UCSB TA Workshop: Creating an Engaging and Dynamic Class Environment

Join Nectir's Director of Instructional Design and Educational Partnerships as she goes through actual methods used by instructors to create an engaging and dynamic class environment through Nectir.
September 27, 2022

Video Recording

Video Transcript

Alex  00:02

Welcome to the Nectir workshop. Today we're going to do creating an engaging and dynamic class environment. I might ask a couple of questions as we go through here. And certainly if you're watching the recording, follow along. It would be great if you have a computer in front of you and have some internet access. If not, again, follow along. My name is Alex Boryca, I'm the Director of Educational Partnerships and Instructional Design at Nectir. I used to work at the University Nebraska Omaha and worked on a lot of faculty development and online support. Today, I'm with Nectir and supporting a lot of faculty and helping you get started with kind of these instant chat and back channel communication softwares. They're helping to create some dynamic and engaging discussions across your campus and hopefully, your course. So just want to do a quick check in Riadh, this is mostly for you, um, do you know what a back channel is? You can give me a thumbs up or thumbs down? And are you at all familiar with Nectir? So far? So we'll start with "Do you know what a back channel is?"

Riadh  01:01

Unfortunately, no, I have no idea about what it is.

Alex  01:04

That's okay. And I'm assuming you're not familiar with Nectir, because you're here. So I will go over what all of these things are. So a back channel is a conversation that takes place alongside an activity or an event. In this case, we're using Zoom, and zoom has a chat feature, right. So there's some chat happening, maybe alongside this video. That will be back channel. Nectir is a back channel for your classroom. And it acts as a virtual lifeline for your classroom, it's a chance to have comments and conversation happening alongside the teaching that you're doing inside of an in person class, or even a online or hybrid or virtual class. We know that when students don't have to stress about finding help from a variety of places, right, they can focus on their learning. And that's really what we're trying to do here at Nectir. And what we want to help you do and your class throughout this workshop. So what we focus on is really trying to move from passive listening to active creation. That is obviously something we're going to hope for with your students. But today for this workshop, we'd also like to do that with you. If you have your computer in front of you. You go to app.nectir.io. We'll walk you through this. If you have

Riadh  02:19

It's an application or websites? 

Alex  02:21

It is a website. It's actually both but it is a website. So if you have a browser, Chrome, go ahead and go to or navigate to app.nectir.io. You'll see a registration process here and you will use your in this case UCSB email, and I believe that's Microsoft. Is that right, Vicky? 

Vicky Le  02:45


Alex  02:45

Cool. It is Google. Okay.

Riadh  02:47

Excuse me, it says here that you don't seem to have access to any organizations. If your organization is already a part of Nectir Be sure you are using the correct school email.

Alex  02:57

Yes, Vicky you want to walk us through it? 

Vicky Le  03:00


Riadh  03:01

You are not part of organization, please contact support@nectir.io.

Alex  03:06

Yes, so this is perfect. Vicky is our Community Manager, which means she helps with a lot of the tech support. We wanted to show what this looks like in real time. So I'm going to have Vicky walk you through what what all the steps are, and then we'll keep going after that.

Vicky Le  03:20

So it seems like you may have logged in with a non-UCSB email. If you're

Riadh  03:27

I think so I guess at first I think I logged in with my personal email address. And then I didn't know what I should do in order to go.

Vicky Le  03:38

Yeah, no worries. So if you go back to app.nectir.io, and click the Sign in with your Google the Google button. When you click on that, does it show you the like your UCSB account there, too, or just show your personal account? 

Riadh  03:55

It says login with Google with Microsoft or sign in with a different email.

Vicky Le  04:00

Yeah, go ahead and click the Google button. 

Riadh  04:04


Vicky Le  04:06

Where does it take you now?

Riadh  04:08

It's the same message. So I think I have to log in and sign in with a different email in this case.

Vicky Le  04:14

Yeah, so it looks like whatever browser you're using, you're signed into your personal account on there. So what you'll have to do is sign into your UCSB email on your browser, and then that will then activate like the Google SSO button.

Riadh  04:32

I did but user not found or incorrect passwords. Although it's the password is correct, but I couldn't really login. 

Vicky Le  04:45

Okay, why don't we go to at the login right underneath it should be like create a new account or register a new account.

Riadh  04:54

register a new account? 

Riadh  04:55

Yes. Yeah, go ahead and click on that. And then What is it showing you now?

Riadh  05:03

Sign up with Google with Microsoft or back to login?

Vicky Le  05:09

Okay, yeah. So you would press the Google button, but again, it will then use your personal email because that's what's associated to your Google account right now. Is there another browser you use to check your UCSB email?

Riadh  05:23

No. Still, I use Google to check that.

Vicky Le  05:30

Okay, I can try to troubleshoot on the side, Alex, just to give you some time back to your presentation, but I will message you Riadh!

Alex  05:39

Yeah. So that's, this is something that we really did want to demonstrate to be able to say, Vicky does this all the time to help instructors onboard, so Riadh we'll contact you, and we'll walk through it with you on screen. So in the meantime, I'll go through the rest of this. And folks can follow along on the recording. So one of the things that we really focus on in designing this and one of the pedagogical approaches toward Nectir is creating a community of inquiry in virtual spaces, which really is three presences that all overlap. The first is a teacher presence. This is where your course design really comes into play. You select content for that course. And you certainly set a climate for that course. There's a cognitive presence, which is the, you know, cognitive load and cognitive experience that students and instructors have. That overlaps with selecting content, but it's also supporting discourse across a course. And social presence. This is where you bring your authentic self and you bring kind of this ability to talk to one another about certainly course topics, but also things happening outside of the classroom. One of the things we're focusing on at Nectir is really enhancing the social presence of classrooms. This is virtual and in person. That means we really want to have participants identify with their community communicate purposefully have a trusting environment, and develop relationships that bring their interpersonal and authentic selves to the classroom. This is the kind of work we're hoping to help you do. So how do we create social presence in classrooms, the first thing to do is create a welcoming environment. That is by providing a safe space where students can bring their authentic selves. That means having a welcome message, that means spending time showing yourself and showing and modeling behavior that you would like to see this, I'll show you what that looks like here in a second. And this is also part of setting the stage early, we know students who make an one authentic connection on the first week of class are more likely to persist. Authentic connection can mean anything from like a digital space where you have an email that you feel like you really connected with somebody, it's also in person connections. And it can be one message that is meaningful to someone. And it really changes the course of that student's class really, and their persistence they're on. So in creating a welcoming environment and setting the stage early, what we recommend is having it with a welcome message. So this back channel system we'll show you here in a second is really about providing a space for instructors to set the stage or a welcoming environment and have a conversation with students. That looks like saying, Hey, you can ask questions, you can discuss the lecture materials here, you can share resources. And we can have discussion back and forth about all of those things in this space. We recommend that instructors do this the first few days of class at certainly the first week of class, so that students know what to expect, what to use the space for and when they can get there, when they can have the space and time to interact with one another. This is a real message that was sent in a real UCSB channel. And we'll show you more as we go through here because we want to show some examples before we get to actually logging in and showing you what the space looks like. So we also recommend to set clear expectations and boundaries pretty early in the the course. This might look like matching discussion times to the course design and then modality if you have an in person course, there's a opportunity here to have a back channel that's running alongside that course, maybe it looks like having the discussion times where you match them directly to the times you meet in person. Or maybe you want a flipped classroom approach and you want to say we meet at these times in person and I'd like to have the discussion happened virtually in Nectir. On the off days, maybe you haven't a online course and you prefer asynchronous discussion times. match that with what you need for your course and your course design. I'm obviously working students. And part time students need a lot of flexibility that's happening even more since the pandemic. So having some asynchronous times to have those discussion is really important to set those expectations early. tell students what you're expecting, and when you're expecting them so that they know when to login and when to have discussion and what is appropriate for that discussion.

Alex  10:23

That might look like this, it might look like saying, Hey, we're having a discussion at 5pm. And then just encouraging folks to drop in during that time, even if it's just say, hi, it does remind them that other students are in the class with them, you get to see names of people that you would interact with the most. And folks hopefully are bringing in their authentic selves. Obviously, having some emojis as part of that. We've got GIFs. GIF, I think, is GIF is now the way to say it. I grew up with GIF. I don't know GIF is new to me. But yeah, it is setting expectations. So we have mentions, which is here, you'll see the at all you can certainly "@" someone in this case, I could "@Vicky" and it would notify her. The "@all" is notifying everyone in the class. And there's an announcement here. So this instructor is or rather this moderator is setting the stage. They're saying, Hey, I've got office hours at this time. And I'd like to section off questions for office hours in this location. I'm not going to answer questions later. I may answer questions later in the day. But I'm not going to answer questions on Friday. So pretty clear expectations of students know what to expect from this moderator and inside of Nectir, how to converse. We really recommend organizing content here. I will show you here later what discussions and threads or how discussions and threads work. But we recommend using discussions to kind of sub nest conversation so that you can organize it for yourself as a TA as an instructor. And make sure that when you go back to grade, you've got it all sectioned off to a way that makes sense for you. Threads are also really nice to just nest conversation together. That's a way for students to keep one topic and in one space, and have a easier time finding that content later. Instead of searching for you know various timestamps in one flat, large conversation. This is their this is what a discussion looks like if you create a discussion for a lab, you might say this lab session is from 11 to 12:30. Or sorry, 12:20. And I want the discussion for that to happen in this space. Just like I might want discussion for lecture 10 or Week Four to happen in a specific space. So when I go back to grade, I can go back to just that discussion and just look at those messages rather than several weeks worth of messages in in a larger channel. There's also a great way, this is also a great way to create pods or groups, you might have group one that you want to have discussion kind of separated from group two. And that helps you to go back and grade certainly, but it also helps to set the stage and set expectations for those groups where you want that conversation to happen. So it's not happening in a third party area where you can't see it. Right much of like text messages in WhatsApp. Many of those conversations you don't get to see and maybe course correct when conversation or discussion goes awry with either content, misunderstanding or otherwise. All right, moving on. We recommend prompting conversations. This is a great way to create some engagement from students. Asking open ended questions really changes the course of how students respond to you and have conversation with each other. Part of this learning and part of community of inquiry is to encourage peer to peer answering. So peer to peer interaction really engages what we call the protege effect, which is one student teaching another student, which helps them log that information better. There's some there's new research really to show that when you teach you learn the content better. That's not new research. That's very old research. But it is part of the reason why we encourage peer to peer for a TA prompting conversation might look like how are things going this week? What questions do you have for me? And then when those questions come in, you can say hey, ask your classmates see what your classmates understand of X topic or y topic that helps the classmates interact with each other. And that helps that peer to peer learning by teaching the content and retrieving it. Or rather placing it in a different memory store for better learning. This is what it looks like. Has anyone changed your mind given what you learned in this course? What's one way you make you'd like to make education better? These are threaded conversations. So you can see there were a lot of replies here. There were 22 in the first and 16. In the second. There's a lot of conversation happening about one topic because the the question was really engaging that cognitive piece and helping hopefully others teach and converse with each other. All right, moving through quickly, because I want to show you what the actual tool looks like.


We recommend checking in regularly, we're gonna show you some polls here in a second. Polls are built into this software through the platform. And polls are a way to check for understanding certainly about the content, you want to make sure you know, students are receiving the content and understanding it. But it's also a way to check for wellness and to talk about student needs. We know that the pandemic was really hard on students. And we know that student needs have changed significantly, both with mental health as in as with really remediation and understanding concepts. And it's hard to make those adjustments in the classroom if you don't know what they are. So polls are a way to really check for that. This would be an example of a pretty quick poll of just how are things students can vote and mate, you can make this confidential, if you feel like that's a better way to receive answers. Or you can make them what's the phrase I'm looking for, you can make them open, I believe that's the phrase, Vicky, where you can see where student answers are. And that way, maybe you want to follow up with the students when you can see their usernames to really illustrate this, this was a real class with real students that were asked like, how are things and they had some really challenging things going on in their lives? So they were sharing that with each other. And they were having a great discussion about how hard things are in life, but also, how can we help each other. So it just goes to show that having a back channel isn't just about, of course content, it's also about what the learning environment looks like, when everything else outside of the classroom is happening, and the strength and the well, how amazing it is when people share some of those things and bring them into the classroom adds to the sense of belonging as to the community that's happening in a classroom. And you're able to really connect with one another in a way that maybe wouldn't have happened in a hallway or wouldn't have happened when you're sitting in a giant lecture hall. So we feel like this is a really important piece to share. Sounds like Riadh, you were able to get in to Nectir. So I'm excited to hear about that. And we can walk through it with you here in a second. 

Riadh  17:49

Yes, thank you. 

Alex  17:50

Yes, absolutely. Okay, we're almost through some of these recommendations. And we really encourage peer to peer learning and teaching. And we talked about this a little bit. But I want to talk about how this helps you as a TA and an instructor reduce some of the load you already have. So we know this, we know this is a trend across all the workspaces. And all the schools we work with, you probably have lots of emails probably have a lot of emails coming in at night when you're not checking the emails. So we really want to reduce, we really hope that this reduces those emails, and that feeling of being on call by encouraging peer to peer learning and peer to peer teaching before you have to intervene. So this might be a banner. This might also just be what we said earlier, set the stage tell students to talk to each other when they have a question about the syllabus, or whether class was cancelled or a question about the homework, have them troubleshoot together, have them teach one another, and learn from that ability to teach, right. But that also is a chance for you to not be on call and connect with maybe students at the time where you are best serving them, and that they are learning the boundaries that you're setting from the beginning of the class. I'll show you what this looks like. Maybe in kind of an announcement form. But this is the part that I think TAS maybe are scared about. To start with. Because this is more work for me, right? We're really hoping it's less work because you have fewer emails, one place to check, and you're not on call. Because you set the stage and the expectations of students early. They need to start with each other before coming to you. I'm clicking things. There we go. So this would be an example of what that looks like. I'm confused about this question. Someone else jumps in, and they have that discussion. And then the instructor comes in and says, Hey, this was actually really great. I think you're on you're on the right track. Or I'm having a hard time with this. Also, can we talk about that? Those are those are great ways for students to learn the content even better, because they're teaching someone else and maybe learning from a peer who's who's encountering it in a different way than maybe you were teaching that content.

Alex  20:02

All right. Last slide. Before we show you the actual space, I want to talk about community managers really quickly here, Vicky is a Community Manager, you can wave Vicky, for University of California, Santa Barbara and a few other schools. All users, students and faculty alike have access to community managers. And you might be saying why is that? We know that faculty have over the last three years specifically become more and more tech support for their students. And you've got enough going on, you have a lot to do just teaching these classes. But you're also sometimes counselors, sometimes tech support, sometimes you're just trying to figure out calendars, right? We want to take some of that away from you and support, not take it away from you. We want to support you in that, that effort. So we have community managers that monitor the workspace that do the tech support for you and answer questions, to hopefully, minimize the questions that are coming to you. This is a real person, I can't stress this enough. This is not a bot. These are not people that are sending you to you know, some user forums, these are real people Vicky's your real person who's gonna say What is your specific question? And what is your specific issue, and we're gonna figure it out with you. She's really, really proud of her three minute response time. I can't say that we will have that forever. But Vicky is fabulous, and will answer questions that maybe you have for the way you teach your course, maybe you've got an online course and you have some course design questions that how we can integrate Nectir for you. Maybe it's an LTI question. Maybe it is you want to add new users and you can't figure out how they can help with that. But so too, are students in your classroom going to have those questions. Maybe they don't know how to create a channel or they're confused about a way to connect with somebody with a direct message, or their giphy gifs aren't working. Vicky can answer that instead of them coming to you as a TA or as an instructor. So we've got a couple of ways to do that. I'm going to go forward a little bit and show you where that is. Community Managers, like I said, Sit inside the workspace, there are certainly ways to direct message them. If you search for Community Manager anywhere in your workspace, you're going to find Vicky, and you'll see it says Community Manager. And she'll answer your questions, certainly directly that way. But you can also find some self service help. If you've got questions, or you students have questions. There's a learning library on our website at nectir.io. Those are more pedagogical pieces, of course design and how to integrate some of our tools to meet those needs. But users can also get help that are more technical. So we have a live chat on our website. That goes to real people as well. You can direct message Vicky in the workspace, you can email if you're more comfortable to email, this is live. This is my cat, I'm sorry. This just shows this is a live workshop. You can email if you're more comfortable email, you can email support@nectir.io that comes to our team, me and Vicky we will work with you over email. And there are help guides. So if you prefer to have a help guide and kind of walk through step by step, or maybe you want to send that to a student, or keep that in a resources page of your, you know, LMS those are also available at help.nectir.io. So I'm gonna go back just a few slides here and say this is kind of the summary of what we talked about quickly here. And I'm going to show you what that looks like in a workspace. So we can walk through how you create this for your course. My hope is we can do this a little actively Riadh, you get to be our test here. But if you've got questions about how to do some of these things, and you're wanting Nectir In your course, send us a message and we'll figure it out with you. We'll go through some q&a with you Riadh, but I'm going to jump in. So go ahead and ask any questions you have. And I'm going to rearrange my workspace here.

Riadh  24:09

So as far as I've understood, it's it's like a platform, which the professor uses to create an engaging interactive learning environment for the students. So my question here is, do students have access to this platform? For example, the students I am teaching now? This I think that the question that has just came came to my mind.

Alex  24:31

Yes. So it's a great question. I'm making sure I'm not muted. Yes. So I will show you and we'll actually talk through what that exactly looks like. So this is a campus wide communication infrastructure. So I'll just go ahead and show you what UCSB looks like. This is the you can see this. Yes. Yeah. Okay, making sure. Sometimes technology right. So this is the UC Santa Barbara workspace. If you're familiar with kind of instant chat back channel tools, this will probably be familiar to you. So there are channels on the left hand side here. What a channel is, think of it as a room, a virtual room where you can invite people to have a conversation, or people can come and go as they, as they want to be part of that conversation. Because this is a campus wide communication tool, all students are invited, all staff are invited, all faculty are invited. If you have a UCSB email and domain, you're able to get in here. So yes, is the answer to your question, Riadh, all students will have access to this. The caveat is, if you want them in your course, we have to help well, we don't have to help you, you can add them to a channel that's specific to your course. This is what we're going to show you how to do. So the left hand side here, like I said, this is kind of a quick overview on how the navigation works. You'll see your organization is UC Santa Barbara, every, every user inside of this workspace is going to be added to the UCSB general channel, which I'll go ahead and click on. So this is campus wide, every user sees this. So you might ask, Hey, where's the best coffee on campus? And every person on campus has the opportunity to answer that. That is also true for the Nectir Help channel. So this is where Vicky and a community manager will live. You can ask questions to the community about tech support issues, or maybe things that you've run into that you'd like to explore further. This is where Vicky can respond and say, Hey, you have a question about adding users, this is a great spot to do some of your own poking around and seeing what other questions exist. All users across the campus have access to this is a public channel. And we find that it's a really great way to just connect with what what are your needs, so we can design for those as we move forward. So if you've got ideas about what might work for you post that here, and me and Vicky will certainly explore that with you. Those are two public channels that everyone's in. After that. It's up to you to decide which channels you want to be a part of, and which ones are a good fit for you. Oh, yes, video, hello!

Riadh  27:16

Because I'm in the kitchen. So I didn't like to have the background. So I was really kind of embarrassed. I'm sorry, no, no, not seeing this, oh, that's all good.

Alex  27:29

I have my cat running around. So I you know, no, no shame. Okay, so those are the two channels that are everyone is in. After that you get to decide which channels you want to be a part of. And the best way to do that is to come up here and go to this discover. It's kind of a directory of all the channels that exist across your campus. So there's a TA development program, if you want to get to move my zoom thing here, if you want to join that you can click here and join. I'm gonna go ahead and do that. So we can see what it looks like.

Riadh  28:00

It will be added right away to your channel?

Alex  28:02

Yes, added right away. So you'll see it on the left hand side here. And now it says, Hey, there's some messages in there. So I'm going to click in and now I can see what folks were talking about. Mindy posted this workshop in here. Thanks, Mindy. And you can talk to other TAs, right. So that's a way to connect with people that are doing the same thing you're doing and have some conversation in one spot. You could certainly join a whole myriad of channels, you can search them up here. So I'm in the all channel tab inside of our discover page. Maybe I am really interested in math. And I want to join a math channel. I don't know I don't know why that would be maybe interesting for for TA but you can look for your course. And you can join the course that you're teaching or maybe you want to join a course have a colleague who's just

Riadh  28:54

Filming and media studied because I have this class so maybe.

Alex  28:57

Sure Can you actually drop it in the chat? So I have it I'm filming, filming and Media Studies, filming and Media Studies. Okay, great. Thanks, Mindy for sending that film. Filming. See if it pulled it up. It did not filming. Okay. I guessing

Riadh  29:19

if you remove the "ing" so you can maybe the first one.

Alex  29:23

Yeah, so these are going to be the course numbers and fall 22. So if you know what the the course number is, we can see goods filming Magic Lantern. You probably did all of this Vicky. So you may you might even know.

Vicky  29:44

Yeah, so this is all auto created from the course list. So whatever your course so if you're trying to I think if you search "FAMST" that might be better. So that's film and media study. "F-A-M-S-T". I think One over stamps dash 104

Riadh  30:05

Ah, this is it, yes. Okay.

Alex  30:09

So we're gonna click 

Vicky Le  30:09

No ones in there yet. 

Alex  30:11

No one's in there. But I'm going to join so we can just show what it looks like here. Alright, so we found your course. This is real time, folks, I found your course. Now we're it's an added channel over here to my left hand side. So I have been added to your channel, I get to learn about film and production technology. If I want to make sure that it's up here in my favorites, I can click on these three little dots and I can favorite it, which means that I'll go to the top of my list. You can certainly unfavorite, you can leave a channel, which will just keep your left hand nav organized.

Riadh  30:45

These channels are created only by teachers, or both by teachers and students?

Alex  30:51

That's a great question. So if we have some auto created channels that exist for you, so in this case, your course, those will exist and people can jump in, you can claim the channel as an instructor. However, you can also create a new channel. So let me show you how to do that. Up here on the top. On the left side navigation, there's a Create New button here, you can create a new channel, that might be everything from your course, or maybe it is a TA group, maybe it's transfer students, maybe it's international students, maybe it's a community of practice, for whatever reason, you can create a channel, I'm going to go ahead and do this. I'll do student involvement, I don't know. We'll say film theory, because that is, we're going to just start there. You can add a topic, which might be the name of the course it might be a little description, you can make a public or private channel, a public channel means that anyone has access to it and can join it private channel means the owner of the channel, the person that creates it can invite users, I'm gonna make this private to show you what that looks like. I can add users at this stage, or I can do it later. In this case, I'm going to do it later. So I'm just gonna go ahead and create that channel, it opens up, you'll see it in my left hand navigation, you'll also see a little it's very tiny, there's a little lock on it, which tells me is a private channel, it also tells other people's channel. Now, I've got I've made my own channel, instructors can do that, you can do that as a TA, you can also do it as a student. So students might create a channel that's for their group for a class, but maybe they just have some friends that they want to talk to across their dorm room or across their dorm building. We see a lot of folks use this for housing, we see academic advisors use it to talk with demographics of students. So I've created this channel. Now I want to add users. So I'm going to go up to this members button on the right hand side. And I'm going to add users, I can do it by username. Or I can sign out username, email, or I can do it by invite link. So if I hit add here, what it will say is choose the users. And these are users that already exist inside of the Nectir platform. You can also add your entire course roster if you wanted. So what will this will do is look for any names that I'm typing here, so add me know you're here. So I can search for you and add you. I can also add Vicky or Mindy. So I'm searching for Vicky. And if she's here, I can click there. I can also copy and paste emails. So if you've got a canvas roster, or DTL, or I mean, I know you got you all are moving to Canvas, so you could copy those emails, throw them right in here and add teachers that way. So I'm gonna click this, you're gonna get an email, and it's gonna say, Hey, you can join this channel. I can also do this on the bottom with an invite link. So let's say you want to add a lot of students and you just want to throw an invite link into your Canvas course. You can add this, this specific link, and if they click into that, it will bring them into this public channel. Or sorry, private channel. That's a great way to do it for large groups. Otherwise, yeah, just to add button and some emails. So here we see the members. I have a green light next to all three of you, because you're online and you're available now, you won't see the green light if you are not online or if other members are not online. And we started a little conversation here. You'll notice Riadh you've got a teaching assistant kind of tag there, which is helpful when you're interacting with students because then they know that you are a teaching assistant. You'll see Vicky has an extra staff next to her name. That's also helpful when answering questions for students. So they know it's not coming from a random person. It is a community manager and a Nectir staff person. So now we've got our channel. It's private. We have our folks in In here, and we can start having a conversation. If I want to organize things as a TA, or as an instructor, maybe before adding folks, even after this little plus button on the bottom here is a great way to start, you can add a video message, which is natively posting a video in here. So maybe you just want to welcome everyone with a really quick video, you can also create a discussion which I want to talk about really quickly as a sub channel. So we've got film theory as a channel, I'm now going to create a discussion in sub channel inside of film theory. So I'm going to call this French cinema, because I took a French cinema as an undergrad in a film theory class. And, to this day, I know too much about Truffaut.

Alex  35:48

So I'm gonna say that's our discussion name, I'm going to, I could choose to invite members, I don't have to, I'm going to just leave it for now. And maybe this is going to be no group discussion on French cinema. Great. So I'm gonna create this.

Alex  36:09

It is inside of my see at the very top here, you'll see it is in the film theory class, or channel. And it's a discussion that's labeled French cinema. So I'm the only one in here right now. But you'll see my left hand side has a little bit of changed. So I have a discussion section here. And now I'm inside that discussion. And I can nest conversations. If I go back to our film theory class, let me go back, you'll see a little button there to get back to that discussion. A great way to use these is to nest conversations, by your course design. So if you've got week one, and you want discussion about week one to be there, that's a great way to kind of collect it, we too, maybe there's a group one that you want to nest somewhere, maybe there's a specific piece of content you want to keep, maybe you have office hours, as a great way to make sure that folks are kind of collecting the conversation in one spot. So you can go back and read it in a way that makes sense for you to organize, and for students to organize. So a way to go back and see all the discussions is up here. I can go here and I can click discussions. And I kind of organizes it for me, I'll see all of them together and can click in. So I also see there's one message in there. If I need to go back and do some grading or I need to see how much participation there is. That's a great way to just skim it really quickly and see where the discussion was happening. That's true for attachments. That's also true for threads. So if we had threads in this conversation, you'd see them here. Maybe I'll have to do that and show Vicky. But that's a that's a great way to help organize the content. As you, there you go thanks, Vicky. So now we have a thread.

Riadh  37:58

Excuse me, I can grade like two or three discussions at the same time.

Alex  38:03

Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. So what we what we often will do is recommend creating any sort of nested things before you start the class and then tell students, this is how we're going to use it. Go back and add those students, or have them self select into the groups or kind of content discussions that you're looking for. It's a great question. Students can also create their own discussions. So if they wanted to create their own group, that could happen. Think of it as a breakout room, if you will. It's just a virtual room to have that conversation. I have lost my train of thought. So Vicky, anything you wanted to add there? Thank you for this beautiful image.

Vicky  38:50

Yeah, I think that's pretty good. Yeah. And I think using polls, I don't know if you shared how to do that yet. 

Alex  38:58

Yeah. Let's, let's do polls. Thank you. Okay, back in our film theory class, and move some of my Zoom things here. There we go. Okay, so polls we talked about a little bit earlier, a great way to use polls is to do quick checks with students, you might use it for attendance. You might also use it to say, how are you actually doing, and a great way to do that is we're going to add a button here very quickly. But a forward slash tells Nectir that you're looking for something. And if you type in "poll", you'll see this come up. I'm going to click into it. You'll see nothing happened for a second. That's okay. When you start typing what your what you want your poll to be, it'll pop back up again. So maybe my question is, how are you? Again, nothing's gonna happen when I hit Enter is going to pop up a little dialog box and I can change some of these questions. So how are you? Feeling good? Not so much. Maybe I want to add Add another choice if you need help. So So, so So Okay, great. Let's do that. So so I can choose whether I want a respondents to have multiple choices or a single choice, I can also have it be open or confidential. This is pretty important depending on the kind of responses you're looking for. Right? If you're asking, do you understand the content, maybe folks are a little more willing to share if it's confidential. Or if you're asking how their mental health is confidential is a good fit. But maybe you need to know who those folks are, too. So keep that in mind as you're, you know, choosing your poll questions and your poll settings. And I will create this, and it will show up inside whatever channel I'm in. So you'll see I have my name the question, and then you can just vote, right? Yes, this is a pretty quick way to do those check ins. But we also certainly recommend following up with folks in direct messages, I wanted to talk about those really quickly. So we don't miss that. Let's say you hear some information from folks here that you really do want to follow up on. But you don't want to do it in the main channel, there's a way to direct message someone. So I've got a direct message on the left hand side with Vicky here. And with Mindy, I'm gonna show you how to create it separately. So you're in this class, and I, you know, in this case, this is confidential, so I can't see who said feeling good. But I'm gonna just follow up with Vicky, I'm gonna follow up with Riadh, I can go to this create new, and I can save with a direct message here. I could also go to the discover page, and go and type in your name Reott and find you there. But I'm gonna show you it here from the Create New so I'm gonna say direct message. And I will type in your name, and click on it here and say create what a direct messages is just like it says, me and you and a direct message. And it's just the two of us. I will reinforce here that these are private, no one can see them, including the Nectir staff. So if you have some sensitive, you know, information that you want to share with a student, or you're getting from a student, this is something that is truly private, back and forth, you can add a third or a fourth person to a direct message. But if there's more than that, we really recommend creating a channel. So in this case, I can say, you know, just wanted to check in. And it's just between the two of us, right? You can hear it on your side. I've got it on my side, I can see when you're typing back. I will also quickly show you when I was gonna say a read receipt, but I don't see it yet. Direct messages have very similar functionality. So you can do a video message you can do a discussion. There you go. Great. All the same. Account Settings are here. But it is a private message between those two people. In case you wanted to follow up. Vicky, anything else you want to share there?

Vicky  43:01

Yeah, I think a third and easy way to start a DM is if you just click on their picture. So if you're like in a channel and you're talking to someone and you just want to DM them, so if you pull up, you can just click on Riadh's, or Yeah, or me, like the picture. Yeah. And then the little chat icon, right below. Yeah, that's a direct message. So if you see anyone in your channel, instead of like needing to remember their name and search it, you can just click on their picture. And that's a really fast way. Yeah. Yeah.

Alex  43:31

Great add there. Thank you. Okay, we're coming up on time here. So I want to answer any questions you have Riadh. But I want to show you one more thing. Before we do that. Here, if you click on your little profile picture here, this is where you can set some of your account settings. So my account, I'm going to go to preferences, because I think that's going to be more important for for you, and particularly notifications. So this is something that you can make pretty customized for your notifications. for push notifications for desktop notifications. One thing I would remind you is you can have this on your mobile phone, and most students use it on your mobile mobile phone. Any adjustments you make on the browser are going to stick with the browser, any adjustments you're going to make on your app are going to stick with your app. So they are different settings. You may like a lot ofnotifications, you may like fewer, that's okay, that's up to you. You can also set notifications by channel. This is pretty important. So for film theory, let's say that's the one you want to really pay attention to because for whatever reason, you know, there's a lot of activity. You can set your notifications specifically here for just that channel. So perceive alerts mute at all or mentions. Certainly, you can continue to go through mobile and desktop so you can get pretty granular with these notifications. I share that because we're hoping that this is actually less work for TAs, then lots and lots and lots of emails hoping that you are able to use your time wisely in a way that makes sense for you and your life. Because you shouldn't have to be on all the time, you should be able to have the preferences when you want them, and log in to the areas that make the most sense for you. So with that, I will stop talking and say, what questions do you have? How can we help?

Riadh  45:23

Oh, actually two questions. The first one, because I'm thinking about some projects with the students. So I would like to know if the students can form like, groups or channels together and collect projects. And if I can, if they can upload videos, for example, on the platform,

Alex  45:49

Yes, so students can create their own channels, they can certainly create their own sub channels discussions inside. So we've kind of showed you discussions before, they can also go up here and do the create new channel just the same way you can. So they can do that further on groups. They could

Riadh  46:05

So they can have like, for example, one main channel and then sub channels or discussions, like for example, group one, group two, group three, and then I have access to all these projects at the same time.

Alex  46:19

Correct. So in that case, yeah, that's a great point. In that case, we're going to be in the film theory class, I'm going to create a discussion for you know, group one, great, you can invite those members create it, you as the channel owner have access to this and can see all the conversation happening here. So Can other students, by the way, other students could get here and say, Oh, group one's talking about this, I want to bring that into group two. So that's a good thing. You want that kind of cross pollination of ideas, you as an instructor get to, or not, as a TA, have the view of all of this and can go back and forth to do any sort of grading or commenting.

Riadh  46:58

Another question is, can I create like a QR code link a QR code so that the students can join the channel directly without adding them one by one? 

Alex  47:09

Yeah, that's a great question. I don't think we've done QR codes, Vicky, have we?

Vicky  47:14

I don't think so we do have the invite link option, which is kind of like the QR code. So if you do a QR code, you'd have to send them to a link anyway. So it would probably be this link. So you go to the channel that you'd want. And then you can set. Yes, you just go into members. If you have all their email address, it's really easy. Just copy and paste and add them and they'll get an automatic email to their UCSB email saying, hey, you've been added to this Nectir Channel, and then they can then access it from there, or if you want to send them the invite link, you would be able to then do it there too.

Riadh  47:48

Or you can give them the name of the channel and the look for it to join right away.

Vicky  47:55

If it's a public channel, so if it's a private channel, they won't be able to find it. Unless you add them to it. Yeah, it won't show up on the Discover. So because it's a private so you some people make it public for like the first week so that everyone can find it in the discover and join, and then they change it to private. Or you can just do it private from the start and do an invite link to that this link right here. This will take them to this private channel. And you can share that. And if they click on that, they will then be automatically added. So we have a couple of ways to add people

Alex  48:28

Yeah, this, this link option may be the one you're looking for reach out for your course, because you could make a QR code from this if you wanted. But that's something we could think about to Vicky for maybe maybe we could easily create that and you know, have it auto set to a mobile phone, that would be a great app.

Riadh  48:48

Yes. Another question on the last question. So first, is this platform accessible to anyone? For example, if I wanted to use it in my home country, so can I find it on the internet or is devoted to the University of Santa Barbara?

Alex  49:04

Yeah, that's a great question. So a couple of things there. Yes, it is available. And we try to focus a lot on community building. So we're really supporting educators and trying to help those, you know, communities in learning and if you wanted to use this another at another location, certainly, you know, direct message Vicky or myself and we can help get you set up. One thing I think that would be helpful for you to know if you decide to go that route. And Mindy this is probably available or you know, noted for you as well. Because of the way this is designed, it is available in like 200 languages. So what we would do is channel by channel, you can decide what language you want to read all the UI, what is the user interface? So all these words, right? Well, not all these words, but like invite members, for instance, would be translated into In the Channel language you designate, as a user, I could also change the language. So I might send a message in Spanish, and Vicky could receive it in English. Or she could translate it message by message. I think that is a really important thing when you're talking about international conversations. It's also great for learning. That's one of the things we're really trying to enhance here, right? If you see something in English, and then you translate it to your home language, and then you translate it back, you can kind of see how things connect. It's not perfect all the time. But it is a tool that we're trying to use to help enhance language and certainly enhance some of the the translation tools. So if you're interested in kind of talking through what that looks like, for either your class or for a different use case, let us know send us a message. That's awesome. Okay, well, we are right at time. So I appreciate you joining.

Riadh  51:00

Am I the only one to be present? 

Alex  51:02

You and Mindy Yes! But we're recording this. So we're hoping to share this with other folks. Yeah, many still here too. So I will share this recording out and we can have certainly further conversation. If you've got questions. If you're watching this. If you've got ideas of ways this might support you and your efforts. Certainly let us know. Thanks for joining. Mindy. I'll be in touch and we look forward to kind of helping.

Join future workshops.
Get notified when we host future workshops. Join us to get 1:1 help with setting up your class, learning new features, or discovering new use cases.
Read about our privacy policy.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.