Digital Bookmarking by PortaPortal

Never heard of PortaPortal? Though its name is sometimes confused with a port-a-potty; they actually have very little in common except they both store a lot of “crap”. Unlike the port-a-potty (’nuff said), PortaPortal is a server based digital bookmarking tool that stores a ton of crap—digital crap, that is—into a very organized menu; thus keeping your favorite website references at your fingertips. Because PortaPortal is digital it can be accessed from any browser, any computer. Better yet, you can even share it with others—both students and colleagues. I especially find it helpful when I am searching a topic on the Internet. I keep my portal open and as I find a great resource, I enter the link (and it sure beats keeping track of a hundred different sticky notes!) To learn more about this free resource (and an inexpensive option, if like me, you want to ditch the banner adds) read on…  

Snipping Tool trick for grading purposes


I often use Microsoft’s Snipping Tool to make grading with rubrics easier and quicker. With your rubric and a few key strokes, you can grade clearly and efficiently. See the accompanying short Camtasia video for specifics. I apologize for the gravelly voice and background hum.


Snipping Tool shortcut

Tell me what this “pill” is…………………………….

Introduction to Clinical Practice is the first nursing clinical that students will encounter in either the Practical or Associate Degree Nursing programs.  The setting for this clinical is the long-term care environment and often where students will encounter clients who may take a numerous amount of medications.  Nursing Pharmacology is taught in the first semester as well—–students will start with pharmacology and then move in to clinical once they have some information under their belts.  As instructors, we strive to bring the “classroom into the clinical”!  Last semester, I had the pleasure of taking over a Pharmacology classroom for a colleague while teaching the clinical associated with the pharmacology class.  LIGHTS BULBS WENT OFF! I knew students were struggling with pharmacology in the clinical setting as well as the classroom setting; how could I remedy this?  Well, let me tell you what I did!

While watching “Maleficent”, I decided to get my scrapbooking material out.  I had BRIGHT colored paper, my circle cutters, AND GLITTER GLUE!  Shiny object syndrome was in full affect for me.  I tend to recall things better with color and shininess (is that a word?), so maybe my students would too!  I began cutting multiple circles of many many different bright colors.  I grabbed my marker and started writing medication names on those circles.  Before I knew it, the glitter glue was on those circles as I traced the medication names with the glitter glue and my table was FULL of “pills”.  Once they dried, I punched holes in the top and put a ring through them.  I now had a “wheel of pills”.  So you are probably wondering, “what in the world are you going to do with those things?”  Well, let me tell you………………………………….

I carried this “wheel of pills” in my scrub pockets at clinical.  Randomly throughout clinical, I would pull out the “Wheel of pills”, approach a student and ask them to “pick a pill”.  I would then proceed to ask them to tell me what the medication was and what they know about that medication.  At first, students were panicked.  HOWEVER, eventually, the students started asking me to pull the “Wheel of pills” out and to ask them questions.  Towards the end of clinical near the end of the semester with a Pharmacology FINAL exam looming over them, students would play games with the “Wheel of Pills”.  It was great to see them accept this strategy so readily as was watching them bring that classroom learning into clinical AND clinical learning into the classroom!  It has been a HUGE success and I will for sure continue with it!

What Would You Do?

Suppose you have been hired as a wellness specialist by a mid-sized company. Despite the work site’s clean exterior and neat appearance, your environmental assessment reveals that the work environment is unhealthy due to wide-scale smoking, vending machines filled with junk food, and cramped work areas. Your supervisor asks you to recommend specific changes to improve the work environment. What Would You Do?

In the classroom I like to use What Would You Do? (WWYD) activities, like the above example. These are activities that focus on a particular situation the student will likely face in his / her professional career. When implementing the WWYD activities you can use a variety of tactics:

  • Structure some portion of the weekly instruction or out-of-class assignment around a particular WWYD exercise.
  • Use a WWYD exercise as an end-of-the-chapter platform for individual students or teams to use for in-class or online discussions, presentations, debates, and so forth.
  • Use a WWYD exercise (or an adaptation) as a possible exam question.
  • Consider having students critique the relevance or applicability of a particular WWYD scenario in various professional settings (i.e. industry, size, locations).

Perhaps you have other options that you’d like to explore in using the WWYD exercise. Whatever they might be, I encourage you to use your imagination to get the most from each WWYD exercise.

Staying organized with student emails

herding cats

6, 7, 8, or more classes

24 or 32 students in each class

potentially 256 separate email identities landing in your in-box

How to organize them and know who belongs to what class?

Luckily, the Outlook email system allows for easy organization of student emails. Rather than having these separate emails in your inbox, you can direct Outlook to sort these emails into the proper class folder. This will save you time and allow you to address specific classes and students quickly.

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