Tag Archives: Google

New features in Emerson Google Apps: Google+ and Hangouts

Red Google Plus Icon

Google Apps at Emerson now has Google+, a social networking platform where you can connect with your peers in a virtual campus. Join communities to network with people who share your interests. Hangout via video calls to discuss a project. Keep the creativity going after class – on your time, from anywhere.

Interested in utilizing aspects of asynchronous classrooms? Google+ can help you start to explore the world of social learning. Communication Studies professor, Cathryn Edelstein, has created a Google+ community with the aim of connecting professors and students from around the world. Cross-Cultural Higher Education Collaboration is open to the public and steadily growing. During the Fall 2013 semester, Cathy’s students worked with peers in Romania and Fiji. They used Google+, to share links and engage in discussions on the community’s wall; and collaborated on documents using Google Drive.

Instructions on how to set up Google+

You may already have a Google+ account with your personal Gmail. If so, an Emerson Google+ account would be a separate, second account under your name. Emerson College is already a “Circle” on Google – so you will be able to connect to anyone with an Emerson account that has activated Google+.

Icons of various Google Plus features

Create a profile, form circles with classes, video chat, store photos in the Google Cloud – or collaborate on the go!

Integral to Google+ is Google Hangouts, a set of video conferencing and group chat tools. In a video call, you can hangout with up to ten users in a video call via any device with a webcam. In group chats, the current quota is one hundred users. Either way – converse to your heart’s content.

Google Plus Hangouts Banner

You can set up the Google+ mobile app with your Emerson account information. Enter your first name_last name@emerson.edu and your password, and it will recognize it. Note – if you already have an account in the app, you are able to add a second one. Sleek and highly rated, the mobile app is good for on the go collaboration, and is available for Androids and iPhones.

If you have any questions about setting up Google+ or using Hangouts, please feel free to email ITG or call us at ext 8090!

Please note that Google+ and Hangouts are optional features of the Google Apps for Education at Emerson College. Users are NOT protected by the Google Educational Terms of Services that apply to Drive, Maps, Calendar, and Sites. For Google+ and Hangouts, Users will have to agree to accept Google’s Consumer Terms of Services and Privacy Policy, which means NO sensitive academic information should be shared, posted, or saved on Google+. Click here for more information or contact ITG with questions and concerns. 

Faculty Technology Survey Results!

In the spring, ITG asked the faculty what they thought about educational technology at Emerson. A good mix of full time (46%) and part time (54%) faculty from all departments responded.

The most interesting question to us was “What do you think of Canvas so far? What is easy, and what is confusing?” 74% of responses had feedback on specific features: organizing content (21%), assignments (19%), grading (19%) and the gradebook (17%).

We also categorized the responses as mostly positive or mostly negative:

69% had positive comments about Canvas, with only 5 negative comments

…and positive won by a landslide!

Sample comments:

 AMAZING. It's easy to post, email, receive work. Discussions are a bit confusing (though I haven't played around with it as much), student view seems less intuitive for certain things like submitting assignments and peer review. I think this just calls for extra clarity in instructions from the professor.

Canvas was easy and I thought a much better experience than when I used to use Blackboard. My students didn't have many issues, either.

Canvas is great! It helps me and students keep organized and tracks important information, such as assignment due dates and upcoming events. As far as improvements go, I think the icon/link that lets students see the annotated version of their drafts needs to be larger and prominent.

Nothing is easy. Its really not intuitive. There is an unavoidable, perhaps, learning curve. It will take a few cycles to fully utilize.

 I absolutely love Canvas so far. It serves as a single space for all of my class needs--from grading to assignments to syllabus to peer reviews. It's been fantastic. I love the Speedgrading feature along with the rubric function; it's made grading so much easier. I also love that the peer review feature allows for comments and replies to comments directly in the draft. Having all of that information (including attachments) directly in Canvas has been very helpful. Using Canvas has allowed me to go paperless for the first time.

More results:

Most respondents said they use Canvas, and they use it mostly to distribute content and for other administrative tasks like receiving assignments and grading.
68 responded: 67% did, 32% did not.

Of those who didn’t use Canvas, the biggest barrier was the lack of time to learn it. Other frequently used technology tools are Powerpoint and Google Docs.

Faculty’s main goals when using technology are to distribute course content (87%), save time in managing courses (76%) and provide supplementary materials to students (76%).

In general, faculty are comfortable using technology:

0 answered not comfortable, 16% somewhat comfortable, 42% confortable, and 42% very comfortable

What hinders them from using it is the time required to use it in the classroom (34%) and lack of technical skill (32%).

Faculty generally learn about technology from a staffer or by experimenting on their own:

77% from a technology support staffer, 76% on own by experimenting, 46% on their own by reading support documents, and 35% from a colleague

When asked “Is there anything else we should know?”, the responses were categorized as follows:

46% of answers were categorized as love, 42% uncategorized, and 10% of faculty said they had no time to learn technology

Sample comments:

You guys are awesome. Great support, quick response, very knowledgeable. The office makes instructors feel welcome:)

 The College IT/media learning support is good. The problem is finding the time to update skills in these areas.

We adore you too!


Student Technology Survey Results!

In the spring, ITG asked students their views about educational technology at Emerson.

As with the faculty survey, we were eagerly awaiting answers to the question “What do you think of Canvas so far? What is easy? What is confusing?”

The results are in, and students love Canvas even more than the faculty do!

77% viewed Canvas positively2% negative reaction to Canvas

Many had feedback on specific features: most of it was about organization of content (20%), and the Canvas user interface (17%).

43% of answers had feedback on features

A significant amount of students wanted professors to use Canvas even more! Sample comments:

I like it when professors use all of these abilities it has to offer because looking track of everything becomes easier.

I love it. I have one professor who has been taking full advantage of it and it has made submitting assignments and keeping track of grades so much easier. My one complaint is that not all of my teachers have made the switch.

 I like or when professors use all of these abilities it has to offer because looking track of everything becomes easier... I love it. I have one professor who has been taking full advantage of it and it has made submitting assignments and keeping track of grades so much easier. My one complaint is that not all of my teachers have made the switch...  I absolutely love it! So far only one of my classes utilize it though, History of Jazz. I want more classes to use it...Love it! Really easy and straightforward... It's really easy to use and is much better than webct

The ability to reference course content is seamless and easy to use. The only confusing thing I have found is the grading which seemingly calculates the points you have made out of the total possible points, for the semester...  I really like it a lot. It has a ton of features and is easy to use. Nothing is really confusing after you play around a little bit. I wish I used it in more of my classes...  I like Canvas a lot. I think it's very user-friendly... Much easier than webct... I like Canvas so far, but I don't think my professors have completely figured it out yet so I don't think we're using it to its full potential.

More results:

More undergraduates (79%) than graduate students (21%) responded. Almost all of the respondents use Canvas, and they report their professors use it to distribute content (97%) and for administrative tasks (72%).

90% yes, 10% no

Other frequently used technology tools are Powerpoint and Google Docs.

Students’ main goals when using technology are to access course content (96%), organize due dates and scheduling (78%) and to turn in work (75%).

Students are even more comfortable using technology than faculty:

not comfortable .5%, somewhat comfortable 4%, comfortable 44%, very cofortable 51%

They report that what hinders them from using technology is when professors lack technical skills (51%) or choose not to use it (57%).

They are much less likely than faculty to learn technology from a staff member, and more likely to learn by experimenting on their own or from a friend:

40% from staff, 56% from a friend, 81% on own by experimenting, 56% on own by reading support documents

When we asked “Is there anything else we should know?”, we got more positive comments about Canvas, a lot of pleas for professors to use Canvas more, some slightly disturbing information about people’s underwear, and a shout out from a student who works at the IT Help Desk. Hi Lindsay!




Google @ Emerson Accounts and Gmail

With Canvas now fully implemented, you’ll find one more use for your Google Apps account… I should say your Emerson Google Apps account (google.emerson.edu), not your personal Gmail account.

We’ve been busy testing how the two play together when used at the same time, within the same browser, and we feel it can be a bit convoluted. To simplify your life a bit, we recommend either:

a) opening Canvas in a different browser than what you check your Gmail in, or

b) simply logging out of your personal Gmail account before you log into Canvas.

Both of these will save you a lot of frustration if you decide you want to use the collaboration tools available in Canvas. As always, feel free to call the HelpDesk at x8080 if you have any additional questions.