It often feels like there are not enough hours in our days to get everything done. To make life a bit more manageable, we need some system(s) and process(es) to help take the stress out of the workload.

Here are a few ways to help you manage your projects, large and small, and ultimately allow you to become more efficient:

Note: All links below will open in a new tab (or window, depending on your browser settings).

  1. Make a list of your priorities. Here are a few ways to do that:pencil and paper
    • Do a “brain dump.” Take a few minutes and grab a stack of sticky notes and write each task that comes to mind
    • Organize tasks by categories (e.g. home, work, class)
    • Choose a project to focus on
  2. To-do listSet some goals for yourself, organize your lists…
    • by priority (H-high, M-medium, L-low)
    • by project or location (work, home, school)
    • by deliverables (what is due first)
    • by importance (what matters most)
    • by time needed (how long will each task take to accomplish)

    Write down the tasks associated under each priority.

  3. Schedule your day! Follow this resource to learn how.
  4. For projects, plan out the pieces and parts – here is a resource to get you started.
  5. checking things off the list Read this blog post to find some resources to help get organized
  6. Cross off tasks as you complete them.
    • Keep your lists close by and easy to find
    • Use paper or find a program that helps keep you organized
    • At the beginning of each week update your plan and set some goals for the week
    • Every morning review your list to see what needs to be done (this also helps me get grounded for the day of work)
    • Delegate, schedule and, re-schedule anything that does not get accomplished

Resources to learn more:

Learn how to prioritize in 12 steps
http://www.wikihow.com/Prioritize

Prioritizing Projects in 3 steps
http://www.wikihow.com/Prioritize-Projects

Time Management for Students
http://www.cob.sjsu.edu/nellen_a/time_management.htm

Time Management: Tips to reduce stress and improve productivity
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/time-management/wl00048

CTL Blog Post on Time Management (with links to task management tools: Wunderlist, Got Milk, Google Keep)
http://blog.uvm.edu/ctl/2012/12/17/time-management-resources/

Additional Task Management Tools:

The UVM Faculty Senate Committee on Sustainability Learning Outcomes has announced that the draft outcomes are now available to the campus wide community and is asking for feedback.

The outcomes were developed over nearly a year of discussions with the Faculty Senate and administrators and three years after the Student Government Association Senate passed a resolution supporting the creation of a university-wide sustainability curricular requirement to be included in Phase II of the General Education plan.

The learning outcomes are rooted in UVM’s Common Ground, as they seek “to prepare students to live in a diverse and changing world.” The outcomes “recognize that the pursuit of environmental, social, and economic vitality must come with the understanding that the needs of the present be met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Draft Learning Outcomes:

Learning outcome 1: Students can have an informed conversation about the multiple dimensions of sustainability and its complexity. (knowledge category)

Learning outcome 2: Students can evaluate sustainability using a disciplinary approach and integrate economic, ecological, and social perspectives. (skills category)

Learning outcome 3: Students think critically about sustainability across a diversity of cultural values and across multiple scales of relevance from local to global.

To read the full description of each outcome and submit your comments please go to: http://blog.uvm.edu/dwang-genedsustain/. Please note, to enter comments you will have to login with your UVM net and password.

While the implementation and assessment plan is currently being developed, the vision integrates student achievement of outcomes in curricular and co-curricular activities.

For more about the history and process of General Education Sustainability Learning Outcomes, visit
http://gened-sustainability.wikispaces.com/.

Blackboard Organizations logoUVM licenses a Bb add-on tool that allows individual colleges and organizational units to create and manage course-like “organizations” in Bb. Example uses of these spaces might include:

  • Providing collaborative environments for Residential Learning Communities and student clubs or interest groups. 
  • Delivering training courses for faculty, staff, and students to ensure compliance with policies and regulations addressing safety, privacy, or any number of subjects. 
  • Creating work spaces and tools for faculty wishing to collaborate with colleagues who are otherwise not affiliated with UVM.

Organizations use different nomenclature in some ways (i.e instructors are listed as “Leaders”, and students are labeled as “Participants”), but otherwise are functionally equivalent to courses. Organizations are created individually by an administrator (who is assigned by the college) instead of being created and populated by the registrar.

Getting started

Colleges wishing to create these organization spaces will need to identify someone who will be responsible for creating and managing organizations in Bb for the college. An email from the Dean’s or Director’s office to blackboard@uvm.edu indicating the primary administrator will be enough to get started. Once we have that information, we will create the administrative space for this person, and work with them to provide as much instruction, training, and support as is needed.

Managing organizations

Managing organizations is relatively straightforward:

  • The administrator will be trained and supported by UVM’s Bb administrator. Training is not complex – at most a one-hour conversation is all that is needed. 
  • The percentage of FTE involved depends on how extensively the college makes use of the tools (i.e. how many organizations the college decides to create). 
  • Administrators will be required to follow protocols in terms of naming convention. Training and instruction is provided to identify these conventions. 
  • Tasks associated with this role require using a web interface to create organizational spaces. Participants normally self-enroll in these spaces, so enrollment management is minimal or non-existent. While these are not highly technical tasks, the person managing the organizations should be comfortable with computers and learning new applications.

How to tell if your college is using non-credit organizations

If you feel you have a use for a space like this, contact blackboard@uvm.edu explaining what you’d like to do, and we will direct you to the administrator for your college. If your college or unit is not using organizations, we can work with you and your Dean’s/Director’s office to identify possible next steps.

 
The CESS and CTL iPad/iOS User Group began meeting last year to discuss, troubleshoot, and demonstrate new ways to use iOS devices in teaching at UVM.  This year we are hoping to reunite the group and invite new participants too. So, if you use an iPad/iPhone/iPod or are interested in learning more about the potential for these devices, please join us!
 
Date:  Friday, September 20, 2013
Time: 9-10 a.m.
Location: 426 Waterman

The first half of the meeting will be dedicated to the Aurasma app and Augmented Reality in general.  Audrey Homan and Susan Hennessey will be joining us to lead this portion of the gathering. We will revisit Aurasma and your strategies for integrating the technology during our meeting in October. For more information about Aurasma, please check out this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qRcIek4NY0&list=TLhhWZvF6yS68  and download it here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/aurasma/id432526396?mt=8 .
 
The second half will be dedicated to participant’s strategies for integrating iOS devices into their practice or observations of use from other contexts.  Please be prepared to discuss and demonstrate at least one app.

Questions? Please contact adam.deyo@uvm.edu with any questions and to RSVP.  For past gathering notes, please visit the blog: http://blog.uvm.edu/cesstech-ipadusers/ .  
 
Adam Deyo and Hope Greenberg

Tip #1: Learn names. Jonathan Leonard (CDAE) makes the effort to learn every student’s name, even when he has hundreds of students! His strategy is to open the class roster page in Banner and display the students’ photos and, while studying each face, he speaks their names aloud. Over and over. And over. Occasionally he shifts the page arrangement, by changing the row settings to, for instance, students three across instead of five, and he keeps testing himself. He admits that it takes several practice sessions, but he claims the effort is well worth it. His students are completely astonished when he greets them at the door by first name. A large class it may be, but an indistinct mass of anonymous faces it is not. Individuals are being recognized and this, he says, changes the whole game.

(By the way, Jonathan isn’t the only one to stress the value of learning names. Every year when the CTL holds a panel discussion with the latest winnersof the Kroepsch-Maurice Excellence in Teaching Award, at least one of the panelists mentions that this practice is vital to their teaching style.)

Tip #2: Get students talking. Sheila Boland-Chira (English) recommends the turn and talk method in any class, but particularly on the first day when anxiety may be running a little high. She asks an evocative question related to the course topic and invites students to turn to their neighbors and talk about it. After a few minutes, she invites volunteers to share their thoughts with the whole group. Not only does the lively buzz change the atmosphere in the room, doing this on the first day lets students know that the class is participatory and that they are going to be challenged to think.

Tip #3 Make personal connections. Char Merhtens (Geology) asks students to come to her office and meet with her individually during the first week or two of the semester, just to say hi and chat for a few minutes. However, because there are 200+ students in one of her classes, visiting with everyone isn’t practicable, so she invites only the first-years and seniors, the two groups she feels would most benefit from this (although, for completely different reasons). Char says that this simple social gesture has paid off in countless ways and many students go out of their way to thank her.

Tip #4: It’s standard practice to review the syllabus on the first day of class, but a few faculty offered tips to make this ritual more meaningful:

  • Before the first class meets, contemplate your schedule again and identify the overarching themes. When you review the syllabus on the first day, share this 10,000-foot view with your students and talk about how the key themes are woven throughout the schedule. This overview provides not only a conceptual map of the course, but a rationale for the work you are going to be asking them to do.
  • Make the syllabus review more engaging by including interesting visual elements, e.g., drawings, concept maps, or a humorous cartoon. Consider playing music.
  • Use Blackboard’s test tool to create a short quiz about the syllabus with multiple-choice type questions (so Blackboard will do the grading for you) and make it a mandatory assignment by the second day of class. Doing this gets them to delve deeper into the syllabus and you can review the stats in Blackboard before the next class, so you can touch upon any murky areas.

Tip #5: Finally, convey enthusiasm! J. Dickinson (Anthropology) offered what might be the most important tip for the first class and every class: that it’s crucial to communicate your excitement about what you teach. Even if you’re not teaching your dream course, you should be able to muster enthusiasm for it. Foundational or introductory-level courses are exciting when you consider the potential for learning and that you just may spark an interest that has a formative effect on someone’s life. Genuine enthusiasm can be infectious.

As we head down the last stretch of the semester, it’s a good time to recheck our Blackboard course grade centers and make sure everything’s working as it should be. Here are a couple of tips:

  1. First, make backups! This is always recommended but of special importance now when we may be making more changes to the grade center and there is potentially more data to lose. Instructions for backing up the grade center are here.
  2. One of the trickiest aspects of the grade center is that the columns that the instructor sees (or does not see because they’re hidden) do NOT automatically correspond with what columns the students may see or not see. To hide a grade column from the students’ view, you need to click at the top of the column and select “Show/Hide to Users.” Once a column is hidden from them, a slash icon appears in the title bar of that column. However, if instead you simply chose “Hide Column,” then you’ve selected to hide the column from your Grade Center view. The column will still be seen by students unless you first choose “Show/Hide to Users.”

    The tricky part is that you can only do that if you can see the column. Therefore, you must first restore the column to your instructor view, and then choose “Show/Hide to Users.” To restore a hidden column to your instructor’s view, click the “Manage” button (while in Full Grade Center view) and choose “Column Organization.” Select (with a checkmark) any columns that appear as hidden and click the Show/Hide button, below. Then click, Submit. Once you have restored a column to your view, you can then take the step described above to hide the column from students.

Or… come visit the Dr. Is In for help! See our hours at http://www.uvm.edu/ctl/doctor

We love Google books but, for research, often find its limitations frustrating. We love the many and varied digital collections that abound throughout the web but wish they could be used in a more seamlessly interconnected way. The vision of a national online library is as old (older?) than dpla-logothe web itself and in the last two years working towards that vision has been the goal of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), a group of people from libraries both public and academic, technology companies, government agencies, publishers and funding institutions.

Launching this week* the DPLA (http://dp.la) , according to well-known digital historian and current director Dan Cohen, plans to connect “the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums so that the public can access all of those collections in one place; providing a platform, with an API [application programming interface] for others to build creative and transformative applications upon; and advocating strongly for a public option for reading and research in the twenty-first century. The DPLA will in no way replace the thousands of public libraries that are at the heart of so many communities across this country, but instead will extend their commitment to the public sphere, and provide them with an extraordinary digital attic and the technical infrastructure and services to deliver local cultural heritage materials everywhere in the nation and the world.”

The DPLA is built on a growing number of service and content hubs, institutions that already have large collections of digitized materials. It seeks to go beyond becoming yet another digital repository however, by offering services to increase the size and uses of the collections. For example, it will provide transparent access to its code and metadata so that developers can create additional capabilities. Its hubs may also offer services to local heritage organizations to help them digitize and curate their collections. [See also Palfrey, John "What is the DPLA?"]

Given the experience and track record of its leaders, this project promises to be the kind of digital library we have been waiting for. Read more about the DPLA and it’s vision for the development of this ambitious and amazing resource at http://dp.la

 

*The public beta launch was scheduled for April 18, 2013 at the Boston Public Library. Given the tragic events in the area adjacent to the library, the launch has been postponed. Check the website for news of rescheduling.

Marbles Applications are now being accepted for the UVM Hybrid Course Initiative program! Read more about teaching hybrid coures, about the initiative, and the benefits in applying to teach one of these courses.

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We’ve recently had fun expanding our Media Resources page. There are new links to image collections, organized by Agriculture and Natural Resources, Art, History, Science, and General Collections. There are more video links, too. Read about copyright and fair use, and then go forth… as a kid in a candy store: www.uvm.edu/ctl/mediaresources.

Grid of four images

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The ALANA Coalition is proud to announce the UVM Multicultural Exposition on February 28th in Billings North Lounge from 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM.  The exposition will showcase faculty, staff, graduate students and our community members’ research, publications, art, and music. ALANA anticipates that a variety of UVM community members with different expertise will  be on hand to share and facilitate rich discussions.

If you share you expertise and participate in the Exposition, please contact Alco at 656-5120 to register. Visitors are welcomed to stop by anytime between 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM without registering.

This event is sponsored by the ALANA Coalition, UVM Chief Diversity Office and the College of Education and Social Services.