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Archive for June, 2010

“TurningPoint Anywhere” for UT

Last week, Melinda Osman from Turning Technologies visited Learning Ventures and met with UT faculty and staff about student response cards (“clickers”). During Melinda’s day-long visit, she discussed the new TurningPoint AnyWhere software offered by Turning Technologies. This software allows instructors to use “clickers” on any computer at any time. Where “TurningPoint” is based on Powerpoint, “Turningpoint Anywhere” stands alone and does not require altering your existing presentations or creating new slides from scratch. Also, you can use it with any other presentation software you use (films, slide shows, document cameras, “Keynote,” etc.) since the program takes a “screen shot” during the poll so you will always be able to refer back to it.

It is worth noting that TurningTechnologies offers three kinds of clickers. The least advanced–and cheapest–is the one most of us have used. However, the next step up includes a small LCD screen that let’s the student know that her polling data was received and what channel the receiver is set on. Finally, a more “deluxe” device allows for easy alphabet input. Important: if a student buys a less expensive “clicker” and then finds that a class requires the more expensive model, the student can return the cheaper one to the bookstore and purchase the more advanced model. The advanced model will work in all situations, while the less advanced models cannot be “upconverted.” LV recommends the “intermediate” model unless you have specific needs for the more sophisticated keyboard.

If you missed the meetings but would like to know more about TurningPoint AnyWhere or other exciting uses for clickers, stop by Turning Technologies’ website and browse around. As always, Matt Misener, our Turning Technologies intern, is available to answer any questions you have, to talk about ideas for teaching with response devices, or to show you how you can incorporate “clickers” into all your courses. E-mail him at mmisene@rockets.utoledo.edu or call him directly at 419-530-2149.

Respondus: How to get it…

A professor wrote recently, “What griffin do I have to slay to get my hands on Respondus?” The implication that only one griffin needs to be slain aside, I thought the question might be a common one, having had my own issues in the past. So, grab your swords:

First, “Respondus” is the name of the company that makes a few technologies to help make online and web assisted instruction easier. The technology most frequently used is their quiz editor. They also make the “Lockdown Browser.” Unfortunately, Respondus is PC-only. I wrote to the CEO of Respondus to get them to reconsider this, but he says their “legacy” coding is so old and bound up with the PC architecture that to change would be simply impossible. An easy solution to this problem is the “Virtual Lab” (more on that another time).

To download the program, you can visit Learning Ventures’ “Faculty Resources” page where we have a link to “Software.” Once there, you’ll see instructions on downloading Respondus. The “Download Now” link takes you directly to the “.exe” file, and you’ll need to get a special password to get to it (your UTAD credentials do NOT get you access to this file). To get the password, contact LV via email or phone. Alternatively, the Faculty Resource Center is in the “Courses” window inside Blackboard.

Download “Respondus” from the “Software” link in the faculty resource center or using the link to the .exe file. Be sure to download the license documentation! Before you run Respondus, you will need to provide information found in that documentation before you can use Respondus on your computer. You will need to copy the “Institution,” “Contact Info” and “Password” exactly as it is in the documentation into the verification window in the Respondus setup routine.

Now you’re ready to go. The documentation from Respondus can help you use the software, and Learning Ventures links to a tutorial module.

Griffin slain…

[edited for clarification]