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Faculty Newsletter - February 2015

CIO Welcome

Welcome to the first issue of Academic Technology's newsletter from ITS! We will be sharing information and ideas about academic technologies, review underlying research (if it exists), and what technologies may be interesting to explore or experiment with at Pace University.

As Academic Technology services grow and evolve, we will use this newsletter and blog posts to communicate with campus about the role of technology for teaching, as well as share practical information about existing services.

Look for more blog posts and newsletter articles about best practices, emerging technologies, and research.

Clare van den Blink, Vice President and CIO


Academic Technology Services

Questions about using technology for teaching? Using tools available at Pace? Developing an online course? The Academic Technology staff is excited to support Pace faculty in developing innovative ways to increase student engagement through technology. 

Blackboard is supported by the Academic Technology department within Information Technology Services (ITS) as of January 2015.  

Our team consists of full-time staff members in both Westchester and New York City, supported by a dedicated team of student eTerns. Meet the Staff! Contact us at


7 Reasons to Use Blackboard in the New Year

The tools and features in Blackboard can be used to improve learning, increase student engagement and success; a familiar theme that's been discussed over the years. Chickering and Gamson's "7 Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education" have commonly been applied to technology.

Review the practices below and see how Blackboard could be used.  

Blackboard Usage

1. Encourage contact between students and faculty 

Schedule online office hours or synchronous online discussions through Collaborate

2. Develop reciprocity and cooperation among students

Facilitate group work through Blackboard and encourage each group to share files and discussions
3. Encourage active learning Utilize digital storytelling, pre-course surveys, virtual labs and polling
4. Give prompt feedback Use Blackboard's rubric and feedback feature
5. Emphasize time on task Use the video everywhere tool to make a quick weekly video to keep students motivated about the work expected for the week, both on and offline
6. Communicate high expectations Using the syllabus tool, spell out clear expectations for participation
7. Respect diverse talents and ways of learning Assign projects that incorporate audio and video to expand on text materials.

These principles will increase student success and teaching effectiveness.

Identifying students at risk through Blackboard's Retention Center

One way to measure how well these practices are working is through Blackboard's Retention Center. Dyson College is piloting this tool in January through many of their online Winter session courses. The retention center provides a matrix view of student activity, date of last access, and missed assignments. It's a quick way to identify students at risk.

Blackboard Open Labs
  • Topic: Creating Exams
    2/18: 12:10PM-1:30PM: NY (E101) & PLV (Mortola Electronic Classroom)
  • Topic: Discussion Board
    3/12: 12:10PM-1:30PM: NY (E101) & PLV (Mortola Electronic Classroom)

Digital Toolkit

Want to integrate new technologies into your courses? Check out our new Digital Toolkit on the Academic Technology website at 

The toolkit features resources and instructions on an array of technology tools, including:

  1. Blackboard for coursework, communication, interaction, collaboration, and digital assessment. Taking small steps with Blackboard now can go a long way toward increasing student engagement and helping them succeed, one course at a time.
  2. ePortfolio where students can showcase their interests, work, and academic accomplishments.
  3. Video Tools in which students can produce digital narrative projects showcasing their skills with multimedia platforms including iMovie, Moviemaker, and Storify.
  4. Web Conferencing in which you can communicate with your students and co-workers virtually through Blackboard Collaborate and Microsoft Lync sessions.  

Each tool encourages students to participate in your courses. The toolkit will continue to grow, so be sure to keep visiting us and learn about new and upcoming tools. 

Lecture Capture

Professors have been using lecture capture to flip the classroom.  Students watch lectures at home and participate in more interactive and collaborative assignments during scheduled class times. Other uses include recording sessions for students in need of review or when students miss class because of inclement weather. 

Echoing Praise:

"As a heavy and regular user of several classroom recording systems in the past and a current user of Echo 360, I have found Echo 360 to be easy to use. In the classroom, with scheduled recordings, and as a personal capture device, set up on the fly, either in a classroom or in my office to supplement  regular classroom lecture time, Echo 360 is simple to use and post to Blackboard or email links to students.  Without a steep learning curve, students rarely have technical difficulties that are repetitive in nature or require escalation.  

From an educational standpoint, the most valuable reason to use Echo 360 is because it allows students to move their energy away from note-taking and lecture transcription towards listening, thinking and understanding.  When students feel confident they can return to a lecture and listen again to a complex topic, anxiety is reduced and the potential for learning and mindfulness is enhanced.   

While some reluctant faculty are concerned that access to the recorded lecture could dissuade students from classroom attendance, I have found that Echo 360 recorded lectures allows my classroom time to be more interactive and students gain from attendance."

Professor Elizabeth Berro
Clinical Assistant Professor, College of Health Professions
CoDirector of Undergraduate Simulation

Conduct Courses and/or Meetings Virtually

For Class: Blackboard Collaborate is available through course shells and can be recorded for later viewing.  

For Meetings: Microsoft Lync can be used to conduct meetings while off campus. No need to call the switchboard for conference calls. 

New Service Available Now

Want to help students learn technology for your course? can help students better understand their curriculum by providing them with high-quality video courses on business, technology, and creative topics. Customize your own playlist of video tutorials so students can come into your classroom with the literacy that they need to succeed. View an example of an Accounting Major playlist here (use your MyPace credentials to log in).

Training staff? Create training curriculum targeted just for your area needs!


Upcoming Services

Poll Everywhere

This tool allows you to poll students through their mobile devices about course content and get instant (and anonymous) results in PowerPoint or Keynote, on any web page, and using any web browser. View a presentation on the tool here.

This video management platform will be included within Blackboard and gives you access to a video library with over 300,000 web publishers.  Professors can choose YouTube videos, record videos, and upload video content to be included in their course shells.
Lab Archives
This electronic lab notebook software is designed to organize student notes, preserve data, and increase collaboration. You can give students constructive feedback at any time and students can download all work as a PDF.

Lecture Capture and Blackboard Course Shell Retirement

Lecture Capture
Starting Monday, March 16th, recordings that are over 3-years old (recordings created prior to January 1st, 2012) will be permanently deleted. For information on how to save your recordings and the cleanup schedule, please refer to Echo Retirement.  If you need assistance or have questions on this process, please contact the Ed Media Services office on your campus.

Blackboard Course Shell
Beginning Monday, March 16th, all Blackboard Course Shells from 2007, 2008, 2009 will be permanently deleted, meaning these course shells will not be archived.  We will be providing instructions on what to do if you wish to archive or export a course shell in the coming weeks.


Contest Don't forget to encourage your best and brightest students to enter the Spring ePortfolio Contest by April 24th!  For more details, visit

Emergency Notification Contact Information

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