Tech Tip of the Week: Assigning Student Roles in Breakout Rooms

It can be difficult to engage students when teaching over Zoom, but utilizing breakout rooms is an effective way to make larger classes feel more like a community. They can also give students who are reluctant to talk on microphone in the main room a chance to communicate with classmates.
Assigning roles in breakout rooms can help break the ice and ensure that everyone participates, and the iSchool Wiki has a great page that walks you through different roles and the best ways to incorporate them into your online courses. Roles can include:
      • Manager or Facilitator: makes sure group stays on task and reminds everyone of the questions they need to discuss.
      • Recorder: takes notes during the group discussion and posts them to a class forum if need be.
      • Spokesperson or Presenter: shares what the group talked about with the entire class after breakout rooms close.
      • Reflector or Strategy Analyst: guides the group to a final consensus or decision if need be.
      • Challenger: asks questions during the discussion.
      • Timekeeper: keeps track of time and makes sure everyone gets the same amount of speaking time.

If using these roles, it is a good habit to share the definitions of each role with your class and put the way you want them to assign roles (alphabetical by first/last name, birthday, etc.) in the chat. Make sure to also share the discussion questions you want them to answer before sending them into breakout rooms as participants won’t be able to view the screensharing once they are in the breakout rooms. 

Tech Tip of the Week: Installing Printers and Using Papercut

Have you ever needed to print something and not known where to do it? Never fear! The iSchool has some printers that you can use!

We recommend the use of public printers Optimus, located conveniently right next to the Help Desk on the second floor, or Chip who resides next to room 12 on the first floor. In the new building, we recommend using Luna, located next to the Help Desk on the 4th floor. To learn more about the public printers and where they live, check out this Wiki page. We will do a second Tech Tip in the future regarding printers to use in the new building once everything is set up there!

Printing Cost and Quota:
iSchool Masters and CAS students have $21 a semester for printing costs. You must be currently enrolled in an iSchool course to use this budget. School Faculty, Staff, and PhD students are not charged for printing, although it is tracked. Both black and white and color printing costs $0.07/page. Color printing is available on Optimus, located on the 2nd floor near the Help Desk. Check your printing balance on the Illinois Papercut page.  Unused printing quotas do not carry over. Additional printing quota can be purchased on the IlliniCash website. 
Undergraduate iSchool students have access to printers across campus, including the ones in the iSchool. Undergraduate printing cost is $.10/page on monochrome printers and $.40/page on color printers. Color printers charge $.40/page even if monochrome documents are printed.

Printer Installation for your computer:
Though we do have self-service kiosks for both Chip and Optimus where you can log in and print from, there is also the option for you to download the printers on to your computer, so when you are in the building you will be able to print. Instructions for how to install the printers on Mac are here and PC here! Always feel free to drop by the Help Desk if you need assistance with installing printers or have any other questions!

Tech Tip of the Week: Tech Services and Walk-In Appointment Scheduling

Tech Services at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign offers a variety of services for students, faculty, staff, and researchers. On their website here, you will find information on getting connected to campus wifi, accessing Adobe Suite services, Canvas resources, and much more. 

For Fall 2021, Tech Services is allowing walk-in support by appointment only. To schedule an in-person appointment with Tech Services, you can fill out this form. Their hours for walk-in support are Monday – Friday: 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Saturday -Sunday: 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., and your building access status will be checked via the Safer Illinois app or Boarding Pass website.

You can also contact them via email at and via phone at (217) 244-7000 for remote support. 

Tech Tip of the Week: Loanable Technology

Did you know that you can borrow equipment as well as books from the University Library? Both the Grainger IDEA Lab and the Media Commons have loanable technologies, including game consoles and virtual reality headsets. 
The iSchool Help Desk has some loanable technologies like Windows or Mac laptops, dongles, and more!
At the iSchool Help Desk, equipment may be borrowed by faculty, staff, and graduate students of the iSchool, whereas the University Library can lend to our undergraduate friends as well! The iSchool Help Desk has a first come first serve basis, so when we are running low on equipment, you can contact us ahead of coming to verify that the Help Desk has what you are looking for. 

Tech Tip of the Week: iSchool Wiki Zoom Resources

Welcome back, iSchoolers! Getting back into the swing of Zoom classes and meetings can be overwhelming, but the Help Desk has you covered with all the Zoom documentation you could need. The iSchool wiki has a dedicated page for Zoom resources and documentation, including tips on how to sign in to Zoom using SSO, navigating breakout rooms, and adding Zoom meetings to your Outlook calendar. Check out our Zoom documentation on the wiki here

And as always you can ask the Help Desk if you have any questions or concerns about Zoom! We are currently working in the iSchool building on the 2nd floor, and you can also reach us at 217-244-4903 or 800-377-1892,, and on our TechChat.

Tech Tip of the Week: Changing Your Preferred Name in Self Service

With classes starting on Monday, it’s a good idea to make sure your preferred name is set in Self Service. Changing your name in Self Service ensures that your preferred name is used across all university systems (Zoom, Moodle, Canvas, etc.). To change your name in Self Service, follow the steps below or view them on the iSchool wiki here.

  1. Go to and click University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
  2. Log in with your NetID and password.
  3. A main menu will appear, and you will want to click on Personal Information.
  4. Next, click on Preferred First Name.
  5. If you do not already have a preferred name listed, this statement will appear: “If you would like to use a FIRST name that is not your legal first name within the campus community, please enter a preferred FIRST name below. Refer to the Preferred First Name information for further details on where your preferred first name will and will not be displayed.” Proceed to step 8.  
  6. If you already have a preferred name listed and are now changing it, the following statement will appear: “If you want to change your preferred first name, please click on the link below. Please refer to the University Preferred First Name Statement for further details on where a preferred first name will and won’t be used.” Your name should be linked below this statement. Click on your name.
  7. The following statement will appear: “If you would like to use a FIRST name that is not your legal first name within the campus community, please enter a preferred FIRST name below. Refer to the Preferred First Name information for further details on where your preferred first name will and will not be displayed.”
  8. There is a box below this statement where you can type in your preferred first name. After typing in your name, you can click Submit.
  9. The following statement will then appear: “Your Preferred First Name and Legal Last Name appear below as they will on class rosters and other Student systems. It may take 24-48 hours for all Student systems to be updated.” Your preferred name will appear below this statement.
  10. If your preferred name looks correct, you can then exit Self Service.
  11. To edit or remove your preferred name, follow the same steps as stated above, and when you get to step 8, you can either edit your name in the box or check the box next to your name that says Remove Preferred Name. Then click Submit.
  12. If you remove your preferred name, this statement will appear: “Your Preferred First Name has been removed. Your legal first name will be used throughout Student systems.”

If you would like to change your name so it is only reflected in Zoom, you can follow the instructions found on the iSchool wiki here.  

Have a great rest of the week, iSchoolers!

Tech Tip of the Week: Navigating Canvas Using the Sidebar

Today’s Tech Tip is all about navigating Canvas using the sidebar. On the sidebar you will find the following: Account, Dashboard, Courses, Calendar, Inbox, History, Commons, and Help. Below are descriptions for what you can find under each section and why you might use it while on Canvas.
  • Account: This is where you can access your profile, notifications, and settings. You can also logout of Canvas by clicking Account and then clicking Logout from the sidebar that appears on the right.
Screenshot of the sidebar on Canvas with Account selected
  • Dashboard: Think of this as the “home screen” of Canvas. If any of your instructors are using Canvas, this is where you will be able to see your course sites. 
  • Courses: This is another place where you can access your courses. If you click Courses, an additional sidebar will appear to the right with a list of all your courses and the links to each of their corresponding course pages.
Screenshot of sidebar on Canvas with Courses selected
  • Calendar: This is where you can view when assignments are due in a calendar view. All of your courses will have due dates listed within your course site, but the calendar option is a great way to view assignment due dates for all your Canvas courses on a calendar. Note that each course corresponds to a color, so it is easy to distinguish which assignments are for each course.
Screenshot of Canvas Calendar
  • Inbox: This is where you can view any messages your instructor or fellow classmates have sent you.
  • History: You can view what you have recently accessed on Canvas by clicking History.
Screenshot of Canvas sidebar with History selected
  • Commons: This may not be something you use frequently, but Commons is a learning repository that lets instructors find, import, and share resources. For more information on Canvas Commons, please see Canvas’s documentation here.
  • Help: You can access Canvas support links when you click here. 
Screenshot of Canvas sidebar with Help selected
Keep an eye out for next week’s Tech Tip which will be a video walk through of what a Canvas course site will look like! As always, if you have any questions or want to learn more about how to use Canvas before the fall semester, please reach out to the Help Desk!

Tech Tip of the Week: Setting the Time Zone in Zoom

If you have ever experienced Moodle showing the wrong time for class Zoom sessions, the first course of action will be to verify that your Zoom account reflects the correct time zone. To do this, please follow these steps:

1. Go to and log in with your NetID and password.

2. Click on Profile on the left side of the screen.

3. Once you are on your profile, find where it says Time Zone. Click Edit on the right side of the screen.

4. A drop down will appear where it lists your time zone. Select the correct
time zone and click Save.

5. Once you save, go to your class’s Moodle page and verify that the time of
class is now correct.

image of zoom profile with time zone boxed in green

If you would like to view our documentation on how to change your time zone in Zoom, please view this page on the iSchool wiki.

Hiding Your Video Feed From Yourself in Zoom

This week we are sharing how to hide your video feed from yourself when you are in Zoom!

To hide your self view, right click on your video/picture to get the menu display. From the menu, select Hide Self View. If you are in Speaker mode, you will have the same option, but you will first have to enter full-screen view, hover over your image, and choose the icon on the left that says Hide thumbnail video when you hover over it. A box will appear in its place that tells you who is speaking.

Screenshot of Zoom options and how to hide self view

To show your self view again, right click on any user’s display and from the menu select Show Self View. If you are in Speaker mode, go to the box that tells you who is speaking and click the middle icon.

Screenshot of Zoom settings and how to show self view

For more information on how to hide your self view in Zoom, please see their documentation here.

He’s Ready for His Close Up!

Our POTW is this dapper little dude! Bert is a strapping 10-year-old Miniature Dachshund who isn’t so mini. His daily jobs are protecting his house from bikes, squirrels, joggers, and the occasional rabbit. He also supports Abbie Mills while she does her homework by taking naps nearby in case she needs any assistance. In is free time, he loves playing fetch and tug, painting, and modeling. Bert is truly the best boy, and after he is done barking when you first meet, he really wants to be your friend. ❤️

Picture of a dog with a bow tie

Bonus content of Bert being the amazing artist he is!