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E-Learning and Instructional Support

Kresge Library, Room 430
100 Library Drive
Rochester , MI 48309-4479
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Office and Virtual Help: (248) 805-1625

Tech Tips from the e-LIS e-newsletter

Fri Jun 17, 2022 at 12:24 PM

Each month, e-Learning and Instructional Support emails a newsletter to all Oakland University faculty and staff. In it, we supply a Tech Tip. After more than a year of providing monthly Tech Tips, we are compiling them all on our blog. 

Profile picture status cards provide instant feedback for instructors

Teaching to black boxes can be difficult for faculty and instructors, but students may not turn on their cameras during synchronous courses. Unpredictable schedules, inconsistent internet access and unstable working environments can cause students to turn their cameras off.

Christopher Heard, professor in Religion and Philosophy and director of the Center for Teaching Excellence at Pepperdine University, created status cards that display in a students’ user video conference profile pictures during synchronous sessions and can provide instant assessments and feedback. Read more about the status cards on our blog.

Use Google for Simple Tasks

If you have a question, you ask Google. Now, Google can help you with certain tasks. Need to set a timer? Type Set a Timer into Google and a timer will come up. Need to choose between two options? Google can flip a coin for you! Type Flip a Coin into the search bar and Google will give you heads or tails. Use Roll Dice to get a random number. If you don't know the time, just type What Time Is It into the search bar. Google can also provide entertainment. Try Play Tic Tac Toe or Play Solitaire for a little mid-day fun!

Google Chrome Tab Groups

Are you a tab minimalist or a tab collector? Either way, Google Chrome can help keep all those tabs organized. Use Google Tab Groups to collect related tabs and easily find them as you switch between topics. The tab groups can even be labeled and color coded.

To learn more about Google Chrome Tab Groups, visit Google tips for all of the details. To see the full tip, check out the May 2021 e-newsletter.

New way to RSVP to meeting events

As we begin to return to being physically on campus more frequently, many events will be offered in a hybrid format, with some participants physically in the room and others joining via video conference. Now, event organizers can know who plans to attend in person and who will join virtually. 

When responding to event requests, Google Calendar users can indicate their intended attendance via a drop down menu. In the menu, select whether you will attend in-person or virtually. 

This feature is only available within Google Calendar and not e-mail software like Outlook or Apple Mail. To see the full tip, visit the August 2021 e-newsletter

XBrowserSync integrates data across browsers

Members of our staff love the free, open-source browser syncing tool, XBrowserSync. The application syncs bookmarks across multiple browsers like Google, Firefox and Edge, "securely, anonymously and free." XbrowerSync is available an extension for web browsers or as a mobile app. If you use multiple browsers on a regular basis, this tool can help keep you organized and consistent throughout your browsing experience, all without storing your private information. 

To get more information, visit the xBrowserSync website. To see our example pictures, or read the entire tip, check out the September 2021 e-newsletter

Using Kahoot! in the classroom or online classes

Do you Kahoot!? Kahoot! is a game-based learning application that provides an engaging, competitive way for students to review information or assess their knowledge of a topic. The Kahoot! host creates quizzes with multiple choice answers and students use their laptops or smart devices to answer the questions--competing against themselves and each other. 

While the application can be used live and in the classroom, it can also be used in synchronous online classes--here's how!

  • Create your quiz in advance
  • Connect to the class using a video conference tool like Zoom, YuJa or Meet. Make sure your webcam, microphone and speakers are turned on. 
  • From Kahoot!, click Play and host to launch the quiz. The lobby will appear with the game PIN. 
  • Share your screen so students can see the game PIN. Continue to share the screen as the students will need it to be able to see the questions. 
  • Host the Kahoot! game just as you would in person. 

Get more information from Kahoot! to try it in your class. 

e-LIS does not support Kahoot! However, we wanted to share this tip for those who use Kahoot! in classes. 

Use your voice to create Google Docs

Do you use talk-to-text on your phone? Did you know you can use the same feature in Google Docs? 

That's right. Enable Voice Typing and you'll be all set. 

Open a new document in Google Docs, then enable Voice Typing from the Tools menu. Voice Typing can even use commands like "comma," "question mark" and "new paragraph." To see this tech tip, visit the December 2021 e-newsletter

Zoom Tip - Controlling slides shared by another participant

When in a Zoom meeting or webinar, a presenter can give slide control to other participants, so that others can control the progression of slides for the presenter or when they are presenting their portion of the presentation. This avoids the need to ask the presenter to change the slide when they are ready, interrupting the flow of the meeting and presentation. Slide control can be given to multiple participants in a meeting, or multiple panelists in a webinar. This feature works with presentations from Keynote, Google Slides, Microsoft PowerPoint and Office 365 PowerPoint. 

How to control shared slides

To use the assigned slide control, during the meeting begin sharing a Keynote, PowerPoint or Google Slides presentation. On the sharing toolbar, click on Slide Control (only available from presentation mode). Select one or more participants to assign slide control. The slide control button will update with the number of participants with slide control next to the icon. The participants retain slide control as long as you continue sharing. The slide control will disappear if you exit presentation mode, but will reappear when you begin presenting again. You can revoke an individual's access by clicking their name in the list, or by clicking Stop Slide Control button or if you stop sharing completely.

Did you accidentally close a browser tab?

It can be incredibly frustrating when you accidentally close a browser tab that you need. However, there is a way to recover it! You can reopen closed browser tabs by using a key combination For PC users, Control+Shift+T and on a Mac, the key combination Command+Shift+T will reopen a closed browser tab. Hit it more than once and it will keep opening your closed tabs. 

Did you see that?

Sometimes YouTube videos can be long and difficult to search. Use this tip to direct someone's attention to a certain moment in the video! Click the Share button below the video. There is a checkbox below the link that says, "Start at..." You can enter a specific time OR pause the video at a specific point and then click Share. YouTube will automatically insert the time into the "Start at..." box. Copy the link to the video or use the Share buttons. When someone views the video, it will automatically skip to the selected time. When they start the video, it will begin at that point. To see more of this tip, visit our March 2022 e-newsletter

Zoom avatars give meetings a new look

Have you ever wanted to attend a Zoom meeting as a cat, dog or even a cow? Now you can! If you have updated Zoom to the latest version, which is 5.10.0, you can enable these fun avatars. The current version is 5.10.4.

The avatar replaces your appearance with that of an animal, however, the avatar mirrors your head movements and facial expressions. Zoom's technology uses your camera to detect your face, but your face isn't actually displayed, stored or sent to Zoom. According to Zoom, this provides a middle ground for users who don't want to appear on camera, but still want to express body language and facial expressions. While Zoom is only offering animal avatars at the time, new avatars will be added in the future. 

How to enable avatars

  • Ensure that your web camera is on and your video is enabled.
  • In the meeting toolbar, open your video options by selecting the ‘Stop Video’ menu
  • Select the Choose Virtual Background or Choose Video Filter option.
  • Navigate to the Avatars tab and choose your avatar! 
  • To change your avatar, visit the Avatars tab and select a different one to use. To remove the filter, select ‘None’ in the Avatars tab. Users can also click ‘Turn off avatar’ from their self-view video tile in a meeting, as well as the ‘Stop Video’ menu in a meeting. 

To see pictures of Zoom avatars in use, visit our April 2022 e-newsletter

Zoom Gestures

There is no need to click the thumbs-up or the raised hand in Zoom now that gestures are available. Give your webcam a thumbs-up and that emoji will appear on your window. Raise your hand and participants will see the hand emoji on the screen. Not only does this make it easier for participants to respond or ask questions, it makes it easier for hosts to see if participants understand the message or need more help. 

To use these gestures, the user must enable them from the Zoom Desktop app or from the iOS app on supported devices. To do this, while in the app, click on Settings and then click General as shown in the picture.

To use the gestures, join a Zoom meeting. Raise your hand or perform a thumbs-up. Hold the gesture for a couple of moments to allow the gesture to be recognized. An icon will appear at the bottom of the screen indicating the gesture is about to be displayed.

Tips for Using Gestures

  • Gestures must be used with video on and within the video frame
  • Only one hand must be visible and away from your face or body
  • For thumbs-up, Zoom recommends having your thumb in the upright position
  • For the raised hand, Zoom suggests using your left hand on the left side of the screen or the right hand on the right side of the screen, but not crossing the screen in either direction.
  • When using the raised hand gesture, keep your palm flat and toward the camera.

A notification will appear when recognition begins, allowing you to stop the gesture if not intended. To see more about this tip, visit our May 2022 e-newsletter

If you'd like to see more Tech Tips, watch for our e-newsletter, which is sent to all faculty at the end of each month. If you don't receive it and want to see it in your inbox, sign up now