Dr. Paul Gries – FAS Decanal Liaison for Online Learning

Earlier this month, Suzanne Stevenson, Vice Dean for Teaching & Learning in the Faculty of Arts & Science, announced the appointment of Dr. Paul Gries, from the Department of Computer Science as Decanal Liaison for Online Learning in the Office of the Dean.
As the Decanal Liaison for Online Learning, Paul will liaise with faculty and staff across the institution to identify opportunities and challenges in online technologies for teaching and learning; advise the Faculty on instructional team needs and priorities in this area; coordinate the Faculty’s participation in university, provincial and international online learning initiatives; and represent the Faculty on institutional committees related to online learning and academic technology.
Full announcement can be found at http://www.artsci.utoronto.ca/faculty-staff/cpad-info/2014-15/pdfs/5.pdf

A good reminder about inter-connectedness

A few days ago, several UofT services became sluggish or unresponsive, including our Learning Portal (aka Blackboard LMS). It turns out that a network downstream from the university had started blocking Google Analytics, and websites that use this service started to slow down as installed plugins tried to ‘call home’ to the ‘mothership’. Of course, community members would not have been able to distinguish the difference – to them, the service was unresponsive, and it made no difference knowing that the actual system was working properly. The problem was identified and fixed, but it’s an excellent reminder of how inter-connected, and inter-dependent, all of our systems have become. Sigh.

Alert: Compromised Teaching Links and Resources

We have become aware that some instructors are sharing non-UofT online resources with students, and that in a select few cases, these sites have been taken over by hackers and phishers, who nefariously use those non-UofT sites to collect information from unsuspecting students who believe the sites are legitimate learning resources assigned by instructors.

Instructors are highly encouraged to regularly check the status of the resources they assign, and if they see that the site has been compromised, to (a) remove the link asap, (b) inform students and advise them to change passwords if they inadvertently entered a password into such a site, and (c)report the matter to their local EdTech or IT Professional or portal.help@utoronto.ca asap.

If you need assistance identifying alternative teaching resources, please speak to your Liaison Librarian.

Microsoft IT Academy

<From Ivan Sestak, Senior Manager, ITS Client Support Services>
<To UofT Staff and Faculty>

We are pleased to announce the launch of the IT Academy Training web site!

The Microsoft IT Academy Program is a complete IT education toolkit designed for academic institutions. It enables faculty and staff to become proficient in using Microsoft business applications and to become certified in Microsoft technologies through Official Courseware (printed) and virtual online training.

Staff and Faculty can login to http://itready.utoronto.ca using their UTORid credentials and access training material and resources as well as sign up for Lesson Plans for Virtual Training.

Publisher integrations

A number of instructors at UofT are interested in using various teaching and learning tools produced by various publishers, especially for assessment activities.

In many cases, instructors have asked us to integrate those tools into our overall educational technology ecosystem.

Integrating a third-party tool has many layers of complexity – technical integration, integration with our single sign-on process, and, of course, performing an Information Risk and Risk Management audit to ensure that our data and intellectual property is properly protected. These processes can take several months to complete.

Over the next several months, we will begin the process of looking at specific publisher product integrations, but at the moment, we do not have any publisher integrations in place.

If you’d like to suggest a specific publisher or tool, please let us know via act.admin (at) utoronto.ca


LOCATION: MADLab, Gerstein Library
DATE: Thursday September 4, 2014
CTSI Back to School Series


Meet with educational technology specialists from the Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation (CTSI) and Academic & Collaborative Technologies (ACT) to learn about various technologies for teaching. The Teaching with Technology fair will showcase educational technologies that are not only available to all U of T instructors, but are also supported by CTSI, ACT and ITS staff.

This is a free casual event. Drop in and out of the technology fair throughout the day to learn, experience and interact with various educational technologies.

There will be presentations, on the hour, on a particular tool and/or challenge, providing information on the tool’s features, possible usage benefiting both instructors and students, and just-in-time best practices for incorporating the tool into your class.  This event is for new and returning faculty who want to explore and incorporate educational technology into their class with the aim of enhancing teaching and learning.

For more information on the technology showcase and presentation schedule visit us at http://www.teaching.utoronto.ca/about_ctsi/servicesexpertise/back-to-school/ttf.htm

REGISTER NOW: http://bit.ly/1lP40w7

*Please forward to any interested faculty, instructors, teaching assistants or staff members who support or consult on decision-making on educational technologies.