eLearning Technology Blog

Final's Week Fast Approaching

by WSU Online 30. November 2012 10:51

Final’s Week is an important milestone in the academic year as it marks the end of class, successful completion of all the course materials, a remarkable accumulation of new knowledge (perhaps even paradigm shifts), and one stepping stone closer to acquiring a degree. Such a milestone is never reached without some amount of anxiety, which means a flurry of panicked student calls, last minute exam updates, and after hours trouble-shooting. Luckily, most of the anxiety often associated with Final’s Week can be reduced ahead of time, which means less panicked emails and better student evaluations.

1. Review the exam’s content ahead of time and submit changes in advance.  You can submit any changes you’d like to have made to the exam or course space into Course Verification.
2. Review the day and time that the exam will be available to students, and make sure this information matches the Course Schedule and Syllabus. Changes or updates can always be submitted via Course Verification.
3. Double check that your course space contains clear instructions on how to take the final exams – including whether or not the final exam is proctored and what that process entails for students.
4. On the day of, try taking the exam yourself by clicking on the glasses (top right in the course space) and using student preview. This will give you a valuable perspective on what students see.
5. Communicate a little extra.  Reduce the emails by letting students know when to expect their grades, when you can or cannot be reached, and encourage questions to be submitted in the appropriate area.

All said and done, Final’s Week should be a busy time, but not a time of deep-set anxiety or panic.  Likewise, take care of yourself by planning ahead, sticking to your scheduling, eating well, exercising, and sleeping as much as you can sneak in.  We’re here to help, so let us know if you have questions about your course or final exam.

A Technologist’s Perspective

by Mike 15. November 2012 11:25

Recently a user called the help desk because one of the online data management applications he was using was running extremely slow.man with hand on forehead

This is normal, right? When you have issues, call the experts! In the world of technology, this ensures the issue gets documented (in case it affects others) and hopefully resolved for the caller. So, really, the remarkable thing about this call was how such a mundane issue inspired my own reflection.

Disclosure time: I was the caller, and much of my job is providing technical support and teaching faculty how to use new and current learning technologies. The solution to what I called about? Simple – clear cache/browsing history and restart browser (i.e., Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc.), essentially Troubleshooting 101, and something I recommend to users all the time.

Reflection time: So, why didn’t I think to do this? I think it was partially out of frustration, but also because, like everyone these days, I was multitasking and didn’t want to stop what I was doing to fix the issue. Additionally, I didn’t want to have to re-launch and log back into the four applications I was using.   

However, once I got past needing to restart everything, I was actually able to laugh at the irony of a technologist forgetting (or worse—ignoring?) their own advice. Interestingly, the whole situation gave me pause to think, and possibly gain an understanding of other users.

Discovery time: In my musings, I found that we’re all in the same boat, as technology will eventually sting each of us, no matter what our user level is. It’s good to laugh, (sometimes at yourself) and finally, when technology does sting us, we need to remind ourselves of the ways it helps us too. For example, three of the applications I was using allowed me to manage workflows with three different entities, and the fourth allowed me to do any required task. It would not be possible for me to manage all this without technology, so after thinking about it, an occasional clearing of my cache/browsing history, or browser restart, is not such a big deal!

If you ever run into issues and want to try clearing your cache and browsing history, I would encourage you to do a Google search for the steps and give it a try. Doing so will resolve many of your common browser issues. Good luck!

Mike Mackessy

Image from music2work2's flicker photo stream



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