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Teaching with Technology: Services for Instructors

Academic Computing provides faculty with training, support, and resources to help them incorporate technological tools into teaching and research.

IML Move and Moodle News September 2015

The Instructional Media Lab (IML) is moving to the Du Bois Library. Next week will be a short week in the Lab:

  • IML will be closed on Monday, Oct. 12, 2015  for the Columbus Day Holiday.
  • Closed on Friday, Oct. 16, 2015 and Monday, Oct. 19, 2015 for moving (but we're available by phone and email).
  • On Tuesday, Oct. 20, we re-open in our new location: Room 765 on the 7th floor of the Du Bois Library. 
Moodle News:
  • Important Changes to Moodle Questionnaire Activity: It’s important to check your settings;
  • New UMass Libraries Course Materials Block is now available; 
  • International Phonetics Alphabet Filter Added;
  • Media Collection Activity Pilot is available; 
  • Other Fixes & Improvements. 
Please visit our blog, Instruct@UMass for complete details.


Moodle News August 2015 

With the Fall 2015 semester set to begin in just a few days, we have some Moodle reminders, including:

Courses open to students on Sept. 4;

What the upgrade to Moodle 2.8 means to you;

How to request your Fall 2015 on-campus courses;

How to reuse a previous course;

How to give your TAs access to Moodle;

Where to get help with teaching in Moodle.

For more details, please visit our blog, Instruct@UMass.


It’s Time to Upgrade to iClicker 7 

We’re happy to announce that UMass Amherst i>clicker 7 software package is now available for download. Please read our blog post to learn about:

  • Downloading and using i>clicker 7
  • Is your Base Receiver up to date? Upgrading your Base Receiver firmware. 
  • New to i>clicker? Learn what you need to do to get started.
Please visit Instruct@UMass for complete details.

Moodle News and August 2015 Workshops

As summer winds down, we would like to share some important Moodle reminders: 

  • Moodle Upgraded (See What’s New in 2.8);
  • Moodle Courses Open on September 4;
  • Request your Moodle Course;
  • Respondus Upgrade.

We also would like to invite you to our August 2015 Workshops:

  • What’s New in Moodle 2.8? 
  • Building a New Moodle Course 
  • Moodle Gradebook Clinic 
  • “IT Under the Trees”: Mobile Video 

For complete details, including how to register for workshops, please visit our blog, Instruct@UMass.


Moodle 2.8 is here!

On the morning of Tuesday, June 30, 2015 UMass Amherst IT completed a planned upgrade to Moodle 2.8. This upgrade continues to make Moodle more usable and efficient, and includes several features instructors and students have been asking for including: 

  • a new text editor that auto-saves every minute;
  • the ability to receive email notifications for selected discussions within a Forum activity;
  • the option for users to  collapse, or “dock,” sidebar Blocks.
For more details, please visit our blog, Instruct@UMass

Using Games to Explore and Experience Complicated Issues

Games and game-like activities can make the process of thought visible to players, and help them explore issues and topics that are difficult to understand except through experience and interaction. This is the theory of procedural rhetoric, which "argues that games can make strong claims about how the world works—not simply through words or visuals but through the processes they embody and models they construct." Read more: Instruct@UMass.


Echo360 Unavailable Saturday, June 6, 8 p.m. - 12 a.m. 

Echo360 will be unavailable on Saturday, June 6, from  8 p.m. to 12 a.m. EST for scheduled maintenance. 

For complete details, please visit our Instructional Technology blog, Instruct@UMass.


Summer 2015 Workshops

Please join us for our Summer 2015 workshops, or contact us for one-on-one appointments to learn about a variety of topics, including:

  • Building a New Moodle Course
  • Intro to Video Editing: Final Cut Pro X
  • Intro to Video Editing: Adobe Premiere Pro
  • Screencasting with Camtasia (Mac)
  • “IT Under the Trees”: Instagram​
  • Screencasting with Camtasia (Windows) 
For more information, please visit our Instructional Technology blog, Instruct@UMass.


Final Grades Due May 12 and April 2015 Moodle Updates 

Spring 2015 final grades are due in SPIRE by midnight on Tuesday, May 12.
To make sure you are ready, we have some Moodle grading information to share with you on our Instructional Technology blog, Instruct@UMass.

i>Clicker Lunch & Learn Event

We would like to invite you to a Lunch & Learn event on Friday, May 1, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. 

Our campus i>Clicker representative will join us to talk about the new i>Clicker 7, which we will use on campus this fall; REEF Polling, i>Clicker’s new mobile solution; and best practices for using i>Clicker in the classroom. Please visit our Instructional Technology blog, Instruct@UMass to see more details and to register for this event.

When iPad Use in the Classroom Goes Wrong

You don't have to Google too deeply to find examples of how technology in the classroom can go off the rails, sometimes spectacularly. What happens when iPad use in the classroom goes wrong? And a comic strip was born...
For more, visit our Instructional Technology blog, Instruct@UMass.


March 2015 Moodle Updates & Course Requests

With Spring 2015 classes ending on Thursday, April 30, 2015, and final exams on the horizon, we have some important Moodle-related information for you:

  • Summer & Fall 2015 Moodle Course Requests Open
  • What's Coming in Moodle 2.8?
  • Grading in Moodle
  • March 2015 Moodle Updates. For complete details, visit our Instructional Technology blog.

Designing Effective Peer Review Assignment

Have you ever struggled with how to structure and administer peer review activities in your course? ELI Review published an excellent feature article (Designing Effective Reviews) on designing effective peer review activities, backed up with research and voices from instructors. Though ELI Review promotes their own peer review tool in this article, most of the faculty experiences and advice are largely tool-agnostic. 
More: Instructional Technology Blog.


Thinking About Tomorrow 

Around the office we’ve been thinking about the future.  We have a new boss, some of us will be relocating to the Library in the next year, the UMass Amherst IT strategic planning process is going full tilt, and the New Media Consortium has just released their 2015 Horizon Report. At our most recent staff meeting, we broke open a time capsule of predictions we made in 2010, and sealed up a new batch of predictions for 2020. Find out more: Instructional Technology blog.


February 2015 Moodle Updates

We have several updates for you this month: 

  • Turnitin Downtime - Saturday, March 7
  • Removal of Old Moodle Courses

  • Coming in July 2015: Moodle 2.8

  • February Moodle Updates
  • Fall & Summer Moodle Course Requests
For complete details, please visit our Instructional Technology blog.

Build Your Own Apps (Without coding!)

It seems, “to app or not to app…” is no longer the question. In a blink of an eye we turned into an app-savvy (or, some would argue app-dependent) society. Using apps in education became a common practice for many of us. It can be a great idea to have an app for some professional and research projects, or offer your students another way to access class materials and exercises, or perhaps have your students incorporate the results of a semester-long class project into an app. But how do you take that step? Could you or your students build your own apps?

The answer is most resounding “Yes, you can!”  Read our Instructional Technology blog to find out how.

Teaching Untethered

​Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology David Gross integrated a ton of technology to flip his team-based learning classroom, and he uses his tablet as the lynch-pin to hold it all together. Check out “Teaching Untethered at UMass.”

i>clicker Software- Update Required

i>clicker is a polling system that uses a handheld remote (clicker) to collect student responses to questions posed by the instructor. Student data is recorded and then displayed on a results graph via software on the instructor’s computer.

To address a potential security vulnerability, i>clicker has issued an updated version of the i>clicker software, v6.4.2.

For complete details, please see our i>clicker - Audience Response System page.

Lecture Capture at UMass Amherst

Lecture capture encompasses a range of technologies that provide instructors with the capacity to record content in their classrooms or on their own laptop or desktop. Recordings are available to students in a variety of digital formats.

UMass Amherst is offering lecture capture software and equipment from Echo360, a media capture technology company. For more information, please see Lecture Capture at UMass Amherst.

Want to learn more about Moodle?

Come to the IT Academic Computing Instructional Media Lab and get help with your Moodle needs from some of the most knowledgeable (and patient) people you will ever meet.

One-to-one appointments are available in the Instructional Media Lab in up to 2-hour blocks most weekdays. Contact us at or 413-545-2823 to schedule an appointment. Drop-ins are welcome on a space-available basis.

You can also learn more about Moodle and review our support documentation at:

Quick Links: Moodle | Clickers | Workshops  |  Instruct@UMass

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Last Updated: Oct. 08, 2015