“Coming Soon” to a Blackboard Near You!

If announcements for new Blackboard tools were like movie trailers, then you’d be on the edge of your seat for these tools “coming soon” to Blackboard and SHSU Online.

Trailer #1: Blackboard Ally

….In a world where it is hard to know whether your course materials are accessible or if your students can open or understand course files, a new tool will rise. Ally, making course content accessible!….

ally_logoBlackboard Ally

SHSU Online is acquiring ally to gain greater understanding of the accessibility of our growing repository of online content. The tool will be instrumental in…

  • Providing guidance to instructors about how to improve the quality of their content, and by
  • Providing students of all abilities with immediate access to content in formats that may be more suited to their specific needs.

Guidance to Faculty

The Ally software is designed to automatically check course materials for accessibility as they are uploaded to Blackboard. If a PDF file is uploaded, for instance, the tool will look for corresponding file tags that can be picked up by screen-readers. If tags are not associated with the PDF, the system will prompt the faculty to include them to improve the accessibility rating, and will guide them through the process via an easy-to-use interface.

Access to Alternative Formats

Part of the remarkable technological capabilities of Ally is that it can take a document, like a syllabus or a study guide, and render alternate versions of it that will play better with accessibility tools. For example, when an instructor uploads a syllabus to a Blackboard course, Ally will create alternate formats of that syllabus, including semantic HTML, tagged PDF, audio, and electronic braille. What’s more, Ally will create these alternate formats without additional input requirements from the professor.

Trailer #2: Voicethread For Blackboard

…..In a world where PDF or PowerPoint lectures are bringing you down and reading student submissions is making your eyes go dry, one tool can make the difference…..Voicethread for Blackboard.

voicethread_iconVoicethread

VoiceThread is a totally web-based application that allows you to place collections of media like images, videos, documents, and presentations at the center of an asynchronous conversation. A VoiceThread allows people to have conversations and to make comments using any mix of text, a microphone, a web cam, a telephone, or uploaded audio file.

With VoiceThread, instructors and/or students can create, share, and comment on images, Microsoft PowerPoint presentations, videos, audio files, documents, and PDFs, using microphone, webcam, text, phone, and audio-file upload. For SHSU Online, VoiceThread will be an external tool that integrates into Blackboard.

Watch the following video to learn more about Voicethreading:

Both of these tools will be available soon.  Be on the lookout for more information from SHSU Online!

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

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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.

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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.

Increase the value of video in your Blackboard course with Kaltura’s interactive video quizzes.

We can all think of examples of how adding video to your Blackboard course can help improve learning outcomes.  For example, including video can:

  • Make the content and the learning experience more engaging.
  • Make education more flexible and personalized.
  • Help the students and faculty be more collaborative.

We also know that connecting this multimedia content to an activity can help the students cement what they are learning by applying it in an assessment or thinking critically about it with a reflection.

The drawback comes when you want to have students keep track of key concepts demonstrated in the video but you also want to finish getting the point or points across in the video content.  You have been forced to either:

  • have the student pause the video and leave the page they are viewing to go complete an activity
  • or shorten your video content so much that the overall message gets disjointed.

If either of these drawbacks has frustrated you in the past, then do we have some news for you!  Kaltura now as the ability to add interactive video quizzes to your videos.

kaltura_interactive_video_quizzing_laptop

Kaltura Interactive Video Quizzing seamlessly embeds multiple choice questions at any point in a video.  With this tool, you can easily add your own questions through a user-friendly interface.  The questions are attached to the video and “travel” with it wherever it is embedded.

As students watch the video, the questions will appear at the chosen points; the video continues after each question is answered.

Kaltura even provides Video Quiz Analytics.  The analytics page provides:

  1. Average Score of quiz takers
  2. Report by Quiz Questions
  3. Report by Quiz Users

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Are you interested in learning more about Video Quizzing in Kaltura?  Why not sign up for our completely online Multimedia in Blackboard Courses course which covers Kaltura, YouTube, NBC Learn, inserting images in your course and more!