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

Due Date Banner

I have been finding a lot of ways to use the Snipping Tool lately.  If you click on the Start button on the bottom left corner of your computer screen and type snipping tool in the search box, you can access the tool or pin it to your taskbar, which I do for quick access.  The tool copies the image on your screen for the area that you want to capture.  You can save the image or just copy it into an e-mail or document.  For my online class I am starting to capture the week or two we are on from the course calendar, saving the image, and then making it the banner for the course.  So, when students enter the course they will see the due dates for that week or upcoming weeks.  To set a banner in Blackboard, once the image is saved with the snipping tool, you would click on Customization, then Teaching Style, and insert the image in the Select Banner section.  I hope my online students all look at the calendar on a normal basis along with keeping up with my reminder e-mails, but this is just another way they can visualize what they should be doing that week and make things a little clearer for them.  Below is an example of what it ends up looking like.

Due dates banner

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.

Continue reading

Amp up Employability Skills with Service Learning

Marinette VITA Volunteers

VITA Service Learning Project Volunteers – Marinette Campus

Would your students benefit from further developing their non-technical skills so critical for successful employment? Consider the role service learning could play in fostering these important virtues! Continue reading

Why you should take a break


3 year olds have tasks too

As I stepped foot into the campus workout room for the first time in almost four years I wondered why it had been so long. Then I had a series of flashbacks (the scriptwriting instructor side of me wants to format my flashbacks properly for film, but I will refrain). I visualized my two small children and husband, a messy house, an infinitely long grading list, class prep work, an uneaten lunch, and a clock reading 1am. Now it all makes sense. Continue reading