TurningPoint Cloud to replace TurningPoint 5.3

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TurningPoint is the desktop software used by faculty as part of the student response system (SRS), or “clickers”, to receive immediate feedback from students in class. The current version of TurningPoint, installed across Smart Classrooms at NIU, is 5.3.

TurningPoint will be upgraded at the end of May, after the Spring semester ends and before Summer classes begin. The new version comes with a mix of benefits and costs, which we wanted to make sure you were aware of.

The most obvious change to TurningPoint will be the requirement of registering a Turning Account. Both you and your students will need to create an account with Turning Technologies, which you can do here: https://account.turningtechnologies.com/account/user/validateEmail This will be necessary for you to access the new TurningPoint Cloud (TPC) desktop software. This will also be necessary for your students, in order for them to register their clicker device and/or ResponseWare license.

While an extra step for you and your students, the TurningPoint Account will work with the software to encrypt your clicker session data, making it secure from prying eyes. Noone else will be able to access your data, unless you choose to share it with them!

Turning Technologies is also instituting a new recurring annual fee to students. The up-front cost to students will remain the same for the clicker device at the bookstore (and will now include a license for the ResponseWare app for free, as a “bundle”): about $53. The bundle will include a one-year license for use of the clicker and the ResponseWare app. If a student needs to use either the device or the app after that first year, they will have to buy a 1-year license renewal; they can instead opt to buy a 4-year license renewal, if they anticipate needing the device or app for more than the first couple years, saving them some money over the course of their NIU career. Student financial aid will apply to both the clicker bundle and the license renewal codes at the Bookstore.

Here is a detailed breakdown of costs from the NIU Bookstore:

  • QT Clicker, 1-Year Turning Account, 978-1-934931-52-3, $53.35
  • QT Clicker, 4 Year Turning Account, 978-1-934931-75-2, $73.35
  • Turning Account – 1-Year, 978-1-934931-71-4, $18.80
  • Turning Account – 4-Year, 978-1-934931-73-8, $32.90

 

The Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center will follow up later with information on managing the upgrade process for you and your students. If you have any questions about the upgrade, you can email Benjamin West from Turning Technologies (bwest@turningtechnologies.com) or get in touch with Peter Gowen (pgowen@niu.edu) or Cameron Wills (cwills@niu.edu) at the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center.

For more information on using clickers at NIU, please visit: http://niu.edu/blackboard/assess/clickers/index.shtml.

New Clicker Device on Campus

Turning Technologies' full-keyboard "QT" deviceIn Spring 2015, Turning Technologies began selling a new student response system device, their “QT” model. This QT device replaces the previous NXT model that was sold the last few years. The full keyboard on the QT makes providing text-based answers easier, useful for those times when short answer or essay questions are preferred over multiple choice or true/false questions. This makes it easier to use short answer and essay questions for higher-stakes in-class quizzes and exams using clickers.

While the device is different, the cost to students remains the same at the NIU Bookstore. The only necessary change to the existing clicker system is on the faculty side, as the older, grey radio receivers need to be replaced with newer black-and-white receivers. If you are still in need of a new receiver, please contact Peter Gowen (pgowen@niu.edu or 815-753-5882) or Cameron Wills (cwills@niu.edu or 815-753-3239) in the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center, and we will get you a more up-to-date Instructor Kit.

The QT device also presages a future update to the TurningPoint desktop software used to create and run polls using the clicker system. More details will follow, as that update draws nearer.

For more information on using clickers in your classroom, please visit http://www.niu.edu/blackboard/assess/clickers/index.shtml.

Office 365 Available to Students Campus-wide!

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Microsoft Office 365

Starting Fall 2014, all students will have a subscription to Microsoft’s Office 365 Suite, at no cost to the student!

From DoIT’s website:

Students have a subscription to Microsoft Office as long as they are enrolled. Install Office 365 on desktops, laptops, tablets, and phones.

Access your files stored in OneDrive or use Office Online to work from any device connected to the Internet.

You can use Office 365 offline, too. Connect at least once every 30 days to retain eligibility.

You can learn more about what is included in Office 365 by watching this video from Microsoft.

Be sure to share the news with your students! Having access to the industry-standard suite of programs is a great advantage to you in the classroom. Now all of your students have access to Microsoft Word, so there’s no excuse not to complete your writing assignments. Because they can all use the same software, you don’t have to manage converting between file formats! OneDrive will help students store their documents securely online, so they can access them and continue working from anywhere (with the Office Online versions of the most common Office programs). Students can easily share files with each other, as well, to make it easier for them to collaborate on group projects. OneNote, which is available for PC, is also a great way for students to take notes (if you allow devices in class) and organize their resources. And office productivity software is practically a must on resumes!

You can find more details, including which programs are available for which platforms, and how to access them, at http://0365.niu.edu

In early 2015, Office 365 will also be available to all faculty and staff, including a 1 terabyte (TB) OneDrive account for each user and Lync, an instant messaging tool that integrates with the NIU Address Book

Blackboard Open Labs August 25 – 29

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Blackboard Open LabEvery day this week, August 25 – 29, the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center will be hosting a Blackboard Open Lab. This is an excellent opportunity for NIU faculty, staff, and TAs to ask specific questions about how to set up their courses in Blackboard. Whether you want to know how to communicative effectively with students to increase retention, add videos that stream flawlessly, set up your weighted grading formula in the Grade Center, or establish Groups to simplify collaboration, the staff from Faculty Development will be on hand to answer your questions individually.

The Open Lab is available Monday, August 25 through Friday, August 29, from 11 am to 1 pm every day in Adams Hall, Room 323. Feel free to drop in – no registration required! Unfortunately, we cannot provide a general overview of Blackboard at this session, but will be happy to answer specific questions about using Blackboard.

Smart Classroom User Training

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Smart ClassroomMedia Technical Services is offering training on using the audiovisual equipment in Provost sponsored smart classrooms. Both new and returning instructors should benefit from these brief seminars. The seminars will include information about any recent changes to the equipment in the rooms.

Wednesday, August 20th, in DuSable Hall 348, from 8:00AM – 12:00PM and 1:00PM – 3:00PM

Thursday, August 21st, in DuSable Hall 348, from 8:00AM – 12:00PM and 1:00PM – 3:00PM

Friday, August 22nd, by appointment during the day (call 753-0172)

These seminars are open-ended and run continually so you won’t miss a thing no matter when you drop by. A complete demonstration with hands on practice could take a half-hour of your time. If you cannot attend one of the above sessions, please contact Keith Bisplinghoff (753-0172) for other training opportunities.

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