Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Timeline App Reviews

Timeline App Reviews
by Dina Dupre

Dina Dupre wanted to find an App to incorporate into her Developmental Psychology course.  I believe her thoughts and reviews of a couple of Apps could be beneficial to many different programs, whether in the soft or hard sciences, in business or legal, or any other program because timelines can help to put things in a new perspective for students.  I encourage you to continue reading to see what Dina has to say.

"I found a great app for free that can be used in Developmental Psychology in Unit 1 where there is a timeline assignment.  The app is called Before Now and you can make your timeline on it.  Something fun for the iPad.

I tried it out and it is a pretty nice system.  You can very easily go years back and add an entry.  It has a nice look to it as well.

I tried a different app and it was not effective (Everyday Me).  Everyday Me is not able to easily add events to the past.  It is more for journaling the present or very recent past.  It is kind of boring and it doesn't look interesting or engaging.  However, there is another assignment that requires tracking sleep, exercise, and eating, and Everyday Me might be a good app for this assignment!

I played around with both of these.  Before now is fun for creating a time line.  Everyday Me is fun for journaling present-day activities."

Check out these Apps for yourself and let us know what you think!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Why Do I Need an iPad?

Guest Blog Post by:  
Cathy Kennedy
Legal Adjunct Instructor
Globe University 

I love my laptop. I truly do. The thought of having another piece of hardware to deal with was a bit overwhelming at first. After purchasing my iPad, I used it to watch Netflix and played a few games, and kept it on my nightstand. (I really enjoy Word Jewel, and highly recommend it.) However, I could already do all of these things on my laptop. So why need an iPad? I looked at some apps on my iPad but wasn’t really sure what to do with them initially. I mean doesn’t my laptop have everything I could possibly want? Quickly I learned that the answer to this is no.

I spent some time perusing some applications on my iPad for my legal courses, and I found some really interesting apps.  One in particular was iJuror. I was looking for something for my course unit on jury selection. As I explored iJuror, I became enthusiastic at the prospect of using this in my courses. As I played around with the app, I found that I could hand pick my jury, use courtroom graphics, and place my jurors in a jury box, after filling out information for each juror. I also had the option of entering juror demographics, create custom jury questions, and make challenges to prospective jurors. When all of the jury was selected, the information could be e-mailed to other colleagues (or the instructor) in this case. Students could use this app free for 24 hours, which is really all they would need to complete the task. After that I believe it was $1.99 for longer use.

As I unearthed new apps and sampled them, I was eager to include these as an option for students to incorporate into their discussion board posts; with the hope that they would share ideas for some of the applications they tried. In many of my courses I added an “iPad Unit”  for students to examine if they wished. It really was not difficult once I took the time to peruse the legal apps. I can visualize in the legal world how paralegals and legal assistants could use iPads to keep current in the law, and how very useful it could be for trials or depositions. Instead of going through a stack of papers, apps would be a great way to keep track of transcripts, and this is something wonderful to share with students as they can bring this technology to their firms. Many lawyers share .pdf files, and there are some free sites that allow for importing and sharing .pdf files, which  include voice notes; directing the paralegal or legal assistant what to do with annotated documents (School Notes Pro). There are also many blogs that discuss how paralegals can use iPads in their firms, including: Tablet Legal, iPad Notebook, the iPad Lawyer, iPad4Legal, iLawPad. If you do some touring of apps, you are sure to find similar blogs on apps in your area of practice. 

I am now happy to report that I do use my iPad for much more than Netflix now! There are many free apps to visit and incorporate into my courses. Students can apply these apps to enhance what they are learning, to further their discussions, and will be able to enter a job with new skills that they can share with their employers, making them more marketable.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Creating Effective Audio Lectures with Camtasia

Guest Blog Post by:  Brian Craig

In my experience so far, Camtasia has become one of my favorite tools for creating audio lectures in my online classes. In Summer Quarter 2013, I tested different software for recording audio lectures including Audacity, Screencast-O-Matic , Camtasia Relay. I used Audacity to create a 15 minute audio lecture on the history of the U.S. Constitution in my LA198 Constitutional Issues class but this included just audio with no visuals. A student in my class commented that she is a much more visual learner and asked if I would create lectures with more visuals. I then used Camtasia Relay with more visuals and images and students seemed to like this a lot more than just the audio.  

Camtasia has a lot of different options including the ability to show your webcam and closed captioning. If you have a PowerPoint presentation, you can display the PowerPoint slideshow different from your computer and then use your microphone to narrate the concepts. I find it better to provide your own explanations and not just read the text in your PowerPoint slides. Images can also enhance your PowerPoint presentations.

With the free version of Jing/, you can only record up to five minutes for screencasts but I often wanted to record longer tutorials. I previously had to create separate recordings such as "Unit 5 Lecture Part 1" and "Unit 5 Lecture Part 2" for longer lectures using Jing. For online instructors at GEN now with Camtasia, you can record longer lectures. You also don't have to worry about approaching your file size limit for Jing/ I was over 90% of my file size limit with the free account on and now I can record as many lectures as I want without worrying about approaching my file size limit.  

While there is a little bit of a learning curve in learning how to record and use Camtasia Relay, I think Camtasia Relay is a great tool for creating and sharing audio lectures for students in online classes.