- Search & Find
- Use the Library
- Research Support
- Course Support
Earlier this month, Rich Trott and I delivered a session at the University of California Computing Services Conference (UCCSC) in San Francisco. It was about our experience using an approach of continuous iterative improvements and frequent feedback to help keep our site fresh and meeting user needs. We talked about why this approach has been working better than the tradition complete redesign that might happen every few years (or not.)
If you can’t wait to hear more, see the slides with notes.
Or if you’re more of the video type, you can check that out too.
Let us know about your experiences using this kind of approach to website upkeep and positive user experience. What works for your site or organization?
Photo by chexee
Before me there stood a great, big wall. An obstacle. A fortress. Well, metaphorically speaking, in any case. However, the five archival boxes full of various documents and files seemed as large as the tallest gate to me. Being a lowly intern, I must admit that I was a bit intimidated. After all, it was my responsibility to sort and organize all of these files.
The documents all pertained to the life and career of Dr. E (‘Eddie’) Leong Way, one of UCSF’s oldest alumni, and a great contributor to the understanding of opiate addiction and reliance. Unfortunately, their previous keepers did not properly store the files. They were in some small state of disarray, stuffed in varying folders and envelopes, stacked on top of each other, and even, in some cases, in incorrect boxes.
It was my job to remove the files from their initial place and sort them properly. I took them out of their different folders and placed them in official, archival ones, meant for preserving and protecting files more efficiently than other folders. Each folder must be labeled and numbered properly as well. After that, they are to be placed in official, archival boxes. And, lastly, I had to write up the inventories for each of the boxes.
It was a long, time-consuming task, requiring precision and a good deal of attention. Admittedly, it was a bit frustrating at times. However, that did not prevent it from being a great experience. It was fascinating to get insight into the work required in the archives. More importantly, it helped me understand the hard work others put into these tasks and others, as well as appreciate the importance of preserving and organizing the archives affectively and efficiently. If I were to be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.
Alex Giacomini was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is vastly interested in writing and the humanities, and is currently a communications intern in UCSF’s School of Pharmacy. Alex is a rising senior at UC Berkeley, where she is working to attain her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature.
Some of us dread the arrival of summer because that’s when the EndNote folks usually announce the release of a new version of the software and we have to start thinking about whether or not it’s worth upgrading (and if you have it installed on multiple workstations in a teaching lab, where are you going to get the money?). As September approaches I was wondering what was the delay with X8. According to a post I found on Facebook there will be no new update this year. You can read EndNote’s explanation here:
My thanks to Pedro from Brazil!
If you’ve working with version X7 you might want to upgrade to X7.1, for free. There are some enhancements to syncing between the desktop and online versions, so you might want to check this out. Details here. Download here.
The UCSF Archives & Special Collections would like to announce the opening of the new exhibit, “Eric L. Berne Archive: The Birth of Transactional Analysis.” This exhibit marks the conclusion of the first phase of the Eric Berne Archive Processing project.
Eric L. Berne (1910-1970) was a practicing psychiatrist, lecturer and author. Best known for his development of the theory of Transactional Analysis, Berne published dozens of scholarly articles in the field of psychoanalysis and was the author of eight major books, including the bestseller Games People Play.
The materials in the Archive were created by Dr. Berne (1910-1970) and by the organizations he founded: the San Francisco Social Psychiatry Seminars (SFSPS) and the International Transactional Analysis Association (ITAA). The Archive holds Berne’s personal and professional papers, including correspondence, writings, notes, conference programs, administrative records, photographs, and audio-visual recordings.
In the past nine months (September 2013-May 2014) project archivist, Kate Tasker has been working diligently to process six existing collections and two recently added accessions. As a result of this effort six detailed finding aids for the Eric Bern Archive consisting of 77 boxes or 41.8 linear feet were added to the Online Archive of California. Kate also organized and compiled an inventory for the Eric L. Berne Rare Book collection that includes over 300 books from Berne’s personal library and copies of his published works. With the help of our cataloger, Bea Mallek, these volumes were added to the UCSF Library catalog and can be consulted in the Archives & Special Collections reading room.
Another important achievement was the digitization of more than 400 unique documents, containing Eric Berne correspondence (including letters from significant figures such as Alfred C. Kinsey, Paul Federn, and Karl Menninger), writings, educational records, lecture drafts, announcements and publications from the SFSPS and the ITAA as well as photographs. The Eric L. Berne digital collection, an educational portal containing information about Eric Berne, his studies and writings is now accessible to researchers and general public worldwide.
The exhibit highlights selected artifacts, photos and documents from the Eric L. Berne Archive at UCSF.
The visitors will be able to view Berne’s correspondence concerning the design and promotion of the board game “Games People Play” and a fully intact game set, edited typescript of his first book The Mind in Action, his glasses, an announcement about the opening of his practice in San Francisco, a selection of English and foreign language
editions of his book Games People Play and numerous photographs.
The Eric L. Berne Archive is housed in the UCSF Archives and Special Collections. Detailed processing and digitization for these materials were made possible by generous support from 23 TA Associations worldwide and many individual donors through the ITAA. The UCSF Archives will continue working with the ITAA and its supporters to secure funding for the digitization of additional items.
Please view the online companion for this exhibit on the UCSF library website.
The exhibit will be on view on the 5th floor of the Parnassus Campus Library, beginning August 8th, 2014.
The web’s leading resource for online video tutorials is now available in CL240 of the Tech Commons! Lynda.com offers thousands of professionally produced video tutorials on a wide variety of subjects. This includes many of the tools that the Help Desk and Learning Technologies Group support, like Moodle, Articulate, Camtasia, and iMovie.
You can also sharpen your presentation skills, learn to properly light a video interview, or improve your screencasting techniques. Here are a few of our staff picks!
In the future, we would like to expand this service to more than one workstation, so show your support by visiting us in CL240, watching some tutorials, and helping us spread the word to your colleagues!
Please note, the workstations in CL240 provide students, faculty and staff with the resources to create dynamic, multimedia content in supplement of the teaching and learning process at UCSF. Use of these workstations and Lynda.com for personal projects is strongly discouraged during normal business hours, and should never interfere with users working on UCSF sanctioned projects.
The Ilios project is investigating a migration to Ember.js. Because we have a lot of PHP experience and a lot of PHP code, it makes sense to serve the content using Symfony. We chose Ember.js because of its convention over configuration approach and wanted to make as few customizations as possible.
However we wanted separate templates and routers in different files. This required pre-compiling the templates for Ember. Thankfully there is a Node.js application for doing this already called ember-precompile.
It is even supported in the latest version of Assetic. However AsseticBundle hasn’t been updated in a while, so we had to mess with the Composer definition to get this working. The Assetic compiler will fail silently if you don’t have ember-precompile installed in /usr/bin/ember-precompile. Hopefully a fix for that will be available soon.Testing the API
We want test coverage for our API, but actually getting the right input proved to be a bit complicated. There is a demo controller test and a base test in the AcmeApiBundle in this distribution. You can use it as a starting point to make writing other tests easier.JS Dependencies
We use Bower to install all of our dependencies, include them in the layout, and manage their version without checking the code into our repo.
None of this would have been possible without:
Tomorrow, August 2, the Collaborative Learning Environment (CLE) will undergo an update as detailed in last month’s blog post, Announcing the CLE Refresh! The CLE will be unavailable on Saturday, August 2, from 6 AM – 2 PM (PDT) to complete the upgrade to Moodle 2.6 (the original upgrade date was scheduled for July 26).
Here are just a few improvements to look forward to with the refresh:
A New Look and Feel: You will immediately notice the new CLE theme when logging in August 2 after 2pm. Take a look around and notice the new CLE Home Page – with quick access to your CLE courses and support resources.
Mobile Friendly: The CLE is now mobile friendly! Try visiting your summer or fall courses using your mobile device. The CLE will now scale to fit the device of your choosing!
10 Notable Features as Explained by Sean Gabriel McClelland: Last month’s blog post included Sean Gabriel McClelland’s Top 10 New Features: Summer 2014. Check it out and contact LTG or post a comment below if you have any of your own additions for this list!
Of course we will identify more new features as the UCSF community begins to explore the refreshed CLE. In the meantime, LTG is here to help!
Image Credit: “Refresh” designed by Andrew Lynne from the Noun Project.
Image Credit: Moodle Trust
A new generation of citation/reference management applications are making it easier to share references and text with colleagues. This is the first of a series of posts looking at some of the most popular ones.
Of all current reference managers Mendeley probably stands out as a collaboration tool for researchers. Mendeley is a desktop and web program for managing and sharing research papers and discovering research data. Its social networking features facilitates collaboration among researchers through the creation of groups which allow you to collaborate with any member of the Mendeley community. In private groups, you may share and annotate a list of documents within your PDF organizer, allowing you to collaboratively tag and annotate research papers. In public groups, you may create a reading list with your colleagues and make it accessible to anyone on the web. Groups now also have an activity feed on Mendeley Web and in Mendeley Desktop, helping you stay up to date on new additions and discussions within the group.
View this short online tutorial explaining how to utilize Mendeley groups for collaboration:
This is a friendly reminder that on Saturday, August 2, UCSF faculty, staff and students will no longer be able to create or join Blackboard Collaborate web conference sessions, and all recorded Collaborate sessions will be deleted from the UCSF Collaborative Learning Environment (CLE).
As part of the CLE Refresh, Blackboard Collaborate will no longer be supported at UCSF. Read more in the June 11, Convergence blog post Collaborate Retiring on August 2. WebEx is the web conference system supported on campus by the TeleHealth department.
If you would like to request a WebEx account or if you have general questions about using WebEx at UCSF, please contact Najla Faranza with the TeleHealth department at Najla.Farzana@ucsf.edu before your next UCSF course.
The Learning Technologies Group have been busy using WebEx in conjunction with the CLE for support and collaboration. The WebEx and CLE support document provides step-by-step instructions for adding WebEx sessions and recordings to CLE courses (click the image below to view the support document).
Do you have innovative ways of using WebEx inside and outside of the classroom at UCSF? Please share them with the UCSF community in a comment below!
Image Credit: WebEx
As it’s the height of summer, that time of year when many of us head outdoors a bit more often, we thought we’d highlight a first edition from our rare book collection that addresses a potential hiking hazard– snake bites.
Dissertatio prima [et secuna] de theriaca in officina Christophori Heerford Sen. Pharmacop. was published by Matthias Godicchenius for Petrus Hauboldus in Copenhagen, 1671. The volume is composed of two dissertations on snake poisons and their antidotes, issued from the laboratory of two Copenhagen pharmacists. The manner in which Bartholin approaches the topic is of particular significance as it assumes that blood circulates throughout the body. He was one of the earliest advocates of Harvey’s theory of blood flow.
Thomas Bartholin was no slouch himself. He discovered the lymphatic vessels, contributed to anesthiology research, and came from an utmost scientific family that can boast pioneering work in the olfactory nerve, light ray double refraction, and discovery of Bartholin’s gland.
We hope you’re all enjoying the summer. Be safe and remember that even breeches and stockings may not protect you from everything.
Your smartphone might be the most powerful portable computer you own. It can also contain a lot of personal information. With photos, financial apps, passwords, and email stored on the device, a lost or stolen phone in the wrong hands can be catastrophic.
With smartphone thefts on the rise, it’s no wonder that the FCC recommends that you set up password security on your phone, yet one third of all U.S. users still do not have a four digit PIN lock. If your phone does ever fall into the wrong hands, encrypting your phone this way will add a layer of security.Do It Now
Before making any upgrades on your phone, it is best to back up all the data on your device. Your contacts, documents, and photos can be synced and stored on your computer through your iTunes or Android software.
All iPhones 3GS and later, and all iPad models have hardware encryption, so protecting your iPhone or iPad (iOS) is simply a matter of turning on your passcode through the Settings > General > Passcode Lock.
Encrypting an Android device requires a little more effort and is done through Settings > Security. You can also encrypt your SD card from this menu, if you have one. Note that this process might require an hour or more to fully encrypt your device, so be sure it is fully charged or plugged in. Once your Android device has finished encrypting, remember to power off and restart your phone for the changes to take effect. If you want a higher level of Android security, you can install encryption software like SecureMe, which uses a military-grade algorithm that can encrypt and hide individual notes, photos, and messages.The Bottom Line
The reality is that a growing number of organizations are now requiring that mobile devices be encrypted before allowing access to their email systems. Even if you are not required to do it, neglecting to encrypt exposes your personal information to unnecessary risk. As I’ve outlined, encrypting your mobile devices is a fairly simple process and once completed will provide a crucial layer of security, in case your phone is ever lost or stolen.
The UCSF Collaborative Learning Environment (CLE) is getting a makeover! On July 26, 2014, the CLE (powered by Moodle) is being updated from version 2.4 to 2.6. [Ed. note: Due to issues the theme developer has encountered, the CLE upgrade will be delayed to the following Saturday, August 2. The site will be unavailable from 6am-2pm on that day.]
This is a major update for UCSF’s online learning management system that includes a number of improvements to the usability and performance of the system. All users of the system, including students, faculty, and staff, will benefit from this update.
The most noticeable update will be the new look and feel of the site, including the enhanced home page and modern course design. Here’s a sneak peak of the new look here (subject to change before the launch date):
Along with the new look, the site will have a responsive design and be mobile friendly! This means the site will scale nicely on all devices and screen sizes, such as smartphones and tablets. There are many other new exciting features that Instructors and others who are responsible for managing CLE courses will find after the upgrade. Take a look at the Top 10 Most Notable Features!
We’ll be jumping right to the 2.6 version, so we get to take advantage of the features from 2.5, as well as 2.6. If you’d like a full list of the new features, take a look at moodle.org’s 2.5 Features List and 2.6 Features List.
The Library and the Learning Technologies Group is gearing up to provide user support for this refresh. We will be offering webinars and consults during the time of the launch to help you get acquainted with the system and answer any questions you may have. And starting in the fall, we’ll be offering our popular CLE Clinics again! As always, please let us know if you need any support or have any feedback on the new system by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org!
Today’s smartphones carry an unprecedented amount of personal information. Not just contacts and email, but web history, social network applications, cloud storage, photos, financial applications and more are at risk, if your phone is lost or stolen. Add integration with your work servers (e.g. email, contacts, remote desktop) and your phone becomes a potential risk for leaking business information as well.
Cellphone theft is sharply on the rise, and Consumer Reports estimates from its national survey that 3.1 million Americans were victims of smartphone theft in 2013. With the likelihood of cellphone theft rising, alongside the ever-growing amount of data these devices store, the time couldn’t be better to take steps to protect yourself.
Legislation is moving forward in California which would require cell phones sold in the state to come equipped with theft-deterring technology, commonly referred to as a “kill switch.” Minnesota already has a law in place slated to require this technology on any smartphone manufactured and sold after July 1st, 2015. Kill switch technology would empower a smartphone owner to remotely disable and wipe the device. A major feature release in Apple’s iOS 7 in 2013 was “Activation Lock,” a typical kill switch feature that implemented lock and wipe functionality. In the first five months of 2014, thefts of iPhones in San Francisco dropped 38%, in New York by 19%, and London by 24% compared to the previous year. Proponents of mandating this technology argue that it dis-incentivizes would-be thieves and gives users peace of mind.
The good news for iPhone and Android users is that you don’t have to wait for the mandate! The sections below outline Apple’s offering for iPhone, Google’s offering for Android, and my personal favorite for Android.Apple’s Activation Lock
Activation Lock requires an iCloud account to remotely manage your phone. Activation Lock works on iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch devices running iOS 7 or later. Like other iCloud services, you’ll need an Apple ID to use the feature, but chances are you already have one if you own an Apple Device. More information about Apple ID can be accessed here.
Activation Lock is set up automatically, when you enable Find My Phone on your iOS 7 device. To do so, follow these steps on your iPhone or iPad:
Lost Mode is a great option included with Find My Phone. Login at iCloud.com/find and activate Lost Mode on your iOS device if you think it may be lost or stolen. Set an optional custom message (e.g. “Hey! You found Ben’s phone! Please call his roommate at 555-123-4567 and he will reward your handsomely”). Lost Mode protects your phone with a four digit passcode. Even if you wipe your device, your custom message and lockscreen will remain active, preventing unauthorized users from using your device.
You can find more information about Activation Lock and Find My Phone here.Google’s Android Device Manager
Android Device Manager is Google’s implementation of kill switch technology for the Android platform. To use Android Device Manager, you’ll need to have already connected a Google account to your tablet or phone.
Follow these steps to set up Android Device Manager on your Android tablet or phone.
From the Android Device Manager webpage you can locate your device in Google Maps, lock it with password and optional alert message, erase data, and send a ring command. For the location feature to work properly on Android 4.1 or higher, you’ll need to have location access enabled. You can define location access settings to employ any combination of GPS, cell tower, and wireless access point information to determine your device’s location. Note that GPS is more accurate, but will negatively affect battery life.AndroidLost –– like Android Device Manager, but better.
AndroidLost is a feature-rich kill switch application for Android users. It can be installed alongside Android Device Manager and has some additional functionality you may desire. Like Android Device Manager, it also requires a Google account to be setup on your device.
In addition to erasing data, setting a password lock, and sending ring commands from a webpage, AndroidLost allows you to remotely take photographs and audio recordings with your device’s camera and microphone, fetch call list and SMS logs, set a custom alarm, back up photos, start a phone call, and more.
Unlike Apple and Google solutions, you can also send all these commands to AndroidLost via text message from another phone (at your approval, of course.) You could, for instance, send the text message “androidlost alarm 60″ and your phone would sound an alarm for 60 seconds. Or you might send the “androidlost erasesdcard” command in a text message in dire circumstances to keep your phone operational, but wipe the contents of the SD card. Sending these commands from a trusted phone might be useful if you are unable to access a computer after losing your device.
Another great feature is being able to remotely turn on and off the GPS. To save battery life, I keep my location access disabled on my Samsung smartphone unless I’m using Navigation features. It is very likely that if I lost my phone I would be unable to locate it using Android Device Manager. Using AndroidLost, I could enable location access on my lost phone and begin tracking it.
AndroidLost’s website is a bit lackluster and the software is still technically in beta, but the majority of features and commands are available free-of-charge. With that price tag, and the ability to run it in-tandem with Android Device Manager, AndroidLost is a great tool to consider including when setting up your phone or tablet.Secure your AppleID and Google Account
While all three options above can help protect your data, they all come with the risk that persons with unauthorized access to your AppleID or Google account password could also remotely wipe or lock your device. Whatever application you decide to implement for your device, you must protect the account that can authorize the kill switch with a strong, secure, unique password.
Another consideration is two-step authentication. Two-step –– also known as two-factor –– authentication is an excellent way to keep your important accounts secured. The first factor is a username and password (something you know,) while the second factor will oftentimes be a one-time code (sent to something you have, like a phone.) This second step is an added layer of security that can prevent unauthorized access, even in the event that your password is compromised. It is becoming more common that the second factor is delivered to our smartphones. Your AppleID sends a 4-digit code to your phone as a second authentication factor, while your Google Account uses an Android application called Google Authenticator to generate codes.
If you do use Apple or Google’s two-step authentication, and you lose your device, logging into iCloud or Google Device Manager to manage your device will be more complicated. Apple users should refer to the frequently asked questions for two-step verification and read up on the 14 digit recovery key you should save. Google users similarly can employ backup codes to login to accounts and manage devices.Be Ready to Report
Lastly, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC for short) has a list of guidelines and recommendations on how to safeguard yourself against wireless theft. A great tip they offer is to document your device’s make, model, serial number, and unique identifier (either the International Mobile Equipment Identifier (IMEI) or the Mobile Equipment Identifier (MEID) number.) You can give this information to police when you generate an official report, and it could be helpful in identifying your device if it is recovered. The FCC also has a useful list of carrier contact information that you can consult to report lost or stolen devices.
We hope you will never need to remotely wipe your device or report it stolen –– but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Take a few steps to prepare for the worst, and you can rest easy.
This is a photograph of the Hammerkop bird (Scopus umbretta). Impressive looking, isn’t it? But what’s it doing strutting around on this blog? It just so happens that UCSF has a trial for the Scopus database through 2014, and the name, Scopus, was inspired by this bird, reportedly because it has excellent navigation skills. (see the connection ?)
So what is Scopus? It’s a database of peer-reviewed literature and quality web sources with smart tools to track, analyze and visualize research. There is some overlap with MEDLINE but Scopus includes records from the EMBASE database, so it has especially strong European coverage. Scopus allows researchers to see who has cited their work in the past, and to follow new citations going forward by setting up alerts through email or RSS. It allows research officers to develop a profile of UCSF research
Scopus can help you:
Scopus is available from the UCSF Library on a trial basis through the end of 2014.
I’m afraid that unlike PubMed this database is only available to UCSF affiliates and you’d have to fly to Africa to see the Hamerkop.
In our previous post, we discussed important changes to the most recent version of Final Cut Pro, and how those changes affect your video editing workflow. In this post we will have a similar discussion about the changes to the new version of iMovie.
The latest version of the application is iMovie 10, and it is installed on each of the Mac workstations in CL240 and CL245. It is a simple yet powerful video editing application that has undergone a number of makeovers in the past few years. Improvements in version 10 include a refined interface, color matching features, native file editing (no more waiting for an import to finish before you can start editing), ability to export to MP4, and the use of a new “library” file to manage your projects.
It is very important to understand the new library method for file management, because all of our workstations in the Tech Commons area are “locked down” and files are erased upon reboot!
All related project files, events, imported media and rendered media are now collected into a single file called a library. In iMovie ’09 and earlier, project files were spread out between two folders, and mixed up with other projects, so it was difficult to archive and move projects to an external hard drive. Now you only have to copy a single file when backing up your projects.
Also note that Apple renamed “projects” to “movies,” you know, just to make things more interesting!
Download our new “Managing iMovie 10 Movie Files” document, which offers a detailed explanation, along with step-by-step instructions for updating, creating and archiving files in iMovie 10.
Print versions of this handout are also available at each multimedia workstation in CL240.
As always, please leave your comments and suggestions below, and we look forward to seeing what you create with the new version of iMovie!
Need advice on which citation/reference manager to use? Already a user but having a few problems? The UCSF Library is starting a series of drop-in clinics allowing you to talk one-on-one with a librarian about selected citation management programs such as EndNote, RefWorks and Zotero. Please bring your laptop if that’s what you use.
When: July 10th, 9:00 am to 11:00 pm.
Where: Computer Classroom, CC151, Mission Bay Library
The July clinic will include a short presentation on collaboration using EndNote Basic (aka Web)
RefWorks have recently released an upgraded version 4 of Write-n-Cite. However, when you download this new version you may be wondering why you now get a ProQuest tab appearing in Word. That’s because the RefWorks folks have changed the name of the new Write-n-Cite utility program to ProQuest for Word. You can still download the program from the Tools menu in your RefWorks account.
Click here for more information on installing and using ProQuest for Word.
In this post, I’m following up on my previous reviews of task management apps with another look at Any.do. When I last looked at task management apps, I was committed to using Google Tasks, and I concluded that the GTasks app offered me the best mobile experience (as Google doesn’t offer a mobile app for Tasks). Although I had seen great reviews of Any.do and liked its clean design and gesture-based interface, I didn’t want to order my task list using loose deadlines like This Week and Later. I also noticed that Google Tasks did not always sync reliably with Any.do.
Also, at that time there was no web interface for Any.do, and I wasn’t consistently using Chrome (there was and still is a browser extension for Chrome). Recently, the Any.do web app was finally released. In general, the web interface works well. It looks as nice as the mobile app and just feels like a logical extension of it:
Since I’ve already been using the Any.do app on my phone, the time seems right to revisit Any.do for Mobilized.Changing Needs
Since my last look at task management apps, my needs evolved somewhat. These changes left me less committed to Google Tasks and more willing to experiment with Any.do:
I started using Any.do on my Android phone (without syncing with Google Tasks) because my Google Tasks list had begun to feel long and unmanageable. Any.do provided an easy way to organize tasks for the next few days. I organically began using Any.do for casual tasks that weren’t urgent, and Google Tasks for items with firm, important deadlines.
Any.do has been great for quickly creating tasks using my phone. It offers the ability to create tasks using predictive text and speech recognition. I like the fact that it can automatically add a reminder to return a missed call. You can also create a task in email by emailing email@example.com.
I began to see the benefit of Any.do’s organization scheme — Today, Tomorrow, Upcoming, and Someday (Someday contains all tasks that don’t have an assigned date). These simplified categories help me set goals for what I want to accomplish, but if all of today’s tasks don’t get done today, Any.do automatically pushes them to the next day — no need to spend time entering new deadlines.
In both the phone and web app, Any.do also makes it easy to drag tasks from one date to another, and to put them in any order you like within that deadline group.
The Any.do Moment feature, which can be disabled or set to occur only on certain days of the week, reminds you once a day to spend a minute organizing your to-do list. I think this helps overcome one of the biggest hurdles to success with a task management app — simply remembering to use it.
Any.do makes it easy to 1) create a manageable list of things to get done in the next few days, 2) revisit your task list each day, and 3) postpone tasks without too much guilt (this may be a pro or a con, depending on your style). The minimal design with generously sized type, and the pleasant reminder chime makes it a joy to use — most of the time. I do have a few issues with Any.do.Issues with Any.do
When adding a sub-task (“note”) in the web app, it’s strange that you have to hit both Return and then Save to save the note.
But these are minor complaints. My main issue is still that Any.do doesn’t sync reliably or automatically with Google Tasks, and I’m not ready to totally give up on Google Tasks. I tried syncing the two and at first didn’t see any problems, but after multiple syncs, I ended up with many duplicate tasks, garbled notes, and strange due dates (e.g., 1969). This issue keeps me from going with Any.do as my sole task management app.The Bottom Line
Any.do works really well for me for keeping track of tasks coming up in the next few days, especially when I want to create a list of simple tasks while on the go. It’s great for quickly adding tasks like errands, chores, and phone calls. The Someday category, which holds all tasks without a deadline, is a good hold-all for non-critical tasks that I don’t want to forget. But when I want to schedule something with a firm deadline, especially if it’s a few weeks off, I still find it best to enter that task in Google Tasks — and sync it to mobile using either the Tasks or GTasks app.
If you’re not using Google Tasks, and you don’t have a lot of mid-range deadlines to keep track of, Any.do may be the task management solution for you.
Any.do Moment screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET.
Hope you all have a wonderful holiday weekend!
Many staff and faculty take advantage of the eLearning Studio, especially the Articulate Studio software, to get outside of the traditional lecture and flip their classroom with some audio narration. Employing this type of teaching model is beneficial for both faculty and students, however most folks don’t anticipate how challenging designing for online delivery can be. Use the following tips to help you think through how to best include audio narration in your next CLE course.
The number one piece of advice the Learning Technologies Group (LTG) gives to faculty and staff who are including audio narration is to write and practice reading a script before coming to the eLearning Studio to do their recording (and maybe even before you create your slideshow!).
Writing text for a learner to read is a lot different than writing text that will be listened to. A voiceover script is like a conversation with your learners, so write with listening in mind and give your learners the feeling that you are actually talking to each student personally.
Be sure to include transitional statements when moving from one topic to another. Phrases like “Now that we have a better understanding of [insert topic], let’s look at how to apply [insert next topic] or “Let’s shift gears to discuss [insert next topic]” help in carrying the learner along with you as you talk through the content.
Keep your script sentences short, simple, and direct. This will require some editing after your initial writing. When reviewing, first, take a look at the text at the paragraph level and cut out the sentences that aren’t really saying very much. Then, go to the sentence level and cut out the unnecessary words. You’ll probably find many ways to reduce the words on the page, but keep the content in tact.
Ideally, a script shouldn’t match the text learners see the screen verbatim. People read much faster than narration can play and this may be frustrating for the learner. This is a great opportunity to determine if your slides are visually appealing and pithy enough. Take advantage of the two different modes of delivery (audio narration and visual text) and deliver each piece of content in the mode that makes the most sense. (Check out the other UCSF Learning Technologies blog The Better Presenter for more tips on this.)
Always read your script out loud when you review it. Ask yourself is this how people really talk about this topic? Well designed courses reflect reality. Because of that, try to keep your writing and delivery as honest as possible. Your learners will appreciate it!
As you can see below, in Articulate Presenter, the speaker notes that you add to your PowerPoint slides appear for you along the side of the screen when you record narration in the software. Take advantage of this feature and copy the script for each slide into PowerPoint!
Additional spacing makes your script easier to read. Add a hard return between each sentence of your script. Also, mark the places in your script where you’ll want to add a natural pause or an inflection in your voice for emphasis. Indicate pauses with the word “pause” in brackets and indicate emphasized words with bold or italicized text.
When you’re sitting in the Studio about to start your recording, it’s best practice to wait one or two seconds from clicking the record button to beginning to speak. This will go a long way for the learner who’ll be listening to the slides back to back. Instead of receiving the information rapid fire, this gives them a short time to process the content on the slide before the narration begins. It’s also a good idea to wait a second or two when you’re finished speaking to stop the recording, especially if you or someone else will be editing your audio files.
Although most of us are neither professional actors nor voice over talent, it still is worth trying to add in differences in tone and inflection to make it clear why the content is important to the learners. Think about the kind of attitude you would want to hear when listening to a recording. Most eLearning developers and scriptwriters encourage the use of an informal, friendly tone in the delivery of the content. Help learners make a connection with you and stay engaged in the content. Listen to examples of well-done narration for online Learning by voice-over artists.*
Lastly, be open to rewriting the script as you’re recording or even after you think you’re done! You may decide something should be reworded, deleted, or added in while you’re in the Studio. And that’s OK, too! Ad-libbing helps with enhancing the natural flow of the conversation and makes for a more engaging course experience.
To learn more about the audio, video, and multimedia software and equipment available to you as a part of the UCSF community, check out the Multimedia Support Center or contact the Learning Technologies Group!
Do you have any tips or tricks for audio narration or script writing that you’d like to share? Please write your comments below!
*Please note the LTG has never worked with this artist and therefore, are not specifically recommending working with her.
Headset Image Credit: Microsoft Office