DyKnow Vision teacher tips

Dave Berque, January, 2007

Introduction: DyKnow Vision can be used in a variety of ways depending on your teaching style and pedagogical goals. In general, though, the system will be most effective if you use it to get the students to be actively engaged during the class.

I. General Tips

Tip 1

Here are some technical tips that will be helpful for day one of a new semester

  • If a student has a DyKnow Vision account from a previous semester it should still be active.
  • If a student is creating a new DyKnow Vision account, ask the student to use his or her DePauw login name (i.e., dberque) as his/her DyKnow Vision login name. If students create “silly” login names it can cause problems if the teacher decides to grade work using the system. Also point out to students that they do not have to enter their student ID when creating a new account. This field can be left blank.
  • After logging in on the first day of class students will have to “sign up” for your course before they can join an active session. They only need to do this on the first day.
  • Students who already have DyKnow Vision on personal computers should be encouraged to update to the newest version.
  • Students most commonly want to know how to : (a) navigate from page to page, (b) use synchronization, (c) annotate their work, (d) open the private notes window, (e) save and retrieve their work, (f) replay their work, (g) print their work.
  • Please point the students toward the student tips document available at DyKnow Quick Guide for Students. This document contains a number of resources that will be of use to students including information about where DyKnow Vision is available on campus, how they can install DyKnow Vision onto their own computers, and other important information.

Tip 2

Tell students what you expect early on.

Remember that students have many years of regular note taking experience, and they may be uncertain as to how you expect them to use DyKnow Vision. Take some time to think about what you want the students to be doing during class, such as adding notes based on class discussion, solving problems, etc. and let them know. Giving them suggestions such as “you can make your own notes next to mine” or “before we go over the answer to this, try to write your own answer in the box below” can be very helpful. After you do this a few times students will learn what you have in mind and you will no longer need to prompt them.

Tip 3

Tell students what you expect them not to do early on.

Students may never have taken a class in an electronic classroom before, and they may be unsure of appropriate etiquette. Just as it is helpful to tell them what you expect them to do during class, it may be helpful to tell them what they should not do. A statement on the course outline may be useful here. An example is:

You should come to class prepared to engage the material and participate fully. We will all benefit from your contributions. You are not permitted to read email, browse the Web, play computer games, etc. while class is in session.

II. Tips for Preparing Notebooks

Tip 4

Work from a skeleton.

Many instructors find it useful to prepare a skeleton set of class notes ahead of class, while leaving many blanks. These blanks can be filled in by the teacher, by the students, or both as class unfolds based on student input. The skeleton provides structure, but the student input provides interactivity. If you work from PowerPoint slides that are imported into DyKnow Vision, consider deleting some of the slide content prior to class. This allows content to be added on the fly after giving students a chance to think about what is missing.

Tip 5

Use private ink to prepare material in advance.

When working as a moderator you have access to a special ink color (i.e. purple), which is called private ink. You can add private comments and annotations to your notes in private ink prior to class. These notes will show up if you print out your notebook before class, but when you use your notebook as a set of “prepared notes” during class, the private ink will be stripped out. If you bring a printout of your notebook to class, private ink can be used to remind you of things you intend to say or do during class.

Tip 6

Include answer boxes, margins or conventions to suggest places for students to write.

When working as a moderator your toolbar has a special tool called an “answer box.” Essentially, this is a rectangular region bounded by dashed lines. The answer box has no inherent functionality, but it can be used to suggest to students “here is a place where I want you to fill in some work.” Students will quickly get used to writing in these boxes and this can greatly alleviate the problem of the teacher later overwriting the students work. Other similar techniques for solving this overwriting problem include leaving a margin at the side or bottom of the page or suggesting that students open a new notebook for additional annotations. This is described in more detail in part II.

Tip 7

Take advantage of undo when preparing notes out of session.

When working out of session to prepare notes, DyKnow Vision’s undo feature can help you to quickly correct mistakes.

Tip 8

Spanning two pages for problem solving.

For problems that have long specifications and/or long answers, it can be useful to write a problem statement on one panel, and leave space for student responses on the next panel. Then you can position the front display so that it shows the problem statement while the students can move their own displays to the panel where they will write their answers. By looking to the front of the room, the students can read the question, and they can work on their answer without having to scroll back and forth.

Tip 9

Progressive disclosure allows displaying answers after students think.

Develop a sequence of panels in which the first panel asks the student to answer a question, define a term, list issues or solve a problem. After the students have worked on the first panel independently or in small groups bring in the second panel. This latter panel can contain a model solution to the problem, or it can contain a skeleton on which you develop a model solution based on class input. In one variation of this, the first panel could contain a quiz question. After letting the students work on the quiz, you can use panel management to collect answers from everyone. Then you could bring in the second panel, which might contain a sample solution to the quiz that you could go over. Students are free to make changes to their original answers if they wish since you have already collected the answers you intend to grade. After class you can grade the student work and return it via DyKnow Vision. The next time the students log in the graded work will be available for them.

III. Tips for Avoiding Collisions (also see tip II.6)

Tip 10

Use private ink to avoid overwriting students.

The moderator version of DyKnow Vision has an additional ink color that is available as the right most ink color on the toolbar, which is private ink. Material typed or drawn in this color by the moderator during class will not be transmitted out to the participants. This can be used effectively with “answer boxes” to prevent overwriting student work. For example, if students have completed some work in an answer box and you wish to write a sample solution in that answer box, doing so in private ink will prevent you from overwriting the student’s answer. Additionally, if you go back to an old panel to add content and you suspect students may have already annotated that panel, you may want to use private ink.

Tip 11

Suggest students use the private notes pane.

The private notes pane provides an area for students to write without fear of being overwritten by the instructor.

Tip 12

Copy a panel to avoid overwriting students.

If you need to add a significant amount of additional annotation to a panel that you suspect students have already annotated, you may be concerned that you will overwrite student work. One way around this problem is to make a copy of the panel that you want to annotate and then paste it into a blank panel. If you annotate on this new copy, you will not overwrite any student work that remains on the original copy.

Tip 13

Use private ink to force student activity.

If you want to force students to copy a section of your board work, perhaps, because you want to encourage them to put things into their own words, consider writing in private ink and telling the students “you can put this into your own words and make notes if you wish.”

IV. Tips for Encouraging Engagement

Tip 14

Use answer management.

DyKnow Vision’s Answer Management function is a good way to foster interactivity. Let students work alone or in small groups to solve a problem. Then, either ask for volunteers to submit their answers to you or initiate the process of collecting answers from some or all of the students yourself. By default, collected work will be placed in a new notebook – however, you can override this default and place work into the in-session notebook, or you can copy some of the work from the new notebook to the in-session notebook if you wish. It is often useful to collect work from several students before displaying any student solutions – this way you are more likely to get a range of answers. If students are submitting work to you, it can be useful to enable anonymous submission, which is available under the moderate menu. This may encourage a larger group of students to feel comfortable submitting work. As a specific example, you could suggest that students write down anything they do not understand, and then you can give them a chance to submit their comments to you anonymously if you wish. You can review these comments quickly on the fly to decide how to proceed.

Tip 15

Give students control of the system.

A good way to get a student involved is to give him or her control of the system and ask them to be the scribe for a brainstorming session or other activity. Change the scribe from time to time.

Tip 16

Use the replay feature.

At an appropriate time demonstrate the panel replay feature for students, and then suggest that they can use this feature to review complex diagrams after class. Many students do not realize that this feature exists; but, after it is demonstrated once during class, they generally find it to be useful.

Tip 17

Integrate graphics, content from other programs and Web content.

Use DyKnow Vision’s Insert → Screen Grab feature to paste screen shots into DyKnow Vision. For example, you can prepare notes in Word, edit them until you have a final copy and paste them into DyKnow Vision for use during class. If you save the original Word document, you can make changes at a later date and paste the revised version into DyKnow Vision. As another example, output from a computer program or a code fragment can be pasted into DyKnow Vision.

Updated: 1/11/2017