How Comfortable Are You With Technology?

This tool is intended to allow you to check your comfort level with basic teaching technologies. It is important that you are comfortable with the technology you are expected to use regularly for teaching. Comfort is different for everyone. So rather than dictate a required benchmark of knowledge, the appropriate technical knowledge is presented in topic areas as a series of questions. Your answers to these questions are an indicator of your readiness for teaching & learning using technology.

The questions below define the basic knowledge you will need to know. Please read through each section and answer the questions. By the end of the document you should be starting to develop a level of confidence in your knowledge and a game plan to increase it.

As you check "Yes" or "No" for each question some information will be displayed for you. The information presented to you is the same regardless of your answer. The information is designed to answer the question as well as give you further information where possible.


File Management - My Documents, file types, ZIP/compression, file and folder naming

File management refers to how you store information on your computer, in files and folders. It is very common for computer users, even relatively experienced ones, to be challenged with file management. Given the ever-increasing size of hard drives and the amount of files involved in day-to-day activity it is essential you have a clear idea of how and where your documents are stored. This also means that you should possess the ability to manipulate those files, by moving them from one folder to another, to a USB key, and be able to bundle them up (ZIP them).

To lack skill in this topic area this puts you at risk of losing documents or overwriting files unintentionally, and makes backing up your hard drive difficult. It will also slow down course preparation if you can't locate previous files used to teach a course.

Check your level of comfort

Yes

No

Could you find any file on your computer given the file's name?
This question means "do you know how to search on your computer?" For Windows users you will find a Search option when you click on the "Start" menu. Mac users can use Spotlight in the upper right of their menu bar.
Do you know how to make folders and how to make folders within a folder?
Similar to a filing cabinet, the best way to organize documents is to put them in folders. On your computer, you can create folders to save your files. There are several ways to create a folder - you can create one before you create your documents or after.
Could you move a folder from one location on your hard drive to another location on your hard drive (or to a USB key)?
There are many different ways of moving folders. One method is to "Drag and Drop", that is to click and hold the folder you want to move and then drag it to the location you want to store it. Another is to use the Cut and Paste options.
Can you state one advantage of storing your files in the "My Documents" folder?
Using this large folder will help you keep your files organized and make looking for files easier. It also makes the process of backing up your files an easier task.
Do you know how to find the actual size of a file?
Right clicking on a file icon and choose Properties (PC) or Get Info (Mac). The window that pops up will provide information about the file size.
Are you comfortable copying, moving and/or deleting files?
File management is not much different from using cut-copy-paste in a Word processor. Right clicking on an icon will reveal these options. Many files can also be dragged and dropped between windows on a PC or Mac.
Do you know what these extensions mean and what these file types are most commonly user for? .doc .docx .xls .ppt .jpg .pdf
".doc" is the basic file format for Microsoft Word. Newer versions of Microsoft Office have updated this format and called it ".docx".
".xls" belongs to Excel and ".ppt" to PowerPoint. ".jpg" is pronounced jay-peg and is a common format for images on the web. ".pdf" is a portable document format and documents saved as such a file type can be read by anyone whether they have the original application or not. Usually Adobe Acrobat Reader is used to read PDFs.
Can you ZIP and unZIP a file or folder (also referred to as "compressing" a file)?
Right clicking on a document's icon will reveal a sub-menu. On a Mac you'll see the "Compress" option and on a PC you will see "Send to>compressed (zipped) folder". The compressed or zipped file will be saved in the same folder as the originals.
Can you move between multiple applications or windows with ease?
On a PC the available windows will show in the task bar at the bottom of the screen. You can also use "ALT tab" to toggle between documents or applications. On a Mac you can use "Command tab" to move between applications. F11 will show all open windows or F10 will show the open windows in your current application. 
 

Network Services - email, Exchange, MyCampus, network drives, printers, web servers

When you are on campus and wired into the network, your computer becomes a window to a variety of services. These services include email, shared file storage drives, and printers. Also available on the network or via the Internet are MyCampus, DC Connect, and Durham College web servers. Shared drives or network drives allow faculty to store files onto network drives for backup, security, or distribution to others.

Faculty can use these services, the shared drives for instance, to deliver files to their students or to backup certain documents from their computer. A clear idea of what services are on the network and the roles they play can also help in troubleshooting when things go wrong (especially in front of a class).

Discomfort with the network or lack of awareness of the available services can cause you to work harder at some tasks than is necessary or increase the lead time required, for instance if you had to photocopy assignments instead of distributing them electronically. It is also possible to get confused about what password matches which system and therefore lock yourself out.

Check your level of comfort

Yes

No

Do you know what your network logon ID is?
Your network ID is also called your Banner ID or student ID. It is a nine-digit number usually starting with 100 and is unique to each person.
Can you change your logon password?
Control Alt Delete on a PC will bring up a dialog box. Choose the Change Password button and enter the old and new passwords.

On a Mac go to the User Accounts in the System Preferences. Select your account and modify the password. You must be signed onto the network when you do this.
Have you ever logged on to MyCampus?
Login to the MyCampus web service using your Banner ID and your MyCampus (or DC Connect) password.
Can you get a student roster from MyCampus?
This is found in the Administrative Services section in MyCampus
Do you know what the difference is between the H: drive and the I: drive?
The I: drive is accessible by other faculty and the H: drive is your own personal storage space and is only accessible by you.
Do you know where to go or who to call for technical assistance?
The IT Service Desk in the Computer Commons or phone ext. # 3333.
Could you distribute a file to your students without using email?
The best method is to post your documents for your students is in DC Connect.
Have you ever had students submit assignments to you electronically?
Assignments can be submitted electronically through the Dropbox Tool in DC Connect. However, you can also have students email their assignments to you. Working with emailed assignments can be more work, but it is an alternative.
Do you have an Internet connection at home?
Such connectivity adds flexibility to your workday since it allows you to accomplish tasks away from Campus.
Could you add a new printer to your computer?
To do this requires some knowledge of the name or location of the printer. On a PC clicking on the Start menu and selecting "Devices and Printers" is the first step. On a Mac, click the Apple menu and open the System Preferences. Then choose "Printers & Scanners".
Do you know the URL for DC Connect?
Support for using the Durham College network can be found at the service desk website

Email - setup, attachments, choices

The ability to communicate electronically is essential to campus activities. It is the primary means of communication at our institution. Many faculty members communicate with students using email. Therefore, it is necessity to be familiar with attachments in both sending and receiving.

All staff and faculty are given a Microsoft Exchange email address that ends with @durhamcollege.ca. This can be accessed using Microsoft Outlook, or through an Internet browser. DC Connect allows you to compose and send email to your students directly from the learning management system. You may already have your own personal email account. It is wise to become familiar with, and to consider the features and limitations of each email solution and to decide which best meets your needs.

Note that students are not given a Microsoft Exchange email address, but access their institutional mail via dcmail.ca. Faculty and staff do not have a @dcmail.ca email address.

Not being competent in this area can inhibit your ability to communicate and could cause you to miss information or create unnecessary struggles in completing tasks. Faculty may think they are communicating with their students, yet messages could be missed.

Check your level of comfort

Yes

No

Can you send and receive email?
Microsoft Outlook is the College's email program. It provides a lot of features to assist you in managing your time and information. However, you do not have to know all their features to send and receive email. It is crucial that you have basic email literacy, as this is the primary means of communication for the institution.
Do you know how to include an attachment with an email?
An attachment is a file that you want to send to somebody along with your email.
Do you know how to save an attachment that someone emails to you?
Saving an attachment from an email is usually straightforward but it equally important that you pay attention to where the file is saved, so that you can retrieve it later.
Have you ever accessed email through an Internet browser such as IE or Firefox?
It is possible to get to you email using an internet browser by going to email.durhamcollege.ca instead of a dedicated email program. The reason for this is that it allows you the ability to get your email from any computer connected to the Internet.
Do you know how to copy and paste a URL into an email?
Selecting text and using "Copy" from the "Edit" menu, or by right clicking on the text and choosing "Copy", will copy it. You can then click on the email and use "Paste" from the "Edit" menu, or right click to use "Paste" from the menu.
Could you use the calendar in Outlook to schedule a meeting with other people?
It is possible to make a date on the calendar in Outlook or Entourage and invite others to meet with you on that date. You can also check their availability on that date (provided their calendar is up to date).
Do you have a signature in Outlook?
It is possible to pre-build a text signature in Outlook and automatically append it to the end of your emails. This will save you having to retype it every time.
Could you email your entire class at one time?
The most efficient method of emailing your entire class is to access the Classlist tool in DC Connect. Click the Email button near the top of the page, then the blue Send Email button. A Compose New Message will open with the entire class already in the To: field.
To improve you could take a course, research on the Internet, buy a book, or find a mentor. You should also practice accessing email using both a web browser and the email software. You should also learn the distinction between email generated in DC Connect, and email generated in Outlook.

Basic Internet Abilities - surfing, searching, researching and communicating

Internet skills are important. They are a component of information literacy. These skills come into play when you are researching for assignments, communicating with your students or peers, or gathering information. You may also be using a variety of different software to communicate or collaborate with others.

Check your level of comfort

Yes

No

If someone gave you a topic, could you find 5 web sites on the topic?
There are many tools available to assist users to search the web. Google.ca is a powerful search tool and easy to use. However, skill is required to evaluate the sites provided by the search engine. Don't hesitate to make use of the library to help you with developing this skill.
Can you save URLs and organize Bookmarks/Favourites?
Internet Explorer, Firefox or Safari all have ways to save the web address (URL) of a web site you like. This can be called a Favorite or a Bookmark. These Favorites and Bookmarks can be organized in groups and folders. It is also possible to save them on special web site services for sharing with others.
Have you downloaded files from the Internet?
Usually this as simple as clicking on a link and deciding where to save your file. Remember to put it somewhere you can find it later.
Can you upload a file from your computer to a web site, such as Flickr or Facebook?
Each site is different in how they handle the details of uploading. Generally you have to choose a file first by browsing your computer, and then upload it.
Have you used any online library reference resources?
The Library has many digital resources from e-books to databases as well as experts on staff the assist you in searching or learning how to use their services. Contact them directly via email at library@durhamcollege.ca.
Do you have any experience with online chat tools such as Skype?
Such instant messaging tools are synchronous, as they require you and the person you are communicating with to be online at the same time. They allow you to have a long-distance conversation by text and/or video.
Do you know what a blog is?
A blog is a short name for a web-log and represents a forum for a personal commentary. Readers can comment on the various posts. The posts are listed with the most recent at the top.
Have you ever posted a comment to an online discussion or blog?
This is an important distinction from static web sites, where all you are allowed to do is to view the contents. Some sites allow users to post comments and to contribute to a conversation.
Are you aware of Google Drive (formerly Google Docs)?
Google Drive provides a number of capabilities, most notably, the ability to collaborate with others over the Internet. Users can create documents, web sites, projects, etc. through Google Drive and save the document and share it with specific users or publicly.
To gain experience in this area you need practical experience and should spend time browsing the Internet. A short time spent with an expert or mentor would alert you to interpreting URLs and messages from your browser. The ability to copy, and paste, information including URLs is basic and essential for on-line course preparation. Experiment with Facebook, Skype, and blog tools such as Wordpress.

Applications

There is an expectation that you have basic familiarity with the basic MS Office applications Word, Excel, and PowerPoint at a level that would allow you to create documents to be shared with others.

These are very powerful tools and learning all their aspects is a large task. Fortunately, anyone can accomplish most of what is required for teaching and learning with some basic knowledge of the applications.

It is essential to understand how to move information between documents and applications and how to save documents out in different formats such as PDF. This gives one the ability to reuse existing materials on the web without a major amount of modification.

Check your level of comfort

Yes

No

Can you save a PowerPoint presentation as a web page?
As with all the Office applications users can choose which file formats they require when saving. This increases the flexibility of your work as your documents saved formats that can be used in other fashions, such as on the web.
Can you place a web link in a PowerPoint presentation?
Copy the link you wish to use. In Microsoft applications go to Insert -> Hyperlink on the task ribbon. Past the link into the hyperlink box. Another option is to just paste the hyperlink directly on to the PowerPoint slide.
Can you add a movie to a PowerPoint presentation?
On the task ribbon, go to Insert --> Movie. Navigate to where the movie is located, whether it is on your computer or on the web.
Can you add a formula in Excel?
All formulas in Excel start with the "equals" sign and display the results of the formula in the cell. If you type "=3+4" in a cell Excel will display "7" in the spreadsheet.
Can you add a row or column in Excel?
Select the row or column where you want to insert by clicking on its header and use the "Insert" menu to add the row or column.
Can you insert a picture into a Word document?
First you have to determine if the image is a picture or a piece of clip art. On the task ribbon, go to Insert --> Picture. Navigate to where you have the picture saved on your computer.
Could you open two Word documents at the same time and Cut and Paste between them?
Multiple documents will show in the task bar at the bottom of the Window and you can Copy information from one, select the second document and Paste the selected text or image into it.
Can you transform a Word document into a PDF Document?
On PC under the Office Button, or on a Mac under the “File” menu, choose “Save As” and select the PDF option.
Can you use track changes and comments to modify a Word document?
Use the "Review" tab and click on "Track Changes" to give you access to the reviewing tools and to turn on Track Changes.
Training for Microsoft Office products cane be found on Microsoft's website.

DC Connect - setting up and managing a course & communicating with students

DC Connect offers an online space for you and your students to interact and learn. It is possible to utilize DC Connect at many different levels from basic to very advanced.

You may be familiar with other Learning Management Systems such as Blackboard or Moodle, which have a similar structure and functionality. These questions are related to your usage of DC Connect.

Check your level of comfort

Yes

No

Do you know where to locate and how to log into DC Connect?
Your can log in at durhamcollege.desire2learn.com. You use your Banner ID and your MyCampus password. DC Connect and MyCampus use the same password, but this is a different password than your network login.
Do you know how to change your DC Connect password?
This is done in MyCampus under "Administrative Services".
Do you have any of your contact information in a News Item or as a Course Topic?
Putting your contact information into these areas is a way to make it easy for your students know how to reach or connect with you.
Are you aware of the Notifications settings and how they affect student interaction with your course?
Notification settings can be access using the pull-down menu next to your name in the top bar of DC Connect (the Minibar). Note that these settings are specific to the user, not the course. Students need to be told to turn them on.
Have you ever uploaded a course outline to DC Connect and made it available to your students?
Course Outlines are available in your school's folder on the I: drive, or can be downloaded from MyCampus. We recommend that you upload your Course Outline to the Overview section of the Content section of your course. Be sure to upload the most recent, .PDF version of your outline.
Do you know how to provide information and content in DC Connect by creating and organizing Modules and Topics?
The Content Tool organizes course information using Modules and Topic. Modules are like folders, and Topics are like files (but can be activities). Topics must be created within Modules. Any file you wish to make available to students is uploaded to your course as a Topic using the Content Tool.
Do you know how hide your online course material from the students?
New content, by default, has the property of being "Published". Simply click on this property and select the "Draft" option to hide the content from your students.
Can you add Links or URLs to your DC Connect course?
Links can be added to your course content in a variety of ways. Within a Module, a standalone link can be added as a Topic in your content using the Create a Link option of the New button pull-down menu. Alternatively, a link can be cut and pasted into a content page created using the Create a File option of the same menu.
Have you used the Calendar to help keep students on task, for instance for showing assignment due dates?
Adding start, due, and end dates to Topics and course activities helps students exercise their time-management skills. Some tools automatically populate the calendar tool with this information, others require a checkbox be enabled.
Do you use DC Connect mail to communicate with your students?
The Email tool is available via many convenient links within DC Connect. Notifying a student who is at risk, or simply congratulating them personally on a successful mark is very easy.
Can you create a Grade Item in DC Connect?
Grade Items are used to calculate students' final grades. Click the Grades menu item to start the process of creating items.
Can you input marks for a Grade Item?
Inputting a student's grade is very easy once your grade items have been created. Click the Enter Grades option from the Grades Tool. Enter the grades into the spreadsheet, or select an individual assessment to input grades for from it's pull-down menu. It is policy to have all grades in DC Connect, all the time. Note that you can input detailed, personal feedback for students as well when grading their work. This will be a significant time saver for you, as you will spend less time answering questions about grades.
Do you know how to release marks (make them visible) to students?
By default, students do not see their Final Calculated Grade. To show this calculation to students, go to the Grades Tool and then the Enter Grades page. From the pull-down menu next to the Final Calculated Grade column title, choose the Grade All option. Next, from the pull-down menu next to the Final Grades title, choose the Release All option. Click the Yes button to confirm the action. Despite the warning, you can always hide the grades at a later date.
Can you export you Grades to a spreadsheet?
You will be required to print out a hard copy of your grades at the end of each semester and submit it to your school. To do so, click on the Grades tool and then the Enter Grades menu option. Next, click the Export button. Set the appropriate options and then click the Export to Excel button. Once you have downloaded your file, you can open it and format the spreadsheet for printing.
Can you submit your final marks through DC Connect to Banner?
You will be required to export your grades "to Banner" at the end of each semester. To do so, click on the Grades tool and then the Enter Grades menu option. Next, click the "Export to SIS" button. After confirming that the grades displayed are the correct ones to be exported, click the Export All Grades button.

 

Advanced ways to engage your students

Check your level of comfort

Yes

No

Are you familiar with how to set up and manage a discussion using the Discussion tool?
The Discussion tool allows asynchronous communications between students or the students and the teacher. Because it is not real time it supports more considered and thoughtful responses and provides everyone with an equal voice.
Can you set up an assignment to allow students to submit assignments electronically using the Dropbox tool?
The Dropbox tool can function as an electronic dropbox for student assignments. It can also facilitate in the marking and reporting of the marks.
Have you ever used the DC Connect Quizzes tool to create and deliver an assessment?
It is possible to deliver tests and quizzes with DC Connect. There are a variety of options from full essay questions to multiple choice and true/false questions. Most question types can be set to be marked automatically and to return the grade to the student when they are done.
Have you ever used Respondus to create a DC Connect assessment?
Respondus is a special piece of PC software that talks directly to DC Connect. It can be used to do batch creation of assessment questions or assessments instead of doing the question one at a time within DC Connect. It will upload to DC Connect directly. You can also download a test to create a paper copy or pull out the statistics from a completed assessment.
Have you ever created a Rubric in DC Connect and associated it with a Dropbox?
It is possible to create a Rubric in DC Connect and use it to grade work submitted to a Dropbox folder. The resulting grade and feedback can then automatically be transferred to the appropriate grade item.
Support documentation can be found under the DC Connect topic under "Learning Technology"