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Try It Out

Faculty often contact us to inquire about ongoing pilots, to ask about new instructional technologies for the classroom to address a variety of needs, to ask how to download software licenses, or to find out if there is faculty support for different software programs. This page brings together instructional innovation software that we have experience with, and indicates our support levels and how to get started.

Instructional Innovation Support Levels

Accessibility

Support LevelAffordancesHow to get started

Kurzweil 3000 + Firefly

Medium

This package offers extensive and comprehensive text-to-speech, reading comprehension, and study tool supports.

Download Kurzweil 3000 + Firefly for Mac, Windows, and mobile devices from IT supported software.
Get help with accessibility and assistive technologies from the Assistive Technology Center (ATC).

Read&Write Gold

Medium

TextHelp’s Read&Write Gold program supports text-to-speech, optical character recognition, study tools, vocabulary, reading comprehension, and much more.

Download Read&Write for Mac or Windows from IT supported software.
Get help with accessibility and assistive technologies from the Assistive Technology Center (ATC).

NVDA Screen Reader

Medium

NVDA (NonVisual Desktop Access) is a free “screen reader” which supports individuals who are blind or low vision to use computers. It reads the text on the screen in a computerized voice. It is available to the public at no cost.

Download NVDA Screen Reader software for Windows from IT supported software.
Get help with accessibility and assistive technologies from the Assistive Technology Center (ATC).

Audience Response Systems

Support LevelAffordancesHow to get started
iClicker Classic
High

Students respond to questions in a lecture using a “clicker.” Use this to get instant feedback, promote active learning in the classroom, track participation and/or performance.

Learn more: Audience Response System (IT)

iClicker Cloud (formerly Reef)
Low

Students respond to questions in a lecture using any wireless device or iClicker remotes. Instructors can track attendance using GPS technology, ask target (heat map) questions, administer quizzes, and analyze student performance using a web browser.

For web-based polling in supported classrooms, consider iClicker Cloud and REEF polling. (Contact the Instructional Media Lab for more information supported locations).

TopHat
N/A

Students respond to questions in a lecture as they would with a physical clicker, but using any wireless device.

At this time, the best solution for classroom audience response is the iClicker Classic software, the iClicker base station, and the iClicker 2 handheld student remote. For web-based polling in supported classrooms, consider iClicker Cloud and REEF polling. (Contact the Instructional Media Lab for more information about supported locations).

Poll Everywhere
N/A

Students respond to questions in a lecture by interacting with a Web-based survey on their own device, or by sending a text message (SMS) from a phone.

At this time, the best solution for classroom audience response is the iClicker Classic software, the iClicker base station, and the iClicker 2 handheld student remote. For web-based polling in supported classrooms, consider iClicker Cloud and REEF polling. (Contact the Instructional Media Lab for more information about supported locations).

Collaborative Learning

 
Support LevelAffordancesHow to get started
VoiceThread
in Moodle
Low

Engage students in asynchronous media-rich conversations via text, audio and video.

A limited number of seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis. For details see Get Started with VoiceThread in Moodle.
VoiceThread
in Blackboard
N/A

Engage students in asynchronous media-rich conversations via text, audio and video.

Not supported by us, but well-supported by UMass Amherst eLearning.

Yellowdig
N/A

During its 2014-2016 pilot, Yellowdig did not meet the standards for a continuing service and was decommissioned.

Yellowdig is no longer available at UMass Amherst.
Social Media in Teaching & Learning
Low

Improve engagement and give students more ownership of their learning by working with the social media tools (such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter) that they are already using.

While we don’t directly support off-campus social media platforms, for hands-on experience and to learn about how social apps are being used in higher ed, watch for our workshops and events.
Minecraft
Low

This open-world video game allows players to build structures using 3D cubes in a procedurally-generated landscape. Teachers and students can collaborate in a virtual world to model complex concepts, create group projects, and as a platform for digital storytelling.

See Minecraft for Education.
While we don’t directly support Minecraft, for hands-on experience and to learn about how social apps are being used in higher ed, watch for our workshops and events.
Perusall
Low

Assign textbooks, articles, or PDFs in Perusall. Students annotate readings and asynchronously respond to each other’s comments and questions about the readings in context.

To find out more about Perusall and add Perusall to your Moodle course, see Getting Started with Perusall.

Data Visualization

Support LevelAffordancesHow to get started
JMP Pro
Low
Students can easily work with the comparison and visual representation of data through a simple drag & drop interface (saving time spent teaching them more complicated stats software). Results can be saved and shared as static images or interactive modules.Students & instructors can download JMP Pro from IT at UMass Amherst.

Getting started documentation is available at the JMP Pro site .

Tableau
N/A
Students can import data from a variety of sources, including public data sets. An easy drag and drop interface includes elegant and interactive chart formats. The public version creates web-based charts that can be embedded on web sites.Getting started documentation and download available at the Tableau Public site.
Qualtrics
Low
Available as a cloud service at reduced price through UMass Amherst IT, Qualtrics encompasses survey creation, collaboration, administration, analysis, and reporting.For more on Qualtrics licensing through UMass Amherst IT, see Qualtrics Research Suite.

Eportfolios & Student-Centered Technologies

Support LevelAffordancesHow to get started
Watermark (formerly TaskStream)
N/A
Students collect all of their course work in one place, reflect on their learning, and creatively demonstrate their achievements. Schools and Programs can provide structure and assess progress toward a degree.In pilot with the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS).

Feedback on Student Writing

Support LevelAffordancesHow to get started
Turnitin in Moodle
High
Assess the originality of student work and ensure the proper citation of references by comparing student submissions to online sources and the Turnitin database. Focus on citation and quotation in a positive and constructive manner. Provide feedback through rubrics, drag-and-drop commenting, and audio commenting.Turnitin can be used as a stand-alone application or through an LMS.

Turnitin with Moodle

Turnitin in Blackboard
N/A
Assess the originality of student work and ensure the proper citation of references by comparing student submissions to online sources and the Turnitin database. Focus on citation and quotation in a positive and constructive manner. Provide feedback through rubrics, drag-and-drop commenting, and audio commenting.Turnitin in Blackboard is supported by UMass Amherst eLearning.
SafeAssign
N/A
SafeAssign is an optional feature in Blackboard Assignments. It compares submitted assignments against a set of academic papers to identify areas of overlap between the submitted assignment and existing works.

SafeAssign is effective as both a deterrent and an educational tool.

SafeAssign in Blackboard is supported by UMass Amherst eLearning.

File Sharing & Collaboration

Support LevelAffordancesHow to get started
Box
High
Share files as read-only or allow collaborators to edit Microsoft Office files directly in the cloud. Students can use to share files for group projects Box allows for secure storage of sensitive data. Log in here: it.umass.edu/box

Learn more:
Secure Online Storage at UMass Amherst

Apps at UMass Amherst
High
Share files and allow multiple collaborators to edit files simultaneously through web-based applications. Can store FERPA-protected data, (not approved for other kinds of sensitive data.)Log in here:
apps.umass.edu

Learn more:
Apps at UMass Amherst

Office365 OneDrive
High
1TB of OneDrive storage included in Office 365 Education, available to the campus community through UMass Amherst IT. Download Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, and Access. Install MS Office apps on mobile devices, and access to online tools such as Sway.To find out more, and download the Microsoft Office 365 suite, see Microsoft Office 365 Education. Supported through UMass Amherst IT User Services.
UDrive
Low
UDrive is the legacy online file storage and collaboration service on campus. Compared to Box and Google Apps, UDrive offers limited functionality (1 Gigabyte quota, no live editing)Learn more:
UDrive: Online File Storage.

Learning Management Systems

Support LevelAffordancesHow to get started
Moodle
High
Post course content, manage grades, host online discussion forums, collect assignment files, deliver quizzes, and more. Default all-in-one learning management system for on-campus classes. Rosters load automatically from SPIRE.Request a Moodle course in SPIRE each semester you teach a class.

Moodle instructors receive support through the Instructional Media Lab. Contact: instruct@umass.edu | 413-545-2823 | 413-545-2823.

Moodle support pages (IT)

Blackboard
N/A
Post course content, manage grades, host online discussion forums, collect assignment files, deliver quizzes, and more. Default all-in-one learning management system for Online Education, UWW, Nursing, and Isenberg. Rosters load automatically from SPIRE.Blackboard instructors receive support through Online Education eLearning. Contact: facline@oe.umass.edu | 413-577-3434 x1.

Blackboard Support Pages (Local)

Google Classrooms
Low
Deliver course content and collect assignments. A simpler, no frills form of learning management system. Manual rostering of students.Contact the Instructional Media Lab (instruct@umass.edu | 413-545-2823) for more information.
iTunes U
N/A
Deliver course content via iTunes and to iOS devices. Manual rostering of students.See iTunes U Help for details, or contact the Instructional Media Lab (instruct@umass.edu | 413-545-2823).

Lecture Capture

Support LevelAffordancesHow to get started
Echo360
High
Record live lectures with automated equipment built into the classroom. Use this to deliver lecture content outside of class and to allow students to review recordings as often as they need to understand the material. See Lecture Capture support page.

Peer Evaluation

Support LevelAffordancesHow to Get Started
CATME
Low
CATME supports group work in classes by automating team formation and providing students with tools to help evaluate peer performance within groups.

NOTE: In July 2017, CATME began charging a $2 per student fee for the use of this service. This cost will be covered through Instructional Innovation through 2018.

CATME support is provided by the vendor. See Get Started with CATME Team-Maker and Peer Evaluation.
iPeer
N/A
During its 2014-2016 pilot, iPeer did not meet the standards for a continuing service and was decommissioned.
iPeer is no longer available at UMass Amherst.

Peer Review

Support LevelAffordancesHow to get started
Moodle Workshop Activity
High
Students submit their own work for review and offer reviews of classmates’ work in a multi-stage review process. Instructors can structure the feedback and give evaluations for the submission and the feedback given to others.For instructions:
Add a Moodle Workshop Activity

Public Websites

Support LevelAffordancesHow to get started
Blogs at UMass Amherst
Medium
Blogs can be used by instructors for course sites, portfolios, and to assign collaborative academic activities. All students, faculty and staff receive an individual personal blog. Instructors can request additional accounts for creating other blogs, e.g., for courses.Contact the Instructional Media Lab (instruct@umass.edu | 413-545-2823) or visit Blogs for Instructors
UMass Create
Medium
In pilot, this service allows students, faculty, and staff to register their own domain name (example: janedoe.umasscreate.net) and associate it with a hosted web space, free of charge while at UMass Amherst, and designed so they can take it with them when they leave. Includes one-click installation of popular Web applications such as WordPress, Omeka, and MediaWiki.Learn more: Get Started with UMass Create Web Domains
HTML-based Websites
N/A
UMass Amherst IT provides web hosting for HTML websites if you want to build a no-frills web site the old-fashioned way. (No PHP is allowed on this host).

For ease of use and maintenance, we recommend using WordPress (Blogs at UMass Amherst) instead.

Visit Web Hosting at UMass Amherst

Screencasting

Support LevelAffordancesHow to get started
Echo360 PCAP
High
Record lectures and other narrated content on your own equipment. Useful for creating short, scripted videos that address specific topics.Contact the Instructional Media Lab (instruct@umass.edu | 413-545-2823)

For Blackboard users, see Echo360 PCAP documentation for Blackboard.

Camtasia
High
Record narrated slideshows and screen demonstrations on your own equipment. Requires purchase of Camtasia.

A free 30-day trial is available on the Camtasia website

Secure Exams & Homework

Support LevelAffordancesHow to get started
Online Web-based Learning (OWL)
N/A
Students answer questions as homework getting feedback and varied questions every time until they master the material. In a proctored environment, students access OWL through controlled devices that only allow exam access.See About OWL

OWL is supported and maintained by UMass Amherst IT’s Center for Educational Software Development.

Examsoft
N/A
Exam downloads to the device, so Internet access and stability are not required when taking the exam. Examsoft is being piloted by the College of Nursing. For more, see the Examsoft site.

Videoconferencing

Support LevelAffordancesHow to get started
Zoom
High
Zoom is a browser and app-based live video conferencing tool that can be used for hosting visiting lecturers, screen-sharing, meeting with remote classrooms, delivering webinars, recording sessions, hosting breakout groups, and more.UMass Amherst IT provides Zoom licenses for faculty, students and staff. To get started, go to UMass Amherst Zoom and click Sign in.
Blackboard Collaborate
N/A
Blackboard Collaborate is a browser-based web conferencing solution that features chat, synchronous learning tools, and app share in addition to audio-video.Blackboard users receive support through CPE eLearning

Getting Started with Blackboard Collaborate