phishing: the attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.

Have you noticed the gobs of phishing emails that have been going around lately? And it only gets worse with holiday and charity phishing scams.


Phishing emails cost people time and are a big security threat. Think about the damage someone with malicious intent can do with your University internet ID and password. They can send email as you, log in to University systems, even change your direct deposit!!

So let's be phish-proof! It's easy!

How to

Here are the four easy steps to becoming completely phish-proof!

  1. Check the Grammar. A lot of phishing emails are written to try to sound professional and official, but make sloppy grammatical mistakes. A real email from your University tech professionals would be clear and proof-read.
  2. Check the Sender. Modern phishing emails are often from someone you know (because that person responded to a phishing email with their ID and password). But is it someone you know would email you about your inbox quota or password expiring (etc)? Usually not!
    Also remember, scammers can cut and paste Regents' copyright, wordmarks, etc, just as easy as anyone!
  3. Hover over the link. The phishing email will undoubtedly give you a link to use to reset your password, login to check your storage quota, etc. If you hover your mouse (don't click!) over any link in your email, you should see (usually at the bottom of the window) where the link is going to take you. A sure sign of phishing is for this link to NOT end in UMN.EDU.
  4. Report it. Always forward U of MN phishing emails to phishing@umn.edu. This address is closely monitored and security personnel can immediately stop traffic to the malicious link from the University network as damage control. If in doubt about a possible phishing email, always contact an IT professional!


Camtasia Relay is an application you can run on your PC to record a screen cast or presentation. This software is often referred to as "lecture capture" software, and is freely available to all U of M staff. Here is a link to the U of MN download page for the Relay software.


Lecture capture software has lots of uses, not just lecture capturing! I use it often to turn in assignments and updates for class here at the U, and also to record tutorials for Quick Bytes. It is the perfect tool for a no-frills "classroom flip." And I know people who use it to simply rehearse their presentations and watch them back. (Wait--people rehearse presentations? What a concept!) The application also provides a one-click publish to YouTube. And it's almost literally a big red easy button.
Camtasia Relay is similar to Adobe Presenter, a tool widely used in Extension in the past. If you are interested in a free (Presenter is $75/year) and very simple similar tool, Relay might be it! Presenter has some added features, like the ability to re-record a single slide and add quizzing, that Relay doesn't have. But Relay videos can be watched on mobile devices. So there's not a clear winner for lecture capture.

How To

A tutorial on setting up Camtasia Relay: (which I had to record in Hangouts on Air, because you can't record yourself recording yourself with Camtasia Relay! Gah head exploding!)


But wait! There's more!
Here is a bonus tip on how to have Camtasia Relay one-click publish to a program team YouTube channel (as opposed to your individual YouTube channel).
Note: if you do not have a program team YouTube account but think it sounds like something you might want, contact Alison Link, Extension academic technologist, BEFORE setting it up for quick and easy instructions. She will help you set up an account that allows multiple users, and help you get the channel set up right from the start.


Try It

Go ahead! Download Camtasia Relay and play for a few minutes! Fun! This is what Quick Bytes is all about--take the time to explore.

Share It

What could you use lecture-capture type software for? What do you think of Relay? What do you use for this type of thing now? Leave a comment and let us know!
As part of our initiative to connect technology more closely will the field work of Extension throughout Minnesota, representatives from our team are visiting Extension offices and events throughout the state. Please join us on our adventures!

In April, I (Amy) visited the Worthington Regional Office!

Destination: Worthington Regional Office
Miles Traveled: 395 mi, round-trip
Time on road: 6 hours 50 minutes, round-trip (I got lost at a detour! Twice!)
Tech Team Members: Amy and IT Goldy
Vehicle: Ford Fusion from Fleet Services, equipped with extra uncomfortable seats
Number of hours on road spent talking to a stuffed animal: 6 hours 50 minutes

On the drive down, the sky was glorious. See?

Those are just two of the 4000 pictures I took. Amazing.
Also: long drive. Loooooong. Driiiive. It's a lot of miles to entertain yourself. Hats off to you Worthingtonians who make that drive regularly. Respect.

Teammate Neil Anderson was planning to come with me, until the last minute when one of his more important U-wide committees changed their meeting to that day. As I have long suspected, the University cannot survive one day without him. Not one measly day!

Anyway, back to my visit!

The Worthington office is chock full of super fun and interesting people, and they all had lots of great questions about tech tools. After a really delicious pizza lunch, we dove into my brief spiel overviewing our team's services and strategy, then did a training on the office's selected topic, Google Drive, then wrapped it up with a listening session/Q&A. With just me and IT Goldy presenting, I got entirely sick of hearing myself talk. After over 2 hours, Amnesty International began to contact participants to see if they needed evacuation assistance. Release the hostages, it's time for a tour!!

Right, IT Goldy? Right! You wait here under this super sweet vinyl sign.
(see I told you I was talking to the gopher)

And now for the part you've all been waiting for, a video report from the field!

Thank you Worthington, for letting me crash your party for half a day! A fantastic time at a fantastic office!

Billie and I visited the Willmar Regional Office back in March, and here's our report from the field!

Destination: Willmar Regional Office
 Miles Traveled: 200 mi, round-trip
 Time on road: 4 hours, round-trip
 Tech Team Members: Amy and Billie
Vehicle: Toyota Prius from Fleet Services
Number of times GPS led us astray: at least 3

This was my first trip to Willmar, a facility I had heard so much about! And then when we got there, so many friendly and familiar faces. It just felt like home!
 We did a tech training based on some topics they had identified, including looking at some ed inspiration and video use, plus a technology Q/A, and an informal listening session on what the tech team could do better. This was a fun and engaged group, I'm telling you, Willmar knows what's what!
Things you may not know about Willmar Regional Office: they used to be a full-out asylum I KID YOU NOT, they have a killer patio for picnics/grilling/tanning (weather permitting or approx 2 weeks per year), their offices are ah-mazing and large and sunny etc etc , and they have top secret turkey research on the third floor. (I got to go up there but was not allowed to see any actual turkey research).
 Watch the 6-minute video above to catch up on all our antics and adventures as we report from the field!
Last fall I took a class here at the U, Designing Online Learning Environments. One of our final assignments was to create a "recipe" for an online course. Here it is.

[click to enlarge image] 
[text is below also so that Alison doesn't bust me for inaccessibility]

Text version:

Simple Extension E-Learning

An inspiring & optimistic educator
Institutional support
Thoughtful aesthetics
Course goals
Content, cut into chunks
Welcome message
Discussion forum
Course evaluation

The simplest of online courses does not take months and $20,000 to create.

With iterative design and the use of institutional tools, the ingredients listed can be combined in a matter of weeks and a first draft course can be launched that meets basic quality standards.

The rapid development and launch allows for integration of learner feedback before too much has been invested in time-consuming media development and interactivity.

Caution: Will get stale if left for more than 1-2 offerings. See "Advanced E-Learning" recipe for added freshness.

This is the kind of assignment where I roll my eyes and make gagging noises when I first read it. A RECIPE? That is so cheezy. I have a B.S. you know. With real Science and stuff. We didn't write RECIPES we did science. Well maybe we wrote Science Recipes but we called them FORMULAS and it was totally different.

But I have been a student here for a long time and I know how to play the game. Do the assignment. Stop making gagging noises. And guess what? It turned out to be totally worthwhile! It was a very thoughtful format for expressing my thoughts on what goes into an online course. I even got so into it that I put "From the Kitchen of: Quick Bytes." HA!

As a bonus, because I am just THAT KIND OF STUDENT, I did two recipes (that is 100% more than was required, just sayin). My second recipe is for Advanced E-Learning. 

Advanced Extension E-Learning

One recipe "Simple E-learning" 
Feedback from learners
Educator introduction video
Welcome video
Recorded seminars/workshops
Synchronous live classes/events
Learner-educator interaction

The recipe for "Simple E-Learning" lays out the most basic ingredients for what will be a quality, successful online experience for learners. 

This recipe adds advanced quality standards, such as multimedia and a wider variety of content delivery channels. Learner-educator is also essential in this recipe, done either in a learning environment, or simply over email or social media.

Must be fine-tuned based on the feedback from the simple recipe.
Caution: Preparation time will be greater for this recipe.

Online Courses have, until relatively recent history, been a massive and expensive undertaking for educators. My purpose here is to encourage us all to Keep it simple. Start small. Don't get paralyzed into doing nothing with your curriculum online by the pursuit of perfection. You can always add to it and make improvements as you go. Think what is the simplest thing you could put online to reach your learners that would jive with the 'simple recipe' above. And do it.
Do what you can
Where you are
With what you have.
--Theodore Roosevelt

How to
The key to this philosophy is that of iterative design. The product you release is never your final ideal product. Constant feedback is informing small enhancements and additions. You involve the learner in the design, through feedback, and that is huge. This is a flexible, inexpensive, forgiving, and efficient way to produce online learning objects. 

Share it!
What is your recipe for Extension online learning? 
What do you agree/disagree with in these recipes? What did I not take into account? (I promise not to make gagging noises.)