Monthly archives: November, 2015

Online animated videos

Want to spice up your students’ presentations? Why not have them make animated videos? Wideo ( is a free online animated video creator that lets you animate text, images, and shapes to create short (max. 45 second) videos. With Wideo’s pre-made templates and simple controls, students could easily use it to create an ad for a location in a novel, an informational video on a custom, or an animated version of a scene from a play. Check out the example below to see just some of what Wideo can do.


Comic strips and storyboards to hone analysis and foster creativity

Have your students use one of these free comic strip or storyboard sites to demonstrate their understanding of a text or a scene by boiling it down to the four most important moments, for example. Encourage them to find both their inner literary/cultural critic and their inner artist.

Post all the comic strips/storyboards on a class wiki and have students vote on the strip that best communicates the plot of the story. Here’s an example:

Arsene Lupin thumbnail
Summary of a short story from a UIC 200-level French course

Add audio anywhere on Blackboard!

Using audio on Blackboard does not have to mean using Voiceboard! Help your students improve their listening comprehension by replacing written questions and prompts with audio. Vocaroo ( is an easy-to-use web based tool that lets you record and save your own audio files, which can then be added to most any Blackboard tool. You can orally ask students what they thought of the reading, what they think will happen next in the film, or which character they like best with audio and have them write their responses in blog posts, wiki entries, or papers. Or, if you want to have your students work on their speaking skills, you can have them record using Vocaroo and add their audio to blogs, wikis, discussion boards, and more.

Cash Prizes for UIC grads and undergrads! Get tech help on your projects for the Shout Out contest.

Shout Out logo-large

Do you love learning languages, studying literature, history, philosophy, art history? Could you use some extra $$? Enter the Shout Out for the Humanities Contest.

The Language and Culture Learning Center will help you figure out what digital tools work best for your project, and answer any questions you have:Wednesdays 2-3 and Thursdays 10-11 in University Hall 1750.

Check out these digital tools, including ones that we recommend:

Undergrads have two chances to win a total of $3,000 in prize money: once in the on-campus “Shout Out for the Humanities” contest and once in the national “Shout Out” contest. Graduate students compete for $2,000 in prize money through the national contest.

Shout Out for the Humanities (national contest for graduate students AND undergrads):

Shout Out for the Humanities at UIC (independent, on-campus contest forundergrads only):

PLEASE NOTE: Undergrads can compete in either or both contests. They are completely independent of one another and your success in one will have no bearing on your success in the other.

If you have any questions, check out this presentation about the contest or write to us at

Thank you to the School of Literatures, Cultural Studies and Linguistics; the Office of Undergraduate Research; the Institute for the Humanities; the Gender and Women’s Studies Department; and the Honors College for the administrative and financial support!


Make images interactive

What do Dante and Stanislaw Lem have in common?  A rich network of references to other texts, and difficult or unusual vocabulary, for one thing.  Rather than sending students to pre-existing notes or glosses, consider having them get actively involved by doing their own research to collaboratively build a class resource. Thinglink ( allows you to add links (text, websites, video, audio, etc.) to create interactive images. You could have students connect biographical research to an image of an author, add information to a map, or create a multimedia gloss for a short text you’re reading in class. Thinglink projects can be done collaboratively and shared easily, including via Blackboard. Thinglink is also mobile-friendly and has apps for iPhone and Android. Email for more information.