Author Archives: rphoenix

Summer Just Got a Little More Visually Interesting!


Have you ever watched a great tutorial on YouTube or in Canvas and wondered “How did they do that?”  Have you always wanted to create your own short “explainer” videos for classes? Maybe you web-enhance your courses with Canvas and you’ve always wanted to add your own video content. Maybe you are preparing a hybrid or fully online course to teach in the future and you know you need to create better instructor presence in your classes.

Educational and informational videos seem to be everywhere these days – and now you can learn how to make your own!

This summer, CEAL is offering a fully online course – starting July 17 through August 1, 2014 – called Screencasting 101. This course – designed and taught by Pierce Instructional Designer, Renee Phoenix – is a fast paced, online course, primarily for faculty who are looking to add the skill of screencasting to their teaching strategy toolkit.  Registration for the course is now open , but seats are limited to 25 participants.  So read on for more information about the course and how you can sign up.

What is Screencasting?

Knowing how to screencast can open up many new opportunities for you to explain concepts and engage your students. And it can be effective in any teaching environment.  But, what exactly is a screencast?

Typically, a screencast is a video that includes a recording of your computer screen. And it’s usually accompanied by audio or additional video of the presenter. A screencast can be used for many things including software demonstrations, training tutorials, capturing lectures and presentations or anything else you want to talk about and share in your courses.  According to research, use of video and audio is one of the most effective strategies instructors can use to create a strong presence in their classes and foster student engagement in online or face-to-face courses.

Is This Course for You?

Do you need to have experience working in, or teaching with Canvas? The answer is yes, you need to be comfortable with the Canvas classroom environment. You don’t have to be a hybrid or fully online instructor, but you do need to have sufficient skills and knowledge of the Canvas LMS to be able to participate as a student in the Screencasting 101 course online, in a Canvas classroom.  This course is for what we would call “advanced beginners” who are comfortable navigating the Canvas interface and creating course items in the Canvas LMS.If you have taken Canvas Essentials, Transitioning to Teaching Online, or have been regularly designing and working with Canvas in your classes for the past year, this course is appropriate for you. 

Do you need special equipment besides a computer and an Internet connection? The answer is yes, but CEAL will provide audio and video equipment to course participants to use while taking the class.  Reliable access to a computer and an Internet connection is up to you.

For more information, you can follow this link to download a course syllabus:


Ready to register? Click the link below to go to our online registration form. Remember, seats are limited, and registration for this course will close on July 14, 2014.

Register for Screencasting 101

It’s Another What Works Wed – Let’s Talk about Grades & Grading Strategies

gradesYep, it’s time to start thinking about grades for the end of the quarter, so maybe you need a snack break and some good conversation about the whole grading thing. And what about the talk of changes to Pierce grades that you may or may not have heard about at the most recent In-service day ( I went to that session and it was pretty intense – in a good way -with lots of ideas and opinions coming out).

We have a room set aside in Olympic 202 for you to gather, escape the world for an hour, and have some snacks and good conversation with your fellow faculty members.

Join us for W3 on May 28! Here are the details…see you there.

Talk About Grades and Grading Strategies

Date: Wed May 28, 2014
Time: 2:30pm – 3:30pm
Where: Fort Steilacoom –Olympic 202

Design Collaboratory Sessions – The ID is In!

ID design help available

Starting the week of April 14 and ending the week of June 2, 2014, Design Collaboratory is an open invitation from CEAL to drop in and discuss instructional design questions about your courses.

Each week we will be available the following times and locations:

Mondays – Puyallup campus from 2:30-4:00pm in the Lava Java – A160

Tuesdays – Fort Steilacoom campus from 2:30pm – 4:00pm in the Lava Java – Library

Sample topics we are ready to help you with:

  • Questions about designing or re-designing your grounded, online or hybrid courses – how to get started and what to plan for in a course re-design project
  • How to get started with web-enhancing your classes with online content
  • Tools, tips and ideas for creative content design

Feel free to stop in during these hours at either campus to discuss your course design ideas, plans or challenges!

Spring Transitioning to Teaching Online (TTOL) Begins Soon!

Spring 2014 TTOL Begins April 21

Scheduled for April 21 through May 18, 2014– this fully online 4-week course* is offered through CEAL for adjunct or full-time faculty who are interested in teaching hybrid or fully online courses. You can visit our web page for more information about TTOL course content and objectives and to read about the time commitment required to complete the course. Course is facilitated by Renee Phoenix – Pierce District Instructional Designer

To register for TTOL,  follow this link to sign up through the eLearning department blog.

Sign up for Spring 2014 Transitioning to Teaching Online

*Please note: This course is required by the Pierce eLearning department for any Pierce faculty who are preparing to teach a fully online or hybrid course for the first time. Faculty that have completed similar training at another institution or if you have questions about this requirement, contact the Pierce eLearning department directly to verify their status for satisfying this training requirement.

Creative Content for What Works Wednesday!

Share Your Creative Content for Teaching and Learning!

It’s time for another What Works Wednesday session to start the spring quarter off in a creative mood!  Bring your favorite ideas, links and tools to share that you regularly use to create or present engaging instructional content. Do you create PDF or PowerPoint presentations? How about “explainer” videos? Have you ever used visual examples or simple animations to help students understand difficult concepts. Where do you find resources like this on the web? Where do you find free photos audio and video resources to use in your content?

Join us and share your tips for creating engaging instructional content! 

Wed Apr 9, 2014
2:30pm – 3:30pm
Where: Puyallup – C270

Come share your tips and secret software tricks you use to design your instructional materials, graphics, video or audio. View demos and try out new web applications – content curation tools like ScoopIt and Learnist, presentation applications like Prezi and Animoto,and fun and free graphics tools like Pixlr and PicMonkey. Learn about free Creative Commons sources for photos, audio, and video.

BONUS W3 Feature this week!

If you can’t join us in-person, we will be broadcasting and recording this session as a live webinar using BB Collaborate.  This will be the first time we’ve tried a live webinar format and we hope it is successful enough to bring you future W3 sessions live on the web!

Use this guest link to join on Wednesday – the session space will open at 2PM. Live webinar will start  at 2:30pm

These webinars use BlackBoard Collaborate as the webinar system and require that you have a headset and mic for optimal audio access. If you have never used Blackboard Collaborate before, please take some time to review how to set up your system to access a BB Collaborate session, or contact Ed Bachmann in the Pierce eLearning department for a tutorial on how to use Collaborate.

We also found this link to a very helpful resource for how to prepare to use Collaborate from Shoreline Community College eLearning department. Be sure you have the latest version of JAVA on your computer*.


An Animoto Demo to Inspire You!

Here’s an example of a free presentation web application you can learn to use in 15 minutes or less and create something really different or surprising for your next presentation or lesson in class. It was made with the free version of Animoto (a web video editor/creator) and free images from Creative Commons, Wikimedia Commons and some of my own images.  Inspired by students’ favorite quotes about teaching and learning.

Resources from Open Education Resources Week

Open Education Resources – OER – had it’s own week this month! IF you missed it, thankfully there is a website -

and we have some points to ponder from our own resident OER fans – Rachel Goon and Emma Clausen – from the Pierce College Library.

Rachel and Emma joined us on a What Works Wednesday a few weeks ago to talk about OER and how to get started using open resources and materials with your students and in your classes. They shared this slide deck with some great thoughts around what is OER, how to get started and where to find the best resources today. (notice all the images in the deck are OER – free to use with a simple attribution to the artist! Nice!) Check out the link on the last slide for MORE open education resources ideas!

We plan to have Rachel and Emma back again to What Works Wednesday in some format – maybe live and maybe in a Google Hangout or webinar. But in the mean time, don’t hesitate to contact them at the Pierce College Library and get more information on open education resources and how you can start using them in your classes.


Once again.. It’s In The Syllabus!


Time to say goodbye to the rain and What Works Wednesday for Winter Quarter! It’s our last W3 of the quarter (and the only one in the month of March) coming up this week!

Join us at Fort Steilacoom on Wed. March 12 from 2:30-3:30 in Olympic 203. The syllabus share-out was a popular topic at the Puyallup campus, so we decided to repeat this session for the Fort Steilacoom crowd. Please feel free to bring a copy of your course syllabi and talk about what works, what doesn’t and get some ideas from colleagues on how to get your students reading and using the syllabus in your class. 

The snacks, good company, good conversation and white cats are always free!

See you and your syllabus there for What Works Wednesday!

What Works Wednesday – Feb 26 is all about Open Resources!

Don’t miss this What Works Wednesday!  Rachel Goon and Emma Clausen are joining us on February 26 to talk about Open Education Resources. If you have ever wondered how to find and use OER for your classes, this session of W3 will get you started in the right direction.

As defined by OER Commons:

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that are freely available online for everyone to use, whether you are an instructor, student or self-learner. Examples of OER include: full courses, course modules, syllabi, lectures, homework assignments, quizzes, lab and classroom activities, pedagogical materials, games, simulations, and many more resources contained in digital media collections from around the world.

This week we will meet from 2:30 -3:30 on the Puyallup campus in CTR 276.  Snacks, great company and great ideas are always FREE!

If you’re still not convinced, here’s a PowToon video to inspire you to join us!  See you there!

IGNIS – A New Online Series from SBCTC! Webinar #2 on Feb 20

UPDATE:  click here to view the recording of the February 20 Beyond Cutting and Pasting webinar:

In case you missed it, the SBCTC has launched a new series of online webinars called IGNIS. The first presentation – Integrating Technology Successfully to Create Truly Collaborative and Active Learning in the Flipped Classroom-  was broadcast on February 6, 2014 via a BB Collaborate webinar.  The link to the recorded webinar can be found on the ATL blog here:

The second presentation of this series – Beyond Cutting and Pasting: Teaching Research Skills for the 21st Century – is coming up Thursday, February 20, 2014 from 2:00PM to 3:00 PM. We hope to see you there in the webinar classroom. 


For more information about the IGNIS webinar series and for the link to the live webinar classroom, follow the link below to the Assessment, Teaching and Learning blog hosted by SBCTC:

ATL Blog – IGNIS webinar series

These webinars use BlackBoard Collaborate as the webinar system and require that you have a headset and mic for optimal audio access. If you have never used Blackboard Collaborate before, please take some time to review how to set up your system to access a BB Collaborate session, or contact Ed Bachmann in the Pierce eLearning department for a tutorial on how to use Collaborate.

We also found this link to a very helpful resource for how to prepare to use Collaborate from Shoreline Community College eLearning department. Be sure you have the latest version of JAVA on your computer*.


*Chrome browser on a MAC does not support use of the JAVA applet required to access Collaborate webinars. BB Collaborate recommends using FireFox or Safari browsers on a MAC.



Washington Canvas Conference – March 27-28, 2014


Don’t miss the second annual Washington Canvas Users Group (WACUG) Conference scheduled for March 27-28 (Thurs. and Friday) at Tacoma Community College. You can access a schedule of presentations  and download a registration form by following the link below to visit the WACUG blog:

The 2014 event is packed full of presentations and demonstrations of innovative and useful ideas for using the Canvas LMS. In addition, keynote speaker Cable Green – Director of Global Learning at Creative Commons – will address the conference about open resources and his work with Creative Commons.

Don’t wait to register for this event – Registration closes on March 21, 2014. Registration fee for the full 2-day conference is $50 or you can attend a single day for $25.

it is a great way to connect with colleagues across the state and talk shop about teaching online with Canvas! There are conference topics appropriate for all levels of experience with online teaching and learning. Please feel welcome whether you are a long time online instructor or simply interested in learning more about web enhancing, hybrid or blended course design or teaching fully online courses.

See you in March at Canvas Connects!