WSJ: “No Place to Hide: Colleges Track Students, Everywhere”

Two bullet surveillance cameras attached on wall. Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash.
Two bullet surveillance cameras attached on wall. Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash.

Is tracking college students everywhere they go on campus the new normal? According to this recent Wall Street Journal article by Doug Belkin,  “Universities are recording students’ faces with video surveillance cameras, tracking their movements with GPS and monitoring their messages on social media and email. They are detailing students’ study habits through digital textbooks, recording when they enter buildings, logging their presence in class, the library and even the football game. All of these relatively new tracking technologies are in addition to years-old systems that leverage students’ IDs to monitor how frequently individuals are entering gyms, dorms and cafeterias.

Before you even have to ask, ITS can openly assure all students, faculty, and staff that absolutely no monitoring or surveillance of any kind takes place here at Washington and Lee currently and never will.

Protecting the University’s systems and information assets is tantamount to safeguarding the personal information of students and employees. And privacy isn’t just about compliance; we also respect your privacy on a humanitarian and ethical level.

Learn more about W&L’s information security plan (ISP). It’s something we take very seriously.

Resources from Stephen Lind’s “Designing and Assessing Presentation Assignments”

Our second Pedagogy and (not) Pizza session, “Designing and Assessing Presentation Assignments” was led by Stephen Lind, Assistant Professor of Business Administration and author of “A Charlie Brown Religion: Exploring the Spiritual Life and Work of Charles M. Schulz“.

a person trying to communicate to another person but the message is jumbled upWe want our students to have effective communication skills, but, truthfully, designing and assessing these activities in class can be incredibly challenging. So, we want to again offer our heartfelt thanks to Stephen for sharing essential questions and criteria to consider when designing unique speaking assignments, a turn-key model that faculty can build on, and an assessment tool to give student feedback.

Lastly, in case you missed it, here’s a link to all of the super helpful workshop materials (must sign in with W&L credentials) in Box.

Is there a topic or issue you’d like CARPE and Academic Technologies to address in Pedagogy and (not) Pizza? Let us know

When’s the Last Time You Cleaned Your Keyboard and Mouse? 🤔

“Yay, it’s flu season!”

—No one, ever

Sanitize your keyboard and evict that nasty grime and bacteria – stat!

https://www.totaljobs.com/insidejob/workplace-hygiene-6-office-germ-hotspots/
Ewwwww, right???

Using disinfectant wipes to clean your keyboard and mouse — along with other measures like keeping your distance from sick people and thoroughly washing your hands before eating and after using the toilet — can help to prevent the spread of colds and flu.

Protect yourself and do your part to help prevent the spread of any viruses!

Keep an eye out for packs of disinfectant wipes in classrooms. Over Feb Break, we took the liberty of wiping down keyboards and mice and are making wipes available so you can continue to sanitize these devices before you use them.

Recap of the POGIL Training Seminar

POGIL is an acronym for Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning.

As a student-centered instructional approach, in a POGIL classroom, students work in small groups/teams on specially designed activities that follow a learning cycle paradigm of exploration, concept invention, and application, with the instructor acting as a facilitator.

Developed in Chemistry before expanding to fields throughout the disciplines, the POGIL approach has two broad aims: to develop content mastery through student construction of their own understanding, and to develop and improve important process skills such as information processing, communication, critical thinking, problem solving and metacognition and assessment.

Matt Tuchler and Gail Webster

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Gail Webster, Professor and Chair of Chemistry at Guilford College, and our very own Matt Tuchler, Associate Professor of Chemistry, acted as the facilitators, leading us though the organization of a POGIL course, how guided inquiry is structured in a POGIL classroom, several POGIL activities, as well as considerations for classroom facilitation.

Attendees who experienced a POGIL-based learning environment included faculty and staff members from Accounting, Biology, Business Administration, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Cognitive and Behavioral Science, Computer Science, ITS, Journalism and Mass Communications, Physics and Engineering, and the University Library. 

Many thanks to both Gail and Matt, and all who took the time to attend. We’re always thrilled to offer provide training in new teaching pedagogies and even more elated when faculty are interested and willing to learn to use these methods.

BONUS: Find the Enhancing Learning by Improving Process Skills in STEM (ELIPSS) rubrics helpful? We did, too! View and/or download all the rubrics.

  • CT = Critical Thinking
  • IC = Interpersonal Communication
  • IP = Information Processing
  • MC = Metacognition
  • MG = Management
  • PS = Problem Solving
  • WC = Written Communication
  • TW = Teamwork 

The files with “feedback” in the title — CT, IC, IP, TW — are those with suggestions for improvement. This new style is not available for all rubrics yet.

Interested in future pedagogy workshops? Sign up for the Academic Technologies once-per-term newsletter or reach out to Julie Knudson, Director of Academic Technologies, or Paul Hanstedt, Director of the Center for Academic Resources and Pedagogical Excellence (CARPE).

Announcing Canvas Academy, April 13-16, 2020!

Folks, the clock is ticking and the retirement of Sakai is creeping closer and closer …

For anyone who needs to learn the ins and outs of Canvas, Academic Technologies is offering a week-long opportunity to get up to speed with W&L’s learning management system: a special edition of Spring Academy focused entirely on Canvas.

We will offer the same 3 sessions each day at different times, so hopefully, you will be able to join us. All sessions meet in Parmly 302, but feel free to bring your laptop.

Questions? Contact Brandon Bucy (bucyb@wlu.edu or x8651) or Helen MacDermott (hmacdermott@wlu.edu or x4561).

Save the Date!

Spring Term Festival poster - May 22, 2020

Friday, May 22
12:00-2:00 pm, Main Level of Leyburn Library

Tell us what you’ll need to showcase your students’ hard work over this intense 4 week term. The Request for Technology form is now available.

We will do our very best to honor all requests. Kindly note that there is a limited number of locations for projectors and projector screens, as well as easels and poster boards, so please complete the form as soon as possible. Thank you!

Questions? Contact hmacdermott@wlu.edu, 540.458.4561.

Neat tools we heard about at CHEP

Last week, Julie and Brandon attended the 12th Annual Conference on Higher Education Pedagogy (CHEP), hosted by the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Virginia Tech. The conference showcases the best pedagogical practice and research in higher education. Sessions address disciplinary and interdisciplinary instructional strategies, outcomes, and research.

The following are just a few handy resources they came across …

Simple, and low-tech way to get quick feedback or check understanding without the need to have students use devices or even paper and pencil. Each student is assigned a unique Plickers card with a black and white image similar to a QR code. The letters A, B, C, and D are written in small print around the edge of the image, with one letter on each side of the card. Instructors display a multiple-choice or true-false question and students rotate and hold up their Plickers to indicate their answer. Using the Plickers app on a mobile device, all Plicker cards are scanned so you can instantly see student responses and assessment data. FREE!


A video discussion platform that gives all students a voice with the creation of videos around prompts or discussion questions and uploading of those videos for sharing and feedback. Instructors create a “grid” — an online meeting place — that includes a question or prompt. Students record short response using their smartphone, tablet, or computer to share with others. FREE!


Interested in getting your novel, memoir, poetry collection, or other project in eBook and print-ready formats? Or what publishing student work or group projects? Pressbooks is an online book publishing platform that allows users to create professional-quality eTexts, which can be viewed through a web browser, downloaded as a print-ready PDF, or exported as another digital-ready format (such as EPUB). Pressbooks also offers the ability to work with collaborators such as editors, co-authors, and publishers. FREE!


Quizzing yourself is a highly effective study technique. Known for its digital version of traditional paper flashcards, Quizlet adds to the studying and knowledge-retention process through its interactive learning activities. Students can create their own study sets or use study sets created by others, including their peers, to test their knowledge. FREE!


A super minimalist and easy-to-use note-taking app you can use on your computer or smartphone that simplifies the process of sharing ideas across multiple devices. FREE!

  • If you rely heavily on Gmail, Google Drive, or Google Docs, you can easily share items in Keep between platforms, from inside the Keep app or through a Google program that supports Keep.
  • Items in your Keep app can be shared directly with other users without having to go through the typical share menu you may see in other programs. Select a note or image you wish to share and choose the person icon. You will then be able to add a user’s email address or their name from your contacts.
  • With the Google Keep app, you can dictate a note into your device, and the recording will be transcribed into a searchable, editable note.

Interested in trying out any of these tools? Have questions about how you might make use of them? Let us know what you think! We are here to help.

Round 2 of Migration of Sakai Course Content to Canvas begins TODAY!

Beginning now and continuing through Feb 17, 2020, you may request to have up to 10 course or project sites migrated from Sakai into Canvas

Visit go.wlu.edu/migrate to request up to 10 course or project sites migrated from Sakai into Canvas.

After migration, you must check your courses to ensure that they are set up properly.  While the migration pathway from Sakai to Canvas is robust for Resources, Assignments, Forums, Tests & Quizzes, and Lessons, there are a number of items and settings that will not migrate over and will require positive action on your part in Canvas to correct or address.  

You are also welcome to migrate your own course content from Sakai into Canvas at any time.  The first step is creating a sandbox course in Canvas to host your migrated content.  After that, you may follow these detailed migration instructions.  

As always, Academic Technologies staff will also be available at any time for one-on-one faculty training, migration requests, and support sessions.  Please contact Brandon or Helen directly (bucyb@wlu.edu or x8651; hmacdermott@wlu.edu or x4561) or via help@wlu.edu to ask any Canvas questions or to request personal training.

Lastly, if you are totally unfamiliar with Canvas and need to get up to speed, mark your calendar for Canvas Academy, a special edition of Spring Academy focused entirely on Canvas, April 13-16, 2020. Get ready to say goodbye to Sakai and prepared to design and deliver your course in Canvas. All sessions meet in Parmly 302, but feel free to bring your laptop.