Summer Teaching and Fall Planning with Pitt IT | Information Technology | University of Pittsburgh

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Summer Teaching and Fall Planning with Pitt IT

Now that the spring semester has ended, you can reflect on the past year. Technology is at the forefront of education, whether it’s office hours over Zoom and using Canvas to organize class information, to all the apps students will use to complete their classwork. Take some time this summer to get one step ahead on your classroom tech resources so the fall semester comes with technological ease. Pitt IT is up and running all summer long to help. 

Pre-Record Asynchronous Lectures with Lecture Capture (Panopto)

If you know you’ll be delivering asynchronous lectures or conducting a flipped course (where students watch the lecture on their own, and work through problems or engage in discussion during class), the lighter teaching load during the summer term makes it a great time to get on Lecture Capture (Panopto) and record the videos in advance. If you have recordings that you use less frequently (e.g., for a class you teach every other year), be sure to save them in your OneDrive account. (Beginning July 1, all Panopto videos that have not been viewed within the past 18 months will be archived and permanently deleted after 30 total months. Learn more.)

Build a Better Course in Learning Management System (Canvas)

Summer is a good time to carefully build new courses and look at your existing classes in the Learning Management System (Canvas) to see if they need some changes. Were there any pages or files that your students had a tough time locating? What questions do your students routinely ask that you might head off by making the information accessible on the site? Were you able to upload and publish all the materials you wanted? The University Center for Teaching and Learning can help you plan out and organize your Canvas pages to best meet the needs of your students.

Set Up Student Electronic Research Notebooks (LabArchives)

Are you teaching a class where students will get hands-on experience with research and lab experiments? Stay up to date on their progress and give them practice in documenting their methods and results with student Electronic Research Notebooks from LabArchives. LabArchives is a cloud-based tool that enables researchers and students to safely store, organize, and share their laboratory research. Instructors can view student notebooks, provide feedback, give assignments and grades, and monitor student activity to identify misconceptions or underperformance. Help your students become better researchers.

Reserve and Request Classroom Tech

If you teach computer or information science, web development, CAD, or graphic design classes, students need to be right in front of computers, where they can practice applying concepts and instructors can look at their code or system to provide help. Having students use their personal devices, with different configurations and operating systems, makes that really hard. Pitt IT has several options.

Lab Classrooms

Reserve a lab classroom in G62 Cathedral of Learning or 314 Bellefield Hall so you can lecture in person, have your students practice as you speak, and you can easily view students' desktops to help them in real-time. Classrooms can be reserved for the entire semester for the entire class or for one or two sessions or recitations per week. A reserved lab will not be open to the public, so you will have a private, focused environment. Lab Classrooms are reserved on a first come-first served basis, so reserve your lab promptly.

Azure Lab Services

Azure Lab Services enables instructors to easily build a customized, cloud-based computing lab environment, creating a virtual sandbox that allows students to work directly in the system and make changes. The service is free for instructors of computer programming, data science, cybersecurity, information science and systems administration courses. Read more on our blog about how Azure Lab Services came to Pitt and tips to get you started.

Request Lab Software

If your students will be working on their own, but will need to use a particular piece of software, you can request that the software be available in the virtual and in-person Student Computing Labs. Required software should be available in the labs even if it can be downloaded at no cost to prevent issues related to incompatibility with or poor performance on student devices. Just request the app using the New Software Title Request form.

Summer Rewards

Enhance your summer classes and plan ahead for your fall courses using Pitt IT technology. It will enhance your student’s learning experience, while making your teaching life easier and ease the hectic pace of starting a new term. Learn more about IT resources for Pitt faculty here. Check out the Teaching Center for tips on effectively using Canvas and other technology tools in your classrooms.  For technical help with Pitt IT services or to explore your tech options, send a request to Pitt IT — we’d be thrilled to work with you!

-- By Vivian Zauhar, Pitt IT Student Blogger