Seeing is Believing: Let Students See How Online Tools Work

We have posted previously on the importance of showing students what success looks like in an eLearning environment like Blackboard.   Whether via a rubric or by the example of a previous student submission, letting students see how they can be successful with an assignment or activity in your course is generally a good idea.

This post will help you discover how to utilize a tool that your students will use in their activities by employing it to display course content or provide course communication. That’s right, you are getting two for the price of one!

WikisThe Wiki Tool

The wiki tool can be the most rewarding/frustrating tool in your arsenal of activities that you have in Blackboard. Providing students with instructions on how to use the tool is definitely important, but many times they don’t end up using it the way you intended. This may be because they didn’t have an example or the 1 page example didn’t really show how a completed wiki should look.

Example: Use a wiki to display course topic or content.

Let’s say one of your course modules deals with Jean Piaget and Cognitive Development/Learning. Create a Wiki to display the content across multiple wiki pages:

  • Page 1 – Wiki Home – Overall introduction of unit
  • Page 2 – About Piaget – Biographical/historical look complete with picture
  • Page 3 – Cognitive Development: Explainer on Piaget’s theory
  • Page 4 – Cognitive Learning Today: Embedded video and text

Leave one page with places for your student to add their own text to the wiki demonstrating how a wiki should work in practice.

BlogsThe Blog Tool

In today’s day and age it easy to make the assumption that all students know how to use a blog or are familiar with journaling due to social media. However, this is generally not the case as most social media posts are micro-blogs (very short 126 characters or less) and full of emojis, text-speak and hashtags.

Example: Use a Course Blog to summarize the week/topic/module, provide commentary on student performance and provide a look into the next week/unit/topic.

This example allows you to demonstrate how a blog works and allows you to communicate important news and information to your students.

Each week make a blog post that:

  • Summarizes what the students went over
  • Provides kudos for student performance
  • Provides encouragement for student struggles
  • Allows for commentary to point out important details about the course content.
  • Gives students a preview/intro into the next unit.
  • Be sure to use multimedia so that students see what the blog can do.

*Use other communication tools in your course (announcements, e-mails, calendar entries) to remind students to check the blog. Be sure to encourage students to comment on your blog posts (a few bonus points for your top 3 commenters across a semester).

Both of these activities will give your students a good idea about how they can use these tools to complete the activities/assignments that you have placed in your course.

This strategy works with multiple types of tools/activities in and outside of Blackboard. Things like VoiceThread, GoogleDocs, course hashtags and many others are easy to pair with the “Seeing is Believing” idea.

Hopefully, by employing these types of strategies in your Blackboard courses, you can reduce student anxiety and increase student success!

Faculty Development Opportunities – May 2017

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SHSU Online is pleased to offer a number of faculty development opportunities via different avenues for May 2017.

Online Cohort and Self-Paced

Webinar

Face-to Face

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  • Multimedia in Blackboard Courses
  • Building Online Communities
  • Organization the Bb Gradebook
  • Bb Collaborate Ultra
  • Copying Your BB Course Into Next Semester
  • Blackboard & More By Request

Faculty Development Schedule – Face-to-Face/Self-Paced/Webinar

Date Session Title Delivery Method Time/Location
Open Building Online Communities Blackboard Course Self-Paced – Online
Open Multimedia in Blackboard Courses Blackboard Course Self-Paced – Online
May 2 Organizing the Bb Gradebook Webinar 1pm – Online
May 4 Bb Collaborate Ultra Webinar 1pm – Online
May 15 Bb Collaborate Ultra Webinar 12pm – Online
May 16 Blackboard & More by Request Face-to-Face 5pm – TWC 210
May 18 Copying a Bb Course Into Next Semester Webinar 1pm – Online
May 23 Organizing the Bb Gradebook Webinar 1pm – Online
May 25 Bb Collaborate Ultra Webinar 1pm – Online

Enroll in one of our faculty development sessions today!

Faculty Development by Appointment

by_appointmentThese 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 and schedule a one-on-one with a member of the Instructional Technology Support Services team.

Blackboard Tip: Course-to-Course Navigation

Have you ever found yourself in the midst of working on a particular item in a Blackboard course only to realize that you should probably make the change on the same or similar item in another one of your courses?

At this point you may start grumbling about the fact that you need to exit this course, go back to the My Courses module on Blackboard’s main page, scroll to find the course you were thinking of and then access it.  Well, hold the grumbles, because there is a faster way to jump from one course to another in Blackboard.  We give you the Course-to-Course Navigation Menu!

COURSE-TO-COURSE NAVIGATION MENU

From one of your courses, you can conveniently access all of the other courses you’re enrolled in.

course_to_course_navigationSelect the Course-to-Course Navigation icon to access the menu and select another course title. If the same page you’re currently viewing in the course exists in the next course, that is where you’ll land. The most recently visited course is listed first.

For example, if you’re viewing the announcements page in one course and select another course in the menu, you’re taken to that course’s announcements page.

For more information on how to quickly jump from one course to another, watch the following video:

Grade Center Due Dates & Column Organization

One of the of the hallmarks of student satisfaction in any online or web-enhanced course is a good student-course relationship.  If the student has a good experience interacting with the course structure and materials, they are more likely to report a higher level of satisfaction.

One way to increase the odds of a good student-course relationship is to be sure that when students check their academic progress, it is easy for them discover how they are doing in the course.

Blackboard students and instructors have dramatically different views of course grades.  Instructors generally interact with student grades via the Grade Center, whereas students work with a custom My Grades tool that only shows them their own achievements.  Students do not get a spreadsheet view of their grades.  Instead, they see a list of graded items in whatever order the instructor happens to have them in Blackboard’s Grade Center.

When adding assignments and activities during any given semester it is easy to just set-and-forget the Grade Center and forget about how students see their grades.  The good news is that there are steps that any Blackboard instructor can take to ensure that the students’ view of their academic progress is easy to understand and in the correct order.

The following video capture by SHSU Online Instructional Designer Jay Wilson will walk Blackboard Instructors through the process of organizing the Grade Center using Grade Book Due Dates and Column Organization.

SHSU Online Faculty Development Opportunities February 2017

faculty_develpment_banner

SHSU Online is pleased to offer a number of faculty development opportunities via different avenues for February 2017.

Online Cohort and Self-Paced

Webinar

Face-to Face

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  • Teaching Online With Blackboard (Cohort)
  • Multimedia in Blackboard Courses
  • Building Online Communities
  • Blackboard Collaborate Ultra
  • Blackboard Gradebook Tune-up
  • ProctorFree – Remote Proctoring
  • Kaltura – Video/Audio/Screen Capture

Faculty Development Schedule – Online Cohort*

Start Date Teaching Online With Blackboard
Certification Series
Time/Location
Feb 1 Blackboard Learn: Course Building Online Cohort
Feb 15 Blackboard Learn: Communication Online Cohort
Mar 1 Blackboard Learn: Assessment Online Cohort
Mar 22 Teaching Online w/ Blackboard Strategies for Success Online Cohort

*All 4 courses of the cohort must be completed to receive certification.

Faculty Development Schedule – Face-to-Face/Self-Paced/Webinar

Date Session Title Delivery Method Time/Location
Open Building Online Communities Blackboard Course Self-Paced – Online
Open Multimedia in Blackboard Courses Blackboard Course Self-Paced – Online
Feb 1 Blackboard Collaborate Ultra Webinar 1pm – Online
Feb 7 ProctorFree – Remote Proctoring Face-to-Face 1pm – MURFF 105
Feb 14 Blackboard & More By Request Face-to-Face 5pm – TWC 210
Feb 15 Kaltura: Audio/Video/Screen Capture Face-to-Face 12pm – MURFF 105
Feb 21 Blackboard Gradebook Tune-up Face-to-Face 1pm – MURFF 105

Enroll in one of our faculty development sessions today!

Faculty Development by Appointment

by_appointmentThese 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 and schedule a one-on-one with a member of the Instructional Technology Support Services team.

SHSU ONLINE FACULTY DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES – NOV/DEC 2016

faculty_develpment_banner

SHSU Online is thankful that we can offer a number of faculty development opportunities via different avenues for November and December of 2016.

Online Self-Paced

Webinar

Face-to Face

self-paced_header_graphic webinar_header_graphic face-to-face_header_graphic
  • Building Online Communities
  • Multimedia in Blackboard Courses
  • Blackboard Collaborate Ultra
  • Blackboard Learn Achievements
  • Copying Bb Courses/Content
  • 1st Week Strategies
  • Blackboard & More – By Request
  • ProctorFree – Remote Proctoring
  • Kaltura – Video/Audio/Screen Capture

Faculty Development Schedule

Date Session Title Delivery Method Time/Location
Nov 1 Building Online Communities Blackboard Course Self-Paced – Online
Nov 1 Multimedia in Blackboard Courses Blackboard Course Self-Paced – Online
Nov 1 Blackboard Collaborate Ultra Webinar 1pm – Online
Nov 7 ProctorFree – Remote Proctoring Face-to-Face 1pm – MURFF 105
Nov 8 Blackboard & More By Request Face-to-Face 5pm – TWC 210
Nov 9 Achievements – Badges  in Blackboard Webinar 12pm – Online
Nov 14 Blackboard Collaborate Ultra Webinar 1pm – Online
Nov 15 Kaltura: Audio/Video/Screen Capture Face-to-Face 12pm – MURFF 105
Nov 29 Blackboard & More By Request Face-to-Face 5pm – TWC 210
Nov 30 Copying Blackboard Courses/Content Webinar 1pm – Online
Dec 1 Blackboard Learn: 1st Week Strategies Webinar 12pm – Online

Enroll in one of our faculty development sessions today!

Faculty Development by Appointment

by_appointmentThese 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 and schedule a one-on-one with a member of the Instructional Technology Support Services team.

Cut down on student stress by layering academic and mechanical instructions throughout your course.

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With students, everything revolves around context. They are becoming used to getting contextual information about the restaurant where they are eating, the traffic they are driving in, and the television shows they are watching. That is why it is important to not just put instructions in your course syllabus. They need to placed at the unit and assignment level as well.

unit_level_objectives

A big key here is not just revealing the academic instructions that tell the students the requirements of a particular assignment or activity, but the mechanical instructions that tell the students how to use the particular tool to complete the assignment or activity. Relying on the fact that your students may be “digital natives” is just not a good strategy when it comes to them figuring out how to maneuver in your Blackboard Course.  If your students are completing an activity using one of the learning management system’s tools, why not give them a reminder on where to click to begin and then provide a link to help documentation (from help.blackboard.com) on how to use the tool they are being assigned.

where_to_begin_help_documentation

Making these best practices a regular part of your course design and development will go a long way toward ensuring that your students are able to work through course activities with more success and less stress.