February 2012

ECU Faculty and Staff:

Is it too soon to say “Happy Spring”?  We don’t think so!  Now is an ideal time to share news about an innovative spring pilot, a few updated learning platform features, plus promote the fresh ECU Training Calendar.  Of course we have filled the new calendar with many opportunities to learn something new in about an hour or less!  Read on for timely and useful tidbits and announcements.

In this issue:

  • Blackboard – Have you been to training lately?
  • Centra – New Features!
  • Inviting non-ECU Guests into Online Courses
  • Tegrity – Spring Lecture Capture Pilot
  • University Multimedia Center
  • Yammer – Connect and Collaborate
  • Spring IT Training – There’s something for you!
  • Upcoming Conferences


We always enjoy hearing from instructors who discover new or creative ways to build content, add assessments, or add some type of multimedia to expand interest and/or additional learning opportunities for students. It’s not uncommon to learn those things from exploring the tools and features in Blackboard, but we encourage faculty to take advantage of our training sessions. Our February and March training calendars are full of Blackboard sessions, including Blackboard Overview, Advanced Grade Center, and Content Creation and Organization. Each course is less than an hour; you’ll come away with new ideas, expanded knowledge, and resources from Matt, Cindy, and Allen. A bonus: instructors in the training sessions are always willing to collaborate and share experiences and ideas.

For those of you who are intrigued by creating exams and quizzes in Microsoft Word and importing them into Blackboard, we have a user-friendly software available (PC only at this time), which is very compatible with Blackboard. You’ll also find Respondus training sessions available on the ECU Training Site.

To register for the Blackboard training sessions (East and West Campuses), please see the ECU Training Calendar at http://training.ecu.edu.  Our Blackboard Blog has a faculty page, chock full of PDF and video tutorials, which are especially helpful for our faculty who work remotely and for those that need a mini-video or PDF for a quick resource. You’ll find our blog at http://blog.ecu.edu/sites/blackboard/faculty-support/. For questions about Blackboard or Respondus, or any of the training sessions mentioned above, please contact:

Matt Long           longm@ecu.edu           328-9074
Cindy Bowers    bowersc@ecu.edu        328-9167
Allen Dennis       dennisa@ecu.edu        328-2841

Centra – New Features!

In case you haven’t heard, there are some new features in Centra that  you can take advantage of this semester.

  • Eight Site Multi-video – Centra leaders now have the ability to display up to eight live videos simultaneously. Note: For best results, ECU recommends that each Centra attendee have a minimum 4 Mbps broadband Internet connection to support the use of all eight live video streams simultaneously.
  • Increased Video Size and Quality – The resolution of the undocked live video stream has now been increased from 176×144 to 320×240 and the maximum video quality has been increased from 15 to 20 frames per second.
  • Increased Appshare Speed – The default Appshare refresh rate has been increased from 1 frame per second to 4 frames per second. In addition, meeting leaders now have the ability in the Options Menu to increase this to as much as 10 frames per second.
  • New Look to the Web Interface – You may also notice some changes to the look of Centra’s web interface. These changes are transitional, and additional layout changes will follow.

For more information regarding these new features, please join us at the Centra New and Advanced Features Course offered every other month. Just visit the ECU Training Calendar at: http://training.ecu.edu/ to sign up. We thank you for your continued use of Centra, and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.  John Southworth southworthj@ecu.edu

Inviting Non-ECU Guests into Blackboard, Centra or Moodle

Each semester guests are invited into ECU courses for a variety of reasons.  Some are asked to share their expertise and knowledge in their field and many participate in Discussion Forums or even speak in live Centra sessions.  If you need to enroll such a guest as a student, TA or Instructor in your course, please note there is a process for this request.  Because guests may have access to student work, course content, assessments, student engagement, and login ID’s, this process is in place to ensure the security and confidentiality of course information is protected according to FERPA.  For information and instructions by platform, please visit the following page.

 Tegrity Spring Pilot – Software Lecture Capture
We are excited to share that 17 rooms on campus are gearing up for the Tegrity software lecture capture pilot.  Building on the existing equipment in the rooms, participating faculty will soon be able to capture their lectures – including audio, instructor video and computer screen activity.  Students will be able to log into their Blackboard course to access recordings at their convenience.  Tegrity offers an easy to use recorder (PC/Mac), automatic publishing to Blackboard, usage reports, student interaction via Tegrity Connect text chat, and student personalized notes.  Expect to hear more about Tegrity soon!

University Multimedia Center
The University Multimedia Center (UMC) is a faculty support center that promotes the use of instructional technology and enhances the technology-rich learning environment at East Carolina University. The UMC provides assistance to faculty to support the planning, design and development of high quality multimedia components to enhance student learning. We seek to cultivate instructional excellence in traditional, online, and hybrid environments. The UMC especially encourages innovative projects that serve distance education (DE), and projects that are consistent with department and college initiatives, have wide applicability, and are sustainable over time.

Examples of the types of projects developed by the UMC include course projects, innovation projects and large course redesign projects.

Course Projects focus on developing multimedia for (1) development of a new course or (2) creation of multimedia materials for the expansion or revision of an established course.  Examples of materials that might be developed for content delivery are interactive activities, simulations, animations to illustrate difficult concepts, and video.

Innovation Projects support exploration of emerging technologies and their application to teaching and learning. Innovation projects explore online interactive technologies that will help you solve challenges in your course. Examples of materials might be (1) web technologies such as constructing a narrative visual of little known historical events or (2) games used for teaching that solve real world problems.

Large Course Redesign Projects provide resources for faculty members who want to improve large undergraduate courses by incorporating multimedia materials into their teaching. Large course redesign projects also strive to facilitate student learning, increase retention, and achieve more efficient and cost-effective instructional methods.

To initiate a project, submit a proposal at: http://www.ecu.edu/cs-acad/umc/proposalform.cfm or contact Laurie Godwin (godwinl@ecu.edu).


Are you interested in learning more about Yammer and how it can enrich your experience at ECU?  ITCS is offering overview training sessions on Yammer, ECU’s social networking platform. Yammer is all about connecting you to the people, groups and topics that will make the work you do easier. Use Yammer in your classroom, join a special interest group on campus, or create a group for your classroom, department, committee, etc. There are many ways to use Yammer – come see how!

Please consider signing up to hear what all of the buzz is about.  Go to http://www.ecu.edu/yammer/ and click the LARGE  “Click here to login “ button.   Login using your ECU username and password credentials.

Matt Long           longm@ecu.edu              328-9074


Spring Learning Technologies Training: Blackboard, Centra, Classroom Technology, Second Life, WordPress, Yammer and more!

Check out the new ECU Training Site for a collection of training sessions where you can garner your new skills and expand your technology awareness and expertise!  No matter your skill level, we have something for everyone.

2012 Sloan-C Blended Learning Conference and Workshop
April 23-24, 2012
Hyatt Regency Milwaukee – Milwaukee, Wisconsin

This year’s conference theme, “Perfecting the Blend,” reflects current efforts to further explore the blending of the student experience through practice and research while harnessing the potential of new and emerging technologies, pedagogies, and practices in a greater array of educational institutions facilitating an overall improvement in the state of education.

Web site: http://sloanconsortium.org/conference/2012/blended/welcome

NMC Summer Conference 2012
June 12, 2012 – June 15, 2012
Boston, Massachusetts hosted by Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The NMC Summer Conference attracts an audience of hundreds of highly skilled professionals interested in the integration of emerging technologies into teaching, learning, and creative inquiry.
Web site: http://www.nmc.org/events/summer-conference-2012-mit

Don’t hesitate to contact us with any learning technology questions or to schedule a group or individual training session. We are always happy to hear from you!  Please use the contact information in the newsletter above for any specific questions.

To learn more about what ITCS has to offer, please visit our website.  http://www.ecu.edu/itcs