Skip to content

Tech Bytes: Updates from Gradescope, Hypothesis, VoiceThread, and more

This week’s byte-sized updates:

  • Gradescope has introduced a number of new features, including course duplication to facilitate the transfer of assignments from one course to another; anonymous grading and rubric integration to promote more equitable and transparent feedback; additional flexibility for extensions; and a detailed tool status page. More information and resources related to these features are available on the Turnitin Blog.
  • Following an external review conducted by the Inclusive Design Research Centre, the LMS integration for Hypothesis has been certified as fully compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 AA standard. The AA standard is the benchmark for many accessibility guidelines and requirements, and includes requirements such as appropriate color contrast; consistent navigational elements; adherence to proper text spacing and sizing; and correct labels and alt text for form fields and images, respectively. More information on the certification is available on the Hypothesis Blog.
  • VoiceThread has introduced a new option to prevent Doodles from fading while onscreen, and has reformatted closed captions to appear at the bottom of the slide, with each speaker identified. An updated design for the setup page that appears while building activities in the LMS will be released on February 26.

Requesting collaborative teams and graduate student access in Poll Everywhere

Since its arrival at UVA in August 2020, Poll Everywhere has become one of the university’s most widely used learning technologies, with more than 11,000 activities generating more than 374,000 submitted responses. Two of the most common requests from faculty, staff, and students using Poll Everywhere are for collaborative teams to allow presenters to share activities with one another, and for graduate students to become presenters and create and use activities. (Poll Everywhere uses an individual’s primary role in the university’s information system to determine whether to identify them as presenters or participants. Graduate students are identified as participants by default.)

Thanks to a handy new form, you can submit requests for both of these items quickly and easily. Here’s how to do so:

  1. Visit the Poll Everywhere requests form, sign in with NetBadge, and select your desired option. If you select the I’m a graduate student… option and then select the Next button, no further action is required. Your request will be directed to the Learning Tech team, and once it’s been fulfilled, you’ll receive an email invitation to join the university’s Poll Everywhere account as a presenter. Requests are typically fulfilled in one business day or less.

    If you select the I’d like to request a Poll Everywhere team… option and then select the Next button, you’ll be directed to a page to enter the information for your team.
An illustration of the first page of the Poll Everywhere requests form, with the first option selected.
  1. Enter your preferred name if desired, select your school or department from the list, and enter a name for your team.
  2. Enter the names and computing IDs of the collaborators in your team. Select the Add (plus sign) icon below the table to add more collaborators. If any collaborators are graduate students (for example, teaching assistants leading discussion sections or labs), select the checkbox so that the Learning Tech team can invite them to join the university’s account as presenters.
  3. Select the Submit Team Request button to submit your request. Requests are typically fulfilled in one business day or less.
An illustration of the Poll Everywhere teams request form, with collaborators listed in the table.

That’s all there is to it! Visit the Poll Everywhere requests form to get started, and contact the Learning Tech team with any questions.

A few belated gifts from Learning Tech!

Your holiday decorations are probably long gone at this point, but the Learning Tech team has a few final presents for you as we prepare for a new semester. The latest round of features and updates include the ability to easily search for tools and related content, browse and search recorded workshops, review system requirements, and schedule one-on-one consultations.

Select an item below to learn more, or scroll through the list to explore them all:

With the innovative, powerful spotlight search option, you can simplify your navigation throughout Learning Tech and quickly connect with specific tools and related content. Select the Search (magnifying glass) icon in the top right corner of the page to open the search window, or use the command + k (Mac)/control + k (Windows) keyboard commands. Enter a tool name into the search box; matching tools, and any workshops, blog articles, and course trailers associated with them, will be included in the results.

An image of Learning Tech's new spotlight search feature.

Workshops page

Tech Week, a series of interactive workshops featuring UVA faculty and support staff sharing their experiences and recommendations for more than a dozen different tools, debuted last fall. Recordings of these sessions are available on the searchable Workshops page, with more to come.

An image of Learning Tech's Workshops page with video recordings.

Remaining license information

For tools available in limited quantities, such as EquatIO and Otter Voice Notes, the numbers of remaining licenses are prominently displayed in banners on the tool cards on the catalog page, and as part of the license information on the respective tool pages. This allows you to see exactly what’s available—and is a helpful reminder to request a license before they’re gone!

An image showing the number of remaining licenses for Otter Voice Notes.

Enhanced system requirements information

Basic information on system requirements for each of the tools in the Learning Tech catalog was added in a previous update. This information has been significantly expanded to display supported browsers and browser versions for Mac and Windows, and supported operating system versions for iOS and Android.

If you’re using a mobile device and the tool offers a mobile app, a device-specific Install App button will be displayed, allowing you to add the app with just two taps, instead of searching through an app store.

An image of a tool page displaying system requirements.

Consultation scheduling

Several tools, including Digication, Hypothesis, iClicker Cloud, and Peerceptiv, offer opportunities for instructors to meet with support staff directly to share specific questions and obtain personal assistance. These consultations can be scheduled from their respective pages in the Learning Tech catalog by selecting the Schedule Consultation option, which will direct you to the appropriate scheduling service automatically.

An image of the Schedule Consultation option available on select tool pages.

Newsletter archive

Looking for a previous message from the Learning Tech team? Look no further! Web versions of previous messages are available in the Newsletter Archive, which is linked in the footer at the bottom of the page.

An image of Learning Tech's Newsletter page archiving communications.

Annotating OneNote documents in Collab and Canvas with Hypothesis

Update: Due to UVA’s security settings, links to OneDrive documents connected with Hypothesis will expire seven days after their creation. Once the links have expired, the document will no longer be visible in Hypothesis, although the comments will remain visible.

You can reactivate expired links by following the steps in the reactivation section below.


Hypothesis is a powerful tool accessible through Collab and the School of Education and Human Development’s instance of Canvas that allows readers to add multiple types of annotations to digital texts. Thanks to a valuable new feature, instructors can link documents stored in their OneDrive accounts to their course sites in Collab or Canvas for annotation with Hypothesis. This allows instructors and students to annotate materials without making them publicly available, respecting copyright and privacy guidelines.

The steps below outline the process to add Hypothesis and connect documents in Collab; the process in Canvas is fairly similar. Instructors using Canvas can contact the School of Education Canvas Support team for assistance.


  1. Visit the Lessons tool in a course or collaboration site, select the Add Content tab or one of the Add (plus sign) icons on the page, then select the Add External Tool link. (If the Lessons tool isn’t already included in the site, you can add it quickly and easily.)
An image of the Add Content menu in the Lessons tool, with the Add External Tool option highlighted.
  1. Select the Annotations (Hypothesis) link in the list of available external tools.
  2. Enter a title for the linked document in the Tool Title and Button Text fields, modify the default description in the Tool description field if desired, then select the Save button.
An image of the Configure External Tool page, with text entered in the Tool description, Tool Title, and Button Text fields.
  1. The link to Hypothesis will be added to the Lessons page. Select the link to edit the link and connect your document.
An image of the link to Hypothesis on the Lessons page, with the link highlighted.
  1. If prompted, select the Press to continue to external tool button, then select the Select PDF from OneDrive button. Enter your UVA email address and NetBadge password to sign into your OneDrive account.
  2. A list of your OneNote documents will be displayed in a new window. Select the desired document, then select the Open button to connect it to Hypothesis and allow participants to annotate it.
An image of the OneDrive document selection window.
  1. The document is now connected, and participants can annotate it by selecting any portion of the included text and selecting the Annotate option.
An image of an annotated document in Hypothesis.

Reactivating expired links

Links to OneDrive documents connected with Hypothesis will expire seven days after their creation. You can reactivate expired links to allow students to view the document alongside the comments by doing the following:

  1. Sign into OneDrive with your UVA email address and NetBadge password.
  2. Locate the file connected with Hypothesis, select the checkbox to the left of the file, then select the Share link in the menu at the top of the page.
  1. In the share window, select the Shared Link (chain links) icon in the Shared with: list at the bottom of the window.
  1. Select the More Options (three dots) icon to the right of the link.
  1. In the Expires box, select a date up to seven days in the future, then select the Save button.

Tech Bytes: A website for the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers, O365 Q&A, and Scholars’ Lab fellowships

This week’s byte-sized updates:

A portion of the inner wall of the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers

Tech Bytes: Captioning data, a request for Miro, O365 accounts for students, and more

This week’s byte-sized updates:

  • In recent surveys, 80 percent of UVA students indicated that captions are or would be helpful to them in some way; 78 percent of students have used captions with recorded materials such as lectures; and 70 percent of students have used captions in Zoom meetings. Numerous advantages of captions were cited, including as a tool for improved comprehension, as an aid for content review, and as an alternative to poor audio quality. The Student Disability Access Center (SDAC) has prepared a helpful captioning infographic that includes these and other helpful statistics and notes. Instructors with questions about captioning can contact SDAC or the Learning Tech team.
An excerpt from SDAC’s captioning infographic
  • Following a request from the School of Architecture, Miro is being reviewed as a potential addition to UVA’s suite of learning technologies. This process includes assessing the tool’s capabilities in a variety of areas, including pedagogical value, accessibility, security and data protection, and financial and other costs. Instructors, staff members, and students interested in Miro are invited to visit the request page in Learning Tech and selecting the Join This Request button to indicate their support and subscribe to receive updates on the review process. Significant support can help the request move forward, so don’t be shy!
An excerpt from the Miro request page
  • Currently, most UVA students use university-provided Google accounts for services such as email, contacts, calendars, and document storage and collaboration. However, the ITS department has announced a project to migrate these accounts from Google to Office 365, which is used by instructors and staff members. Most accounts will be migrated next summer, with the goal that all instructors, staff members, and students will be in Office 365 before the beginning of the Fall 2022 semester. Anyone with questions about this project can contact the Office 365 team at office365project@virginia.edu.
  • The latest update for the Zoom app is now available for download on desktop and mobile devices. The update includes presentation slide control, polling enhancements, and functionality for chatting with waiting room participants.

Tech Bytes: An LMS project, accessibility updates from Digication, and digital mental health services

This week’s byte-sized updates:

  • UVA is beginning a project to select and implement a new learning management system (LMS) for all undergraduate students. The project will include multiple phases and will be led by a steering committee of representatives from each of the University’s thirteen schools. Throughout the process, there will be opportunities for faculty, staff, and students to participate and share their feedback by responding to surveys, joining focus groups, and testing potential products. More information is available on the LMS project website.
  • Digication will introduce a number of accessibility updates the week of November 8, including improved interaction with screen readers, higher color contrast, and larger spacing. Additional labels and focus indicators will be added as well. A full list of updates is available on the Digication support website.
  • A new partnership between UVA and TimelyMD offers virtual mental health services to all students who have paid the comprehensive health fee, including a dedicated mobile app and twelve free telehealth visits with providers with experience in issues related to higher education.
  • The latest issue of the Arts & Sciences magazine includes a profile of the Cavalier Online Experiences Program (CONEX), a digital program designed to help incoming students strengthen their quantitative skills in preparation for STEM courses.

Tech Bytes: Grant opportunities, a virtual conference, and a new website for LDT

This week’s byte-sized updates:

  • Two grant opportunities are currently available for UVA instructors. The 2021-22 Arts and Sciences General Faculty Teaching Support grant, which is accepting applications from general faculty in the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences until November 8, offers support for inviting collaborators to Grounds, registering for virtual conferences, or conducting projects related to pedagogy. The Affordability and Equity grant, which is accepting applications from all UVA faculty teaching two-, three-, or four-credit courses until January 7 of next year, offers support for adopting, adapting, or creating open educational resources (OERs).
  • UVA instructors and students using Collab can register for the upcoming Sakai Virtual Conference for just $5. (Sakai is the open-source platform on which Collab is based.) Proposals for ten-minute lightning talks will be accepted until October 18; general registrations will be accepted until November 9.
  • File uploads in Digication will be unavailable between 6:00 AM and 7:00 AM on Wednesday, October 27 due to system maintenance. The tool will remain accessible and no other features will be affected.
  • A&S Learning Design & Technology has released an entirely new website for their team, featuring valuable resources, timely announcements and updates, and options to schedule consultations with their experienced group of instructional designers and technologists.

Faculty share how learning technologies enhance teaching, learning

Small Changes, Big Impact

Created by the University Teaching and Learning Technology Committee, the Small Changes, Big Impact series features UVA and UVA Wise instructors talking about the ways they’re improving the teaching and learning experience. In the videos, some faculty point to a specific learning technology that has been particularly useful in their courses, especially since the shift to online teaching. They share how these tools are promoting student engagement, helping to build community, and streamlining the grading process. Watch their stories below.

Poll Everywhere has been an easy way for School of Education and Human Development Associate Professor Ottilie Austin to give her students a preview of the material for the upcoming week. READ MORE >


Biology Assistant Professor Jessamyn Manson discovered some great opportunities after the pivot to online teaching. She would usually have students do in-person presentations in her upper level seminar course, but during the pandemic, she had them create pre-recorded presentations instead.

Manson also had to rethink how to hold effective office hours. She decided to create weekly Zoom meetings as a space for students to continue to talk to, teach, and inform each other. Manson monitored the chat and popped into the conversation if students had questions, but mainly she just hosted the meeting. These online office hours allowed more people to join and feel comfortable participating. READ MORE >


Drama Lecturer Cady Garey uses Flipgrid to encourage engagement among her students. She feels that the tool helps to create more personal and authentic conversations and give students more practice sharing their ideas in an embodied, spoken form, as opposed to traditional writing assignments. READ MORE >


McIntire Associate Professor Adam Koch realized it was taking him way too long to collect, grade, and return exams when classes transitioned online. Then he found his solution: Gradescope. This online tool allows him to streamline the grading process and also has had other unexpected benefits. READ MORE >


Despite teaching large-enrollment courses, Chemistry Assistant Professor Alicia Frantz is managing to build community among her students with the support of Microsoft Teams. She creates learning communities with 40 students and a graduate TA and each have their own page in Teams for sharing documents, getting together to study, or meeting virtually. She also uses Teams paired with OneNote for office hours. READ MORE >



If you’re interested in sharing your story, email Kristin Sloane at ks8yx@virginia.edu. You can also use #smallchangesbigimpact on social media to continue the conversation.

Review our Tech Week 2021 workshops

1 Comment

Learning Tech | Tech Week 2021

UVA’s inaugural Tech Week included interactive virtual sessions with faculty and staff sharing how they use various learning technologies in their courses and projects. Check out the recordings below to see the tools in action and discover how they can support teaching and learning. Some presenters also provided their slides for review.

Also, tell your colleagues what you think about any tools you’ve used! You can evaluate and share your experiences with each tool in the Learning Tech catalog. Click the Submit Rating buttons below to get started.

Email learningtech@virginia.edu with any questions or feedback.


Captioning and Accessibility Tools and Services

Presented by Sarah Humphreys, Kristin Roush, and Martina Syvantek, Student Disability Access Center 


Digication

Presented by Yitna Firdyiwek, A&S Learning Design & Technology; Tamika Carey, English


Flipgrid

Presented by Kevin Tressler, Linda Eastham, Tracy Kelly, and Barbara Reyna, Nursing


Gradescope

Presented by Gail Hunger, A&S Learning Design & Technology; Gretchen Martinet, Statistics

Presented by Taylore Pence and Adam Koch, Commerce


Hypothesis

Presented by Jill Martiniuk, Center for Teaching Excellence; Christian Steinmetz, Education

Hypothesis Presentation


iClicker Cloud

Presented by Glen Garrett, Macmillan


Kaltura

Presented by Courtney Beach and Marcus Goldbas, Commerce

Please note this video opens a new window.


Lessons in UVACollab

Presented by Jill Martiniuk, Center for Teaching Excellence; Marina Escámez Ballesta, Spanish

Lessons in UVACollab Presentation


Microsoft Teams

Presented by Rick Reifenstein, Information Technology Services; Rich Ross, Statistics


Peerceptiv

Presented by Megan Reiley, Peerceptiv; Jennifer Sessions, History


Poll Everywhere

Presented by Alex Greenfelder, Poll Everywhere; Filip Loncke, Dave Stoops, and Kit Tracy, Education


Qualtrics

Presented by Sarah Schultz Robinson, Institutional Research and Analytics; Lindsay Wheeler, Center for Teaching Excellence