UW System grant program targeting accessible technology has May 1 deadline

The UW System’s Learning Technology Development Council (LTDC) has received project funding to strategically address universal design and accessibility for persons with disabilities in relation to learning technology.

How might you approach a project to address accessibility of course materials, showcase your campus best practices, or create and incorporate guidelines and policies around accessible technology issues in higher education?

These funds can be used for small projects at individual campuses or partnering campuses with the goal of piloting accessibility or universal design strategies or technologies. Requests cannot exceed $5,000. Funding must be disbursed prior to June 30, 2015. Proposals are due by May 1, 2015, with applicants notified by May 15. Submit project applications or direct questions to Regina Nelson at nelsonreg@uwplatt.edu.
 

Theyerl: Lynda.com training getting popular


In the past three months, UW-Green Bay students, faculty, and staff have accessed more than 200 different video tutorial courses offered on Lynda.com. Technology training coordinator Patricia Theyerl of CIT says courses being explored are varied, including Camtasia Studio 8, Body Language for Leaders, Budgeting Video Projects, Creating a Responsive Web Design, Designing a Digital Magazine, Foundations of Programming: Data Structures, iPad for Business, and many more. She encourages members of the campus community to take advantage of the University’s license to access the courses: “Log into lynda.com and get started with your area of interest today.”

ATS has 10 fun ways to use clickers… and templates

Classroom response systems (“clickers” or TurningPoint on campus) can be used to help keep a classroom engaged during lecture. To keep things interesting for students who use them, Academic Technology Services offers instructors a new “Top Ten List” of alternatives to potentially passé multiple choice and true-false questions. They’ve also made PowerPoint templates for several of these, including “Geopardy” (the knockoff it sounds like), available for instructors. View the top ten list and contact Luke Konkol in ATS for more information: konkoll@uwgb.edu.

Online Educational Videos – Workshop Planned

UW-Green Bay’s Technical Trainer, Pat Theyerl, is eager to share a variety of Lynda.com video tutorials with the faculty, staff and students of UW-Green Bay.

Here are just a couple of hundreds of topics covered: Career Development: Developing an ‘Elevator Pitch’; Principles of Animation (Squash and Stretch); Photography: Proper use of Backlight; Photoshop: Photo Correction; SPSS: Recoding Variables; Music Production: Gating Audio; Communication: Negotiating Your Needs; Leadership: Developing Political Acumen; Project Management: Defining Goals & Objectives; Digital Publishing: iBook, eBook & EPUBs; MAC OS: Yosemite; iPad: OneDrive & MS Office Apps.

Click the link to learn more about Lynda.com, or attend an upcoming workshop to get hands-on experience searching courses, creating bookmarks and playlists and sharing a playlist with others. The workshop runs from 3-3:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 5. Email Theyerl at theyerlp@uwgb.edu if you are interested in attending.

Reminder: Teaching with technology, and distance learning conferences

Two opportunities for instructors to share their expertise with teaching with technology are coming up, with late-January due dates for submitting proposals.
Sharing Successes and Challenges in Teaching with Technology is a UW System Virtual Showcase Conference, a no-cost, no-travel conference April 9 and 10 organized by the Learning Development Council. Curtis Bonk and Sarah Horton are keynote speakers. Please consider both attending and presenting. Proposals are due Jan. 30.
Distance Teaching and Learning Conference sponsored by UW-Madison is considered a premier national conference in distance education. The conference is in Madison Aug.11-13, 2015.

Free workshops on Microsoft Lync

IT trainer Pat Theyerl of CIT is offering Microsoft Lync workshops prior to the beginning of the semester. She invites you to come and gain understanding of how to work with this instant messaging application, set preferences, and work with contacts. Attendees will also learn how to make and answer video calls, along with sharing presentations, desktops, attachments, work with whiteboards, and create and understand how to use polls. Topped off with time to practice. Workshop dates and times are:

•  Thursday, Aug. 22, 10-11 a.m.
•  Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2-3 p.m.
•  Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2-3 p.m.

All sessions will be in Lab E in the General Access Lab. No need to register, just come! Please contact Pat Theyerl, theyerlp@uwgb.edu, if you have any questions.

(Please note: There’s a short intro to Lync online – click here.)

More on partnership with Aver software, and student training in ‘Big Data’

Aver Informatics, a Green Bay startup company with national clients in the fast-developing field of health care analytics, has agreed to provide the University a free, three-year license for the company’s Big Data Analytics Platform. Along with free remote access to the software and databases, Aver will train students in use of the platform and make company server space available for student work on faculty-supervised course assignments. The data will be identity-stripped health care industry data accessible through remote networks and “the cloud,” with no data housed on UW-Green Bay servers. “The partnership with Aver allows our students to work with a current, state-of-the-art product and dynamic databases, and to test existing algorithms and experiment with new ones,” says Associate Prof. Peter Breznay, chair of Computer Science. For more about this emerging, in-demand field of data science, and UW-Green Bay’s partnership with Aver, see the full press release.

Partnership with tech startup will train students in ‘Big Data’

Students at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay will benefit from a new institutional partnership with Green Bay-based technology firm Aver Informatics that will bring hands-on opportunities with “Big Data” and advanced data analytics to the Computer Science curriculum.

Aver Informatics, a startup company with national clients in the fast-developing field of health care analytics, has agreed to donate to  the University a three-year license for the company’s proprietary Big Data Analytics Platform.

Along with free remote access to the software and databases, Aver will train students in use of the platform and make company server space available for student work on faculty-supervised course assignments. The data will be identity-stripped health care industry data accessible through remote networks and “the cloud,” with no data housed on UW-Green Bay servers.

Julia Wallace, UW-Green Bay’s provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, and Kurt Brenkus, Aver Informatics CEO, will sign a memorandum of understanding at 1:30 p.m. Friday (March 28) in the 1965 Room of the University Union.

Associate Prof. Peter Breznay, chairman of the Computer Science program, says the partnership is part of a larger effort to expand the University’s offerings in data science to meet both student and employer demand. Career opportunities are expanding, he says, as industries seek to improve product development, marketing and strategic planning by way of harnessing “Big Data” — data streams so massive and complex that the volume and variety are beyond the capacity of traditional database management tools.

“The partnership with Aver allows our students to work with a current, state-of-the-art product and dynamic databases, and to test existing algorithms and experiment with new ones,” Breznay says.

“This sort of software can be worth hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars to the companies that purchase these services. The tech industry needs people with advanced skills to develop these tools, and the companies that make that level of investment need people who have the technical and problem-solving ability to analyze data, spot trends, direct research and contribute to better decision-making. And that’s where our students enter the picture.”

UW-Green Bay students involved with the program will also learn about governance and storage issues including data privacy, security and integrity.

Breznay notes that Big Data is increasing important nationally in the health care and insurance sectors. He says the prominence of Northeastern Wisconsin companies in those industries could spur additional interest in the UW-Green Bay Computer Science program and its graduates.

Computer Science currently enrolls about 115 majors, and graduates about 15 students per year.

Aver Informatics has a patent pending for its product’s user-friendly design tools that both generate queries to support any analytics methodology and encourage users to design their own analytics. The company also provides consulting services to support customized analytics.

Brenkus, Aver’s CEO, says the partnership with UW-Green Bay “represents education for a new paradigm.”

“Data collection and analysis is radically changing our orientation to the people, places and things around us,” Brenkus says. “Together UWGB and Aver Informatics are embracing this new era of innovation and change… to help students create deep insights into the world around them.”

The complimentary three-year license for UW-Green Bay includes cloud access to the current Aver Platform, all future updates, and maintenance, installation and configuration services. UW-Green Bay students and faculty will share the results of any research and algorithms with the company.

Experts say algorithms for analyzing Big Data are evolving, as users struggle to cope with an increasing flood of information from a growing number of sources: online user-input data, computer-generated log data, supplemental databases accessible from external sources and the web, and a rapidly expanding network of remote electronic sensors now commonly embedded in strategic locations, products or systems.

Rajeev Bukralia, UW-Green Bay’s associate provost and chief information officer, has written about Big Data for national and international publications. Data science professionals capable of writing algorithms effective in sifting the voluminous data flow for meaningful patterns, he says, are in demand because organizations are then able to develop predictive, prescriptive, and optimization models to address a variety of problems.

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Bukralia speaks at national conference on prescriptive analytics, retention

Rajeev Bukralia, the University’s chief information officer and associate provost for information services, was a featured presenter in person and online at the 2013 Educause National Conference, Oct. 17 in Anaheim, Calif. His topic was “Using Prescriptive Analytics to Reduce Course Dropout.” Bukralia offered his audience a roadmap for creating a prescriptive, analytics-based system to identify at-risk students. He also discussed predictive techniques, the challenges of implementing any analytics-based projects, and relevant statistical and machine-learning techniques. Educause is a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education through the use of information technology.

HR uses academic technology at off-campus Clerk of Courts presentation

Melissa Pufall, HR assistant and training lead, along with Christine Olson, HR manager, presented last Friday as part of the annual Wisconsin Clerk of Courts Association conference. This session on How to Secure and Retain Quality Employees utilized UW-Green Bay academic technology (interactive clickers) and included information on interviewing techniques, best practices, and motivating and retaining quality employees.