Viewing by month: March 2012

Mar 28 2012

New Web Events posted

Three new presentations have been posted on our Web Events page:

  1. Tuning Stress Response: An Emerging Paradigm for Prevention and Intervention of COPD (Shyman S. Biswal, PhD, MS; Professor, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health)
  2. Global Health Challenges and Opportunities (Lois Quam, Executive Director, U.S. Global Health Initiative, U.S. State Department)
  3. A Case for an All-Payer System of Coordinated Prices for Medical Services (Robert Murray, President, Global Health Payment LLC)

We hope you find these presentations informative and interesting.

Posted by Kathy Gresh at 11:39 AM - Categories: Web Events

Mar 21 2012

Updates to the Online Courses for the Fourth Term

Over the past few weeks, the Web developers in the Center have been adding to and further refining the tools in the online courses. In addition to what was previously posted in Februrary, listed below are additional changes that have been recently made:

  • Drop Box: You can now have Drop Boxes not associated with any item on the course schedule. This is useful for open feedback Drop Boxes, or Drop Boxes that may cover activities that span the entire length of a course.
  • Online Library: The report that shows which students downloaded a specific file in the Online Library, and the Excel version of that report, now includes the date on which the student first downloaded the file. This helps you better track correlations between student activity and performance in a course.
  • Student Activity Reports: The "Individual Student Access of Lecture Sections" report has been redesigned for less visual clutter and greater clarity as to the type of content accessed by that student (lecture presentation, MP3 or PDF). Additionally, the date/time on which the student first accessed the content (lecture presentation, MP3 or PDF) and the last date/time of content access is displayed on this report, and the accompanying Excel file. This also helps you better track correlations between student activity and performance in a course.
  • Manage Non-Student Access Tool: You can now search for people by email address or by using the last name, first name format. Note that you must include a comma after the last name in order for the system to search using this format.


Posted by Brian Klaas at 11:51 AM - Categories: Online Courses | Course Tools

Mar 7 2012

Workshop on Rubrics 3/14/2012

To all instructors and TAs, onsite and online, CTLT has prepared a "Teaching Toolkit" workshop series to be held once a month in room W2033 at Bloomberg from 12:15 until 1:15. Our first workshop, "Evolution of Grading Rubrics" will be next Wednesday, the 14th. 

Studies have shown that rubrics can provide an effective, efficient, equitable assessment method that can be understood and applied by both students and (across multiple) instructors. 

(Allen, & Knight, 2009 ) If you use rubrics, hate rubrics, or are anywhere inbetween, we'd love for you to come and participate in this short brown-bag session. Feel free to bring materials from courses you'd like to work on, or nothing at all. 

Want to know a little more about rubrics before coming? This site provides a nice introduction, including examples and templates:

Please RSVP here:

Some future topics include: creating a quality syllabus, VoiceThread, how to create good quiz questions, assessments, and various other topics and tools. 

We look forward to seeing you there. 


Intructional Designers, CTLT

Questions? Feel free to email or an instructional designer.

Posted by Amy Kitchens at 3:21 PM - Categories: Teaching Tips | General

Mar 7 2012

Flash on the iPad?

As much of the core content in online courses is delivered in a lecture-style format, students often ask how they can watch online course lectures on their iPad. Lecture content is generally offered in three formats: a fully synchronized, Flash-based presentation; an audio-only MP3 file; and a PDF file of the slides used. Given that iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) do not support Flash at all, you can't watch the fully synchronized lecture presentations on your iPad by default.

You can, however, purchase one of a handful of apps on the iTunes store which will display Flash content for you in a custom Web browser. Photon Flash Web Browser, for example, is one app that manages this task.

Because the Flash Player does not and will not exist on iOS devices, these apps work by rendering the Flash content on a server farm and then send the Flash content to their custom Web browser app as if a movie were being streamed to the app. There is, of course, more at work, because you can click on things in the Flash content and their custom app supports most interactivity in the Flash Player. You can even play Farmville in Facebook on your iPad.

The major drawback to using this kind of app is twofold:


  1. This isn't native Flash, so it's going to run a lot more slowly than a native Flash Player would. Content is being rendered on a server farm and then sent to your iPad in real time. This can be sluggish depending on what you are looking at. A Flash video or online course lecture presentation should play back fairly well. Farmville, on the other hand, can be pretty sluggish.
  2. This takes a lot of bandwidth. If you're on a limited data plan, watching online course lectures or playing Flash games via this app can eat up your entire data plan pretty fast. Again, because the Flash content is being rendered as video and sent to your computer, it requires a lot of data. Additionally, if you're not near the server farms where the Flash content is being rendered, the playback will stutter and be generally sluggish because it takes longer to send all that data around the world to your iPad. The app makers of Photon Flash Web Browser, for example, make it very clear on their iTunes page that the app works best in the U.S., because that is where their server farms are located.
While the Center for Teaching and Learning with Technology continues to look for a long-term, scalable solution to replace the synchronized lecture presentations in Flash with a HTML5-compatible solution that works across all devices, apps like the Photon Flash Web Browser or the Skyfire Web Browser can be considered as possible alternatives if you really want to watch online course lectures on your iPad.


Posted by Brian Klaas at 8:27 AM - Categories: Online Courses

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