Quick Bytes Live! Podcast

Kari Robideau and her pal, IT Goldy

#18:  Remember these 7 things in your teaching webinars 

(recorded June 5, 2017)
This podcast is a special edition with an extended discussion of the criteria for good webinars, not to mention our special guest! Don't miss it! Amy, Karen, Alison, and special guest Kari Robideau (live from Moorehead, MN) go over the seven components of the Delivering High Quality Webinars "rubric." We also talk about how you could evaluate your own webinar performance. Spoiler alert, one way is watching your own webinars! Eww!
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What is digital accessibility? 

According to whatis.com, digital accessibility is the ability for a website, mobile application, or electronic document to be easily navigated and understood by a wide range of users, including those users who have visual, auditory, motor or cognitive disabilities. People who have disabilities navigate websites using technology that helps them understand the content on the page. For example, a blind person uses a screen reader that will read the content to them; a person with no use of their hands may use a head pointer; and people who have difficulty typing may use text input software.

Example of a Screen Reader

** In this Quick Byte, I will only be discussing website accessibility.

Who does it affect? 

Disabilities affect a large part of the population – 15-20%. These can be temporary disabilities such as a broken arm or eye surgery; permanent disabilities such as deafness or blindness; or it could be an invisible disability such as ADHD or dyslexia. All of these types of disabilities will affect the way a person interacts with the web.

What can content editors do? 

When adding content to the web, be mindful of the people who use our websites. Here are some basic rules to follow:

Content

When writing content, be clear and concise. Scan-able content is very important for people who have trouble reading. Use headers, shorter paragraphs, lists, and plain language.

Headers

The header HTML (ex: H1, H2, H3, etc.) is not just used for looks. Screen readers will scan the page for all the headers and read them back to the user. Think of using headers as the outline of the page. They should always go in numerical order, do not skip headers and go from H2 to H4. Here's an example of what it should look like:

H1
     H2
          H3
               H4
     H2
          H3
     H2

Lastly, only include one H1 on each page. The H1 should be the topic of the entire page.

Images 

Images on websites can be used to add context to content or they can just be decoration on the page. Someone who is blind cannot see these images which is why alternative (alt) text is important. Alt text are words used to describe what the image is displaying. These words appear in the code, but not on the page. When a screen reader comes across an image, it will read this text to the user.

The only images that need alt text are the ones that add context to the associated content. If they’re used as a decorative addition, only include alt=”” in the code and the screen reader will pass right by it. If the blank alt="" is not included, the screen reader will read the image's file name back to the user.

diagram for when to use alt text on images

Photo Source: Adrian Roselli from his Selfish Accessibility presentation at MinneWebCon 2017. 

Links

Many times, links are denoted with a different color. This may not work for someone who has trouble seeing color differences. Adding an underline or a specific icon to the link helps all users understand that they can click on the words and be taken somewhere else. The underline should be included in the style sheet by the web designer or developer, so this isn’t something a content editor should have to worry about.

Example of what a colorblind person sees on our site with underlines (left) and without (right).
Screen shot of U of M Extension webpage with underlined links Screen shot of U of M Extension webpage without underlined links
When writing words that will become links, remember to be descriptive. Do not use ‘learn more’, ‘read more’, or ‘click here’. Screen readers can scan a page for all the links and read them back to the user. ‘Click more’ does not tell the user where they will go. Instead, you could use ‘learn about Extension’ and add the link to the whole phrase.


Summary

Creating websites that are accessible to all people takes work from everyone on the team. The more you consider how all users of a website are navigating around, the more people you will be able to serve.


Quick Bytes Live! Podcast

Episode 17:  Phishing, Google Photos, and more

(recorded May 24, 2017)
Amy, Karen, Alison, and Billie go over some ways you can be on high alert for Phishing attacks. We also have a tech tip about using Google Photos, and we all play Karen's Quiz Byte game, which this week is a fun idea for a meeting warm up.

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When I help people first learn WebEx, it’s hard for me not to overload them with all the great things you can do in a webinar. Most people learn the tool quickly and after hosting a few sessions, they are pretty proficient. But having a high quality webinar is more than just knowing how to use the software.

Kari and Karen.jpg
Karen and Kari, MN eLearning Summit 2016
Kari Robideau, Extension Educator in Youth Development and I have presented a number of workshops called “Sharpen Your Webinar Teaching Skills” where we focus on the research related to teaching and engaging participants in distance learning environments and we demonstrate/share techniques for distance learning. Between Kari’s experience teaching with webinar technologies and my experience supporting and teaching Extension employees how to use the tools, it has been a great collaboration.

Our workshop introduces participants to a webinar evaluation rubric for Extension. This is an evaluation tool that will assess the effectiveness and quality of extension staff teaching online. It can be used as a reflective practice tool for the teacher and/or as a peer review by a colleague.

The Rubric

The rubric includes 7 key webinar components and each component has 3-5 indicators. Examples are provided with each indicator. The 7 components are not a checklist that need to be completed in any order. As with any rubric, you know that if you have high marks in these areas, you will have a high quality presentation.
  • Technology: Tools, Distractions, Supplemental Materials
  • Content: Presenter Information, Goals, On Task
  • Organization: Direction, Online Accuracy, Information Chunking, Structure
  • Delivery: Variety, Reflection, Transitions
  • Visual Aids: Purpose, Readability, Scaffolding Information, Visual Relevance, Visual Variety
  • Participant Interaction: Active Learning Approaches, Expectation of Participants, Questions
  • Evaluation: Evaluation Provided

Example of the Technology component scoresheet:



Kari and I are very interested in feedback about anyone who uses the rubric to score and evaluate your webinars or even if you use it as a reflective practice tool or peer review by a colleague. Also, if you have suggestions for improving the tool, please let us know that as well!

Did you know...


  • It takes hackers only 9 minutes to crack an 8 character password.
  • You should use unique passwords for every account you create.
  • Passwords are not enough - you should use two-factor authentication (2FA) whenever possible. 
These are a few of many messages shared by Jenny Blaine at a recent Stay Safe Online presentation. Jenny is a Security Analyst with the University’s Information Security office. She reminded us that scams are nothing new except now they are more sophisticated, online, on your phone and on social media. Her presentation was not meant to scare us but rather inform us about ways we can protect ourselves.

Here are more resources and examples of what she shared:
Jenny is presenting her Stay Safe Online workshop at Extension staff conference this Thursday. It will be well worth your time!

Extension Technology at Staff Conference

We are looking forward to seeing you at staff conference and hope you join us in one or more of our workshops:

9:45 - 10:45 a.m.

Extension Quick Bytes Technology Demonstrations, Room 155
Join us for a look at several new tools you can use for collaboration, productivity, teaching and work/life balance. We will provide simultaneous small group demonstrations and use cases, giving you the information you need to decide if it would work for you. The open format will allow you to choose which demos you want to see, or see them all! This fun session will give you dozens of ideas and reboot your brain for fresh perspectives on how to enhance your work

10:55 - 11:55 am

Extension Quick Bytes Technology Demonstrations, Room 155 (repeat)

2:00 - 4:00 pm

Editing Educational Videos: Hands-on workshop, Room 230 LES
If you have ever taken video on a mobile device or camera and would like to learn how to edit and share your video, this workshop is for you! This hands-on workshop will teach you how to produce fast and easy educational videos. The primary focus here is on the editing and publishing piece of production. This workshop is intended for people who have previous experience shooting basic videos on mobile devices. Laptops provided. Limited to 30. Pre-registration required.

3:05 - 4:00 pm

Advanced PowerPoint: Slides that are compelling, creative and quick, Room 156
Would you like to raise the quality of your presentations and visuals? Learn advanced PowerPoint design best practices and easy ways to improve visualization of your numeric and non-numeric data. We'll show makeovers of different types of visuals (visuals donated by your Extension colleagues!) that will demonstrate how to improve your data visualization with quick changes using basic Microsoft Office software.




Quick Bytes Live! Podcast

Episode 16:  Infographics and e-publishing

(recorded May 9, 2017)
Amy, Karen, and Alison chat about one of Amy's favorite online tools, Piktochart. They discuss good uses of infographics and other similar tools. Alison answers a listener question about e-book publishing. And we all take her Quiz Byte!
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It's no secret around here, I am a huge fan of a free, online tool called Piktochart. I use it all the time to make infographics, usually shamelessly self-promoting our team. For example, this one!


I just have so much fun with these. You can upload your own images, so that's how I got little IT Goldy, our team pic, and even some branding on there. Then you can download as a PNG (image file) or share via a link (or even embed on the web with iframes, for you fellow nerds). Pretty handy.

Another one that our team has made for many years is our "By the Numbers" infographic (below). Infographics lend themselves especially well to this kind of thing. Numbers buried in paragraphs aren't as compelling. I embedded this one so the links in there are even live--nice, huh?



One thing to be aware of is that these infographics are very visual, and likely make their information difficult for visually impaired readers to get at. For this reason, I like these to be a supplement to the usual forms of information. Kind of a "cliff's notes" version of a real information source.

I've also used Piktochart to make presentations, which are super easy to create. You might want to be sure you have a good internet where you'll be presenting it. The presentations feature gives you a series of slide-sized infographics to page through.

Try it out and let us know what you do with it!

Quick Bytes Live! Podcast

Episode 15: Work Smarter(Arter) not Harder

(recorded April 27, 2017)
Amy and Karen chat about a long-time feature of Microsoft Office, Smart Art, and about how Karen is helping people rediscover this feature in today's "Data Viz" world. Karen tests her knowledge of Google tools, and answers a listener question about making screenshots. 

Links from this episode:

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SmartArt is a time-saving graphic tool, built into PowerPoint, Word and Excel. If you have never used SmartArt or if it’s been awhile since you explored it, you may want to take another look. With a few formatting changes to the plain vanilla SmartArt, you can quickly visualize your ideas with charts, diagrams, process maps and more. Tips for what type of graphic to choose are available right in the tool:

Using SmartArt in PowerPoint

SmartArt can be added on a slide from the Insert menu, or you can convert existing text to SmartArt. Here is an example of converting existing bulleted text to a nice visual design:

1. Right-click on some text
2. Select Convert to SmartArt


3. In the sub-gallery, hover the cursor over SmartArt to preview the graphics. Select a SmartArt graphic or click More SmartArt Graphics located at the bottom of the gallery to open the SmartArt dialog box.

4. In this example I chose the Picture Strips diagram



Some of the SmartArt designs include placeholders for photos or graphics. In this example, double-click on one of the placeholder boxes to add a photo.













SmartArt Design Toolbar


Use the SmartArt toolbar to make design changes to your graphic. Make sure you have your SmartArt selected (select the entire graphic, not just an element within the graphic):
Add or move shapes and text.  If you need to add a shape or re-order your shapes, use the tools in the Create Graphic section of the ribbon. Using the text pane is an easy way to edit your text.



Change the layout. If you want to change the graphic to something else, just click the drop down arrow to view more layouts.



Change colors. If you are using an Extension template, it will include Extension’s color palette.



Change styles. If you want to change the default style, click the down arrow in the SmartArt Styles section of the ribbon to view all of the available styles for your layout.






SmartArt can be cheesy and over-done so use your best judgement and don't go crazy, especially with the 3D styles and non-Extension colors. It's a quick way to transform your wordy slides into visuals. Here is the before/after of my example:

Before:


After:






More Examples:

Before:

After:



Before:


After:




Before:


After:
Have you used SmartArt to improve the design of your slides or help communicate your message? Do you have examples to share? We always enjoy your comments and questions.


Overcoming Barriers to Nutrition Education

The SNAP-Ed program is very aware of the logistical barriers that prevent low-income community members from attending a weekly course. Work schedules, childcare, transportation, and balancing a number of other expected and unexpected daily responsibilities makes regular attendance at classes more than challenging. Yet, there is valuable curriculum that has proven to be successful. So the SNAP-Ed program is ready to begin sharing the curriculum online to improve access and flexibility.

The look and feel of the course will be critical to learner engagement, so early in the project I made sure to observe an in-person course. From that experience it was evident learner interaction with peers and the instructor is the heart of the program and would need to factor heavily into the course design.

Rapid Prototyping in Instructional Design

In order to get the look and feel of the course "right," we have been utilizing a "rapid prototyping" approach to instructional design. That means the design, development, and evaluation phases aren't linear. We're starting with a scaled-down representation of the course by working with one hypothetical lesson modeled after the one I observed in person. Before we create any of our own media content, we simply utilize existing videos and images as place holders. Each prototype invites new conversation to get at a deeper understanding of the "right" fit approach.

We started with a mock up in Ning. Ning is a platform that focuses on social interaction, and would afford us the opportunity to have groups of students learn together over a specific amount of time.


This iteration of the model allowed us to continue the conversation about how learners would move through the content, and we determined that "grouping" was not necessary and might put up barriers and/or create logistical concerns that are unnecessary. This ah-ha moment opened the door to try Google Sites (with FlipGrid for interaction) and Blogger (using comments for interaction) as potential platforms.

Google Sites



Blogger


The process of prototyping opens up the "black box" we each have in our minds, making coming to a shared vision much easier, preventing major back-tracking later in the project. We hope to bring one or more of our prototypes to a couple of focus group audiences later this spring to increase the likelihood of success even more by letting potential audiences in on the development process.

Are there any projects or growth opportunities for your program you've been thinking about that could benefit from a rapid prototyping approach to e-learning design?

Bonus

During the University's Learning Management System (LMS) evaluation, we also had the opportunity to play with the Moodle Rooms "Snap" theme.


You can control the start and end times of a WebEx Meeting recording before sharing it with others. This is a nice option when you want to cut out unwanted chit chat, noise or even dead air at the beginning or end of your meeting. But for more extensive editing such as adding a title slide or editing content in the middle of the webinar, you can convert a WebEx recording to MP4 and then use video editing software (e.g. WeVideo.com) to edit, create a new recording and share it on YouTube. Instructions for both options are below.

Control the Start/End Times of a Recording

  1. Log into umn.webex.com
  2. Click Meeting Center
  3. Click My Recorded Meetings in the left navigation. 
  4. Find the recording you want to trim. Tip: play the recording before editing to write down the start and end times you want.
  5. Click the three dots on the far right side and select Modify
  6. Under the Playback Control, select the Partial Playback option. Note: your edits do not actually delete any content. It just controls the start/end time of your recording. 
  7. Enter the Start and End times you prefer
  8. Tip: Notice the Panel Display Options in this section. You can control which panels can be displayed during playback. 
  9. Click Save 

Editing a WebEx Recording

  1. Follow the instructions to download and convert your WebEx recording to MP4 format
  2. Edit your video in WeVideo.com or another video editing program. Learn more about WeVideo.
  3. Share it on YouTube
Questions and comments are always welcome!



Quick Bytes Live! Podcast

Episode 14: Getting Fancy with WeVideo.com

(recorded March 28, 2017)
Tom, Amy, Karen, and Alison chat about how to get fancy with your video using WeVideo.com. Karen answers listener questions about Google Drive, and we share a good tip for when you're having a mousing emergency. 
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Someone recently asked me how they can edit Microsoft documents that are stored in Google Drive, without having to download them first. Google Drive is great for storing and sharing many different types of files - Google documents, Microsoft documents, images, video, etc. Storing and sharing are one thing, but when it comes to editing Microsoft documents that are stored in Drive, it can get tricky.

One option is to convert your Microsoft documents to Google. Problem solved, right? Not really. Sometimes you need to keep documents in their native Microsoft format. Well, if you are using the download > edit > upload method, there is an easier way. In fact, there’s more than one way to edit them directly from Drive!

Edit with Microsoft Office

Install the Google Drive App and Google Drive will appear as a storage location in Word, Excel and PowerPoint. When you open a file in your Microsoft application, navigate to your Google Drive and open your document (click Open, Browse and select Google Drive).



With the Drive App installed, Save documents directly to your Google Drive by navigating to your Google Drive when you save your document.

Also, when you open Windows Explorer on your computer, you can access your Google Drive files without having to open your browser. This makes it really easy to transfer files between your computer and Google Drive.

For basic edits, just use Chrome

With a free Chrome extension, Office Editing for Docs, Sheets, and Slides, you can open Word, Excel and PowerPoint right within your Google Drive.

Install the Chrome extension
  1. Open Google Chrome
  2. Go to Office Editing for Docs, Sheets, and Slides
  3. Click Add to Chrome. The Extension installs on your Chrome toolbar.

Using the Chrome extension
  1. Open Google Drive
  2. Navigate to a Word, Excel or PowerPoint document
  3. Double-click on the document
You will notice the editor does not have all the features of editing in Word, Excel or PowerPoint but it allows you to make basic changes to the document without having to download it first. The Chrome extension will appear in the address bar. As you edit, google will continue to automatically save your changes to your original (docx, xlsx, pptx) document.




Mobile Apps for Editing Microsoft Documents

I use my phone to access and edit my Google documents all the time. I can edit Microsoft documents on my phone too, using the following mobile apps (Android or IOS):
  • Google Drive to manage your folders and documents
  • Google Docs to edit Word documents
  • Google Sheets to edit Excel documents
  • Google Slides to edit PowerPoint documents
With the Google Drive App and the Google Chrome extension, it makes it much easier to store, share and edit all of your documents in Google Drive. Please leave your questions or comments below!


banner: an introduction to wevideo


You might remember that we were trying WeVideo.com out when I made the 1:Button Studio Tour blog post. With our beloved Windows Movie Maker getting further and further out of date, we decided to invest in 100 Pro licenses for UMN Extension.

In this post, I'll share with you the basics of WeVideo and how UMN Extension personnel can get a license.

And if you're external, you can use the free version so might find this useful as well!

WeVideo: Primary Strength

One of the main advantages of WeVideo over other video editing software is that it allows for collaboration. This is something we struggle with in teams with video editing. Sharing the raw footage can be difficult, not to mention sharing the in-progress video editing files!
Since WeVideo is all online, it's like the Google Drive of video editing. 
You pick who to share it with and what they can do to your stuff. ISN'T THAT EXCITING? Squee.

If you're both working on the same "edit," WeVideo will lock the file while someone is actively working. So, although you can't simultaneously edit, you can at least still work on the same editing project.

WeVideo: Basic Editing



On top of collaboration features, WeVideo is a totally passable video editor. It does pretty much everything Movie Maker could do, plus a little bit more. I put together the video above demonstrating what I think are the most useful video editing features:
  • Green screen 
  • Webcam recordings
  • Screen recordings
  • Lower thirds
  • PowerPoint narration
  • "Cutaway" shots
WeVideo easily allows multiple video and audio tracks--so doing the coveted "cut-away" shot--where the audio continues but the visuals cut over to some photos or B-roll--is a very straightforward task!

Here's a screenshot so you can get the idea:



If you set up your YouTube account in WeVideo, it is just a one button publish to your YouTube channel! You can also download the file, or "publish" to Google Drive.


Get a License

If you think WeVideo would be useful in your video work, I encourage you to fill out our WeVideo license request form. Limited to UMN Extension personnel only for licensing reasons. Thank you!

So what do you think? Would you like me to demonstrate some "How-Tos" in a future blog post? What have you discovered about WeVideo?

banner graphic, totes optional: Podcast episode 13. Trello for Project Management


Quick Bytes Live! Podcast

Episode 13: Trello for Project Management

(recorded February 22, 2017)
Tom, Amy, Karen, Terri, and Alison discuss this week's blog post on using Trello for project management. Terri was ambushed when "record podcast" just showed up on her calendar and she is a natural! We also share a couple great tools in the Tech Tips segment, including Flip Grid and Piktochart.
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Have you ever worked collaboratively with a team and struggled to keep track of tasks? I suggest you try Trello. According to their site - "Trello is a collaboration tool that organizes your projects into boards. In one glance, Trello tells you what's being worked on, who's working on what, and where something is in a process." I find it useful because it keeps everyone in the loop during the whole process – even if you’re in different offices, working at completely different times. Here’s a deeper look into Trello’s features.

Boards

Trello consists of project Boards that can feature cards organized by different lists. When you open a Board you’ll see a blank canvas.


One of the things I like best about Trello is its simple User Interface and User Experience. Trello does not bombard you with too many options and all you have to do is click around to create lists and cards.

Each board has an unlimited number of lists. In each list, you can create cards. Finally, in each card, you have the ability to add details, which includes:
  1. Description – Explains what the card is about; can be as long or short as you need
  2. Members – Add specific people to the card and they will be alerted of any changes
  3. Labels – Can be customized per project
  4. Checklist – Allows you to add to-do items and check them off
  5. Due dates – Enforces a date to finish the steps on the card
  6. Attachments – Can add attachments, such as screenshots or documents, to the card for better explanations
  7. Comments – Members can communicate through comments
  8. Activity – Documents all the activity that happens within the card, keeping everyone on the same page


Actions

There are five action buttons on each card.
  1. Move – allows you to move the card to a different board, different list, or a different position on the list
  2. Copy – allows you to copy the entire card, or specific pieces of the card to create a new card
  3. Subscribe – allows you to get updates on the card changes
  4. Archive – once everything on the card is completed, you can archive it
  5. Share – You can share a link to the card, print it, or email it to someone

User Interface

Like I mentioned earlier, the user experience is one of my favorite features of Trello. Most of the actions require only your mouse or the Enter key on the keyboard. When creating new lists or cards, start typing in one, hit Enter when done, and you can start a new one. You’re able to click and drag the cards from list to list. You can do the same when reordering checklist items. Opening and closing cards requires a quick click on or off the selected item.

If you want to quickly edit a card, hover over it until the pen icon appears, click on it.


The background greys out allowing you to make and save a couple quick changes. You can’t do everything here, but it’s a helpful addition.


Describing Trello’s UI is not nearly as fun as actually trying it, so I would encourage you to check it out on your own!

Board Menu and Notifications

Back out at the board view, you’ll find a menu on the right side. This is where you can:
  1. Add members – include people you want to collaborate with
  2. Change Background - Change the color of the board background, which is only for your view
  3. Filter cards – you have several options for filtering. The one I find most helpful is filtering the cards assigned to me
  4. Power-Ups – Gives you options to integrate other apps with Trello
  5. Stickers – Are similar to emojis – fun, but without much added benefit for team collaboration
  6. More – Options for settings, labels, see archived items, sharing, and closing the board
  7. Activity – shows all the activity that happened on the board from every member

Different Boards

Finally, on the left side of the screen is a button that says “Boards.” This is where you can flip between different project and personal boards, create new boards, and see old ones.


I’ve been using Trello for a couple years now and love it. If you’re looking for a better way to collaborate with a team give Trello a try.