Oberlin Center for Technologically Enhanced Teaching


Online Timeline Software

If you want to create a timeline project in your class or organization, there are many free tools online that make this process easy. Highlighted here is a list of free timeline software that we recommend.

If the assignment is a group project, then the simplest tool to use and edit with groups of students is Timeline JS. Students can enter their data or event into a shared spreadsheet. Once the spreadsheet is filled out by all participating students, it can be uploaded to the Timeline JS site and is automatically converted into a timeline.  Information on the format of the spreadsheet can be found here.


There are other options where the creation tools are in the software itself. Some of these have paid versions, or can only be accessed by individuals, so these tools are best for individual projects.


In-class engagement –> polling / clickers

There are many ways to engage students in class, one can create better ways to present material, ask direct questions, create small group activities, employ ‘active learning’ techniques, mix teaching styles, use polling tools …

This post addresses tools for polling your students. There are hardware solutions, solutions that work via mobile devices and those that work as hybrids.

Some options for polling in classes

  • plickers – probably the simplest and cheapest way to set up class polling. Your phone is used to collect responses,  each student has a card with encrypted A, B, C and D answers. The cards can be printed from the website. Both app and cards are free.
  • iClickers – Standard around Oberlin used by a number of faculty.
  • Socrative by MasteryConnect – web interface (Chrome web browser), mobile apps
    user guide
  • Poll everywhere – txt messaging polls
  • Turning technologies – polling and response systems. Similar to iClickers




Transferring Information in Google Calendar

Did you know that you can transfer events from past year’s Google Calendar into this year’s?

You will need to ‘edit’ the original event. From there you can follow these 5 steps to set it up to appear on the calendar year after year.   You will notice that there is a ‘Yearly’ option under repeats. If you use this feature, you will not be able to set it for ‘day of the week.’  That feature only allows you to set it up for a particular date.

Here is a screen shot of the setup:



Adding media to local online media server space

There are many ways to put media online so that your students can have access to it.  The ones listed below have been suggested because they have ways of restricting access and thereby facilitating Fair Use compliance.

  •  Local Media Server managed by OCTET – contact OCTET to set this up. Content on this server is only accessible from oncampus computers.  Instructions for uploading to the media server. VPNcan be used if you are off campus.
  • Other options
    • Google Docs/Drive
    • YouTube on your google apps account (you can request the ability to store content that is longer than 10 minutes)
    • Free educational Vimeo account
    • dropbox

    Network file share managed by CIT – contact cit@oberlin.edu to set this up


Installing research level MatLab on user’s machines

MathWorks (matlab) has 2 tiers of licenses: Student & Researcher. If you are doing publishable work you and/or your students should be using the Research license.  If you are a faculty member and need to use the research level license, send an email to OCTET (email octet@oberlin.edu). Generally, access involves some initial monetary contribution.

After requesting access, an email will be sent to you from mathworks with a link to change your password. Once you’ve changed your password, log in to mathworks.com.

Once logged in to the Mathworks site, download the appropriate package(s).  At the moment, you can download anything up to 2017b.

The images below will walk you through the various windows that will appear during installation and the settings you need to select during the installation.

DO NOT GIVE THIS TO STUDENTS. This license provides access to MatLab Research license. This license has limited versions of MatLab and toolboxes that are used to create or analyze publishable data. When the number of users with open sessions equals the number of licenses, the next user trying to open MatLab will be greeted with a message saying that the number of licenses has been exceeded. They will be unable to open MatLab.  Therefore, be sure to close MatLab when you are done using it, please don’t have it open automatically upon startup of your computer and don’t provide this version for student machines.

Steps to install newest MatLab version

All licenses expire on August, 2018.

After downloading the appropriate application from the Mathworks site.

Step 1

Step 2


Step 3


Step 4


Step 5


Step 6

Step 7
You will need a license file. Contact OCTET if you have not received this file.


Step 8


Step 9


Creating a survey

We do have licenses for and support 3 other tools for conducting surveys:

  • Blackboard
  • Qualtrics
  • Google Forms
  • Survey Monkey is a very easy to use survey tool. However, Oberlin College does not have a license for this product nor do we have the expertise to support it properly.
  • Woofoo is another unsupported option

Be sure to check with the Institutional Research Board before conducting any studies where you are asking people to provide information.


Qualtrics at Oberlin College


The Qualtrics Research Suite is a powerful online survey software available to all faculty, staff and students at Oberlin College.

The Research Suite allows you to build complex surveys that fulfill a variety of research needs. You can use this tool to build surveys, distribute surveys and analyze responses, all from one convenient online location!

Be aware that most studies, including surveys, done on human subjects should be cleared through the Institutional Research Board (IRB).
Read More


Create a survey using Google Docs

In google docs one can create a ‘form.’  This form can then be used to collect data from users. Information on how to create and deploy such a survey can be found in google’s support documentation.

Google will provide a very basic report, the data will be stored in a google spreadsheet and the information can then be downloaded and analyzed using Excel or any other tool that accepts comma separated data.

Be sure to check with the Institutional Research Board before conducting any studies where you are asking people to provide information.

Watch how to construct a survey and learn more about the tools available in Google Forms in the video tutorial below:


R and rStudio is available – open source statistical package

R is a free software environment for statistical computing and graphics. It compiles and runs on a wide variety of UNIX platforms, Windows and MacOS. To download R, please choose your preferred CRAN mirror.
If you have questions about R like how to download and install the software, or what the license terms are, please read our answers to frequently asked questions before you send an email.


Mathematica tutorial

“Hands-on Start to Mathematica” is a free, two-part online screencast that introduces Mathematica basics to get you started
with your first calculations, visualizations, and interactive examples. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Part 1
here: http://url.wolfram.com/7751iZe/

Many students have asked for more in-depth training, so we now also offer “M10: A Student’s First Course in Mathematica,” a
self-paced video training course providing step-by-step instructions on the basic features of Mathematica for students.
Through the included videos and practice exercises, students learn how to navigate the user interface, build calculations,
create graphics and dynamic models, work with data, and more–for under $30: http://url.wolfram.com/7Z-GW2c/