Instructional & Technology Services

The School of Nursing (SON) provides technical support and training and development for the Faculty, staff and students. The Instructional Technology Consultant for the SON is Joy Pine-Thomas. She is responsible for assisting the SON faculty and staff with the design, development, assessment, implementation, and evaluation of blended and online teaching practices. Some of the assistance she can provide:
  • Canvas, WebEx, Google Apps and other university approved software support.
  • Provide technology related professional development for faculty and students. [e.g. 20 minute Lunch & Laptop sessions]
  • Provide instruction design services to assist faculty using technology in their courses.
  • Research emerging technologies for professors to use to make their courses more interactive

Our Mission

The mission of the Instructional & Technology Services for the School of Nursing is to support faculty and staff to effectively integrate technology in their daily projects and courses.

We are committed to providing:

  • Technical Support – David Kinsey – Hardware [e.g. desktops, laptops etc.]
  • Instructional Technology Support (including pedagogy and ideas you would like to use in your course(s). [Joy Pine-Thomas]
  • Canvas support – Classroom Training and One-on-One Training [Joy Pine-Thomas]
  • WebEx support – [UNCG offers training courses and Joy Pine-Thomas offers technical assistance]
  • Faculty and staff professional development opportunities -[Joy Pine-Thomas]
Joy A. Pine-Thomas, PhD
SON Instructional Design Specialist
Phone: 336-334-5072
Email: japineth@uncg.edu

David Kinsey

David Kinsey
SON Tech Support
Phone: 336-324-3567
Email: d_kinsey@uncg.edu

School of Nursing Technology Services

The following technology services are offered by David to the School of Nursing faculty & staff:

  • Consults with personnel, to configure, support, and maintain hardware utilized by the faculty and staff of the UNCG School of Nursing
  • Consults with personnel, to install, configure, support, and maintain software utilized by the faculty and staff of the UNCG School of  Nursing:

This includes but is not limited to desktop computers, laptops, scanners, printers, multi-function machines, UNCG Council approved software, individual and volume software licenses, Laerdal simulation equipment and software.

  • Provide the necessary audio and video support to faculty, guest speakers, and staff for meetings and events held within the Moore Nursing building as well as School of Nursing events and meeting held elsewhere on and off campus
    • Provide technical support for classrooms within the Moore Nursing building, as well as the occasional classroom in other buildings on campus. This includes training on hardware, updating hardware and software, installing additional software and hardware, troubleshooting problems, maintaining a position as liaison with the main UNCG Campus Classroom Support Department within ITS.
    • Provide secondary support to the lead Simulation/Experiential Learning Technician of the School of Nursing Simulation Labs:

This includes but is not limited to office spaces, meeting rooms, classrooms, and open spaces in the Moore, Petty, Nursing Annex, McIver, and Spring Garden Extension buildings.


Canvas is UNCG’s Learning Management System it is frequently updated. Canvas has excellent, specific,  documentation complete with annotated screen captures.  In case of school closings, you may want to view the information below to avail yourself and your students on the various technologies available for teaching and accessing your course(s) online. If you haven’t taught online please consider starting with the Ready to Teach modules offered by UNCG Online (Link opens in new Tab).
There are other tools that  work well with Canvas. To access this documentation, see the links below.


NOTE: For more detailed information all instructors should have access to the:

(SON) Canvas Essentials for Faculty (Link opens in new Tab) [You can only access if you are using your UNCG login credentials]


Did you know that you can easily share content directly in Canvas with other instructors using Direct Share?

Direct Share allows instructors to copy individual items (Assignments, Quizzes, Discussions, and Pages) to another course and share individual items (Assignments, Quizzes, Discussions, and Pages) with other instructors at UNCG directly from within Canvas.

Click the ellipses icon beside edit to see the options to send to and copy to.

Send the same content to one or more instructors or locate a course (select a module if applicable) that you would like to copy the content into.

Begin typing a name in the send to box to search for someone to send your content to or you can choose a course and module to copy your content to.

Features of Interest (With screen captures) if the University is closed or an emergency occurs and you sill wish to hold class you may consider doing the following:

Checking your canvas course for broken links:

For Screen captures you can use:

Setting up a synchronous classroom using:


Also see the Feature List for the Instructor Mobile Apps (PDF opens in new Tab).
Here are some functions that are not available via the instructor mobile apps:

  • View Groups
  • Add Assignments
  • Add quizzes


Canvas: Cloud Storage Solutions

Because file size is limited in Canvas, students and faculty often run into issues storing large presentations and multimedia type files. In these situations, UNCG’s cloud storage options provide solutions for storing large files.

Google Drive Solutions

Canvas allows instructors to share a Google Drive file or folder as an assignment within a module or hyperlinked within the Rich Content Editor. Students can use the Rich Content Editor to hyperlink Google Drive files in assignment submissions.

Option A: Hyperlink a File

  1. Create a new resource (AssignmentDiscussionPage, or Quiz) in Canvas.
  2. Select the link icon in the Rich Content Editor toolbar.
  3. Select External Links.
    External Links button highlighted in Rich Content Editor toolbar
  4. Copy the URL of the file or folder in Google Drive.
  5. In the Text field, enter the name of the file. In the Link field, paste the Google URL.
  6. Click Done.

Option B: Canvas Modules (Instructors only)

  1. Open Modules.
  2. Click the Add Item button.
    In Modules, the Add item button in lower right corner is highlighted

  3. Add External URL to the module.
    External Links button highlighted in Rich Content Editor toolbar
  4. Paste the Google URL in the URL field, name the file, then choose Add Item.

One Drive Solutions

Canvas allows instructors to share a OneDrive file or folder as an assignment within a module or hyperlinked within the Rich Content Editor. Students can use the Rich Content Editor to hyperlink files in assignment submissions.

Option A: Hyperlink a File

  1. Create a new resource (AssignmentDiscussionPage, or Quiz) in Canvas.
  2. Select the link icon in the Rich Content Editor toolbar.
  3. Select External Links.
    External Links button highlighted in Rich Content Editor toolbar
  4. Copy the url of the file or folder in OneDrive.
  5. In the Text field, enter the name of the file. In the Link field, enter the OneDrive URL.
  6. Click Done.

Option B: Canvas Modules (Instructors only)

  1. Open Modules.
  2. Click the Add Item button.
    In Modules, the Add item button in lower right corner is highlighted

  3. Add External URL to the module.
    Add item field is populated with "Eternal URL"
  4. Paste the OneDrive URL in the URL field, enter a name for the file in Page Name, then choose Add Item.

Panopto Solutions

Panopto is a lecture capture and streaming service designed for asynchronous media playback. Use Panopto to record your computer audio, video and desktop display; access and share Zoom Cloud recordings; and upload and share large media files from your computer.

Instructors must enable Panopto in their Canvas course before they can access its features. Playback links are viewable by students in the course. Use Panopto to upload large media files or Zoom recordings that were saved locally on a computer. Panopto offers unlimited storage and media can be copied into other courses in Canvas.

Zoom Solutions

Zoom is a web conferencing tool that provides a platform to conduct live online conferences, presentations, lectures, and meetings. Use Zoom to record your course meetings and share with students in Canvas.

Any UNCG student, faculty, or staff can host and record their meeting with Zoom. After the meeting, the host receives an email with a playback link to their recording. Hosts who are instructors can choose to share the Zoom Cloud playback link with viewers by posting it in a Canvas course.

Instructor recordings are transferred automatically into Panopto once enabled in a course.

YouTube Solutions

Instructors can use UNCG Google accounts to upload course recordings on YouTube and share them in a Canvas course.

Students can upload recordings to their UNCG-connected YouTube account and then include the YouTube URL in Canvas discussions.

By default, videos can be viewed by anyone. So if a recording contains sensitive information or any FERPA related data, such as grades, it is important to change video privacy settings. It is advisable to set class recordings to Unlisted videos.

YouTube Privacy Settings

Can share URLYesNoYes
Can be added to a channel sectionYesNoYes
Shows up in search, related videos, and recommendationsYesNoNo
Posted on your channelYesNoNo
Shows in Subscriber feedYesNoNo
Can be commented onYesNoYes

Canvas documentation for students

Many of your students may contact you with questions they have about Canvas. Below is a link that you can share with your students and have them search and find the information themselves or you can search and share the results with your students.

Features of Interest (With screen captures)

You may want to share this information with your students when you are meeting synchronously:

Canvas Studio


Many students use their mobile devices to access Canvas. There are Canvas guides for students using the Canvas mobile app.

Also see a Feature List for the Student Mobile Apps (PDF link open in new tab).
Features NOT available via the student mobile apps:

  • View Peer Reviews (both in Assignments and Discussions)
  • View Collaborations

For details on its mobile app functionality, see this table of SpeedGrader Mobile Features (Link opens in new Tab).


The RCE is used to add and format content in Announcements, Assignments, Discussions, Quizzes, and the Syllabus. [NOTE: For more detailed information, please go to the (ORG) SON Faculty Essentials Course]

The improvements to the RCE include the following new features and functions:

  • The toolbar has a condensed, more intuitive look.
  • The content sidebar only displays when linking to other parts of Canvas, accessing Canvas files, or accessing uploaded media.
  • Toolbar menus are grouped by common icons and interactions.
  • The RCE expands to the full width of the browser.
  • The RCE auto-saves content for up to one hour.

This video guides instructors and students through using the new Rich Content Editor. Additional information is available in the Canvas Guides.


Canvas’ New Analytics tool provides a richer experience for course data, including grades and weekly online activity, includes mobile page views, and refreshes data every 24 hours. This New Analytics Overview video provides more information about this new tool, as well as the Canvas Guides.


Rubrics are now accessed from the course navigation instead of the Outcomes page.


By default, students can submit assignments an unlimited number of times. This new feature allows instructors to limit the number of attempts for an assignment.

This short video from the Canvas Community explains this feature.


Canvas generates a virtual celebration when student assignments are submitted (or resubmitted) on or before the due date. Students can hide all celebration animations in their User Settings. This quick video provides an overview of this feature.


January 2021

Boosting Student Motivation Through Connected Reflection

Icons of brain in discussion bubble and unraveled rope in another discussion bubble are connected

Universities are mandated to be the ultimate “learning culture,” powered by faculty who embody lifelong learning. We know that reflection is essential to learning; it’s the foundation of “continuous improvement,” that ceaseless cultivation of our skills and spirits as we work in the world. And this year, our reflection comes in time of global crisis—all the more reason to reflect on what matters most in our lives and our students’ lives, in our communities, and in our teaching and learning within our courses.

For some years now, higher education has acknowledged that part of our work is to prepare students for a world marked by increasing uncertainty. We understand that part of our teaching must include helping students develop essential, transferable career skills such as navigating change, communicating and collaborating, creating/innovating, and “learning how to learn.” And certainly, the pandemic gave faculty a chance to model flexibility and responsiveness to uncertain, changing conditions, as well as the chance to model learning as we crafted innovative approaches in our shift from classroom teaching to teaching online.

Let’s pause here for a moment to reflect on student feedback on their learning experiences this past year. A recent survey about teaching and learning at my small, midwestern liberal arts university highlighted a few key themes we might keep in mind: the need to boost student motivation to provide chances for metacognition in order to cultivate self-directed learning, and students’ need for meaningful learning.  

We might think of meaningful learning as a tree. Our course material, our textbooks, our tests, and discipline-specific learning tasks are branches of the tree of our students’ time at our university. We might then think of the roots as the deeper curriculum. The cultivation of those key habits—habits such as learning and creating—entail a host of other habits of mind such as comfort with risk, uncertainty, and failed attempts, as well as facility in reflection, curiosity, and persistence.

While it may seem counterintuitive, the pressures of the pandemic and the shift this year to online/hybrid courses can open up opportunities for deeper learning. Through brief activities that boost student engagement and community rapport, we can integrate course content with students’ daily lives (including work and their other coursework). We can assist students in becoming more self-directed learners by spurring them to thinking about their study habits and course assignments. Leveraging our current context, we can practice more whole-person teaching that cultivates crucial capacities—such as reflection and resilience—for a world of work that requires lifelong learning.

Outlined in this article are some brief yet potent areas of focus, and clusters of questions to make your own. The questions offered here are very general; consider the nitty gritty of students’ lives— their pressures, problems, and plans—when you design questions. These may seem rudimentary, but we need to remember to integrate them. The two to five minutes of class/homework time these activities take makes a real difference in the quality of student engagement and learning.

A frequent remark on the survey showed that students have been struggling in their motivation to fulfill their course obligations. It is always our job to generate interest. Motivation, like assessment, like learning, like anything alive, is an ongoing process.  We have an opportunity to do what we should always do in our teaching—refashion anything resembling busywork into more compelling forms, ensure our assignments are purposeful and that our course materials are meaningful, and provide opportunities for students to cultivate awareness and skill as learners. It is always our job to communicate, compellingly and truthfully, why our disciplines matter—and that also means evolving how we teach and what we teach in light of how our disciplines connect to the needs of the world now.

Seven ways to facilitate motivation, metacognition, and a learning community

There are three benefits to using these brief activities: 1) We keep motivation high because we keep the focus on why our coursework is meaningful for students’ lives; 2) We cultivate metacognition and self-directed learning, encouraging our students to be partners in learning; 3) We build a strong learning community as students share their reflections aloud in class or in our discussion boards.

1. Weekly challenges and support in learning
Rather than just a general, “How was your week?” ask a question each week in which students identify challenges and different supports to their lives (if applicable to your course) and/or learning/homework projects over the past week. What supported their study time? What obstacles arose in life or learning? What did they learn from this challenge? Did they have any ah-ha moments? If so, ask the student to articulate them, this way the class learns with them and they own what they learned all the more. Where did they get stuck? What support did they need for their learning and did they find a way to get it? How might they better approach their work next week?

2. Contemplative course-focused questions
Design questions that draw on key topics of your course that week—but be sure to connect it to students’ lives. You have an opportunity to connect your course material with their current lives as students, sports team members, workers, and with their possible future work, as well as with social issues and their other courses in other disciplines. In this way, you are also modeling higher-order integrative thinking while making your course material more connected and meaningful.

A broad example: How do you see [this week’s course content] connect with global news/knowledge or skills you are building in your other courses?

A more specific question from a global leadership class during a unit on communication skills: Are there relationships where you could strengthen your listening skills to help transform your teamwork?

3. Course-focused, weekly, check-in assignment reflections and exam wrappers
Incorporating a metacognitive component 1) at the start of class or 2) as an integral part of an assignment, such as an exam wrapper, helps our students learn our course material, and more broadly, “learn how to learn.” You might ask students: What was interesting/exciting or usable/valuable about this chapter/assignment for you? Where did you struggle? What helped you overcome that challenge? Are there aspects of your studying this week, or work on this kind of assignment, that might need improvement or a new approach? How can you make those changes?

4. Intentions and goals
The focus on interests, intentions, and goals supports student motivation. Note that for some students goal-setting is intimidating; it’s another part of a hidden curriculum for many, so we can help support them in learning this skill, too. But interests are something that can engage everyone. The focus on areas of motivation helps guard against our assignments being seen as busywork. (And in our own fearless, pandemic-driven reflection as teachers, let’s be sure it isn’t busywork.) Here, you have a chance to share yourself and/or to ask students questions like: Why is this course/unit of the course, or this particular learning activity, meaningful? How will it help you (the student) in your future career? How will it help you in your current life—say in other courses, projects you are keen to try, even in your current jobs?

5. Metacognitive midterm and end-of-term pause
This has proven to be a powerful tool for students to reflect on learning at midterms or as a recollection at the end of the term. Ask students to review their course calendar and articulate key insights from each week and how they can use what they learned in the future. When LMS is central to the course, as it is for most faculty at the moment, students can then share their responses, crowd-sourcing a list of key insights and lessons learned in the course. For more information on this idea, see a previous Faculty Focus article, “Transforming Midterm Evaluations into a Metacognitive Pause.

6. Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a big tent of techniques ranging from gratitude lists that keep our mindset positive to breath work that resets attention for learning. Mindfulness activities at the beginning of class work well to help students refocus their learning. This does not include icebreakers such as, “How was your weekend?” Rather, this is a purposeful activity to refresh harried students and reset their attention towards learning. During the initial shock of the pandemic, taking two to three minutes to ask students to share a gratitude or a vicarious joy (an underdeveloped capacity of happiness at others’ happiness) helped my students reduce their distractions, and refocus and gather themselves individually and as a group. Student feedback was strongly favorable citing improvements to their mood at the end of a long day, increased ability to focus, and a stronger sense of learning community, which improved the overall quality of class discussions. You can find support for integrating mindfulness at the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society.

For all of the above:

How to plan this? Just choose two or three areas that you rotate throughout the semester and tailor to your course material each week. You only need to throw out one question at a time, after all. Students love sharing this stuff, and they all benefit from the chance to reflect on their studying and learning processes, gaining insights from the instructor and from each other. These kinds of brief moments in class discussion (online or in-person) build a thriving learning community and cultivate more motivated and self-directed learners.

Gillian Parrish, MFA, is an inveterate teaching-geek and an assistant professor and program director in the MFA Writing Program at Lindenwood University.


The Art & Science of Quality Course Announcements: How to Avoid the Trap of the Info Dump

student on a laptop

It’s the night before a major assignment is due and you sit down to post an announcement in your online course. You want to remind your students of the impending due date, and oh yes, there’s a great webinar offered by the career center coming up on Tuesday. That reminds you, there’s also that article about the history of Wikipedia that you want to share with them too. Come to think of it, now’s as good a time as any to discuss the lack of analysis you noticed in their discussion board posts last week. As you write about their discussions, you also decide to include one last link to a citation website you hope will help them improve in this area.

You click “submit” and breathe a deep sigh of relief as you see the announcement post, filling half of your screen. You’ve shared tons of resources and information for your students. You check off this task from your unwieldy to-do list. You’ve done your due diligence as a professor.

Or have you?

In my decade of experience teaching and coaching teachers, I’ve come to think of the above scenario as “The Info Dump.” It’s often well-intentioned. You want to give students all of the information that they need to succeed. Your overarching goal is to help.

I’ve also noticed that this is a time-management strategy for overwhelmed faculty. “I’m swamped for time so let me just blast this all out at once. Phew. I’ve done my part; now the rest is up to them.” In struggling to help manage our own information overload, we pass the overload along to our students. I don’t believe it’s our intention to pass the buck, but you know what they say about good intentions.

What results from these info dumps is this: cognitive overload. Imagine plugging your hairdryer, iron, and space heater into the same outlet in your house. Boom. Our brains and our students’ brains are not unlike that outlet. They have limits. Sweller (1988) developed the theory of cognitive load in instructional design. He suggested that instructors and designers be mindful of the amount and intensity of information we present in our courses and communications. Announcements like the one I described above are well-intentioned bad teaching.

Solution: Plan announcements in advance whenever possible. Develop an editorial calendar to manage content. If you’ve already posted an important announcement that day and you feel the urge to post again, ask yourself if the content can wait a day. Try to focus on one main idea in each announcement. Use the date release tool in your LMS (if available) to manage your time. You can create daily announcements for the week in one sitting and release one per day to your students. Always ask the question, will this announcement do more harm than good?

Neuroscientists also caution against the huge swaths of black text that are typical in many online announcements and communications. Medina (2010) discussed the importance of creating content that requires students to use multiple senses, but especially their vision. He also stresses that the wiring of our brains is set up so that we gloss over boring things. Few things are less engaging than a huge block of black text filled with logistics.

Solution: Use bullets, bold font, colors, and highlighting to create an engaging visual. Create instructional videos instead of text and embed in your announcement through YouTube. Use free online tools like Canva to develop interesting infographics.

Finally, heed the words of brain scientist, stroke survivor, and TED-talker extraordinaire, Jill Bolte Taylor, who says, “Although many of us may think of ourselves as thinking creatures that feel, biologically we are feeling creatures that think.” A good announcement inspires at least as much as it informs. We are, after all, teaching people and not robots.

Solution: Before clicking submit, ask yourself if your announcement speaks to students’ minds and hearts. Did you tell or did you teach? Remember and appreciate the distinction. How can you inspire your students? Tell stories. Use inspirational quotes. Encourage your students. Emphasize that you are available to help them succeed. Remind them that you care about their success. Teach. Don’t just tell.

By spacing-out content, attending to visuals, and creating inspiring messages, you can avoid the trap of the info dump and begin to develop a sustainable practice of posting quality announcements.

Medina, J. (2010). Brain rules: 12 principles for surviving and thriving at work, home, and school. Seattle: Pear Press.

Taylor, J.B. (2011). My stroke of insight: A brain scientist’s personal journey. New York: Penguin.

Sweller, J. (1988). Cognitive load during problem solving: Effects on learning. Cognitive Science, 12, 257-285.

Karen Costa is an adjunct faculty member, learning community facilitator, and faculty coach at Southern New Hampshire University.

This article first appeared in Faculty Focus on February 26, 2016. © Magna Publications. All rights reserved.


Since we will be working from home a little longer, ITS published a Knowledge Base article with a few suggestion for a Home Office.

Recommendations for Setting Up a Home Workspace

UNCG Information Technology Services (ITS) presents equipment* and configuration ideas to help faculty and staff create remote workspaces that not only allow you to do your job well but also support a healthy, productive remote worklife.

This article covers the following topics: 


Audio Devices

Furnishing & Accessories

Additional Resources



Computing devices are the most essential tools for a productive home office. It is important to have the right combination of power and portability for a work-from-home setup. While your preference may be a desktop, a laptop offers you the freedom to work from anywhere with an internet connection. UNCG’s Campus-wide Hardware Procurement Program (CHP) offers various Dell and Apple computers for purchase. By purchasing computers through ITS’ program, you are assured that the system you purchase will support UNCG academic and business needs.

Internet and cellular connectivity are critically important for any type of remote work. Considering the number of people now working from home, selecting the right ISP minimizes internet connection issues. While teaching live, a wired ethernet connection directly to a router is optimal.

If you live in the Piedmont Triad area, you have the following service-provider options: 

Cable: Spectrum

Fiber: AT&TNorth State

Satellite: ViasatHughes Net

Router stability and transmitting power is critical to having a reliable WiFi internet experience at home. It is also important to have a router that can connect devices via the 2 and 5 Ghz frequencies. Examples: Netgear Wifi Router R6230Asus Dual Band AC1300

External monitors are easier on your eyes and promote good posture by providing a larger, head-height display. By having two monitors, you can run multiple applications simultaneously. One can have an entire screen dedicated to its primary application, while the other can be used for any other program. Also, sharing data between applications can be much smoother. Example: Dell UltraSharp 24 USB-C


Head Set

Audio Devices

Headsets with microphones help you focus by tuning the world out, limit the noise in your home when you are video conferencing or narrating a presentation, and enable clear communication and hands-free interaction. Examples: Logitech H650EUSB Headset with Noise Cancelling and Audio Controls

Webcams are pretty much standard in most modern laptops and all-in-one computers While these built-in models are more convenient to use, external webcams have more space for lenses. So, they typically offer better resolutions, higher quality photos and videos, and improved audio quality. Examples: Logitech C295EWansview 1080p Webcam with Microphone

Microphones in headsets may not always deliver the best-sounding recordings. Sound quality is particularly important if you are recording lectures or presentations. External microphones are a sound investment for a high-quality solution. Examples: TONOR USB MicrophoneTONOR USB Conference Microphone

External speakers improve sound quality and enhance your listening experience. Examples: Dell Stereo SoundbarLogitech Compact Laptop Speakers


Work Space Furniture

Furnishing & Accessories

Lighting quality helps increase productivity. Poor lighting can tap your energy and morale, cause eyestrain and headaches, and ultimately impair your ability to work effectively. Straight-on lighting (sitting directly in front of a light source) is best for video calls. This ensures your face is clearly visible.  Check out Tips for Recording Video in your Home Office. Examples: Clip-on LED USB Adjustable LampLED Ring Light Lamp with Tripod 

Desks come second only to computers in setting up an optimal home work environment. Your desk may be a table, that’s fine as long as its height promotes good posture, and there is ample room for equipment and work supplies. Standing (or convertible) desks allow you to stretch out and stand to work which provides a wealth of health benefits. Examples: RIF6 Adjustable Height Standing Desk converterColeshome Computer Desk 47 inch 

Good office chairs encourage better posture and reduce health costs. When you sit in an poorly designed office chair, you tend to slouch and sit in awkward positions, trying to find a way to be more comfortable. These contortions aren’t healthy. Examples: KaiMeng Office Chair MeshErgonomic Desk Chair

Laptop stands add stability and help you not “hunch over” your work, a common bad habit that causes neck strain and headaches. Example: Nulaxy Ergonomic Laptop Stand

USB and AC adapters allow you to plug in other items like a keyboard, mouse, the charging cable, and maybe an SD card reader. You can plug an adapter into your laptop, and plug everything else into it. Examples: UGREEN SD Card ReaderUGREEN Ethernet AdapterUSB Hub and Charging StationDell Mobile USB AdapterUSB C Hub Multiport Adapter (Mac) 

External keyboards enable you to keep the necessary distance from your laptop which is better for your eyes and neck. Example: Logitech K830

Handheld computer mouses are more ergonomic than trackpads, and a gaming mouse is particularly good if you have wrist pain. Examples: Logitech M510Apple Magic Mouse 2


Additional Resources

UNCG Environmental Health & Safety

Questions about ergonomics can be directed to Todd Beck, Industrial Hygiene Manager, at todd_beck@uncg.edu or (336)334-4357.

Software Purchases @ UNCG

Some UNCG software contracts provide the opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to either purchase software at a discounted price or acquire it for free. Other software may be available at educational pricing discounts directly from the vendors.

2FA (Two-factor Authentication) @ UNCG – Overview

Using 2-factor authentication (2FA) adds an extra layer of protection to your UNCG account. Find out how to use your mobile device to help keep your personal information safe.

Keep Teaching & Keep Teaching/Strategies 

Whether you’re looking for one-on-one consultations or whole group workshops, in person or online, check out what’s available to you as you teach remotely and discover a variety of activities and practices to ensure students master the content. 

Keep Working

This webpage helps UNCG staff prepare for and positively approach Teleworking @ UNCG. The information provided helps ensure our ability to meet the needs of our campus community when we can’t physically be on campus.

Ready to Teach/Plan/Part 6: Technology

In order to teach online effectively, you need to have sufficient technical skills and equipment. This technology lesson provides what instructors need to know and be able to do to teach online.


* Links to product examples may change over time. Please report any broken links to ITS in the article feedback.

Get more help at 6-TECH.
JUNE 2020

Inclusive Teaching Strategies

Is this months tip. Below you will find a number of articles and videos about implementing inclusive strategies in your courses.  By inclusive I not only mean including a diverse population but also inclusive engagement. Students in various cultures engage differently. I have included engagement strategies like using social media and class discussion strategies that may require a little more up front work by you but prove to be very beneficial for your students. Please read and view the videos below to learn more on how to make your courses more inclusive for your students.

If you have questions, please feel free to contact:

Joy Pine-Thomas, PhD at japineth@uncg.edu

The UTLC  provided an Inclusive teaching strategy checklist on their diversity website.

Inclusive Teaching Strategy Checklist

The Teaching Center at Washington University in St. Louis has a wealth of information and their website offers suggestions on how to address inclusiveness for all students into your classroom.

Strategies for Inclusive Teaching

Faculty Focus features an article on using Social Media as a strategy to engage your students

Using Social Media to Retain and Connect with Students in the shift to Online Education

Below is a list of discussion strategies you may want to review and implement in your course.

The big list of class discussion strategies

Getting students to discuss by channeling the Affective Domain

Nine ways to improve class discussions

MARCH 2020

Front-loading your Online course for Accessibility

This months tip is coming from an article in Faculty Focus called: ” Designing for Accessibility: How to Front-Load Your Digital Content with UDL Principles”. You may or may not know that Universal Design for Learning (UDL) go hand in hand with Accessibility. Please read the article below to learn more on how to make your courses more accessible to your students.

If you have questions, please feel free to contact:

Joy Pine-Thomas, PhD at japineth@uncg.edu OR click on the Accessibility Resources tab and you can follow the link to UNCG’s Accessibility website where there is a wealth of information!

Designing for Accessibility: How to Front-Load Your Digital Content with UDL Principles

 March 4, 2020  Caran Howard, PhD

Designing for Accessibility: How to Front-Load Your Digital Content with UDL Principles


Accessibility is a big deal. We include statements about accessibility in our syllabi and on our institutional websites. We also need to ensure that we comply with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA), and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended in 1998, and that learners with disabilities have “equal access” to online course content.

And, yet, every semester accessibility and IT offices find themselves overloaded with requests for closed captioning or transcripts, and requests for online material accommodations for students with disabilities. Students fail tests and/or miss assignment deadlines because important infographics or images do not have alternative tag descriptions, YouTube videos—crucial to the first exam—have no closed captioning, or students need to read 20 scanned and untagged PDFs that a screen reader just cannot read.

With tools like Ally Accessibility Checker embedded in learning management systems and the availability of screen readers, learners of all abilities have more options for accessing their content. With Ally, students can download their syllabus or PowerPoints as audio files and listen as they commute. They can also use Braille Readers to take quizzes.

Having more options for accessing content is great, as long as the content we are creating is great. Unless we create and collect content that meets accessibility standards, students do not have equal access to content.

However, when we create and collect digital content that follows Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles for multiple means of representation, specifically for perception or accessibility, then our online courses are already accessible to a majority of learners with diverse abilities.

When we create or collect content using UDL principles, our goal is to have online or blended courses that look ahead and meet learners’ needs before they even enroll in the course, and before we get an accommodation letter from the student accessibility office. We may not have to scramble to make accommodations before something is due. Designing for accessibility means anticipating needs based on trends and institutional data, and creating a course where content is accessible to the greatest number of diverse students.

Is front-loaded accessibility a lot of work? Yes, but it is front-loaded work. This means it is done in advance and with intentful course design, careful content authoring and editing, and commitment to teaching all students.

Follow these steps to create content that is accessible to all students:

  1. Run the accessibility checker as you create Word DocsPDFs, and/or PowerPoints and correct the errors and warnings as you work
  2. Use the heading and list functions in Word and use an accessible font, like Verdana
  3. Use high contrast colors and avoid using underlining and bold to make a point
  4. Provide links to online resources and/or order a digital course packet for hard to come by resources instead of scanning and uploading as a PDF
  5. Include only necessary and content-driven images and add the alternative descriptions as you work
  6. Use captioning when you record lecturettes and edit for accuracy. You can record with captioning and edit closed captioning in your Panopto and Zoom. You can also edit captioning in recordings you upload into YouTube

Follow these steps to assess digital content you collect for accessibility:

  1. Test that PDFs you find online are tagged and searchable
  2. Ask publishers to provide online or digital content (like PowerPoints) that meet accessibility standards
  3. Provide links for websites with working links and accessible font and contrast colors
  4. Check that third-party YouTube videos have accurate captioning (if they do not provide a transcript or ask your accessibility office to run the video through Amara)
  5. Provide students with accessibility statements and contact information for online tools like Blackboard, Zoom, VoiceThread, YouTube, Poll Everywhere, Flip Grid, etc.

Bio: Caran Howard is an instructional development specialist at the University of Northern Iowa, in Cedar Falls. In 2015, she earned a PhD in social foundations of education, with an emphasis in history of education. Howard earned her MA and BA in English, with a writing emphasis from the University of Northern Iowa (UNI). Howard has over 19 years of teaching experience in higher education and community organizations: UNI, the University of Iowa, Wartburg College, Hawkeye Community College, the Hearst Center for the Arts, and adult education.

References: (All links open in new Tab)

Bureau of Internet Accessibility “Why Websites NEed an Accessibility Statement.” May 22, 2017. https://www.boia.org/blog/why-websites-need-an-accessibility-statement

CAST. “Universal Design for Learning Guidelines.” Version 2.2. http://udlguidelines.cast.org

Haynie, Devon. “Students With Disabilities Meet Challenges in Online Courses.” U.S. News and World Report, April 4, 2014. https://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/articles/2014/04/04/tips-for-online-students-with-disabilities

University of Washington. “Captioning Your Own Video for Free.” https://www.washington.edu/accessibility/videos/free-captioning/

U.S. Department of Education. “Accessibility Statement.”  Last modified September 14, 2017. https://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/articles/2014/04/04/tips-for-online-students-with-disabilities

WebAim. “Microsoft Word: Creating Accessible Documents.” Last updated July 22, 2016. https://webaim.org/techniques/word/

WebAim. “PDF Accessibility: Defining PDF Accessibility.” Last updated April 26, 2019. https://webaim.org/techniques/acrobat/

WebAim. “PowerPoint Accessibility.” Last updated January 8, 2019. https://webaim.org/techniques/powerpoint/



The importance of Web Accessibility

Web accessibility  is relevant to all people, not just for those with a disability. Understanding, using, and planning for web accessibility and full compliance is best approached  gradually. To be most effective, it’s best to be proactive and to educate yourself about accessibility. Begin by creating accessible content, and making that content readily available to all online users.

  • It’s inclusive and provides equal access to everyone, especially people with disabilities.
  • It promotes usability.
  • It’s the right thing to do.
  • It’s the law.

The UNCG Accessibility website (Link opens in new Tab) has a wealth of information about accessibility. Topics on the website are very thorough including:

  • Accessibility/Inclusivity;
  • Policies & Guidelines (Please view the 10/21/2019 updated policy);
  • Making Content Accessible;
  • Help & Requests.

You may want to get started using what you learned by:


Available & UNCG Approved Software

Adobe Creative Cloud gives users access to a collection of software from Adobe systems that is used for digital photography, graphic design, video editing, and web development. Software from the creative cloud is downloaded and installed directly onto a local computer. To learn more about the Adobe Creative Cloud and how to get the software, view the ITS Adobe Creative Cloud @ UNCG webpage.

Box is one of 3 cloud storage solutions available to us at UNC Greensboro. Everyone with a UNC Greensboro account (Faculty, Staff, Students) has unlimited storage available on Box. All UNC Greensboro users can access Box at box.uncg.edu from any browser.
Box is available with a valid UNC Greensboro user account and can be installed on a maximum of 3 computers (Windows or Macs). There is no limit to the number of computers that can be used to access Box via a web browser.
To access Box, navigate to http://box.uncg.edu and use your UNC Greensboro credentials (username and password) to log in.
To learn more about Box, view the ITS Box @ UNCG webpage.

 Google Apps for Education (G-Suite) (Link opens in new window) Google apps icon

UNCG’s implementation of G Suite for Education. G Suite is a collection of web-based collaboration tools, including email, chat, calendaring, word processing, and spreadsheets. These tools work through a Web browser, without requiring users to buy or install software.
All faculty, staff, and students receive an iSpartan account for access to Gmail and related Google Apps (such as Calendar, Docs, and Sites) when they activate their University Computing Accounts. iSpartan uses your UNCG user name and password. [NOTE: Clicking on the icons in the table below will direct you to the UNCG Knowledge base or to a Google training page.]



(All links open in new Tab)


google gmail icon
All faculty, staff, and students receive an iSpartan email account (Link opens in new window) for access to Gmail and related Google Apps when they activate their University Computing Accounts. Your Gmail address will be in the format username@uncg.edu. This account is integrated with other Google App components, such as Calendar, Docs, and Sites.
google calendar icon
Google Calendar makes it easy to organize your schedule and keep track of events. You can create multiple calendars and share your calendars with others.
Google Groups icon
A Google Group is a type of mailing list or collaborative inbox that you can create and manage on your own. You can use a Google Group to share information with groups of people and access information effectively over email and on the web.
Google hangouts icon
Google Hangouts allows you to send and receive chats/instant messages, place and receive phone calls or participate in asynchronous (real-time) video meetings. Hangouts replaced Google Chat July 2015.
Google sites icon
Google Sites is a tool that allows you to create and publish web pages. You can use the WYSIWYG editor or work directly with HTML to quickly and easily build a website.
Google Drive Icon
Google Drive is a place to keep different types of documents that you can edit and share online. In addition to Google documents, you can upload other types of documents (e.g., Microsoft Word, image files, and PDFs) to your Google Drive.
Google Docs Icon
Docs lets you write reports, create joint project proposals, keep track of meeting notes, and more.
Google Sheets icon
Sheets lets you handle task lists, create project plans, analyze data with charts and filters, and more.
Google slides icon
Slides lets you create pitch decks, project presentations, training modules, and more.
Google Forms icon
Forms lets you manage event registrations, create quizzes, analyze responses, and more.
jamboard icon
Sketch and collaborate on an interactive canvas with Jamboard—Google’s cloud-based smartboard, on your computer, phone, or tablet.
tablet&phone icon

Create assignments, communicate with students, and send feedback all from one place.

Learn more about classroom

vault icon
Add students, manage devices and configure security and settings so that your data stays safe.


Additional G Suite Services

The services listed below also have been enabled for iSpartan accounts. You are able to sign in to these services directly, using your uncg.edu email address and password please click on the link below. Note: All links open in new Tab)
o Blogger
o YouTube
o Google Chrome Web Store
o Google Code
o Google Fusion Tables
o Google Analytics
o Feedburner
o Google App Engine
o Google Voice
o Google Places
o Google Webmaster Tools
o Google Translator
o Google Maps
o Google Earth
o Google Takeout
o Google News

The following Google products also are able to be installed and used on University-owned computers NOTE: (All links open in new Tab)

o Google Chrome
o Google Hangouts Desktop App (Chrome Store)
o Google File Stream or Backup & Sync

Please note: UNCG is only able to provide support for the services that are a part of G Suite for Education (Gmail, Calendar, Chat, Groups, Sites, and Docs and Google +). While 6-TECH can answer questions about accessing the services and products listed above, support will be handled by Google via their online help links within each service or product.

MyCloud is a service that offers UNC Greensboro faculty, staff and students’ access to applications and virtual desktops over the internet. While you can use MyCloud to access applications in computer labs on campus and your office, you can also use it to access applications from your home or mobile devices, making distance learning and commuting more convenient.
To access MyCloud, navigate to http://mycloud.uncg.edu and use your UNC Greensboro credentials (username and password) to log in.

Office 365 is the cloud-based Microsoft productivity suite that provides access to Office applications (like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote) and other productivity services. Information Technology Services (ITS) has made Office 365 available to all UNC Greensboro students, faculty and staff, which provides feature enhancements, cost-savings and convenience advantages for the UNC Greensboro community.
To access Office 365, navigate to http://office365.uncg.edu and use your UNC Greensboro credentials (username and password) to log in.
To learn more about Office 365 view the ITS Office 365 @ UNCG webpage.

SoftChalk can help you to introduce active learning opportunities and improve engagement. It can be used to create interactive elements, quizzes, modules, or an entire course housing a variety of media. This software is integrated with the Canvas Gradebook, meaning that when your students take a SoftChalk activity online, the grades can automatically be linked back to a Canvas course.
To learn more about SoftChalk view the Using SoftChalk with your Canvas Course.
To use one of the multiple licenses purchased by the School of Education, please fill out the request form.

Webex is Cisco’s online collaboration suite, a set of video-conferencing tools that are geared toward various online collaboration needs, such as synchronous online learning, online meetings, and webinars. All UNC Greensboro faculty, staff, and students have access to WebEx. Both internal and external UNC Greensboro users may attend WebEx sessions without needing to log into a WebEx account – login is only required to host (create) sessions.
Users of Webex are expected to adhere to Policies at UNCG. Please especially review the Acceptable Use of Computing and Electronic Resources Policy.
You can access Webex directly within a Canvas course, or by navigating to http://webex.uncg.edu/ and use your UNC Greensboro credentials (username and password) to log in.
To learn more about Webex view the ITS Webex articles.

Creative Commons (Link opens in new Tab)creative commons icon


Respondus LockDown Browser has been added to your courses. Below is a Training Video of how Lockdown Browser and Respondus Monitor works. (The training video below is for Faculty Only – NOT Students).

David Kirkland will be sending out contact information shortly in case you have any issues using Respondus.
As suggested in the video, please test Respondus out with your students before giving them a high stakes exam. This will relieve any stress that you or the student may encounter while using Respondus.
I am available to work with you one-on-one or as a group to test it out if needed. If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know.
Joy Pine-Thomas

Recorded Training Session (Faculty Only)(Video – Link opens in new Tab):https://youtu.be/D8K7h6GfhJ4

*This training is for faculty and faculty support. Please do not post it on a public website or blog that students have access to it.

Respondus Monitor Instructor Resources (Article – Link opens in new Tab)


*This page includes videos, guides, sample syllabus wording, and additional training for instructors. These resources can also be accessed from within the LockDown Browser Dashboard Welcome screens.

Additional Instructor Training Sessions (Article – Link opens in new Tab): www.respondus.com/webinars



NOTE FROM GOOGLE: In March 2017, we announced plans to evolve classic Hangouts to focus on two experiences that help bring teams together: Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet… We’re planning to transition users from classic Hangouts to Chat and Meet after June 2020. We are fully committed to supporting classic Hangouts users until everyone is successfully migrated to Chat and Meet.

  • Google has two tools for engaging in video meetings: Hangouts and Meet. They have slightly different icons and slightly different interfaces.
  • There is definite overlap in functionality. Google Meet is oriented more toward Mobile use.
  • To engage in a Google Hangout or Meet, you will need to download the Hangouts Plugin on each device you are using.”
  • UNCG’s Google video meetings tools will support up to 25 people at one time.
  • Hangouts Meet Cheat Sheet – from the G Suite Learning Center



Google Hangouts Help Center


Panopto Logo

Panopto @ UNCG

Panopto is a software-based, lecture-capture solution that enables UNCG faculty to record lectures for their students. Panopto’s lecture capture software simultaneously records and synchronizes video, audio, slides, screen capture, electronic whiteboards, and more. Additionally, formal lectures, campus events, classroom activities, and informal presentations can all be recorded from a home or office.
Learning spaces in Moore Nursing have been equipped with the hardware and software so faculty may record lecture audio and sync with slide presentations. 

Users may also install the Panopto recorder on any computer or laptop. Lectures are available to students through Canvas shortly after recording and uploading.

Who is Eligible

UNCG students, faculty, and staff have access to Panopto.

How to Access

Panopto can be accessed in one of two ways:


Benefits of using Panopto include:

  • Direct uploads into Canvas
  • Live lecture capture from a classroom (with ~ 45-second delay)
  • Ability to upload slides, create lectures, or share screen
  • Automatic closed-captioning that allows users to search the text of the session

Panopto’s Lecture Capture can be used to record lectures and presentations in specially-equipped rooms with little instructor set up. The benefits of this software include:

  • 24/7 student access to lecture content
  • Increased student participation and engagement
  • On-demand access to course material
  • Lecture archives for use in subsequent courses

Technical Support

For questions or technical support, contact 6-TECH at (336) 256-TECH (8324), email 6-TECH@uncg.edu, or submit a 6-TECH ticket.

Top Links