SHSU Online February 2016 Faculty Development Opportunities

Welcome back! A new semester brings with it some exciting changes and offerings for Blackboard instructors.

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A New Way To Earn Your Certification

SHSU faculty can now sign up for the individual courses in the Teaching Online With Blackboard Certification Series.  That way, if they only have the bandwidth to complete one or two courses in the cohort they can enroll in the others when we offer it again!  Feel free to register for one or all of the following online offerings to work toward earning your certification:

  • Blackboard  Learn: Course Building
  • Blackboard Learn: Communication
  • Blackboard Learn: Assessment
  • Teaching Online with Blackboard: Strategies for Success

Visit our Faculty Development Sessions sign-up page to enroll.

Saying Goodbye To Video Everywhere – Saying Hello To Kaltura For Your Students

In an effort to ensure that their coding is current and accessible across all devices, GoogleTM has discontinued the tool that allows Blackboard’s Video Everywhere to work.  Video Everywhere enabled you and your students to record and upload video so that it can be posted in your Blackboard courses.  Don’t worry though!  You’ve always had the ability to this with Kaltura, and now we have made it available for your students.  To learn more sign up for one of our three Kaltura: Lecture/Video Capture sessions this month.

Visit our Faculty Development Sessions sign-up page to enroll.

SHSU faculty can boost their technology know-how by attending sessions at the MURFF, online or at the Woodlands campus. Blackboard instructors at Sam can bring their lunch and their questions to our “Brown Bag” session or attend one of the regular how-to sessions at the MURFF. If the daily grind does not allow for attending one of SHSU Online’s regularly scheduled development sessions, SHSU faculty may choose to carve out 5 minutes to an hour for a one-on-one session.

Visit our Faculty Development Sessions sign-up page to enroll.

How-to By Appointment How-to By Appointment

Visit the development sign-up page. Click Signup then By Appointment. Choose topic & availability and you’re set!

Blackboard Brown Bag Blackboard Brown Bag

Bring your lunch and Blackboard test creation questions to our Blackboard Tests, Surveys & Pools Brown Bag on Monday, February 29th @ Noon. Sign-Up Today!

Blackboard and More By Request Graphic How-to @ The Woodlands Campus

Stop by room 209 at the Woodlands Campus for Blackboard Learn & More on Tuesday, 1/26, 2/9 & 2/23 @ 5pm. Sign-Up Today!

How-to By Appointment November How-to Sessions at the MURFF
This month’s sessions at the MURFF include Kaltura: Lecture Capture with Blackboard and Blackboard Learn: Tests, Surveys & Pools. Sign-Up Today!
Faculty Development Teaching Online With Blackboard Certification Series – Online Cohort
The Teaching Online with Blackboard Certification Series is the fully-online cohort based training option for faculty wishing to improve their online teaching skills. The certification consists of four courses aimed at preparing an instructor to master the online teaching environment through Blackboard.Sign-Up Today!

Visit our Faculty Development Sessions sign-up page for all of the great how-to options for October 2015!

Adding Web Links To Your Blackboard Course

One of the best things about online courses is that resources are only ever a click away.  The ability to have source documentation, relevant information, media and more available in an online course is a tremendous asset for any online instructor or student.

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Blackboard Learn provides instructors and students with the ability to add web links within the Learning Management System’s courses. Using web links in any Blackboard course provides benefits like:

  • Cutting down on copyright issues by linking to source material
  • Cutting down on clutter of imported content
  • Connecting students and instructors to relevant media/information with a click of the mouse

Blackboard allows you to add web links or links to Internet Sources in 3 ways:

  1. By using your Build Content action bar to add Web Links to any content container in your course (folder, learning module, content area etc.).
  2. By using the Insert/Edit Link button within any content editor in your course (Content editors appear when you add content items, folders, discussions, exam instructions, exam questions, blogs, wikis and more).
  3. By Using the Add Menu Item button to add a Web Link directly to your course’s navigation menu.

Using the Add Web Link option under Build Content

  1. Visit any content container (learning module, folder, content area) in your course.
    weblinks1
  2. Click the Build Content button on your action bar and select Web Link from the menu.
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  3. Add a name for your link in the Name field and paste the URL into the URL field.  You can copy the URL from your browser’s address bar in another tab to capture the link.

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  4. Optionally, you can add explanatory text if needed.

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  5. You also have the option to:
    1.attach documents to the web link
    2.open the link in a new window/tab
    3.make the web link viewable
    4.track views
    5.restrict availability
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  6. Click Submit when you want to post the link.

Using the Insert/Edit link Button in Blackboard’s Content Editor

  1. Add or Edit any blackboard Item or tool that has allows you to use the Content Editor (Content Item, Folder, Discussion, Assignment, Blog, Wiki, Test).
  2. Highlight the text you want to make a working hyperlink
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  3. Copy/paste or type the URL for your link.
  4. Select “Open in a New Window (_blank)” from the “Target” drop-down list if you want the link to open in a new tab.
  5. Click the Insert button
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  6. Click the Submit button when you have finished adding/editing text in your content editor.

Using the Add Menu Item button to add Web Links Directly to your Course Navigation Menu

  1. Ensuring your Edit Mode button is on, click the Add Menu Item button at the top of your Course’s navigation menu and click Web Link.
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  2. Add a name for your link in the Name field and paste the URL into the URL field.  You can copy the URL from your browser’s address bar in another tab to capture the link.

    If you want your students to access the link, be sure to check the Available to Users checkbox.  When you are ready, click Submit.
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  3. Your web link will automatically show up at the bottom of your navigation menu.  Place your mouse on the link and click and hold the double-sided arrow to drag the item where it should go.
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Copying Exams in Blackboard to Other Courses: One at a Time

Traditionally there are two ways to copy exams in Blackboard.

  1. Use the Course Copy Function in Blackboard.
  2. Export the Exam from one course and import and deploy it in another.

Option 1 works when you are copying into a blank course because it requires copying all exams, content areas and grade center data.

Option 2 works when you just need to move 1 exam and the destination course already has content.

Here are the steps for Option 2:

  1. Go to your Tests Surveys and Pools Area in your original Bb course section by accessing the Course Tools area of your course’s control panel.

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  2. Click the Tests link.

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  3. Place your mouse on the Exam you wish to copy until the contextual chevron appears.  Click on it and choose Export to Local Computer.
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  4. Save the file somewhere you can easily find it (e.g. your desktop).
  5. Go to the destination course (where you want to place the exported exam)
  6. Visit the Tests, Surveys & Pools area of the destination course and Click Tests.

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  7. Click the Import Test button on the action bar.

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  8. Use the Browse my Computer button and attach your previously saved exam file.  Click Submit.
  9. Go to the place where you want to deploy the exam in your destination course (e.g: Exams content area) and add a test via the Assessment button of your Action bar.

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  10. You will then be able to choose the test you want to deploy on the next page.
  11. Once you have selected the test and set your test options you should be good to go.

Course Reports – How are your students doing?

While keeping track of student progress via the Grade Center, Performance Dash Board and course activities are great tools for encouraging student success, instructors who use Blackboard also have another powerful tool at their disposal.  You can access the health of your course by looking at course-wide trends in tool and content use.  When you compare these trends to student achievement, you can pinpoint areas of your course that need attention. These trends can be found in the Control Panel of your course in the Evaluation section.  They are called Course Reports.

Course Reports

Course ReportsThere are eight types of reports available based on the type of statistics you want to view:

  1. All User Activity inside Content Areas
    Displays a summary of all user activity inside content areas for your course. Use this report to determine which students are active in your course and which content areas they are using. For example, if you house all your tests in a content area named “Tests,” you can run this report and easily see who accessed this content area and how often over a certain time period.
  2. Course Activity Overview
    Displays overall activity within your course, sorted by student and date. Data includes the total and average time spent per user. You can also click an individual student’s name to access his or her Student Overview for Single Course report. This report can help you determine which days of the week students are active in your course and see how much time students spend overall.
  3. Course Coverage Report
    Displays goals coverage information for a single Blackboard Learn course. Data includes both covered and gap values for all curricular areas that the course is associated with, as well as a breakdown of course items that have been aligned to goals.
  4. Course Performance
    Displays information showing how a single Blackboard Learn course performs against a selected set of goals. Performance targets and a range of acceptable performance for the course can be determined when running the report. Data includes averages for the entire course as well as breakdowns for individual students and goals.
  5. Overall Summary of User Activity
    Displays user activity for all areas of your course, as well as activity dates, times, and days of the week. Use this report to view student access as well as how often course tools are used.
  6. Student Overview for Single Course
    Displays an individual student’s activity within your course, sorted by date. Data includes the total overall time the student spent in your course as well as detailed information about the student’s activity, such as which items and content areas a student accessed.
  7. User Activity in Forums
    Displays a summary of user activity in discussion board forums for your course. View which students are using which forums and which are most active.
  8. User Activity in Groups
    Displays a summary of user activity in groups for your course.

SHSU Online November 2015 Faculty Development Opportunities

November brings with it a good assortment of faculty development options. SHSU faculty can boost their technology know-how by attending sessions at the MURFF, online or at the Woodlands campus. Blackboard instructors at Sam can bring their lunch and their questions to our “Brown Bag” session or attend one of the regular how-to sessions at the MURFF. If the daily grind does not allow for attending one of SHSU Online’s regularly scheduled development sessions, SHSU faculty may choose to carve out 5 minutes to an hour for a one-on-one session.

Visit our Faculty Development Sessions sign-up page to enroll.

 How-to By Appointment How-to By Appointment

Visit the development sign-up page. Click Signup then By Appointment. Choose topic & availability and you’re set!

 Blackboard Brown Bag Blackboard Brown Bag

Bring your lunch and Video & Lecture Capture questions to our Kaltura Lecture & Video Capture Brown Bag on Wednesday, November 4th @ Noon. Sign-Up Today!

 Blackboard and More By Request Graphic How-to @ The Woodlands Campus

Stop by room 209 at the Woodlands Campus for Blackboard Learn & More on Tuesday, November 10th @ 5pm. Sign-Up Today!

Faculty Development November How-to Sessions at the MURFF
This month’s sessions at the MURFF include Blackboard Discussion Forums, Kaltura: Lecture Capture with Blackboard, ProctorFree: Online Proctoring, and Blackboard Learn: Using the Grade Center. Sign-Up Today!
eff_assessment Effective Assessment Strategies & Practices – Fully Online Cohort
This three week online course takes an in-depth look at methods to increase success when it comes to evaluating students along with a look at the tools Blackboard employs to monitor, evaluate and report on student assessment. Topics covered include, but are not limited to: Hallmarks of Effective Assessment, Grade Center Basics, Best Practices for Effective Assessment, Grading Periods, Grade Columns, test Reliability and Validity and more. Effective Assessment Strategies and Practices attendees will receive a certification upon successful completion. Sign-Up Today!

Visit our Faculty Development Sessions sign-up page for all of the great how-to options for October 2015!

SHSU Online October 2015 Faculty Development Opportunities

October brings with it many faculty development options. SHSU faculty can boost their technology know-how by attending sessions online or at the Woodlands campus. Blackboard instructors at Sam can bring their lunch and their questions to our “Brown Bag” session or attend one of the regular how-to sessions at the MURFF. If the daily grind does not allow for attending one of SHSU Online’s regularly scheduled development sessions, SHSU faculty may choose to carve out 5 minutes to an hour for a one-on-one session.

Visit our Faculty Development Sessions sign-up page to enroll.

 How-to By Appointment How-to By Appointment

Visit the development sign-up page. Click Signup then By Appointment. Choose topic & availability and you’re set!

 Blackboard Brown Bag Blackboard Brown Bag

Bring your lunch and your Grade Center questions to our Blackboard Brown Bag on Thursday, October 15 @ Noon. Sign-Up Today!

 Blackboard and More By Request Graphic How-to @ The Woodlands Campus

Stop by room 209 at the Woodlands Campus for Blackboard Learn & More on Tuesday, October 13 and Tuesday, October 27 @ 5pm. Sign-Up Today!

Faculty Development October How-to Sessions at the MURFF
This month’s sessions at the MURFF include Blackboard Bootstrap, Kaltura: Lecture Capture with Blackboard, ProctorFree: Online Proctoring, Blackboard Learn: Using the Grade Center & Blackboard Learn: Tests Surveys & Pools. Sign-Up Today!

Visit our Faculty Development Sessions sign-up page for all of the great how-to options for October 2015!

Online Course Weight Loss Plan – 4 Steps to Get Your Course in “eLearning Shape”

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There are many good reasons to keep your course from growing too big for its own britches. A large course could impact your student’s learning experience because:

  • The size of course intimidates your students.
  • The same document in multiple places takes up space and clutters the course.
  • Large images take forever to load and..
  • Take up valuable visual real estate on handheld devices.
  • The more items in your course and LMS, the slower it operates.

Keeping these things in mind there are steps you can take to manage your online courses so they don’t become overwhelming, unnavigable, burdensome and out of control.

Step 1: Keep your course organized.

One of the easiest ways to think about your online course’s health and well being is to keep it organized. Traditionally when we think about our courses being held in an LMS, we think of our course as having large containers that hold different types of content like assignments, tests and course materials.

Course Bucket OrganizationThis can be an easy way to think about organizing at the beginning, but the end result is that over time, these buckets become catchalls or laundry lists of everything you’ve ever added to your course. This causes your students to suffer from over scrolling and to constantly search for important information and activities. Another side effect of this particular organizational method is that it causes the instructor to have trouble determining whether or not they put “that file” in the course.

Instead of large “buckets of information”, why not think of chunking them across topics, or by time. That way, all of the information and activities that a student will need to interact with during a specific week or around a particular topic is located in the same space.

Course Organization Example - By WeekBy organizing your content, you make it easier for you and your students to find what you are looking for and reduce the ‘laundry list’ effect.

Step 2: Use Course Links to cut down on content cloning.

linkThe next step in our online course weight loss plan covers the use of one particular document in different places throughout your course. Whether it is a special rubric, a project guideline or just something you want available easily for your students, it is natural to just want to add the document where you need it. Over time, you create multiple versions of the same document that just adds extra weight to your course and makes your list of course files hard to deal with from a file management perspective.

Most learning management systems provide a way for you the instructor to “link” to the document in question wherever they are in the course. Here at Sam Houston State University, we use Blackboard and it provides this ability via the Course Links content item. Course Links allows instructors to link to files, content items and course activities anywhere in their course.

This way, an instructor only has to add 1 instance of whatever it is they want to use throughout the course and link to it from other course areas.

Step 3: Reduce the size of images BEFORE placing them in your course.

By now, we are all familiar with the fact that adding contextually relevant images to your course is a best practice. Course images engage your students, stimulate different parts of the brain and break up what would otherwise be an ocean of Times New Roman or Arial text.

Picture of a Graphic Icon on TreadmillThe issue for instructors is that the learning management system does not provide a way to reduce the size and weight of the image prior to placing it in a course. It does not allow you to change the “visual appearance” of an image by resizing how the image looks, but this DOES NOT reduce how much space the image takes up in your course or how long it takes a student on their computer or mobile device to see the image.

The good news is that almost every computer comes with a software that will help you change the size and weight of images before you place them in the course. In most cases, once you are in the software reducing the size of the images automatically reduces how much drive space they takes up. Below we will provide a few links to helpful how-tos on the Internet, but you can always google the topic and find what works for you.

Step 4: Use streaming services and Internet links for videos rather than uploading them directly to your course.

streamingOne of the most effective ways to engage your students online is to employ videos along with learning activities throughout your course. Videos add another dimension to your course that connects with your students and can be viewed on whatever device they may be utilizing.

The best practice for how to leverage videos in your online course is to host them with a streaming service or link to videos already hosted elsewhere. Burdening your LMS with Gigs of video files will have a direct impact on your students, because the way they are hosted/loaded is not ideal for streaming on mobile devices or even computers. Also the more large files you add to your learning management system the more you can affect its performance.

Fortunately, there is a great way for you to utilize video in your online courses while following the best practice. Just use other video hosts and provide links and embeds in your online course. Here at SHSU, Blackboard has the ability to directly embed YouTube videos in your course while leaving them hosted in YouTube. It does this via the YouTube mash-up and the Video Everywhere tool. We also utilize Kaltura for video/lecture capture and screen recording. Blackboard employs a Kaltura mash-up and content building tool to place these videos/screen recordings directly in your course content.

Teaching an online course can be intimidating in its own right. Make it easy on yourself. Keep your course in “eLearning shape” by ensuring your course is properly organized, providing links to course documents you want to use in multiple places, reducing the size of graphics and pictures before you insert them in course content, and using streaming services and internet links rather than uploading heavy video files directly to your course. These aren’t the only steps you can take, but they are a great place to start.