Blackboard Maintenance Update – What’s New?

Last night, our Blackboard instance went through a scheduled maintenance that brought us to version 9.1 Q2 2017.  While the version may not mean much to you, we wanted to take the time to let you know about what new features you have in store when you return in the new year.

New Features with 9.1 Q2 2017

Additional drag-and-drop locations

File drag and drop are now supported in the following areas:

  • Content Editor – embed attachment
  • Blank Page content type
  • Blog – Create Entry
  • Journal – Create Entry
  • Portfolio – add Artifact

Submission receipts enhancements

Students can receive a notification email for each assignment attempt with information about the submission including attached files. Students can also access receipts at any time on the My Grades page in the submissions filter area. Administrators can optionally disable the email notifications.

Blackboard Ally availability

When you return, you will have access to Blackboard Ally.  As we have told you in our previous newsletter articles, Ally is a service for improving the accessibility of content in the following ways:

  • Ally presents instructors and content authors with an accessibility score and coaches users in ways to improve the accessibility of materials.
  • Ally creates and presents students with automatically-generated alternative versions of uploaded files and creating accessible HTML, digital braille, and audio format files.
  • Ally allows administrators to see accessibility scores of materials across courses and track changes over time to plan, measure, and improve accessibility.

Blackboard Ally how-to

Starting January 4th, we will offer a fully-online course (in Blackboard) where you can learn about Ally, how it works and even earn a “Blackboard Ally” certification.  Enroll today!

Inline grading moves from Crocodoc to Box View

Blackboard’s original way to do inline grading (Crocodoc) has been upgraded and replaced by the owners of that software (Box Inc.) to Box View. Box View offers several improvements over Crocodoc, including improved rendering fidelity and expanded support for new file types.  Check out this list of over 100 different supported file types.

For more information, watch this video from Blackboard.

Aside from these great new features and tools, Blackboard also squashed some bugs that had been pestering us.

Bugs fixed with 9.1 Q2 2017

  • Users not Getting Emails While Subscribed to Discussion Board Forum
  • Temp Files Received While Sending Email Attachments from the Grade Center
  • Embedded Media Controls Unresponsive in Test Questions
  • Embedded Media does not play when used as a Question in Assessments
  • Error when Viewing Test Attempts in Grade Center
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SHSU Online Faculty Development Sessions – January 2018

faculty_develpment_banner

Happy new year! SHSU Online is pleased to offer a number of faculty development opportunities for January 2018.

Online Cohort and Self-Paced

Webinar

By Appointment

self-paced_header_graphic webinar_header_graphic face-to-face_header_graphic
  • Blackboard Ally: Making Course Content Accessible
  • Blackboard Collaborate Ultra
  • 1st Week Strategies
  • New Semester Setup
  • VoiceThread
  • Choose From our Catalog
  • Ask for a Custom Session
  • One-on-one or Group

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

Date Session Title Delivery Method Time/Location
Open Blackboard Ally: Making Course
Content Accessible
Blackboard Course Self-Paced – Online
Open  Blackboard Collaborate Ultra Blackboard Course Self-Paced – Online
Jan 8 1st Week Strategies Webinar 2pm – Online
Jan 16 New Semester Setup Webinar 2pm – Online
Jan 22 VoiceThread Webinar 3pm – Online
Jan 31 VoiceThread 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.

Student feedback in Blackboard – Where do they find it?

Research shows that students spend a large portion of their time in Blackboard, checking their grades.  A student’s desire to check their grades via the LMS (Learning Management System) is a regular driver for faculty adoption of Blackboard as a way to provide feedback.

However, even when a Blackboard instructor is using the Grade Center, students may still have difficulty finding their grades and assignment/assessment feedback.   A good best practice for Blackboard instructors is to let students know the mechanics of accessing their grades and graded feedback.

Students can see grades for all of their courses or one course at a time, by using My Grades.

Students can access their grades by clicking the My Grades link in the Blackboard course’s navigation menu or by selecting the arrow next to their name in the upper-right corner. In the menu, they select My Grades. Grades can be sorted by All Courses or Last Graded. If student work hasn’t been graded, grade status icons appear. Select an item’s title to view details.

My Grades accessed from Global navigation menu

The My Grades Page

On the My Grades page, students can view all the coursework and grades for the course they are in. If student work hasn’t been graded, grade status icons appear.

Students can filter and order their view.

Students can select an item’s title to view details. For example, the instructor can type comments, highlight text, and draw on student documents. Students then can select an assignment’s title to access the assignment’s Review Submission History page and review the grade, annotations, and feedback in context.

More on inline viewing

If you use a rubric to grade student work, they can select the View Rubric link to view details.

Students can Select the View Feedback icon to view instructor feedback in a pop-up box.

My Grades page

What Do the Icons Mean?

Icon Description
No information is available.
You completed the work, but no grade is assigned for items such as surveys.
You submitted your work. This item is ready for grading.
Grade Select the grade to view details.
Your work is in progress, but you haven’t submitted it yet.
Your grade for this item is exempted. You don’t have to submit work.
An error has occurred. Contact your instructor.
Your work was graded anonymously. Appears with submissions where your instructor assigned grades with student names hidden during the grading process.
Select to view feedback from your instructor.

SHSU Online Faculty Development Sessions November 2017

faculty_develpment_banner

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

Online Cohort and Self-Paced

Webinar

By Appointment

self-paced_header_graphic webinar_header_graphic face-to-face_header_graphic
  • Multimedia in Blackboard Courses
  • Building Online Communities
  • Organization the Bb Gradebook
  • Bb Collaborate Ultra
  • Copying Your BB Course Into Next Semester
  • Choose From our Catalog
  • Ask for a Custom Session
  • One-on-one or Group

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
Open Blackboard Collaborate Ultra (Starts Nov 1st) Blackboard Course Self-Paced – Online
Nov 13 Managing Groups in Blackboard Webinar 2pm – Online
Nov 16 Blackboard Discussion Forums Webinar 3pm – Online
Nov 28 What’s New in Blackboard? Webinar 2pm – 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 Downtime 9/2/17

Blackboard Downtime Banner

SHSU Online will need to apply a critical update to Blackboard on Sat, Sept 2, during Labor Day weekend.  As a result, you will not be able to log into Blackboard for approximately 12 hours from 5:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. CST.

How can I prepare?

  • Shift any assignment due dates to before or after the downtime
  • Reschedule any online examinations around the downtime window
  • Reschedule any synchronous activities you had planned during that time

As is customary, we will post announcements on the Blackboard landing page, in every Blackboard course, as well as on the SHSU Online website.   The SHSU Online Support Desk will be available to answer any inquiries.

What’s New In Blackboard?

What's New in Blackboard Learn - Graphic
On Sunday, August 13, Blackboard was updated to a more recent version(Q2 2017). Though the majority of Blackboard will operate the same as before the update, there are some important new features that we would like to highlight.

These features include:

  • Drag and Drop Files
  • Submission Receipts
  • Reminders
  • Blackboard Instructor App
  • Dropbox Integration
  • Needs Grading Improvements

Below you will find descriptions for each new feature as well as links to thorough documentation on each.


drag_n_dropDrag and Drop Files
When instructors create content items, assignments, and web links, they can drag files from their computers to the “hot spot” in the Attach Files area. Students can also drag files to upload when they submit assignments. Drag and drop are also supported in the following areas: Content Collection, Content Editor, blank page content type, blogs, journals, and adding an artifact to Portfolios. | For Instructors | For Students |

Submission Receipts
Instructors can keep track of all student submissions, regardless of whether the attempt or assignment is deleted or the submission history is changed. A submission receipt is captured at the time of submission and includes information such as attached file information, date, time, etc. This feature provides evidence for academic disputes, giving students assurance about their work.

Submission Receipts - Instructor view

Students can receive a notification email for each assignment attempt with information about the submission including attached files. Students can also access receipts at any time on the My Grades page in the submissions filter area. Administrators can optionally disable the email notifications. | For Instructors | For Students |

Send ReminderReminders
Instructors can send email reminders from Grade Center columns to students and members of groups who have missing coursework. Students receive a system-generated email that lists the course, coursework, and the due date if included.
| Learn More |

Blackboard Instructor
Blackboard Instructor is a mobile app that enables instructors to view course content, connect with students in discussions, and interact with classes in Blackboard Collaborate. The app is available on iOS and Android mobile devices.
| Learn More |

Dropbox Integration
Students can attach files and submit assignments from their personal Dropbox accounts using this new cloud service integration.

Dropbox Blackboard Mashup

Fewer Needs Grading Items
When multiple-attempt assessments are set to calculate using the first or last attempt, there are potentially numerous other attempts that will never be used for the grade calculation. This can be particularly problematic in anonymous or delegated grading scenarios where it can be difficult to determine which attempts are associated with students and therefore require grading. A new filter is now available both in the Needs Grading workflow as well as within the Grade Center to show or hide these attempts. Attempts that won’t calculate towards the assessment grade are now indicated with an icon. | Learn More |

fewer_needs_grading

The importance of a virtual office

Virtual Office Info Graphic

In face-to-face courses, students have the luxury of benefiting from questions asked while in the classroom or the ability to stop by your office to discuss an issue they might be having.  In both cases they get the chance to interact with you and possibly some of their fellow classmates.

Sometimes, students find it challenging to find that same connection in an online, hybrid or web-enhanced environment.  The good news is that with Blackboard, you can create a virtual space where your students can experience the same kind of connection and feedback they receive in their brick-and-mortar classes.

Using a virtual office in your online/hybrid/web-enhanced courses provides many benefits. For the purpose of this blog post, we will focus on three.  Using a virtual office:

  • puts the instructor in the course
  • cleans up email inboxes
  • promotes the use of Blackboard (the LMS or Learning Management System)

The virtual office puts the instructor in the course

Placing a photo of yourself, your contact information and a little biographical info can go a long way toward helping your student see you as a person and not some synthetic-robot version of yourself.   If you want to go the extra mile, replace the photo with a quick Intro or Welcome video that can bring out your personality and help the students get to know you.

By subscribing to your own virtual office discussion forum you will receive prompts when questions are posted.  These prompts will help you engage with your students in a timely fashion and make the students feel like you are in the course.

The virtual office cleans up e-mail inboxes

Let’s face it, we all “misplace” e-mail.  For some of us, our inbox receives a hundred new messages or more each day.  Why not make life easier on you and your students by reserving course-oriented email for things of a personal or private nature.  Have your students post general course questions to the virtual office discussion forumWhen you answer questions via e-mail the only people that see that correspondence are you and the student. If a question is answered in a public space like the virtual office, everyone benefits.

You may have to use the first week of the course as a “training week” where you ensure you point your students to the virtual office for answers to course questions.  Make it a requirement in your syllabus, an expectation on your course expectations page and a question on your Syllabus quiz to ensure students know where to go.

BONUS:  The virtual office builds a course FAQ over the course of a semester that you can then use as part of your next semester’s course.

The virtual office promotes the use of Blackboard (the LMS)

The more time a student is spending in your course, the more connected they are to what is happening.  When your students establish the habit of checking the course regularly, they will be more engaged and more successful.

Encouraging your students to check the virtual office daily will get them in your course and connect them to the information and activities they need to conquer course objectives.