Does your Blackboard Course have web links to external content? Make sure they work!

A good best practice for any Blackboard instructor is to ensure you check any links you have to external content within your Blackboard course(s). YouTube links/embded don’t always last forever and periodicals, files and web resources can change location or be pulled from the Internet.

By keeping tabs on your web links you can reduce student frustration and confusion and increase overall course satisfaction.

Now is the perfect time of year to check your courses to be sure that any web links you do have operate like they should! This instructional video should help remind you:

May 2015 How-to Sessions

learn_blogEach month, SHSU Online offers face-to-face and completely online technology training/how-to sessions for faculty and staff at Sam Houston State University. In April we are offering 12 face-to-face and 2 online courses to keep faculty and staff connected and in the know.

May brings with it more learning opportunities, including sessions covering SHSU’s automated online exam proctoring tool, ProctorFree, and Kaltura, the new way to do lecture capture. Sessions on the use of electronic portfolios in Blackboard courses, as well as how to use Blackboard Collaborate’s suite of audio tools, will be offered.

SHSU Online is excited to announce a brand new certification that SHSU Blackboard instructors can achieve.  Starting this May, we are offering a completely online “Effective Assessment Strategies and Practices” course. This course takes an in-depth look at methods to increase success in 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 for Effective Assessment, Grade Center Basics, Best Practices for Effective Assessment, Grading Periods, Grade Columns, test Reliability and Validity and more. Participants successfully completing the Effective Assessment Strategies and Practices training will receive certification.

To sign up, please visit our Development Sessions sign-up page.

Session Name Description Date/Time
**NEW**
Effective Assessment Strategies & Practices
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 for 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. Enroll today! Online/Cohort Starts May 11
What’s New in Teaching and Learning for Blackboard? This self-paced, completely online course is designed to familiarize SHSU faculty with the latest features and enhancements in Blackboard Learn. Modules cover enhancements in building and designing courses, communication and assessment. Online/Self-Paced
Blackboard Learn: Designing Engaging Content This self-paced, completely online, Designing Engaging Content course is put together so that SHSU instructors learn strategies for effectively designing and organizing content to increase student engagement within Blackboard courses. Online/Self-Paced
ProctorFree – Online Proctoring for Blackboard Exams and Quizzes This one hour session covers how to use ProctorFree for your online exams & quizzes in Blackboard. ProctorFree is an on-demand, automated online proctoring service that deters cheating in an online testing environment. Using biometric and machine learning technologies, ProctorFree has eliminated the need for a human proctor during testing. This innovative technology creates a convenient testing option for distance education students and increases the credibility of online certificates and degrees for higher education institutions. 5/11/2015 – 1pm
ProctorFree – Online Proctoring for Blackboard Exams and Quizzes This one hour session covers how to use ProctorFree for your online exams & quizzes in Blackboard. ProctorFree is an on-demand, automated online proctoring service that deters cheating in an online testing environment. Using biometric and machine learning technologies, ProctorFree has eliminated the need for a human proctor during testing. This innovative technology creates a convenient testing option for distance education students and increases the credibility of online certificates and degrees for higher education institutions. 5/12/2015 – 10am
Kaltura: Lecture Capture in Blackboard Adding video to our Blackboard course just became easier! This 60-90 minute session covers how to add video to your Blackboard course using the Kaltura Mashup tool. Attendees will learn how to record and upload video from their webcam as well as capture what is on their own computer screen (PowerPoints etc.). 5/13/2015 – 10am
Blackboard Learn: Portfolios This 90 minute session covers an invaluable tool in academic professional development. Porfolios provide a powerful medium for users to efficiently collect and organize artifacts representative of work completed over time. Attendees will learn create portfolio assignments as well as build out a portfolio so that they can better communicate with students about buidling their own. 5/19/2015 – 10am
Blackboard Collaborate: Voice Tools This 1 hour session will show attendees how to utilize Blackboard Collaborate voice tools throughout their course. Topics covered include: personalizing your course by adding your voice anywhere you add text, and implementing a “Voice Board” for a different take on an asynchronous discussion. 5/20/2015 – 1pm
ProctorFree – Online Proctoring for Blackboard Exams and Quizzes This one hour session covers how to use ProctorFree for your online exams & quizzes in Blackboard. ProctorFree is an on-demand, automated online proctoring service that deters cheating in an online testing environment. Using biometric and machine learning technologies, ProctorFree has eliminated the need for a human proctor during testing. This innovative technology creates a convenient testing option for distance education students and increases the credibility of online certificates and degrees for higher education institutions. 5/25/2015 – 10am
ProctorFree – Online Proctoring for Blackboard Exams and Quizzes This one hour session covers how to use ProctorFree for your online exams & quizzes in Blackboard. ProctorFree is an on-demand, automated online proctoring service that deters cheating in an online testing environment. Using biometric and machine learning technologies, ProctorFree has eliminated the need for a human proctor during testing. This innovative technology creates a convenient testing option for distance education students and increases the credibility of online certificates and degrees for higher education institutions. 5/26/2015 – 1pm
Kaltura: Lecture Capture in Blackboard Adding video to our Blackboard course just became easier! This 60-90 minute session covers how to add video to your Blackboard course using the Kaltura Mashup tool. Attendees will learn how to record and upload video from their webcam as well as capture what is on their own computer screen (PowerPoints etc.). 5/27/2015 – 1pm
Kaltura: Lecture Capture in Blackboard Adding video to our Blackboard course just became easier! This 60-90 minute session covers how to add video to your Blackboard course using the Kaltura Mashup tool. Attendees will learn how to record and upload video from their webcam as well as capture what is on their own computer screen (PowerPoints etc.). 5/28/2015 – 10am

To sign up, please visit our Development Sessions sign-up page.

Blackboard Course Banners are NOT Just for Course Landing Pages

Since the early days of Blackboard and other Learning Management Systems in the field, Course Banners have been a great way to personalize the online or web-enhanced learning environment. Instructors could differentiate any course by starting it out with a graphic or photo of their own choice/making. Course Banners have been used far and wide since then to add flare and personalize the online and blended environment.

Course with Banner ScreenshotFor years, instructors who used Blackboard have been operating under the assumption that a Course Banner could only be used on the landing page of a Blackboard course. Well guess what? Course Banners can be placed almost anywhere in an online/web-enhanced course. Check out this before and after photo of a Blackboard content area, in this case Lesson 1:

Before and After - Adding BannersWith just the addition of a few graphics, a theme change and a Banner image, we can add continuity to the course as well as make it more engaging.

How do you do it?

Show Text OnlyFirst, you will want to give yourself more real estate in the Content Area where you will be placing the Course Banner. You do this by changing your page options to show text only.

  • Ensure your Edit Mode is on.
  • Click the contextual menu next to your page title and select Page Options.
  • Click Show Text Only.

This gives you more space for your graphic to live in the content area where you place it, by removing the icon that shows up next to your content title.

Note: It is also a good idea to make your Course Banners in the subsequent course content areas a little bit smaller. This cuts down on load time as well as screen resolution issues.

Add ImageNext, add/edit a Content Item on your page and add an image to the top.

  • Add/Edit a Content Item.
  • Click the Add Image button.
  • Browse and Attach your Banner.
  • Click Submit.

You will now have a content item with a banner graphic that is placed at the beginning of the content area, folder or module of your choice:

Adjusted Content Item ExampleThis practice will add a layer of continuity and engagement to your course. If your students feel like they are in a familiar place and are engaged while browsing, their satisfaction levels will increase. Consider adding more Course Banners to your online/web-enhanced courses today!

April 2015 How-to Sessions

learn_blogEach month, SHSU Online offers face-to-face and completely online technology training/how-to sessions for faculty and staff at Sam Houston State University. In April we are offering 12 face-to-face and 2 online courses to keep faculty and staff connected and in the know.

April 2015 brings with it a continued focus on our sun-setting of Tegrity at SHSU with 4 sessions covering the technologies you will use in its place.  Piggy-backing off of their debut at the SHSU Online Teaching and Learning Conference, the use of electronic portfolios in Blackboard courses will also be covered. To help with student engagement SHSU Online is also offering sessions on voice tools (audio in your courses), creating and grading with rubrics as well as feedback strategies for your online courses.

To sign up, please visit our Development Sessions sign-up page.

Session Name Description Date/Time
What’s New in Teaching and Learning for Blackboard? This self-paced, completely online course is designed to familiarize SHSU faculty with the latest features and enhancements in Blackboard Learn. Modules cover enhancements in building and designing courses, communication and assessment. Online/Self-Paced
Blackboard Learn: Designing Engaging Content This self-paced, completely online, Designing Engaging Content course is put together so that SHSU instructors learn strategies for effectively designing and organizing content to increase student engagement within Blackboard courses. Online/Self-Paced
Blackboard Learn: Portfolios This 90 minute session covers an invaluable tool in academic professional development. Porfolios provide a powerful medium for users to efficiently collect and organize artifacts representative of work completed over time. Attendees will learn create portfolio assignments as well as build out a portfolio so that they can better communicate with students about buidling their own. 4/1/2015 – 1pm
Blackboard Collaborate: Voice Tools This 1 hour session will show attendees how to utilize Blackboard Collaborate voice tools throughout their course. Topics covered include: personalizing your course by adding your voice anywhere you add text, and implementing a “Voice Board” for a different take on an asynchronous discussion. 4/2/2015 – 2pm
ProctorFree – Online Proctoring for Blackboard Exams and Quizzes This one hour session covers how to use ProctorFree for your online exams & quizzes in Blackboard. ProctorFree is an on-demand, automated online proctoring service that deters cheating in an online testing environment. Using biometric and machine learning technologies, ProctorFree has eliminated the need for a human proctor during testing. This innovative technology creates a convenient testing option for distance education students and increases the credibility of online certificates and degrees for higher education institutions. 4/7/2015 – 1pm
Kaltura: Lecture Capture in Blackboard Adding video to our Blackboard course just became easier! This 60-90 minute session covers how to add video to your Blackboard course using the Kaltura Mashup tool. Attendees will learn how to record and upload video from their webcam as well as capture what is on their own computer screen (PowerPoints etc.). 4/8/2015 – 1pm
Blackboard Learn: Portfolios This 90 minute session covers an invaluable tool in academic professional development. Porfolios provide a powerful medium for users to efficiently collect and organize artifacts representative of work completed over time. Attendees will learn create portfolio assignments as well as build out a portfolio so that they can better communicate with students about buidling their own. 4/9/2015 – 2pm
Blackboard Learn: Rubrics Participants will learn how to use the rubric tool that lists evaluation criteria for an assignment, and provide a means to convey expectations to students for the quality of completed assignments. This session lasts approximately 60 minutes. 4/14/2015 – 1pm
ProctorFree – Online Proctoring for Blackboard Exams and Quizzes This one hour session covers how to use ProctorFree for your online exams & quizzes in Blackboard. ProctorFree is an on-demand, automated online proctoring service that deters cheating in an online testing environment. Using biometric and machine learning technologies, ProctorFree has eliminated the need for a human proctor during testing. This innovative technology creates a convenient testing option for distance education students and increases the credibility of online certificates and degrees for higher education institutions. 4/15/2015 – 2pm
Blackboard Learn: Portfolios This 90 minute session covers an invaluable tool in academic professional development. Porfolios provide a powerful medium for users to efficiently collect and organize artifacts representative of work completed over time. Attendees will learn create portfolio assignments as well as build out a portfolio so that they can better communicate with students about buidling their own. 4/16/2015 – 10am
Kaltura: Lecture Capture in Blackboard Adding video to our Blackboard course just became easier! This 60-90 minute session covers how to add video to your Blackboard course using the Kaltura Mashup tool. Attendees will learn how to record and upload video from their webcam as well as capture what is on their own computer screen (PowerPoints etc.). 4/16/2015 – 2pm
Blackboard Collaborate: Voice Tools This 1 hour session will show attendees how to utilize Blackboard Collaborate voice tools throughout their course. Topics covered include: personalizing your course by adding your voice anywhere you add text, and implementing a “Voice Board” for a different take on an asynchronous discussion. 4/21/2015 – 1pm
Blackboard Learn: Portfolios This 90 minute session covers an invaluable tool in academic professional development. Porfolios provide a powerful medium for users to efficiently collect and organize artifacts representative of work completed over time. Attendees will learn create portfolio assignments as well as build out a portfolio so that they can better communicate with students about buidling their own. 4/22/2015 – 1pm
Feedback Strategies for Your Online Course Engagement in online courses is key for student success, teacher evaluation and the overall course experience. A great way to promote student engagement in your online course is to work on feedback. Students that receive regular feedback tend to perform better and as a result have good opinions of their time in the course. There are many sound strategies for providing feedback in an online course. This 90 minute session will cover a few key feedback strategies. 4/23/2015 – 2pm

To sign up, please visit our Development Sessions sign-up page.

Blackboard Maintenance Preparations

In preparation for this evening’s Blackboard maintenance, the Blackboard Administration Team will be performing some tasks on our production servers. They are as follows:

Student Preview1. Set Inactive and Uninstall “Student View” Building Block

The Student Preview is part of the Blackboard core and as such does not need to be duplicated as a Building Block.  When you login to Blackboard Thursday morning the student preview button will show up in the upper right hand side of your course’s content frame.

2. Delete all “bb_demo” users from system (6765 users)

These were accounts that the old Student View Building block placed in your course(s) every time you used the Student View.

3. Delete all SHSU faculty “_std” accounts. (1217 users)

These are student accounts for faculty that we retained from our “Blackboard Classic” days prior to 2011.  These ARE NOT your instructor accounts. We used to leverage them to view our courses as students.  The Student Preview functionality takes care of this for us now, so there is no reason to have 2 things that operate the same way.

 

Blackboard Maintenance (Downtime)

System MaintenanceBlackboard will be undergoing maintenance from 10pm on Wednesday, December 17th until 10am on Thursday, December 18th, 2014.  Blackboard will be unavailable during this time.  This maintenance will address the accessibility, security, performance and scalability of the platform as well as other known issues.

We are posting this announcement now to allow for any changes in due dates and schedules in your course(s). Please do not log in or try to do any work during the maintenance window.  During the downtime, please visit the SHSU Online Blog for more information.

E-mail blackboard@shsu.edu if you have any questions.

Sincerely,
The SHSU Online Blackboard Team
blackboard@shsu.edu