AVAILABLE TECHNOLOGIES: AN OVERVIEW
Radford University has a number of instructional technologies that are used daily by RU faculty. In an emergency scenario the access to instructional tools and network access may be limited. In circumstances where the campus may be closed or facilities limited, many of these instructional technologies may be accessible from home or remote locations.This section highlights some of the instructional tools that are currently available, including links to training pages and videos.

3.2. WebCt Blackboard

Blackboard Campus Edition (formerly WebCt) is the Learning Management System (LMS) used by Radford University. Blackboard allows faculty to create a secure web presence for each class that they teach. Students in the class can access the LMS to check the syllabus or class calendar, to hand-in assignments, to view reading materials, to take assessments, to check grades, to participate in an online discussion, or many other learning activities...all online. The CITL provides extensive materials and tutorialsto guide faculty in utilizing this program to manage and deliver instruction. Be certain to explore the 'How do I...' Animated Instruction Series, particularly if you have not made extensive use of WebCt/Blackboard.

3.2. Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro

Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro (formerly "Breeze") is a software environment that provides two instructional delivery options for faculty to:
  1. Create dynamic, narrated slide presentations to for live and asynchronous (i.e. students complete coursework at a time of their choosing during a preset period of time) delivery
  2. Develop "meeting rooms" for live (i.e., in "real" time, synchronous) text-, audio-, or video-driven class sessions online
Adobe Connect formats and delivers all content created into Flash format, making it accessible to a large variety of computing platforms. Videostreaming PowerPoint presentations including audio and video narrative can be made using Adobe Connect that can be used and stored for students to watch at any time.
If you need additional information, the CITL has video streaming presentations and detailed information at https://php.radford.edu/~citl/?q=node/3. The Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro web site provides further details about this software
. Staff in the CITL are also available to assist faculty in utilizing Adobe Connect. Specifically, faculty are encouraged to participate in the Faculty Development Institute for Distributed Education Course Development to gain practical information and experience in using this technology.

3.3. Podcast

A podcast is a special type of file download that happens by way of ‘subscription.’ Instead of files being downloaded piecemeal or incrementally delivered as a stream, podcasts are delivered as ‘episodes’ that are automatically downloaded to the subscriber as they become available. Podcast downloads are sometimes referred to as 'feeds.'
Audio, video and PDF documents can be delivered as podcasts. Apple’s iTunes software is the most popular application for managing podcast subscriptions.
The ‘pod’ part of podcasting refers to the ability to download content from iTunes to an iPod. HOWEVER, it is not necessary to have an iPod or any other portable media player to access podcasts; the entire experience can take place on your computer via iTunes. Further, using a set of simple software tools, faculty can record their OWN audio, such as a lecture, or their OWN video, such as an equipment demonstration, and upload it to iTunes U to create a podcast. Students or colleagues can then access the podcast on a computer with iTunes, or additionally download it to their iPod and take it with them. Information and tutorials are available from CITL.

3.4. IP Videoconferencing

Videoconferencing permits two-way audio and video connections between teachers and students. As an instructional tool, videoconferencing closely resembles a "regular" classroom environment while permitting distribution of instruction to learners at one or more remote locations. Using this technology requires that faculty take into consideration some of the characteristics of the medium in planning instruction. Some applications of this technology include the following:
  • classes delivered to students at remote locations who can attend class on campus
  • guest lecturer brought into a class from another institution
  • researcher collaborates with colleagues at other institutions on a regular basis without loss of time due to travel
  • faculty member participates in a thesis defense at another institution
  • administrators on tight schedules collaborate on a budget preparation from different parts of campus
  • faculty committee auditions a scholarship candidate
  • personnel committee interviews candidates for faculty positions
  • student interviews with an employer in another city
Radford University has provides multiple IP video conference classrooms and conference rooms on campus for instructional use. In addition, the university also has equipment available the Roanoke Higher Education Center and partnership agreements with several other regional higher education centers. RU also maintains many instructional location sites as needed throughout the state with public and private agencies, K-12 schools, and two- and four-year colleges and universities. As a distributed education faculty member using IP classrooms on campus you may not have access to your normal IP classroom if the RU campus experiences an extended campus closure. One alternative is that the extend sites such as Roanoke may be available to you as to teach from to students or another location in the New River region possibly a community college or state agency may be available to assist RU in a short term scenario. Please contact the CITI office for additional options using IP classrooms for alternative delivery locations. Training in the use of IP video conference classrooms is provided by staff in the CITL with support from the Division of Information Technology.

3.5. Web Pages

In addition to using WebCt/Blackboard, developing and/or expanding a personal web site can also provide a virtual platform for posting course materials for student access, including: assignments, syllabus, communication links and other course related materials. The CITL has information to assist you in creating and maintaining a web site. In addition, information is provided to allow you to determine the best application (e.g., FrontPage, Contribute, Dreamweaver) to use in creating and maintaining the site. Consult the CITL web sitefor additional information, tutorials, and training schedules.

3.6. iPad

Under development..please check back!

3.7. Wikis

The term wiki refers to either the Web site or the software used to create the site and is derived from the expression, which means “quick” in Hawaiian. The first wiki was created by Ward Cunningham in 1995. A wiki is a collaborative Web site that comprises the perpetual collective work of many authors. A wiki is similar to a blog in structure and logic. Further, using an internet browser, anyone can edit, delete or modify content that has been placed on the Web site, including the work of previous authors. In contrast, a blog, typically authored by an individual, does not allow visitors to change the original posted material, only add comments to the original content.
The academic continuity capabilities at Radford University can be addressed using a wiki. For example, this information you are reading was created and is updated and maintained using Wikispaces. Wikispaces is an open source web management platform that parallels larger corporate LMS tools including WebCt and Blackboard. Since the wickispace content is not on the university servers, it can be accessed from any virtual portal with an internet connection. Just as you are viewing the site now, students could meet the same way to access and interact (with permissions) basic class content. Wiki pages handle hosting, backups, and upgrades so you don't have to. A basic service is free and requires limited experience and information to set up and maintain a very functional wiki. Additional charges are applied for extended services and applications, including the removal of advertising that appears on wikis created using a free account.You can use our current site to see how the basic content is laid out and how it can be used as an alternative web site. [Some of the information related to wikis was adapted from Webopedia, an online dictionary and search engine for computer and Internet technology definitions.

The Commoncraft website has a video demo "Wikis in Plain English " that is a short, explanatory video that provides a succinct introduction to wikis..

3.8. Flip Video Camcorder

flipdiagram.jpgThe Flip Video is a low cost pocket-sized camcorder from Cisco.There is a range of models to choose from, including the Flip Video Ultra, which comes in colors, is more streamlined, and has software built into the camera that lets you upload immediately to AOL, YouTube, or other video sharing sites.The camera is shirt pocket-sized and runs on AA batteries. All the software that is needed to perform simple video-editing tasks and to publish to video-sharing sites are built right into the camera. No extra software required.
Operationally, the camera is easy to operate and has only a few buttons on the camera for play, stop,and zoom in and out functions. This permits use of the camera without extensive training. A retractable (hence the name, "Flip") USB connects to your PC, and you also have tools to edit, archive, and share your work, all built in to the camera. This not a highly sophisticated video editing package, but it is more than sufficient for most applications.
Resources:

3.9. Faculty Development and Training


The Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (formally the TLC) staff provide a number of options for faculty development and training, including:
  • The Technology Support System Provides onlibne access to register for classes that provide essential skills related to Media Development, Essential Skills, Teaching With Technology, and Distance Education and Emergency Management
  • The Faculty Development Institute for Distributed Education Course Development provides focused, systematic assistance for faculty who are interested in developing and teaching courses using distributed education technologies. The institute is structured within a series of interactive workshops, technology skills sessions, hands-on project work, group discussions, and mentoring activities that facilitate the development of a course that will be taught utilizing distributed education technologies. The institute is scheduled each semester, and a completed application is required for participation. A more complete overview of the institute and the application are located in the Appendices section.