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Happy New Year from Technology Solutions! It’s hard to believe 2021 is here and the Spring semester starts next week! Technology Solutions (previously known as ACCC) is here to provide you with the tech support you need to help you deliver academic excellence.

This month’s Tech Talk shares the services and resources available to help you start off the academic year strong. Learn about the new Service Management Tool coming soon and how to participate in the Acadly Pilot Program. 


Technology Solutions
While most services remain available and supported during this time, there are a few exceptions. Walk-in and in-person support are not available pending further notice. Phone, email and virtual support remains available.

Visit the Technology Solutions Operations page to obtain up-to-date tech support information, hours of operation, and booking calendars for Instructional Design and Academic Multimedia Lab consultation services: accc.uic.edu/support/operations


NEW Service and Support Platform Coming Soon!
Technology Solutions is looking forward to releasing a new Service Management tool later this semester. This modern, mobile-friendly platform will be used across the University of Illinois System and provides an easy-to-use, improved experience for finding and requesting services, asking questions and getting answers, and obtaining support. Stay tuned for more updates on this new and exciting tool in the coming weeks!


Laptop/Hotspot Loaner Program
We have a limited quantity of University-owned laptops and hotspots to loan students who need reliable access to a computer and/or internet at home. If students enrolled in your Spring 2021 course need a laptop or cellular hotspot, please have them review the guidelines and submit this form: accc.uic.edu/forms/laptoprequest.


With courses being exclusively online, there are many tools available in Blackboard, and outside of Blackboard, to enhance your online teaching, help administer assessments remotely, and promote student engagement. Below are some popular tools:

Blackboard Course Sites
There are several factors to consider when designing a user-friendly Blackboard course site; here are some suggestions to help you get started: go.uic.edu/designingyourcourse 


Acadly Pro - New Pilot Program!
Acadly is a teaching platform that makes synchronous online and in-classroom classes interactive. Faculty have used the free version of Acadly to take attendance for years, but now with the Acadly Enterprise license, instructors can access Acadly’s full features and give students an improved learning experience.

As part of the UIC pilot, Acadly provides integration with Blackboard and uses Zoom video conferencing to provide a secure classroom. Instructors can share quizzes, polls, word cloud questions, videos, files and more. Acadly also helps instructors save time by recording attendance automatically, tracking student engagement, and promoting student interaction even after class ends! Learn more about this pilot here: answers.uillinois.edu/uic/75106

Acadly Enterprise is available by request only. Instructors that would like to access the Acadly pilot program can email LTS@uic.edu for further instructions.


Piazza - Change in Model
Online discussion fostering tool Piazza has moved to a paid/contribution-supported model starting January 2021. UIC faculty can continue to use Piazza freely through August 1, 2021 with the voluntary contribution-supported model. The Piazza tool will also remain available for use in Blackboard course sites.

UIC's Educational Technology Committee will be meeting on February 2, 2021 to discuss the possibility of acquiring a Piazza institutional license for Fall 2021.

For more information on these Piazza changes, please visit Paid Model for Piazza Q&A.

 Watch this 5-minute video on photo roster.

Class Photo Roster
Available under Tools in Blackboard, the Class Photo Roster has improved functionality. Now, students and instructors can use this tool to add their personal pronouns, preferred names, and name pronunciation, which can enhance communications, help create an inclusive learning environment, and help build social presence in online courses. 


Gradescope is an online rubric-based grading tool that can speed up and streamline grading, improve grading consistency and transparency, and help instructors provide more meaningful feedback to students. Gradescope is easy to use and available in your Blackboard course. To learn more about Gradescope, visit: accc.uic.edu/news-stories/gradescope

Panopto offers instructors a secure method of sharing video content. It allows you to capture and edit videos, add captions, create video assignments, and insert interactive video quizzes. This tool is recommended for instructors who want to “flip” the classroom, or who are creating video content for blended or online courses, and for students who need to create video assignments to share with classmates and instructors. go.uic.edu/use-panopto


Respondus provides online proctoring tools that integrate with Blackboard, and can help preserve academic integrity on assessments taken remotely. Respondus Lockdown Browser and Monitor are available in Blackboard and must be configured with assessments created in Backboard. To learn more about Respondus, visit: accc.uic.edu/news-stories/respondus


VoiceThread is a video-based discussion tool available in Blackboard that can be used to encourage student discussion and build community in asynchronous learning settings. The conversations are not live and take place whenever and wherever it’s convenient for students to participate. Learn more about VoiceThread and when to use it: accc.uic.edu/news-stories/voicethread

Collaborative Online Whiteboards
Online whiteboards are software applications or browser-based tools for collaboration during a synchronous presentation. Each participant logs into the same online whiteboard space and can add their content, while all the others see what is happening in real-time, and can interact with the content if needed. Learn more about using whiteboard for synchronous teaching: answers.uillinois.edu/uic/online-whiteboards


Blackboard Assignments (Flipped Webinar*)
Wednesday, January 6 - 12:00pm CT
Looking for ways to assess students beyond the traditional test? Need a way to check for plagiarism?
Blackboard's Assignments tool is a great way to create assessments, as well as manage grades and feedback for each student separately.

*Please watch the video "Blackboard Assignments" before the webinar. The webinar time will be used to field questions.

Blackboard Tests
Thursday, January 7 - 11:30am CT
Assess your students with testing in Blackboard Become familiar with Blackboard’s Tests, Surveys, and Pools tools.

Open Educational Resources 
Wednesday, January 13 - 12:00pm CT
Delivering information through open access resources can be a great opportunity for you and your students. Janet Swatscheno from the UIC Library will lead us as we discuss the benefits of OER and how you can incorporate it into your course design.

These webinars will be hosted in the LTS Zoom room. No registration is required. Please add a reminder to your calendar and click on the link below to join at the time and date of the event.

Sessions will be recorded and available in the LTS Webinar Calendar 24-48 hours after the webinar ends. Visit the LTS Webinar Calendar to stay updated on upcoming learning opportunities, and access recorded webinars.

LTS Webinar Calendar

Web Conferencing Tools
Did you know Technology Solutions supports Blackboard Collaborate, Zoom, Webex, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams? As a UIC instructor, you have access to these communication tools for teaching, meeting with students, and collaborating with your colleagues. While these tools provide similar services, they do have different features and user cases. Learn more about how to select the right tool for you: go.uic.edu/web-conferencing

Zoom Integration with Panopto
You can now integrate Zoom with Panopto! If enabled, your Zoom recordings will get automatically uploaded to your Panopto account. To learn more about how integration works and how to enable it, please visit answers.uillinois.edu/uic/107093.

Zoom or Collaborate?
Learn and compare the different features and capabilities of Zoom versus Blackboard Collaborate, and which would be best for your courses. answers.uillinois.edu/uic/107119

Go to answers.uic.edu to find answers to frequently asked technology questions.


As we start the new year, the UIC Information Security and Privacy Office wants to raise awareness and remind faculty of common email scams targeting university staff:

  • Urgent Email From a "Colleague" - Scammers posing as a university employee claiming they need a favor from you. Usually, the scammer asks you to purchase a gift card, transfer money, or perform some other financial transaction. They claim the matter is urgent but are not available to speak on the phone.
  • Password Change Notifications – Emails claiming you requested a password change and to log in immediately to cancel the request. The links redirect to a fake page where scammers record any information entered on the fake site.
  • Voicemail Message – Scammers try to trick you into opening an audio attachment or logging into a fake website to check an “urgent” voicemail. Clicking on audio files can install malware on your computer. Clicking on the links will redirect to a fake site and ask you to login using your credentials to check the voicemail.

If you have given or entered your NetID and password or other personal information, please immediately change your password at identity.uillinois.edu and contact security@uic.edu with the details. If in doubt, always email security@uic.edu with questions or concerns.

 Download the New Year Challenge PDF

New Year Challenge
The New Year is a time full of optimism and possibility when we reflect, we dream big, and we set goals for the future. However, research suggests that while about half of us set goals at the start of each new year, only about 8% of us achieve them.

This month, we invite you to participate in the LinkedIn Learning New Year Challenge kicking off January 12th, designed to help you set realistic goals, hold yourself accountable, and create habits that stick.

Download the PDF and complete each task listed. Each challenge can be completed in ~5 minutes!

Log in to UIC LinkedIn Learning using your NetID and password.

UIC LinkedIn Learning