Technology and Learning News

Stay updated on news and events within the Technology and Learning group! Click the links below to view news stories about changes to classroom tools, new software roll outs, and innovations being made with instructional technology to enhance student learning.


August 2017

Courses Upgrade powered by Sakai 11

The new version of Courses offers new features, a cleaner design, and improved mobile access.  Easily Update Grades: Access and input your students' grades in one streamlined system. Just click on the box and enter the score.  Quickly Record Attendance: There is a new tool to track who is present, absent, sick, etc. This new tool helps you assess and monitor student presence in class.  Effectively Share Tasks: The Lessons tool has a new Checklist feature that can be used to indicate class requirements and allow students to self-assess their learning by checking off completed objectives.

June 2016

Google Mail Upgrade Goes Live

After many months of preparation, Information Technology is proud to announce that all faculty, students, and staff have transitioned to Google Apps for Education for our email provider. After over a decade and a half on the old system, we are pleased to now offer unlimited storage for email inboxes, as well as access to the entire suite of Google Apps for Education.

May 2016

Apereo Conference

Technology and Learning attended this year's Open Apereo Conference in New York. Representatives from Technology and Learning were proud to co-present with Dr. Stella Erbes as she shared the process of transforming her classroom with technology.

March 2015

Spring FPD Concludes

After a six session, seven week long curriculum, the Spring 2015 Faculty Professional Development session has come to a close. The Technology and Learning team would like to thank all of the participants who joined us during the session as well as Dr. Chris Heard, our faculty mentor. This was the inaugural session revolving around Game Based Learning approaches, and the feedback we have received has been incredibly positive. We look forward to working this content into future sessions, and are thankful for all the helpful participant feedback!

June 2014

Summer FPD Session

After a 2 week intensive face to face session, the Summer 2014 Fac Prof Dev session has concluded. Led by faculty mentor Stella Erbes, workshops and sessions focused on course design that integrate learner-centric technologies into the classroom to create a more dynamic 'active learner' environment.

March 2014

FPD Spring Concludes

We'd like to thank Dr. Margaret Riel again for guiding this session of Faculty Professional Development. The implementation of Learning Circles proved to be a very novel and unique approach to learning in the classroom, and we look forward to the developments that professors will take away from the experience.

Webconferencing Town Halls

As you know Webconferencing has shown powerful promise in connecting people, both interpersonally and in the classroom. Out of all the myriad of technology partners out there, the Technology and Learning team has narrowed the field to two candidates: Fuze and Adobe Connect. We have been hosting these town hall meetings as a way to educate and solicit feedback from the Pepperdine community so that we can move forward and chose the best candidate for the job. We'd like to thank all of those of you who have volunteered your time and classrooms to this effort, and hope to be making a final decision soon.

Pepperdine to Present at Upcoming Apereo Conference in June

This summer, Pepperdine will be sending three members of the Technology and Learning team to present at the Open Apereo Conference June 1-4. If you are interested in joining us by attending the conference, which will be held in Miami, please contact us via email.

February 2014

ELI Conference

On February 3-5, 2014, EDUCAUSE hosted its EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) annual meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana. Prof. Annie Krikorian,  Dr. Spring Cooke, and Dr. Gary Cobb were all able to join the Tech Learn team as they enjoyed all the conference had to offer. Thank you for joining us!

FPD Spring begins

This spring invited faculty from all five schools to join us in a six-week online faculty professional development program. Faculty mentor, Dr. Margaret Riel from GSEP, has been modeling for participants how to implement "learning circles" in their teaching to build better leadership skills in students. We look forward to the program's continuation and hearing what the participants will gain from it.

January 2014

New Webinars Have Been Made Available

For the past three years, Technology and Learning has sponsored several webinars on various educational technology topics like copyright in the classroom, hybrid learning, student engagement with Web 2.0 tools, and more. We're proud to announce that several more have recently been posted and are readily available.

December 2013

2014 Technology and Learning Grant Winners Announced

Established by the offices of the Provost and the Chief Information Officer, the Technology and Learning grant program offers competitive funding to Pepperdine's faculty members to support and encourage innovation in the field of technology and learning. Read more about the program, as well as this year's winners.

November 2013

Sakai Classes Sites Have Been Populated

Next semester's class sites have been created! If you are interested in publishing your site, or if you would like to learn more about getting started using Courses, read the Courses Checklist.

October 2013

Faculty Speaker Series: "Make POWERpoints, Not WEAKpoints"

In this presentation Landon Phillips, Multimedia Specialist of the Technology and Learning team outlines how to transform weak, bland or boring PowerPoints into effective, memorable, and powerful presentations. Drawing from his years of experience working in advertising, he goes over the importance of visual communication, managing quantity of content, and techniques on keeping viewers engaged. Resources for his presentation may be viewed here.

September 2013

"Faculty Speaker Series: "Peer Instruction with Classroom Response Systems"

This session introduced faculty to the concept of peer instruction in their courses, large and small. Peer Instruction engages students as both learners and teachers, ensuring mass participation instead of passive consumption. Dr. Morrison modeled some best practices in peer instruction using classroom response technology and provided space to discuss applications in individual contexts. For more information, view Dr. Morrison's presentation.

August 2013

Sakai 2.9 Upgrade

Courses (powered by Sakai) received an upgrade, allowing faculty members to benefit from several significant improvements. Better browser support, a new look and feel, and several other new powerful features are all now at faculty member's disposal.

July 2013

Tech Learn Presents an Introduction to Prezi

This past Thursday, The Technology and Learning group presented a 2 hour presentation on an introduction to using Prezi to the faculty and staff members at GSEP. Over 25 attendees learned the ins and outs of using the presentation software, including Dean Webber and two previous attendees of our Faculty Professional Development program.

Sakai Classes Sites have been populated

Next semester's class sites have been created! If you are interested in publishing your site, or if you would like to learn more about getting started using Courses, click here for more information.

Summer 2013 FPD Ends

The third session of the Faculty Professional Development program has come to a close. With a total of 14 participants, it was our largest faculty professional development program to date. Stella Erbes once again served as the faculty mentor and contributed greatly to the program with her knowledge of pedogagy and personal experience in the classroom. Learn more about the program here.

June 2013

Open Apereo (Sakai) Conference 2013 in San Diego

This June, Technology and Learning attended the Open Apereo 2013 conference in San Diego, CA.  Joined by five faculty from four different schools, Pepperdine presented a pre-conference workshop entitled "Teaching with Sakai CLE from the Ground Up!", which you can view here. To learn more about this, or future Sakai conferences, please click here.

May 2013

Faculty Speaker Series: "Cloud Storage for Collaboration"

In our latest Pepperdine University faculty speaker series event, Dr. David Smith, Dean of Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of Economics of the Graziadio School of Business and Management, discusses how he has fostered collaboration with online storage solutions.  Dr. Smith was an IT Grant winner from 2012 and his grant proposal centered on cloud storage. See how he uses Cloud storage tools in his presentation here.

Summer 2013 Faculty Professional Development Program Open to Applicants

This two-week, technology-enhanced faculty professional development program led by the Technology and Learning group and faculty mentor Stella Erbes is for faculty who are new to integrating instructional technology into their courses. Workshops and sessions will focus on course design that integrates technologies into the classroom that are learner-centric and shift how you deliver course content. Meetings will take place at the Drescher Graduate campus in Malibu. Spaces are limited, so register now to be eligible to be one of the twelve participants.

April 2013

Upcoming Open Apereo (Sakai) Conference 2013 in San Diego

This June, Technology and Learning will attend the Open Apereo 2013 conference in San Diego, CA.  We will be sponsoring five Pepperdine University faculty to join us at the conference, and we will also contribute with a two-part presentation: "Teaching with Sakai CLE from the Ground Up!" To learn more about the conference click here.

Faculty Speaker Series: "Blogs in the Classroom: Through a Journalism Lens"

In this presentation, Prof. Elizabeth Smith shares how she uses blogs in journalism classes at Seaver College and how they have impacted and improved student learning and engagement. Prof. Smith offers examples from student blogs and demonstrates her own blog that she designed and developed as a resource for her students. To watch the presentation, click here.

March 2013

Summer 2013 Class Sites Created on Courses

The class sites for all summer 2013 courses have been created. To learn more about the course creation schedule, please click here.


Online Faculty Professional Development

This spring we invited GSEP faculty from the ELA, ELAP, and MAE Programs to join us in a six-week online faculty professional development program. Seven faculty members have partnered with us in order to gain more confidence teaching in a blended/hybrid format, and we look forward to seeing the results of their innovation!

February 2013

 ELI Conference

This February, Information Technology invited several faculty to the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) Annual Meeting in Denver, CO. This year's ELI conference was titled "Advancing the Next Generation of Learning." One of Information Technology's strategic initiatives is promoting faculty professional development.  IT sponsored four faculty members to attend the event, with a few others joining the group as well.  The goal was to offer professors an opportunity to learn about integrating technology into their teaching to enhance student learning.  The conference routinely offers an excellent showcase of current and emerging technologies.  There were many sessions on topics like mobile and cloud learning, faculty development, ebooks, and others.  This venue also offers the chance to speak with peer instructors as well as instructional designers, librarians, administrators, consultants, and technology companies.

The 2013 Technology and Learning Faculty Conference

This year's conference was a fantastic success, bringing together faculty members from all five schools of Pepperdine. We are currently processing all the fantastic presentations, faculty feedback, and lots of other great content, and will post the materials as soon as they become available. Please check here again soon to watch videos, hear testimonials, and share in all the insights your colleagues brought to this year's conference.

January 2013

Technology and Learning Assists GSEP's MAE Students

On January 7, GSEP hosted a new cohort of Masters of Education students at their New Student Orientation. The Technology and Learning group partnered with GSEP and the West LA Graduate Campus support team to deliver an overview of Courses (powered by Sakai) and Bb Collaborate. The Masters of Education program is a hybrid program that meets several times a semester remotely. The Technology and Learning group was pleased to introduce the students to our web conferencing solution and guide them to excellent support options at our graduate campus centers.

December 2012

2013 Grant Winners Announced

We are excited to announce the winners for the 2013 IT Grants for Faculty program. Last year, we received nine proposals to the program. This year we received nineteen proposals, including at least one proposal from each school. Learn more...

October 2012

IT Professional Development Program

Hong Kha and Landon Phillips hosted an introductory professional development series designed to teach their fellow IT staff members the basics of Photoshop. Over the course of a few weeks, staff members learned principles of masking, good PowerPoint layout, and many other design based skills. Learn more...

June 2012

Sakai Conference Success

The 2012 Sakai Conference in Atlanta was a hit! Information Technology sponsored four faculty and four IT staff members to attend this year's annual event. Pepperdine gave four presentations at the event, including two events targeted toward faculty. Attendees of these presentations said it was nice to see best practices modeled for faculty who are new to using Sakai. Learn more.

May 2012

Sakai Conference 2012

For the past three years, Information Technology has invited faculty to attend the annual Sakai conference. IT is committed to partnering with faculty to improve student learning services here at Pepperdine. For more information, click here.

April 2012

Faculty Speaker Series: "Photoshopping Better Lectures"

Hong Kha and Landon Phillips of the Technology and Learning Group shared information on how to improve and strengthen lectures by implementing a few basic design principles and basic understanding of Photoshop.

March 2012

Turnitin Tool Updated

Technology and Learning installed an updated integration with the Turnitin service. The new update includes better stability, reliability, and an improved interface, to make the system easier to use. For more information, click here.

Faculty Speaker Series: "Using Tests and Quizzes in Courses/Sakai"

Alan Regan and Hong Kha of the Technology and Learning Group discussed how to use the Tests and Quizzes tool in Courses/Sakai. For more information, click here.

Faculty Speaker Series: "Using Technology To Put Students At The Center Of Learning"

Dr. Michael Shires, Associate Professor of Public Policy, discussed how he engages students in learning activities with technology. He reviewed his use of response systems to poll students as well as his use of iTunesU.

Inaugural Faculty Steering Committee

The InformationTechnology (IT) department hosted the inaugural Technology and Learning Faculty Steering Committee on Wednesday, March 7. The purpose of the committee is to improve student learning by obtaining faculty leadership and guidance (with representatives from all five schools) when determining concomitant effective teaching practices and choosing instructional technologies at Pepperdine University.

Proposals Being Accepted for the Sakai Conference

The Call for Proposals for the 2012 Jasig-Sakai conference is now open.  The deadline is just around the corner -- Sunday, March 18!  If you would like to showcase your hard work, then consider submitting a proposal to this year's conference.  Please find more details here.

Feburary 2012

Faculty Speaker Series: "Forums and Feedback"

Dr. Linda Polin, Professor of Education for GSEP, discussed how to engage students in blended learning activities. In this session she reviewed how to use Forums effectively and demonstrated how she uses podcasts to extend the classroom, both for lecture material as well as student feedback.

IT Invites Faculty to Attend ELI Conference 2012

The foundation of IT's strategic model is faculty leadership.  As part of our commitment to this strategic goal and to promote community engagement, the IT department sponsored faculty from all five schools of Pepperdine to attend the ELI annual conference in Austin, TX from February 13-15, 2012. Learn more.

2012 Grant Recipients Announced

The Technology and Learning grant program offers competitive funding to Pepperdine's full-time faculty members to support and encourage innovation in the field of technology and learning. Eight proposals submitted in January were recommended for funding by a committee compromised of faculty from all five schools of Pepperdine. This program was established by the offices of the Provost and the Chief Information Officer, and is administered through the Technology and Learning department.

Please click here for a list of the proposals that recieved funding for a total of $60,942.

January 2012

Courses/Sakai Checklist for New Academic Term

We welcome back all faculty! To help you get a fresh start with your classes, please review our Checklist for a New Academic Term.

December 2011

New Data Center for Courses (powered by Sakai)

On December 22 from 6:00 am-8:00 am, our hosting partner will be moving to a new data center. This new location boasts better bandwidth and improved power backup options. What do you need to know?

  • Service will be unavailable during the maintenance window (12/22/2011 6:00 am-8:00 am).
  • We'll enjoy a more reliable location for our Courses/Sakai servers.
  • Everything else stays the same: same easy web address, same great features.

Thank you for being aware of this important service period. We appreciate everyone's patience!

November 2011

Spring 2012 Class Sites Created on Courses (powered by Sakai)

Happy Thanksgiving! On November 18, we created all spring 2012 class sites on Courses (powered by Sakai). Faculty can start populating their sites with content to prepare for the next academic term. Sign up for a one-on-one consultation, refer to the getting started guide for faculty, and don't forget to publish your sites so your students will see them.

Faculty Speaker Series: "Successfully Using Tests & Quizzes in Courses"

We wrap the 2011 faculty speaker series with Dr. Jim DiLellio of the Graziadio School of Business and Management. Dr. DiLellio will discuss how he uses short, 10-question quizzes to encourage student engagement in new class material. He will showcase how he uses the Tests & Quizzes tool and offer tips to successfully assess and promote student learning.

October 2011

Faculty Speaker Series: Two Events in October!

Our faculty speaker series continues in October with two seminars.

  • "How Podcasting Enhanced My Classes." Listen to Prof. Greg Ogden discuss his experiences with podcasting in his School of Law classes. October 6, 11:00 AM, and the Malibu Drescher campus.
  • "Learning Circles for Online Teaching." Dr. Margaret Riel of GSEP discusses her experience and action research into learning circles to engage students in meaningful, collaborative activities. October 13, 2:00 PM, online via Elluminate!

September 2011

Faculty Speaker Series: "YouTube, You Teach"

Dr. Christopher Heard of Seaver College's Religion Division will share his insights on shifting lectures into homework. He will review the pedagogy behind his decisions and then discuss the technologies he uses to record lectures and offer them to his students. We hope to see you on September 29 at the Payson Instruction Lab in Malibu at 11:00 AM.

Attend the Inaugural Technology and Learning Conference!

DON'T MISS THIS! On Wednesday, September 14, join us in Malibu to listen to your peers discuss how they are using technology to promote student learning. Speakers from Graziadio, GSEP, Seaver, and the Caruso School of Law will present on topics ranging from Courses (powered by Sakai) to clickers, iPads to successful teaching practices. This half-day event starts at 8:30 AM and includes breakfast, lunch, and prize giveaways!

Two Great Webinars in September

This month, Technology and Learning is sponsoring two webinars on online teaching.

  • "Making the Shift from Classroom to Online Course Design." This is a 4-part series that will be held on September 7, 12, 21, and 26. Each day will cover a new topic to help you learn to transition from teaching face-to-face to a blended or online format.
  • "Student Engagement and Web 2.0 in Blended Learning." This session will cover many popular Web 2.0 technologies and how to engage students in their educational experience.

August 2011

Courses successfully upgraded. Attend the Informational Session.

We recently upgraded Courses (powered by Sakai) to the latest and greatest version. On August 17, come to one of the informational sessions to learn what's new! Events will be held in Malibu, West LA, and Irvine. Seating is limited to register today!

July 2011

Courses to be upgraded

In August 2011, we plan to upgrade our Sakai platform for version 2.8. We are currently running Sakai 2.6. There are many reasons for this upgrade including:

  • Improvements to assessments (auto-save student work; improved interface for instructors; integration for Respondus application)
  • Improvements to text editor (experimental CK editor upgrade to improve pasting from MS Word)
  • Mobile skin for phones, ipads, or other handheld device and many other improvements (see Official Sakai 2.8 Release Notes)

Fall 2011 Class Sites Created on Courses (powered by Sakai)

On July 1, all classes for the fall 2011 term were created in Courses. Faculty can now upload course documents, assignments, and syllabi to their fall course sites. When logging in to Courses, faculty will find their fall classes either as tabs across the top or in the "All My Sites" grouping. Faculty can now easily publish their sites with one click and customize the order and appearance of their tabs with the push of a button. For more information on these Courses tips click here.

June 2011

Pepperdine Faculty and Staff Present at Sakai Conference 2011

This June, the Technology and Learning group and more than 50 faculty and staff members attended the North American Sakai Conference in downtown Los Angeles. Pepperdine attendees participated in and/or presented on a total of 13 events. Faculty and staff had the opportunity to learn more about effective teaching practices with Courses (Pepperdine's Sakai instance) and learned more about technological innovations and new releases planned for the upcoming academic year. Many of our Pepperdine attendees met at a special "Birds of a Feather" session to discuss best practices and chart the future of Courses and other technologies showcased to assist in the learning process. Learn more!

 April 2011

Technology and Learning Sponsors Webinar on Social Media.

Would you like to learn how social tools like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube can be used effectively in the classroom? Are you concerned about issues with privacy? Please join us on April 25 for a seminar on "Using Social Media for Teaching and Learning." This event is recommended for faculty and instructional support staff that want to learn best practices for using social media and integrating it into curriculum. This live webinar will happen April 25, 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM in Malibu (Thornton Administrative Center, Lobby Conference Room) and West LA (Room 332). Seating is limited, so please sign up today!

March 2011

Summer 2011 Class Sites Created on Courses (powered by Sakai).

On March 15, over 800 class sites were created for the summer academic term for all five schools. As a reminder to all professors, each new site is created "unpublished." This allows you to prepare for new classes without students witnessing the dust and construction. Once you are ready for students to access your site(s), please visit the Site Info tool, click Manage Access, select "Publish," and update the settings. You can access these steps and other introductory information in the Courses Faculty Getting Started Guide.

Pepperdine Joins Sakai Foundation to Help Support Innovative Technology for Global Academic Community

Malibu, California -- March 24, 2011 -- Pepperdine University announced today it has joined the Sakai Foundation Partners Program, a worldwide organization that focuses on creating technology that enhances teaching, learning, and research globally. Pepperdine will be joining the company of Stanford University, Indiana University, University of Oxford, University of Michigan and other leading academic institutions in spearheading the way to ensure the most effective technology is available to the academic community.

Technology and Learning Sponsors Webinar on Hybrid Learning.

Please join us on March 24 in Malibu or West LA to attend a seminar titled, "Hybrid Learning: Course Design and Faculty Development." This seminar, offered by Academic Impressions, will offer "an overview of the hybrid model and the 21st century learner; guidelines and best practices for institutional implementation..." and "a ready-to-use hybrid redesign program." This event is recommended for faculty, instructional support personnel, and administrators interested in adopting a hybrid program. The live webinar will happen March 24, 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM in Malibu (Thornton Administrative Center, Lobby Conference Room) and West LA (Room TBA). Seating is limited, so please sign up today!

February 2011

Faculty Survey Launched: How Do You Like to Learn?

Each year, the Technology and Learning group offers workshops and seminars to help faculty learn about using technology in the classroom. To help us better understand how faculty prefer to learn, we have launched a new survey. This survey asks for recommended days, times, and topics for future events. The survey has been released via email to university faculty. If you have not received the survey, please email us at We thank all faculty in advance for their valuable feedback!

January 2011

REMINDER: "Publish" Your Course Sites.

We hope all faculty enjoyed a wonderful holiday break and wish you a Happy New Year! Now that we have officially transitioned from Blackboard to Courses (powered by Sakai) we want to remind all professors to "publish" your course sites. Publishing a site is easy. Go to your site, click "Site Info," click "Manage Access," select "Publish," and click "Update." To learn more, please visit our Getting Started Guide:

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