Coding for High School Biology Students!

Dr. J. Bret Bennington, a Professor of Geology and chair of the Department of Geology, Environment, and Sustainability, was recently awarded an NSF funded STEM+C grant along with his colleagues: Stavros Valenti, Senior Associate Dean for Student Academic Affairs and Professor of Psychology; Roberto Joseph, Associate Professor of Teaching, Learning and Technology; Lian Duan, Assistant Professor of Information Systems and Business Analytics; and Krishnan Pillaipakkamnatt, Professor and Chair of Computer Science. This project infuses coding and computational thinking into high school biology classes in six school districts across Long Island. Bret and his team have been collaborating with teachers from the six school districts on to create a modified Living Environment curriculum around App Inventor, a free web-based application that allows anyone to create apps for Android devices. The goal is for teachers and students to create apps for topics that need a fresh approach and have a repetitive nature to them. For example, transcribing DNA into RNA and then into the amino acid sequence of a protein molecule. In having to code the apps, students will not only learn an applicable skill in the [...]

2019-03-22T02:17:56+00:00January 24th, 2019|

Instructors of January and Spring 2019 Courses: Blackboard is moving!

Dear Faculty Colleagues, We've completed the process of moving to our new cloud-based Blackboard system for Department courses, and courses for January and Spring 2019 terms. We're happy to announce that all faculty now have access to the new system.  Visit to see the new system and give it a try.  Below, we've added some additional details that you may find helpful as you prepare for intersession and the spring semester. Finding and Developing Your January and Spring Courses From the MyHofstra Portal,, click the waffle/My Apps icon in the top right. Click the Blackboard Icon in My Apps. Choose  January/Spring or Older Terms. Fall 2018 and Older Courses Fall and previous semester courses remain for now on the old system.  When you click the Blackboard button in My Apps the portal, you will be able to choose between terms; either January/Spring for the new server, or older terms for the old server. Wrapping Up Grading and Moving Your Courses For Fall Courses (201809), finish up using the old system as you have been,  Moving your course content to the new server is best done following these three easy steps. Export the content from courses [...]

2019-03-22T03:14:14+00:00December 18th, 2018|

Promoting Cybersecurity Through Digital Self-Defense

Everyone needs to be aware of cyber security to protect their own online privacy.  As you can see in this visualization from information is beautiful, data breaches are increasing in scope and frequency. Data visualization from information is beautiful. To help inform students at Hofstra, EdTech partnered with the Hofstra Department of Computer Science in hosting the Digital Self Defense event.  On November 8th, Professor Xiang Fu brought together Hofstra students and campus security experts for a mix of information, activities, and prizes. Ray McClure (Manager of IT Security), Toon-Chien Wong (Associate Technical Director of Systems and Operations), and Carlos Rendon (Systems Security Analyst) explained some of the basics of cyber security and answered questions. After the presentation, students were invited to earn snacks and prizes by testing their cyber security knowledge at the interactive activity booths. If you’re interested in learning more, we can schedule a similar event for your club or group. For Students (Club Event):You can have a Cybersecurity expert discuss digital self-defense strategies at your next student club meeting!  Contact us at to schedule a time for your club! For Faculty (Snacks [...]

2018-12-14T15:20:24+00:00December 14th, 2018|

Blackboard is Moving Before January Session

Great News! We are moving! Blackboard is changing the way Hofstra’s Blackboard system is hosted.  In the new system, Hofstra has been promised zero downtime for upgrades and patches as well as constant access to the latest security upgrades and feature updates. To get there, we must move everything that we are using from the current Hofstra Blackboard system to a new cloud-based Blackboard.  The new system will look and feel very much like the current system.  You will not need to learn to use a new system. We are creating January and Spring 2019 courses on the new server.  Access to January and Spring 2019 is now blocked on the current server.  Blackboard will migrate all regular courses that have content and student work from the old server to the new server.  In cases where the new January and Spring courses do not yet have content or student work, you can Export the material from an old course site (instead of Course Copy) and Import it to the new site.  Instructions for Export/Import can be found at Please do not add any new [...]

2019-03-22T03:14:04+00:00December 5th, 2018|

Innovative Educational Technologies – FRED Workshop Presentation

On October 19, 2018, members of the Hofstra EdTech team were honored to be invited by the office of Senior Vice Provost Terri Shapiro to give a Faculty Research, Development & Education (FRED) Workshop on the subject of Innovative Educational Technologies.  We highlighted four technologies that are available to Hofstra faculty to support teaching and research. Here's the video of the presentation: Kick it up a notch with Kaltura Kaltura is a video platform that is integrated with Blackboard.  With it, you can upload and manage video content for your courses.  One innovative new feature is video quizzing.  You can add quiz functionality to any Kaltura video.  This will allow you to add simple questions to keep your students engaged in your video content. Recently, we enabled the ability to upload 360 degree videos!  Faculty can check out a 360 degree camera from the Faculty Technology Center to record in this exciting format.  EdTech can help with the processing, and if the video is tagged "360" - Kaltura will enable options to look around and move the camera in all directions. Leading with [...]

2019-03-22T03:11:55+00:00November 5th, 2018|

PrideDesktop Now Available for All Hofstra Students and Employees

EdTech is pleased to announce Information Technology’s rollout of PrideDesktop. Hofstra recognizes that today’s students and faculty are always on the go. They need to be able to access the tools they need anywhere, anytime and from many different devices. With that in mind Hofstra University has implemented a way for students and faculty to access the software resources normally only found Hofstra computers remotely. Virtual Desktop Interface (VDI) allows current students and faculty to access specialized software on their own devices both inside and outside of classroom 24/7/365. Almost all of the software you would find in your classroom or the open access computer labs is available via VDI but now you can access it from wherever you have Internet access. In addition, may lab classroom computers will have PrideDesktop as well. Students will be able to log into these computers to easily access web browsers and Microsoft Office. If they need to access specialized software, they will need to double-click the PrideDesktop icon to log into our virtual desktops. Both students and faculty can also take advantage of the free Microsoft Office [...]

2018-12-03T23:16:34+00:00August 29th, 2018|

Now There’s an Attendance Tool in Blackboard!

A new feature added to Blackboard over the summer is often-requested ability to track student attendance.  This can now be turned on in any class from the Course Management section, and the Attendance ties directly back into the Gradebook. To turn it on for your course, find the Attendance option under Course Tools: Course Management > Course Tools > Attendance This new functionality allows for simple tracking of student attendance.  You mark students as Present, Late, Absent, or Excused.  And by adjusting the settings you can grade by letter, point, or percentage. x x In the Overall section, you can see current and previous sessions, as well as overview statistics.  You can add slots for previous sections by clicking on the plus (+) icon that appears when you move the mouse between existing sessions. x If you’re interested in seeing it in action, this quick video will walk you through the process: For more information, check out Blackboard’s instructor help for Attendance:

2019-03-22T03:13:28+00:00August 25th, 2018|