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There is a new Turnitin GradeMark feature that lets instructors add a voice comment to a student’s paper. The ability for an instructor to leave a personal voice comment is a powerful tool for providing feedback to students. With just a few clicks, instructors can quickly record a detailed message of up to 3 minutes in length and attach it to the student’s paper. Instructors can use the orally recorded feedback as a supplement to written comments.

Want more information?
Step-by-step instructions are available [Video]
How to use Turnitin GradeMark [Video] [PDF]
Blackboard How-To documents [HTML]
Explore Blackboard's On Demand Learning Center [HTML]
Visit the Blackboard FAQs for additional blackboard information
or email or call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418

If you setup a discussion forum with date and time restrictions, once the scheduled available time has passed the forum becomes unavailable and disappears from the student’s view. If you would like students to be able to read posts once the date restriction has past but not be able to submit new posts, you can “lock” the discussion thread to prevent new posts. Students may read the threads but not make any additions or modifications.

Follow these steps to do it.
In order to lock discussion board threads, you should:

  1. Open the Forum in the Discussion Board.
  2. Select the threads you want to lock (you can select all threads by checking the box to the left of “Date” in the header).
  3. Click the [Thread Actions] menu button and choose [Lock] from the list.
  4. Once you have successfully locked the thread, remember to go back and edit the forum to remove the date and time restrictions so that the students can see the threads.

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

Faculty and students now have more options for staying connected with their Blackboard courses and organizations while on the go. Blackboard Mobile Learn is an app that allows you to access your Blackboard courses/organizations from a mobile device. The Mobile Learn app allows you to quickly and easily disseminate information to your students. Mobile Learn is primarily designed as a communication tool which will allow you to perform tasks such as post announcements, view discussions, create or reply to discussion threads, view journal entries and blog posts. You cannot use Mobile Learn to set up or organize your courses. Mobile Learn does not have Grade Center integration. New to Mobile Learn is Dropbox integration, which allows you to manage course documents with ease.

Depending on the particular mobile device, some features will not work correctly, but you can always access those features using a browser such as Firefox, Chrome, or Internet Explorer on your computer.

Want more information?
Get Mobile Learn App [PDF]
Mobile Learn features [HTML]
Mobile Learn features summary by device [PDF]
Best practices for creating mobile-friendly courses [PDF]
Explore Blackboard's On Demand Learning Center [HTML]
Visit the Blackboard FAQs for additional blackboard information
or email or call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418

Melted Clock

Following up on our workshop from last semester, Jeffrey Davis has an interesting take on time management in Psychology Today.

The more you shape time in ways that are flexible and artful instead of rigid and managerial, the more your mind actually looks forward to certain times of day, certain Mind Time Zones. Your experience of time shifts. Your experience of your mind shifts.

The application to academic types seems obvious. Read Tracking Wonder & Making More Time to Create.

Photo credit: Melted Clock / Tom Hickey / BY-NC-SA 2.0

In the event of an emergency that disrupts the University’s ability to have classes on campus for an extended period of time, you can be ready to continue your classes online. Here are some things you can do to be prepared should the need arise.

  • Understanding and Building Your Course
    • Getting Started with Course Environment (Video) (PDF)
    • Getting Started with Course Content (PDF)
  • Utilize Blackboard’s Communication Tools
  • Collecting Student Work
    • Getting Started with Assignments (PDF)
  • Utilize Blackboard’s Collaboration Tools
    • Blogs, Wikis, Journals, & Discussion Boards Explained (PDF)
  • Posting Grades
    • Getting Started with the Grade Center (PDF)

Want more information?
Step-by-step instructions are available [PDFs] as well as
on-demand videos.
Signup for Blackboard workshops or request one-on-one help.
Visit the Blackboard FAQs for additional blackboard information
or email or call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418

Scalar is a new online publishing platform specifically designed for scholars and educators. It's still in development, with a public beta release not expected until early 2013. This video gives an intriguing overview.

Clearly this is something to keep an eye on. More information is available on the website of the Alliance for Networking Visual Culture.

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Instructors can see their courses as a student would by turning edit mode off. However, instructors do not get the true experience of navigating the course like a student when edit mode is turned off.

Instructors can now add a test student to their course. The instructor can login to the course as the test student and navigate the course exactly as a student would. While logged in as the test student, the instructor is able to complete assignments, tests, surveys, etc. The instructor would also be able to see the “test student” in the Grade Center. The instructor has the option of removing the test student from the course when the test student is no longer needed.

Follow these steps to do it.
In order to add a test student to your course, you should:

  1. Goto the [Control Panel] for the course and click on the [Course Tools] link to expand it. Click on [Add Test Student].
  2. You should see the Create Test Student Account screen. Make a note of the Test Student Account’s username, and then enter a password for the test student account. The “enroll this test student on the current course” option should be checked.
  3. Click on the [Submit] button. You should see a message indicating the test student user was created.
  4. You can now login as the “test student” using the username and password created in step 2.

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

1

During the break between summer and fall semesters Blackboard will be upgraded to version 9.1 service pack 9. Upgrading to SP9 gives us a number of exciting new features as well as a few bug fixes. New features include course-to-course navigation, course structures and course themes, quick setup guide, automatic regrading, negative marking, and updated rubrics.

Course-to-course navigation: You no longer need to navigate to the XU home page or courses tab to access your other courses. You are able to move from course to course by clicking the course-to-course navigation drop down menu in the upper left corner of the page to select the next course.
Course structures: Course structures help you to setup a course in a short amount of time. Pre-built course structures focus on specific aspects of a course including activity, communication, content, systems, and time. You can use the pre-built course structure’s course menu links, instructions, and content examples to jump-start your course organization and create a meaningful learning experience for your students.
Course themes: Course themes provide an easy way to create a visually engaging course environment. Faculty can apply one of the available themes to match their design preferences and teaching methods. Course themes add a background image to the course display and change the color of the interface, including the Course Menu, buttons, and controls. Course themes do not affect the course content and can be changed at any time.
Quick setup guide: The quick setup guide makes it easy for faculty to choose an appropriate theme and structure for their course so they spend less time setting up their courses.
Automatic regrading: This new feature will save time and make it easier to correct problem assessment questions. Instructors can now fix problematic questions by simply editing the invalid assessment question directly. After the question has been updated, the score of all submitted assessments will be recalculated and the updated score will be changed in the Grade Center. Notification will be sent to the instructor and optionally to the students who are impacted by the change.
Negative marking: Negative markings allow instructors to assign negative point values for incorrect answers on assessment questions. Negative points discourage (by penalty) guessing on assessments. Assigning negative points means a student would be penalized when guessing at an answer. Negative markings are available for multiple choice, multiple answer, matching, and hot spot assessment question types.
Rubrics update: The interactive rubrics now include a percentage range type rubric. You can now create a rubric to assess by a percent range.

Want more information?
New features in Blackboard Learn 9.1 [HTML]
Stop by one of the drop-in sessions for one-on-one help.
Explore Blackboard's On Demand Learning Center [HTML].
Visit the Blackboard FAQs for additional blackboard information
or email or call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418

Random blocks and question sets allow you to create tests that retrieve questions from pools so that each student does not get exactly the same questions when they take the test. A random block allows you to select question pools to retrieve questions from. You specify the question types (e.g. multiple choice, true/false) and the number of questions to be included in the random block. Question sets, on the other hand, allow more flexibility than random blocks. Question sets can be setup to retrieve questions from pools and/or other tests. Question sets allow you to browse to select specific questions from pools and/or other tests. With question sets, you can also set a filter based on other criteria such as categories, topics, keywords, and levels of difficulty.

Question sets may be particularly useful when working with publisher supplied test banks (question pools). The publisher supplied question pools are likely to be based on the book’s chapters and therefore may include questions in more categories and/or topics than you want to include in your test.

For example, let’s say you have a publisher supplied test bank (question pool) that has a total of seventy-five questions covering four different topics related to Chapter 4. You want each student to take a test that includes 3 questions from a possible 15 on one topic; and 2 questions from a possible 10 on another topic. All five test questions the students are to receive will be drawn from the same "Chapter 4" question pool. You can setup two question sets when creating your test to accomplish this. Using the “Chapter 4” question pool, you would setup the first question set selecting the first topic and number of questions to be randomly drawn from that topic. Then setup the second question set selecting the second topic and number of questions to be randomly drawn from the second topic. Attempting to create a test like this with random blocks would require you to split up your “Chapter 4” question pool into multiple pools to accomplish it.

When creating tests, you can include a combination of question pools, question sets, and static questions that all students will receive when taking the test.

Want more information?
Building/Using Question Pools [PDF] [Video].
Creating Question Sets [PDF].
Explore Blackboard's On Demand Learning Center [HTML].
Visit the Blackboard FAQs for additional blackboard information
or email or call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418

A quick note to Xavier faculty: CAT has upgraded our Vimeo account to Vimeo Plus. (If you don't know, Vimeo is like YouTube, only better.) So if you need increased upload capacity to get a teaching-related video online, we may be able to help. Please note that Vimeo is strictly for publishing original works, not copyright violations.

As an example, here is a video recently produced in collaboration with the Chemistry Department, "How to Use a Buret for Titration."