Portal Scheduled Maintenance – May 5-7

Portal (Blackboard) Maintenance is Scheduled for May 5, 22:00 EDT  –  May 7, 22:00 EDT
The Portal will undergo scheduled maintenance from Friday May 5, 2017 at 10:00 PM until Sunday, May 7, 2017 at 10:00 PM in order to install an updated version of the product. Details of the new version will be made available in due course at http://www.portalinfo.utoronto.ca .

The Portal will be unavailable for the duration of the maintenance window. Service will be restored earlier if the work is completed ahead of schedule.

Posted in News, Portal, Technical Issues

Audience Response Systems (aka clickers) RFSQ

After many years studying and analyzing the various issues surrounding the use of Audience Response Systems at UofT (including ancillary fees policies, information security and privacy concerns, wifi stability, and of course, required functionality, etc.), the University issued a Request for Supplier Qualifications earlier this year. Unlike an “RFP”, the “RFSQ” gives the University more flexibility to select more than one supplier, thereby offering instructors and departments some choice around this type of technology.

Attached to this post is the actual RFSQ document for those who may wish to read it, but in summary, here is the introduction to the initiative excerpted for your convenience:

The University requires a streamlined approach to the deployment of Audience Response Systems and Devices (“ARS”), which may include physical devices and/or mobile apps.  The ARS will primarily be used in classes ranging from smaller than 30 to large lectures with more than 1500 students.  The University anticipates the selected solution(s) to be mainly used in not only a single location, but in several situations, simultaneous operation in multiple locations might be necessary for courses taught on multiple campuses. It is not the intent of the University to purchase devices and/or software licenses for each student; the cost for those items will continue to be borne by individual students, or purchased at a departmental level, as per the current practice. Nor is it the intent of the University to purchase base stations (where a solution requires those), either by the University as a whole or by individual instructors. However, the purpose of this call for proposals is to identify one or more Successful Respondents for a multi-year contract, and subject to a successful agreement between the Respondent and the University of Toronto Bookstore as the sales agent for the proposed solution. The ARS and related services from the Successful Respondents will be promoted to members of our teaching staff as viable options, with a primary goal being that students who invest in the technology will be able to use them in more than one class, rather than having to buy competing technologies for different courses. In addition to promoting the selected solution(s), the University will also commit to installing the Respondent’s necessary integration solution on our Learning Management System.

The opportunity, which was posted on MERX, is now closed and a University evaluation committee is currently working with Procurement Services to short-list potential suppliers, hopefully by the end of May. Please stay tuned for updates. Thank you.

UOT201715202 Audience Response System RFSQ Final

Posted in Clickers, Teaching Toolkit, The Future

Reading Week Reading

Using the Micro-Meso-Macro-Mega (4M) framework for annual reporting and strategic planning
by Janice Miller-Young  July 25, 2016
https://sotlcanada.wordpress.com/2016/07/25/using-the-micro-meso-macro-mega-4m-framework-for-annual-reporting-and-strategic-planning/

Coming to You Soon: Uber U
In higher education, we are increasingly facing the distinct possibility of a faceless future, teacherless courses, online everything, argues David Theo Goldberg.
By David Theo Goldberg August 12, 2016
https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2016/08/12/dangers-uberization-higher-education-essay

15 Technologies That Were Supposed to Change Education Forever
Matt Novak 1/15/14
http://paleofuture.gizmodo.com/15-technologies-that-were-supposed-to-change-education-1481232959

Distant and discontent: the downsides of digital learning
Despite many advances, online programmes suffer from technical faults and a dispiriting lack of interaction, as two scholars found
By Matthew Reisz August 18, 2016
https://www.timeshighereducation.com/features/distant-and-discontent-the-downsides-of-digital-learning

The Unpredictability of Predictive Analytics 2.0
by John O’Brien August 22, 2016
http://er.educause.edu/articles/2016/8/the-unpredictability-of-predictive-analytics-2-0

Imagine Discovering That Your Teaching Assistant Really Is a Robot
Students mostly couldn’t tell ‘Jill Watson’ wasn’t human; ‘Yep!’
By Melissa Korn May 6, 2016
https://www.wsj.com/articles/if-your-teacher-sounds-like-a-robot-you-might-be-on-to-something-1462546621

Uber-U is Already Here Powered by Blockchain Technology
Contact North 2016-05-06
https://teachonline.ca/tools-trends/exploring-future-education/uber-u-already-here

Online tutoring by students raises access fears
By David Matthews  May 11, 2016
https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/online-tutoring-students-raises-access-fears

Hiring Experts Still Mostly Boggled by Digital Credentials
By Dian Schaffhauser 05/10/16
https://campustechnology.com/articles/2016/05/10/hiring-experts-still-mostly-boggled-by-digital-credentials.aspx

Five ways the lecture halls of 2030 will be different
By Petra Hauptfeld-Göllner September 13, 2016
https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/european-association-for-international-education-eaie-conference-2016-five-ways-the-lecture-halls-of-2030-will-be-different

Posted in Reading, Readings

Open Books and Resources

UofT BrowZine
https://onesearch.library.utoronto.ca/browzine

BC Campus OpenEd
https://open.bccampus.ca/find-open-textbooks/

Rice U OpenStax
https://openstax.org/about

Posted in Open, Resources

Holiday Reading (and watching)

Jeremy Howard:
The wonderful and terrifying implications of computers that can learn
https://www.ted.com/talks/jeremy_howard_the_wonderful_and_terrifying_implications_of_computers_that_can_learn

MODLAB @ UC Davis
http://modlab.ucdavis.edu/

Badging: Not Quite the Next Big Thing
By Michael Hart 07/20/16
https://thejournal.com/articles/2016/07/20/badging-not-quite-the-next-big-thing.aspx

I Love Community Colleges (and Tech Should Too)
By Alejandra Cervantes Aug 7, 2016
https://www.edsurge.com/news/2016-08-07-i-love-community-colleges-and-tech-should-too

Learning Management System Market Expected to Grow $10.5 Billion in Next 5 Years
By Richard Chang 07/28/16
https://thejournal.com/articles/2016/07/28/learning-management-system-market-expected-to-grow-10.5-billion-in-next-5-years.aspx

6 Implications of the Next-Generation Digital Learning Environments (NGDLE) Framework
by Malcolm Brown June 27, 2016
http://er.educause.edu/blogs/2016/6/6-implications-of-the-next-generation-digital-learning-environments-ngdle-framework

App Assists Teachers With Integrating Digital Content Into Lessons
By Sri Ravipati 08/01/16
https://thejournal.com/articles/2016/08/01/app-assists-teachers-with-integrating-digital-content-into-lessons.aspx

Posted in Reading, Readings

Toolbox Renewal Update

At the end of December, the LME Evaluation Committee made its formal recommendation to the Provost via our Executive Sponsors. The next stage of the process will be negotiations, led by the University’s Procurement Services. For more details on the Toolbox Renewal process, please check in at the main project website regularly: http://toolboxrenewal.utoronto.ca

Posted in News, Renewal, Teaching Toolkit

OneClass Easy Invite Chrome Extension

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT

We have discovered a problem with something called the OneClass Easy Invite Chrome Extension which may result in the theft of any username and password you use for websites and services, including Blackboard and other university and/or commercial/community services.

If you receive an email soliciting enrolment in OneClass, do not click on any links or buttons, and delete the email.

The email may have included a link to install the OneClass Chrome Extension. During the installation, the user is prompted to accept permissions to “read and change all your data on the websites you visit.” If you accepted, a fake button will be created within the Blackboard Portal to “Invite your Classmates to OneClass.” If the button is clicked on, the extension will also attempt to send an email to everyone in your class to promote the OneClass extension.

A copy of the phishing email is below:

“Hey guys, I just found some really helpful notes for the upcoming exams for courses at UofT . I highly recommend signing up for an account now that way your first download is free!”

If you have previously downloaded and installed the OneClass Easy Invite Chrome Extension you should immediately cease using your Chrome browser. Then, using a different browser (e.g., Safari, Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc.) you should change all of your passwords to any services (Blackboard, your online bank account, credit card, email, Facebook, etc.) that you accessed using your Chrome browser with that extension installed.

To change your UTORid (Blackboard) password, please visit: https://www.utorid.utoronto.ca/

To remove the extension:

1. Open up your Chrome Browser
2. Select the 3 vertical dots in the top right-hand corner
3. Select Settings
4. Select Extensions in the top left-hand corner
5. Click the Trashcan beside the “OneClass Easy Invite” extension
6. Select Remove on the Confirm Removal Popup
7. Close all Chrome windows and go back to the Extensions page to verify the extension has been removed (Steps 1-4)

As we learn more, we will share updates with the community, and if you have any questions, please write to portal.help@utoronto.ca

Posted in News, Technical Issues

UofT Portal Week (part of the Academic Toolbox Renewal)

The University is currently testing three new systems that can serve as the “engine” for our new Learning Portal (LMS). The week of November 14-18 has been designated “Portal Week” with many opportunities for members of the community to learn more, get involved, take a test drive, and share their opinions and feedback.

To learn more about the Academic Toolbox Renewal Initiative and to see a schedule of “Portal Week” events, please visit http://toolboxrenewal.utoronto.ca/lmeweek/

Posted in Portal, Projects, Renewal, The Future

MADLab Users Publish Scientific Paper

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.cgd.6b00950

A Versatile System for High-Throughput In Situ X-ray Screening and Data Collection of Soluble and Membrane-Protein Crystals
Cryst. Growth Des., 2016, 16 (11), pp 6318–6326
Jana Broecker, Viviane Klingel, Wei-Lin Ou, Aidin R. Balo, David J. Kissick, Craig M. Ogata, Anling Kuo, and Oliver P. Ernst
Department of Biochemistry and §Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto

Synopsis

We introduce the Mylar in situ method that uses Mylar-based sandwich plates, which are advantageous over established designs. Cognate holders make the method robust and versatile and allow for automated crystal imaging, screening, and goniometer-based X-ray diffraction data collection at room temperature and under cryogenic conditions for soluble and membrane-protein crystals grown in or transferred to these plates.

Abstract

In recent years, in situ data collection has been a major focus of progress in protein crystallography. Here, we introduce the Mylar in situ method using Mylar-based sandwich plates that are inexpensive, easy to make and handle, and show significantly less background scattering than other setups. A variety of cognate holders for patches of Mylar in situ sandwich films corresponding to one or more wells makes the method robust and versatile, allows for storage and shipping of entire wells, and enables automated crystal imaging, screening, and goniometer-based X-ray diffraction data-collection at room temperature and under cryogenic conditions for soluble and membrane-protein crystals grown in or transferred to these plates. We validated the Mylar in situ method using crystals of the water-soluble proteins hen egg-white lysozyme and sperm whale myoglobin as well as the 7-transmembrane protein bacteriorhodopsin from Haloquadratum walsbyi. In conjunction with current developments at synchrotrons, this approach promises high-resolution structural studies of membrane proteins to become faster and more routine.

Posted in MADLab

Chad Holden

It is with mixed feelings that I write to tell you about the departure of Chad Holden from the ACT team. Luckily, however, Chad remains with the University as the new Lead Systems and Support Administrator in the Division of the Vice-President and Provost.

Chad started at the University in 2001 as the Manager of Art Direction in the Faculty of Physical Education and Health.  In 2005 he joined the Shared Services Strategic Computing team as a Senior Web Analyst.

In that role, Chad also provided leadership for the University-wide collaborative Web Working Group, as well as the Accessibility Group for the Provost’s group of websites, where he wrote the original web accessibility guidelines for U of T.

Through a series of reorganizations in ITS, Chad became a member of the Web Services team within Integrated Client Services, and then part of Academic & Collaborative Technologies.

His return to the Provost’s portfolio is a return home in some ways.

Outside of work, Chad, who is a formally trained graphic designer, has several hobbies and a young family that keeps him hopping.

Our best wishes to Chad on this new opportunity.

Posted in ACT Staff