructor, Students, Reservations, Links and TandemPlus, there are three major content categories. The first Classrooms, Media & Equipment yields all of the information available for using and reserving LC classrooms, media and equipment. In this content area you will find, the Online Reservation form, the classroom schedule, and the search page for LC media, along with other resources available to instructors. In the Instructional Services section, you will find pedagogical information to help you best use the classrooms. In this section you will find information about LgTT classes, CARLA Summer Institute, iTeach Workshops, language learning links and more. The third section, Student Services gives information about services at the LC available to students, featuring the Multimedia Lab. The two remaining sections link to the TandemPlus website and the Language Testing website.

New feature -- Action Links. Have you ever been frustrated that you can't remember how to find that one item that you always use when visiting the LC website? Hopefully the Action Links will help. The Action Links can be found on every page of the LC website and link to what we think are the most commonly visited pages -- the Online Reservation form, the A-V database search, view of Language Center classrooms, language links page, link to Elsie's new blog and the LC Twitter site.

With the new website structure, users will be able to navigate to almost any content from almost any page.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Summer brings upgrades to Jones 10 Classroom!

Jones 10 Instructor DeskDuring the months of June and July, the Language Center technical staff has been busy upgrading the LC classroom, Jones 10. The old ASC language lab hardware and PC computers have been torn out and replaced with new iMac computers with the capability of using the Mac DiLL language lab software.

A new 16 x 9 aspect ratio lcd projector has been installed, along with a new keypad to control the projector and select inputs -- computer, multi-zone DVD, multi-standard VCR or document camera. Oh yes, a new document camera has been installed to replace the old overhead projector. Another feature is a handy pocket on the instructor's desk making for easy connection of a personal laptop.

With the conversion of Jones 10, the Language Center now has three classrooms that make use of the Mac DiLL language lab software. Wimba activities can also be scheduled in these three classrooms. Although the computers in these three classrooms are Macs, they all have Parallels installed which allows for simultaneous use of a Windows operating system. (We're still at old reliable Windows XP.)

The Language Center also has a laptop lab cart of 25 Dell laptops which can be reserved and used in Jones 35 Media Classroom. For more information or assistance with the Jones classrooms please contact our Classroom Coordinator, Alyssa Ruesch.