Announcing the Illinois Emerging Tech Report


Introducing the Illinois Emerging Tech Report

Inspired by the annual Horizon Report published by the New Media Consortium and EDUCAUSE, the Illinois Emerging Tech Report collects examples of emerging technologies in use on the Champaign-Urbana campus, with an emphasis on teaching and learning technologies.

While Illinois has long been an innovator in learning technology, from Plato to i>clicker, and units, departments and colleges have celebrated their local successes, this Illinois Report is the first to focus exclusively on the University of Illinois, identifying and sharing our emerging teaching and learning technologies, practices and trends.

Get your copy!

The Illinois Emerging Technology Report is now available in eText format. It’s a free download to all University of Illinois Faculty, Staff, and Students!

To get yours, go to:

Upon successful transaction (again, it’s free), your access to the Illinois Emerging Technology Report will automatically activate and you can check it out at

Our emphasis is on local, campus examples.

The report focuses on local emerging technologies, especially those with teaching and learning applications. Illinois is already a leader in many emerging technologies such as 3D printing (Maker Lab), MOOC’s, gameful learning, and others.

One of the strengths of Illinois is its size and scope, and its endlessly surprising range of talented and creative approaches to teaching and research.  Given the breadth of our campus, we do not claim that our Illinois Report is comprehensive or exhaustive.  However, the initial five technologies and trends chosen for the 2015 report (MOOCs; Maker Movement; Teaching Wirelessly With Tablets; Learning Analytics; and the Physics IOLab Kit), all reflect a significant level of campus activity, expertise, creativity, and promise.  Indeed, we believe each of these emerging technologies and trends will see increased adoption and influence at Illinois in the coming years.  We hope you enjoy these stories and the innovators we’ve profiled.

Send us your tips.

Each semester we will be adding new stories to the Illinois Report, and we would like to hear from units and faculty who are innovating in their classrooms.  Please contact us at:


We would like to thank CITES and CITL leadership for supporting this effort.  Thanks especially to the very busy faculty and staff who gave their time and shared their experiences for our face-to-face and video interviews.

Thanks also to our dedicated Illinois Emerging Tech Report team of editors, authors, interviewers, and co-conspirators:   Robert Baird; Kate LaBore; Jamie Nelson; Amy Hovious; Jason Mock; Jim Witte; Naj Shaik; Ava Wolf; Jim Wentworth; Doug Mills; Alex Ibarra; and Andrew Wadsworth.

The outstanding video vignettes used for the Report are recorded, edited, and wonderfully enhanced by the CITES ATS Digital Media Team:  Drew MacGregor; Ed Glaser; Neil Feuerhelm; Susan Muirhead; Rick Langlois; and Brandon Jordan.

The eText version of our report, itself a technology of note on our campus, has been developed by eText founders and team:  Milind Basole; Yury Borukhovich; and Scott Durand.

Emerging Technology Information Sources:

All Things Digital:
Chronicle of Higher Education:
Education Dive
Mobile Tech Review:
New Media Consortium:
New York Times:
Wall Street Journal:

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign || CITES Academic Technology Services
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Illinois Emerging Technology Report – Sample

The Illinois Emerging Technology Report is now available in eText format. It’s a free download to all University of Illinois Faculty, Staff, and Students!

To get yours, go to:

Upon successful transaction (again, it’s free), your access to the Illinois Emerging Technology Report will automatically activate and you can check it out at

So, what’s it like? Check out a sample of the one of the chapters about the Maker Movement at Illinois, below.

We are all makers (logo)

The Maker Movement

We are on the cusp of a renaissance in the invention movement. A movement which encourages others to build upon the knowledge of the existing open community. Some describe this as the next chapter in the industrial revolution, but with a focus on the individual (or community) as designer, inventor, entrepreneur, and even manufacturer. Never before have we had such access to shared resources, low cost tools, computing, open source applications, and an open global community of people eager to help each other. The resulting nexus of this is the Maker Movement.

Makerspace in One Sentence

A makerspace is a workspace with a variety of tools, materials, and resources available in which a community of people gather to design, prototype, create, experiment, socialize, and collaborate on an endless array of projects.

Makerspace panel at Faculty Summer Institute 2014

Maker Movement on Campus

The University of Illinois and surrounding community have embraced, and is at the forefront of, the Maker Movement. Making is not new at the university. Engineering and Architecture have had prototyping labs and design studios, respectively, for years. What is new and unique to this campus is the variety and openness of new makerspace resources that have emerged over the past couple of years. Each of these makerspaces, while having many commonalities, have their own specializations that distinguish them from the others, resulting in a complementary and dynamic makerspace community. Below are three of the makerspaces open to all, two at the University of Illinois and one in the community:

The Illinois MakerLab

The Illinois MakerLab is unique in that it is a 3D printing lab housed in the College of Business. This lab contains the highest number of 3D printers available in one place on campus and is open to the university and community alike during scheduled open hours, typically 30 hours a week. The lab is staffed by student workers known as “Gurus” to keep the machines running and help patrons with any projects that they have. Illinois MakerLab also hosts a variety of workshops throughout the semester from soldering circuits to Raspberry Pi programming to 3D scanning. They were so ahead of the game, especially for a Business school, that a 3D printer from the Illinois MakerLab was featured on the cover of the 2013 New Media Consortium’s Horizon Report: Higher Education Edition.

Aric Rindfleisch on the Illinois MakerLab

The Illinois MakerLab hosted it’s first Making Things Class in Spring 2014. The class headed by Aric Rindfleisch, Executive Director of the Illinois MakerLab and Professor of Business Administration, focused on designing, prototyping, producing and bringing a product to market. Part of the experience was working in an interdisciplinary team bringing together Business, Art and Design, and Engineering students to work on one project.

Loop and Boost are two student products from the Making Things class.

Aric Rindfleisch on the Making Things Course

Aric Rindfleisch on Illinois MakerLab’s Outreach Mission

Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab


Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab

The Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab is part of an international network of similar spaces. It supports both the campus and the community with educational and outreach missions. The Fab Lab contains a variety of equipment and open access computers. One unique feature of the Fab Lab is its dedication to outreach programs, including the Teen Open Lab hours at the Urbana Free Library. This collaboration utilizes a set of deployable maker carts, each containing the tools, materials, and instructions for a certain set of tasks, such as media production or 3D fabrication. Through a variety of grants the Fab Lab plans to extend this outreach model into other underserved areas throughout Illinois.

Jeff Ginger on Fab Labs

Jeff Ginger on Learning in a Makerspace

A unique feature of the Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab is its strong support of project-based learning. Each summer and throughout the year the Fab Lab hosts low cost workshops for people of all ages, resulting in a variety of sharable project-based curricula. This fall, the Fab Lab will host its first university course, co-taught by Tyler Denmead, Assistant Professor in Art Education and Jeff Ginger, Operation Manager for the Fab Lab and Graduate School of Library and Information Sciences Ph.D. candidate.

Jeff Ginger on Outreach

Jeff Ginger on Art Education in the Fab Lab

Makerspace Urbana

Makerspace Urbana, like the most maker spaces, contains a variety of tools and resources available for use by anyone in the community. And while it’s not directly affiliated with the university, many of the people that frequent the space have some tie to campus. Makerspace Urbana’s community connections are deep, hosting an annual maker faire and engaging in outreach projects throughout the year, such as outreach booths at the Urbana’s Market at the Square. Most notably, Makerspace Urbana represents a social community of likeminded makers that collaborate together and generally have fun sharing their experience with others. As a part of that they have a very active Facebook group.

3D printed squirrel photobombs Makerspace Urbana

Makers into Entrepreneurs

With the great success of financial backing sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, makers can pitch an idea and get financial backing for their products. This opens the door for independent innovators seeking to get their product from concept into production. Previous models revolved around the backing of companies to decide whether or not a product is profitable enough to produce or in a few cases letting the patent expire and putting it into production later without any benefit to the original inventor. Not only have the floodgates opened for new ideas to hit the market, they are hitting it quite rapidly. One such example is Electroninks, a company from the Research Park at the University of Illinois, who wanted to make a pen whose conductive ink could be used to draw actual electrical circuits. Another local startup Oso Technologies created PlantLink, a set of various sensors and a base intended to monitor plant conditions wirelessly via a mobile device or computer. Lastly, Illinois Art and Design Professor, Deke Weaver, used Kickstarter to fund a production of WOLF as a part of his Unreliable Bestiary Series.

Other Resources/Articles

Alaska FABLAB: Dr. Alan Craig, I-CHASS Associate Director of for Human Computer Interaction, and Dr. Scott Poole, I-CHASS Director, in collaboration with Alaska Federation of Natives, the Traditional Council of Togiak, and the University of Alaska Fairbanks-Bristol Bay Campus have received an NSF grant to study the impact of a new Fab Lab in a rural Alaska Native village.

MechSE Rapid Prototyping Lab: The rapid prototyping lab in Mechanical Science and Engineering is available to provide professional 3D printing services to the whole campus at a subsidized rate.

Prototyped objects organized by the machines that created them.

We Are Makers: In Summer of 2013, a group from Abilene Christian University released a short film detailing the story of the maker movement entitled “We Are Makers”. In this film, they detail how the maker movement started, what it is, why its happening now, and revealing that we are all, indeed, makers.

Final Thought

Mats Selen, Professor in Physics and “Maker at Heart”, leaves us a final thought on the Maker Movement. He is also featured in another chapter of the Illinois Emerging Technology Report entitled Physics ‘Lab in a Box’ at Illinois, so be sure to check that out.

Mats Selen on Making

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How Students Review Test Questions and Feedback in Compass 2g

Often times students have difficulty locating where they can view the feedback you left them on an online test, or seeing the correct answers and the questions to study from. This is because it’s not immediately apparant how to see the test feedback especially if the link to the test is no longer available for the students to click on.

In order to view the test responses, feedback, and view the questions a student has to first click on My Grades then click on the Test. After they click on the test they’ll see the Assessment Details page. The student then needs to click on their numeric score:


This is confusing because it’s not apparent to students that the score is a link that can be clicked on. After clicking the score they’ll be brought to the page where they can see the Test results and feedback.

If you want to review and edit what feedback the students can see and when that feedback is available, you need to go to where the test is deployed, click the action arrow to the right and select Edit the Test Options. Scroll down and look for the section called Show Test Results and Feedback to Students:


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Reviewing Student Submissions from the Compass 2g Grade Center

You can check to see if there is a submission for a student by accessing the individual submission in the Full Grade Center. You can also follow these steps if you would like to check and see the comments you left for a student when you graded their work.

Once at the Full Grade Center, you have to find the cell by alligning the student’s name with the column that’s associated with the Assignment. One tip is to hide all the other rows so that the cell easy to find, click the action arrow next to the student’s name and select Hide Other Rows:


You may need to use the horizontal scroll bar to find the column.

Once you locate the column, a student’s attempt that is not graded will be indicated with a yellow icon: click the Action Arrow then click the attempt. The student’s attempt is indicated in the dropdown menu by the date it was submitted:


After clicking the attempt, you can then proceed to grade the paper or if there is already a score logged, you can review the students work and the comments you left.

How to Clear an Attempt or Allow Additional Submissions

If you only allowed one attempt and the student would like to re-submit, click the View Grade Details option in the dropdown pictured above, then click the Clear Attempt button to remove the previous submission, or you can click the Allow Additional Attempt button:



When you see two dashes in the cell it indicates that there is no paper to grade and that nothing was submitted:


Need further help locating a lost submission or past work you graded? Contact us through the CITES Help Desk and we’ll investigate.

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Bb Grader App Now Available

CITES Academic Technology Services announces the release of a Grader App for Illinois Compass 2g. The “Bb (Blackboard) Grader App” provides instructors and those with grader privileges with a mobile solution for reviewing, providing feedback, and grading students’ Illinois Compass 2g Assignments.

The Grader App is available for iPad, iPad2+, and iPad mini running on iOS 7 or above and can be downloaded for free in the App Store. At this time, the app is available only for iOS devices.

You can perform the following actions in the Grader App:

  • View and grade student submissions in PDF, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Powerpoint, PNG images, or JPEG image format. For unsupported file types, you may download the file, view the file, and still provide grade information via the app
  • Provide text, audio, and video-based feedback
  • Write comments to the student
  • Leave private notes to share between graders
  • Grade anonymously
  • Grade with rubrics
  • Leave comments within rubrics

The following features are currently unavailable: Delegated Grading, SafeAssign

For more about the Grader App, visit Blackboard’s Official Help Site for additional articles and information.

For tips on how to grade using the Grader App, visit the Blackboard Apply Grades web page.

For a video overview of the Grader App, watch the Blackboard Learn Quick Hit Video: Bb Grader.

We recommend that you review and follow the guidelines on mobile device security by visiting the following page:

If you have questions about the Bb Grader App, contact us at or 244-7000.

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EDUCAUSE Learning Institute (ELI) Fall 2014 Focus Session

Re-Imagining Learning Spaces: Design, Technology, and Assessment

When: October 28 and 29, 11 AM – 2:30 PM (Central Time)
Where: 2405 Siebel Center
Please RSVP by visiting:

We plan to offer light refreshments.

Join us to exchange ideas and collaborate interactively with the teaching and learning community. Learning spaces remain foundational to successful learning, and their design and outfitting provide a mixture of affordances and constraints—the key is getting it right. Successful integration of Information technology and innovative designs have brought unique capabilities to learning spaces, which enable greater interaction through the use of collaborative and mobile tools, team-based course models, videoconferencing with remote experts, makerspaces, and new instructional designs like flipped learning, to name but a few. Join us as we discuss the landscape of today’s learning spaces on the following themes:

•    Determining the effectiveness and impact of new model learning spaces on student learning, engagement, and effective instruction
•    Exploring how innovative space designs can facilitate and support new learning approaches, like the flipped classroom
•    Reviewing faculty development programs that support optimal use of learning space through the application of active or collaborative pedagogies
•    Understanding classroom technologies that support or enhance teaching and learning in model learning spaces

Additional Details

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

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Using a Wiki to make Group Work Easier (New, Improved “No Markup” Edition)

I have some exceptionally good news: the CITES Wiki service received a major upgrade this semester (Fall 2014). One big change was that Wiki Markup has been done away with.

* This old posting has been updated, to show how to do things without markup. *

When you think “wiki” do you automatically think “Wikipedia”? It wouldn’t be surprising, but the wiki technology has many uses besides the free online encyclopedia. Wikis can assist with collaborative work in the classroom in a number of ways. This post describes one simple use of a wiki in the classroom.

A wiki (like the Wikipedia) is a Webpage that anyone can edit (at least anyone given access), right there, on the Web. U of I faculty can request spaces on the campus Wiki service and have their students given automatic access to the space, just as they can in Illinois Compass.

I’m teaching a course this semester and I’m committed to collaborative learning, so I’m relying heavily on group work, where students are divided into small groups, given a task to complete together, and asked to report their work to the whole class. The wiki is a great tool to take care of the mechanics of group work.

Formatting text is simple, and so is creating child pages. Just put the name of the new page in brackets.

* There are now three ways to create links in the new Wiki service:
Select text and hit the link button. This gives you a dialog box with five tabs:
The Web Link and Advanced tabs allow you to make a link to a page in your Wiki that doesn’t exist yet—and create the new page at the same time. This is the best way to create child pages in your wiki. This way, users will be able to find your content, without sifting through the pile of all the pages you’ve created.
You can also type a square bracket and you’ll get a dropdown menu. Choose Insert Link and you’ll get the same dialog box as above. Or you can also use Control-K or Apple-K. *

editing a page on the wiki, with dates in brackets: 29 August, 5 September, etc.


As you can see in this screenshot, all I had to do was create one page (I called it “dailies” in my wiki) for each class day we use have a group task. (Notice the cheat-sheet along the right, showing the most common tags.)

The hardest thing about working in a wiki is file management, finding the pages you create and making sure you’re not editing someone else’s page. So, the first thing I do after the groups have formed is ask each group to come up with a name. This tends to be more fun than you’d expect. But the basic idea is I don’t want the group pages to be called One, two, and three because it’s so easy to forget what page each group should editing.

editing a page on the wiki, with names of groups in brackets: sloth, group 43, low expectations, tom petty and the.

I’m fortunate to be teaching in a classroom with a computer and projector. Now all I need to do is go the wiki page for today’s date, have the students call out their group names, and type them inside square brackets to create links.

When they’re ready, the students click on the links to their respective groups. This takes them to their own page, and they can start typing.

When it’s time to hear the group’s reports, I open all the wiki pages for the groups, and put each up on the screen as they talk about their results. This way the record of their work is available during class, but also recorded for future uses (ideas for papers or projects, review for exams, etc.)

* You can still create a bunch of links at once with Wiki markup. (But wait! There is no more wiki markup in Confluence 5! Well, sort of.) Click on the Plus-sign button the ruler, and choose Wiki Markup from the menu. In this window you can enter all the old wiki markup, and to make a link, all you need to do is put the name of each new page in square brackets.
So to create a page for each of five student groups, all you’d need to do is type the names, and put brackets around them. *The Plus menu, showing Other Macros is the last item.

As I said, wikis are really simple to learn and to use. The first day we did a group project, I took around five minutes to walk students through entering, editing and formatting on the wiki, and they were off and running. By the second time we used the wiki, after I displayed the first group’s page and took their report, the second group asked me to “refresh.” There was some laughter in the room. Why? Because the students realized that the second group had been rewriting their page as they listened to the first group. I took this as very positive, as it meant that the technology was already transparent, and the students were looking past it at the content.

A variation some of my students discovered: each group member can type individual text in comments at the bottom of their wiki page (there’s a link to “Add Comment” on every page), and then one member can combine these together.

Group tasks in the classroom are a long-standing component of active learning, with plenty of research to support their instructional value. Wikis can help solve some practical difficulties that can potentially limit the power of this technique. It’s win-win for technology and teaching.

You can request a wiki space today!

-Alan Bilansky

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Blackboard Mobile App for Illinois Compass 2g

ScreenshotMobileAppCITES would like to take the opportunity to remind you of the availability of the Blackboard Mobile Learn app. This app is a free download for faculty, students, and staff for use with Illinois Compass 2g.  All users of the Illinois Compass 2g service can download the app at the following locations by searching for “Blackboard Mobile Learn”:

After you’ve downloaded and launched the app, search for “University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign” and log in using your NetID and Active Directory.


The Blackboard Mobile Learn app can be used to engage and interact with your students in discussion boards, blogs, and journals. It allows your students to check their grades, take mobile-specific assessments, and read announcements. The Blackboard Mobile Learn app allows for the classroom interactivity and engagement you expect from Illinois Compass 2g in a mobile accessible format.

More Information

For more information on the Blackboard Mobile Learn app, please visit Blackboard’s Mobile Learn page.

Please contact us if you have any questions about using the new mobile app.

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Controlling the layout of pages on the new, improved CITES Wiki

Big news! In August, CITES rolled out a new version of our campus wiki service. Some things have changed, some things are easier.

This is a quick (surprisingly simple) primer on how to take charge of the layout of your Wiki pages in the new system.

Click on the “Layout” button to expand the ruler.
The formatting ruler of a wiki page, with formating ruler expanded.

Click one of the diagrams of columns to format it. Sections and Columns work like table rows and cells the way the used to be used to lay out Web pages. You can add multiple sections this way to arrange content just the way you want it.

If you want more control, you can use three macros: Section, Column, and Panel.

Macros are little add-ons that add functionality to wiki pages. You can insert a macro by clicking on the plus-sign in the ruler and choosing Other Macros from the menu.The Plus menu, showing Other Macros is the last item.  Adding a column this way allows you to precisely control the width.

This will give you a pop-up window with a list of all the macros available. There’s a bunch of them, so generally you’ll want to use Control-F or Apple-F to search the list. Repeating this for every section and column will get old fast, but there’s an easier way.

In previous versions, you added a macro by typing its name in curly brackets. Now if you start to type a macro, the editor will auto-complete, to insert the macro for you.

So, if you type “{section. . .” that’s what you’ll get, and the same with “{column}.”

The advantage to adding them with this method is that it gives you more control of the attributes, like the width of the columns.

One macro you might find useful is “{panel}” This puts a box around text and images with a border and a background color. Here’s an example using all three:
Screenshot of a wiki page, with text and image in two columns, with a title and box drawn around the image

You can request a wiki space and get started today!

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Flipping the Classroom with Roger Freedman

Join us for a presentation on “Flipping the Classroom” with Roger Freedman!


What: “Flipping the Classroom (and what to do in the classroom once you’ve flipped)”

Who: Roger A. Freedman, Lecturer in Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Date: Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

Time: 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm (Lunch included!)

Location: Digital Computer Laboratory L410

Please join us for Dr. Freedman’s interactive, 50-minute presentation on i>clickers and “Flipping the Classroom.” Dr. Freedman will describe his experience with the flipped class model and his methods for optimizing short video lectures and student response systems to help enhance class discussion. Campus i>clicker and educational technology experts will be on hand to answer your questions after the presentation.

Sponsors: CITES Academic Technology Services, Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning, i>clicker/Macmillan

About the Presenter: Dr. Freedman was an undergraduate at the University of California campuses in San Diego and Los Angeles, and did his doctoral research in theoretical nuclear physics at Stanford University under the direction of Professor J. Dirk Walecka. He came to UCSB in 1981 after three years teaching and doing research at the University of Washington.

At UCSB, Dr. Freedman has taught in both the Department of Physics and the College of Creative Studies, a branch of the university intended for highly gifted and motivated undergraduates. He has published research in nuclear physics, elementary particle physics, and laser physics. In recent years, he has helped to develop computer-based tools for learning introductory physics and astronomy and helped pioneer the use of classroom response systems and the “flipped” classroom model at UCSB. He is co-author of four introductory textbooks: University Physics (Pearson), College Physics (Freeman), Universe (Freeman), and Investigating Astronomy (Freeman).

Dr. Freedman holds a commercial pilot’s license. He was one of the early organizers of the San Diego Comic-Con, now the world’s largest popular culture convention. His likeness has appeared as a supervillain and mad scientist in both DC and Marvel Comics.

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