eLearning Technology Blog

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words…

by WSU Online 30. January 2013 14:25

I’m an advocate for teaching with technology and with that comes an inherent love for helping people learn how to use new technologies. For this reason, I am very happy to introduce the WSU Global Campus Instructor Virtual Help Desk.

The Virtual Help Desk is an online environment that allows instructors to share their computer’s desktop with one of our Technical Support staff. This means an instructor can be in their office or at home and still be able to share and show what’s happening on their computer screen while talking with support personnel.

Prior to the Virtual Help Desk, screenshots (static images of what’s visible on your desktop) were golden to support staff as they showed the subtle things that most users wouldn’t think to look for or mention. While these screenshots helped tremendously, we were finding that for some issues it was too difficult to describe what we needed a screenshot of, or we needed multiple screenshots, so it wasn’t always efficient to troubleshoot complex issues this way.

With the Virtual Help Desk, support staff can see exactly what is happening on an instructor’s computer and provide efficient directions. If needed we can even take control of the computer to perform more complicated tasks. Let me give you a recent example where this was successful: I had an instructor who was trying to update their computer to pass the Angel System Check.

This instructor was successful in updating everything except Java. At first, I tried walking her through downloading the latest Java version, while I followed along on my own computer. However, very quickly it became obvious that she was seeing something different that I wasn’t able to replicate on my computer. At that point, I had her login to the Instructor Virtual Help Desk. Once I was able to see her screen (and in this case take control of her computer) I was able to verify her computer settings and peruse Java’s help documentation. Within a few minutes I was able to fix the issue -- even though I’m not a Java expert.

Without the Instructor Virtual Help Desk, I may not have been able to successfully help this instructor. She would have had to turn to her department IT support or take her computer in for service. Needless to say, I’m pretty excited about this technology and hope you will be too!

Mike Mackessy

New Ways to Connect

by WSU Online 9. January 2013 15:27

If you’ve found your way to the top of your inbox (a challenging task this time of the semester), you’ll likely see an email titled “eLearning Update.”  This is the WSU Global Campus newsletter for WSU faculty identified as teaching a WSU Online course this academic year. We are pleased with the new roll out because it presents a better opportunity for us to not only keep you abreast of recent happenings here at the Global Campus, but also build community among faculty, and introduce new initiatives, tools, techniques, and conversations to make your teaching experience more effective and positive.

One such initiative is the introduction of Global Connections. Global Connections is a new program offering extracurricular and supplemental activities to WSU Online students. These activities are free, interactive, and online!  But the best part is, they are also highly enriching. You will likely find events that relate to your course’s subject matter in some way.  We like to think of these virtual events as an equivalent to the departmental colloquiums, seminars, and guest speaker presentations going on throughout the physical campus each semester;  only these events are virtual and available to online students! Topics range from Cultural Competency and Anthropology to Organic Gardening and Beekeeping.

Another important aspect of Global Connections is the introduction of many traditional campus-based activities such as SURCA, Common Reading, and Global Case Competition. Which are now available to WSU Online students. Of course, all of these activities require faculty enthusiasm and involvement to achieve robust participation. We need you to recommend these activities to students and become involved in the process of making WSU Online a strong and connected community of learners.

To learn more about Global Connections events, log into our Global Campus CougSync portal.
1.    Select Organizations
2.    Select + Add Organization
3.    Scroll down to the Faculty Community organization and select “join now.” (If you already have an account at another WSU campus, log in as usual, then follow these directions.)

Select the Feed tab (or Events > Events List on the left side navigation) to see a list of activities and directions for accessing events. Events are added regularly, so check back often.


If you’re interested in being a mentor for students in SURCA, you can find info on this website. For more information regarding Global Connections in general, please contact contact us!

Rebecca Stull



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