October – 2019 – St. Thomas E-Learning And Research
Monthly Archives

October 2019

Best Practices, Tips, and Tricks, Technology Tools

Utilizing Library Resources in Canvas

shelves full of books

St. Thomas has a handy tool for helping you integrate library resources into your Canvas sites. The Resource List is easy to set up, saves students money by using existing library resources, connects you with librarians who may be able to provide copyright guidance and management, and simplifies linking.

STELAR has just developed a self-paced, online Resource List training. This training will teach you how to set up your Resource List, add and link items, and identify special considerations such as accessibility and copyright.

For more information on reducing course materials costs for students, please see Greg Argo’s previous post: Reduce Course Materials Costs, We’ll Help.

This post was written by Nancy McGinley Myers, Instructional Designer with the St. Thomas E-Learning and Research (STELAR) Center at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. To learn more about this topic, please visit our website at www.stthomas.edu/stelar or email us at stelar@stthomas.edu. For more information on training available through STELAR, please see our Training & Events page.

Student Systems of Support

When A Student Has Tech Struggles: Tips for Instructors and Advisors 

Everywhere you look, technology holds a growing role in our lives. At the University of St. Thomas we provide an array of supports for students. Instead of a “one size fits all approach” to student tech support, we strive for personalized and responsive solutions since when it comes to technology since not everybody needs the same thing or accesses learning and technology in the same way.  

Our options run on a continuum from self-help, “do it yourself” resources to people-to-people (expert-guided) support. Options also include in-person, phone, email, live chat, 24/7 self-guided Tommie Tech, and 24/7/365 Canvas-specific support.  

Here are suggestions on how to help students find the range of technology supports available for their success.  

  • Point your students to Tommie Tech, a St. Thomas Canvas resource/tutorial site that helps students to find and use St. Thomas technologies, 24/7/365. You are welcome to give students the link that will allow them to self-enroll into this site. You can perhaps send a course announcement reminding them of this resource or post where you list other tech help information. If you tend to hear from certain students a lot about tech questions, guiding them to Tommie Tech may help address some of their needs and clear up their confusion. 
    • Graduate students can self-enroll in the Tommie Tech for Graduate Students Canvas site. Please share the link!  Fall 2019 is our first launch of this site, and students who explore the site are invited to share feedback that will help shape the site for spring 2020 and beyond.  
    • Undergraduate students can self-enroll in the Tommie Tech for Undergraduate Students Canvas site; all first-year undergraduate students are automatically enrolled in the site, but it is an option for all undergrads. 

And yet…Tommie Tech is just a part of the array of student supports at St. Thomas. If a student continues to have unaddressed tech needs or it seems like they would benefit from talking to a person right away, here are additional options. 

  • Ask students to contact Canvas 24/7/365 live chat or toll-free phone call if their technology need seems specific to Canvas (e.g., trouble uploading documents or media into Canvas, trouble opening something in Canvas). There are also Canvas Student Guides for the visual learner.  Click the Help button (question mark) on the far left, purple global navigation panel to call or chat. 

In addition to the “do it yourself” Tommie Tech Canvas site and Canvas 24/7 for Canvas specific needs, there is a range of additional ways to get personalized support from the St. Thomas Technology support team. 

  • Some students like the Email option. The St. Thomas Tech Desk can be reached at techdesk@stthomas.edu. When sending the tech desk your question, it may help to take a screenshot of your issue.
  • If you are on-campus and would like in-person Tech Help, please stop by! 
    • St Paul campus, stop by the Center for Student Achievement Technology Help desk (first floor of Murray-Herrick Hall, St Paul).   
    • Minneapolis campus, stop by 300 Schultz Hall 
    • Check locations and hours before making a trip to one of these locations. 
  • Phone St. Thomas Tech Help- Yes, some people still prefer talking on the phone!
    • Local (651) 962-6230 | Hours listed on Tech Desk Services page 
    • Toll-Free: (800) 328-6819 
    • On-campus: ext. 2-6230 (651-962-6230)
  • And students always have the 24/7 option to visit and explore the St. Thomas Innovations & Technology Services page

This post was written by Jo Montie, Online Learning Systems Facilitator and Peter Weinhold, Director of Academic Technology, with the St. Thomas E-Learning and Research (STELAR) Center at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. To learn more about this topic, please visit our website at www.stthomas.edu/stelar or email us at stelar@stthomas.edu

Technology Tools

Basic Video Production Tips and Tricks, Part 1

In my role as an Instructional Designer, I often get asked by faculty questions like: “How do I go about recording my lectures?” or “Can I record my PowerPoint slides and put them in my hybrid or online course?”

The simple answer, I’m happy to tell them, is “Yes!” This is a great way to provide an alternative to your in-class lectures and get you one step closer to moving toward a flipped format or a blended or online course should you choose to go there. Pre-recorded video content is becoming more common-place in higher education and for good reason. First, students can watch your lectures outside of class (flipped classroom model), regaining valuable class time for group problem-solving and team-work. Students can re-watch videos, pausing and rewinding for comprehension and review. And, all learners can benefit from having course materials that support multiple means of representation.

But knowing what to do and how to do it, are two different things completely (as my father would famously remind me).  In this article and the next, I would like to offer some basic video production tips and tricks as a starting point for creating the kind of video presentations you can be proud of.

Creating video content for course instruction and assignments generally involves these four stages (in order):

  1. Recording,
  2. Editing,
  3. Hosting, and
  4. Sharing

The good news is that St. Thomas faculty and students have several tools and resources available to them for creating and sharing quality video content for academic purposes (reference the table below). Most of these are easily accessed and described in more detail, on One.StThomas. Each tool has its own methods and capabilities, although there’s a surprising amount of overlap too.

To identify which tool or method may be best for the video content you want to produce, start by asking yourself these questions:

  • Do I need to display any material visually, or will students just need to see me?
  • What format is the material in that I need to display?  PowerPoint slides? Images or  Documents? Websites? Software application?
  • Will this be a one-way communication from me to my students, or do I want students to respond as they pause and comment directly in the video? (yeah, that’s a thing)
  • Do I need a controlled environment for the best quality sound and lighting?
  • Do I need to demonstrate some action or use props?
  • How will the students access and see the final presentation?

While this article focuses on basic video production tools, it should be noted that St. Thomas has a full-service video production studio in the basement of OEC. The ITS/STELAR team can assist with any high-level production needs beyond the scope of what’s covered here. It may also help to consult with a STELAR Instructional Designer who can guide you through the process and, based on your specific instructional needs, point you to specific tools and solutions.

Here’s a break-down comparing five basic video recording tools and methods available at St. Thomas.

Video Production Tools

Video Production Tools (Chart)


















With a little planning and creativity, the tools in the chart above can provide you with everything you need to successfully create, edit, host, and share videos for course content and interaction.

In the next article, I’ll offer some best practices for getting the most out of your video and audio recording, so your students get the most out of learning by watching them.

This post was written by Michael Wilder, an Instructional Designer for the St. Thomas E-Learning and Research (STELAR) Center at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. To learn more about this topic, please visit our website at www.stthomas.edu/stelar or email us at stelar@stthomas.edu.