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Pictofigo_FrustrationThe Turning clicker system is currently a source of irritation to OSU students and faculty alike.

In this column I will consider what the problem is, what solutions are being pursued and what you can do to succeed with your clicker this term.

What are clickers?

In Fall 2015 approximately 12,000 students are using the Turning clicker system in 77 course sections.

The Turning clicker system consists on the student side of a physical remote, ResponseWare iOS and Android apps, a web clicker for browsers at and a licensed Turning Cloud account.

On the instructor’s side is a USB receiver and the TurningPoint software.

What holds all of this together is the Turning License. Think of the license like the data plan for your smartphone. The phone will not work without a data plan and your clicker system will not fully work without a license.

“See the video of Dr. Tech being soaked with ice water in freezing weather as penance for this unfortunate situation.”

In Fall 2015 the Beaver Store began selling the QT remote which replaces and costs the same as last year’s NXT bundle.

Costs to students are contained by not raising them when the tools upgrade.

The updated system works with the NXT so that students who own a clicker from previous years do not need to buy a QT.

Costs to students are contained by designed backwards compatibility thus limiting new required purchases.

What is the problem with the clickers?

The problem with the clickers is that many students are having difficulty registering their system such that their name and the device ID are paired.beaver-46239_640

This problem is due to several factors.

One factor is the transition from Blackboard to Canvas which produced the need to connect accounts to both; the departure of Blackboard from OSU this term will simplify that matter.

Another factor is the existence of three ONID email address for each OSU member:,,

Most of the student registration troubles that I encounter involve a combination of email logins for multiple Turning Cloud accounts.

Add to these factors Turning’s move to a cloud-based system with some design flaws and the variations proliferate faster than fruit-flies in a compost bin.

85% of OSU students in clicker-using courses this Fall are correctly registered so that their names and clicker device IDs are paired in Canvas.

Consequently, 15% of this term’s students – about 2,000 people – are not completely registered as of week three.

Being completely registered means that you have a Turning Cloud account that is linked to Canvas and contains a redeemed license and a valid device ID.

The most important point I have to convey is that the Turning clicker system saves your participation points 100% of the time.

I will not tolerate a system that loses points of students who use it correctly.

Even if you are in a registration snarl, every time you use your clicker and get a check mark symbol, your responses are received and saved.

The TAC plan is to get every student registered and then go course by course, file by file to retrieve and post every participation point for every student.

You have my word on that and if you feel that your participation points are not being properly credited, please come see me and we go after it with a passion.

All of the instructors who use clickers are aware of these facts and co-operate fully in crediting the legitimate participation points of students.

You also have my humble apology for the confusion and irritation related to our clicker system.

To wit, see for the video of me being soaked with ice water in freezing weather as penance for this unfortunate situation.

What is being done to fix this problem?

I take responsibility for leading us to a clicker registration solution for future terms.

I am working with Turning and Canvas to guide development of a direct and logical integration between the two nxt_qtthat supports a three-step registration process such as is common to many web applications.

The critical objective is to eliminate false-positives so that students do not believe that they are correctly registered when they actually have incomplete accounts.

Basically I plan to banish incomplete clicker accounts to the bowels of hades so that students get one of two outcomes: “that worked, congratulations” or “that did not work, go get help.”

Verily I say unto you, this strategy will result in a 98% successful registration rate before the end of week two in a term.

Moreover I am seeking to normalize clicker ownership so that incoming students receive their fully registered clicker bundle at START in the Summer.

I’d like to add unicorns and rainbows to this plan, but for the coming academic year a completely reliable and hassle-free clicker registration system will suffice.

What can I do to solve my clicker issues now?

Visit the TAC Clicker Registration Station in the lobby outside of LINC100 from 10-2 M-F.

Many students have more than one Turning account – often one linked to Blackboard and another to Canvas.

I suggest that you check each of the ONID email addresses –,, – at the Turning Account login; go through Canvas to find it.

Use the password retrieval to see if the account for that login exists and to determine whether you have a stealth account.

If you do have multiple accounts, check to see which one has a redeemed license and whether it is linked to Blackboard or Canvas.

Often the solution is to link Canvas to the licensed account by selecting the Turning link in Canvas and logging into Turning.

If you reset your password the Canvas link is broken but you only need connect from within Canvas again and login to restore it.

In the Dashboard “” shows a Canvas connection.

In the Dashboard “” shows a Blackboard connection.

If you are in any doubt, come see us at the Clicker Registration Station in the lobby outside of LINC100 from 10-2 M-F or write to

My clicker crew colleagues and I agree that OSU students are among the most patient and civil people on the planet.

In tribute to your excellence we are holding a raffle with Turning Technologies support.

Love for money

Prizes are Beaver Store gift certificates in denominations of ten $10, five $25, two $50, and one $100.

Winners will be drawn from all OSU students with fully registered Turning clicker accounts and announced in a future Dr. Tech column.

Please come to TAC’s Clicker Station in the LINC first floor lobby M-F 10-2 for assistance and write to me with your thoughts on clickers and anything at all:

beaver-46221_640A campus full of Beavers makes my heart glad. If you have returned, welcome home. If you are new to OSU, we are so glad that you have joined this community.

I am Dr. Tech and this weekly column covers issues in technology that are important to OSU members and maybe of interest to you; students, staff and faculty. Write to me anytime with questions and ideas to investigate and address;

“All students with clickers completely and correctly registered by Friday 10.09 5:00 p.m. PST will be entered into the raffle and the winners will be announced in this column on the following Wednesday.”

Learning Innovation Center (LINC)

The big news this term is the Learning Innovation Center (LINC). This astonishing facility seats up to 2,300 students in 15 classrooms of widely diverse styles.

The unique design of the building, classrooms in the center with perimeter walkways, provides 600 study and collaboration spaces on all 4 floors. Conversations with students consistently identified the need for more informal learning space and now you have it.

parlement_roomSome of the class rooms such as the in-the-round spaces are totally unique to OSU.

Technology Across the Curriculum (TAC), The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), and Boora Architects have launched a study of these spaces titled “The Geometry of Learning.”

This study is a research framework initially seeking to measure seating choices by students in order to correlate location to learning outcomes.

We also aim to map the social networks of learning spaces by following seat choices over time.

This research is original and has potential for discovering how to design learning spaces for optimal learner performance.

This research is supported by Academic Affairs and Information Services.

Thousands of students have consented to participate in the research and if you are among them, we appreciate your foresight.

Fourth floor LINC is home to the Honors College and the Integrated Learning Resource Center (ILRC) which brings together the units of Academic Technology (AT) and CTL. My office is there if you ever have time to stop in to say “hi.”


There is a new Turning remote in town, the QT, sold in the Beaver Store as OSU’s clicker solution.

The QT has a qwerty keyboard which makes it equivalent to the ResponseWare mobile device clicker interface.turning_qt

The QT bundle costs the same as last year’s NXT clicker and no new costs are added to clicker-using students.

Please note that students who own a NXT from previous years are fully supported and do not need to buy a new clicker.

Students who registered an NXT in 2014-5 (last year) do not need to register again. Students who own a new QT must register the device and their license.

Registration licenses your QT and apps which are downloadable at no cost from the Apple Store and Google Play, as well as the web service at All of these will work as a clicker if your instructor enables the ResponseWare.

Check your course syllabus for the ResponseWare Session ID because some instructors choose not to enable ResponseWare for mobile devices.

TAC’s Clicker Registration Station is located outside of LINC100 Monday through Friday in week one for everyone who needs to register their clicker or wants to check on it.

The Turning clicker system at OSU is part of a comprehensive strategy intended to steadily increase learning/teaching power while containing and reducing costs to students.  I will cover details of this strategy in columns to come.

How about a raffle contest for the quickest classes to register? Some of you may remember last year when I took the ice bucket challenge in December to promote clicker registration. Now TAC with support from Turning Technologies is launching a raffle to encourage fast and total clicker registrations by classes. The prizes are Beaver Store gift certificates in the following amounts and denominations:


All students with clickers completely and correctly registered by Friday 10.09 5:00 p.m. PST will be entered into the raffle and the winners will be announced in this column on the following Wednesday. To qualify you need to be an Oregon State University student and have a Turning NXT or QT remote with a redeemed license, which is listed as a participant in the Canvas system.  TAC will randomly select Beaver Store gift certificate winners from the active participants listed in Canvas.  Winners will be contacted by ONID mail.  Certificated unclaimed four weeks will be awarded to an alternate student. Send your questions about this F15 raffle to  


Fall 2015 is the last term for Blackboard at OSU and Canvas is performing well as a strong successor.canvas_panda

Three new features are available in Canvas: Studio Sites, Turnitin, and Canvas Commons.

Studio Sites enables OSU members to create Canvas areas for non-course uses such as student clubs and department resources.

Turnitin is a text pattern-matching tool that may flag different kinds of plagiarism and inappropriate reuse. Instructors must inform students that Turnitin will be used on course assignments, preferably in the syllabus. The tool may be used to let students check their drafts for pattern matches before submitting an assignment, which turns Turnitin into a learning tool.

Canvas Commons facilitates sharing of selected course content among instructors both locally and globally.


Every OSU student gets Microsoft Office365 for use on 5 devices at no cost.  Download yours at

Walkup Computer Help Desk

No one could ask for better technical support than available to OSU students at the OSU Computer Walk-Up Helpdesk on main floor of Valley Library. There is not enough room on this whole page to list all of the services that they provide, so check my blog for links.

Game On!

Dr. Tech’s Top Ten Technologies Countdown is an interactive live game show c3_spin_gamethat uses clickers and student’s brains to compete for knowledge and prizes. Three sessions of the game are reserved for U-Engage first year students and other sessions will be open to the collective Beaver colony. This game and yours truly will be featured at the upcoming Unizin Summit conference.

My forecast is that F15 will be an action packed term with you being especially successful. I advise you to read “Ask Dr. Tech” weekly to stay sharp on the edge of tech.

Image Sources



Boora Architects


turning_nxtSeniors, Juniors, Sophomores.  Lend me your ears!

Let’s start with the base facts.

-Everyone needs a four year license to use the Turning NXT clicker at OSU.

-If you registered an NXT clicker prior to Fall 2015, I sent a new license to you by email in September 2014.

-If your license code is no longer valid or if do not find the email with that license, come to TAC in S15 to get it renewed.

-Used clickers do not come with a license code; you may purchase a four year license code.

-You must connect Canvas to your Turning clicker account.

-For all help with clickers write to

-Come to TAC in 317 Waldo M-F 10-4 for hands-on help.

Now for questions and answers.

Dr. Tech: I bought a clicker two years ago and have not used it this year until Spring term. I got a license code in my email but when I tried to apply it to my Turning account it is apparently invalid. What do I do?

Please come see me right away in 317 Waldo M-F 10-4 because I have a new license reserved for you.

In Fall 2015 we upgraded the Turning clicker system to support ResponseWare which uses a license to manage the NXT clicker in combination with your mobile devices.

I acquired and sent by email 16,000 licenses to students who already had an NXT clicker registered in Blackboard.

About 6,500 students redeemed those licenses in order to continue to use their clicker at no additional cost, which was the purpose.

Those no-cost upgrade licenses were redeemable through the end of the Winter 2015 term and are no longer usable.

Your colleagues at TAC went to bat for you once more and have acquired enough licenses to equip students who had registered an NXT clicker in Blackboard prior to F15.

Please get the license reserved for you now, even if you are not using your clicker this term, because these expire at the end of Spring 2015.

Dr. Tech: My sister graduated last year and gave me her clicker. Can I use it in my classes this term?

Yes, you can use a used NXT clicker so long as you acquire – i.e. purchase – a license.

The OSU rate for a four year license is significantly lower than the standard market cost, so come to TAC and we will help you get the correct license.

New students purchase the NXT and four year license at the Beaver Store.

Dr. Tech: Can I just buy a license code to use my phone without buying a clicker? I don’t mind using clickers but why do we have to have licenses and buy a clicker when I just want to use my phone?

Please do not buy a Turning license without an NXT clicker because, of the approximately 100 course sections using clickers this term, most have not enabled ResponseWare, which means that your investment will be usefulness.

The OSU clicker system is hybrid by design – physical clicker plus mobile options – and I am open to explaining that strategy to students, faculty and anyone.

That strategy works at a very large scale and save students money over all.

Dr. Tech: Is the whole license and clicker thing just another way to get more money out of students?

No, the OSU interactive classroom strategy, including clickers, is designed to help instructors to teach and students to learn.

OSU does not profit from clicker sales, rather Information Services invests in supporting students and faculty’s using the system.

Managing the clicker system is my responsibility and maintaining that system within a reasonable cost to students is a primary objective in my strategy.

The major threat to student expenses from clicker systems is the potential of the proliferation of multiple response systems (clickers) being required for various courses.

At OSU about 170 instructors use Turning clickers in about 100 course sections each term with about 12,000 student users per term and 20,000 clicker users overall.

There are more than 30 response system products on the market so that if individual instructors selected separate products, students would end up purchasing multiple clicker systems resulting in much higher costs than you presently bear.

The Turning system averages out to about $15 per year for a student over four years.

I am not saying that cost is insignificant but I am asserting that it is a far lower cost to students than multiple clicker system environment would require.

I take this responsibility seriously and accept the full weight of the consequences, so please feel welcome to share your concerns and ideas with me about clickers at any time.

Moreover, if you are ever uncertain about your clicker bundle or have any issue regarding it, please come to me for consultation.

I will listen seriously and if I can help, take action to benefit you.

For all help with clickers write to


It is a familiar scenario. You make it to class a few minutes late and squeeze into a middle-of-the-row seat.

Because it is an exam review you brought your laptop to follow along with the slides and notes.

Your laptop boots up, which is when you realize that the battery charge is down to 27%.

Briefly you consider heading home and back to bed, but then you remember the tips in the Dr. Tech article about how to converse power and the day is saved.

This is that article.

There are immediate-term, medium-term, and long-term strategies for maximizing battery-life on your laptop. Implement the medium and long term strategies and you may never need the short-term emergency measures.

Long-term strategies include upgrading your hard drive and adding RAM.

Conventional hard drives are mechanical spinning magnetic disks that store data.

HHDs, as the mechanical drives are called, take lots of power to run the motor alone.

Solid State Drives are called SSD and do not have motors but use flash memory and take significantly less battery power to run than HHDs.

Solid State Drives cost roughly $200 to $500 depending on the storage size in gigabytes.

Add the cost of having the upgrade done, including your data copied to the new SSD.

Consider also consider adding Random Access Memory (RAM) to your laptop to take data demands off of the hard drive.

RAM chips are relatively inexpensive and you can probably double your laptop RAM for under $100.

There may already be slots for extra RAM in your laptop, but unless you know your way around the insides of a computer this is a task best left to a professional.helpdesk_map

Start by visiting the Computer Walk Up Help Desk on the main floor of the Valley Library where there is a laptop clinic with smart people who can test your machine and advise on ways to improve it.

Medium-term strategies for reducing the power drain on your laptop include removing malware and getting a back-up battery solution.

Malware is malicious software that sneakily installs itself to wreak untold havoc, the least of which by using up precious electrons from your battery.

The OSU Computer Help desk recommends Malwarebytes and SuperAntiSpyware to remove unwanted programs that you probably do not even know are on your machine.

Both of these anti-malware programs have free versions and are available at the Information Services Computer Help Documents.

Both programs have pro versions for about $30 each; the advantage of which is being able to schedule regular malware sweeps and detect malware downloads in real time.

Do you remember when Vice-President Dick Cheney was worried that someone would hack into his pacemaker?

He probably had back-up battery and so should you, for your laptop.

You can buy a replacement battery for your laptop and keep it charged and on hand, but it is easier to use a portable external power source.

battery-306298__180There are many low-cost portable power packs available; your concern is to make sure it has sufficient charge to last for several hours and will attach to the power adapter for your laptop, as well as being small enough to ensure that you will take it with you.

You can find portable external power source units that will keep your laptop alive for at least a few hours for about $50 to $150.

There are even solar charger options.

The OSU Beaver Store has portable external power sources and is a great source of information especially about Macintosh laptops.

Immediate strategies for reducing power consumption include changing your laptop’s power options, disabling unneeded services and closing unneeded applications.

In an urgent race against battery drain you should activate your laptop’s power saving options.

On Windows 7 and 8: >Control panel >Power options >Power Saver.

On Macintosh: >Apple icon >System Preferences >Energy Saver.

These measures will dim the monitor and put unused services to sleep.

Next disable services that you do not need such as Bluetooth, location and Airport (Mac); if you do not need wireless, turn it off, as it is a power hog.

If ever there was a time to adopt the minimalist lifestyle, an hour to go on 15% battery life is one such; turn off all applications and processes except for those you absolutely need at the moment.

Computers adapt to our demands for convenience by automatically loading many programs when we boot up; you may be surprised to find how many programs you are running in the background.

On Windows 7 and 8: >Ctrl+Alt+Delete >Task Manager >Applications >End Task.

On Macintosh: >Spotlight >Activity Monitor > Select App >Quit Process.

The important point is for you to take a bit of time to familiarize yourself with220px-Lightning3 the relevant power managing and using features of your laptop.

It will not do to miss the lecture that you are eager to record by spending the whole period messing with your computer; get to know the basics of laptop power.

In the next decade we will have wireless electricity (which Nikola Telsa announced in 1891) and our devices will always be charged without ever being plugged in; for now, and then too, we all need to learn how to intelligently manage what we have.


Image Sources





“Dr Tech I am hoping to be able to take notes in class on the PowerPoints that my teacher posts on blackboard. Do you have any recommendations of how to be able to take notes on the actual PowerPoint. `Alicia”

laptop_notes[2]That’s a very good question Alicia. Annotating your class documents is a powerful study technique.

Annotation is adding new text and drawing that comments on the original text and images of a document.

The ancient Greeks called a document that was written over several times a “palimpsest.”

The resources referred to in this article with annotations and more are available at Dr. Tech’s Bookmarks.

Just as there is more than one way to stroke a cat, there are myriad ways to annotate PowerPoint slides (PPT) and Portable Document Format files (PDF) depending on your device, operating system and applications.

With any desktop or laptop you can annotate PowerPoint slides with typed text or digital ink.

Suppose that you download your Professor’s PowerPoint slides to follow along in class on your laptop.

To add typed notes to the slides

>Open the PowerPoint
>Notes Page

Now you can type and save notes to accompany each slide.

To write directly on the slides with digital ink

>Open the PowerPoint
>Slide Show
>Play from Start
>right click on the slide
>Pointer Options

now you can select the pen or highlighter, set the color and mark up the slides.

Touch screen monitors have options to use a stylus to write with digital inkink-42357_640 instead of a mouse.

Be sure to save the changes when done.

Tablets and phones require apps (short for “application”) to accomplish these tasks, but the apps have many additional features.

One way to annotate just about any document is to open the file within an annotation app, then use the app tools to mark it up.

This method uses a cloud-based storage such as Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive (formerly Skydrive). All of these have no-cost versions for OS platforms and devices.

Download the PPT or PDF file to the cloud-based storage app on your mobile device.

Open the file within the cloud-based storage app.

From the open slides or document select the “download” or “share” feature. These are usually icons such as an arrow or a box with a Curly Q; it takes exploration to learn the icon language of any app.

You will get an “Open In” dialog which shows icons of apps on your device. Select the app that you want to annotate in.

The file will open within your notation app and you can use all of its tools to mark up the slides and pages.

For iPads and iPhones there are a wealth of quality apps as no or low cost. Try several to compare features and usability. Notability (no-cost, 4.99); SlideShark (no-cost); Penultrimate from Evernote (no-cost); Air Sketch (9.99)

For Android and cross-platform annotation apps compare: Goodnotes + PDF (no-cost, 5.99); Notes Plus (2.99).

For Windows Phone 8 and Windows Surface 8 try InNote (no-cost).

There are more varieties of PDF annotators than for PowerPoint.

Increase your power and versatility by using a PDF conversion app which will turn many filetypes into a PDF.

A cross-platform no-cost app: Able2Extract PDF Converter.

Various online file converters: Online-Convert; cloudconvert.

Convert the PowerPoint to PDF and you can do a lot more with it.

When choosing a note taking and annotation app consider three factors:

First, can you use it on more than one device and share results between them?

Second, does it integrate with one or more cloud storage apps?

Third, will it import major document file types especially PDF, PPT, DOC, JPG and HTML?

White_Matter_Connections_Obtained_with_MRI_TractographyAlways backup your data to a separate drive and bring an alternative means to take notes in case your device does not cooperate; pencils still work just fine.

Most important, notes and annotations are only valuable when you give yourself time to review and prepare.

By making a separate outline and summary of your annotations and notes on paper, you will be activating your cognition and memory in a most effective way.

Do you have a favorite method or app for taking notes? Send your thought to Dr. Tech for consideration in a future article.

Best luck on your note taking, annotation, midterms and projects. Thanks for your excellent question, Alicia.


Image Attributions


ink-42357_640, pixabay



immersive_environments…augmented_reality…virtual worlds…robots…full_VR…games…social_media…community…genius

The Immersive Learning Research Network (ILRN) conference 2014 at Oregon’s State University (Corvallis, OR) in person, webcast, and Second Life – November 20, 21, 22, 2014.   Sponsored by The ILRNTechnology Across the Curriculum (TAC), Oregon State University, and the Applied Research in immersive Environments for Learning Special Interest Group (ARiEL SIG) of the American Educational Research Association (AERA).

Attendance (free)

Conference Schedule

Live Web Cast

Second Life – Beaver Island

Everyone is encouraged to join ILRN for free before January 1, 2015 when membership application fees may apply. See for information on joining the Network.

The theme for the ILRN Corvallis, Oregon 2014 Meetup is “Immersed in the Future, Together: Scholarship, Experience, and Community”. The iLRN Oregon Meetup Committee will give preference to those proposals of Immersive Learning presentations that feature:

  • Attempts to substantively bridge multiple kinds of expertise to generate a sense of “immersion” (e.g. psychology, pedagogy, architecture, computer science, etc)
  • Sharing resources and visions for Immersive Learning researchers and practitioners to use in developing a common future
  • Sharing technical expertise on creation of Immersive Learning experiences that is not readily available for free elsewhere
  • Featuring design or evidence based reasoning for learning within the design of an immersive experience
  • Explicitly develops capacity within immersive learning experiences to form community OR focuses on the community that forms as a result of efforts to create immersive learning experiences
  • Providing Open Educational Resources or open source possibilities for developing Immersive Learning to everyone – to encourage community and sharing
  • Articulating conceptual frameworks or definitions for specific kinds of Immersive Learning expertise that may be of possible benefit or use by others

Please join us


Jon Louis Dorbolo, Ph.D.
Associate Director
Technology Across the Curriculum (TAC)
317 Waldo Hall
Oregon State University
Corvallis, OR 97331
Voice: 541.737.3811
Fax: 541.737.7967
SMS: 541.915.0260
Skype: jondorbolo
Chiron Mirror
slurl: Beaver Island


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