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Graphic design: Say goodbye to Paint, say hello to Canva

1This article is a part of the Writing with Thumbs project- a year-long look at iPad apps and accessories that support writing. Read more about the project here.

Have you ever wondered where that inspiring quote on Instagram,  that catchy Facebook event banner, or the pretty Pinterest post came from? There’s a chance these designs might have been created using Canva, a graphic design app for iPads.

Experimenting with Canva was my first journey into the wide, wide world of graphic design. I wasn’t certain what the two words “graphic design” meant until I opened Canva for the first time. Little did I know that Canva would give me the power to create images and pictures for all of my digital needs – all at the edge of my fingertips! I initially decided to give this app a chance because I’m an avid user of social media, and hoped to spice up my posts by learning the basics of design. Yet, as I learned, Canva can also be useful for academic projects.

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Online alternatives during inclement weather

Alamance buildingWhen inclement weather makes it difficult to get to campus, consider using online alternatives to engage students in the work of your class.

Here are a few simple suggestions:

  • Use Moodle as a central location for students to find course information, lead and facilitate discussions, and post and submit assignments. You can also live chat with your students using Moodle’s text-based chat.
  • Introduce a topic/concept using video. Record a quick introduction using your web cam or record your screen with Screencast-O-Matic, and then use the MediaCore plugin to upload the video to your course.
  • Add audio to PowerPoint slides, and then upload your file to Moodle.
  • Use web conferencing tools like Adobe Connect (requires advanced notice – call 278-5200) or Google Hangouts to hold class synchronously.

Teaching and Learning Technologies (TLT) can support you with implementing any of the above ideas as well as provide additional suggestions for online alternatives.

Please contact TLT at 278-5006 or tlt@elon.edu to learn more. Stay safe everyone

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Get connected to Elon’s maker community

Never use machines when aloneGet connected to the maker community this spring through a series of events led by Elon makers. At these events, you’ll learn about interesting technologies (like 3d printing) and futuristic projects happening at Elon (like a quadcopter delivery system). If you don’t consider yourself a maker (yet), don’t worry. The workshops require no prior experience and are open to all Elon students, faculty and staff. Makers at Elon come from nearly every department and unit on campus, including the arts, computing science, education, English, engineering, entrepreneurship, environmental sciences,  philosophy, physical plant among many others. Everyone is welcome and has something to contribute. Read on for a list of events this semester, including workshops, meetups and more.

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Report technology problems online

footprintsInstructional & Campus Technologies routinely looks for new ways to improve the customer experience as well as increase efficiency in our efforts to resolve technology problems in a timely manner. To help with this, the Technology Service Desk has implemented a customer site to report non-urgent technology problems online, without having to call the Technology Service Desk. Continue reading »

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First e-textbook experience with Yuzu

This article is a part of the Writing with Thumbs project – a year-long look at iPad apps and accessories that support writing. Read more about the project here.  

Yuzu_appTextbooks are crazy expensive. Nothing says “happy spring semester” like dropping several hundred dollars on the three or four hefty tomes you’ll be reading (or not reading, no judgment) over the next few months. If you’re anything like me, you just scroll through the bookstore’s options for each text to find the cheapest choice: “buy new” for $122 or “rent used” for $59? Is that even a question?

Point is, I’m no stranger to combing the internet for the best deals on textbooks, with one exception: e-textbooks. These days reading is cheapest when it doesn’t involve paper, but since I find it more difficult to focus reading on a screen for extended periods of time, I’ve always splurged on print textbooks…until this past Winter Term, when I realized the night before classes started that I had neglected to purchase my textbook. Unfortunately, not even Amazon Prime, in all its glory, can deliver print textbooks instantaneously, and going without a book for two days of Winter Term is like two weeks without it in Normal Semester time.

So this January, I bit the bullet and ordered my first e-textbook to read with the Yuzu app. Yuzu is Barnes and Noble’s free digital textbook app, which can hold your library of purchased and rented textbooks. It’s accessible from your iPad or Windows 8.1 device, as well as your Mac or Windows computer.
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Elon faculty use ATACC grants to advance student learning

ATACC Grant WinnersWhat do quadcopters, concussion measurements and digitally designed costumes have in common? They are all faculty projects funded by The Academic Technology and Computing Committee (ATACC). Every year, ATACC awards hardware and software grants to faculty members to advance student learning.

Here is a summary of recent ATACC grant-funded projects.

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Writing with Thumbs: one semester down

This article is a part of the Writing with Thumbs project- a year-long look at iPad apps and accessories that support writing. Read more about the project here.

ipad-600642_1280 (1)Since receiving my iPad five months ago, I have had many peers ask me if it is worth getting an iPad for school. My answer: yes, if it fits into your budget. The iPad is definitely a luxury item that makes certain aspects of school easier but at the same time can be very pricey. I used a Macbook for all of undergrad and the beginning of my graduate program but I have found myself using my iPad all the time now for academic and non-academic activities. I believe that the iPad has become a college friendly device, especially with the vast array of educational apps now available.

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My iPad: A notebook, calendar and agenda all-in-one

iPad vs. Computer

iPads are great to use in class because of their small size. I feel less cluttered at my work space when using my iPad instead of my laptop.

Since the launch of Writing with Thumbs in September, I’ve been exploring iPad apps that help students become more versatile writers and presenters. Along the way, I’ve discovered that iPads provide a lot of benefits, and a few challenges, for university students.

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Mid-year musings on the iPad

iPad and a figureWell, it’s that time of year again: Winter Term is over and we’re all about to have a regular course load’s work for the first time in almost two months. Get excited. In the meantime, this week marks the halfway point for Elon’s Writing with Thumbs program. Through this program, I’ve been able to spend the last five months exploring and reviewing iPad apps, and learning how other Elon students use the iPad as an academic tool.

I’m glad to take this moment to reflect on the first half of my Writing with Thumbs experience—especially since I’ve spent the last three solid weeks thinking almost exclusively about Economics. If there are things in this world other than supply and demand curves, I will have surely forgotten them by January 27th.

So, before I take up temporary residence in the library to study for my final, let’s talk iPads, shall we?
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Things to try when technology doesn’t work

It 3941048713_876093906f_ohappens to everyone. One moment you are using a computer or classroom equipment as always, and the next moment nothing seems to work. In some cases, there is no choice but to contact the Technology Service Desk to file a work order for a technician to repair the problem. However, there are always a few basic troubleshooting steps you may take that could resolve your issue without needing assistance from a technician. Continue reading »

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