Freshmen are Mobile, Social, and Always Connected

Results of the 2015 Freshmen Technology Survey are in and they confirm that our first year students are indeed part of Generation Z: Connected from Birth.  We surveyed incoming students during the summer orientation session and received over 500 responses.


Devices and phones students are bringing to campusStudents can access the internet anywhere they can get a signal.

  • 99% of students responding reported that they would bring a smart phone to campus
  • 91% are bringing a laptop
  • 41% are bringing tablets


Students use the internet to connect with information but even more to connect with each other, increasingly over video.

  • 90% use the web for social media
  • 66% use FaceTime
  • 50% use Skype

Top Social Media?

The two leading social media tools–Snapchat and Instagram–focus on instantaneous, impermanent communication.

  • Snapchat: 82%
  • Instagram: 81%
  • Facebook: 69%
  • Twitter: 59%

While our students are comfortable using technology for socializing and accessing information, they are less practiced at using it for creation, academic purposes, and productivity.  As this year’s first-year students make the transition to college, we–their instructors and university staff–will need to help them partner with technology to create, to solve problem, and to manage their personal and academic projects.

What’s Next?

When asked what new technologies most interested them, the clear winner was 3D printing at 57%, with wearable tech (like the fitbit) coming in at 51%.  Looks like those TLTR pilots are coming just in time.

What new technologies most interest students

Full Results

See full results of our 2015 Freshmen Technology Survey in our infographic, created by SEU Senior Elyssa Turner.  Questions covered include how students prefer to communicate with instructors, as well as how they take notes, write papers, and keep to do lists: FreshmanTechSurvery_2015_finalupdate

Freshman Technology Survey Infographic Thumbnail

Click the image for larger version


And compare this year’s answers with those from last year: 2014 Freshman Technology Survey

Partner with Instructional Technology to Research New Technologies

Venn diagram of participatory action researchInstructional technology is researching how best to integrate several technologies for teaching and learning at St. Edward’s. We are seeking faculty to partner with us in this research. Would you like to try any of the following activities in your courses this year?

  • Virtual meetings for group projects, office hours, etc.
  • Connecting students through live video (in or out of the classroom) to remote colleagues, students, or experts
  • Recording and/or sharing presentations outside of class
  • Flexible furniture to enable group work (seats 24)
  • Working with the library to take advantage of digital course materials.

If so, you can express your interest (without making a commitment) by using this form at

New Technologies in Pilot Status

Instructional Technology and our colleagues in the Office of Information Technology are bringing several new instructional technologies to the SEU community, as well as conducting research on some technologies that became available in the last two years to better understand their pedagogical uses.

  • The technologies to support virtual meetings and live video are desktop video conferencing with Webex or high definition video conferencing in the global digital classrooms in the library. For Webex, every faculty member can have their own 100 person meeting room, and each student gets an 8-person meeting room.
  • Panopto is a new tool that allows users to easily record presentations from their desktop with video and slides synched together. It is only available through Canvas.
  • Moody 212 is our experimental flexible furniture classroom. It holds 24 students, and has wheeled node desks that can be easily rearranged, as well as huddle boards—which are portable whiteboards for group work.
  • Finally, staff in the Munday library are interested in demonstrating the many ways they can help you and your students integrate digital materials, including online e-reserves, linking to ebooks from your course in Canvas or Blackboard, and openly available digital resources.

What else would you like to try?  Let us know by responding on the survey form or just get contact us via email at!

Open Peer Review of New Resource for Digital Pedagogy Ends August 3

Digital Pedagogy Avatar for MLA BooksWe invite you to take part in open peer review of a new project on digital pedagogy that is being coedited by Rebecca Frost Davis. The brief essays and pedagogical artifacts present valuable models of innovative pedagogy.  Read on for details.

Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities: Concepts, Models, and Experiments, edited by Rebecca Frost Davis, Matthew K. Gold, Katherine D. Harris, and Jentery Sayers, is a dynamic open-access collection currently in development on MLA Commons. The editors invite your participation in the open peer review of this collection.

Each entry in the collection focuses on a keyword in the field of digital pedagogy (ranging from “queer” to “interface” to “professionalization”) and is curated by an experienced practitioner, who briefly contextualizes a concept and then provides ten supporting artifacts, such as syllabi, prompts, exercises, lesson plans, and student work, drawn from courses, classrooms, and projects across the humanities. New keywords will be added in batches throughout 2015, with fifty keywords to be included in the final project.

Please visit  to read through and respond to the first set of keywords, now available for open review. The official review period for the first set of keywords will end on 3 August 2015. You do not have to be a member of the MLA to take part in open peer review, and while this collection focuses on humanities pedagogy, many of the keywords and resources will be relevant to other disciplines.

Keywords and curators in the first batch are:

  • Hybrid (Jesse Stommel)
  • Interface (Kathi Inman Berens)
  • Praxis (Bethany Nowviskie, Jeremy Boggs, and J. K. Purdom Lindblad)
  • Queer (Edmond Y. Chang)
  • Rhetoric (Douglas Eyman)
  • Video (Daniel Anderson and Jason Loan)

Thanks in advance for reading and participating!

Select Innovation Institute sessions open to all faculty: May 20, 22, 26, and 27

InnovationThe Center for Teaching Excellence, Department of Instructional Technology, and Munday Library invite all faculty to join us for select sessions from this year’s Innovation Institute.

Although most of the Institute’s sessions are only open to the 2015-16 Innovation Fellows, this year we are opening up five workshops to any interested St. Edward’s faculty member (full-time, part-time or adjunct, and staff who teach). The open workshops are listed below.  If you wish to attend any (or all!) of them, please sign up so that we can anticipate attendance.  To learn more about the workshops and register please see the full workshop listing on the Innovation Fellowship Blog.

Workshop 1: Gathering Digital Resources & Using Digital Tools for Research, Collaboration, and Projects, Wednesday, May 20, 12:15 – 2 pm, Fleck 305

Workshop 2: Designing Collaborative Learning Activities and Projects, Friday, May 22, 12:15 – 2 pm, Moody 212

Workshop 3: Approaches to Discovery, Inquiry-guided, and Problem-based Learning, Tuesday, May 26, 12:15 – 2 pm, Fleck 305

Workshop 4: Course Design Strategies for Increasing Student Engagement in Activities Outside of Class, Wednesday, May 27, 9:30 – 11:30 am, Fleck 305

Workshop 5: Scaffolding Student Learning In (and Across) Projects, Wednesday, May 27, 12:30 – 2:30 pm, Fleck 305

Canvas Selected as New LMS for St. Edward’s University

On April 24, the Task Force for Learning Management System (LMS) Evaluation voted in favor of a  recommendation to switch from Blackboard, our current LMS, to Canvas. The LMS is an integral part of our St. Edward’s learning ecosystem that expands learning beyond the classroom by allowing students to interact with their instructor, fellow students, and course content outside of face-to-face course meetings.  Based on this recommendation, the Offices of Academic Affairs and Information Technology (which had jointly charged this task force), have decided that St. Edward’s University should transition from the Blackboard Learning Management System to Canvas beginning in Summer 2015 with all courses migrated by Summer 2016. 

Why Canvas?

The task force chose Canvas based on its service reliability, its design for digital learning, and its potential for serving future learning needs of St. Edward’s University students and faculty. Faculty input played a major role in the creation and evaluation of criteria used in making this decision. The task force included faculty from every school, drew on input from faculty surveys in 2010 and 2013, and evaluated data on current faculty use of the learning management system. Furthermore, eighteen faculty piloted Canvas in spring 2015 (including two teaching the same course in both Canvas and Blackboard) and their feedback gathered through three surveys and two course demonstration focus groups was a valuable asset in the task force recommendation. The task force also held vendor demonstrations, consulted with OIT staff who support Blackboard, and heard from other staff who support the academic mission.  The full recommendation report, which details criteria and data, is available online: Final LMS task force recommendation

You Choose When to Move to Canvas

Canvas is available to all faculty now, and courses for summer and fall 2015 are already populated, but faculty can choose to move when it is convenient to them at any point during the next academic year. Courses will be automatically set up in both Canvas and Blackboard for the fall 2015 and spring 2016 semesters. Beginning in summer 2016, active courses must use Canvas for their learning management system.  To see Canvas, go to and log-in with your SEU username and password.

You Choose How to Learn Canvas: Visit

To help faculty make this transition, Instructional Technology is offering a range of training options:
  • Introduction to Canvas Workshops: All courses are scheduled in the Library Training Room (Munday Library 115). Introductory workshops will be offered weekly in May and June, with additional workshops at all levels offered throughout the summer, in fall 2015 and spring 2016. The first available workshop dates and times are below.
    • Tuesday, May 5th from 1-2:30pm
    • Wednesday, May 13 1:00 – 2:30
    • Thursday, May 14 10:00 – 11:30
  • Do It Yourself with the Canvas Training Center—it’s a public course, so you can join anytime.  Go to and log in with your SEU username and password.
  • One-on-one consultations: Instructional Technology Staff can help you back-up your materials from Blackboard and set up your courses in Canvas.  Open times in the Faculty Resource Center (Premont 110) will be from 10 am – Noon on Wednesdays and Thursdays and from 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Appointments may also be scheduled with Instructional Technology staff by emailing

Canvas and Cupcakes: Brought to You by OIT

 On May 4, 2015

Join OIT on the Ragsdale Lawn

from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

We will have free cupcakes and a blank canvas in need of your artistry to promote our adoption of Canvas (a new learning management system like Blackboard).

Not to mention, you deserve a free treat during finals week!

Check out our Twitter, Facebook or OIT Blog for more details.

Twitter: @StEdsOIT


OIT Blog:


Task Force for Learning Management System Evaluation Votes for Canvas

The Task Force for Learning Management System (LMS) Evaluation has voted to recommend that St. Edward’s University move to the Canvas learning management system.  This recommendation has been submitted to Mary Boyd, Vice President for Academic Affairs and David Waldron, Vice President for Information Technology, who will make the final decision.  This recommendation report outlines the reasons, as well as a proposed migration plan:  Final LMS task force recommendation

FAQ about Evaluating the Learning Management System

Blackboard and Canvas LogosMembers of the Learning Management System Evaluation Task Force have received many questions about their work.  This blog post is a round up of questions and answers.  To see more information about the task force and its activities, check out the other blogs posts tagged with “lms” on this blog:

1. What is the process?

  • The Office of Information Technology supports and monitors technology platforms for the university.  Based on their knowledge of the Learning Management System (LMS) marketplace, they recommended an evaluation of our LMS.
  • The Office of Academic Affairs and the Office of Information Technology jointly charged a task force composed of faculty representing each school, level of student, and delivery mode for courses, as well as related staff to evaluate the LMS.
  • The task force began meeting in Fall 2014 and has promised a decision by April 24. If a change is recommended, instructors would have until Fall 2016 before they had to move from Blackboard to Canvas.
  • The task force has met to review information about learning management systems, has gathered data on use of Blackboard and pilot use of Canvas, has hosted demos from vendors and by Canvas pilot faculty, has decided on criteria for evaluation based on all of those activities, and will make a recommendation based on those criteria.
  • Mary Boyd, Vice President for Academic Affairs, and David Waldron, Vice President for Information Technology will review the recommendation and make the final decision.

2. How long does it take?

  • The LMS was last reviewed in 2010 by a subcommittee of the TLTR which had vendor demos attended by faculty, surveyed faculty about the LMS, and made a recommendation to move to Blackboard 9 rather than Moodle.  That committee was convened in October 2010 and made its recommendation in January 2011.
  • This task force has taken longer for its review to allow for in-depth exploration of a potential new LMS by having faculty pilot it for courses.  Pilot faculty are representative of every school, level of student, and delivery mode for courses.

3. How can I find out what the task force did and what they decide?

4. Why Now?

The Office of Information Technology (OIT) recommended an evaluation of the learning management system for the following reasons:

  1. It is a regular process to review technology platforms to ensure the best solutions for the university.
  2. There have been ongoing support and reliability challenges for supporting Blackboard. While OIT has reduced the amount of down-time that impacts the campus, cloud hosted solutions promise greater reliability (greater than 99% up-time).
  3. OIT has a strategy of choosing cloud-hosting for reliability.  The impact of upgrades is also reduced because there are many tiny upgrades without taking down a service.
  4. There has been a change in the web since the university last chose an LMS.  In particular, there has been a growth of social media, increased use of easy audio and video, more intuitive interfaces, and the growth of mobile use for web access.
  5. The university needs learning tools that meet students where they are, e.g., with free mobile access and personalized communication choices.
  6. There has been a change in the approach to the learning management system since the university last reviewed the LMS.  The new approach focuses on integrating more external tools through the Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) standard and views the LMS as part of a larger ecosystem rather than a walled garden. (To find out more, see Carl Straumsheim. “The Post-LMS LMS.” Inside Higher Ed 18 July 2014. Web. 13 Oct. 2014.)

5. Would switching the LMS require too much change given faculty workloads and other changes on campus?

  • It is true that there is a lot of change on campus, but there may never be a time when that will not be true.  For example, a new general education curriculum is scheduled to be in place by 2018, with substantial work by faculty to create new courses in 2017.  Any new LMS should be in place before those courses are created.
  • The proposed migration plan lets faculty pick 1 of 3 semesters for a move: Fall 2015, Spring 2016, and Fall 2016.  Instructors can pick the time that best fits their work load.
  • Canvas is intuitive and offers a wide range of do-it-yourself resources.
  • There are ways to export/import content from Blackboard to Canvas.
  • Instructional Technology will provide extensive support and training for migration.

6. What about contingent faculty? How would they make the change?

  • Yes, Instructional Technology has thought about contingent faculty and are including support for their migration in their plans. Some contingent faculty already have experience with Canvas from other universities.  For example, UT uses Canvas.

7. What about students?

  • Students were surveyed about their preferred LMS features and their use of Blackboard and Canvas.  There is a student representative on the task force.

8. What is Blackboard’s future? Why don’t we wait for their new offering? 

  • Blackboard’s new version is not yet available for testing, but in demonstration it seems to copy Canvas.  Availability is still more than a year off.  OIT has concerns about Blackboard’s ability to implement this drastic change, especially based on previous versions.  Either way, however, faculty would be faced with a changed interface.
  • Although Blackboard is promising a cloud-hosted version, past experience with Blackboard support makes OIT question their reliability for cloud-hosting.

9. Why is the task force looking at Canvas?

  • Canvas is the industry leader for this new type of interface and is rapidly gaining market share from Blackboard.
  • Canvas is approved by Internet2, a higher ed IT consortium of which St. Edward’s is a member; 252 US universities, 41 regional and state education networks, 82 corporate partners (service providers) are members of Internet2.  One of the benefits for members is consortial pricing and validating services, with a rigorous process (functional, technical, contractual, legal evaluations). Canvas is a general availability product, which that means is that it has been tested, piloted, and proven to be a reliable service.

10. Which is better? Blackboard or Canvas

  • The task force has gathered data on LMS usage, especially what features the majority of faculty use (communication, file repository, collecting assignments, gradebook).  They are using this data to help determine which platform–Blackboard or Canvas–has features that best meet the needs of the majority of faculty.
  • The task force is conducting a pilot of Canvas and surveying faculty about both Blackboard and Canvas to see which LMS has features that best meet the needs of the majority of faculty.

11. If we move to cloud hosting, will someone in the Digital Infrastructure department lose their job? 

  • No. Digital infrastructure staff support other platforms besides Blackboard.  There is no staff member who only works on Blackboard.  Cloud-hosting, however, would give Digital Infrastructure staff time to implement more tools like Box or a new email and calendaring system.

12. If we change LMS platforms, what about the people in Instructional Technology who support the LMS?

  • Instructional technology staff will continue to support the LMS, whether it is Blackboard or Canvas.
  • Canvas does offer some features that might allow instructional technology staff to focus on more innovative uses of technology and complex instructional design rather than more basic tasks for supporting Blackboard.  For example, it is easy to see how to publish courses (make available to students).  Also, faculty members can add their own TAs.  Canvas also has easily available online guides and a vibrant user community.
  • Instructional technology looks for tools that will empower faculty so they do their work without having to wait on instructional technology.

Have more questions?  Reply to this blog post, contact one of the task force co-chairs, Amy Burnett or Rebecca Frost Davis, or one of the task force members, listed here:

Tech Snack: Teach Critical Reading through Social Annotation

Wednesday, April 8 at 3:30 pm in Fleck 314

Join your colleagues and instructional technology staff to discuss how you can use social annotation tools to help your students read better.  Social annotation helps uncover student reading practices so you can see where they got it right or wrong.  There are a range of tools that can be used to highlight and add notes to digital texts, and then share these annotations.  Join Jeremy Dean, Director of Education at and past Education Czar at (Rap) Genius to hear about the open annotation vision and discuss how to get your students reading, annotating, and collaborating outside of the physical classroom.
Learn more about open annotation in this youtube video:

New Technology for Innovative Learning & Teaching Pilot Project Grants for 2015-2016

Swivl-iPad-Mini-2-thumb-316x333-51901The Teaching, Learning, and Technology Roundtable (TLTR) congratulates the winners of Technology for Innovative Learning & Teaching Pilot Project Grants for 2015-2016. These grants fund faculty who wish to pursue innovative and technologically-sophisticated teaching. All proposals are evaluated by the TLTR Grants Selection sub-committee, comprised of at least 3 faculty members, 2 instructional technology staff members, and the CTE director. Abstracts for the projects are available on the TLTR Pilot Projects webpage. This year’s projects will engage students in research by using mobile devices to gather data and by using qualitative data analysis, join the Maker movement through 3-D printing, use remote control robots in conjunction with iPads to document teaching practice, and help students gather and reflect on their own personal data.

This year’s winners are:

Raelynn Deaton Haynes, Assistant Professor, Biological Sciences (NSCI) for the project, “Grabbing Panama by the Isthmus: Using Technology to Enhance the Study Abroad Experience for Evolution Students”

Rachael Neal, Assistant Professor, Sociology, Social Work, and Criminology (BSS) for the project, “Inside and Outside: Exploring the Boundaries of Community”

makerbot-printer_smSara Parent-Ramos, Visiting Professor of Art, Visual Studies (HUM) and Michael Massey, Assistant Professor of Humanities, for the project, “3D Printing Pilot Project: Interdisciplinary Applications and Pedagogical Explorations”

Kris Sloan, Associate Professor of Education and Chair, Teacher Education (EDUC) for the project, “Capturing Complexities in Classroom Teaching”

fitbits_smMichael Wasserman, Assistant Professor, Environmental Science & Policy (BSS) for the project, “Incorporating Personal Health Devices Into Environmental Science and Global Studies Courses in Angers, France: Understanding the Influence of Culture and Environment on Human Health”

Tour Your Colleagues’ Courses in Canvas: Business Ethics, Counseling, CULF, Graphic Design, Presentational Speaking, & Psychology

canvas_classEighteen of your colleagues are trying out the Canvas Learning Management System this semester as a potential alternative to Blackboard.  The full list of Canvas pilots is available on this webpage: Canvas Pilots.  Hear from six of them on Tuesday, March 24 at 10 am in Library 141. These faculty will briefly present their courses followed by a panel discussion and audience Q&A:
  • Mike Disch, PSYC 4360: History and Systems Psychology
  • Kim Garza, GDES 3335: Interaction Design
  • Julie Sievers, CULF 1318: American Religion Experience
  • Katy Swafford, CNEL 6335/CNSL 6366: Counseling Skills and Techniques
  • Danney Ursery,  PHIL 3313A: Business Ethics (online)
  • Mike Weston, COMM 1317: Presentational Speaking

The Task Force for Learning Management System Evaluation will base their recommendation, in part, on the experiences of instructors in these pilots.  Come find out how students like Canvas, how it compares to Blackboard, how the transition between systems works, and what it’s really like to teach with Canvas.