November 10 – 14 is National Distance Learning Week!

National Distance Learning Week highlights the impact that distance learning (a.k.a. eLearning) has on student access to learning experiences and educational achievements.

Let’s “do the numbers” here at Clark:

  • Over 21% of Clark’s enrollments are in eLearning (fully online or hybrid) courses.
  • Clark College has 33 Quality Matters (QM) certified courses. QM is a faculty-driven, peer-review process which emphasized continuous improvement of course design.
  • Students born after 1980 are more successful in hybrid courses in comparison to traditional face-to-face courses. See page 35 of the Clark College Environmental Scan.
  • More than 900 students received technology assistance at the TechHub during the first week of Fall 2014.
  • 304 Clark faculty have completed Canvas 101: Intro to Canvas.

Check out the webinars the National Distance Learning Week organizers are offering to celebrate!

Panoptic Horizon

PanoptoLast month, the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) announced its intention to replace Tegrity with Panopto as the statewide lecture capture system.  You may wish to view Panopto’s online presentation.  The final agreement, which includes Tegrity recording conversions, has just made it official!  The migration from Tegrity to Panopto will be brief and all Tegrity use by Clark College will end on June 30, 2014.  Panopto integrates well with Canvas, is easy to use, and will be available to add to your courses as an external tool sometime in May, after our new Panopto account is created.

What this means for faculty is:

  • If you make new recordings each quarter, you will only need to learn to use Panopto (trainings to be announced for those interested).
  • If you re-use Tegrity recordings, you will need to do some cleanup before your recordings are transitioned for you to the new environment.  Note that all Tegrity recordings made prior to May 8 will be automatically converted and transitioned for you into Panopto by June 30.   Videos recorded after May 8 must be downloaded by the owning faculty and imported into Panopto.

More detailed information will be made available as we learn more, in the meantime, here are some useful links to explore:

Panopto Website

Panopto Support (includes videos, forums, documentation)

Panopto Mobile Support

Showcase Video Recordings

What is possible with Panopto:

Lecture Capture

Flipped Classroom

Student Recordings

Faculty Training

Lab Demonstrations

Event Webcasting

Dynamic Duo: Canvas and Google Drive

Canvas has many nice features, such as the preview pane for document files and the HTML embed capability in the Rich Content Editor (RCE).  Google Drive makes it easy to share live or dynamic documents that can be continually updated.  Combine these two qualities and you have a dynamic duo, with live Google documents displaying in your Canvas courses.

Dynamic (aka live) documents in Canvas can be a timesaver for instructors, due to the nature of the live document and its ability to instantly display your edits.  Edit your Google Document once, such as your syllabus, and it immediately updates everywhere you have placed it in Canvas.  Canvas can also display other dynamic document types that have been created in Google, including Drawings and Presentations (slide shows), etc.  Student viewing of these documents is simplified because Google Drive provides secured site storage, so your files loading in Canvas won’t trigger the mixed content blockage with a browser security shield.  A dynamic Google Document can be linked to in a module or anywhere the RCE exists in Canvas.

Bat SignalThis dynamic duo can also come to the rescue if your Word documents, PowerPoints, or PDF files aren’t displaying well in the default Canvas preview.  You can simply upload those files to Google Drive and harness that to display your files in the Canvas preview pane instead.  These uploaded document files would not be live documents like those created in Google until you edit and convert them to Google documents.

If you’d like to give this a try, click to view one of the documents below, or use the links in the left sidebar under Canvas to access the live Google Document with the directions.

Live Google Docs in Canvas

Display Alternative for Files in Canvas

Respondus LockDown Browser

Respondus LockDown BrowsereLearning has obtained a license for Respondus LockDown Browser for college-wide use.  LockDown Browser is a custom browser that locks down the testing environment within Canvas, and appears as an option in your quiz restriction settings.  When students are required to use LockDown Browser to take a quiz, they will be unable to print, copy, go to another URL, or access other applications.  Once an assessment has started, students are locked into it until it’s submitted for grading.

LockDown Browser is generally available in campus computer labs, but to be certain, you should contact IT Services (x2425) to inquire where your students will find it available.  Online students who do not wish to travel to campus labs will be required to download and install LockDown Browser (for PC or Mac) on their own computers, in order to take the assessment.  TechHub staff will be able to assist your students with downloading and installing the software.

To learn more about LockDown Browser, consult the Instructor Quick Start Guide and watch this short introductory video:

Respondus provides a Student Quick Start Guide for LockDown Browser and we have a post on Smart Penguin, LowDown on LockDown, to assist students as well.

If you have questions or issues using the LockDown Browser software, direct your questions to Scott Coffie, eLearning Systems Administrator.  Our license with Respondus does not permit instructors or students to obtain support directly from Respondus, so if we are unable to solve a problem, we will contact Respondus on your behalf.

  We hope you will take advantage of this opportunity and that you find the LockDown Browser software useful.  For a complete list of features, visit the Respondus website.

March of the Penguins

Canvas by Instructure was chosen by the Washington State Board of Community and Technical Colleges to be part of the new digital infrastructure that will provide the education technology services that our students, faculty, and staff need and expect in today’s connected world.  As part of this effort, Clark College has joined the state community colleges and universities in an LMS migration to Canvas, and we have also begun preparation as first wave adopters of the statewide ctcLink data modernization project.  In our last month of Moodle, every effort is being made to ensure the smoothest transition possible for our students and faculty.  The following are some key points.

Moodle is going away…  The time to migrate to Canvas is now!

We will no longer have access to Moodle after December 31, 2013.  This means:

  • No access for grade disputes
  • No access for incompletes

  • No access to course content (including your gradebook or anything else)

When our contract with Moodlerooms expires on December 31, no one will have access to the Clark College Moodle Production or our Faculty Development sites for any reason.  Therefore, we strongly recommend that you download a copy of your Moodle gradebooks at the end of the quarter and look through your Moodle course shells, organizations, and preshells on both of our Moodle sites to determine which have content to be migrated to Canvas.  Once you have identified the shells to keep, download an archive package of each shell and save the zipped files in a safe place.  After logging in on our Clark College Canvas site, we recommend that you create and use preshells for importing and rearranging Moodle content using the course import tool in Canvas.  Your teaching shells with student enrollments are ready and waiting for you as well.  If you need to migrate an organization, have trouble downloading a Moodle backup file, or are unable to login on Clark’s Canvas site, be sure to contact Scott right away.

The following resources can provide the details you might need…  Penguin Tracks

How to download a copy of your Moodle gradebook

How to backup your Moodle content for migration

How to login on Clark’s Canvas as an instructor

How to create a Canvas preshell

How to import Moodle content into Canvas

Need more?

Sign up for online Canvas training with SBCTC

Sign up for on-campus Canvas training with Clark College

View the Canvas Guides

Meta Physics

Moodle MosaicMeta course shells are a popular Moodle feature.  Meta is the Moodle term for a merged shell, a specially created course shell that combines the rosters from other shells.  When combined, these other shells are referred to as the child (or source) shells.  For an instructor, metas function as any other Moodle shell, with only some slight differences in how content might be brought in from a backup file.  They can be a real time-saver for busy faculty, since posting announcements or adding documents need only be done once in the meta shell.  Keep in mind, though, that students can see the other child shell enrollments, which could create a large class where employing the groups and groupings features might be a good strategy for organizing activities in Moodle.

Generally, the instructor will leave child shells unavailable to students while the meta shell is made available, so when the students login they will only see the meta course shell.  There are other uses for this specialized shell, however.  Meta shells can excel as simple resource or “commons” areas, which do not have any student activities or gradebook usage.  These may be simple content repositories that allow a variety of active courses to connect in one place.  Since instructors can assign their standard shells to their meta shells, access can be given to any of the course shells when they wish and they can be reused from quarter to quarter.

Another interesting feature of meta shells is the ability to have multiple metas linked to one or more child shells, which might complement a wide variety of applications.  They can also be used for situations with continuous enrollment, advancing students as they pass to the next phase, etc.  The possibilities are remarkable, so if you would like to try it, be sure to get your requests in early using our Shell Request Form.

Use SmarterMeasure to gauge student’s readiness to succeed in an eLearning class

The SmarterMeasure online technical readiness assessment gauges 6 different factors that correlate to student’s ability to succeed in an online and/or technology rich environment:

  • Life Factors Time, Place, Resources
  • Individual Attributes Motivation, Procrastination, Ask For Help
  • Learning Styles
  • Technical Skills & Competency
  • On-Screen Reading Rate & Recall
  • Typing Rate & Accuracy

Taking the SmarterMeasure tech readiness online assessment is a great Week 1 activity for students in your fully online courses. Clark College students can take the SmarterMeasure tech readiness assessment for free. If you incorporate this activity into your eLearning course you would want to provide the students with a list of the following steps: accessing the assessment, logging in and completing the assessment, downloading a PDF version of their individual report, and then uploading a copy of that report to a dropbox in their Moodle class shell is a great first week activity. Let them know that they must complete all 6 sections of the assessment in order to receive a full report, this will take from 30 to 45 minutes.

Once the students have completed the assessment and uploaded their reports you can quickly scan them and watch for Yellow and Red indicators. Here are a few examples of the indicators that I check for when reviewing student’s reports:

SmarterMeasure feedback regarding Procrastination

Moderate levels of procrastination should be a warning sign for student success in an online course!

SmarterMeasure Feedback about moderately low levels of Technology Use

Moderately low levels of Technology use is a definite warning sign for success in a fully online course!

SmarterMeasure indicator of Owning a Computer

We mustn't assume a student who registers for a fully online course actually owns a computer!

When I see this type of information in a student’s SmarterMeasure report I can make helpful suggestions. I have found “Technology in your Life” to be a particularly good indicator of future success or failure to succeed in a fully online course.

I encourage you to integrate SmartMeasure into your eLearning courses. See the eLearning website for log in information for Clark College students.

If You’re Not in the Cloud, You’re in the Fog

Lecture Capture in the CloudsOur multimedia production and processing facility is now available to online and hybrid teaching faculty and we welcome you to tour your new eLearning Technologies Center, or the ETC, where we have full service lecture capture capabilities providing everything from recording to cloud.

Lecture capture is very popular with students, who report they can repeat certain sections for improved comprehension and understanding.  It has also been shown to increase retention in the online course and we see it as an important aspect of Clark’s online and hybrid offerings.

Cloud delivery is the preferred method, allowing efficient streaming instead of downloads or DVDs, and bandwidth scalability when large numbers of students are viewing all at once.  After your recording is processed, we provide you with an access link which you can place directly in your course.  This helps to keep your course file size down for backup, copy, and import processes.  Streaming is also more accessible for the online student and helps to keep their costs down.

The ETC has many options for a variety of lecture captures from iPods with cameras and mics for eLearning faculty checkout, to a lab with a private recording booth, to a studio with a fully equipped Smart Classroom style podium and wall mounted cameras.  For more details, you can visit our ETC page and contact Scott for a tour, iPod checkout, or to discuss your multimedia needs.

A Tale of Two Moodles

We have two servers at our disposal with our hosting service, Moodlerooms.  The Faculty Development Server is for faculty and staff access only and functions as an online workspace for training, course development, and course content storage as well as a testing site for administrative processes, new developments, and joule product enhancements.  The Production Server is for teaching or participating in student organizations and activities and allows access for faculty, students, staff, and Quality Matters reviewers.

Each server has its own web address and must be logged into separately with separate accounts.  Even though your usernames may be the same, any changes you make to your profile or password will remain with that server.  Here are the addresses for the two servers…

Development Server:
Production Server:

To request shells on these servers, we have a page here on The eLog with two shell request forms, one for each server. The links to this page and the eLearning shell request policy will be found in the sidebar under eLearning and below…

Shell Request Policy
Shell Request Forms

Moving course content from one server to another requires a process called backup and restore where you create a backup of the shell on the Development server, which you download to your computer, and then restore that shell into a live (teaching) shell on the Production server before making it available to your enrolled students.  The link to download the document with instructions for the backup and restore process can always be found in the sidebar to the left of this post, or you may prefer to watch the backup and restore video on our Moodle Joule Tutorials page. There are many other videos there as well, including one on importing (copying) a course on the same server.

Lights, Camera, Action, ETC!

Meyer Memorial TrustAlmost everyone at Clark is aware of the LMS migration which is now underway, but few know of another ongoing project here in eLearning… the fulfillment of our grant, funded by the good folks at the Meyer Memorial Trust and other generous donors.  Although it hasn’t received much mention lately, it has required a great deal of money, time, and effort to transform our out-of-commission TV studio and its adjoining rooms into a modern digital multimedia production facility.  As the last of the new equipment and furnishings have arrived and we connect and test each of these new tools, we continue to expand our ability to produce quality online deliverables.

The MMT Grant specifically involves the creation of online course content for the Healthcare Core Curriculum, which we are now pursuing.  It incorporates the technology required for quality lecture captures, audio and video production and editing, streaming and pod/vodcasting capability, as well as screen-casting, tablet productions, and other rich media generation.  It also includes virtual meeting or “distance collaboration” capabilities to help increase access. 

ETC Recording BoothThis grant is significant for our elearning faculty because multimedia has an important future in the modern online course.  Multimedia content has been shown to improve student retention by supporting diverse learning styles, promoting student engagement, and allowing students the repetition of audio-visual content for a deeper understanding of more complex topics.  Without a doubt, this grant will help us continue to improve the quality and variety of elearning courses offered by Clark, with the additional “green” benefit of online access that we can all appreciate.

We’re calling this soon to be available facility the eLearning Technologies Center, or ETC.  Due to our limited scope during the LMS migration, priority access must be given to the Healthcare Core Curriculum faculty as we fulfill our obligations to the sponsors of the grant.  However, use of the ETC and its equipment will later be extended to all faculty teaching online or hybrid courses as staffing, scheduling and construction allows (contact Scott).  For more detailed information about the progress on the ETC and what we all have to look forward to, check out our new ETC page here on the eLog.

Elluminate Practice Sessions

Elluminate is a quick and easy way to add synchronous communication to your online and hybrid courses.  Consider setting up an Elluminate session for virtual office hours,  review sessions before an exam, group projects, etc.  It is really quite easy to set up and a simple email with a link is all it takes for the students to join in.

There are several practice sessions scheduled where you can try it out to see if it is something that you may want to use to enhance student-to-faculty, and student-to-student interaction in your eLearning courses.

One and all are welcome to drop into a practice Elluminate sessions.  Whether you have never used Elluminate or would like to brush up on rusty skills, come check it.

Practice using Elluminate

Elluminate is a live web conferencing tool available to all faculty and staff members within the community and technical college system.  Come practice with colleagues in a casual setting.  These sessions, led by  Ann Garnsey-Harter and Larry Cheng of Shoreline Community College and Scott Dennis of the State Board, are open to all interested parties.

Connect from your computer, by clicking on the following link:

Just enter your name – you do not need a password to participate.

Sessions remaining this Quarter:

Wednesday, Nov 17, Noon – 1 PM, Larry Cheng

Wednesday, Nov 24, 10-11 AM, Scott Dennis

Tuesday, Dec 1st, Noon- 1 PM, Larry Cheng

Tuesday, Dec 7th, 2-3 PM, Scott Dennis

Thursday Dec 16th, 11:30-12:30 PM, Ann Garnsey-Harter

Monday, Dec 20th,  Noon-1 PM, Scott Dennis

For questions or comments, contact:

Scott Dennis, eLearning Professional Development Manager

WA State Board, Community & Technical Colleges

Voice: 360.747.7211

The Clark College eLearning staff will be happy to assist you as well!  Give it a try, its a great tool.


NW eLearn Conference is Coming to Vancouver

I would like to encourage all Clark College eLearning faculty to attend the fifth-annual Northwest eLearning Community conference taking place Thursday and Friday, October 21 & 22, 2010 at the Corporate Learning Center located at the Columbia Tech Center (CTC).

Look over the tentative schedule and you will recognize the names of several Clark College presenters: Zachary Grant, Lori Wamsley, Ann Synder, Sue Kusch-Tepper, and Kitty Mackey.

Overview of NW eLearn Conference

The keynote speaker will be Alec Couros, Ph.D., who is an influential scholar and advocate of openness in distributed learning environments.  He has spoken, blogged and given workshops on topics such as openness in education, social/networked learning, instructional design, digital citizenship, and critical media literacy.

The NW eLearning Community Conference is a cost-effective, high-quality regional conference.  There will be an online option for some of the sessions for those who can’t make it due to travel or budget difficulties.

Registration is now available!  Go directly to the registration page and/or check out the NWeLearn web site.  The conference will cost $45 for both days, or $30 for a single day.  Registration fee covers continental breakfast and lunch each day.

Plan to join the eLearning team as we take advantage of this exciting professional development opportunity!

See you at the Conference!

Recruitment for Project Manager: Open Education Project

I wanted to pass along this job announcement as a follow up to early announcements about the Open Course Library Project of the Washington State Student Completion Initiative (a.k.a. the Gates Grant) . The project is underway and a project manager is needed. Clark College participants in the project are: Kathy Chatfield in her role of Instructional Designer, and Travis Kibota as course re-designer for Microbiology.

The Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) invites applications from qualified individuals for the position of Open Education Project Manager.

SBCTC is seeking a visionary “Open Education Project Manager” to join the SBCTC team. This critical, full-time position will provide active leadership and expertise in managing open education projects. This position is preferably based in Washington State (State Board has office locations in Bellevue, Olympia and Spokane), though qualified out-of-state candidates will be considered and are strongly encouraged to apply. This position is funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation which will last two years with the possibility of funding extensions thereafter.

The annual compensation for this full-time position is $60,000. Washington State has a generous benefit package (health, dental and life insurance, retirement, and an optional deferred compensation program). This recruitment will be ongoing until the position is filled. First screening of applications will begin on Monday, September 20, 2010. To ensure consideration, return your completed materials by 5 p.m. Friday, September 17, 2010.

For more information about this position and the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, visit, or contact SBCTC’s Human Resource Office at (360) 704-4301.

Please feel free to share this position announcement with anyone who might be interested in an exciting 2 to 3 year eLearning position in the Pacific Northwest.

Quality Matters = Quality Courses

What’s the one tool every faculty member should have in their instructional tool box?

(Here’s a hint: it’s easy-to-use, and highly effective, for course design and review…)

It’s Quality Matters! The eLearning department at Tacoma Community College has created this well-produced 9 minute video about Quality Matters. Grab a cup of coffee and take the time to watch every minute of it!

(click for video) Enjoy the video!

Although QM was designed for review of online courses, the QM review rubric is quite helpful for designing face-to-face courses, as well.

You will learn about:
· QM Faculty Learning Communities
· How individual colleges are using QM
· Why we’re using QM in Washington State’s Open Course Library Project
· What makes QM effective in designing and reviewing online courses
· Using the QM rubric

Everyone in the CTC system may use the one page, condensed, QM rubric, which is posted on the State Board website. Also, each campus has 50 copies of the full length, annotated rubric.

Want to learn more about Quality Matters?

Contact Boyoung Chae, or 360.704.1011. Boyoung would be happy to answer any questions and help you use QM!

At Clark College contact Kathy Chatfield, Senior Instructional Designer and QM Master Reviewer,

‘Open’ Those Textbooks, to Spokane, WA

Spokane Community College Campus

Due to increasing demand  for the Open Textbook Workshop in Seattle, there will now be another workshop held at Spokane Community College. The workshop will be on April 22th, starts at 10:00 am until 3:00pm. Lunch will be included.

To register, you must sign up for the Open Textbook Advocates and Trainers Ning, then join the Spokane WA Cohort Group to officially register for this  workshop.