carpenter's toolbox

Course Tools are communication and collaboration tools that enhance the interaction between instructors and students in Blackboard courses.

When viewing the Course Tools in the Control Panel you see a number of tools listed there. How do you know which tool is right for the job?

The Center for Faculty Excellence at Fresno State developed a handy two page guide designed to help you to pick the right Blackboard tool for the job. If you know what tool you want to use, you can follow the row across to see it's strengths and weaknesses. If you know what you want to achieve, you can pick a column and follow it to see which tool is best for the job.

Try out this handy Blackboard 9.1 Tool Guide and let me know what you think.

Note: The Elluminate tool referenced in the guide is now Blackboard Collaborate.

Want more information?

Blackboard 9.1 Tool Guide (PDF)
Try these Blackboard How-To documents.
Explore Blackboard’s On Demand Learning Center.
Visit our Blackboard FAQs for additional blackboard information
or schedule a one-on-one session, email, or
call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418.

Photo credit: Carpenter's Toolbox | CC0

by Tiera S. Coston

As teachers, we all want to encourage the development and enhancement of the problem-solving skills of our students.  However, we may have to tap into some problem-solving skill of our own when attempting to create a classroom environment that is engaging, informational and effective in meeting the objectives of our courses.  Many times, this is easier said than done.  But, fear not.  The Eberly Center at Carnegie Mellon University has created an excellent resource that may help you to effectively address teaching issues that are commonly encountered in the classroom.  This Solve a Teaching Problem tool works as an easy-to-use, three-step process.  First, you identify the problem that is occurring in your teaching from a listing of issues that are divided into broadly-themed categories.  These categories include: Attitudes & Motivation; Prerequisite Knowledge and Preparedness; Critical Thinking & Applying Knowledge; Group Skills and Dynamics; Classroom Behavior & Etiquette; and Grading and Assessment.

Step 1.

Step 1

Once you identify the problem, the second step is to identify the possible reasons that the problem is occurring.

Step 2.

Step 2

Once you understand why the problem may be occurring, the final step is to explore the strategies provided to determine what may be effective in addressing the problem.

Step 3.

Step 3

It is important to note that these strategies are both evidence-based and practical.  However, as with any strategies, certain ones may work for some while being ineffective for others.  The idea is to think critically about what is happening in your particular class and use the strategies as a guide to create a plan of action for your specific situation.  Happy problem-solving.

Made with OnlineChartTool.Com

If you need to make a chart or a graph in a hurry, point your web browser to OnlineChartTool.com. It's a web-based tool which allows you to create charts in nigh on a dozen different styles: bar, line, bar-line, area, pie, radar, scatter, bubble, meter, pyramid. It's relatively easy to get started and suitable for student assignments. (As always, play around with it yourself first.) You don't even need to create an account — though if you do, you'll be able to come back and edit your charts later.

2

50 Web Tools in 50 Minutes

Thanks to everyone who attended our workshop on "50 Web Tools in 50 Minutes."

Full House

For your clicking convenience, check out the full list of web-based tools that we covered.

  1. Online OCR — Convert scanned documents to text.
  2. Wordle — Word clouds! (example) See also Tagxedo
  3. Up-Goer Five Text Editor— Can you explain a hard idea using only the ten hundred most used words?
  4. Scribd — Document sharing. (example)
  5. WordPress.com — Blogging platform.
  6. Edublogs — Like WordPress.com or Blogger but specifically tailored to educational needs.
  7. Wikipedia — "a collaboratively edited, multilingual, free Internet encyclopedia"
  8. NolaWiki — "a collaborative, reliable, comprehensive look at the people, places, events and ideas of the city of New Orleans."
  9. Wikispaces — Create your own wiki. (Note: This page is hosted on Wikispaces.)
  10. Google Sites — Create your own website/wiki. (example)
  11. visualizing.org — Find (and share) visualizations of complex issues. (example)
  12. Many Eyes — Find and create data visualizations. (example)
  13. Pinterest — A social environment for collecting, discovering and sharing images. (example) (more on educational use)
  14. Compfight — Search tool that makes it easy to find Flickr photos, including those licensed for re-use.
  15. YouTube — Everybody knows about YouTube, but did you know about their Education Channel?
  16. Vimeo — Video hosting. Like YouTube but cooler. Lack of support for captioning could be a deal-breaker.
  17. CaptionTube — Speaking of which, here's a tool for captioning YouTube videos. (example)
  18. TED-Ed — Like YouTube's Education Channel but even more highly curated.
  19. Animoto — Easy-to-make online videos from photos and music. Free for videos under 30 seconds. (example)
  20. Screenr — Screen recording. Yes, it's web-based. (example)
  21. SoundCloud — Audio sharing platform. Free version limited to 120 minutes total. (example)
  22. AudioBoo — Audio sharing platform. Free version limited to three minutes per file. (example)
  23. Educreations — Recordable interactive whiteboard. Captures voice and handwriting/drawing to produce movies. Especially nice with an iPad but can also be used via web browser. (example)
  24. Prezi — Make (and find) crazy zooming presentations. (example)
  25. Timetoast — Build (and find) interactive timelines. (example)
  26. Capzles — Make (and find) multimedia storylines. Educational version in the works. (example)
  27. SlideShare — Share and find presentations (mainly PowerPoint). (example)
  28. VoiceThread — "A VoiceThread is a collaborative, interactive, multimedia slide show that holds images, documents, and videos." (example)
  29. MentorMob — Make and find learning playlists. Virtually all media supported: videos, PDFs, webpages, etc. (example)
  30. Quora — Social Q&A site. There are many of these but Quora's the best. (example)
  31. Khan Academy — Lectures and quizzes with an emphasis on math, science and finance. (example)
  32. Poll Everywhere — Easy way to aggregate live responses. (example) (example) (see also Socrative)
  33. SurveyMonkey — Surveys made easy.
  34. Moodle — Free course-management system.
  35. Quizlet — Make and find study tools (flash cards etc.) (example)
  36. Evernote — Store notes, images, documents, web clips, audio notes. Searchable. Sync across your devices. Claims to recognize handwriting from, say, a photo of a whiteboard.
  37. LiveBinder — Like a three-ring binder for web pages. (example)
  38. Delivr — Make and manage QR codes. (example)
  39. Facebook — Yes, it can be used for teaching. For example, make a group for your class.
  40. Twitter — For developing connections with colleagues around the world.
  41. LinkedIn — Professional networking.
  42. Yammer — Enterprise social network: social software designed for the institutional context.
  43. Dropbox — Easy file sharing.
  44. Popplet — Mind mapping, image galleries, more. (example)
  45. MindMeister — Collaborative mind mapping. (example)
  46. Voki — Create talking avatars. See example below. (example)
  47. MakeBeliefComix — Create your own comic strips. You'll have to make a screenshot for sharing online. (example)
  48. Diigo — Bookmarks on steroids. Allows you to highlight and add sticky notes to web pages. (example)
  49. ScoopIt — Curated web content. (example)
  50. Learnist — Curated web content, possibly more education-oriented. (example)

See also: The Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies' Top 100 Tools for Learning