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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



“Time is a river of passing events, and strong is its current.”

clock_prague_dorbolo_2010This observation by Marcus Aurelius is apropos to students who frequently feel swept away by the swift turbulence of the academic term.

To succeed in school and life you need to manage time, which ultimately means managing yourself.

The most powerful tool that I know of at OSU for managing your time is the academic coaching program available at the Academic Success Center in 102 Waldo Hall.

At no cost students may meet with an academic coach in order to organize tasks and schedules, then meet regularly to maintain progress.

Outside of the university this service is expensive and worth it, so taking advantage of it now is an excellent investment in your academic and professional future.

If tracking time and tasks is a challenge for you, consider the Calendar from People Systems, available at the Beaver Store (15.95). It is a 53 week calendar book without pre-set dates so that you can start at any time with templates for recording tasks, priorities, resources and notes.

I keep an online calendar and also keep a paper calendar book because the combined methods help me to synchronize my information which leads to less error.

A wealth of mobile and desktop apps are available for time and task management. The challenge consists in finding a solution that fits your situation and does not become a chore to use; Here are some options to explore.

Cross-platform and cloud apps include the industrial strength MyLifeOrganized (9.99-29.99/yr.) to the simpler Wunderlist (free) and (free); iPhone and iPad support Due (4.99) and Timeful (free); Android users may find Tasks (free) and Google Keep (free); Windows Phone 8 has Effectual (free) and Get it Done (free).trello

My preferred project organizer is Trello (free); I will organize workshops and webinars for students and faculty on this topic (note: everyone in the world is welcome to TAC webinars).

As important as it is to organize time and activity many people experience the frustration of consistently running up against deadlines and out of time; where does the time go?

Figuring out how you use your time is crucial to effective self-management and there are many time-use tracking applications, most of which are oriented towards business contexts but a clever student could use any of these to produce an analysis of personal time and resource utilization; which really just means what you do with the time that you have.

Some cross-platform apps for desktop and mobile are Klok (free), RescueTime (free) and ManicTime (free); for iOS there are Atracker (free), Eternity (4.99) and Timely (free); Android users may look for Toggl (free), Yast (free) and Timesheet (free); Windows phone 8 supports ONTRACK (2.99) and Time to Harvest (free).

Time trackers only work if you are consistent and honest with your time-logging, which if done for a month will give you the general patterns that allow for deliberate change; consciousness leads to control.tomato_timer_83x100

When you know what you need to do and how much time you have to do it, you may apply a powerful productivity technique called Pomodoro.

Pomodoro is Italian for “tomato” and in Italy kitchen times look like tomatoes, so this technique centers on using a timer; it is especially effective for counter-acting procrastination.

Here is how to apply the Pomodoro technique:

A. choose task to be done – such as a class assignment

B. set the timer to 25 minutes (that’s “venticinque” in Italian)

C. Work on the task until the timer rings;

D. take a short 3 minute stretch break. repeat steps B, C and D two more times; E take a 15 minute break.

E. do the whole process again.

At the end of this you have worked 2.5 hours plus 24 minutes break time, so it all took 3 hours – repeat the process or move on to another task.

Do Pomodoro every day and your productivity will increase significantly.

Several mobile and desktop applications help apply Pomodoro technique to different situations; look carefully at apps before committing to one as some are multi-featured and some are just timers.

For Windows and Mac desktop FocusBooster is a full-featured program (29.99/yr.); iOS options include Vitimin-R (29.99), Focus Time (4.99), Pomodoro Pro (2.99), Promodoro (.99) and Simple Pomodoro Timer (free); Android users may look for Pomodoro Timer Pro (1.99) and ClearFocus (free); Windows Phone 8 supports Pomodoro Technique (.99) and Task Tomato (free).

You can find a hardware only Promodoro timer for .77 at a discount store.

mindbloomIf the above techniques seem too linear or you still have motivation issues, consider the approach of making it all a game.

HabitRPG lets you set tasks for which you get rewards as you progress.

MindBloom takes a holistic approach to tasks in which you grow a metaphorical tree by fulfilling aspects of yourself while listening to soothing music.super_better

SuperBetter is about self-improvement, but the “create your own adventure” features could be used to structure academic tasks.

Time waits for no one, but by taking a little time to analyze your uses of time, organize your objectives and apply time management technique, you will find that you have more time than you think and will make better use of it.

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