Keith Rowley

  • Keith Rowley commented on the post, Question or Comments post, on the site 9 years, 5 months ago

    Thanks for the heads-up, Janis! I have now corrected those links.

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    This 5-year-old passed the Microsoft Certified Professional exam. Granted that the kid may be special, but, seriously, what does that say about the Microsoft Certified Professional exam?

    I’ve taken the […]

  • Keith Rowley changed their profile picture 9 years, 5 months ago

  • I spent some time the other day playing with Canvas’s newish “Roll Call” Attendance tool. It has some good stuff and some bad stuff…
    Good Stuff
    I like that I can enter attendance data one time– in Canvas– and the data goes straight into the gradebook. This saves me a bunch of time over my current method of attendance, which consists of:

    In class, students pass around a “sign-in” sheet. Sometimes, students who are actually in attendance forget to sign the sign-in sheet, and once per quarter or so, I actually lose the sheet before it safely gets to my office.
    I manually transfer these sign-ins to an Excel spreadsheet that I’ve spent countless hours on refining to compile requisite points, and to give me all sorts of information about class attendance. I occasionally make mistakes in this transfer.
    I manually transfer attendance points from my spreadsheet into Canvas’s gradebook. Again, I occasionally make mistakes in this transfer, too.

    Each of these three steps provides opportunities for problems, errors, mistakes. This is why I wanted to try out the Roll Call Attendance tool.
    Bad Stuff

    Screenshot of Roll Call Attendance tool
    (click image for full-size version)

    Two problems: one relatively minor, one relatively major.
    The minor problem: most of my classes consist of two separate sections/class codes, and the students do not all appear one list; instead, I have to switch between the two sections via a tabbed interface. That is, half of my students are listed in one tab while the other half are listed in another tab. And, when I switch between tabs, the date always returns back to today, even though I’m entering attendance data for a different day.

    But, as I say, that is just a minor inconvenience. The main problem, however
    — the killer, as far as I’m concerned– is that the Roll Call Attendance assignment counts 100 points. Period. There is no way to change how many points it counts. No matter how many times the class meets, the attendance column in the gradebook is worth exactly 100 points.

    The idea, I think, is that it’s a percentage. So, you must weight your assignment groups. I don’t. Weighting confuses the heck out of me. My gradebook philosophy is “a point is a point. If I want an assignment to count more than another assignment, then I make it worth more points.”

    So, no matter how much “good stuff” the Roll Call Attendance tool offers, it simply will not work for me. I’m bummed.

    However, if you weight your assignment groups, you really should consider trying it out. If you’re interested, let me know, and I’ll pass along the information you need to enable it in your Canvas class.

  • Yes, check it out– here’s my Fall BTS 161 Syllabus:

    This is very cool. I have had prospective students ask for my class syllabi, and I’ve had to email old ones to them. Also, now my department can point to these syllabus pages.

    However– one thing I do NOT like about the way Canvas does this: it shows all the assignments. Why do I not like this? Well, the assignments are automatically drawn from the Canvas course, and I use Canvas for assignments. What if one of my peers does NOT use Canvas for assignments? The public will think that HER class is “easier” than mine because she has no (or fewer) assignments, and register for that other class rather than mine. NOT COOL. Canvas should NOT show assignments on the public syllabus page. I’m cool showing assignments to the students, just not to the public.

    Another change coming to Canvas’ Syllabus tool: it will be a *form* that instructors can just type their own class data into. This form will include fields for “Instructor Info,” “Course Description,” “Required Materials,” etc., *and* it will automatically drop in all the official college boilerplate text that instructors currently have to manually drop in ourselves.

    Change. The only consistency…

  • First week of Fall quarter classes done. The first week of each quarter is nice, because I don’t have any homework to grade, and my classes are pretty much set up– syllabi are done, the quarter’s assignment schedule is done, each class’ Canvas site is done… So, the first weekend is pretty slow. A chance to exhale.

    So, I’ve been thinking a bit… Because “the economy” is “better” (whatever the heck that means), enrollment is down for all of my department’s classes. BTS enrollments are all down this quarter compared to Fall 2013. And that’s not good for me, nor for my BTS teacher counterparts, because we are making less money. And, as it is, it’s pretty tough for adjuncts here at BC to make ends meet here in Seattle, where the cost of living is among the highest in the country. Now, of course I’m not complaining, because it could be much worse, and of course I’m grateful that I have a job in the first place, and of course I didn’t go into teaching for the money, blah-blah-blah.

    But many people here at BC may not know that, in addition to teaching BTS computer classes here in the IBIT division, I also work part time for Information Resources as a trainer, with Sukirti Ranade in the Technology Learning and Connections Center in A109. If you go to the TLCC website and look under “Peer-to-Peer Faculty Support Hours,” that’s ME! I’m the “peer” for teachers here at BC. As of this quarter, actually, that is only me, whereas for the last couple of years, it was me and Jim Dicus, English adjunct. But Jim is really busy this quarter and didn’t have time for the TLCC, so now I’m the only peer.

    I really enjoy working at the TLCC and helping my fellow faculty with their technology needs. During those “support hours,” I just hang out in A109 and wait for the phone to ring or for faculty to walk in. But I also lead several training workshops for both faculty and staff each quarter. Look on the Training Calendar for all the workshops. This quarter, I’m offering Word Accessibility and WordPress trainings. Both of these sessions are great. We’ve been getting positive feedback about the Word Accessibility sessions, as the general consciousness about accessibility grows on campus.

    But I’m especially excited about the WordPress sessions, because — well, this blog  is on WordPress, and in fact, ALL BC websites are now powered by WordPress… So, if you are in charge of your department’s website, or if you hope to some day administer an official BC website, or shoot, if you’d just like to use your own personal BC blog, then you may want to attend one of these sessions. And, speaking of accessibility, we will be talking about how to make your WordPress sites accessible too.

    And while I’m talking about accessibility, I must tip my hat to BC’s new eLearning Manager, Ekatrina Stoopes. She has really spearheaded the college’s current efforts to “accessify” all documents and web sites. Since Ekaterina has been here, I have learned more about accessibility than in the entire rest of my life. So, thanks, Ekaterina.

  • Two broken headset mics
    Two broken headsets.

    I own two headsets.

    Neither work.

    I lead a webinar at 7:00pm.



    Found a headset that works. Third time’s the charm!


  • ThumbnailI love Excel. I’ve been teaching Excel now for about five years, I guess (since the 2007 version, and we’re well into the 2013 version now), and have seen some cool new features.

    Excel itself has been around […]

    • Good piece!
      Now I know that I’ll have to find helpful and relevant ways to incorporate Excel in my life, outside of class. I do agree with the ‘if you don’t lose it you lose it’. For me, if I’m able to bring color into the Excel workbook and give relevance to a spreadsheet dealing with content that matters to me, like environmental issues, oceanic preservation or water privatization, that will help me because it will commit it to my memory. I definitely need to know, not only how but the ‘why’ to retain the how. Adding color and meaning to make it matter will be important to me. If you hadn’t posted this and explained it so well, especially regarding the ‘types of Excelers’ I would not have known. This will help me have a clearer path to move forward. I appreciate that and you’re a great teacher 🙂 that I appreciate too! See ya in class ~

      • Thanks for the kind words, Thea. I am glad that you are looking for ways to make Excel relevant in your own life. I think you will appreciate the Final Project, in which you choose your own “problem” or project, and use Excel to help you solve it. Just start small– if you can solve a small problem with Excel, then it will build your confidence to tackle larger problems. You could even solve part of a problem.

        Looking forward to seeing it!

    • I fall in to the third catagory and THAT will be my biggest challenge. I have been using Excel for years. I am self/YouTube taught. Everything I know is more work around than actual method and I will have to unlearn everything I have used for years. Looking forward to the challenge. . . . I think.


    • Two quarters into Rowley I stumble into this blog. Not stumble, exactly, but having skipped out halfway through the introductory section of BTS 165, I saved my Saturday afternoon to cruise Canvas modules and try to catch up (as I knew would be the price). Somehow that led me here. Was this blog assigned or was a link there in the syllabus for those seeking more, or is this just where my procrastination led when I could not figure out how to ask a cell for division? Doesn’t matter. No longer requiring anonymity I am thrilled to be here, ready to engage, join forces on my journey as The Digital Immigrant. Next step is to understand what type of engagement will be of use. For now, I’m strapping in.

  • Keith Rowley changed their profile picture 9 years, 8 months ago