2018 PUA and EPP Graduation Video

Congratulations to our 2018 Public and Urban Affairs (PUA) and Environmental Policy and Planning (EPP) graduates! The video below (taken through Google Glass) captures my view of the 2018 CAUS Commencement Ceremony. It also provides a behind the scenes look at the ceremony, which I hope the family and friends of our graduates will enjoy. I’d like to thank Prof. Eric Lyon for allowing me to include his original music – entitled “Of the Beginning” – in the video. This music was written for the 2018 Graduate School Commencement Ceremony. I was able to record a live version of this piece that can be heard throughout the video.

Providing Video Feedback on Assignments

On Wednesday, February 10, at 10am, I will be giving a Practice Session at the 2016 Conference on Higher Education Pedagogy on Providing Video Feedback on Assignments. I have posted below the material I will be using during this 50-minute session.

During the session I will discuss how to [1] create a video-feedback platform using SnagIt, Google+, Google Circles, and YouTube, [2] structure the process of providing video feedback, and [3] what to include in the feedback video. I plan to share what I have learned from experimenting with Google Apps and screen capture software, and from recording over 300 assignment feedback videos.

Click on the image below to access the first Google Doc that will be used during the practice session. This document provides instructions on what participants will need to do to be able to engage in the session.


The second Google Doc below provides guidance on how to set up a Google Apps platform for a course.


The slides below provide some initial results from my research into providing video feedback on assignments.

Update on Google Glass and Apps

Following the announcement that Google will no longer be selling Glass, I thought I’d provide an update on my plans for using Google Glass and Apps this coming semester. Essentially, not much will change. I will continue to use the platform to support my courses and plan to test new ways of interacting with students in the classroom, such as using ParticiPoll to ask questions during a presentation.

My experience with learning and using Glass and Google Apps has transformed the way I approach my teaching. I no longer use VT’s Scholar system and run all of my courses using VT-supported Google Apps. I’m more willing to try new things and can easily walk away from ideas that simply didn’t work. I’m sure the spirit of the Explorer program had something to do with this. Below is the welcome message from Google that came with Glass device.


During the Fall 2014 semester, I tested Google Classroom in one of my courses and will now rollout this App in all of my courses. I would describe the App as a useful assignment management tool that eliminates the need to download/upload assignments and streamlines this aspect of administering a course. While it took a while to understand exactly how files were being shared – this process is managed in the Classroom App – I’d recommend the App to anyone who is comfortable using Google Drive.

Towards the end of this semester, I plan to conclude an assignment-feedback study I have been undertaking with Mary English that should reveal the value of providing video feedback in addition to written comments. With Glass being phased out for now, I plan to start testing alternative video recording devices and software to capture my feedback. The suite of Google Apps I use to support my courses will not change.

I have included a short article below that was published in the Engineers’ Forum magazine (pp. 14-15) that talks about my use of Google Glass and Apps. The title of the article reflects my jump into the Google Inc. universe. A jump that I have yet to regret.


“Experience VT” Through Glass

This morning, Emily Van Houweling and I presented the results from the impact evaluation our team undertook of an MCC-funded rural water supply project in Nampula, Mozambique, at the “Experience Virginia Tech: Learn, Explore, Engage” event. During the event, I recorded (using Glass) a number of the presenters talking about their research and work at the university. The video below captures these comments and provides some insight into the breadth and depth of research that is underway at Virginia Tech.

UAP 5784 – Technology, Globalization, and Sustainable Development

This fall semester I will be offering a graduate seminar focused on Technology, Globalization, and Sustainable Development (UAP 5784; 3 Credits)

Book Review: “This astonishing book is a terrific summary of informa¬tion for those seeking feasible alternatives to the pursuit of infinite growth.” Dennis Meadows, co-author of The Limits to Growth
Book Review: “This astonishing book is a terrific summary of informa¬tion for those seeking feasible alternatives to the pursuit of infinite growth.” Dennis Meadows, co-author of The Limits to Growth

The seminar will meet on Fridays from 12:30pm to 3:15pm, in the Architecture Annex, room 111.

The seminar is designed to provide students with a transdisciplinary perspective on sustainable development. It is intended for students interested in planning, policy, economics, business, innovation, environmental studies, and law. The seminar will explore the many dimensions of sustainability and how national, multinational, and international political and legal mechanisms can be used to further sustainable development.

During the seminar we will consider the inter-relationship of global economic changes, inequality, employment, worker health and safety, and environment in the context of theories of development, trade, technical and organizational innovation, and employment. Mechanisms for resolving the apparent conflicts between these elements will be explored.

This new book will be available in August/September, 2014.
This new book will be available 2014/2015.

The seminar is intended to stimulate discussion and critical thinking on the key writings in sustainable development. Students will be evaluated on the basis of their mastery of the materials through (1) written assignments and (2) class participation and attendance. The seminar has two required texts (see images) that will be supplemented by topical readings tailored to student interests.

During the semester, I will use Google Glass and other video capture devices/software to provide students with enhanced feedback on their assignments and performance in the seminar.

Teaching Using Google Glass and Apps

The Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy has just published a Tool Tips article I wrote on how I’m using Google Glass and Apps to support my teaching at Virginia Tech. The multimedia format of the journal offers a unique opportunity to embed pictures and videos in the article that provide a rich context to the platform I’m using and what students thought of the experience.


Using Glass at VT

In the video below, Brian Mathews and I provide some insight into how faculty and students are using Google Glass at Virginia Tech.

[Acknowledgments: I’d like to thank Carlos Waters for his help in editing the above video. I’d also like to thank Virginia Tech’s Networked Learning Initiatives and InnovationSpace for the resources they have made available for members of the VT Glass team.]

For additional information on how faculty and students are using Glass at Virginia Tech, see the recently published Tech Teams White Paper.


New Google+ WASH Community

This semester I’m going to use a Google+ community to support my course on Water Supply and Sanitation in Developing Countries. Whereas the community I created last semester for my sustainability seminar was private, this WASH (water, sanitation, and health) community will be open for anyone to join.


My transition to using Google Apps is fueled by my interest in using Google Glass in education. While the VT Glass Team is still working on an App that I can use during my class (more to come on this), I have had some initial success in recording assignment-feedback videos for students. This semester I have teamed up with Mary English in VT’s Network Learning Initiatives, to formally evaluate my video feedback process. I am aware that there are many ways in which video feedback could be provided, but the Google Apps and Glass platform does make the process easy and therefore doable. I also believe that this use of Glass is one area where the device can add real value in an educational setting.

Since the assignment-feedback videos are privately shared with each student (via their Google+ account), they will not be available on the Google+ WASH community. However, I plan to post videos that discuss new WASH material that will be of interest to my students. These videos will provide a sense of how the assignment-feedback videos work in practice. I will share the results from our formal evaluation of this application of Glass as soon as they are available.