Digital whiteboards for collaboration

When learning together, a digital space to capture and/or organise ideas can be useful. Whether in-person or remote, synchronous or asynchronous, activities using digital whiteboards can help students to build on each other’s learning. This post will look at a few types of activities and some tools that could be used for them. 

Whiteboard activities

Before we consider some of the digital tools available it is worth thinking about what your collaborative activity is intended to achieve and the context in which it is happening. Here are some examples of ways that digital whiteboards might be used in a learning environment:

  • Collect responses to discussion questions either individually, or from small groups.
  • Collect ideas and responses prior to organising them (brainstorm / thought shower).
  • Build conceptual maps.
  • Annotate images (diagrams, charts etc.).

Most of these could occur in either in-person classes or remote sessions and may be synchronous or asynchronous. 

Tools 

Depending on your activity there are a few tools that will suit you. This grid will help you choose which tool(s) to try. We have indicated whether there is an institutional licence, which tools are useful for remote, in-person, synchronous and asynchronous activities and provided a link to information about accessibility.

University licenceRemote and in-person?Synchronous and asynchronous?Accessibility
Zoom whiteboardYes as part of ZoomNo, available during Zoom meeting only.No, available during Zoom meeting only.Zoom accessibility 
PadletYes, for staffYesYesAccessibility and Padlet 
Microsoft WhiteboardYes as part of Office 365YesYesMicrosoft accessibility
MiroNo but free optionsYesYesMiro accessibility 
MuralNo but free optionsYesYesMural accessibility statement 
Comparing whiteboards

Zoom whiteboard is the simple choice if you are in a Zoom meeting. It has some useful functionality and avoids the need for participants to open any other tools. You can read more about using whiteboards in Sharing a whiteboard from the Zoom support pages.

If you want something that can be used in a live session but also before and/or after the class then Padlet or Microsoft Whiteboard would be good choices depending on the activity. We have written several blog posts about Padlet which should give you an idea of the possibilities:

Microsoft Whiteboard is probably less familiar, but as part of the Office 365 suite of apps it is available to all staff and students at Sussex.

Screenshot of a Microsoft Whiteboard
Microsoft Whiteboard

Miro and Mural are similar to each other and have more options than any of the whiteboards we have looked at so far. Neither is licensed by the university, but there is a lot that can be done with the free versions and Miro also has an educational licence. Both offer a range of templates so you don’t have to start from a blank board and finished boards can be embedded in Canvas. Members of TEL have tried these and like some of the features such as Miro’s ‘Follow’, ‘Bring to me’ and ‘Bring everyone to me’ as well as the timers, chat and presentation options.

If you think you might like to try one of them, this detailed comparison of the two apps might help you decide which one will suit your purposes. 

Considerations and further guidance

As always, it is important to consider accessibility when using digital tools. If using one of these in teaching you should check whether there are any accessibility issues and make alternative arrangements when necessary. There is more guidance on accessibility in our Digital Accessibility Toolkit.

If you are planning to use digital tools in an on-campus session it will be important to advise students to bring their mobile devices and to check that the tool you want to use will work well with most devices. If necessary pairs or small groups could collaborate via a single device (Covid restrictions allowing).
University of Sussex teaching staff can contact a learning technologist via tel@sussex.ac.uk to discuss whiteboard options.

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Posted in Apps and tools

Authentic assessments: using Wikipedia in the University classroom

Ever since I met Dr Nimi Hoffmann in the corridors or Essex House and talked to her about her use of Wikipedia in her teaching I have been inspired by the idea. Nimi, Dr Cecile Chavalier, Matthew Taylor, Dr Richard Nevell of Wikimedia UK and I have been meeting regularly to make Wikipedia type assessments a reality here at Sussex. Nimi had begun to use Wikipedia in her masters-level teaching at Rhodes University in South Africa, and last semester aimed to strengthen and deepen this teaching at the undergraduate level in the International Education and Development module which she convenes. 

Part of my excitement about the project is its scope in creating authentic assessments. These are forms of assessment which require students to apply knowledge and skills learnt in their studies to contexts outside of the education domain. Student assessment tasks, such as essays and examinations, and the skills they require, are unlikely to be needed again outside of education and the students’ demonstration of their learning is contained to a restricted academic audience. At the University of Sussex many academic Schools and Departments are looking at how they can add more authentic assessments to their modules.

Wikipedia assessments can be thought of as authentic assessments. They require students to share fully referenced knowledge to a global audience. They can get students to think very differently about their assessment challenge and although they can be daunting, through the right support they are often inspiring and promote deeper thinking and criticality. Furthermore, contributing to Wikipedia increases their citizenship and agency and these match the aspirations we have for our graduates as outlined in our 2025 strategic framework.

Consequently I organised a time to discuss with Nimi what she did to change her teaching and assessments and why she felt it was important. The following is an extract of my talk with Nimi:

What is your role and how did you change your module?

I study knowledge commons, and over this last semester, I have been piloting the use of Wikipedia – which is a kind of commons – in teaching and learning at Sussex.

I have been particularly interested in facilitating collaborative enquiry among students. This emphasis has grown out of my scholarship, which examines knowledge as a commons – epistemic resources that are generated and governed by a community. But commoning – the act of creating and maintaining commons – involves the cultivation of specific epistemic virtues that are orientated towards communal work – such as humility, playfulness and courage. I was curious to know: 

  • How might these virtues be cultivated within the university setting? 
  • And what kind of intellectual work can students produce in commons?

As a way of exploring this interest, I piloted an undergraduate module in International Education in which I set students the task of writing a Wikipedia article on an education topic from the global South that is absent or under-covered in Wikipedia. Examples of this include Quilombo schools set up by runaway slaves in Brazil, the anticolonial independent school movement in Kenya, and the educational writings of Rabindranath Tagore.

What were the learning and teaching issues that prompted this innovation?

Many topics are missing from Wikipedia as a result of the raced, gendered and geopolitical inequalities of the internet. It is for this reason that writing Wikipedia articles on these topics is a valuable form of service learning, in which students have the opportunity to approach their learning in terms of its social ends, alongside its personal benefits. 

Wiki-teaching is now a well-developed and well-documented method of teaching. There are rich examples of wiki-teaching in universities and schools from nearly one-hundred countries, ranging from Ghana to Scotland. Wiki-teaching allows students to get involved in creating content on Wikipedia, so that a successful course project has potentially millions of readers, and the feedback they receive from their peers and their lecturers is directed towards strengthening the project, rather than simply evaluating their abilities. As Wikimedia puts it, wiki-teaching is ‘The end of throwaway assignments and the beginning of real-world impact for student editors’.

How did you ensure that the innovation was accessible to all?

In preparation for using Wikipedia in 2021, a group of us who were interested in Wikipedia-teaching at Sussex started meeting regularly in 2020. Various people have participated in this group, including those from the Arts and Humanities, Global Studies, Law, and Technology Enhanced Learning, as well as my own school – Education and Social Work. We have put together resources, discussed ideas for how to integrate Wikipedia in our teaching, and drawn on the resources from Wikimedia UK and the University of Edinburgh, which has pioneered the use of wiki-teaching in the UK. I have been very fortunate and been able to go back to the Sussex group as well as our Wikimedia focal point for further advice and support throughout the process. 

The module has focused on scaffolding the task of writing a Wikipedia article as carefully as possible so as to ensure all students are able to produce a piece of work that they feel comfortable to publish if they choose to do so. The article was broken up into smaller tasks – choosing a topic, choosing key references, developing an annotated bibliography, and then writing a draft. I then randomly allocated their anonymised drafts to two other peers, who provided anonymous detailed written feedback and comments using the marking rubric. Following this, we had a peer assessment workshop composed of three parts:

  1. a group discussion on what they learnt from assessing others
  2. their own plan on how they intend to improve their draft on the basis of the feedback they received
  3. my own general feedback on their drafts. 

After the workshop, students then revised and submitted their final drafts for a final assessment. Although this final assessment contributes to their year mark, I have worked to provide detailed comments so that they can also use this assessment to improve their article before publishing it.

Writing for Wikipedia also involves some technical skills. At the start of the module, I was very fortunate to have Dr Richard Nevell, a staff-member of Wikimedia UK, run an excellent workshop for my students regarding the structure of the Wikipedia environment, the nature of its governance model, and fundamental principles of Wiki writing, such as how to identify quality references, what constitutes neutral language, and the dynamics of collaborative editing. Now that the module has ended, students each have a well-researched draft Wikipedia article, which they can then choose to publish. To help them in this, Wikimedia UK are going to run a second workshop with them on how to publish the article.

What impact did this have on the student experience?

Wiki-teaching is an excellent way of helping students to understand the collaborative nature of knowledge production. This is increasingly important in the 21st century, which relies far less on individual ‘genius’ and much more on collective deliberation, communal play and peer-based error correction. This is a vital characteristic of good citizenship, I think. It’s central, for example, to understanding that science is a collective noun and a verb rather than a single noun – this has been the difference between recognising the proper role of trial and error in the scientific community during Covid versus demanding immediate certitude from individual authorities and denouncing communal disagreement and trial and error as evidence of conspiracy.

Wiki-teaching also helps students to engage in debates about appropriate referencing and audience-specific registers. For example, academic essays have one kind of register, Wikipedia articles have another, and policy briefs yet another. Being able to move between these registers is a useful skill which I think will stand them in good stead, no matter what professional path they end up carving for themselves. 

How will the outcomes influence your future practice?

I am now moving towards introducing multilingualism in the classroom environment. Wikipedia is excellent for this, I think, because students can write assignments in whatever language is available on Wikipedia, and then translate this using machine translation (for example through Google translate). Besides being a lot of fun, this is also a great way of getting students in international education to understand that linguistic pluralism is an epistemic resource, rather than a problem to be solved.

I also want to think about group projects to generate featured articles for Wikipedia – these are articles that are considered to be of an excellent standard by the community and have undergone extensive review and vetting within the community. 

Finally, I am also documenting the process and sharing this with the wiki teaching group at Sussex, so that we can consider how to roll this out more broadly. There are a lot of exciting possibilities to contribute in different ways, for example, by visualising datasets from a data science perspective, creating beautiful digital illustrations from an arts perspective, or participating in human and machine translation within the Wikipedia environment. The Library at Sussex has also been coordinating a fantastic series of Women in Red editathons aimed at addressing the small number of biographies on women and queer people in Wikipedia, and it would be brilliant to bring all our resources together into a communal effort.

How can wikipedia support our teaching

It was fascinating and exciting to talk to Nimi about her successes and challenges teaching with Wikipedia last term. In the Technology Enhanced Learning team, with Nimi’s case study, Richard Nevell’s experience and the support of other academics, we are developing a deeper understanding of how Wikipedia can be used in teaching, learning and assessment. Nimi and Richard will be giving a workshop (with support from us) about her experience later in the year. We do hope you can join us and let us know if you would like to try to use Wikipedia as an authentic assessment tool in your own teaching and we will be delighted to support you in any way we can. For further help with innovative assessment design, please contact TEL at TEL@sussex.ac.uk 

Posted in Active learning

Using the Canvas Accessibility Checker

There are lots of steps that can be taken to make sure that your module content is digitally accessible to your students. From headings and font colours to tables and alternative text, it can feel like there is a lot to keep track of. This is where the Canvas Accessibility Checker can come to your aid. This tool will scan through your pages as you edit them, checking for any content that is not digitally accessible and highlight these to you as you go.

When editing your Canvas pages you will see a small icon at the bottom right of the editor. You may also see a small notification flag within this, flagging up x number of accessibility issues within your page:

A screenshot of the Canvas Rich Content Editor with the Accessibility Checker icon highlighted.

Once you click this icon you will be presented with a list of the issues within your page and the accessibility check will walk you through how to fix these. For example if you have added an image to your page but have not included any alternative (alt) text to describe it Canvas will prompt you to enter your descriptive text or allow you to mark the image as a ‘decorative image’ (one that is purely used for decoration and does not add any further information to the page). You then click ‘Apply’ to confirm this change, then ‘Next’ to move on to the next issue and that accessibility flag is then removed from your page:

Screenshot of the Canvas Rich Content Editor showing how to add alt text to an image using the Accessibility Checker.

If you would like further information about why you need to make a specific change or what Canvas is asking you to do click the question mark icon next to the issue that has been raised and Canvas will provide you with an explanation and a link to further information.

Where the Accessibility Checker is perhaps most useful is when creating tables. When a table is first created (for guidance on how to create a table in Canvas see: How do I insert a table using the Rich Content Editor as an instructor?), by default it is not accessible as no headers or captions have been added. These steps can be completed very quickly by using the checker to walk you through this process. You’ll first be asked to provide a caption for your table to give some context to help students understand the content. You can then define the headers for your table to provide further structure.

Not only does this make it easy for you to make your table accessible, it also helps you to think whether a table is the appropriate format to present your content. Tables should be used to present data, not as a means of formatting your page. 

It is important to remember that although this tool is helpful, it is not foolproof. You will still need to use your judgement and knowledge of digital accessibility when making changes to your content. For further information about digital accessibility please visit Technology Enhanced Learning’s digital accessibility pages to find out more about accessibility needs, useful tools, best practice for creating learning materials as well as how to check your content. You can also contact tel@sussex.ac.uk if you would like to discuss any of this with your Learning Technologist.

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Posted in Accessibility, Canvas

How to encourage student engagement using Canvas discussion forums

Online discussion forums can be a useful tool for asynchronous communication amongst teachers and students. The functionality allows for both focused (singular posts for short-lived interactions) and threaded discussions (multiple posts/comments for in-depth conversation). Discussions are integrated within Canvas, and they can be used as an assignment as they are linked to Gradebook, and/or assigned to existing student groups.

When managed effectively, discussions can enable student interaction and improve the quality of online learning and the sense of learner community. However, discussion forums are also notorious for becoming stagnant, with low engagement and students lacking the incentive to contribute amongst the top obstacles found in a recent study (de Lima et al., 2019).

So why should we invest often limited time and resources into managing student forums?

  • The dedicated discussion area can facilitate reflection on module content and activities, whereby students have time to think and formulate responses.
  • Some students prefer contributing their ideas and questions via a discussion board rather than during in person teaching. For those students the space can feel safer and more informal, particularly if they have anxiety or are not speaking in their first language.
  • It promotes a collaborative way of sharing perspectives and connecting students, allowing flexible engagement e.g. students can contribute in their own time and are able to use various multimedia.
  • The conversations are accessible throughout the module and can be an ideal place to develop ideas and the depth of discussion over time.
  • Forums can have designated uses. E.g., Q&A forums help answer frequently asked student questions in a more public setting which, in turn, leads to less repeated email queries.

Understanding the benefits is perhaps straightforward, yet how can we alleviate discussion burn-out and promote student engagement whilst actively managing teacher workload? Below are five key principles to designing and overseeing a successful online forum:

  1. Determine your Objective: What is the purpose of the discussion and therefore what do you want to elicit from student answers? How questions are phrased will directly frame student answers to form introductions, reflections, a critical review, or a debate. The clarity of the task is important to facilitate engagement. Create discussion questions ahead of time and ensure they are open-ended and linked to other weekly activities. See examples of tasks in ‘The Guide to Fostering Asynchronous Online Discussion in HE’.
  2. Set Expectations: Set clear expectations. Tell students when, where, and how often to contribute to the discussion and when you will be monitoring the activity. You can enable ‘available from’ and ‘until’ dates on individual forums and add the discussion activity to a specific date on a student’s Canvas to-do list. Consider your cohort size and whether an open forum or private discussion groups are better suited for your task objective. See the University of York’s ‘Five Questions’ framework for setting discussion expectations.
screenshot showing options within discussion forums
Different options within discussion forums
  1. Moderate to Promote Engagement: With expectations set, you can moderate the discussion forum by providing affirmations, encouragement, or feedback as and when are needed. If student posts start to lag, rephrase the question or introduce a new element to the discussion as a prompt. Remind students of any due dates for discussion-based activities and reference the forum in other activities such as seminars.
  2. Model Good Practice: Prompt early discussion by leading by example. Keep your posts short and showcase what type of engagement is expected. Consider walking students through the process of posting during teaching time. Summarise individual and group sentiment and draw each discussion point to a close before starting a new activity.
  3. Encourage Multimedia Use: Promoting the use of multimedia allows discussion threads to become technologically diverse and more engaging. Students currently can upload images, audio, videos, and documents using the rich content editor and use common apps to embed content such as Ted Talks, Tweets, and YouTube videos. You can also enable the ‘likes’ feature which replicates familiar social media functionality.

Summary and resources

It is important to note that even if not all students contribute to a discussion, many will still benefit from viewing other students’ contributions and the overall discussion. Discussion forums on Canvas are just one of many ways to engage a student cohort within an online learning environment. For further support with digital teaching activities, please contact TEL at tel@sussex.ac.uk 

Resources:

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Posted in Canvas

Accessibility tools on your device

At the end of 2021 I worked with a colleague who had recently developed a repetitive strain injury. This meant they were unable to navigate Canvas in their usual way and presented a real challenge for them when it came to accessing teaching resources and using marking tools. It got me thinking about the tools available to support students and staff with disabilities.

We have written in the past about how to design for accessibility and TEL produced a digital accessibility toolkit with simple principles to follow when creating teaching resources. However, following the guidance will not necessarily mean that a resource will be accessible to all. Students and staff will often use assistive technologies (AT) to further facilitate their access. 

The big players in tech have made huge strides in recent years to build AT into the digital devices we all use every day in teaching and learning. PCs and Macs, iPhones and Android devices, all share similar features which enable users with visual, auditory and physical access needs, and cognitive differences. In this post I’ll highlight three of these. It should be said that there are other free and paid applications which mirror or improve on the functionality of these technologies but here I will focus specifically on those which are bundled with your device.

1. Voice Control

In the case I mentioned above my colleague wanted to use voice commands to avoid the need for using the keyboard and mouse. Voice control functionality is built into most devices and allows you to navigate, interact with and type on your device and the web using only your voice. To use this, you must first enable the functionality, then there is a set of specific voice commands which your device will listen for. These links will give you more information on voice recognition on the device(s) you use:

2. Screen Readers

Screen readers help non-sighted users to navigate and access content on their devices. They read out what is displayed on screen and verbally orientate you and describe actions you can take. These links will give you more information on screen readers on the device(s) you use:

Using a screen reader keenly illustrates the importance of the accessible design principles. Correctly structuring pages and resources makes them far easier to navigate and interpret using a screen reader. The addition of alternative text for visual elements makes resources accessible that would otherwise not be.

3. Colour filters

For people with dyslexia, contrast between text and the background can be a real issue. To meet required standards the digital resources we create must use a minimum level of contrast. This is particularly important as it allows students and staff to apply these colour filters to enhance rather than reduce readability. These links will give you more information on colour filters on the device(s) you use:

Getting support

I’ll leave you with a few links which can help you to find and use other assistive technologies:

  • A list of assistive technologies. The Sussex Regional Access Centre, based at the University of Sussex provide a handy list of assistive technologies.
  • My Computer My Way. The charity Ability.Net provides this excellent resource which helps you to identify and use many of the accessibility features available on your devices.
  • Staff disability and equality pages. For staff, the University provides a range of resources for disability and equality on the website.
  • Student disability support guidance on StudentHub. Students who register a disability receive an assessment by the Student Support Unit and receive further guidance and support from them.  There is guidance on how students can access disability support on the StudentHub. 
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Posted in Accessibility

Panopto capture – New Year, New tool!

Panopto has now been used at the University of Sussex for a few years and hopefully you’re familiar with the basic Panopto application which you download and run in order to record. 

Panopto Capture (referred to as Capture from this point on) is a new web-based version of the Panopto application. This means you can easily record audio, video, and entire screens or application windows from within your browser, no downloading or running of applications required. Once a recording has been created using Capture it can be edited, modified and managed in the same way as a recording created using the Panopto application.

Differences 

Capture has slightly reduced functionality compared to the Panopto application. One of the biggest differences is that on Capture you cannot directly load up Powerpoint slides to be captured as their own stream, rather you have to select the PowerPoint application screen or window to ensure they are recorded on Capture. You also cannot pause a recording using Capture, instead being limited to starting and stopping a recording (although you can edit out parts of a recording later using the Panopto edit functionality). For a full list and comparison of the features of Capture compared to the Panopto application please see Panopto Learn about Panopto Recorders 

There are some requirements that you will need to meet in order to use Capture. It requires the latest version of Chrome, Firefox, or Edge browsers on Windows 10, MacOS 10.15 or higher, or the latest ChromeOS. There is currently no support for the Safari Browser.

When should you use Panopto Capture?

There are a number of reasons why you may wish to consider using Capture over the standard Panopto application. One reason is the ease of use, it takes far less clicks to get Capture running and recording and it has less features then the Panopto application to worry about, so if you just want to quickly record then it can be a faster and easier option. It may also be useful if you find yourself needing to record on a device on which you can’t install the full Panopto application, as Capture only runs within a browser window this makes it more accessible on a greater number of devices. You probably wouldn’t want to use Capture if you were recording a lecture with slides as it lacks the ability to create a separate stream for PowerPoint slides.

If you are asking your students to record using Panopto then the ease of use of Capture may mean it works better as a solution. It will likely take a shorter time to teach students how to record using Capture then it will using the full Panopto application and it means students do not need to download and install an application. 

How do you use Panopto Capture? 

To start up Capture you’ll want to go to a Panopto Folder within your Canvas site in the usual manner, then when you click the Create button to bring up the dropdown menu, rather then selecting Panopto for Windows/Mac select the Panopto Capture option  to launch Panopto Capture within a new browser tab or window.

screenshot of the Create options in Panopto
Screenshot of the Create options in Panopto

From there follow Panopto’s own guidance How to create a video using Panopto Capture. 

Also please be aware there is currently an issue that can prevent Mac (Catalina) users from successfully capturing Powerpoint when using Panopto Capture, this can be fixed by following the instructions in Why isn’t my screen being recorded on Mac when using Capture? 

Resources and further help

Here are some useful resources. For further help with Panopto Capture please contact TEL at TEL@sussex.ac.uk 

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Posted in Panopto

Season’s Greetings from TEL

Image with text 'Seasonal Greetings From Technology Enhanced Learning' on a red background.
Seasonal Greetings from Technology Enhanced Learning

A Year in TEL – 2021

Online Distance Learning
The university Online Distance Learning (ODL) provision has continued to grow this year, now with over 1000 enrolled students across 5 Masters programmes. Over 100 students have graduated on an ODL course. The team have just celebrated their 20th cohort on their longest-running course.

Workshops and Seminars
Technology Enhanced Learning has run 88 events across 2021. We have found our colleagues have had the most interest in the themes below:

Active Learning Network
Members of the Sussex TEL team co-founded the Active Learning Network. In April 2021 the network held a Global Festival of Active Learning with 316 signups from across world. The network also launched their project to co-author a book, with the hopes of it being published in 2022. The network received the Finalists with Distinction award in the 2021 Global Academic Development Good Practice Awards.

DARE To Transform
DARE to Transform’s Community of Practice has been running since March 2021. In that time, the Community has met six times, presented on thirteen scholarship projects, has attracted almost a hundred members of staff in total.

Screenshot of a Teams meeting showing members of the TEL team wearing pyjamas with their thumbs up.
The TEL team wearing pyjamas to work for Children in Need in November 2021

Looking forward to 2022

Our Technology Enhanced Learning workshops will be running for the rest of the semester 1 assessment period, followed by a new programme of workshops for Semester 2, which are available to book now:

Assessment workshops

Semester 2 workshops

More training resources and previous workshops are available on the TOLA (Teaching Online Anywhere) site


Technology Enhanced Learning Team wishes everyone a well-deserved happy break and see you in 2022!

Posted in Uncategorized

What’s new in the A-Z of Apps?

You may already have seen our A-Z of apps webpage. It is full of apps, platforms and other digital tools that you might find useful for teaching, learning or general productivity. We try to keep the list updated as platforms arrive, develop, change their pricing model or disappear and we recently updated the list. Here are a few of the new additions for collaboration and media creation.

If you are thinking of using any of these, or any other apps you have found please also have a look at our recent post ‘Can I use this app?’ which looks at things to consider when choosing a digital tool.Or if you have a concept to convey and/or an activity in mind and you are looking for ways to implement it, contact tel@sussex.ac.uk to discuss options.

Coggle

Coggle is a collaborative mind-mapping or concept mapping tool. A free account allows you 3 diagrams which can be shared with collaborators by adding their emails.

Screenshot of a Coggle mind map

This could be used to develop a group presentation or to help understand the links between parts of a module. You could create a map to illustrate connections between ideas or ask students to make their own, individually or in groups, to demonstrate their understanding of a concept or how ideas interrelate.

Jamboard 

Jamboard from Google is a digital whiteboard where users can add sticky notes, text, images, shapes or drawings.

Screenshot of a Jamboard

You can have multiple pages in a Jamboard so this could be useful for activities where each person or group has their own board but everyone in the class can see them all. This could be used for capturing discussions in breakout activities just as the whiteboard can be used in a Zoom breakout room. 

Mural

If you are looking for something a bit more sophisticated than Jamboard then Mural might be good for you. 

Screenshot of Mural

This visual collaboration tool has free options for education and users who only need a few murals. There is also an extensive range of templates to help you get started.

Capture 

Images can help to convey information as long as you add alt-text (see our resources on Digital Accessibility). If you do want to grab an image of part of what’s on your screen with an arrow, a box, highlighting or some text added then Capture by Techsmith will do the job. I use this a lot when explaining to someone in an email which button to click – but it could be used in teaching to highlight or add comments to online materials.

Screenshot of Capture

There is also a video option using Screencast which is useful for showing the steps of an online process, though you can also use Panopto to make short screencasts..

Otter.ai

This is a transcription tool which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to turn the spoken word into text. Otter.ai can transcribe recordings in real time, or create transcripts for uploaded video or audio files. 

Screenshot of an Otter.ai Note

Zoom has a live transcript feature and Panopto has speech recognition captions, but this app might be useful for podcasts or meetings. The resulting ‘Smart notes’ are synchronised to the audio, tag speakers and can be searched. Find out more about Otter in our blog post ‘Otter.ai: transcribing recordings with artificial intelligence’.

Discuss apps with TEL

If you are thinking of using one of these apps, or any of the alternatives in the A-Z of Apps, in your teaching at Sussex and would like to discuss suitability and options the learning technologists in the Technology Enhanced Learning team will be happy to help. Drop us an email at tel@sussex.ac.uk.

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Posted in Apps and tools

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