Monthly Archives: July 2009

SPARK Course Request Form Updated!

Teaching a class this fall? Log in to SPIRE to request your SPARK course.

As of this week, we have a new, more flexible way to request SPARK courses and register for SPARK to SPIRE Grade Upload.

The course request form is located in the same area in SPIRE – in the left Menu, under Faculty Home. Differences include:

• A new My SPARK Courses area for requesting SPARK to SPIRE Grade Upload and checking on SPARK course details.

• More intuitive class listings, by semester.

• Easy to combine multiple sections in one SPARK course. Continue reading

TeachOIT Podcast #6: Equipment Review: Logitech USB Headset

In the third of a four-part “Audio/Video Gadgets”  series Tony and JC discuss the Logitech USB headset. The Logitech headset is a good piece of equipment for those looking to get started with recording audio for presentations, podcasting, and digital stories. Listen to the full review to hear about the strengths of this device and to figure out if this would be a useful device for you. 

TeachOIT-Podcast-06-Gadget03-LogitechHS.mp3 (4 minutes)

TeachOIT Podcast #6: Equipment Review: Logitech USB Headset 

Technical Details on the Logitech USB Headset

USB Headset
Approximate price: $35 

Features:

 

  • Padded headband and ear pads
  • Rotating, noise-canceling microphone
  • built-in volume and mute controls
  • Compatible with Windows and Mac OS X

 

 Recording Usage:

 

  • Suitable for recording one person wearing the headset, good for use in podcasting and recording voice-overs for presentations and digital stories. 

 

Downloading Your Roster

Summer’s here, and you may have started (tentatively!) thinking about next semester’s classes.  If you use or have thought about using Excel to manage your student grades, then one of your biggest problems may be figuring out how to enter student data into a spreadsheet without typing in every last student name and ID number by hand. 

Luckily, there are two fabulously easy ways to do this.  Both SPIRE and SPARK allow you to export a list of all your students and relevant student information. 

Both methods give you a .csv (comma separated) file.  After downloading, you can easily save the .csv file as a regular Excel file (.xls).

SPIRE

Where?
Download a copy of your class roster from the “Faculty Home” menu in SPIRE.

Perks
One nice thing about downloading your roster from SPIRE is the wealth of student information you can elect to include in your grading spreadsheet.  For instance, you can download student IDs and email addresses as well as academic information like students’ major and class. (Click on the image on the right to enlarge.)

TIP!
If you think you might use SPARK-to-SPIRE grade upload at the end of the semester (which saves you from manually entering each student grade in SPIRE), you’ll want to be sure to select “NetID” when you download the roster.  Since SPARK recognizes students by their NetID, having this information already built in to your spreadsheet will save you a lot of hassle later.  For more information about grade upload, visit http://www.oit.umass.edu/spark/faculty/gradeupload/index.html.

For step-by-step instructions, visit:
http://www.oit.umass.edu/spire/for_instructors/class_information/roster_download.html

 

SPARK

Where?
SPARK’s Grade Book has an “Export to Spreadsheet” button at the bottom of the page. 

Perks
SPARK also gives you a spreadsheet with important information like student names, IDs, User ID (or NetID), and email addresses.  Be sure to keep the User ID if you might use SPARK-to-SPIRE grade upload.

Exporting to spreadsheet is also a handy way to back up your Grade Book if the Grade Book is your primary means of recording student grades. 

TIP!
TAs who only see the “Teach” tab (but who do not have access to the “Build” tab) will not see the “Export to Spreadsheet” button.  They can copy and paste into Excel.

For step-by-step instructions, visit:
http://www.oit.umass.edu/spark/faculty/tutorials


Did you know?
Academic Computing offers workshops and online guides on using Excel for grading.  See here:  http://www.oit.umass.edu/academic/workshops/excel.html.