60 seconds to success

60 Seconds to Student Success

This 60 Seconds to Success! is about PLANNING A SUCCESSFUL SEMESTER.  We are at the beginning of the semester and students should planning how they are going to run their semester to be sure they are successful

Partnering with the CofC Center for Student Learning, we’ve made some little tidbits that you can easily share with your students to increase academic success.  These are items that you can either share via an OAKS announcement or take a minute at the beginning of your class to discuss.   It’s just another way to get the great resources provided to the students.  I’ve included several methods you can use to get the information to your students should you wish.

LINK: https://spark.adobe.com/page/kUCfqOkgXXxCM/

Planning a Successful Semester

Explain and Send Screenshots Example
Google, instructional technology, Productivity, Web 2.0

Tech Tip Tuesday – Create and Annotate Screenshots on Any Computer (Free)

In the past, Skitch was my go-to app for creating annotated screenshots. Sadly, Evernote stopped supporting Skitch in 2015. As someone who uses a Mac, PC (Windows), and Chromebook, I’ve been searching for a free (or inexpensive) solution that works on all platforms. And, Explain and Send Screenshots is it!

What is Explain and Send Screenshots?

Explain and Send Screenshots is a free Google Chrome Extension. It works on any computer using the Google Chrome web browser. Unlike most extensions, Explain and Send Screenshots does not “Read and change all your data on the websites you visit”—making it a safer option.

How Does It Work?

Once you’ve added the Explain and Send Screenshots extension to Google Chrome, you can click on the extension’s icon (see image below) to take a screenshot (image) or screencast (video) of any webpage.

Explain and Send Screenshots Menu

You can also right-click on a webpage to quickly access the context menu.

Explain and Send Screenshots Right-Click Menu

No webpage, no problem. You can annotate on any image (.png or .jpeg) via the Open file… option.

What Are Its Features?

After you take your screenshot, you’ll have several annotation options: circle, square, arrow, line, draw, text, number (and text), highlight, and blur. Blur is especially useful for concealing sensitive information, like students’ names.

ESS Edit Options


Explain and Send Screenshots Example
Annotations Example


When you’re done annotating, you can copy/download/save the screenshot (image) as a .png or .jpeg (image format can be changed under options). Screenshots (image) can also be saved as .pdf using Chrome’s Print… > Save as PDF option. Screencasts (video) are saved as .webm, which can be viewed in any web browser or VLC (media player). They can also be easily uploaded to YouTube.

ESS Share Options

adobe scan on a phone
Distance Ed, instructional technology, iPad, Mobile, Productivity, Share

Tech Tip Tuesday – How to Scan Handwritten/drawn Work to a PDF to submit in OAKS

With the College operating online, I know it’s difficult for some discipline whose work isn’t easy to do online, for example Math and Drawing.  If the assignment you wish to give is better suited to the student handwriting or hand-drawing something then just have them scan it!  This is also a great option for faculty who have semester long notebooks or portfolios that are turned in.

A FREE app that students can use (and you for that matter) is Adobe Scan. Adobe Scan works on phones and tables and makes it so easy for users to take pictures of multiple items and have one PDF created.

Check out the Adobe Scan page to download the app and here’s a tutorial for you and your students on how to use the app:

Collaboration, Productivity

Guest Blog Post | ORGA: The On-Campus Resource that Makes Grant Applications and Grant Management Easier!

This post was written and submitted by the Office of Research and Grants Administration. If your office or department would like us to share updates, information, and/or resources with faculty, as part of our new holistic development focus, please contact Chris Meshanko.

We all know that applying for grants can be a real pain. We often hear that few people actually enjoy applying for grants, because they perceive that grant applications take up a lot of the time that they could spend on their projects. But, applying for grants is also an important way to get the resources you need to conduct projects. And, there are plenty of grants out there, not only for research projects, but for many other types of projects—such as curriculum development, community outreach and public service, instruction-related projects, equipment, and planning.

The Office of Research and Grants Administration (ORGA), at the College of Charleston, can help you with several steps in your grant application. ORGA assists in finding grants that are specific to your interests and offers support for preparation of your grant application, such as composing a budget and budget justification. Our staff also works to makes sure that the grant application is submitted on time.

Once a grant is awarded, ORGA staff, together with Grants Accountant staff in the Controller’s Office, help manage the grant. In general, ORGA acts as liaison with funding agencies, coordinating everything from the timely submission of financial and technical reports to applying for no-cost extensions and potential supplements. In addition, our office also handles research protections and compliance. Through education and the implementation of federal, state, local, and College of Charleston policies and procedures, ORGA promotes the responsible conduct of research.

So, if you are working on a project, developing a new curriculum, conducting research, or if you have an idea in mind and do not know where to start, come to our office and talk to us about it. We will help you find answers to your questions, and refer you to other faculty or staff who work on projects related to your interests. We are happy to meet with you and to discuss strategies for grant applications.

We also offer a variety of workshops for faculty and students on campus. In the past, we have successfully provided faculty workshops on grant proposal writing and student workshops on research protections and compliance, budgeting, and grant proposal writing. Please feel free to contact us regarding requests for grantsmanship workshops, as well as for other support.

Faculty Showcase, Innovative Instruction, instructional technology, Productivity

Episode 1 – Weather-proofing the Classroom: A Conversation with Professor Ricard Viñas-De-Puig

During the 2018 Fall Semester, the College of Charleston canceled five days worth of classes on account of hurricanes.  It would be nice to think this semester was a fluke, that experiencing two separate hurricanes in one semester is a once-every-fifty-years situation.  But scientists are telling us that climate change is bringing bigger storms more often.  As teachers, we need to think of how we can design a more resilient course structure, one whose tension, support, and anchorage can withstand the cancellations that university administrators need to make for our physical safety.

Recently, I spoke with Ricard Viñas-De-Puig, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Hispanic Studies.  He said that some of the skills that he learned in the Distance Education Readiness course were helpful for overcoming obstacles created by the weather cancellations.  Keep listening to hear what he had to say.

Productivity, TLT

#OneNewThing: Easy Appointment Scheduling using Microsoft Bookings

As you know, being that students use Gmail and Google for their calendar, they can’t schedule an appointment with you the way other faculty and staff can. This can make it a pain for faculty to book student conferences or advising appointments.  However, with our Microsoft 365 campus license comes a bunch of interesting applications and one of them is Bookings.  Bookings provides a way to allow students to schedule appointments with you ONLY within parameters that you choose.


With Bookings you set up all of your acceptable parameters.  You can set up:

  • Services – where you set up what the appointment is for and the time it should take.  An example could be GroupPresentation Meeting – 30 min.
  • Hours – where you can set up the hours per day where you will accept appointments.  You can set several time blocks for each day.  An example could be:
    screenshot of the business hours showing Monday 8-10 and 1-4
  • Scheduling Policy – where you can set the minimum amount of lead time you have to have before someone can book with you.  For example, at 1:15 someone can’t book a 2:00 appointment with you if your minimum lead time is 60 min.

Bookings then generates a “Bookings Page” that is where users can go to book an appointment with you.  You can link this page in your email signature or in OAKS for easy student access.


  1. Users go to your Bookings page (example: http://bit.ly/BookWithMendi)
  2. They select the type of meeting or appointment they want
  3. Lower on the page the calendar changes to show ONLY slots that are open for that amount of time within the Hours constraints you set earlier.screenshot of a bookings page
  4. User selects the time they want.
  5. They add their details: Name and email.
  6. They provide any additional information you require them to provide (example: reason for the meeting).
  7. Then click Book.
  8. The User/Student gets an email from which they can change their appointment or cancel it and add it to their own calendar.  They will also get an email reminder before the appointment so there is no excuse for them forgetting.
  9. You will get an email and it will automatically be added to your Outlook calendar.

Bookings feeds off your Outlook calendar for availability, so even if you manually add an appointment to your calendar it will not be available on the Bookings page.


I really like the Bookings app.  It saves me from going back and forth with people in order to compare availability.  It’s simple and easy for you and for the end user/student.  Give it a try!

  1. Go to http://portal.office.com
  2. Click Explore all your apps –>
  3. Scroll down and click Bookings to get started

If you want to know more just let us know! We are happy to show you how to set it up and use it.

cell phone scanning a bubble answer sheet
Assessment, Mobile, Productivity, TLT

Ditch the Scantron, Use ZipGrade

cell phone scanning a bubble answer sheetAre you tired of walking to Bell or the Library to use the Scantron machine?  Try ZipGrade.

Last year at the ISTE Conference I was introduced to ZipGrade but am just getting around to looking at in depth.  ZipGrade “turns your phone or tablet into an optical grading machine similar to a Scantron. It reads free-to-download answer sheets in multiple sizes. Provide instant feedback to students by grading exit tickets, quizzes, and formative assessments as soon as they finish.” (ZipGrade website)

Here’s how it works:

  1. Sign up for a free account
  2. Download the ZipGrade app to your cell phone or tablet (iOS and Android)
  3. Print out the 100-question answer sheets for your students (don’t worry, your test/quiz can be less than 100 questions)
  4. Student takes the test and turns in the answer sheet
  5. You use your phone to scan it, right then and there if you want.  It takes seconds!

You’re done.  By the time all the students have taken the test, you’re done grading!!  Plus you’re instantly able to see the students’ scores on your app and your question stats.  No more schlepping to Bell or the Library to use the Scantron.

screenshot of the appFeatures

  • Use with or without (anonymous) student names and ID numbers
  • No internet is required to create and scan the quizzes
  • You can import your student information using an OAKS download
  • Create answer sheet packs with student names and ID numbers pre-filled

Tip – use the 100 question answer sheet because it’s the only one that allows an ID number long enough to accommodate the CWID.



  • Fast and easy.
  • Free and cheap.
  • Realtime quiz/test scores.
  • Reads pen and pencil.
  • Export your OAKS classlist into ZipGrade.
  • Cannot re-import the ZipGrade quiz grades back into OAKS.  You have to manually enter them in the grade book.


  • Free download and 100-scans per month
  • Unlimited Scanning: $6.99 for 1 year

FERPA and Privacy:

Easily Share Large Files
Best Practices, Productivity

Secure Share: Securely Share Files (replaces FileLocker) Available Now! 

Authored by CofC Information Security

What is Secure Share?

Secure Share is a Web-based application, developed by Liquid Files, that allows users to securely and temporarily share files. You can access Secure Share from off campus as long as you have an internet connection.   This is a great way to share files that are too big for email or shouldn’t be sent through email for security reasons.  Secure Share is available to staff and faculty at the College of Charleston. You may also share files with members of the general public.

Use of Secure Share is subject to US Copyright Law, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), College of Charleston policies, and all applicable State and Federal laws. 

 Please note that this is for sharing files temporarily, and files will be deleted after 14 days.

Why replace FileLocker?

FileLocker was developed as freeware by a Purdue University security team more than five years ago. For the last three years, no support or development has occurred for the software. As the product no longer meets information security standards for the College, a new system was installed to allow for secure file transfers. FileLocker will remain available until Jan. 5, 2017.  All files within FileLocker will be purged on 01/05/17 

Get Started!


If you have any questions, please contact the Information Security by emailing it-informationsecurity@cofc.edu


6 reasons to use google docs
Best Practices, Google, Google Apps, Productivity

6 Reasons To Use Google Docs Instead Of Word

The latest installment in my series on 6 Reasons To Use Google Apps For Education will take a look at Google Docs.  Google Docs is a free, web-based, word processing application that is basically like Microsoft Word.  All files are automatically saved to the cloud so you never lose anything and can access your work from any computer, anywhere, using just a web-browser. In my mind, this alone is reason enough to use it.  As a matter of fact, a month ago my computer died…completely.  However, all of my files were saved to Google Drive so I didn’t lose ANYTHING!   The other benefit to using Docs is that your students already have CofC Google accounts and it’s easy for them to use and access if you want to use it in your classes.  Just like Microsoft Word, Google Docs allows you to write and edit documents, autosave, add images and tables, and create footnotes and bibliographies.  But there are so many more features that set this tool apart from Word (way more than six)!  Google Docs has all of the same collaboration, sharing and revision history that the other Google tools have (see the other posts in this series on Google Sheets and Google Slides to learn more) so I’m not going to include those below.

So without further ado, here are six reasons you should be using Google Docs instead of Word:

Reason 1: Speech To Text

Speech to text iconSpeech to Text allows you to speak into your computer’s microphone and Google Docs will type what you say.  It isn’t perfect but it’s pretty darn good.  I am impressed with its accuracy without any of the voice training normally required by these types of applications.  I recently read an article that discusses how well it does with dialects and accents.  It also apparently works with a plethora of languages.  NOTE: It only works with Google Chrome web browser but that shouldn’t be a deal breaker.  To learn more visit Type with your voice on the Google Docs help pages.

Reason 2: Add-Ons

I love the concept of add-ons for a program because it allows users to add features that aren’t built into the program.  My two favorite add-ons right now are SAS Writer Reviser and EasyBib, but there are others that sound really helpful such as VexTab Music Notation, Math, Rhyme Finder, and Teacher Rubric (disclaimer: I haven’t tried the last four).

Reason 3: Document Outline

If you use the built-in style headers then Google Docs will automatically build a document outline that allows you to jump to any point in a document.  Unlike a table of contents in Word, this outline always stays on the side of the screen, allowing you to easily navigate the document.  Also, unlike the table of contents, the outline is updated automatically each time you add a new header.  No more need to refresh the table.  Access it under Tools > Document Outline.  To learn more visit Edit and use a document outline in the Google help files.

screenshot of the Explore panelReason 4: Explore

The Explore feature is available in each of the main Google tools but it does something different in each tool.  In Google Docs, clicking on the Explore icon in the lower right corner of the window will bring up suggestions related to your entire document or to just the text you have highlighted.  In Docs, Explore will show you topics included in the selected area, creative commons images that are related to the text, and related research articles pulled from the public web and Google Scholar.

Reason 5: Built-in Drawing Tool

Google Drawing is built-in to Google Doc, allowing you to create charts, diagrams, and drawings without leaving your document.

Reason 6: Publish To Web

In addition to fantastic sharing and collaborating features, Google Docs allows users to save their document as a webpage.  While you may be saying, “Well Word lets you save as a webpage,” you would be correct, however what Word doesn’t do is publish it to the web and give it a URL.  This makes it very easy for students to share their work to an outside eportfolio or a blog or just publish it on the web for others to read.  Giving our students a public audience for their work is an important component of some majors and this is an easy way to accomplish it.

I hope that I have been able to sway you, if not to completely change to Google Docs, at least to give it a try.  It has evolved over the years into a stellar product so if you haven’t tried it in awhile (a year) then give it another chance.  I think it will win you over!


Small Teaching Tip Number 5 focuses on using Google Docs and Slides to make in-class group work more productive and efficient.
Collaboration, Google, Google Apps, Productivity, Small Teaching Tip, Teaching Advice

Small Teaching Tip #5: Make Group Work More Efficient with Google Apps

Collaboration and project management are important skills for college students to learn.  Unfortunately, many students grumble about group work and faculty spend too much time managing logistics.  Wouldn’t it be nice if there were tools that could make in-class group work more efficient and productive?

I have a possible solution for you!  Google Apps!

All CofC students and faculty have free access to Google Apps for Education using their College email address and password.

Here are two ways you can use Google Docs and Slides to make group work more efficient:

Share Templates

In-class group work is most effective if students are given clear instructions, including the goals of the activity and expectations for a deliverable.  Without purpose or guidelines, students will be less productive and more easily distracted.

One way to provide structure is to create an outline, template, or worksheet to guide students’ work.  If you create this handout in Google Docs, you can easily share it with students who can then type on the document as they work with their teams.

But, Jessica, wouldn’t that mean all students would be typing on the same document?

Yes, unless you make this tiny but powerful change to the document URL: delete the word “edit” from the end of the URL and replace it with the word “copy.”

Sharing clean copies of Google Docs with students

When students click on the URL you’ve shared with them, they will be asked to make a clean copy.  Now, each student or each group can work on their own document.

Ask your students to share their document with you so you can see what they’ve accomplished during class.  And if groups run out of time and need to finish outside of class, every group member can contribute from their own dorm room or apartment (because Google Drive is cloud-based).

Share a Slide Master

After students complete an in-class activity or assignment, do you ask groups to present their work to the rest of the class?  This form of debriefing or “reporting out” encourages students to work harder because they’ll have to stand in front of the room to present to their peers.  It also gives students much-needed opportunities to practice their public speaking skills, which are typically quite weak.

But if you ask students to create slides in Powerpoint, every student would have to email their file or save it to a thumb drive and then open it on the teacher station computer.  This requires too much precious class time.

Instead of using Powerpoint, create an empty slide show in Google Slides.  If you want students to design their own slides, simply create a presentation with blank slides (one slide per student or one slide per group, for example).  If you want students to include certain pieces of information on their slides, create a template.  You can then duplicate that template slide for as many students or groups that you have.

Next, give your students editing rights and share the URL with them (watch the animated GIF below).  Every student can now access that slide deck during class and work on their individual slides.   When it’s time to present to the class, you only have to open the one Google Slides presentation and the entire class’ work is right there!

Changing share settings for a Google Doc

We hope you found this week’s Small Teaching Tip helpful.  This post is part of a series which presents low risk, high reward teaching ideas, inspired by James Lang’s book Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning.