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Educational Technology at Brock

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[edit] Educational Technology at Brock

The CTLET continually works to develop the necessary expertise to guide the faculty, staff, and students at Brock University toward the effective use of technology for teaching and learning. A large part of supporting educational technologies centers on the use of Isaak for course delivery. If you would like assistance with your Isaak courses or with others aspects of educational technologies, feel free to contact CTLET at ext 3933.

[edit] Web services

Computers in the Computer Commons
Computers in the Computer Commons

All Brock University Faculty and Staff are entitled to an e-mail account. To get your e-mail account, ask your department's Administrative Assistant for a Computer Account Application which must be filled out completely, and signed by the Dean and Chair / Director of your department. The completed application should be sent to User Services, ITS.

Once processed, you will receive a copy of the Computer Account Application, which will include the CAMPUS ID (username) and password for your account. It is imperative that you keep this form in a secure place. If there is ever a need to reset your password, you will need to refer back to your Computer Account Application for your default password.

From the Brock home page =>Web Services menu, change your password

When you reset your password, ensure that is minimum 8 characters and has a combination of 3 of the 4 options:

  • upper case letters
  • lower case letters
  • numbers
  • special characters (!@#$%)

Once you have changed your password, go to and activate your account.

[edit] Isaak/Sakai

Brock University uses a Learning Management System (LMS) named Isaak/Sakai. Isaak is based on the open source Sakai LMS. Isaak is web-based and offers a secure learning environment that permits scalable interactive communication. Since it is browser-based, and platform independent, students can log in from anywhere anytime. The flexibility of the course design tools available to faculty makes this environment appealing to the technical novice and to the experienced developer of online courses. Sakai/Isaak permits authenticated access only, i.e. it is CAMPUS ID and Password protected and by default only grants access to students enrolled in a specific course. Each course site can be used for distributing files, links and sending announcements. Additional tools can be added at any time for common tasks course for information dissemination, synchronous and asynchronous communication among students and the instructor (threaded discussion, course only mail, calendar and time management tools, and other collaboration tools such as blogs and wikis) as well as accepting assignments and returning grades in a secure, accountable and private manor.

[edit] How else can Isaak/Sakai enhance my course?

Many students are not comfortable speaking in a seminar in front of their colleagues. This is frequently true for students whose mother language is not English. The asynchronous threaded discussion area provides a forum for students who prefer to prepare a more reflective response to questions. The discussion forum celebrates l’esprit d’escalier – students now have the opportunity to contribute that good idea that only occurred to them after the class was over. Experience has shown that providing this access to class discussion convinces students that learning transcends a timetable slot and a classroom location. The discussion board can also be used to help with class management and serve as a place for course questions to be asked and answered by anyone; potentially saving the instructor and TAs a lot of repetitive E-Mail messages.

In addition to presentation of web materials, Sakai/Isaak also offers instruments for formative and summative evaluation. Multiple choice, true/false, and short answer testing may be set for auto-correction, with students receiving their grades within seconds of submitting their answers. Testing may be set to record the first grade, the last grade, the highest grade, or an average of all scores for that test, depending on the learning outcome the instructor wishes to achieve. Good teaching is often impeded by the need for good course management. Course management can be enhanced through creative use of tools within Sakai/Isaak. Documents can be made available to students at all times. Glossaries, FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) and collections of web resources can easily be shared. Simple tools like ‘Message’ become considerably more powerful when a decision is made to limit all course communications to Sakai/Isaak and a reasonable response time is agreed upon. Strategies like this allow instructors to reserve their address for other purposes and contain course communications to Sakai/Isaak.

[edit] How can I get my course into Isaak/Sakai?

Instructors can request a course space in Isaak, Brock University's Sakai-based system, by going to and selecting "Instructors: Click here to request a site". You can then enter your CAMPUS ID and password to log-in then choose "Request a Course" to begin the process of selecting which course you are responsible for and how you would like to configure it. How can I get training in Sakai/Isaak?

[edit] How can I get training in Isaak/Sakai?

Call the CTLET for an appointment for a one-on-one training session or watch for our late summer and fall workshops. Alternately, you may schedule a departmental training session, either as a presentation in your department or as a hands-on session in one of CTLET’s teaching spaces. Finally, don’t forget to look for Faculty Development seminars in educational technology for topics related to the LMS.

For the latest information on Isaak/Sakai at Brock University visit

[edit] Wikis

A wiki is a collaborative website which can be directly edited by anyone with access to it. Wiki's are great repositories for collaborative information and offer effective and simple tools to track revisions and who made contributions.

This configuration of the Wiki server allows members of the Brock University community to request the creation of their own wiki to collaboratively create a web site, choosing their own title, URL and types of access. The system administrator can then automatically create the wikis with a few clicks ensuring that it is not a burdensome resource to support.

Wiki is Hawaiian for quick and our server, located at "Kumu" takes its name from the Hawaiian word for teacher or starting place.

The server and its ability to create wikis for instructors on demand should provide a teaching and collaborative tool that will benefit instructors, researchers and students at Brock and their partners. Wikis are great tools for organizing information and publishing it. Using nothing more than an internet connection and a web browser individuals can add their knowledge and refine others in projects that might entail; documentation or the creation of a reference, policy drafting, visioning, organization, a repository for group projects, creating portfolios, developing an on-line "text book" and more. More ideas for using a Wiki in your teaching can be found at

To request your own wiki for teaching or research purposes, visit

[edit] Phrase-Matching Software (Turnitin) is a tool to promote integrity in student submissions. Through advanced plagiarism detection tools and exceptional reporting tools can deter students from committing academic misconduct and assure an equal playing field for your students.

Through students can make electronic submissions to you that are given an authoritative timestamp and receipt for them. Once students have electronically submitted their work you can evaluate each assignment and return it with feedback. However, few tools match a pen and paper for providing correcting and evaluating written work and you may also want to ask students to submit a printed copy. also has a student collaboration tool for peer review. Giving students access to others’ writing often helps students understand what university writing should look like and increase the depth of their understanding of course concepts. If you would like to use for your course, E-Mail to have an account created for you.

Faculty Handbook states:

Instructors may take advantage of a number of different phrase matching software programs to assist them in the detection of plagiarism (e.g., during the course of evaluating essays, assignments, and other work that is required for a given course. However, if an instructor has decided to employ such systems, students must be informed in writing at the beginning of the course (see FHB III: 10.1.3 H.). It will be assumed that students who remain in the course, having been informed of the use of such systems, will have agreed to their use. However, circumstances may arise whereby a student must continue in a course despite their principled objection to participate in the use of such systems. In those cases, the instructor must provide such students with a reasonable offline alternative to using the system such as, but not limited to:

  1. Require a short reflection paper on research methodology;
  1. Require a draft bibliography prior to submission of the final work;
  1. Require the cover page and first cited page of each reference source to be photocopied and submitted with the final paper; and/or
  2. Require the submission of specified rough notes and drafts.

The exception to the use of offline alternatives shall include courses where academic work is compared using a database that resides on the premises of Brock University and is used to measure the similarity of academic work within a specific course or program for the purposes of plagiarism detection (e.g., Computer Science). Instructors are responsible for taking steps to detect plagiarism in all course work that is submitted by students

[edit] Additional Resources

[edit] Information on On-Line Teaching Tools

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