Windows, Surfaces, Bluetooth, oh my!

IITS has deployed a number of new technologies in various parts of the campus this summer. Some faculty received Surface Pro 4 computer/tablets, for example, running Windows 10. Potentially, the library is also getting an upgrade to Windows 10, while all labs and teacher stations will be getting Office 2016.

If you’re one of the lucky faculty to be the first to test our Surface Pro adoption, here’s how to turn on the Bluetooth mouse that came with your machine– yes, there is a mouse, but you may not have been able to tell…

QAM tuners and 802.11-G-only devices: Orientation tech concerns

During our Summer Orientation process, we’ve informed incoming students that IITS has a few minimum requirements to access some services on-campus. While many won’t be too affected by these requirements, it seems fair to outline them a little bit so you can be more informed!

To get access to the campus cable system, your TV must have a QAM tuner

QAM (quadrature amplitude modulation) is a digital television standard by which digital cable channels are encoded and transmitted via cable television providers. Most newer HDTVs will have a QAM tuner, but it’s best to check your manual. Can’t find the manual? That’s okay. If you can (even at home) access channels like 3.1, 3.2, 13.5, and others with decimals in them, then you have a QAM tuner and your TV is ready. Many value-brand televisions may not have a QAM tuner or may have a lower quality QAM tuner that may be unable to tune all of the channels. If you’re shopping, be sure to ask or check the specs!

If you love your TV, but don’t have a QAM tuner, you can always find a digital converter box to get access to the cable system!

To help, we borrowed this informal reference for newer devices.

  • Dynex – Only limited models have a QAM tuner
  • Insignia – Only limited models have a QAM tuner
  • LG – Most models since 2007 have a QAM tuner
  • Samsung – All models since 2009 have a QAM tuner (fifth digit of model number must be B or higher)
  • Sony – Most models since 2007 have a QAM tuner
  • Sylvania – Do not appear to have QAM tuners
  • Toshiba – Most models since 2007 have a QAM tuner
  • Vizio – Recent models have a QAM tuner
  • Westinghouse – Some models require QAM tuner activation

Be sure you’re buying a TV, not a monitor! The worst case scenario is that you bring a TV without a QAM tuner, and you run out to an electronics store to purchase a compatible QAM set-top converter.

We can no longer support 802.11-G-only wireless devices on our network

The 802.11G specification is a standard for wireless local area networks (WLANs) that offers transmission over relatively short distances at up to 54 megabits per second (Mbps), compared with the 11 Mbps theoretical maximum with the earlier 802.11B standard.

Many newer devices support G, but also support other standards, like AC, H, N, and S. You can check the specs on your computer:

  • Windows users can follow this tutorial.
  • Mac users can go to Apple > About this Mac > More Info > System Report > Network > WiFi and look channels listed that are above the number 11. If these are present, your computer will get online!

Turnitin updates coming our way soon

We just got some good news from Turnitin. If any of the following items have irritated you in the past, they have some answers…

  1. Manage collusion with confidence
    You asked: My institution’s academic integrity policy specifies that potential collusion should be dealt with by a central administrator, rather than by instructors. Can Turnitin help?
    We answered: Yes! We’ve added the option to email all requests to view potentially plagiarized papers to an administrator of your choice, so you can control the investigation process with confidence. Learn more→
  2. Crisp, clear view of student work.
    You asked: When I zoom in on a student’s paper, it looks a bit fuzzy. Can you fix that?
    We answered: We’re sharpening the resolution of student papers to make reading them easier on the eyes of hard-working instructors. Look for changes in mid-July.
  3. No more waiting for grammar feedback!
    You asked: Give students immediate grammar feedback so they can revise and improve their papers before teachers review their work.
    We answered:  We’ve deepened our partnership with ETS to make e-rater® grammar guidance available to students as soon as they submit a draft starting in mid-July. Instructors will still be able to choose whether to turn e-rater® on or off for each assignment. Learn more→
  4. Peer review, simplified
    You asked: PeerMark assignments are great, but creating them is far from intuitive. Can you simplify it?
    We answered: Instructors, get ready for fewer steps in PeerMark assignment creation. Students, get ready to see your peer feedback as soon as your classmates complete it.  *Note: For now, these PeerMark changes will apply only to native accounts starting in mid-July, but we look forward to extending them to LMS/VLE customers (that’s us!) soon. See what’s changing

Technology for Teaching Day 2017 Report

We’re proud to release this year’s Technology for Teaching Day 2017 report, full of supplemental links related to our annual CELT/IITS collaboration that focuses on developing our faculty’s relationship with technology in the classroom.

Download the report:

If you’d like to work with us for next Technology for Teaching Day or in development sessions through the Fall & Spring semesters, contact us at today!


A newer way to Turnitin

We recently added Turnitin Assignment 2 plugin to our Moodle installation. While this may not seem like a terribly big deal, it actually opens the door much wider to using Turnitin features not available to us with the older plugin. We covered the ins and outs about how the tool works in a session sponsored by CELT. If you couldn’t attend, check out this brief (<5 min.) video:

For those in a rush:

  • 1:35 shows off need-to-know buttons
  • 3:23 shows how to build a Turnitin 2.0 Assignment from scratch

Read more…

Alt-facts: Not acceptable in your paper

The rise of terms like “alternative facts” and “fake news” in the media is a really great reminder to vet your sources for their legitimacy when you’re doing research. It’s easy to find sources and information that agree with your thesis or hypothesis, but is it ethical to ignore all the other information out there? You can learn a whole lot about this by spending time with our Library Staff (tweet them @KCLibrary_PA), but if you feel like doing some investigation on your own, our friends at Atomic Learning also have some ideas to get you thinking about how you’re thinking:

Moodle 3.1 upgrade

Over the holiday break, our hosting provider is upgraded us to Moodle 3.1, featuring several improvements to the core Moodle interface. No, seriously– improvements, not just changes!

The biggest change students may notice is enhanced feedback for assignments because of a browser-based mark-up system that’s finally easy to use in this version. At the bottom of a graded submission, students will see a button that says View annotated PDF…

From there, a popup will show all your professor’s comments in detail.

With more comprehensive feedback, you can better understand your grades!