Using Select All in Discussion Boards

One of the known issues in the upgrade to the April 2014 release of Illinois Compass 2g is the Select All checkbox not functioning in the Tree View for Discussion Boards. We are working on a solution that defaults all users to List View, but for the time being users will need to toggle the list view if they find they want to perform bulk actions on threads. For example, a typical use case while reading discussion threads would be to select all the threads of a discussion and click Collect to read all of the threads posted to a discussion forum. See the screen capture below for an example of the Select All button not functioning in Tree View.


In order to Select All the threads, you need to toggle the List View tab in the upper right corner of the screen. Also be aware that some users may have difficulty finding the List View and Tree View tabs depending on the theme that was selected by the instructor.


From this screen you can click the Select All checkbox and Collect the threads in the discussion board so you can read all the threads in a discussion.

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Adding Images to Discussion Boards in Illinois Compass 2g

Our installation of April 2014 Release has a known issue with embedding images in Discussion Boards. We are working with the vendor to receive a technical solution, but we want to provide the following two workarounds to help you use images in your Discussions.

If you do not need an image to appear directly within a thread, you can attach the image file to the thread, and it will open in a new window when clicked.

  1. To attach a file to a thread, click on the title of the Forum into which you want to post an image.
  2. Click on the Create Thread button.
  3. Give the thread a Subject.
  4. Enter any Message you wish to include.
  5. Under the Message box, go to the Attachments area. Choose to Attach File either by clicking “Browse my Computer” or “Browse Content Collection.”AttachFileDiscussions
  6. Select the file, and then click “Submit.” The image will now appear as a link in the Discussion Thread. When readers of the thread click on the link, the image will open in a new window.

If you would like to have the image embedded within the Discussion Thread, we recommend that you upload the image file to (

  1. Once you have uploaded the file to Box, click on the More Options arrow and select “Share.”
  2. Choose “Get Link.”
  3. In the pop-up window, click the “Open Access” link to ensure that it is set to Open.
  4. Click on the pop-up window to return to it and click on “Direct link.”BoxDirectLink
  5. Copy the Direct link URL.
  6. Return to your Discussion Board in Illinois Compass 2g.
  7. Create a new thread or reply to an existing thread.
  8. Enter a Subject.
  9. In the Message text box, click on the Insert/Edit Image icon (Bottom row, second from the left).
  10. In the “Image URL” field, paste the Direct link URL from
  11. Provide an Image Description and Title.
  12. Click Insert.
  13. Click Submit. The image will now be embedded in the Discussion thread.

If you have any questions about the suggested workarounds above, please contact CITES Academic Technology Services at 244-7000 or

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Learning Spaces Collaboratory (LSC) Webinar V

We invite you to join your colleagues for the Learning Spaces Collaboratory Webinar V:

What Works: Important Questions for Technologies and Pedagogies in 21st Century Learning Commons.
When: Monday, June 23, 2014, 2:15 PM – 4 PM
Location: 428 Armory**
Don’t forget to RSVP to Mitzi O. Greene at


The designers of our active learning spaces are often not the people who teach or learn in them. Well-intended technology and design choices pay off in some cases and sit dusty in others. An intentional approach to design is needed that takes into account both specialized uses of the space and generic uses, especially for informal learning spaces. After an analysis of some learning spaces planning issues, we will look at a series of concrete examples at the University of Pennsylvania of gadgets, software-based and furniture-based technologies. For each, we will ask – why did we choose to implement them? How did we use them? Did they work as expected? How did our usage choices inform the next moment of decision-making? In the spirit of appreciative inquiry and building on the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) literature, we will abstract out some ideas for extrapolation.


  • Joan K. Lippincott, Associate Executive Director – Coalition for Networked Information
  • Anu Vedantham, Director, Weigle Information Commons – University of Pennsylvania Libraries

Sponsored by

  • Campus Information Technologies and Educational Services (CITES)
  • Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CITL)
  • University Library

*This webinar will be hosted in the newly redesigned 428 Armory, a flexible classroom that features reconfigurable furnishings and enhanced audio-visual capabilities. Designed to enhance collaborative and active learning 428 Armory comfortably seats 30-40, has 5 wall-mounted monitors plus a projection system, lots of mounted and portable whiteboards for small group and breakout sessions, Apple TV, Blu-ray, personal laptop inputs, and instructor-controlled screen sharing.

Room 428 Armory is best reached by entering the south west door of the Armory and using the turquoise elevator.

Refreshments will be served

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New Illinois Compass 2g Login Page

Illinois Compass 2g will have a new login page on June 11, 2014. You will still log in at using your NetID and Active Directory password as you did on the previous version of the login page.

The new page presents important information like the weekly Compass maintenance period and helpful campus bookmarks as well as shares the same visual appearance as the rest of Illinois Compass 2g.

Below you will find a screenshot of the new login page. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact the CITES Help Desk at or 244-7000.

Thank you,
CITES Academic Technology Services




New Illinois Compass 2g Login Page

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Chris Masterjohn on i>clicker and Transformational Learning

Earlier this week I received an inspirational email from Chris Masterjohn, an instructor in the College of Veterinary Medicine. His email is included, below. It outlines a transformative process in student learning involving the innovative use of i>clicker, the centrally supported student response system on campus. This change was primarily due to Chris’ commitment to teaching and an eagerness to try new and innovative practices to enhance student learning. I would like to point out (and Chris makes mention of this) that there were also a series of inspirations, influences, and exposures to technology and positive pedagogical implications that contributed to the process. As a part of a team effort between the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CITL) and Campus Information Technology and Educational Services (CITES), plus some inspiring ideas from faculty using student response systems on campus (in a co-sponsored brown bag) Chris was able to see up front the value of the technology and how it could be implemented to increase student learning. -JN

Chris MasterjohnDear i>clicker Enthusiasts,

I want to thank you all for your efforts in encouraging the use of i>clickers and share my experience.

I am a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Comparative Biosciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine. I teach the vitamins and minerals section of a team-taught class, “Structure and Function III,” which has about 15 other instructors, almost all of whom are faculty members, and which is the exclusive course taken in the last quarter of the first academic year for the veterinary students. This year there were 122 students in the class. I teach eight 50-minute lectures in lecture hall format with no discussion sections or TAs. Each instructor contributes material to the quiz and exams that is proportional to the amount of teaching done. The exams take place over two days. The first day consists of pooled questions from each instructor while the second day consists of questions developed in a collaborative manner that integrate various instructors’ material.

I first learned of i>clickers about a month before I started teaching, earlier in this semester when I took Cheelan’s [Cheelan Bo-Linn, CITL] workshop, Getting Students Active & Engaged. In the workshop we discussed evidence showing that student retention of material drops dramatically after ten to fifteen minutes of continuous lecture. We used i>clickers in the workshop and I had never seen them before but was immediately impressed.

I thought that it would be great if I could use i>clickers for five minutes of interactive material in between each 12 minutes of lecture to allow the students to stay engaged and recharge their brains. Sample questions are in high demand in my past experience, so I figured a good i>clicker activity would be answering sample questions and then discussing them.

Not too long after, I took Lucas’s [Lucas Anderson, CITL] workshops on making learning objectives and syllabi for the second time, where he made the point that exams should test what the students get practice doing in class. This reinforced my desire to spend time going over sample questions with the i>clickers.

I wound up following this format and cutting out at least half of my material to do it. My exam questions tend to focus on higher-order thinking, so we essentially spent a third of the class time learning how to think through the material we learned in the other two thirds. I made the exams significantly more challenging than last year, and the students performed significantly better on them. I do not think it is exaggerating to say that I taught half as much material as last year and yet the students learned twice as much.

The biggest difference I noticed, though, is the change in the kinds of questions I received from students. Last year I got a lot of questions about how to grapple with the material. I felt like they were climbing on the surface of a rock and trying to figure out where to put their hands to grab hold. This year I didn’t get any questions like that, instead got a lot of questions about understanding the actual content, but most importantly, got a LOT of questions based in mere curiosity about the material, students asking things about it not because they felt they had to know the answers for the exam but because they were interested in thinking about the implications of the material beyond what we were thinking about in class. I believe that they were much more deeply engaged with the material and were therefore thinking about it and conversing with it more fluently and confidently.

At the end of my last lecture, we stopped at the minute class ended, and one of the students raised her hand. I called on her and she said that she wanted to thank me for spending the time going through sample questions the way we did because no one else does this and it is extremely helpful to them. I told them a two-minute version of the above story, and then received a whole room full of applause. By that time it was five minutes into their ten minute break before the next lecture and no one had left. I felt very appreciated.

Anyway I’m sorry this is quite long but I really feel grateful to all of you for helping me do a much better job teaching this time around. To see the difference in student behavior, performance, and curiosity between last year and this year strongly reinforces my confidence that the way I teach really matters and this makes me love teaching even more.

Thank you,
Chris Masterjohn

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Format your Wiki pages into Multiple Columns

After my last blog posting on importing in to and exporting out of the CITES Wiki, someone asked how to format a page like this:
screenshot of a wiki page formatted in more than one column

So, this blog posting explains how to format a wiki page in more than one column.
One of the best things about the using a wiki is that you don’t need to worry much about formatting if you don’t want to.  Just click Edit and start typing.
If you want to start controlling the look of your wiki pages, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to lay out a page the way you want.  This blog posting will cover three “macros:” {section}, {column}, and {panel}.
Macros are little commands that add functionality to wiki pages.  The CITES wiki has dozens of these.  The three we’re covering here are simple and easy but useful.
You can use {panel} and {column} like people used to use columns to arrange visual elements on Web pages, or like float:left and float:right in CSS.
You can create something like a table row with {section}.  And {column} creates a single cell in the row.  In wiki markup you use the same exact tag to start and end an element, like so: {section} {column} {column} {section}.  If you have worked in HTML, this will look wrong to you.  It still looks wrong to me.  You can control the with by adding an attribute to the first column tag: “: width=30%”.

Let’s say I want a wiki page with a pretty picture to the right, and some text or a series of links to the left.  The code will look like this:

{column: width=30%}
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
. . .

{column: width=70%}


I found this picture on the Library of Congress’ Website.



screenshot of a wiki page, with text in one column and an image with a caption in the other

Note that the text added to the second column sits nicely under the picture like a caption.

You can use columns for other reasons, such as bilingual text.

Wait, there’s more.  If I wanted to put a box nice around your picture, you can use the {panel} macro inside a column, like this:

{column: width=70%}

h3. Distillation:

While the two methods described above will kill most microbes in water, distillation will remove microbes (germs) that resist these methods, as well as heavy metals, salts, and most other chemicals.

Distillation involves boiling water and then collecting only the vapor that condenses. The condensed vapor will not include salt or most other impurities. To distill, fill a pot halfway with water. Tie a cup to the handle on the pot’s lid so that the cup will hang right-side-up when the lid is upside-down (make sure the cup is not dangling into the water) and boil the water for 20 minutes. The water that drips from the lid into the cup is distilled.



{panel:title=You may have seen this in a movie |titleBGColor=#36a1c5}


Robert Redford used this method on a lifeboat.



Screenshot of a wiki page, with text and image in two columns, with a title and box drawn around the image

To see a complete list of macros, when you’re editing a page, there’s a link to “Full Notation Guide” to the right.  Here you’ll find all kinds of things you can do, like inserting YouTube videos or a calendar.  There’s also a wizard to help you use macros.  It’s the little icon of a scroll, at the top of the page when you’re editing.

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Upcoming Webinar on Exploring STEM Teaching Labs

Please join CITES, CITL, and the University Library for a hosted Learning Spaces Collaboratory (LSC) webinar on Thursday, May 1, 2014 from 2:15 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. The topic will be “Exploring STEM Teaching Labs.” More information can be found below.

Please RSVP to Mitzi O. Greene at

Learning Spaces Collaboratory (LSC) Webinar
Exploring STEM Teaching Labs
When: Thursday, May 1 2014, 2:15 PM – 4 PM
Where: 2405 Siebel Center
RSVP to Mitzi O. Greene at

What is the “job description” for a STEM teaching lab in the undergraduate setting? How does learning happen in a 21st century STEM teaching lab?

These are among questions to be explored in the webinar which is the final in the LSC series on “The Ecosystem of Learning Spaces in the Undergraduate Setting.” The event is co-sponsored by the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR).

Additional Details

Webinar Hosted by
Campus Information Technologies and Educational Services (CITES)
Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CITL)
University Library

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The CITES Wiki Plays Well with Others

The CITES Wiki service  has a thousand and one uses.  It’s great for committee work, collaborative writing, information-sharing, student projects, group work in classes, and so on and so on.  You can edit and comment on document in a simple interface that’s available anywhere the Web touches.

Many people like to compose in Microsoft Word, and to create their tables in Excel.  You might also want a format for your final documents that doesn’t look like a Wiki.

You might not know that you can turn wiki pages into other kinds of documents and also do the same in reverse.  This blog posting will show you how simple it is.


First, decide where the new document will appear on your wiki space.  Let’s start with a Wiki page (mine’s called coffee, because I like coffee).  Go to the Tools menu in the upper-right, choose Import Word Document.  On the next page you can browse to find your document (mine is called wikis_expanded.doc).  Click Next and you’ll see all your options.screenshot of the “Import” control panel, showing available options

You can either replace a wiki page that already exists (for example, if you’ve already built up your wiki and you’re already linking to “coffee”) or create a new page.
Data in Excel can be copied into a word document (loosing the formulae but retaining formatting) and then converted into a wiki page.
Sure, you can just upload files as attachments, but you might find it useful to have the option of viewing quickly on a Webpage without downloading an attachment, and also have the option of editing or commenting on documents within the wiki itself, and other functions like Revision History can come in handy.


You can also move in the opposite direction, and let wiki content circulate in other forms, like Word documents, or PDFs, or a complete website. Say for example your students created impressive wiki pages that they might want to sue as part of a portfolio later. I have also worked with groups who used the wiki to collaborate and then invited stakeholders to review and comment on the content created. Next, when they were ready to publish their work, they exported the space to HTML and added it to their department’s public Website.

Here’s what to do. Go to the Browse menu in the upper-left of an page in your wiki space, and choose Advanced. Next, under Export on the right of the next page, select “PDF Export” or “HTML Export.” This will show you a tree all the pages in your space, and you can un-check what you don’t want to export, of just do the whole thing.

screenshot of the Advanced control panel, with “Export to HTML” selected, showing all the wiki pages to be chosen

Here is a Wiki page from a student project, before and after being exported to HTML.  All the formatting, internal and external links, and images come through safely.

Screenshot of a wiki page, looking identical after being converted to HTML

Wait. There’s more. You can also quickly export any single page. When you on that page, go to the Tools menu on the right-hand side, and choose “Export to Word” or “Export to PDF.”

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Two Upcoming Events

Please join CITES, CITL, and the University Library as we host two events!

The first event, the Learning Spaces Collaboratory Webinar, will take place March 25th, and it will address the topic of lecture halls.

The second event, the EDUCAUSE Learning Institute (ELI) Spring 2014 Focus Session, takes place April 1st – 3rd, and this focus session will address the topic of faculty engagement and development. Read more about each event below:

Learning Spaces Collaboratory (LSC) Webinar

Exploring Lecture Spaces
When: Tuesday, March 25, 2014, 2:30 PM – 4:00 PM
Where: 23 Illini Hall

RSVP to Mitzi O. Greene at

Spaces—tiered or flat—morphing from instructor-centered to team-based, peer-to-peer learning environments provide opportunities for flipping the classroom. Questions addressed:  What are lecture halls becoming beyond spaces for lectures?  What is the role of such spaces in an ecosystem of learning spaces; are they still needed?  What is a lecture space intended to do, to be? What impact do such spaces have on 21st century learners?  How do we know? Lessons learned and what works will be distilled from stories in the LSC Guide and from the field.

Additional Details

EDUCAUSE Learning Institute (ELI) Spring 2014 Focus Session

Faculty Engagement and Development: Effective and Innovative Practice
When: April 1, 2, and 3, 11 AM – 2:30 PM (Central Time)
Where: 23 Illini Hall

RSVP to Mitzi O. Greene at

We will host the focus session inside an Adobe Connect learning environment where participants will exchange ideas and collaborate interactively with the teaching and learning community. As new teaching and learning options proliferate almost daily, faculty engagement and development is of fundamental importance to institutional success. Faculty development can help instructors improve teaching and manage change by enhancing individual strengths and abilities, as well as organizational capacities and culture. How is the teaching and learning community rethinking its approach to this task? What innovations are we seeing in faculty engagement and development, given higher education’s re-examination of its teaching and learning mission? These questions and more will be discussed in this online focus session.

Additional Details

Posted in ATS News | Comments Off Sync, Made Simple

Through, all University of Illinois faculty, staff and students have 50 gigabytes of file storage space, accessible and shareable everywhere the Web touches.  In addition to storing and sharing, desktop sync is also available.  Basically, sync puts a folder on your desktop with copies of the files in your synchronized folders on Box.  Box will keep all your files up to date; if there’s a newer version in Box, each local file will be updated, and vice versa.  You save a file in one place and it’s saved to all your synced locations.

How to set up desktop sync is not immediately and intuitively apparent, but I think more people would be using this if they knew how.  So, this posting tells you what you need to know.

How to install the client

Access to download the client is not where you’d probably expect.  First, go to  Choose your campus, and log in with your NetID and CITES AD password.

Next, click on the gear icon in the upper-right corner, next to your name and choose “Get Box Sync” from the menu.  Then you’ll be able to download the appropriate client for your computer.

screenshopt of "gear" dropdown menu

Apps are also available for iOS, Android, Blackberry, and Windows mobile devices.


What gets synced

The most complicated part here is what Box folders you can access from your computer.

By default, you start off with only the “Default Sync Folder” showing up in the Box folder on your desktop.

It’s likely you already have more folders already created to organize your files in Box.  So, you just need to turn on synchronization for each folder you want to have available. You can do this when you’re viewing your Box files on the Web.

When you hover your mouse over the folder you want to sync, the background color changes.  To the right of the folder is a triangle icon to give you the options menu.  Choose “Sync Folder to Computer.”

Screenshot of options menu for a folder in, with "Sync folder to computer" highlighted.

That’s it.  Your files in Box are  now available on your desktop.  Drag a file into the Box folder and it’s instantly available on Box, in the cloud, backed up, and ready to share with others.


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