1

You minimize of the number of error messages you and your students receive when accessing files in Blackboard by naming files appropriately.

Follow these steps to do it.
There are several characters that you should avoid when naming files to be used in Blackboard. To reduce the number of errors when uploading and downloading files in Blackboard, follow these naming conventions:

• Use only letters, numbers, underscores, and hyphens in file names
• Do not use spaces, commas, pound signs (#), question marks, equal signs, ampersands (&), asterisks (*), or any other special characters in file names
• Use hyphens or underscores in place of spaces in file names
• Do not use periods in a file name, except before the file extension (e.g. “Research_paper.doc”)
• Keep file names under 60 characters in length

Filenames should be less than 60 characters in order to avoid having the filename unexpectedly truncated when moving between different computer platforms (e.g. moving between Windows and Apple Macintosh computers).

Filenames should include the file type extension so they can be recognized and opened by the appropriate application on another computer. Common extensions are:

.doc or .docx for Microsoft Word documents
.xls or . xlsx for MS Excel files
.ppt or .pptx for MS Powerpoint files
.pdf for files in portable document format (PDF)
.jpg for JPEG images such as photographs
.txt for plain text files

You should recommend to your students that they follow these same naming conventions. This is helpful when you are downloading multiple students’ files all at once (e.g. downloading students’ completed assignments).

Want more information?
Visit the Blackboard FAQs for additional blackboard information
or email or call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418

Yesterday I presented a workshop which I called "Global Immediacy: Using Video Telephony to Bring Distant Guests into Your Classroom." It was designed to get faculty thinking about how they might use applications such as Skype in their teaching. I had a little help from George "Loki" Williams of SocialGumbo, we had a good attendance, and I was pretty happy with the outcome.

I was especially happy that I had a chance to work this fine photo into my presentation:

Taxi Face

Taxi Face by NYCArthur / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

After every workshop, I hear from people who wanted to attend but couldn't. Is there a handout they can have? Is there some online content they can look at? I continue to search for the best way to document and share these sessions. I find my slideshows don't stand on their own very well without my voice providing the narrative. However, this time I remembered to make an audio recording, and so I can offer my first slidecast. Enjoy.

Notes: I'm using SlideShare, which allows me to embed the slideshow here, but I don't like the way it automatically loads the audio. In my opinion it should embed like YouTube, with a poster image only, and require a click before loading the entire media. The audio in this case is a large file (probably higher fidelity than it needs to be) so instead I decided just to link. Also, the hands-on portion of the workshop didn't work as well in this context so I cut it out.

Post scriptum: I did give a handout, but that material is online so I'll just provide a couple more links:

Cross-posted to b.rox

There's a story that's been making the rounds lately. I think the Telegraph might have been the first major media venue to give it coverage: Facebook 'enhances intelligence' but Twitter 'diminishes it', claims psychologist.

But what's the science behind the hype? After scrounging though these articles for data (without success) I went to the presumed source, Tracy Alloway's personal website. Unfortunately the only reference there to either Twitter or Facebook seems to be a collection of links, which point to the articles cited above.

At this point I'm beginning to feel like I'm running in circles.

You do not have to start from scratch when creating content for your course. If you created content in one course you can copy that content into another course. For example, if you are teaching multiple sections of a course, you can create all the content in one course section and then copy the content into the other sections. Copying course content is particularly useful at the start of a semester as it allows you to copy content from a previous semester to a newly created empty course. Course content for the previous three semesters will remain in Blackboard before it is removed.

Follow these steps to do it.
Go to the [Control Panel] of the course in which has the content you want to copy. Click on the [Course Copy] link under the [Course Options]. Click on the [Copy Course Materials into an Existing Course] link.  Click on the [Browse…] button next to the [Destination Course ID] field. This will bring up a window containing a list of all available courses. Select the appropriate destination course from the list by clicking on the [Select] button. The [Destination Course ID] field will be filled in with the destination course you selected. Choose which portions of the course will be copied by clicking on the appropriate content section(s). You can select other course materials like [Announcements], [Grade Center Columns and Settings], [Staff Information], and [Tests, Surveys, and Pools] to copy as well by selecting the appropriate boxes for the items you want to copy. Click the [Submit] button when you are finished making your selections. You should receive a message telling you that the course copy has been queued and that you will get an email when the process is complete. Note: Double-check to make sure the correct destination course is selected. There is no way to reverse this process once the wrong course is selected and the copy request is submitted.

Want more information?
Step-by-step instructions are available [PDF].
Visit the Blackboard FAQs for additional blackboard information
or email or call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418

1

Download Conversation #10

Josh Aronson

A conversation with Dr. Josh Aronson of New York University on teaching, learning, and stereotype threat.

People perform better when they don't feel their intelligence is being evaluated. So in a very broad way, if you can create an environment that takes the heat off of intelligence — and I think different teachers do this in a variety of ways — so if they say, look, I'm here to evaluate not how smart you are, but what I have been able to teach you... Now the onus is on me. Now the bell curve isn't about you. I am being put on a bell curve as your teacher. So you can sort of shift the emphasis from evaluation of your intelligence to evaluation of my ability to teach you. I've had teachers come to me and tell me that when they [do this] the kids do much better, and they aren't vomiting on their exam pages anymore.

Links referenced in this episode:

  • "Stereotypes and the Fragility of Academic Competence, Motivation, and Self-Concept" by Joshua Aronson and Claude M. Steele. From Handbook of Competence and Motivation, 2005. [PDF courtesy of the author]

...continue reading "Conversation #10: Stereotype Threat"

1

Course content remains in Blackboard for three semesters before it is removed. This means, for example, courses created for the fall 2008 semester will not be removed until after the start of the spring 2010 semester. You should create an archive of your course before it is scheduled to be removed from the Blackboard system.
Note: The archive will not contain any student grade information. The student grade information should be downloaded separately. Refer to Bb tip #3 for instructions on exporting information from the Grade Center.

Follow these steps to do it.
To archive a course, click on the [Archive] link in the [Control Panel] of the course. Click the [Archive] button and then click on the Submit button. You will receive an email when the archive process has been completed. When you receive the confirmation email, go click on the [Archive] link once again and you will see a link where the archived file can be downloaded to your local computer. This process will create a backup of the course in a compressed zip format. This file can then be imported into another course. Do not modify or edit the contents of the compressed file as this may corrupt the archive.

Want more information?
Step-by-step instructions are available [PDF].
Visit the Blackboard FAQs for additional blackboard information
or email or call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418

2

Student access to courses is removed two weeks after the end of a semester. During this process all gradebook records are deleted. You should download your gradebook to your local computer after you submit your final grades.

Follow these steps to do it.
In order to export the gradebook for a course, you should goto the [Control Panel] for that course and click on the [Grade Center] link. Inside the Grade Center you should point to the [Manage] button on the menu bar and then click on the [Download] link. Under [Data] section, select the [Full Grade Center] option, under the [Options] section, select [Tab] as the delimiter type and [Yes] to include hidden information and then click on the [Submit] button at the bottom of the page. On the next page click on the [Download] button. You should get a dialog box with a request to save the file. Save the file to a location where you can find it later. The file you saved can be opened with Microsoft Excel.

Want more information?
Step-by-step instructions are available [PDF].
Visit the Blackboard FAQs for additional blackboard information
or email or call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418

When you login to Blackboard you will see your courses for the previous two semesters listed along with the courses you are currently teaching on the Xavier University tab. If you do not want to see older courses in this list, you can hide them from view.

Follow these steps to do it.
To hide courses from view, click on the small pencil icon on top right corner of the [My Courses] section. For the courses to be hidden from view, make sure the check marks in the [Display Course Name] and [Display Announcements] columns are removed. This will hide the courses from view on the Xavier University tab but not remove them from the system.

Want more information?
Step-by-step instructions are available [PDF].
Visit the Blackboard FAQs for additional blackboard information
or email or call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418

Blackboard has a list of browsers that are certified or compatible with the version of Blackboard we use here at XU. To avoid problems with Blackboard you should use one of the recommended browsers.

Follow these steps.
If you are having problems using Blackboard, try using one of the recommended browsers. If using a recommended browser does not resolve your problem, you may be experiencing problems with Java. Blackboard uses Java for interactive features inside web the pages. Using an up-to-date version of Java you should reduce problems in using Blackboard.

The Java website will do a quick check of the version you are running and test whether it is working properly.

If you are having problems running Blackboard and you’re running an older version of Java, you should consider updating your Java version. The Java website provides free downloads of its latest version.

Want more information?
Visit the Blackboard FAQs for additional blackboard information
or email or call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418

Download Conversation #9

Mano Singham

A conversation with Dr. Mano Singham of Case Western Reserve University on teaching, learning, and the authoritarian syllabus.

That element of choice and trust between the teacher and the student I think are important aspects of creating a good learning environment, and I think the authoritarian syllabus tends to work against it. Authoritarian syllabuses can achieve certain things. You can get people to do things. But you can't get them to want to learn. That was my epiphany, if you like.

Links referenced in this episode:

  • Death to the Syllabus! by Mano Singham in Liberal Education, Fall 2007
  • "Moving away from the authoritarian classroom" by Mano Singham. Change, May/June 2005, pp. 51–57. [PDF courtesy of the author]
  • "How my course syllabus is created" by Mano Singham. [PDF courtesy of the author]
  • Mano Singham's Web Journal: Thoughts on science, history and philosophy of science, religion, politics, the media, education, learning, books, and films.

We're proud to announce this podcast is a finalist for a POD Network innovation award. We hope to see you at the conference.