Using Blackboard to Meet Attendance Initiative Needs

Unless you’ve been vacationing off-planet recently, you’ve probably heard of the university’s Attendance Initiative.  You have been presented with 2 options for reporting attendance.

  1. Manually enter attendance results in Banner’s “Attendance Tracker” tool.
  2. Set up a an appropriate academic activity in Blackboard so that attendance attendance reports can be run automatically.

The 12th class day for the Fall 2016 semester is Friday, September 9th.  In order for a student’s attendance to “count” within Blackboard before then, the student will need to complete an appropriate academic activity in your Blackboard course.  *Examples of tools in Blackboard to use for this are:

*Only these tool types will provide automated attendance data so that you do not have to manually report it using the Banner attendance tracker.

Each of these activities are great first week activities on their own in that they get your students engaged with the course from the start.  They are not a heavy lift for your students in terms of difficulty level, or for you in terms of grading.

Click the activity name to see  ideas for each of these tools that you can employ to fulfill the Attendance Initiative Requirements.

Questions to consider:

When should due dates for these activities occur?
We recommend that due dates be set for these activities on 9/7 and 9/8 in case of any delay in reporting.

Do I have to grade the assignment before the 12th class day?
No.  Only the student submission is required for attendance purposes.  You can grade these submissions whenever you want or set it up as a non-graded or completion/incomplete activity.

Is this just for faculty who teach online?
No.  Any faculty member teaching an online, hybrid, or face-to-face class can take advantage of the automated option by deploying one of the activities listed above.

Blog PostBlackboard Blog Instructions

Have your students each post a blog entry on what they hope to get out of your class for the semester. You and their fellow students can comment on entries as needed/required.

Journal EntryBlackboard Journal Instructions

Have students share an experience that led them to taking your class or deciding upon their major. You can decide to make the journal public to the class or just in between you and the student.

AssignmentBlackboard Assignment Instructions

Have students turn in a KWL assignment.  KWL – What do you know about the topic? What do you Want to Know? What have you learned?  This assignment is great as it helps you determine where you might want to spend some more time as you teach the subject and it lets the students come back at the end of the semester and update you on what they have learned.

DiscussionBlackboard Discussion Forum Instructions

Have each of your students submit a post to an “Introduce Yourself” discussion forum.  Ask them to share things like:  Major, Hometown, Hobbies, Why they are taking the class and even something fun (If you one super-power, what would it be?).  You can then encourage the students to reply to their colleagues to gain full credit for the assignment.

Quiz/ExamBlackboard Quiz/Exam Instructions

A great way to start off the semester and ensure your students are familiar with what is expected of them is to have them take a syllabus quiz.  This low-stakes assessment is perfect for getting your students used to taking quizzes/exams in Blackboard and ensures that they actually read the syllabus!


SHSU Online Faculty Development Opportunities – September 2016


Welcome back Bearkat faculty!  The Fall 2016 semester is here and so are the SHSU Online faculty development opportunities!

  1. Go fully online and earn your Teaching Online with Blackboard or Multimedia Master Certifications by enrolling in one of our two Blackboard certification options.
  2. Enroll in our Blackboard Collaborate Ultra Webinar and learn how to use the Collaborate Ultra by participating in an online web meeting that uses the tool.
  3. Attend one of the face-to-face how-to sessions here at the main campus or at our Woodlands location.
  4. Sign up for one-on-one sessions.  These sessions can be 5 minutes to an hour and can take place in your office, ours, over the phone and online.  Use the same link to sign up for face-to-face or one-on-one sessions. Just select a topic or come up with one of your own and we’ll do it!

Visit the SHSU Online Faculty Development How-to Session page to sign up for the following courses:

Fully Online Sessions (see below for full session descriptions)

  • Teaching Online With Blackboard [Cohort 9] – Enroll in each of the 4 courses separately.
    • 9/6/2016 – Blackboard Learn: Course Building
    • 9/20/2016 – Blackboard Learn: Communication
    • 10/04/2016 – Blackboard Learn: Assessment
    • 10/18/2016 – Teaching Online: Strategies for Success
  • 9/12/2016 – Multimedia in Blackboard Courses [Self-Paced]
  • 9/14/2016 – Blackboard Collaborate: The Ultra Experience – Webinar – 1pm

Main Campus Sessions (see below for full session descriptions)

  • 9/16/2016 – ProctorFree Online Proctoring for Bb Exams & Quizzes – 1pm
  • 9/19/2016 – Blackboard Learn: Using the Grade Center

Woodlands Campus Sessions (see below for full session descriptions)

  • 9/13 – Blackboard & More – By Request 5pm TWC 209

Visit the SHSU Online Faculty Development How-to Session page to sign up

Development Session Descriptions

Multimedia in Blackboard Courses: This fully-online certification course provides the Blackboard instructor with the knowledge and skills in both the acquisition and implementation of multimedia for online/face-to-face and hybrid courses. Technologies and best practices are examined in the context of student engagement and success.

Participants can choose to complete all module activities for this course and receive a Multimedia Certification or just complete any of the modules that interests them, a la carte.

Teaching Online with Blackboard: A 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. Courses included within this series comprise the following:

  • Course Building: 2-week course that will equip online instructors with building and sharing content in their online courses.
  • Communication: 2-week course that will cover tools of communication, as well as applicable communication strategies for online course management.
  • Assessment: 2-week course that introduces participants to how to get started assessing their student’s learning in an online class.
  • Teaching Online– Strategies for Success: 2-Week course that presents participants with the opportunity to explore best practices for creating engaging and effective online learning environments.

Blackboard Collaborate – The Ultra Experience: Synchronous collaboration in Blackboard just got a whole lot easier. Introducing Blackboard Collaborate – The Ultra Experience. In real-time, share audio, video, chat, files, whiteboard and software applications on your computer with your classmates and instructor.  No java plugin needed!  Collaborate Ultra runs inside your Internet browser! Session lasts approximately 60 minutes.

ProctorFree – Online Proctoring for Blackboard Exams: 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 bio-metric 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.

Blackboard Learn: Using the Grade Center: Participants will learn how to use the Blackboard Grade Center to record data, calculate grades, and monitor student progress. Manage students’ grades and create grade columns for any activities or requirements you wish to grade.

Blackboard & More – By Request: This one hour session is scheduled for SHSU Blackboard instructors who can’t quite make it to Huntsville. An SHSU Online Blackboard export will be at the Woodlands Campus to help answer questions, provide solutions, demonstrations and more around Blackboard and interfacing software applications.