Author Archives: Kara McElwrath

How Can We Help You?

The start of the semester is here!  We couldn’t think of a better way to welcome you back than to showcase some of the resources and services we have available to support your teaching. We are looking forward to working with you and your students this semester!

CaptureSpace: Screencapturing Has Never Been Easier

ITS is excited to offer a new resource to the campus for recording lectures and screencaptures. CaptureSpace Lite includes many additional features beyond what TechSmith Relay has available, including the ability to:

  • Record sections of your screen (not the entire screen)
  • Trim videos at any point in the recording
  • Trim videos after the recording has been published
  • Add captions
  • Upload attachments
  • Add chapters (making it easier for the viewer to skip to specific topics)
  • Add a title slide at the beginning and credits at the end

For additional information about how to use Capture Space Lite, please visit the Capture Space Lite webpage.

Classroom Technology Concerns? We Want to Know!

While we strive to ensure classroom technology is working smoothly, when there are issues, ITS wants to make it easy for faculty to report concerns. You will now see a Report Issues shortcut on the desktop of the instructor station in each classroom/lab. Simply double-click that icon to report any issues or concerns you may have. We will follow up with you to address them.

Based on the feedback from faculty last year, this summer we installed new projectors in over half of our classrooms throughout campus – your input makes a difference!

Taking Attendance for On Campus Courses

For faculty interested in taking attendance in on-campus courses, ITS has developed a web-based application. Check out the video for more information, including how to request this new service for your course!

Skype for Businesss: Conferencing and Online Courses/Meetings

Skype for Business is UIS’ campus solution for online collaborations, allowing users to communicate in live-time via instant message, audio and/or video chat, and desktop sharing. Skype for Business is a great tool for communicating with online students – to host class sessions, to offer office hours, for students to collaborate on group projects, and more. Please check out our Skype for Business webpage for information on how to download and start using Skype for Business.

Instructional Software: When and Where you Need It

In an effort to improve the ease of access of instructional software, users may take advantage of Citrix Virtual Desktop. This process allows users (whether on or off campus) to access a virtual computer that runs software for which UIS has licensing. Citrix Virtual Desktop runs on all platforms, including mobile devices.

Additional Software Offerings

ITS is committed to ensuring that faculty have access to the software they need. Earlier this year, we acquired site licensing for the Adobe Creative Cloud suite of applications as well as SPSS. Faculty may download any of these applications from the WebStore.

Faculty can also take advantage of Office 365 to download Office applications on their personally-owned devices, free for use. Office 365 also includes use of the Office mobile apps, allowing you to create and edit Office documents on your mobile devices.

3D Printing and Scanning

We are excited to offer 3D printing and scanning at UIS. ITS has a 3D printer and a 3D scanner available for course projects. There are many applications that can be used to design the model to be printed. We have installed the entire Autodesk suite of software in the UHB 2000 lab and the Media Lab. This software is also available free of charge to faculty, staff, and students. Please visit our 3D printing and scanning webpage for more information.

Changing Your Password Just Got Easier!

Changing your password just got easier! ITS has implemented the ability for you to set up password recovery options. Setting up your password recovery options will allow you to recover your password on your own, whenever you want, from wherever you want, using three different recovery methods (email, text, and voice).

Although not required, we encourage you to start the process as soon as possible. It will make it easier to change your password as you near your password expiration date. You can access the new system from The process is very easy and should only take you a minute to walk through the set up process.

If you would like assistance in setting up your options, please visit ITS Client Services in the lower level of Brookens Library. We will also be having drop in help sessions in BRK 141B every day this week from 11am-1pm if you would like to walk through this process with an ITS staff member.

This implementation is part of the first phase of the Identity and Access Management (IAM) project and we are excited to be the first University of Illinois campus to roll out this functionality!

The Future of Higher Education

We always like taking a peek into the potential future of higher education and how technology may evolve! We can’t believe how much it has evolved in just over the last few years…tablets being utilized in classrooms, an endless amount of apps for smart devices targeted towards education, online courses becoming more and more common, and more. Checkout this infographic we found that delves even deeper into what the future may hold!

Find more education infographics on e-Learning Infographics

Mid-term Help with the Online Writing Lab (OWL)

It’s mid-term time! Can you believe we are already half-way through the semester? Chances are, students are preparing for midterm exams or completing midterm papers. If a paper is not assigned as a midterm project, chances are a final paper is part of the final exam or final project. We want to share a resource with you to share with students (and use yourself!) when it comes to writing papers. The tool is Excelsior College’s Online Writing Lab, commonly known as OWL. You may have heard of it already, but it recently won a WOW award and underwent a website makeover, making it even more functional and easy to navigate!

OWL is a great place to check out how to incorporate a multitude of sources into a paper and how to cite these sources, grammar tips, and even ways to avoid plagiarism. This website is a great resource to utilize as educators, and to share with students, as they will definitely utilize this resource throughout their academic career, and even beyond!

Security Check Up

We wanted to follow up our Summer Bucket List with one more suggestion to consider these next few months! With more downtime than during the school year, summer also lends itself to be an excellent time to check up on your computer and brush up on your security smarts! We’ve shared excellent tips in the past on being safe online, but here are some ways you can utilize time this summer to make sure everything is working smoothly and safely!

  • Update all software related to protecting your computer (yes, that anti-virus reminder you have been avoiding for much too long!)
  • Be cautious when connecting to Wi-Fi. When using public wi-fi hotspots, make sure you do not enter passwords or access private information. Since these are open access, there is a higher possibility this information is compromised.
  • Revisit your passwords: If you use the same password across different accounts or you cannot remember the last time you changed them, then now is the perfect time to reset your passwords. Make them different across accounts and very unique (using numbers, characters, uppercase and lowercase letters). Make sure you keep them in a safe place where they will not be discovered by others.

If you have questions about good web practices or about internet safety, feel free to contact us!

Summer Bucket List: Part 2

And we are back this week with the second part of our Summer Bucket List!Technology Bucket List

  1. Develop a multimedia-based projectWe’re always blogging about our favorite multimedia tools (most of which are free and available on the web!). Try out a couple out this summer – find out what you might like to use in your classroom, or even better, how you might integrate these tools in a project for students! Students perform better when they are challenged and able to be creative. There are tons of free web-based resources and tools offered through UIS to help get them started—they just need you to provide them with the project! Follow our blog for ideas, and please reach out to us if you are interested in creating a project or using a tool, but don’t know where to start!
  2. Create your own InfographicWe are always sharing awesome infographics because they are such a neat way to actually visualize facts and figures. And, infographics have become so popular, there are different tools out there available to help you create your own! These are great additions to add to presentations, websites, and other class materials. Or, even try challenging your students to create one of their is one of our favorites—it’s free and so simple to use! Simply add data, choose how you wish to visually arrange it, and then quickly share it! Additionally, web-based programs like Visme (formerly EWC Presenter) has a feature built-in that allows users to create infographics within their presentations!
  3. Try out lynda.comThe summer is the perfect opportunity to spend some downtime catching up on new programs and brushing up on computer skills. At UIS, we offer access to — an excellent resource that provides on-demand training 24/7! With, choose from tons of software applications as well as productivity skills, customize your own training program, track your progress, and always pick right back up from where you left off!

Summer Bucket List: Part 1

Summer Bucket ListHappy (almost) Summer Break! This is our favorite time of the year to share our Summer Bucket List with you! We’ve got some great ideas for you to test out this summer and see if there’s any neat tools or concepts you’d like to incorporate in your class next year! This year, our list is two parts, so look out for part 2 next week!

  1. Test out an audience response system: Geddit, Socrative, Infuse Learning and TurningPoint are all great free tools to use! Geddit, Socrative and Infuse Learning are all device-based response systems meaning they can be accessed on any device with an internet connection—smart phones, iPads, laptops, etc. These are a great way to put those mobile devices to use in the classroom, and get students interactive and engaged during class. Another tool we offer here at UIS is TurningPoint, where students use actual clickers during the lecture.
  2. Experiment with the iPad: We have iPads for faculty to check out! And the apps have come quite a long way since they first came out. Literally, there is just about everything you can imagine needing an app for. Check out our website where we share tons of apps for all different purposes.
    Additionally, UIS equipped classrooms with AirServer, a tool that allows instructors to project the screen of their iPad or iPhone during lecture. This is a great way for instructors to move about the classroom, stay engaged with students, and also promotes interactivity within the classroom setting! So pick up an iPad this summer and become familiar with some of the apps that may greatly enhance your classroom this fall!
  3. Try something NEW! The best way to keep your class fresh semester after semester, year after year, is to keep up on what’s new in the classroom and what methods and tools students are really taking a shine to! Follow some tech blogs this summer, read some journals, and connect with other educators who may offer fresh insight and new ideas on what NEW things you can try in your classroom this fall!

Showcasing Student Work

With the end of the semester right around the corner, faculty and students may be thinking about the best ways to showcase their work – either for a particular course or for their entire college career. There are several tools available that allow students to organize, publish, and showcase their best work. Especially for students preparing to enter the workforce, these resources can be a great way to share skills and expertise with potential employers.

Teaching with Mobile Devices in the Classroom

AirServerToday we want to share information about AirServer in UIS classrooms. This feature allows users to project to a screen wirelessly from an iPad or iPhone. This tool is absolutely wonderful as many instructors don’t like being tied to a podium during their lecture or presentation. With AirServer, instructors can walk freely about the classroom and engage with students. Students can also project their iOS devices, as well.

While AirServer only works with iOS devices, we are researching tools that work with Android and Windows mobile devices, and hope to have these services available in the near future!

Instructions for using AirServer in our classrooms are available. If you have any questions or would like to talk more about how AirServer or mobile devices can be used in your classroom, contact  ITS Client Services.

3D Printing Revolutionizing the Classroom

Have you heard about 3D printing? It works by “printing” objects with physical materials—such as plastic, metal, rubber, etc. Could you even imagine finding something online, and then printing it so it is an actual tangible item? Hard to believe it’s a possibility, but it is! The implications of these 3D printers in schools are beyond neat—check out this infographic that really gets creative with how they can be used!


Engaging Students with Geddit

We’ve blogged about student response systems before—we love them! They are great ways to keep students involved and attentive during class, and a great way to gauge how they are following along and understanding class materials. An added bonus—because they don’t require out-loud feedback, it encourages even students who normally remain quiet during class to easily provide their opinions.

In the past, we have shared tools like Socrative and TurningPoint, and today we are sharing another new web-based version we have come across called Geddit. This tool is similar to Socrative in the sense that the educator can send questions to a student’s device, and the student can respond using their own device. The added bonus of Geddit is really the ways to receive the responses and view the results.

Ask questions and see how specific students respond in a cool interface that highlights the individuals who may not necessarily be grasping a concept as well as others.

If you are interested in learning more about Geddit or student response systems in general, we’d love to work with you! Come visit ITS Client Services in the lower level of Brookens Library!

The Future of Higher Education

The way education is evolving with ever-changing technology is really booming these past few years, so when it comes to thinking about how it will be in the future, it can be quite overwhelming! Check out this infographic we found that looks at different approaches and opinions of how technology may effect education in the year 2020.

Is technology going to grow to be an even more integral part of education? What do you think?

Find more education infographics on e-Learning Infographics

Building a Digital Portfolio = Building for a Successful Future

Have you ever considered/tried having students create a “digital portfolio”? It’s an electronic collection of student’s work—from blog posts to papers to images, videos, and projects.  This is a great way for students to store, collect, and track their accomplishments throughout the semester (and their entire academic career!). Check out a few of our favorite free webtools to get students started with creating their own portfolios:

Google Sites:
We are huge fans of Google Sites because it is so easy to navigate and simple to use! Create a website in seconds and instantly begin uploading photos, adding videos and text, and embedding other neat features! Google Sites is great because it integrates with other Google Apps, making it a great tool for UIS students.

educlipperWe like this tool because it’s unique in the way it allows users to select clippings from articles, websites, and other items they have bookmarked online, stored in their cloud space, or items they have saved.

Want to learn more about how portfolios are great for students to begin building upon for the future? Contact us, and we can share more ideas!

Spreading the Word!

DigitalSignDigital signs are available throughout campus – and are a great way to spread the word about campus events and activities, helpful information about campus services, and much more.

Submitting content for the signs is easy! Check out the Digital Signage webpage for details, including a downloadable template compliments of our very talented Campus Relations department.

Getting and Staying Connected

MS Lync LogoWhether your course is on-ground or on campus, we all want to start off the semester feeling connected to each other.  Microsoft Lync is a great way to communicate and collaborate outside the classroom – through online meetings/discussions, complete with screen sharing and audio/video chats. Faculty can host class sessions, office hours, help sessions, and more. Students can work together on projects and assignments. For more information, check out our Microsoft Lync webpage and contact us with any questions!