Tech in Action

Using Grammarly to Improve Student Writing

Photo: Steven CainSteven Cain, scain@unl.edu, is an instructional designer in the College of Business Administration and has recently been part of a large-enrollment course design project focused on business writing. 

This fall, the College of Business Administration is running its first semester of a new writing course. A predominant focus of the course is enhancing the organization and presentation of ideas in student writing. The inherent challenge that came along with this course was how to help students ensure their first drafts were free of grammatical errors and ready for instructor review. Enter Grammarly, the super-powered grammar-checking software.

Technology: 
Writing applications
Category: 
Tech in Action

HORT 212 Plant Mapping Project

In Dr. Richard Sutton's HORT212 course, horticulture and landscape architecture students learn to use geo-location, shared Google spreadsheets, and Box to map a database of plants.  This fall, the plants were distributed among several groups of students in two different sections.  Each group located, photographed, and captured the latitude and longitude coordinates of their designated plants.  The spreadsheets are then combined and a tool called AwesomeTable was used to make this searchable plant database available for browsing.  

If you are looking for a specific plant, use the search and filter tools at the top of the display frame.  To browse by location, click on the place markers displayed on the map below.  If part of the plant information is hidden, drag the map to pull the window into view.

Technology: 
AwesomeTable
Box
Google Drive
Category: 
Tech in Action

Using text expansion tools to enrich feedback

Feedback is essential to student learning and one place faculty consistently spend a great deal of time is in typing up comments on written work. In this video, Brian Wilson, an instructional designer who also teaches online, demonstrates how he uses PhraseExpress to build a database of comments and references to support resources and then quickly inserts them with a few keystrokes. By using this approach for frequently used elements, he creates time for when customized feedback is critical.

Pedagogy: 
Feedback
Technology: 
Text-Expansion Tools
Category: 
Tech in Action

Improving outreach and supporting data-driven decisions with Airtable

Airtable LogoThe Innovative Instructional Design (IID) team at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln provides faculty support for instruction in many forms: 

The challenge we face is gaining data-driven insight into the impact of our efforts, the needs and interests of our faculty, and how our work in changing over time.  To understand these areas, we need to move beyond faculty attendance counts at events and the number of courses supported in different modes.  It was a clear need for some sort of relational database. In fact, it seemed like a customer relationship management (CRM) database might be what we needed, but we were unable to locate a product that matched our needs, or what we knew of our needs, and that’s where Airtable has been fantastic.

Technology: 
Databases and Spreadsheets
Category: 
Tech in Action