Monthly Archives: August 2012

The Online Embryology Lab: Evolving Toward the Future With Online Videos – Part I

An online lab in embryology in CSUN’s Biology department is quietly pushing the university into the future of teaching by creating online video lectures.

Its creators include:

• A legendary, presidential award winning biology professor who still uses a typewriter to peck out 500 recommendation letters a year

• A demure, bespectacled Associate Chair who masterminded the project and orchestrates behind the scenes

• An innovative student from the Cinema and Television Arts (CTVA) department who discovered he had a knack for improving science videos despite no knowledge in biology.

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Fourteen Faculty Star in Redesign Institute Showcase

Fourteen faculty members unveiled highlights of their hybrid and online redesigned courses at the Redesign Institute Showcase on August 16th. A “Digital Story” is in the works. In the meantime, you can view the entire captured event (that was recorded with our new Echo 360 lecture capture technology).

Redesign Institute Showcase Faculty
Pictured: Vicki Ebin, Ellen Schneiderman, Shannon Morgan, Bob Kladifko, President Dianne Harrison, Lucy Parakhvonik, Yarma Velazquez Vargas, Lori Campbell, Kim Kurner, Cecile Bendavid, Judy Debonis, Vice President Hilary Baker

Not pictured: David Leitch, Victor Shaw, Suzanne Scheld, Shad Willingham

Future of Online Learning at TED

Watch Daphne Koller, Stanford Computer Science Professor as well as CEO and co-Founder of Coursera, talk about the future of online learning at TED. She discusses chunking video (8 minutes in), peer grading (11 min), personalization (15 min), and use of phones in classes (around 20 min).  She’s a big promoter of active learning and does NOT think universities should go away.

Using Twitter in Class

Students are connected to their mobile devices. Why not put them to work during class using Twitter to take and share notes?

The goal is to have the students Tweet what they find relevant/interesting during class/lecture time. This not only allows them to share how they are understanding the information, but it gives the professor fairly immediate feedback on what is sticking with them. This also offers students, who might not usually raise their hands, the chance to ask a question.

Getting started:

The professor and students all need Twitter accounts. Here is beginner’s guide:

Remind students this is a public forum and they should make sure their profiles are professional and something they would want either their professor, mother, or future employer to see.

Choose a hashtag:

Hashtags on Twitter label and indicate certain subjects or conversations. The hashtag is represented by the number sign “#.” In order to easily search for the students’ Tweets, choose a simple hashtag for the class for just the lecture. For instance, use #J397B, which is the course number. Remind the students often to include the hashtag.

Search the hashtag:

Occasionally search for the hashtag during class by either typing it into the search field on Twitter, or use, a Web-based tool that allows anyone to monitor Twitter in real-time for mentions of any words or phrases they choose. Share the live feed online with the students to clarify any information or answer questions.


“Smartphones can be very distracting during class time. I have found that the students liked interacting with me, each other and their mobile device. It also helped keep them off Facebook for an hour or so.” – Melissa Lalum, Journalism lecturer/Daily Sundial adviser

Publish Your Own Digital Content

Textbooks are being redefined.  Not only are they electronic, but they are modular, digital, and interactive.  Faculty can now create their own e-content using tools such as Softchalk, Apple iAuthor, and Academic Pub.  You can either create from scratch, or assemble content from your own work as well as copyrighted material.

Support in the form of release time or funding is available for faculty who wish to launch projects that serve high numbers of students, covers significant portions of the course materials, and/or reduces costs for students.

To apply for support, visit the E-Text Authoring Submission Form.  If you have questions, please contact

App Harvest — Tell Us Your Favorite!

The Faculty Technology Center and Faculty Development are collecting suggestions for apps related to teaching, learning or other educational ventures. Help us gather a list of great apps!

Take one minute of your day to include your favorite app in our spreadsheet by visiting our App Submission Form.

Empower Your Students With Lecture Capture

Faculty can now capture their lectures to “flip the classroom” or enable students to “rewind” and re-watch complex material.  Lecture can be captured either in-class or out, at home or the office, using your personal computer.  Links to the lectures can be sent to students or posted to Moodle for easy access.

Want to see examples? Watch this tutorial from Biology Professor Paul Wilson, or this lecture from Economics Professor Leah Marcal. In each case, click the purple rectangle called “Launch EchoPlayer.”

Software for capturing lectures out-of-class can be downloaded from the links below or at the CSUN Software Download page (look for Echo Personal Capture).  For in-class capture, fill out the lecture capture sign-Up form or send an e-mail to

Out-of-Class Capture Software

Mac Install
PC Install
Introduction to Echo 360 and User Guide

About Digital Stories

Digital Stories is an online publication of Academic Technology at CSUN.

Digital Stories profiles emerging trends and innovative ways in which CSUN faculty and staff are using technology to enhance teaching and learning, and the university’s mission overall.

Have a story or post you would like to contribute? Contact us at or send an e-mail directly to