Using the New Turnitin Feedback Studio iPad App

Turnitin released its new Turnitin Feedback Studio app (download here).

For ACU Faculty to sign in, open the app and select “Log in with Access Code.”

Log in with Access Code

Next, open a Canvas course in Safari on your iPad (not on a laptop, and not in the Canvas app). Navigate to an assignment that is using the Turnitin LTI and open the Turnitin viewer by clicking on a submitted paper.

view of Turnitin from canvas


In the Feedback Studio view, tap the i in the circle on the lower right of the screen.  If you do not see the “i” icon, it may be covered by a gear icon. Tap on it and you will be able to see the “i”icon.

Tap the i


Tap the “Generate Code” button.

A view of the information from the assignment

It may take a moment or two before the code actually generates.


Next, copy the generated code and paste it in the appropriate place in the Turnitin app.

a unique code will be generated.


Remove the spaces before hitting Return.

Remove the spaces


Once the code is accepted, you will be able to use the Turnitin Feedback Studio app on your iPad.

An image of a paper in Turnitin Feedback Studio

Tap anywhere in the paper to make comments and suggestions. This app is new and is a little buggy, but has potential to be a great markup tool as improvements are made.

Online course orientation module for students

If you will be teaching an online course, please remember that some of your students may not have had any experience with online learning or Canvas.  I strongly recommend that you send a welcome message to them before course starts.  I have drafted sample message for you to customize.

In addition, we have built an orientational module for students with such content as:

  • some general guidelines and tips about online learning;
  • orientation about Canvas, which we have kept to a minimum to avoid first-week overload;
  • some initial, low-risk activities to get them familiar with Canvas assignment, quiz and discussion tool; and
  • links to resources.

Canvas orientation for students

To add this module to your course, go to your course in Canvas, click on “home”, then click on “import from Commons”. Search for “Module 0: course orientation” in Canvas Commons.  When it is found, choose the course you will teach, and then import into it.

After importing the module from Canvas commons, feel free to modify it for your own use.  We may sometimes update the content in Canvas Commons, but you do not have to install the updates if you have made substantial changes yourself.

If you need help getting your course started for summer, please feel free to let us know.

Check this page for additional Canvas resources.

Houston Heflin researches HeadsUp as a technology tool in collaborative learning environments

The Adams Center would like to recognize faculty who have exhibited extraordinary teaching, scholarship and service. We want to congratulate faculty members for their hard work, achievements and advancements in their field. This month we are spotlighting Houston Heflin, who was nominated for his research on the impact of mobile technology on student learning.

Heflin_Houston108x153What are you doing? 

Over the past two years I have collaborated with the Adams Center and Cornerstone faculty to investigate the efficacy of HeadsUp as a technology tool in collaborative learning environments (small groups). HeadsUp was created at ACU to facilitate assigning students to small groups and then disseminating prompts as well as roles for students to fill as they engage in conversations created by an instructor. Beyond positive faculty reports of its effectiveness, we were interested in learning what influence HeadsUp has on student engagement and critical thinking.

(This collaborative research project would not have been possible without significant contributions from Dr. Jennifer Shewmaker, Jessica Nguyen, Lyndell Lee, an undergraduate researcher, and two graduate assistants.)

Our research involved 159 students participating in 39 different small groups that were constructed in one of three ways: “common practice,” “best practice,” and “HeadsUp.” The common practice groups were characterized by the instructor verbally stating the prompt and the students self-selecting the small groups. The best practice groups were distinguished by the instructor handing out a written prompt and the students being assigned to random groups. Finally, HeadsUp groups were also assigned random small groups and had the written prompt for the small group on their mobile device. Each group was required to answer the prompt with a written response at the end of their group time.

Comparing the qualitative data from the written responses, the quantitative data from exit surveys of students, and most interestingly, the video footage of these students involved in their small groups, we are hoping to draw conclusions about the most effective ways for teachers to construct small groups and implement technology in classes.

Why are you doing it? 

It is now commonly accepted that lecture cannot be the only teaching strategy used in college classrooms where faculty seek student engagement. Collaborative learning environments (or small groups) are one way to help students engage one another and the content of our courses. But what exactly is happening in these small groups?

Many faculty have observed social loafing and passive group participants who use small group time as an opportunity to disengage. Is there any critical thinking happening in the best small groups? How might faculty construct small groups so that students are truly learning? And how can technology be employed in classes so that it facilitates rather than distracts from learning?

These are questions we hope to answer. As we reach conclusions to these questions, we believe they have the potential to improve the quality of our teaching and the quality of our students’ learning.

Why do you think it is important to incorporate this practices into the classroom? 

Each year we see a report published from the National Study of Student Engagement because educators have learned that engaged students are more likely to be learning. Or as Terry Doyle has said in a book on learner-centered teaching, “The one who does the work does the learning.” Small groups are one way to engage students in active conversation that helps them discover and learn, but all small groups are not created equal…

Some small groups demand more of students, requiring them to follow specific, layered instructions. Some small groups require students to take a position on an issue they might not agree with. Some small groups require students to fulfill a role for the group to function. And some small groups require written or verbal products at the end of the group time. Theses are just a handful of the many ways small groups are constructed differently, and they may all impact learning differently. We want to know what these differences mean for learners.

Who is being impacted the most? 

The people most impacted by collaborative learning environments and technology are the faculty and students who use these tools in the classroom. Faculty at ACU have access to many resources and technology tools, but it often takes work to learn the tools that are most effective for the courses we teach. In addition, we are not always sure about the positive impact it has on education — if the payoff is worth the effort to learn the tool.

What hopes do you have for the future when this work is done? 

When our work is completed, we hope to be able to speak confidently about the ways faculty can construct small groups in order to promote learning. We also hope to describe ways technology can supplement our teaching and not distract students during small group discussions. Ultimately, I hope the faculty at ACU will continue innovating in the classroom, whether through the use of technology or other teaching strategies such as small groups, to promote more student engagement and, ultimately, student learning.

For further information on Houston’s research, please see his Adams Center presentation, The Impact of Mobile Technology on Student Attitudes, Engagement, and Learning.

The Impact of Mobile Technology on Student Attitudes, Engagement, and Learning

In this presentation, Houston Heflin shares the results of a study examining student engagement and higher order thinking skills in a cooperative learning environment both with and without mobile devices. The study was conducted with 170 university students in three different randomly assigned learning groups. Results compare the groups in four areas of attitudes, performance, perceptions, and engagement.

ACU Chooses Canvas

Canvas by Instructure

It’s official – Canvas is now the enterprise learning management system for Abilene Christian University. Canvas is built in such a way that it can effectively be used for both fully-online and face-to-face courses. Tools such as SpeedGrader make grading and grading with a rubric simple. The gradebook itself is fully functional, enabling faculty to drop grades, weight grades, and a host of other sought-after features.

Canvas will not only make life easier for faculty, but also for students. Students will experience a consistent online platform for course delivery and interaction. No longer will students lament that they are using 3 or 4 learning management systems. Using Canvas as a campus-wide solution will remove many of the undesirable difficulties encountered by students who have to determine what system to use for what class, and will enable faculty to focus them on desirable difficulties inherent to learning.

This process will be gradual. A pilot group is formed and will use Canvas this Spring semester, with campus-wide implementation set for Fall 2015. Canvas offers a wealth of learning guides online. Go to to get started. Local training on using Canvas will be offered at various times in the upcoming months, so be sure to watch the Adams Center calendar for a time that works for you.

Putting Data to Use in Learning

I recently gave a talk titled “When Big Data Meets Big Education”, together with Mr. Tu Zipei, California-based author of several best-selling books on Big Data. The following is part of what I shared:

In an interview (June 20, 2014) by Bloomberg TV, ventures capitalist Rory Stirling claimed that education will be changed “beyond recognition” by big data in the next ten years.   Big data can change admissions, budgeting, marketing, student services to ensure that university resources go where they are most needed.

Large amount of data is now collected with the use of personal technologies.   It is especially popular in electronic governance, online commerce, and banking.  “Big data”, or data in general, should also be a driver for change in the design of learning experiences.    Data will help us to see patterns which then could lead to instructional improvement or innovations, which in turn will help with the advance of learning.

With the ubiquitous uses of mobile devices and  learning management systems, it is now possible to gather student data to enlighten educators about the learning processes as well as the learning outcomes.   Technology enables educators to check such data as access frequency, page view information, click history, and time spent on particular tasks. Such data can be a rich mine for educators to find out how they are doing and where improvements can be made.

Some data may be simple, yet useful.  For instance, teachers in online programs have found from user analytics that many adult students with jobs access their courses before 8 o’clock in the morning or after 5 in the afternoon.   With such knowledge, teachers will set the release time to be, say, four in the morning, which would allow early risers extra time to work on their learning tasks.   When group collaborations are involved,  most people tend to “hang out” later in the evening.  Such data, simple and beautiful,  would provide opportunity for instructional interventions.

It is also possible to use technology tools to understand when student access certain information, how they access it, for how long at a time, and how that relates to learning outcomes.   Such data can be used to optimize teaching for future semesters, if not during the rest of the semester.

Teachers can also use test statistics to find out student familiarity with content.  If more than half of the class have chosen the wrong answers for a particular question, it would be wise  to go over certain content again to make sure that all students, or the great majority of them in class, achieve mastery.    Services such as Turnitin have accumulated a large and ever-expanding database of writing, which can be used to check plagiarism and understand other kinds of writing behavior.

Teachers should also be able to use data to individualize learning to really implement individualized learning.    With rich data from students, and the technology for branched learning,  it is now possible to custom-make the teaching experience for different students without having to involve teachers in the logistics of managing it, since most branching will be done automatically through selective release mechanisms.

Data or big data may seem to be realms for information technology professionals, instead of teachers and administrators.    As a matter of fact, gathering data does not have to be prohibitively “high-tech”.  Low-tech methods such as using cards marked with A,B,C or D in the classroom, or paper surveys, can also help us gather useful data to understand what is going on in student minds.  That being said, teachers and administrators should make improvements in their ability to make data-driven decisions instead of shooting in the dark.   Educators’ skill portfolio should include the abilities to capture, read, analyze, communicate and utilize data.   In the meantime, it is necessary to develop talent who can bridge the skill gap when deeper data management expertise is required.

2012-2013 Mobile Learning Report

2012-2013 Mobile Learning Report Cover2012-2013 Mobile Learning Report

In 2010 ACU received a $1.8 million grant from AT&T to enhance mobile learning on campus. Transform may be a better word, because the impact of the project has been nothing short of remarkable. What you will see in the following pages reflects many of the lessons learned from the three-year university partnership with AT&T. You will see how technology has begun to permeate the learning experiences of students and how some of the university’s most innovative faculty members have employed new technologies to increase student engagement. Most importantly, you will see some of the ways these faculty have made a difference in students’ lives.

The 2012-2013 Mobile Learning Report is available to download on your iPad with iBooks or on your computer with iTunes.

Mobile Learning Fellows 2012-13

Each year ACU names a handful of Mobile-Learning Fellows, ACU faculty selected through a competitive, peer-review process to examine a topic or issue relevant to the initiative.

Mobile-Learning Fellows / Projects selected for 2012-2013:

  • Dr. Bob McKelvain will study the science of cognition and the impact of digital literacy on the learning process.
  • Dr. Stephen Baldridge will expand his explorations of the use of mobile devices and social media to facilitate significant increases in learning outcomes.
  • Professor Kenny Jones will continue to look at augmented reality relative to enhancing  art student performance and assessment capabilities.
  • Dr. Cynthia Powell’s collaborative iPad project will focus on authoring and use of a general science iBook for pre-service elementary school teachers.
  • Dr. Richard Beck will study the addictions of connectivity: psychological correlations of iPhone and Facebook usage.
  • Drs. Ian Shepherd and Brent Reeves’ look at Mobile Data Mining Surveys will focus on pattern analysis and process automation.
  • Dr. Melinda Thompson will examine the effects of digital literacy and technology on the spirituality of face-to-face and online students.

Findings from ACU’s 2011-12 Mobile-Learning Fellows are expected in early June.  Early results reveal mobile devices in science labs provides greater learning outcomes; mobile use in the arts provides unique opportunity for assessment; and use of tablets affords students unique collaboration opportunities.

“Mobile learning is changing higher education,” said Dr. Scott E. Hamm, Director of mobile- learning research in ACU’s Adams Center for Teaching & Learning.  “ We are in a unique place where we are transitioning from the devices that have ushered in these new opportunities to the digital literacies they have afforded us.” This year, ACU will continue our robust research agenda exploring spirituality and technology in ways that will guide us in equipping our faculty and students to develop effective habits for incorporation into their classes and daily lives.

NFO 2012 Schedule

New Faculty Orientation 2012

Adams Center Classroom

Brown Library

 Monday, August 13

9:00-9:30                                              Introductions of new faculty

9:30-10:30                                           Introduction to The Adams Center

Resource Review: Flash Drives

10:30-10:45                                         Break

10:45-11:45                                         Mentoring Program: Phyllis Bolin

11:45-12:00                                         Break

12:00-1:00                                           Lunch

1:00-3:00                                             Exploring the Culture and Heritage of ACU: CHARIS

Doug Foster

3:00-3:15                                             Break

3:15-4:15                                              Learning Studio Tour

4:15-5:00                                             Wrap Up

Tuesday, August 14

9:00-10:00                                          Grants Program: Phyllis Bolin

10:00-10:15                                         Break

10:15-10:50                                         What I Wish I’d Known My First Year: Faculty Panel

11:00-12:00                                         Wellness Center Tour

12:00-1:00                                           Lunch

1:00-2:00                                             Open Class Introduction

2:00-3:00                                             Introduction to Tenure and Promotion at ACU: T&P Committee

3:00-3:15                                              Break

3:15-4:45                                              Break Out Sessions:

Introductory Teaching: Mindi Thompson

Scholarship at ACU: Jennifer Shewmaker

Integrating Faith & Learning: Nancy Shankle

Study Abroad: Stephen Shewmaker

4:45-5:00                                             Wrap Up (Strengths Quest): What Do You Need?

Wednesday, August 15

8:30-9:00                                             Welcome from Dr. Rhodes

9:00-12:00                                           Human Resources and Benefits

12:30-1:30                                           Lunch

1:30-3:30                                             Support from Jennifer Shewmaker and Mindi Thompson, as needed

2012 New Faculty Orientation

On August 13-15, 2012, the Adams Center will host New Faculty Orientation for new ACU faculty members and their assigned mentors. During this time, we would like to welcome new faculty to our campus and provide you with relevant information concerning your new position. Continental breakfast and lunch will be provided on the 13th and 14th, with a special luncheon on Wednesday, the 14th (spouses are welcome to this luncheon).  Thursday, the 15th will be devoted to an information session with Human Resources, in which you will learn valuable insight into the ACU culture, HR web resources, and benefits. Schedules, RSVP forms, and other information forms will be available shortly.

Please contact Penny Ruot, Executive Assistant at the Adams Center, or Dr. Jennifer Shewmaker, Director of Faculty Enrichment, if you have any questions regarding NFO.