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TWT FIG- November 15, 2017

The topic of the TWT FIG Meeting was Using Google Features.
We discussed the benefits of using Google Drive and reviewed the following features:

  1. Docs
  2. Sheets
  3. Slides
  4. Sites
  5. Forms
  6. Hangouts

The attached summary sheet was distributed.    TWT Google

TWT FIG Meeting October 18, 2017

Our discussion was based on the reading of the article, “A comparison of reading comprehension across paper, computer screens, and tablets: Does tablet familiarity matter?” published in the Journal of Computers in Education.  In this research study, reading comprehension was compared based on 900 students that read text using a computer, tablet or paper.  Based on the completion of “shallow” multiple choice questions, students who conducted paper reading performed better than those using a computer or tablet. It was also found the familiarity with tablet usage affected performance; therefore it is important to ensure students are trained in the use of technological tools that are used in learning.

Many TWT FIG members reported they preferred reading from paper and they noticed their students often print digital material.  In addition, some instructors recommend their students come to class with printed versions of articles and/or PowerPoints so that they can be engaged during a class by writing notes. However, tablets and other mobile devices are convenient so that students do not have to carry books to class but have access to factual information.

TWT Meeting – Cell phones

We discussed the reading, Helping Students Make the Right Call on Cell Phones.  The article presents different points about cell phones in the classroom, from allowing students to use them, to asking students to volunteer to turn in their cell phone at the start of class, to a complete cell phone ban.  As a group, TWT FIG members had a range of opinions about cell phone use.  Some of our students as well as faculty need to be in communication with children and family so there is a legitimate reason for a cell phone to be in view during class.  Most FIG members felt as long as the as the class was not  disrupted, an important call could be received and responded to by leaving  the classroom.

Another idea was students use their cell phone during class as part of an activity, such as responding to clicker questions ( via poll everywhere) and check facts.  Issues mentioned related to this were weak wifi connections in some classrooms as well as students not wanting to use their data plans.  However, FIG members mentioned many of their students read e-books  or look at the course’s  PowerPoint presentations on their phones. So, there might be some good cell phone use taking place in our classrooms.

TWT FIG Meeting of May 10, 2017 on Webinars

We can all use more time with our students outside of the classroom.  A webinar might be a way to connect with students and provide them with more personalized guidance on a particular topic

Free Platforms: Google hangout, GoToMeeting, Zoom,

OtherPlatforms: Zoom, WebEx, Adobe Connect, Blackboard Collaborate

To develop a webinar:

  • Decide on the specific topic you want to present
  • For a live webinar, make it interactive using poll questions, chat, raise hand, breakout rooms
  • Practice: hard to talk to an audience you do not see; position pods
  • Know how many people you will have
  • Webinars can be with recorded and used


What do you want? What do you need?

Think about something you want to do in your class but you haven’t been able to do it because you don’t think you have the technical support. Share your idea with us and let’s see if we can come up with solutions.


TWT FIG Meeting of April 27, 2017 on Using Videos

Today we talked about different ways you can use videos in your class.  Videos can be used as a way to help students prepare for class and engage learners is a way that might be more interesting than reading text.

Why use videos?

  1. Tool to reinforce concepts
    1. Single concept per video; no longer than 7 minutes
    2. Providing videos before class gives the opportunity to consider more challenging topics in class
  2. Provides access to course content
  3. Foster discussion
  4. Evidence that students can do something: have them record one another
  5. Other experts enter your classroom


  1. Screencast-o-matic, orQuicktime Player. Create your own short video
  2. Screencastify: create a screen capture video and store it in google docs
  3. Presentme: Create short videos or Have students make videos explaining a concept or working through a moment of difficulty
  4. Tellagami: Create animated videos

Tellagami app


  1. Include assessment in your videos

Edpuzzle:  edit a video and insert questions

TWT FIG Meeting of April 6, 2017- Open Educational Resources

Today we talked about Open Educational Resources (OERs).  Mark Eaton, KCC’s Librarian is actively involved in CUNY’s OER work.  If you are interested in developing an OER for your course, please contact Mark Eaton or Loretta Brancaccio-Taras of  Kingsborough’s Center for e-Learning.

Universal Design- TWT meeting on December 7, 2016

At today’s meeting Stella Woodruffe, Director of Access-Ability Services (D205), led our discussion on universal design.  The basic premise of universal design is to engage all learners by presenting materials in multiple formats.  For example, your syllabus can be distributed as a paper copy and an e-format (pdf) version can be posted on Blackboard.

Stella has provided the following video to help get started with universal design.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HHvRzemuHA

Some additional tips:

  • during class, if you write something on the board, you should also face the class and state it.
  • screen readers cannot read images.  It is helpful to provide text of what the image is.
  • check your files for accessibility (file —> info—>check accessibility).  You will get:  warning, error (and how to fix it) and tips
  • fonts:  try to use fonts that are letters of straight lines, such as sans serif
  • the videos you use should be captioned.  CUNY Assistive Academic Technology Services (CATS) will caption videos for you.
  • JAWS (Job Access With Speech) software is a computer  screen reader program  that can read screens for visually  impaired students

October 19, 2016- Communicating with Your Students Online

Today’s discussion focused on strategies for good communication with your students outside of class, These strategies can be effective for those teaching face-to-face, online or hybrid classes.


  1. Have the entire semester planned and as much information posted on Blackboard as you can.
  2. Even though you might have distributed your syllabus and posted in on Blackboard, it is helpful to give students an overview of what will be taking place in the course for any given week.  For example, post an announcement stating the reading for the week, and reminders of any assignments that are due or upcoming exams/quizzes.
  3. Discussion Board is another way to get students “talking” and engaged with the course content
    • limit responses to two-three sentences so you can read the entire discussion
    • discussions that ask students definitions don’t really lead to many responses.  Design a discussion that requires students to apply topics to their lives.
    • request that students post their own response and then respond to one or two other students.
    • if the discussion is graded, make the grading rubric available to students so they know what a good response entails.
    • if you want your discussion to be student centered, let students know you will not be responded until a particular point.  For example, you will only join the discussion if there is a misconception that needs to be clarified.  However, students should be aware that you are reading the posts.

September 21, 2016- Discussion on Open Educational Resources (OERs)

Today, Mark Eaton from the Library talked about OERs.  The library has an OER content page and they are will to working with faculty on development of an OER.  Contact Mark Eaton to get you started.

OERs provide benefit our students because they increase their access to educational materials since they are low cost and sometimes free.  Faculty are able to customize their materials by mixing and matching resources, reconfiguring texts, and sharing the materials with the broader educational community.  To share your OER, the material needs to be licensed.  The staff of KCeL as well as the library can assist you with the licensing.

OERs can be as simple as providing students with a pdf of their readings on Blackboard.  However, this is not truly “open” since only the students in your class would have access.

Some resources to support the development of OERs:

  1. CrashCourse:  https://www.youtube.com/user/crashcourse      A YouTube channel of educational videos you could incorporate into your class.
  2. MindTap: a product of Cengage that provides you with a source of content that you can use as part of your OER.  Text from MindTap can be read using mobile apps.
  3. Candela: another source of content that can be used and adapted for your course.
  4. Creative Commons:  a site to share/publish your OER.

A KCC OER Advisory Board is forming.  If you are interested in joining, please contact Mark Eaton.  Also, if you are interested in developing your own OER, Mark can get you started.


May 4, 2016 Discussion on Powerpoint

Today’s discussion focused on powerpoint.

We did an activity where we pointed out the things that were wrong in a Powerpoint Loretta showed the group.  Then, participants showed us the Powerpoint presentation they use with their classes from various disciplines, such as Business, Biology and  English.