SMU Shines at SC18 Supercomputing Conference in Dallas

SMU students, staff, and faculty discuss ManeFrame 2 at SMU's booth at SC18.Various SMU faculty and OIT HPC staff annually attend the international conference known as “Supercomputing.”  The location of this year’s Supercomputing 2018 (SC18) conference in Dallas at the same time that SMU’s own investment and ascendance into a regional supercomputing powerhouse offered an opportunity for SMU to not merely attend—but, in the form of our own booth, to proudly showcase our research work and to assert SMU’s place among computational peers. Continue reading SMU Shines at SC18 Supercomputing Conference in Dallas

Introducing the New Campus Technology Idea Form

Bright Tech Ideas

Have you ever had a technology idea which could improve experiences at SMU?

Are there software solutions which would offer clear advantages and opportunities across multiple schools or business units?  Do you ever recognize opportunities to advance SMU’s capabilities with innovative hardware or cloud systems?  If you have ideas which require new technologies or new technology capabilities, please keep reading! Continue reading Introducing the New Campus Technology Idea Form

OIT Spotlight: Guillermo Vasquez, Linux & Research Technology Specialist

In this month’s OIT Spotlight, we meet Guillermo Vasquez, the Linux & Research Technology Specialist for Academic Technology Services.

Who are you? What do you do? Where are you from?

Guillermo VasquezMy name is Guillermo Vasquez, and I’m a natural researcher, a technology enthusiast, and an amateur photographer. I’m also a Linux professional and a cyber-security expert with specializations that include ethical hacking and technology forensics investigation. I was born to a loving family of farmers in the heart of Chihuahua, Mexico. I consider Linux to be my first language. Continue reading OIT Spotlight: Guillermo Vasquez, Linux & Research Technology Specialist

SMU is a 100% Canvas Campus.

CanvasAs graduation ceremonies reached their culmination on May 14th, Southern Methodist University officially graduated into the next era of course management. Consistent with the announcement and transition plan set forth in last August’s message to faculty from the Office of the Provost, I’m pleased to announce that Canvas has been implemented as the sole course management system for university sources of record. If you haven’t heard by now, Canvas is a cloud-based course management system which offers a modern interface designed to better support the increased teaching and learning demands of higher education in functions such as blended learning, “flipping classrooms,” and providing a more robust overall framework for online education and distance learning activities.

After 12 years of long and faithful service, Blackboard is officially retired from course management duty; no further course shells or course enrollment data will be populated into Blackboard. Starting immediately, all course shells and course enrollment data will be published exclusively to Canvas. For faculty still needing to export course materials from Blackboard for use in Canvas, Blackboard (http://courses.smu.edu) will remain openly accessible for faculty access until June 30th, 2016. If you have any remaining materials on Blackboard, please proceed to retrieve them as soon as possible. If you need assistance with this transition, please contact 214.768.HELP or email help@smu.edu as early as possible, as our time before now and the fall semester will become increasingly limited.

In conjunction with this transition to Canvas, SMU’s embedded Academic Technology Service Directors in each academic unit are in the process of contacting each and every SMU faculty member to ensure that plans are being made to accommodate the transition along existing project timelines. If you require direct consultation navigating this transition and have not yet connected with your department’s Academic Technology Service Director to make a plan, please refer below to the contact for your school or college:

Meadows School of Arts Mousumi Tanha mtanha@smu.edu
Cox School of Business Jeff Liew jliew@smu.edu
Dedman School of Law James Pan pan@smu.edu
Dedman College Dr. Michael Robertson robertsonm@smu.edu
Simmons School of Education Scott Martin smartin@smu.edu
Perkins School of Theology James Pan pan@smu.edu
Lyle School of Engineering Merlin Wilkerson merlin@smu.edu

Please make time between now and June 30th to export any and all course materials you’ll need in any future course. Do not delay! Being sure that you’re prepared now will save anxiety later on.

SMU faculty and students can login to Canvas using SMU campus login credentials. For SMU courses of record, course shells, instructors, TA’s and students are all automatically populated from enrollment data from my.SMU. Between now and continuing into the fall term, OIT will be offering webinars and in-class Canvas training opportunities which cover basic usage to more advanced topics such as utilization of the Gradebook and Assignments. Please find a training that meets your needs here. If you require individual training or coaching—don’t worry—your Academic Technology Services Directors will be hosting and scheduling Canvas Open Labs within each school as well to help you directly with Canvas course migrations.

SMU will retain Blackboard course archives for five years—special archive recovery services will be available after June 30th, but Blackboard archives will not be immediately accessible for use. Faculty may submit individual tickets to the SMU IT Helpdesk for recovery of past Blackboard course materials. Please contact the main SMU IT Helpdesk if you need further assistance at 214.768.HELP or by emailing help@smu.edu.

Important Upcoming Canvas Dates:

May 12, 2016 Spring 2016 Term Closes
May 13, 2016 Canvas transforms into sole course management system for courses of record at SMU (No further my.SMU enrollment data published to Blackboard)
May 13, 2016
to
June 30, 2016
Blackboard (http://courses.smu.edu) still openly available to SMU faculty community for the purpose of course material recovery and for faculty to be able to export past course materials for future usage or archiving
July 1, 2016 Blackboard (http://courses.smu.edu) will no longer be available for open access to SMU community. http://courses.smu.edu will be re-directed to SMU Canvas login splash page

 

Teaching & Video/Audio Conferencing with Zoom

ZoomAvailable now, Southern Methodist University has expanded services for Zoom, a cloud-based video conferencing and web conferencing service, as the primary eLearning tool for delivering easy-to-use,  high-definition video/audio conferencing capabilities to faculty and students.  Brought to campus in January 2015 as part of a pilot initiative, Zoom has proven a reliable, future-forward and cost-effective collaboration tool which is easy to use on just about any device (even Linux!).  As Zoom transitions from pilot initiative and into a supported service, Zoom will also be replacing SMU’s current GoToMeeting conferencing service.

Over the next few months, OIT’s Academic Technology Services team will be integrating Zoom within Canvas and will be configuring Zoom for use with SMU’s single-sign-on technology so that you can use your SMU login credentials for access.  Short-term Zoom Webinar licenses are also available but limited–please contact the IT Helpdesk for more information about webinars.

Suggested Uses for Zoom

1:1 Meetings with Students

Schedule meetings with students that you would normally meet face-to-face by using a Zoom meeting. If you have distance students, or when bad weather prohibits travel to campus, meetings and/or classes can still be held over Zoom (up to 50 participants).

Virtual Office Hours

With Zoom you can offer virtual office hours from any location anywhere in the world (with Internet accessibility). Send your students or collaborators an invite through email or post the meeting information on your Canvas course site as to the “office hours” that you will be available.  Scheduled Zoom office hours create an active virtual “office” where students can come and go as needed.

Paper & Research Reviews

Using the Zoom Share Screen feature, you can have students or colleagues submit work for real-time review during a live Zoom session. Share Screen allows you to provide real-time feedback on work and to allow for any synchronous clarification as needed.

Exam Review Sessions

Launch a Zoom session and allow students to enter as necessary. Faculty members can choose to either moderate a student led review or to lead the review on their own.

External Research Collaboration

Need to host a research discussion or virtual seminar with up to 50 attendees? No problem!  Create a Zoom session!

Recording Lectures, Meetings, & Sessions for Asynchronous Playback

Using Zoom’s recording functionality, all Zoom content can be recorded directly to your hard drive for future reference or future use in creating content for hybrid teaching.

Getting started with Zoom

  1. Submit a Zoom account request to the IT Help Desk by calling 214.768.HELP or by emailing help@smu.edu. You will receive an email notification when your account has been created.
  2. Once you’ve created a Zoom account, simply navigate to smu.edu/zoom to log in and host a meeting!

Zoom Requirements

System Requirements

  • Internet connection
  • Speakers & microphone—built-in or USB plug-in or wireless Bluetooth
  • Webcam or HD webcam—built-in or USB blug-in
  • Or, an HD cam or HD camcorder with video capture card

Supporting Operating Systems

  • Mac OS X with Mac OS 10.7 or later
  • Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7
  • Linux

Supported Tablets & Mobile Devices

  • iOS and Android devices
  • Surface Pro 2 & 3

Canvas Readiness Update

Support for courses within Blackboard
will end in

motionmailapp.com

 

SMU CANVAS: Are you ready?

Canvas LMS LogoAs the countdown quickly continues toward the imminent decommissioning of Blackboard in June, increasing numbers of faculty are taking advantage of OIT’s Canvas workshops and learning to build (and rebuild!) courses in our new system. Over 100 faculty members have attended OIT’s hands-on training to date while many others have successfully utilized online resources. OIT’s training sessions will continue every week and into the fall semester—and other “conversion camps” and Canvas learning opportunities will be scheduled soon.

Now is the time to start making plans for moving your Blackboard courses and materials into Canvas for future terms. If you have not yet become familiar with Canvas or attended a training session, if you have not yet created a plan to download or consolidate your previous Blackboard course files, if you have not yet requested a Canvas “sandbox” course shell—the time is now! Continue reading Canvas Readiness Update

Preparing & Building Courses in Canvas

Canvas Tips & Tricks
When teaching any online course for the first time, course materials and files must be readied and assembled for course uploading.  Creating new organizational folders for each course is one easy starting point for ensuring that your course materials for the transition to Canvas.

  1. On your computer, create a new course folder for each unique course you are teaching. (Include any/all courses you have taught previously using Blackboard that you will teach again—especially consider courses you teach infrequently but will teach again in the future)
  2. Copy or move all relevant course files into the relevant course folder.
  3. Utilize SMU’s Box cloud storage service to maintain your course folders so as not take up space on your hard drive (Tip: SMU Box is also a great way to share your course folders/files with colleagues!)
  4. Use your reorganized course folders to build your courses in Canvas.

Exporting, Reclaiming & Reorganizing course Materials from Blackboard

Many educators who have utilized Blackboard have accumulated substantial course materials and course artifacts which are still only stored within Blackboard.  While Blackboard is still openly available to faculty until the end of June, all instructors are advised to export/download any and all course materials for reuse well before the June deadline.  Since courses, course materials and files will not be moved automatically into Canvas, all educators must ensure, before June 30th, that course materials required for reuse are exported or downloaded from Blackboard for use in building new Canvas courses.  Academic technology team members and instructional designers are available immediately to help guide you through this process.  While SMU will offer numerous day-long “Canvas Conversion Labs” during May and June to assist with exporting course materials from Blackboard, please start preparing your materials now.  Recovering Blackboard course materials after June 30th will be handled on case-by-case requests, since Blackboard will no longer be openly accessible.

Build courses in Canvas

After you’ve become familiar with Canvas and have consolidated digital course materials in folders for each course, you are ready to build out your course.  course shells for your upcoming courses will be available for building and publishing well before the start of each term.  If the official course shell is not yet available, please request a “sandbox course” from the OIT help desk for each course you’d like to get a head-start on building.

We’re excited about the opportunities that the Canvas course management system offers the SMU community.  SMU, OIT and CTE are committed to providing as much training, guidance and instructional design assistance as possible during this transitional year.

Even with that support, however, most of the work that needs to be completed between now and the time SMU turns off Blackboard now falls to the instructor.

If you have yet to begin preparations for using Canvas, please begin the process of learning Canvas, preparing your course materials (especially those which you might need to retain from old Blackboard courses) and start building your courses in Canvas itself.  An initial investment into planning for this imminent change in course management systems will pay dividends as SMU moves exclusively into Canvas.

Post updated 02/12/2016.

Canvas is Now: Learn, Prepare & Build

Canvas LMS LogoSMU’s transition to Canvas is rapidly moving forward. Formal weekly Canvas training workshops began in early January and will continue through September.  Roadshow sessions and “convert to Canvas labs” will be offered throughout May and June and customized departmental Canvas training sessions may be requested. OIT’s embedded academic technology team, in partnership with the Center for Teaching Excellence, is gearing up to provide expanded support and instructional design consultation to assist and to ensure SMU’s educators can capably LEARN Canvas, PREPARE course materials, and BUILD courses with this exciting new SMU cloud system. If you are an instructor who has yet to begin preparations for using Canvas, the time to begin is now.

After the current term, SMU courses will be published exclusively for use within Canvas. Blackboard will no longer be available for open use after this semester.  As of June 30th, 2016, Blackboard—and all course materials and information stored therein—will no longer be openly accessible to educators or students.  

How should faculty proactively prepare for changing to Canvas?

Do not wait until the last minute.  Prepare now.   All educators currently have unrestricted and open access to previous course materials in Blackboard.  However, waiting until the last minute will result in frustrations and challenges which are entirely avoidable and will result in unfavorable teaching experiences for educators and students alike.  While SMU’s academic technology team, training team, help desk and instructional designers are available to assist educators and students through the transition to Canvas, educators must begin learning Canvas in order to ensure the best and smoothest experience in building out courses in the new system.

Canvas Preparation Elements:

  1. Learn Canvas
  2. Prepare Course Materials for Canvas
  3. Build Courses in Canvas

LEARN CANVAS.  The more you learn about Canvas and its capabilities, the more Canvas can be used to serve you and your students in your classes.  Though many faculty have already chosen to “jump in” and find Canvas to be highly accessible and intuitive, attending a training session, participating in an online Canvas class or watching self-paced online tutorials will help grow your own broad awareness of the powers (and subtle nuances) of SMU’s new LMS. Please take advantage of these resources:

Workshops Canvas Resources Request Departmental Training
Online Training Canvas Community SMU Canvas Page

We hope to see you at one of our workshops and labs soon!

Continue Reading: Preparing & Building Courses in Canvas.

Post updated 02/12/2016.