Cool Web 2.0 Tools

September 6, 2013

cooltool logoPNG

Check this site out!!!

cool tools index

and more…

All I can say is that this site includes everything you would ever want to try…all are on the web and are free. Some tools you may have heard of but I bet that most of them you have not.

The site has won numerous awards and I can see why.

I recommend taking a look and bookmarking it.  You will want to go back.

Higher Ed Faculty’s Attitudes on Technology

August 30, 2013

Inside Higher Ed recently published their results of a new Survey of Faculty Attitudes on Technology,  Gallup conducted this poll on 2,251 professors and 248 academic technology administrators, from all types of institutions.

Most of the survey questions dealt with faculty attitudes toward online learning.  On the whole, faculty attitudes toward online learning and especially MOOCs are pretty negative. Since at the present time, Albany Law School does not offer any online courses, the results on other technology-related topics (adaptive learning, lecture capture, LMS) are more relevant for us.

Only 1/3 of the professors surveyed report that they have used adaptive learning (adapting the presentation of educational material according to students’ learning needs). But 61% of them agree or strongly agree that adaptive learning has “great potential to make a positive impact on higher education.” (84% of the academic technology administrators believed this.)

Only 19% reported using lecture capture (recording lectures & embedding them). But 50% said that they believed lecture capture has great potential for a positive impact on higher education, (2/3 of the academic technology administrators believed this.)

Learning management systems (LMS) are used on almost every campus but survey results showed that many professors only use their LMS for basic tasks and may not be using all features available (see chart below.)

Frequency With Which Faculty Use LMS Features

Feature Always Usually Sometimes Never
Share syllabus with students 76% 10% 8% 7%
Track student attendance 24% 10% 16% 50%
Record grades 53% 13% 12% 22%
Provide e-textbooks and related materials 36% 22% 22% 19%
Integrate lecture capture 11% 7% 13% 69%
Communicate with students 53% 21% 16% 9%
Identify students who may need extra help 24% 15% 27% 34%

Read more:

Law School faculty have incorporated adaptive learning through the following technology tools:

  • CALI interactive lessons
  • TWEN online quizzes
  • Clickers/Student Response systems
  • Interactive Computer Simulations such as The Objection series
  • Core Grammar For Lawyers (this year with 1Ls)

Lecture capture has been much easier with the newer technologies.  Even if you are not fortunate enough to have built-in systems (Tegrity, Panopto, MediaSite, Echo360) installed in the classroom, there are ways to record your classes and make the files available for students:

  • recording audio using a digital recorder and posting in the LMS
  • adding narration to PowerPoint presentations (using Adobe Presenter) and posting a pdf
  • recording through Adobe Connect and sharing video link
  • recording video using a webcam and posting in the LMS
  • using various free screen capture programs (such as,, Screen o’

Almost all our professors use a LMS (in our case, TWEN) to share content and communicate with students. 78 out of 96 courses already have sites set up (many of those without sites are taught by adjuncts.)  Consistent with the above survey results, many of the professors only use their site to post the syllabus and course materials. However, each year, more of the faculty are taking advantage of the other features available to them in TWEN:

  • Assignment Submissions
  • Assignment Submissions (with anonymous grading)
  • Email options
  • Discussion forums
  • Sign-up Sheets
  • Polling
  • Online Quizzes
  • Gradebook
  • Wiki
  • Posting audio and video (to flip the classroom)

twen1    twen2twen3

Borrowing Ideas

June 21, 2013


Each month, the Institute for Law teaching and Learning offers an “Idea of the Month” for law school teachers. Some ideas include the use of technology.  Here are a few:

  • March 2013 – Videotaping Classes to Free Up Face to Face Time for Discussion – Heidi Holland found herself in need of an inventive idea to help her make up a class she missed due to sickness… she decided to videotape herself doing research (on one Code of Federal Regulation fact pattern) with the IT person following her around the library with a camera.  She used TWEN to post 10 different Code of Federal Regulation fact patterns one of which the students were required to choose and research as well as her own instructional video.
  • February 2013 – Virtual Office Hours – When a snow day fell one week before 1L students had to hand in their midterm appellate briefs, this professor decided to keep his normally scheduled office hours, but in a TWEN chat room.
  • December 2011 – Moving Lectures Outside of the Classroom – Professor Garver was actually “flipping the classroom” before we called it that. He assigned students to view a small number of short videos before class.  In class, he assessed the students’ learning with clicker questions, and then used the rest of class time for small group work.
  • August 2009 – Practice and Feedback
    • Create a short multiple-choice practice test and have students take the test on TWEN or Blackboard
    • Integrate one or two multiple-choice questions into your PowerPoint slides and use one of the Classroom Response Systems out there (the clickers or CALI’s) to provide immediate, on-the-spot feedback

More details on these law professors’ use of technology can be found here.

Professor 2.0 -


Interested in Clickers?

June 10, 2013

Articles, Briefs and Reports

  • GoSoapBox Classroom Response System Engages Students EDUCAUSE Review Online. November/December 2012.  This case study explores the use of a classroom response system in Spanish language classes that seemed too small to benefit from the approach.
  • Clickers in the Classroom: Transforming Students into Active Learners, ECAR Research Bulletin, 2011. This research bulletin discusses a program at the University of South Carolina to implement SRSs in the classroom and to study the impacts that the technology has on student outcomes. In our research, we also looked at the challenges that SRSs pose, both to students and to faculty members, and investigated best practices for using this technology.
  • Clicker Implementation Models, EDUCAUSE Quarterly, 2011. Clickers require a significant economic investment; deciding who pays is a key issue that gives rise to two implementation models: institution-pays and students-pay.
  • Clicker Resource Guide: An Instructors Guide to the Effective Use of Personal Response Systems (Clickers) in Teaching, 2010. This guide was written to help instructors understand the answers to these questions, and to help them use personal response systems (“clickers”) in their classes in the most comfortable and pedagogically effective manner.
  • 7 Things You Should Know About Open-Ended Response System, January 2011. An open-ended student response system is an electronic service or application that lets students enter text responses during a lecture or class discussion. Open-ended systems give faculty the option of collecting such free-form contributions from students, in addition to asking the true/false or multiple-choice questions that conventional clicker systems allow.
  • Move Over Socratic Method, ‘Clicker’ Offers Law Profs New Option to Monitor Student Progress, November 2010. As some law profs and law school administrators bemoan or ban the electronic devices that make it easy for today’s students to sit in the back row and text and e-mail during class, a growing number of educational innovators are adding new wireless technology to their arsenal of teaching tools and monitoring devices.
  • Teaching with Clickers in Law, March 2012. A presentation by Derek Buff at the Lincoln Memorial University Duncan School of Law in Knoxville, Tennessee on teaching with clickers.
  • Clickers, March 2010. Douglas Whaley blogs about his use of clickers at Ohio State Law School.

Clickers, Mobile and Web App Polls

Adapted from:

LawTeaching.Org’s Idea of the Month

December 6, 2011

Each month, the Intstitute for Law Teaching & Learning posts an “Idea of the Month.” For December 2011, the idea related to the use of technology in legal education.

  • Using PowerPoint
  • Recording video lectures
  • Editing these videos (and creating short clips)
  • Posting these video clips & ppt slides for students to view outside of class
  • Using “clickers” to assess understanding in class

Last month, in article from Inside Higher Ed, Marketing Professor Mike Garver from Central Michigan University was featured.  To read the entire article, click here. He was also featured on the Turning Technologies website, here.

In order to integrate higher order thinking skills into his teaching methods, Dr. Garver turned to technology.  He records his lectures on his webcam at home. He then splits them up into small chunks, posts them to iTunesU along with accompanying PowerPoint slides and assigns them to his students to view before they come to class.

In class, he  assesses the students’ understanding of these important concepts with questions that students respond to with a “clicker.” The rest of class is devoted to group work and hands-on activities.
The Institute’s 2011 summer conference materials also include some useful information on video recording –  YouTube Pedagogy: A Practical Guide.

Survey says…

September 17, 2010

In addtion to the polling feature in TWEN, the tools below support  interactivity in the law school classroom:

1.  Strutta  – Create not just polls, but online contests as well. Strutta allows teachers to moderate all student content before being posted online.
2.  Runpolls  – An easy site to use, with a drag & drop interface.
3.  Flisti  – A simple poll creator that allows users to share with popular social networks.
4.  Obsurvey - A great site with a wiki-style interface that allows users to create surveys with different styles of questions, such as multiple choice, true or false, and others.
5.  Survey Monkey  – One of the best online sites for creating surveys. The free version offers 10 questions per survey, up to 100 responses, and real-time results.
6.  Polldaddy  – Similar to Survey Monkey, with a nice user interface.
7.  Vorbeo - An easy-to-use site that lets users embed a poll directly into their blog or website.
8.  Text the Mob  – Good site site to use with  a large audience. Allows users to text in their responses via a mobile device. Built-in filtering soon to come, which would be ideal for schools.
9.  Insightify  – A great collaborative website for creating online surveys.
10.  Yarp – A fun site to use for creating simple surveys that generates a unique URL.

taken from Tech &Learning (Sept 2010) article by David Kapuler, media and technology specialist at Greendale (Wis.) School District.

ELI’s Seven Things You Should Know

February 11, 2010

The EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative’s (ELI’s) 7 Things You Should Know About series provides concise information on emerging learning technologies and related practices. Each brief focuses on a single technology or practice and describes:

  • What it is
  • How it works
  • Where it is going
  • Why it matters to teaching and learning

This is a great place to go to quickly learn about the latest technologies. Here are some examples:

and many more….

Clicker Survey Results for Spring 2009

May 13, 2009

10_24_2008 9_57 AM _1__0001

As the semester has drawn to a close, I again asked students to repond to an Online Survey on their experience with “Clickers.”

Question #1: How has the professor’s use of the clicker ENHANCED your understanding of the course material?

  • The professor and the clicker are both great! It is very useful. It made me read Dressler’s Understanding Criminal Law which otherwise I would not have done.
  • I have found the questions have helped me to apply the theory of case law.
  • I have found particularly helpful the questions my classmates have posed to Prof.
  • The poll feature after the question is submitted is very helpful in figuring out the ideas and understanding of our classmates.
  • It helped apply the principles to fact situations.
  • I think it makes for pretty good discussion
  • It has given the class, in my opinion, a good opportunity to put what we have learned to use & provided the professor the chance to offer feedback where we may have some confusion.

Question #2:  Can you suggest any improvements in the use of this technology during class?

  • Having more time for discussion of the results would be good.
  • The quizzes are very helpful. I would suggest that we have more time to spend in discussing answers and methods to use to properly address issues contained in the quizzes.
  • It would have been fun to take more class polls with the clicker system or to use it throughout class for questions just so we could see if we were all on the same page. The system could prove to be pretty useful and valuable if it was utilized more.
  • Maybe there can be questions posed throughout the lecture that are designed to test how well the students as a whole are grasping the material.
  • Since it has been brought to the professor’s attention he has been requiring that all students hand in written answers (the alternative for using the clicker if a student forgets theirs or just wants to write in an answer) before discussion of the answers begins.  However  until this change was made  students would wait until the answer came up on the screen to hand in theirs  taking advantage of the system and leaving those students who took the time to prepare answers of their own  without that same benefit. 
  • Make the “little blue man” more random and/or remove the ability to call on the same student twice in one class. I saw it twice that the same student had to go in the same class. In fact one person got “picked” twice in a row.

In-Class Polling Tool From CALI

April 7, 2009
With CALI Instapoll, professors ask a question in class and CALI Instapoll ( lets them create a poll online.
Here are the directions:
  1. Click on the ‘Create a Poll’ button
  2. If you do not want students to be able to change their answers, uncheck the box next to “Students may change their answer.”
  3. Announce the Poll number to the students.  (The Poll# appears both in the upper right hand corner of the screen and below the virtual clicker.)
  4. Verbally provide the question and answer choices to the students and ask the students to answer on their virtual clickers.
  5. Results will appear on the professor’s screen in the form of a bar graph.
  6. To clear the results in order to ask another question, click ‘Reset.’


Using “Clickers” to Stimulate Conversation

March 31, 2009

The other day, the crimlaw prof who uses CPS as an assessment tool came to me asking how to use it to poll students.

I told him that basically, it’s the same, – just do not upload the session to the gradebook or to CPSOnline and do not indicate the correct answer.

Here’s the response to whether students believe the current law on euthanasia should remain unchanged?


Then he asked the “Yes” voters to indicate how strongly they felt about their opinion (1 being  the highest):


Next he asked the “No” voters to indicate how strongly they felt about their opinion (1 being  the highest):


The professor continued to poll the students to see whether gender or age made a difference in whether the law on euthanasia should be changed.

This was an interesting way to use “clickers” in the classroom and it definitely kept the students engaged.


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