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OIT News

Happy Valentine’s Day from OIT

Gift box with hearts and technology

For Valentine’s Day, we asked some of our team members to share the tech tools and features they LOVE. And today, more than ever, we believe in keeping it simple. Try some of these ideas…maybe you’ll fall for few of these technologies, too.

Teaching & Learning

Panopto: Editing and Closed Captioning Tools
I love Panopto’s editing and closed captioning tools. The editor makes it easy to trim off dead air at the start and finish, add quizzes, YouTube content, and slides to your videos. Panopto’s AI-based automatic closed captioning tool, while not 100% accurate, does a great job overall and makes it easy to correct captions if needed, especially for accessibility reasons.

TextExpander: Reusing snippets of text
This is one of my favorite time saving apps. I don’t have to retype things like my signature, website links, frequently used responses when writing customer responses, or grading and student feedback. And it’s so easy to use. 


Accessibility Checkers: Safe Colors for Websites
Per system policy, all UT websites must meet WCAG 2.0 AA guidelines, which includes required color contrast ratio for text and images. Here are my two favorite resources for checking color contrast:

  • Accessibility and Color on the UTK Brand website, which helps you identify what UT Brand color combinations are accessible at various text sizes.
  • WebAim Contrast Checker allows you to put in a hex code for your foreground and background colors, and will tell you whether or not they pass the required contrast ratio.


Microsoft Word: Turn on the Ribbon, the Ruler, and Paragraph Reveal
When formatting text in Word, I always start by making sure the formatting Ribbon is on, under View, Ribbon. I turn on the Ruler to visually format the margins and text within documents. To help distinguish between soft and hard returns, I turn on “paragraph reveal” by selecting the Paragraph icon on the Home Ribbon. I can’t write well without these three simple features.

Word toolbar

Microsoft ToDo: Staying Organized and On Time
Because ToDo is cloud-based, it’s on all my devices. In fact, ToDo is the first app I open on my computer each morning. The app keeps all my projects and assignments in one organized location, keeps me on task, and alerts me before important tasks are due. I love that ToDo is integrated into Outlook. When I flag an email, the content from that email is automatically added to my ToDo list.

Mac OS Dictation options

Mac OS: Speech to text
I get really tired typing all day…on the laptop, in Word docs, in email, and when sending text messages on the phone. I discovered the built-in accessibility feature called Dictation on my laptop. Activate the speech-to-text function and select a shortcut under System Preferences, Keyboard, Dictation.

Grammarly: Online Grammar Checker
Grammarly helps make my writing concise and professional! Add the application to Microsoft Word and Outlook on Windows or Mac.