Thursday, January 21, 2010

Reminder - students need to log in at Cascadia's ANGEL

Hello all,

If you are getting complaints about students unable to log into ANGEL, please remind them that they need to go to

They will get an error message if they try to log in at There is an announcement on all system ANGEL homepages, but you know how carefully students read. . .

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Large Announcements Can Slow ANGEL Performance

Audience: ANGEL administrators and faculty

Problem: Announcements in ANGEL classes and groups load frequently, which means that large announcements can slow the performance of ANGEL for all users on the system.

Fix: Type announcements directly into the announcement editor in the course, rather than copying and pasting text from Microsoft Word or other programs that generate a lot of extra formatting information that, while invisible to the viewer, generates a lot of extra characters in the HTML coding. HTML formatting is allowed but for best results it is recommended not to use formatting that drastically changes the size, color, etc of text. Also, instead of making course announcements overly long, create shorter announcements with links to longer documents in the lesson content or elsewhere in the course. For assistance with this, please email

What does this mean? Fewer large announcements = Faster WAOL ANGEL

Additional Information: If you want to see how many characters there are in a given course announcement, click on the “Source” button to view the HTML formatting and then copy the code to a program like Microsoft Word that will let you do a character count.

Understanding Course Announcements in ANGEL(pdf)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

ANGEL Tip of the Day #42 – Announcements

Lots of folks have experienced slowness on ANGEL this week and they are working on it at the system level. However, if you’ve noticed the Courses page of a particular course is loading slowly, the culprit might be old announcements.

When ANGEL loads your Courses page, it loads all of your announcements, even the ones not showing. So, if you have lots of old announcements, delete them and you’ll have faster performance.

Also note that if you copy and paste your announcement content from Word, underlying Word tags bog the system down even more. So, I’d discourage you from copying and pasting announcements from Word. If you must, be sure to use the “Paste from Word” button.

Monday, January 11, 2010

ANGEL tip of the Day #41: One click video embedding

A new feature of ANGEL 7.4 allows for easy searching using Google Video and one click embedding.

In any editing screen you’ll see the following toolbar. Click on the “G”.
Type in a search term and click “Go”. When you find something you like, just click on the Embed button. What could be easier?
Note: I’ve been sending ANGEL tips to everyone using ANGEL this quarter for just this week. If you are not already on the ANGEL Tip of the Day list and if you would like to continue to get the ANGEL tips, reply to this email and I’ll add you to the list.

ANGEL Training for Winter Quarter

We have a new session of ANGEL training beginning January 13. The course is entirely online, though there will be some optional synchronous sessions. There are two sections.

The Full Section is
• for people who are new to teaching using course management systems.
• 6 weeks long (January 13 – February 23)
• Based on designing a course from scratch
• Covers basic online pedagogical theory

The Express Section is
• for people who are experienced using Blackboard or other course management systems
• 4 weeks long (January 13 – February 9)
• Based on converting an existing course
• Explores more advanced online pedagogy

Both Sections
• Have weekly graded work (the work is graded pass/fail)
• Take 4 – 6 hours a week to complete
• Have flexible time schedules – if you fall behind, it’s ok. You can continue on whenever it works for you
• Will have you ready to use ANGEL for Spring Quarter
• Are free and open to anyone in the community college system

To register, simply email Stephanie Delaney and indicate which session you want to be in (Full or Express) and I’ll get you signed up. Late starts are ok – we’ll accept sign ups through January 19. Please note that this is the only session that I will run online Winter quarter.

FREE: Two ePortfolio webinars

Webcast: Work-Based Folios in the UK and USA
Date and Time: Wednesday, January 13th at 8-9:30 a.m. PT/11-12:30 p.m.
ET/4-5:30 p.m. GMT

Description: This unique transatlantic webinar will feature presenters from both the UK and USA who will deliver 4 short presentations on the growing use of web based eportfolios for use in "work based learning.” JISC Regional Support Center East and West Midlands have teamed up with EPAC to exchange experiences of how eportfolios are being used in this growing area of higher education. Attendees will be given the opportunity to interact with presenters and networking with colleagues via the use of voting and chat features in this live session.

AAEEBL is still finalizing our presenters from the U.S. and have confirmed Jill Lumsden, Career Development Coordinator of the Florida State University Career Portfolio. Presenters from the UK will include Mick Gilroy is e-learning manager at Lincoln Academy (trading
as Isis training), a work-based training provider that delivers earning and assessment programmes for over 400 apprentices across rural Lincolnshire in the east of England.

Webcast: Virginia Tech University
Date and Time: Thursday, January 14th at 10-11 a.m. PT/1-2 p.m. ET

Program description:
Title: Telling the learning story: Students' authentic experiences used to assess learning

Description: For the past several years, Virginia Tech has been engaged in a campus-wide effort to explore and adopt ePortfolio technology in appropriate places in its curriculum. From a handful of interested faculty in 2007, the ePortfolio Initiatives Office has grown to be working with more than 60 different projects across seven colleges. A large part of our success, we think, is not to focus too much on the technology for ePortfolio deployment, but to focus instead on using the technology to encourage student learning and assessment of that learning. Though we have a variety of ePortfolio projects, we find that our most successful and vibrant projects are those that engage with authentic activities that use the students' creative voices to analyze experiences from their perspectives. In this way, assessment of that learning, by the student, the instructor, and the institution, is enhanced by including qualitative, individual pictures
of each student's different experiences with the curriculum. In this webcast, several examples of these projects will be reviewed, including our next big focus: our first-year experiences. As part of its regional re-accreditation efforts, Virginia Tech is planning to focus on first-year experiences in order to enhance overall institutional quality and effectiveness by improving student learning. In order to facilitate synthetic, reflective learning across a variety of experiences, ePortfolios will be one among other tools used. In this session, we will discuss how and why we chose to use ePortfolios, and how they will assist us in assessing the elements of the AAC&U VALUE Rubrics. Our presenters will be Marc Zaldivar, Director of the ePortfolio Initiatives, an office of the Learning Technologies Department at Virginia Tech, and his Assistant Director, Teggin Summers, both of whom will discuss some of the student-centered activities used in our ePortfolio projects. Also from Learning Technologies is C. Edward Watson, Director of Professional Development and Strategic initiatives, who will provide information about the history and future potentials of the ePortfolio Initiatives. Finally, from the Office of Academic Assessment, Kate McConnell will talk about our adoption of the AACU VALUE Metarubrics and our plans for assessment of the First-Year Experiences.

EPAC webcasts are free to attend and are open to anyone interested in ePortfolios. Space may be limited for some of the events and pre-registration may be required. More information on where and how to join the webcasts will be posted shortly on the EPAC blog and wiki at and

ANGEL Tip of the Day #40: Check your Profile

With the demise of the “.ctc” email addresses, you should take a moment to check your Profile in ANGEL to be sure your email address is current. Also, add your picture and bio. You can also change how your name appears (so can your students, so ask them to do so if they use a nick name)

While you are in the Preferences area, be sure to change your password if you still have it set at the default – remember your password formula is the same as the students, so it would be really easy for them to log in as you if you stick with the default.

To access the Preferences area, click on the head on the left navigation pane.
• Click on Personal Information to change your email address.
• Click on Change Password to change your password.
• Finally, you can set the email handling for all of your classes from one place when you click on the System Settings. You can also default to the “advanced” button setting from there.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

ANGEL Tip of the Day #39: Grading in ANGEL 7.4

Hopefully you are all finding ANGEL 7.4 to be a whole lot like ANGEL 7.3. One big difference is how you grade student work. You no longer use the Utilities link to grade. Instead, next to it is a new “Submissions” link. Under that, you will find the various options to grade submissions.

Bonus: Looking to clear your fall courses out of your courses nugget? Follow these steps from ATOD #4 – Organizing Your Courses. When in the courses nugget, you can uncheck the courses that you don’t want to see.