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In a Faculty Focus article, Dr. Linda Shadiow and Dr. Maryellen Weimer suggested using end-of-semester evaluations to get information from your students that can help you develop your teaching persona (the slice of your identity that constitutes the “public teaching self.”)

Your teaching persona should be created from a series of choices made with the aim of enhancing student learning. In the article Drs. Shadiow and Weimer write,

By the end of a semester, we have a sense of how a course went and what activities and actions supported student learning. But through some painful experiences we’ve learned that sometimes what we thought happened was contradicted by what students experienced.

Getting a “learner-sighted” view of the course-experience can add to your understanding of the learning environment, including aspects of your teaching persona that have framed it.

The authors suggest you begin by telling students that you’re asking questions only they can answer. Explain that this is feedback that can help you become a teacher who helps students learn more effectively. Here is their sample note that introduces students to the concept of evaluating the course experience and some examples of sentence stems that can yield useful information:

Your insights into your learning in this course can help me see our course from your side of the desk. Please respond to any three of the statements below (more if you’d like). Submit these anonymously; I will use them as I plan for my courses next semester.

In this course …

it most helped my learning of the content when…because…
it would have helped my learning of the content if…because…
the assignment that contributed the most to my learning was… because…
the reading that contributed the most to my learning was… because…
the kinds of homework problems that contributed most to my learning were…because…
the approach I took to my own learning that contributed the most for me was…because…
the biggest obstacle for me in my learning the material was… because…
a resource I know about that you might consider using is…because…
I was most willing to take risks with learning new material when… because…
during the first day, I remember thinking…because…
what I think I will remember five years from now is…because…

What are good ways to gain insights from student feedback? Put some distance between the course and the feedback. It’s particularly beneficial to review the feedback when selecting course materials, developing assignments, and constructing the syllabus for the next semester. Another option is to have a colleague compile the results and return them to you prior to planning for the next semester.

For more information read the Faculty Focus article, A New Twist on End-of-Semester Evaluations.

Additionally, Brightspace has a survey tool that allows you to get anonymous feedback from your students. You can get more information about using Brightspace surveys in my Get Feedback from your Students tip.

Image Credit: #WOCinTech Chat licensed under CC BY 2.0

Brightspace calculates final grades for each student based on the grading system and the students' grades that are entered into the Grade Book. If the instructor wants more control over the final grades, perhaps to adjust the final grade for a student that is on the cusp of a higher grade, then adjusted final grades can be used and released to students instead of the calculated final grade.

wrench and screwdriver

If the instructor decides to use adjusted final grades for one student in the course, adjusted final grades must be used for all students in the course. This does not imply, however, that final grades must be manually adjusted for all students.

Adjusting final grades are implemented by the instructor for only the student or students that are deemed to need an adjusted grade. The remaining students final grades would be the final grade as calculated in the Grade Book.

Note: The Grade Book must be configured to use adjusted final grades. If you plan to use adjusted final grades, you should make the adjustments before you release final grades.

Follow these steps to do it.

To adjust final grades for all students:

  1. Get into the course where you want to adjust final grades and click Grades in the NavBar.
  2. Click on the Enter Grades link.
  3. Scroll over to the Final Calculated Grade column and click on the arrow on the right of the column name and select Enter Grades.
  4. In the Final Adjusted Grade section for each student, enter the adjusted grades and then click Save.
  5. Once you have ensured that students' grades are accurate, you can release the final grades.

To adjust final grades for one or more specific students:

  1. Get into the course where you want to adjust final grades and click Grades in the NavBar.
  2. Click on the Enter Grades link.
  3. Scroll over to the Final Calculated Grade column and click on the arrow on the right of the column name and select Enter Grades.
  4. Click on the arrow on the right of the Final Grades and click Transfer All, then click Yes.
  5. In the Final Adjusted Grade section, enter adjusted scores where necessary and click Save.
  6. Once you have ensured that students' grades are accurate, you can release the final grades.

Want more information?

Understanding the Grades Tool (video)
Adjust Final Grades
Release Final Grades
Final Grades FAQs
Grades FAQs
Brightspace Tip #109: Grade Book

View all the Brightspace training recaps
Instructors Quick Start Tutorial
Continuous Delivery release notes
Brightspace Known Issues
Request a sandbox course
Sign-up for Brightspace training sessions
You can find Brightspace help at D2L's website.
Join the Brightspace Community.
Try these Brightspace How-To documents.
Visit our Brightspace FAQs for additional Brightspace information
or schedule a one-on-one session, email, or
call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418.

Note: Are you doing something innovative in Brightspace or perhaps you've discovered a handy tip? Share how you are using Brightspace in your teaching and learning in The Orange Room.

Image credit: Architetto -- utensili chiave e cacci by francesco_rollandin from OpenClipArt

Unlike other grade items and categories in the Grade Book, final grades are not available to students by default. Final grades must be released. When setting up the Grade Book, the instructor can choose to automatically release final grades so that the students can see their final grade throughout the semester. If you did not choose to enable the automatic release of final grades when setting up your Grade Book, you will have to manually release final grades in order for students to see their final grade.

Additionally, you can selectively release final grades for some students now and release the final grades for other students later. For example, you can release the final grades for graduating seniors on one date and release the final grades for everyone else on a later date.

Follow these steps to do it.

Watch this video for instructions on how to release final grades:

Want more information?

Adjust Final Grades
Release Final Grades
Final Grades FAQs
Grades FAQs
Brightspace Tip #109: Grade Book

View all the Brightspace training recaps
Instructors Quick Start Tutorial
Continuous Delivery release notes
Brightspace Known Issues
Request a sandbox course
Sign-up for Brightspace training sessions
You can find Brightspace help at D2L's website.
Join the Brightspace Community.
Try these Brightspace How-To documents.
Visit our Brightspace FAQs for additional Brightspace information
or schedule a one-on-one session, email, or
call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418.

Note: Are you doing something innovative in Brightspace or perhaps you've discovered a handy tip? Share how you are using Brightspace in your teaching and learning in The Orange Room.

Image credit: "final grades" by jflorent is dedicated to public domain under CC0 and is a derivative of grade by OpenClipart-Vectors on Pixabay

"Burning My Candle at Both Ends" by gfpeck is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Even in a typical academic year (which this one was not) we tend to burn our candle at both ends as we work our way from August toward graduation. I don’t know if you have felt it, but I have certainly felt the increased pressure of keeping up the past few weeks—letters of recommendation, student advising, and wrapping up goals for the academic year have all made demands on my time.

Adding this pressure to an already-stressful year can increase our risk for burnout. Burnout has become a popular term during COVID, especially for educators who have had to reimagine their teaching. In fact, NPR’s Life Kit podcast just did a timely episode on burnout, complete with tips to avoiding it.

Burnout, a concept studied psychologist Christina Maslach since the 1970s, doesn’t just mean we are overwhelmed and exhausted (though exhaustion is at the core). It also includes becoming cynical about our work, which in higher ed can lead to "phoning it in" to our classes, complaining about our students or colleagues, and disengaging from our institutional missions. (Salvagioni and colleagues provide a thorough, empirical review of the physical and psychological consequences of burnout.)

However, there is recent evidence that what we have called burnout might actually be a form of job-related depression. In a meta-analysis, Renzo Bianchi (University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland) and colleagues looked at evidence from from 12,417 participants in six countries and found that characteristics of burnout were more strongly associated with depression than they were with each other. The implications of this data? Burnout is something that both institutions and faculty should take seriously.

If you are feeling physical or emotional exhaustion or cynicism, I encourage you, in these last fews weeks of the semester, to engage in some of the following that work for you.

  • Adopt healthy eating, exercising, and sleeping habits.
    Give yourself permission to invest in you own good health. Yeah, you have a lot to do, but none of that work is going to get done if you are too ill to do it.
  • Balance work and play.
    Be sure you have downtime and take breaks to do things you find truly joyful. In the academy our work is never truly "done." It's up to us to set some boundaries.
  • Take a daily break from technology.
    Need I say more about this? Take some time each day to completely disconnect and perhaps even look at a tree.

power off button

I am writing this blog post as a follow up to Brightspace Tip #216: Use Submission Views to Show Quiz Results. As you may know, Submission Views are created to allow students to go back and review a submitted quiz. The Limited Duration option allows the instructor to choose what information the student sees immediately after completing the quiz (i.e., after the student clicks on the Submit Quiz button).

Additional Views are created with a specified release date and time that allow instructors to determine what students can see when they go back to review a quiz. Currently, there isn’t an option to set an end date for a Submission View. Therefore, a Submission View is active until the system encounters a subsequent Submission View with a later date/time making it the active view.

Better practice when setting up Submission Views is to create a “Shutdown View”. This ensures that quiz questions and answers are not available past the time the instructor plans to have it available. A Shutdown View will eliminate the need for the instructor to remember to delete Submission Views when they are past their usefulness.

Well-structured Submission Views for an exam where the instructor wants students to be able to see the quiz questions and user responses for a limited amount of time could look like this:

Example of an exam that is available for a limited amount of time for students to review
Example of an exam that is available for a limited amount of time for students to review

In the example above, the testing period for the quiz ends on April 3rd at 6 PM. The “After Testing Period Ends” Submission View will be active on April 5th at 6 AM. The Shutdown View will be active April 6th at 11:59 PM. Students will be able to see the quiz questions with their responses in between April 5th at 6 AM and April 6th at 11:59 PM.

Creating a “Shutdown View” with an end of the semester date/time is good practice if you are planning to copy a course with quizzes that have Submission Views into another course. This ensures that a quiz with a Shutdown View will force you to update the Submission View settings in the course you are copying to. Thus reducing the possibility that you have a Submission View enabled before you want it to be. Even if you do not plan on reusing the exam in the future, setting up a “Shutdown View” is a better practice that can prevent future problems.

Example of an exam with an End of Semester Shutdown Submission View
Example of an exam with an End of Semester Shutdown Submission View

Did you know you can use the Manage Dates tool to edit dates in bulk? Also, the Manage Dates tool provides you with a quick way to see which quizzes have Submission Views set. You can edit Submission Views from the Manage Dates tool as well.

Example of quiz with Submission View dates displayed in the Other Dates column of the Manage Dates tool
Example of quiz with Submission View dates displayed in the Other Dates column of the Manage Dates tool

Want more information?

Brightspace Tip #216: Use Submission Views to Show Quiz Results
Setting a Submission View
Customize Submission Views (video)
How to view a completed test submission (pdf)
Brightspace Tip #74: Manage Dates

View all the Brightspace training recaps
Instructors Quick Start Tutorial
Continuous Delivery release notes
Brightspace Known Issues
Request a sandbox course
Sign-up for Brightspace training sessions
You can find Brightspace help at D2L's website.
Join the Brightspace Community.
Try these Brightspace How-To documents.
Visit our Brightspace FAQs for additional Brightspace information
or schedule a one-on-one session, email, or
call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418.

Note: Are you doing something innovative in Brightspace or perhaps you've discovered a handy tip? Share how you are using Brightspace in your teaching and learning in The Orange Room.

Image Credit: "Shutdown Button" by inky2010 from OpenClipArt

A conversation between Jacob Park (Castleton University) and Bart Everson (CAT+FD) on teaching, learning, and a just transition.

Jacob Park is Associate Professor in Castleton University’s College of Business who specializes in the social and environmental dimensions of innovation, entrepreneurship, and international business, with special focus/expertise in emerging and developing economies in Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Caribbean islands regions. He is also a Visiting Professor at the University of Johannesburg (South Africa) and has served as the Coordinating Lead Author of the UN Environment Global Environment Outlook (GEO-6) Report, Lead Author for the United Nations Millennium Ecosystem Assessment initiative, and as an Expert Reviewer for a number of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Bart Everson is a media artist and creative generalist at Xavier University's Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development. His recent work draws on integrative learning, activism, critical perspectives on technology, and Earth-based spiritual paths.


Link for this episode:

Transcript:

Coming soon!

Last April's Bike Easy Challenge was, well, challenging. This April, at least we can ride to campus occasionally — as staggered work schedules dictate, obviously.

In any event: I'm joining the Bike Easy Challenge to get more Xavier faculty and staff riding bikes in New Orleans. Riding a bike can make you happier, healthier and wealthier. That's what I call professional development!

Did you know that New Orleans ranks #7 (among cities with over a quarter-million residents) for the percentage of people who bike to work?

And yet we could certainly do better by our bike riders, our transit riders, and our pedestrians. As I've argued elsewhere, safe transport is an issue of social justice and aligned with Xavier's mission.

Plus there are awesome prizes for riding and encouraging others throughout the month of April. Find out more and register at lovetoride.net/bikeeasy

It only takes a minute to register. It doesn't matter if you ride every day, or if you haven't been on a bike in years. Everyone is invited — and be sure to join the Xavier team!

Note: Due to COVID-19 protocols, only solo rides or household rides are encouraged.

Holler at me if you need any technical assistance or have any questions.

Are you overwhelmed by your email inbox? Email overwhelms and irritates most of us. Part of the problem is that most of us were never given any training on email. We were just given an email address and no instructions.

email inbox with 6763 new messages

Joanna Stern, of the WSJ, created a short video with 10 time-saving tips to help you master your Gmail inbox. Her video shows you keyboard shortcuts to increase your efficiency, hidden features and tips to turn you into a Gmail ninja.

Note: How you get to your Gmail settings has changed since this video was recorded. Follow these instructions to change to your Gmail settings. Additionally, tip #3 and #5 in the video refer to a “Labs” tab in the Gmail Settings. The “Labs” tab has been replaced with the “Advanced” tab. Canned Responses are now called Templates. The settings for the Preview Pane were moved to the “Inbox” tab in the Gmail Settings.

Do you want to get to inbox zero? Read this What Is Inbox Zero, and How Can You Achieve It? blog post by Rob Woodgate.

If you are looking for more ways to boost your productivity, check out my Keyboard Shortcuts and Type with Your Voice blog posts.

Image credit: image by gabrielle_cc from Pixabay

It is with great CAT+FD pride and almost as much heartache that we lend our support to Dr. Tiera Coston as she joins the A&S Dean's office as the new Assistant Dean for Engagement and Outreach. In this position, she will provide oversight for our new Quality Enhancement Plan, ‘CARE.’

Tiera has been in CAT+FD since 2013, when we were simply CAT. She has played a large role in the evolution of our work including expanding our mission to support all areas of faculty responsibility, developing expertise in supporting effective, culturally responsive mentorship, and meeting the professional development needs of our STEM colleagues. These are only a few of the areas where she has made an impact. Of course, there are too many to name individually.

Personally, I am grateful for the many lessons I have learned from Tiera over the years—about leadership, kindness, faith, little dogs and more. I know I speak for all in CAT+FD when I say that we wish her well, we support her, and we are looking forward to seeing the amazing things she does with CARE.

You can read more about Tiera in her bio below.

headshot of Tiera Coston

Tiera S. Coston is a proud alumna of Xavier University of Louisiana. She earned a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology at Tulane University and a J.D. from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law. Dr. Coston joined Xavier’s staff in 2013 as the STEM Educational Improvement Specialist in the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development (CAT+FD).  She has also served as the Assistant Director for Mentoring and Pre-Law Advising. Dr. Coston has more than 13 years of experience supporting faculty and in the areas of pedagogy, curricular development and enhancement, and mentoring. She has collaborated with faculty to develop their teaching and mentorship in projects sponsored by Innovation through Institutional Integration (iCUBED), Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE), and Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD). She has conceptualized, developed and implemented three different mentorship education programs that are currently ongoing at Xavier - Preparing Mentors and Advisors at Xavier (P-MAX), Entering Research at Xavier University of Louisiana (ER-XULA) and Mentee-to-Mentor (M2M). She is a National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) Certified Facilitator, which requires demonstration of consistent and effective facilitation of mentoring-themed workshops and seminars. She has facilitated these events and Xavier, throughout the United States and abroad. She mentors undergraduate research and pre-law students as well as freshly minted Xavier alumni whose goal is to gain entry into graduate or professional school programs. She has had the privilege of teaching general biology and the various iterations of College Experience. In all of her work, her ultimate goal is to facilitate and promote the success of Xavier’s students for the fulfillment of Xavier’s mission.

update

D2L (the company that owns Brightspace) uses Continuous Delivery to update our Brightspace system. The Continuous Delivery model gives us regular monthly updates allowing for incremental and easily integrated changes with no downtime required for our Brightspace system.

Our Continuous Delivery update occurs on the 4th Thursday of each month. D2L provides release notes to help users stay up-to-date with the changes.

Here are a few updates in the March 2021/20.21.3 release that were added to our system this month:

1) Assignments - Copying an assignment

Previously, when you copied an assignment, the copied assignment was set to active and you had to open the newly copied assignment to edit it.

Now when you copy an assignment, the copied assignment is set to inactive and you are directed to the Edit Assignment screen to continue editing it as part of the copy assignments workflow.

2) Assignments – Learner profile card in New Assignment Evaluation Experience

Starting with the March 2021/20.21.3 release, the Consistent Evaluation experience in Assignments is now referred to as New Assignment Evaluation Experience.

This feature updates the Assignments - Consistent evaluation experience | New feature released in December 2020/20.20.12. When hovering over a learner’s name or profile picture in the new evaluation experience, the learner’s user profile card appears. The card displays the user’s online/offline status as well as links to:

  • Email
  • Instant Message
  • User progress
  • User profile

Clicking any of the links in the profile card opens a new window.

Hovering over the name of profile image of a learner opens a profile card with links to Email and Instant Message the learner, plus User Progress and the learner’s User Profile.
Hovering over the name of profile image of a learner opens a profile card with links to Email and Instant Message the learner, plus User Progress and the learner’s User Profile.

NOTE: More information about the New Assignment Evaluation Experience can be found in this What is Coming in Evaluation article.

3) Assignments – Turnitin support in New Assignment Evaluation Experience

Starting with the March 2021/20.21.3 release, the Consistent Evaluation experience in Assignments is now referred to as New Assignment Evaluation Experience.

This feature updates the Assignments - Consistent evaluation experience | New feature released in December 2020/20.20.12. The New Assignment Evaluation experience now supports Turnitin Similarity and Turnitin Grademark in Assignments. The existing Turnitin workflows and functionality appear on the User Submissions page in the new experience. The Turnitin workflows are also supported in the mobile experience.

Turnitin Similarity and Turnitin Grademark feedback appears on the User Submissions page
Turnitin Similarity and Turnitin Grademark feedback appears on the User Submissions page

NOTE: More information about the New Assignment Evaluation Experience can be found in this What is Coming in Evaluation article.

4) Awards – Password-protected certificates

To prevent plagiarism and protect an organization's intellectual and branding copyrights, all earned certificates downloaded from the Awards tool are now password-protected from editing. Each certificate is generated with a random password that is not displayed to users, preventing anyone from editing the certificate in Adobe® Acrobat® or Adobe Reader®. Previously, if an administrator or instructor uploaded a password protected certificate, any learner that downloaded the earned certificate could edit it in Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader.

A password-protected certificate downloaded from the Awards tool
A password-protected certificate downloaded from the Awards tool

5) Brightspace Pulse – Notifications for upcoming quizzes and assignments

In Brightspace Pulse, learners now receive push notifications that remind them about upcoming quizzes and assignments. By default, notifications display two days before each activity's due date or end date.

Learners receive a notification in Brightspace Learning Environment and Brightspace Pulse under the following conditions:

  • If the assignment or quiz has a due date, the learner is notified two days before the due date.
  • If the assignment or quiz has no due date, but has an end date, the learner is notified two days before the end date.

Learners do not receive a notification in Brightspace Learning Environment and Brightspace Pulse under the following conditions:

  • Learner completed the assignment by submitting to the assignment folder.
  • Learner completed the quiz according to the defined completion criteria (attempt submitted or score threshold achieved).
  • The assignment or quiz has no dates attached.
  • The assignment or quiz includes only a start date.

Brightspace Pulse notifications for an upcoming assignment and quiz
Brightspace Pulse notifications for an upcoming assignment and quiz

6) Calendar – Improvements to date and time selection web components

To improve the ease of use for clients using the date and time picker in Brightspace Learning Environment, there have been updates to the web components related to date and time selection. These changes are intended to provide better usability for keyboard users and better integration with assistive technology. Changes include:

  • Ability to use arrow keys rather than the Tab key to improve keyboard navigation and accessibility.
  • Aesthetic changes to hide unused elements until they are active.
  • New selectable values of 12:01 AM and 11:59PM in the time picker
  • New default values for Start, Due, and End dates.
  • The new Set to Today button inside the date picker replaces the Now button outside the date picker.

Note: There may be some instances of the older date picker remaining in Brightspace Learning Environment. These instances will be changed to the new date picker in a future release.

7) Quizzes - Copy quiz workflow

Previously, to copy and continue editing a quiz, you had to navigate to the Manage Quizzes page, click the More Actions > Copy functionality, and then select the quiz you wanted to copy, rename it, and click Edit quiz after copy completes.

This feature updates the copy quiz workflow to better align with Assignments. Now, the copy functionality is available on the individual quiz drop-down menu. When you copy a quiz, the copied quiz is set to inactive (as per the original copy quiz workflow) and you are directed to the Edit Quiz screen to continue editing it. Now, the copy quiz workflow also copies over Special Access settings and aligned Learning Objectives.

Updated copy quiz workflow
Updated copy quiz workflow

If you are interested in getting more information about these and all the March Continuous Delivery updates, refer to the Brightspace Platform March 2021/20.21.3 Release Notes.

Additionally, refer to the Brightspace Release Notes for Continuous Delivery Releases, for details about current, past, and to preview upcoming continuous delivery updates.

Want more information?

View current, past, and preview upcoming Continuous Delivery release notes
View all the Brightspace training recaps
Instructors Quick Start Tutorial
Brightspace Known Issues
Request a sandbox course
Sign-up for Brightspace training sessions
You can find Brightspace help at D2L's website.
Join the Brightspace Community.
Try these Brightspace How-To documents.
Visit our Brightspace FAQs for additional Brightspace information
or schedule a one-on-one session, email, or
call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418.

Note: Are you doing something innovative in Brightspace or perhaps you've discovered a handy tip? Share how you are using Brightspace in your teaching and learning in The Orange Room.

Image credit: image by geralt from Pixabay