Front Page Posts

Connect – April 2017

Teresa Sanhueza

Teresa Sanhueza decided to incorporate multimedia into her Spanish 303: Spanish Conversation course.

I have taught Spanish Conversation for about 8 years now. We only have one conversation class in our curriculum but it is not nearly enough to make the students acquire the language and use it at an intermediate-high level. Through the years, I have developed different units to complement the students’ formal learning. My latest unit has been a ‘Language practice unit’ in which I have made the students to do 9 hours of extra language practice, and I am hoping that technology might help extend those hours of conversational practice. I wanted to make the class more fun, enhance student learning, give the students additional opportunities to practice the language on their own, and at the same time, enable students to communicate effectively in personal and professional setting in Spanish.”

After a search, Sanhueza decided on two tools: StoryboardThat and VoiceThread.


After reading a chapter on various controversial topics, students are tasked with creating conversational exchanges of at least seven panels, between at least two characters, discussing those issues using the relevant chapter’s vocabulary.  Below, Beyoncé and Albert Einstein discuss whether art or science is more important.

a Screen capture of a cominc created in StoryboardThat

After creating the cartoon, and as part of the assignment, students will reflect on what the did and explain why the created the comic as they did. They are then graded on the following rubric:



(A, A-, B+)


(B, B-, C+, C)


(C-, D, F)

Vocabulary The student uses 70%+ of vocabulary words The student uses 50%-70% of vocabulary words The student uses less than 50% of vocabulary words

(especially ser and estar, verb tenses, prepositions, gender of nouns)

The student uses correct grammar The student makes occasional grammatical errors that make the cartoon less understandable The student makes substantial grammatical errors, cartoons is not understandable
Length The student creates seven or more slides The student creates five and seven slides The student creates less than five slides
Creativity The student develops an engaging and complete script for their character’s conversation The student develops a complete script for their character’s conversation The student develops an incomplete script for their character’s conversation
Format The student submits an attractively formatted assignment The student submits an assignment with some formatting and organizational issues The student submits a poorly formatted and organized assignment

(beginning, middle, end)

The student composes a structured conversation The student composes a conversation with structural issues The student composes an unstructured conversation


To improve their Spanish pronunciation, students will use Voicethread to listen to at least five questions on their chapter readings and then record and submit themselves responding verbally.

a screenshot of a Voicethread response prompt.

Voicethread for Chapter 1: El científico y el artista

Student responses will then be evaluated on the below rubric:



(A, A-, B+)


(B, B-, C+, C)


(C-, D, F)

Responses The student answers to all five questions The student answers to four questions The student answers to three or less questions
Pronunciation The student pronounces 80%+ of vocabulary words correctly The student pronounces 60%-80% of vocabulary words correctly The student pronounces less than 60% of vocabulary words correctly

(especially ser and estar, verb tenses, prepositions, gender of nouns)

The student uses correct grammar The student makes occasional grammatical errors that makes the response less understandable The student makes substantial grammatical errors, response is not understandable
Structure The student answers in complete sentences n/a The student gives one word answers
Fluidity The student speaks naturally with few pauses (thinking pauses) The student occasionally pauses in the flow of the conversation (lack of vocabulary) The student is literally translating from English (very slow pace, unnatural production and inaccurate vocabulary)
Comprehensibility The student understands the questions and can develop an appropriate response The student understands most of the questions and can develop an appropriate response The student doesn’t understand the questions and cannot develop an appropriate response

We’re hopeful that the work Teresa is doing will help students spend more focused time developing their language skills and pronunciation outside of the classroom, and we’re excited to hear more as she implements some of these steps.

Do – April 2017


A screen capture of the beginning of the TimelineJS introductory video.

TimelineJS is a tool that allows users to create unique interactive timelines.

Simply by using a Google Sheets template and adding the appropriate data, users can generate timelines and add them to projects or presentations, thereby providing visual and textual components to a narrative. A single Google Sheet can be shared and edited by anyone in a group or team, which makes this an excellent resource for collaborative work.

An image of a slide from a TimelineJS timeline.



A timeline of Nelson Mandela’s life as produced by Time Magazine.

An exploration of the history and development of user interfaces.

A look into issues and controversies at the University of Missouri in 2015.

To Get Started

Make A Timeline

Further Reading

Glenn Weibe discusses some potential uses for TimelineJS


StoryMapJS is a tool that allows users to more effectively integrate maps into narratives, and narratives into maps.

A screen shot of an interactive StormMapsJS map.


From the same creators as TimeLineJS, StoryMapsJS adds a navigable, interactive element to geographic information. Users denote points on a map, and each corresponds to a slide which can contain text (e.g. a written explanations of events that transpired at the location) or multimedia (e.g. a diagram or video with further explanatory properties). This tool could obviously be very useful in the demonstration of historical concepts or events, but that’s hardly the extent of its utility.  It could also be used to illustrate sociological or demographic phenomena by allowing users to, for example, explore disparities between populations in different locations or regions.

To Get Started

An introduction from Digital Communication Consulting at the Learning Centers of James Madison University.

A tutorial from the Digital Liberal Arts initiative at Macalester College.


Learn – April 2017

While we believe that student-created multimedia has the potential to enable deeper learning across a variety of disciplines, we are also aware that it can present several new challenges in course design, delivery, and assessment. The following opportunities might help you along the way:


The Kaneb Center at the University of Notre Dame is regularly developing new strategies for equipping faculty to teach effectively with new technologies. One such effort is their new Remix-U (which extends their previous effort, Remix-T).

Remix-U logo

Remix-U is a self-directed learning site that provides students and faculty the opportunity to develop new skills for creating digital media. The site currently includes three micro-credentials, or badges, for sound, image, & video editing.

Other Learning Opportunities



Minimalist icon of person thinking in front of book & whiteboard/blackboard


Think – April 2017

If you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always gotten.  

Jessie Potter

Many of us in higher ed lean heavily on papers and exams when assigning student work. And while a well-written final paper is capable of efficiently addressing a number of assessment objectives, it’s possible that we’re doing our students a disservice if these are the only types of assessment assigned. Moreover, when we talk about multimedia in the classroom the discussion trends towards strategies for instructors to incorporate existing media or develop their own. It could also be helpful, however, to consider the value that student created multimedia content can contribute to learning.

Thumbnail for Video. Click to Open Video.

Graduate Multimedia Fellows: So You Want to Assign a Multimedia Project? from The Derek Bok Center.

Three reasons student created multimedia might be a good idea:

Diverse Assessments for a Diverse Classroom:

Inclusive teaching requires a diversity of methods. In addition to thinking about ways one might diversify content and process, it is also important to consider ways in which one might diversify learning products. Papers, exams, and presentations each require different skills, but all three are capable of providing evidence of learning. So, too, are podcasts, games, graphics, videos, and websites.

Valuable Learning Products:

Lightbulb icon, RedA common challenge in teaching and learning is designing quality assessment for students – especially assessments that address some of the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Multimedia projects open up several new avenues to get students creating, and to do so in a way that requires them to adapt, collaborate, remix, design, and devise. Marion Engin provides one example as it relates to second language learning in her article, “Extending the flipped classroom model.”

The Multimedia World:

While audio-visual media are not the only way to engage in the world around us, it is indeed becoming increasingly naive to think that they are not a significant way to do so. When we fail to participate in this enormous part of our world, we miss the opportunity to help shape the discourse within it. Likely all of our students will need to develop competence in one or more types of media…and working to build students’ technology palates technology palates is about more than just developing competencies in tools. It’s also about learning to think critically about digital work and to understand that technology is not always a neutral thing, i.e.:

  1. What are we giving up when we get something for “free?”
  2. What are we actually getting when we purchase a software or service?
  3. Is it worth sacrificing autonomy and creativity for a simpler user experience?
  4. What kind of time, knowledge, and money will it take to successfully implement a given tool or technology…and am I willing and/or able to give these resources?

There’s a lot of thinking needed to critically engage new media – let’s help our students to engage in this process.

Connect – September 2016

VoiceThread – Multimedia Collaboration and Sharing Online

VoiceThread is a web based software that allows faculty (and students) to create presentations or facilitate discussions by uploading slides, images, or video(s) and then adding audio or video narrations. While one can choose from a variety of tools to make a narrated presentation for students to watch, what makes VoiceThread different – and potentially more interactive – is that ease with which the creator can enable any viewer to comment on a given image or slide in the presentation. As time passes, and students and faculty add to the presentation, the VoiceThread itself becomes an increasingly rich source for understanding the content. In addition to faculty presentations and class discussions, VoiceThread can also be used for student or group presentations, allowing others to view and comment outside of class time.

Molly Knight & Tina Boyer – German Masterworks in Translation: Monstrosity

Connect IconFor the second iteration of their fully online summer course, Dr. Knight & Dr. Boyer looked to VoiceThread as a way to increase the quality of the weekly interactions students engage in around the major concepts of the course. Their weekly discussions give the students an opportunity to process the readings and course videos, demonstrate their familiarity with key points, and hone their understanding of the topic through the feedback they receive from each other and their instructors. The students respond both to the instructors’ prompts and their peers’ posts. While the discussions themselves occurred asynchronously, the ubiquity of video and audio comments helped to create a more robust classroom online. VoiceThread is relatively unique regarding the ease with which students and instructors can post audio and video comments in the context of threaded discussions. Molly and Tina’s instructional design allowed their students to maintain a high bar for class discussions, while improving the sense of community they all experienced in seeing and hearing their classmates.

Brian Calhoun – Strategic Job Search (CNS 320)

As Brian prepares to teach this course online next summer, he is searching for a way to replicate the in-class interaction and discussion that is a hallmark of this course when taught on campus. To that end, he plans to use VoiceThread as a way to present content, and engage students more deeply. From Brian:

The undergraduate students will utilize VT through weekly discussion posts during the five week CNS320 Strategic Job Search online class. One of the weekly assignments will have the students utilize their peer networks to refine their responses to interview questions, and develop well thought out questions to ask potential employers during job interview and recruitment events. The interactivity of the VT discussion posts will hopefully reduce student anxiety over high pressure interview and career fair situations by requiring them to talk about these job search situations in person, so to speak, in advance. I encourage students to ask questions using VT that they feel they will face in a job interview, and I really value being able to walk through these scenarios for the benefit of the entire class.

While watching videos of oneself can be difficult at times, the hope is that by practicing their answers and recording their responses, students will be better equipped to deliver in critical moments. While Brian has arrived at this solution for his online course, it’s possible that it might also inform his practice in his face-to-face course.

Interested in getting started in VoiceThread:

Learn – September 2016

Other Learning Opportunities

In an effort to assist you in exploring the ways in which you might adjust your own discussions, we’ve included a list of articles, workshops, conferences, and more. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at


TLC & OnlineEd Workshops

3 people worth following on Twitter

OLC Workshops

(contact the Office of Online Ed for free registration)

Fall Conferences

Do – September 2016 is an open, online annotation tool that allows you to take and share notes on digital content.

Hypothesis Intro

Annotations can be public or private, critical or collaborative, formative or summative. It can be a great tool for sharing your own metacognitive reading processes or supporting close reading by students.


Loren Horn Griffin, from the University of Oklahoma, has detailed several possible uses in the college classroom. Moreover, as an open, non-profit, collaborative effort,’ mission fits in nicely with that of a university classroom.

To get started:

Further reading

  • John Stewart takes one step further by creating a custom activity tracker.


Google+, Google’s social network, offers an intriguing space for classroom interactions of a different character than those situated in Sakai. Designed for social networking, Google+ provides an ease of communication and potential for engagement similar to other social platforms (i.e. Facebook & Twitter), but with a relatively clean slate. Since few students are active participants on Google+ (as opposed to, say, Facebook), it can be easier to establish a course-appropriate tone for interactions in here. Moreover, student profiles are connected to their WFU email and username, easing the setup of a private group for your class.

Google +

While we wouldn’t recommend Google+ for all of your course-related discussions, there are a few instances where we think it excels.

  • Less Formal & More Frequent Sometimes instructors want 250-300 word posts from students with an academic tone and source citations. Google+ is NOT the place for those. Rather, it’s a good place designed to generate less formal discussion. Include a poll about students’ favorite text in a given week. Ask students to post their favorite quote, and +1 the other one’s that they also like. The dynamic back and forth of the classroom is sometimes easier to generate online with shorter, less formal discussions.
  • Media-Driven Topics Teaching a course on Sociology and Film? Google+ is designed to easily integrate the of sharing videos, images, and links. Students can easily reference clips, stills, and articles in the context of your discussion…in a way that everyone else in the group knows exactly which scene they’re talking about. This visual element adds something that is difficult to produce in a traditional classroom.Gears Green
  • Learning Beyond the Classroom One of the best features of Google+ is its mobile app (for both iOS and Android). A business professor at WFU designed a brand recognition assignment for his marketing class in which students would photograph examples of specific marketing strategies that they identified in the supermarket. With the Google+ app, students could easily snap the photo, add their justification, and search their classmates’ examples, all while standing in Aisle Nine.
  • Flipped Classroom Its not uncommon to hear of a faculty members who have created a series of short instructional videos in an effort to flip their classes. If you’re thinking of doing the same, a Google+ community offers an interesting opportunity to post and organize your videos. Students can add questions and comments in response to each video, and access them just as easily on a laptop as with their mobiles.

A few things to keep in mind if you think you might want to use Google+ in your course:

  1. Have students set up their Google+ profiles and join the community early. While profiles are linked to their WFU emails, they still need to complete parts of their Google+ profiles to receive community invites. It’s also a good time to encourage them to confirm their privacy settings. Give the class one to three weeks to join and settle in.
  2. Initiate participation with a low bar of entry. Communicating on a new platform or in a new context can be disorienting. Provide students one or more low-stakes opportunities to engage with each other early on (i.e. A poll question, an icebreaker post requiring comment, etc.). This helps to build familiarity with the platform and rapport with the class.
  3. Elicit feedback and remain flexible. Google+ as an extension of the classroom is probably new for both you and your students. Instructors rarely get everything exactly right the first time. Plan accordingly and hold firm to your primary goals, but don’t refuse to change tactics if there’s reason to think it might improve interactions.

Getting Started

Think – September 2016

Extending Interaction Beyond the Classroom

At Wake Forest, we rightly place great value on the interaction our faculty and students have with each other, most commonly apparent in our vibrant classrooms. There are many ways in which this interaction extends beyond the classroom, too. For instance, faculty also play a role in advising students and serving as fellows in our residence halls. It’s possible to extend academic interactions beyond the classroom as well. A central strategy in teaching and learning is minimizing the transactional and relational distances in theLightbulb icon, Red classroom. Moore’s taxonomy describes three types of interaction: student-instructor, student-content, and student-student. While Moore’s original effort is designed to clarify learning in distance education, increasing these interactions outside of the classroom can enhance learning outcomes across all sorts of environments.

Why might we want to extend interaction beyond the time we spend face-to-face with our students?

  • Accountability – Give students a concrete way to show that they have prepared for your class by initiating the discussion before they arrive. Provide students a space online to share questions or muddiest points from the reading, take a short quiz, collaboratively brainstorm, or answer questions embedded in a video or VoiceThread.
  • Reflection – Have you ever had to end a class when the discussion was just getting started? Or maybe after you finished processing a given class meeting, you found yourself wishing that you had said one more thing or asked one more question? Students often feel this way too. Build time for processing and reflection by asking students to engage in discussion, write in journals, or post in a blog after class. Create an opportunity for students whose voices are seldom heard in the classroom to participate in the discourse.
  • Engagement – College students are still in the process of discovering and developing their voices. Help them learn how to engage more deeply in the content you share with them by using a tool like and building questions into videos you curate or create.
  • Community – Learning is a social activity, and it works better in community. Moreover, the way you organize and participate in out-of-class discussion, regardless of the technology, matters. Learn how specific strategies can create social presence, cognitive presence, and teaching presence.

There are many ways technology can help us do this, including Google+ communities, VoiceThread, blogs, wikis or even shared Google documents – not to mention all the tools in our learning management system, Sakai. Take a look at some of the examples shared in this newsletter and then consider why you might want to extend interaction outside the classroom. Let your goals guide you to the right technology tool … and in deciding whether one is required at all.

Do – March 2016


Take a moment to visualize the following:Gears Green

It’s the first day of class, and your instructor stands at the front of the room. This instructor reaches for lecture notes, blows the dust from them, and clears his or her throat. Lecture has begun, and it continues without pause for the next hour. The instructor makes no effort to connect what you are now hearing with your other readings or assignments, nor does he or she ask you to do so. No one is allowed to interrupt with questions, and the instructor elects not to assess students in any way until the end of the term.

Now imagine the same experience…but as a video in an online course.

Non-interactive, exceedingly long, and de-contextualized video content can result in scant learning, even when it is well-produced and features a dynamic instructor. While there are many strategies that one might employ to connect video content to deeper learning, one tool available to improve in-video engagement is Zaption.

Zaption is a browser-based tool that enables you to add interactivity to existing video content. With a free account you can add open-ended and multiple choice questions or text and image annotations (paid accounts offer several additional features). These videos are then embeddable on Sakai and elsewhere. Take a few minutes to view a demo lesson that our office has created.

As the creator of a lesson, you then have the ability to view student responses and viewing behaviors on the lesson’s dashboard, which can be sorted by student, question, or class.

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 3.03.17 PM copy          Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 3.03.38 PM          Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 3.03.50 PM

We encourage you to explore Zaption’s lesson gallery, create a lesson of your own, and share it with our office or your colleagues. In addition to Zaption’s own support resources, we’d be happy to work with you to troubleshoot any issues you encounter in creating content for your students.

Connect – March 2016

Faculty using Video at WFU

Connect IconWhile there are a number of faculty here at Wake Forest who are committed to the creative use of video to enhance instruction, we’d like to highlight two of them:

Kyle Denlinger – VoiceThread in LIB 100

Kyle Denlinger, eLearning Librarian at ZSR, took the opportunity to design an online version of LIB 100 – Accessing Information in the 21st Century, to incorporate video using VoiceThread. He refers to VoiceThread as more of a communication platform, calling it “less of a presentation tool, and more of a conversation.” Here are a few of the ways VoiceThread features in LIB 100.

  • Introductory Videos – In addition to readings and other videos, Kyle created a VoiceThread each week where he presented content by video narrating over slides. Periodically, throughout the presentation, he would ask students to respond to a question and they would post replies in text, audio, or video that everyone could see and respond to.Kyle - Voicethread
  • Discussion – VoiceThread allowed Kyle to reconfigure in-class discussions by posting slides with six compelling question prompts related to each week’s readings. Students had to respond to at least two questions each week and reply to each other’s responses.
  • “Big Idea” VoiceThread – Each week students identified one big idea they took away from the course that week and created a three slide VoiceThread. Slide one unpacked the big idea they were taking away, slide two described an idea on which they were still unclear, and slide three asked a question of the class, leading to more discussion.
  • Tutorials – Students also created some of the course content by narrating screencast videos teaching others how to use a specific library database. They uploaded their videos to VoiceThead to share with the class.
  • Pecha Kucha – At the end of the course, students presented their research project in the form of a Pecha Kucha presentation with audio or video narration.

Kyle asked his students to reflect on the course at the end, and many reported actually participating more than they do most in-person classes. He believes that the students came to see themselves not just as passive consumers of information, but as active producers of it, in part due to the video based assignments and discussion.assignments and discussion

Mary Dalton – Recording Video Interviews with Authors over Skype

 Dr. Mary Dalton is developing an online version of COM 318 – Culture and the Sitcom. The textbook for the course is a collection of essays about the topic organized by decade and written by a number of authors. Mary used the online nature of the course to do something she has always wanted to do: bring the physically dispersed authors into the classroom.  Mary & Laura - Skype

She used Skype to video call the authors, and Call Recorder to capture the video of the speaker and herself having a conversation. The videos will be embedded in her Sakai course site, and stored in the Online Education’s Vimeo account. Students will see the interview, then read the chapter, then view the associated sitcoms, now with a framework for intellectual analysis as opposed simply for entertainment. If you have a moment, view an excerpt from one of the interviews.

Mary’s course will run online this summer.  For more information, see