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The new Inline Assignment Grading feature introduced new capabilities for grading Assignments in Blackboard and a new user experience for the grading sidebar.

Highlights of Inline Grading for Assignments:

  • Assignment Tool includes collapse and maximize buttons for more screen real estate.
  • By default the rubric and comment fields are collapsed. Click on the Show/Hide Grading Panel arrow to expand it.
  • Rubrics can be viewed inline in the grading sidebar.
  • Instructors can override individual grades for group assignments.
    Inline Grading Assignment Example

    Grading Panel Expanded

This past weekend’s Blackboard update added inline grading and a more consistent grading sidebar to other activities in the course that already had inline grading (i.e. Blogs, Journals, Wikis, and Discussion Boards).

Highlights of Inline Grading for Blogs, Journals, Wikis, and Discussions Boards:

  • Blogs and Journals:
    • The grading sidebar can be expanded to view the comment and rubric panel.
    • Instructors can navigate between students within Blogs and Journals.
    • Instructors can navigate between entries submitted by the currently selected student.
    • The grading sidebar can be collapsed or expanded for more screen real estate.
  • Discussions Boards:
    • Instructors can navigate between students within Discussions.
    • The grading sidebar can be collapsed or expanded for more screen real estate.
  • Wikis:
    • The grading sidebar can be expanded to view the comment and rubric panel.
    • Instructors can navigate between students within Wikis.
    • A participation summary is displayed.
    • The grading sidebar can be collapsed or expanded for more screen real estate.
    Inline Grading Journal Example

Important Note: Students will see the updated sidebar when they access assignments, blogs, journals, and wikis. Before the update students would see the assignment instructions automatically. Now students should click on the view/hide content arrow in the sidebar to see instructions and additional information.

    View/Hide Content Example

Want more information?

View short video: Inline Assignment Grading [1:53]
Explore Blackboard’s On Demand Learning Center.
Try these Blackboard How-To documents.
Visit the Blackboard FAQs for additional blackboard information
or email or call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418

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The Blackboard Mobile Learn app has been completely redesigned. The updates made to the Mobile Learn app makes using the app and reading content easier than ever. Some of the new features include:

Faculty and students can stay connected with their Blackboard courses and organizations while on the go. With Mobile Learn 4.0 you can 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 has Dropbox integration, which allows you to manage course documents with ease. Mobile Learn does not have Grade Center integration.

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

Want more information?

Introducing Mobile Learn 4.0 [web page]
Get Mobile Learn App [web page]
Recommended Practices for Mobile-Friendly Courses [web page]
Mobile Learn Resource Center [web page]
Explore Blackboard’s On Demand Learning Center [web page].
Try these Blackboard How-To documents.
Visit the Blackboard FAQs for additional blackboard information
or email or call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418.

Download Conversation #20

Eric Bain-Selbo

We want students to "think outside the box." Those boxes have been handed to them, and they are going to create new boxes. As educators, our role is to point out the boxes both new and old.

A conversation with Eric Bain-Selbo of Western Kentucky University, on teaching, learning and values education.

Links for this episode:

Post scriptum: CAT is pleased to welcome Dr. Ray Lang as our new podcast host for the 2013-2014 academic year.

With the beginning of the fall semester came an increase in my workload and in the general activity of CAT. That's a good thing, but it's time again to post my bi-weekly blog and I hadn't really thought out in advance what I wanted to say.

Rather than procrastinate, I decided to just look around me for sources of inspiration. I have two new books I've begun to read for our Faculty Book Club and for discussing with the incoming Freshmen. Outside my window, they are putting the finishing touches on the new Costco. My digital photo frame is a slideshow of the summer fun my four-year old nephew had before beginning pre-K 4 at a new school. My office is decorated with trinkets and postcards that my international students have given to me over the years. My inbox has RSS feeds and newsletters from several services to which I subscribe.

What are your sources of inspiration?

What are your sources of inspiration?

Yes, from all of these sources I glean inspiration, positive energy and pleasant memories throughout the day.  The photo of my two grey cats actually gave me an idea for a discussion board topic for my online elementary French course!  At this moment, I am struck by an article from the blog "Technology for Academics" by our CAT Director's friend and colleague, Dr. Sue Frantz. This particular posting discusses how the end of a book written by a surgeon for new doctors, is extremely applicable to higher education.  Here's the first part.  I'll let you read her elaborations since she's wonderfully succinct.

“'So find something new to try, something to change. Count how often you succeed and how often you fail. Write about it. Ask people what they think. See if you can keep the conversation going.'  This is the final paragraph in Atul Gawande’s 2007 book, Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance. While his advice is directed at newly-minted physicians, it’s more broadly applicable. In our case, let’s talk higher education."  http://suefrantz.com/2013/09/03/better/

So, not only is Dr. Gawande's advice applicable to higher education in general, but the suggestions can be used to help us in distance education as well.  As we move forward with Xavier's online initiatives we are definitely trying something new in our university's history.  Keeping accurate data will allow us to continually improve the online courses for the students.  I'll have more and better topics to write about for the blog and I definitely hope to keep the conversation going by asking you for your thoughts and suggestions.

This is just one of the compelling programs on offer at Rising Tide 8. Register now.

MelaNated Aug 2011

Far too often writers of color are unheard, under-represented, and undervalued in the literary world. MelaNated Writers Collective (@melanatednola) was established in 2010 to create a network of support and resources for writers of color in New Orleans. Members of MWC will discuss its struggles and success as a collective and why New Orleans is a ripe city for literary rebirth. Panelists will discuss how the group’s mission, vision, writers workshop, and how it engages community and partners with other locals.
...continue reading "Creating Community for Writers of Color: MelaNated Writers Collective at Rising Tide 8"

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The names of courses in Blackboard are identical to the names that appear in the Banner system. Instructors have the ability to change the names of the courses to suit their needs. For example, if you teach two sections of English 1010, you can personalize the names to become ENGL1010 – 9 MWF and ENGL1010 – 1:15 TR.

Follow these steps to do it.

To change the name of your Blackboard course, you should:

  1. Go to the [Control Panel] of the course you want to change the name of. Click on the [Customization] link to expand it.
  2. Click on [Properties].
  3. Enter the new name for your course and click [Submit].

Note: Care should be taken to make sure the new name of the course can be easily recognized by the students enrolled.

Want more information?

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

Use Link Checker to check for broken links. Quite often faculty insert links to external web sites into their courses. This makes it convenient for users to get to the external web sites. While the link may be a live link when it's placed in the course, there is no way to automatically know if a link later becomes broken. With Link Checker, you can run a quick scan of your course to determine if any of the web page links are no longer valid.

Follow these steps to do it.

To verify web page links in your course are still valid, you should:

  1. Goto the [Control Panel] for that course and click on the [Course Tools] link to expand it. Click on [Link Checker].
  2. After a few moments, a list of all the web links in your course will appear.
  3. Broken links will have an "X" in the valid column.
  4. You cannot remove a link with Link Checker, but you can make it unavailable by hiding it. Check the Hide box for the link you want to make unavailable.
  5. Click on the [Submit] button when done.

Note: If you do not see Link Checker in your Course Tools, you should verify the Link Checker tool is available in your course. To verify, go to the [Control Panel] click on [Customization] to expand it and click on [Tool Availability]. Make sure there is a check mark in the available box for Link Checker. Click [Submit] to save the changes.

Want more information?

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

Couple taking photos.

Many people believe that the "digital divide" is merely generational but studies have shown disparities according to race, ethnicity, socio-economic level and even between the sexes.  Professor Rey Junco, an associate professor at Purdue University and a faculty associate at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, refers to this as "digital inequality."  "There's an assumption that all students are equally great with technology," said Professor Junco.

As Xavier University is moving to expand the eLearning initiatives across campus, I believe it's important for us to be mindful of this and to not assume that all of our students are proficient, especially with social media.  As we implement more technology in the classroom and especially online, we must remember to provide detailed instructions for the students as well as adequate technical support and training.

To read a little more about the very interesting studies concerning “digital inequality” and the implications for academic success, please check out this link from the Times Higher Education (THE) site and from an earlier CAT food podcast: http://cat.xula.edu/food/conversation-7/

I also invite you to share with the community your experiences and findings concerning "digital inequality"  amongst our students.  Perhaps together we can propose suggestions for helping the students increase their proficiency and ultimately, their chances for success here at Xavier.

Photo credit: "Couple Taking Photos" by iofoto via Yay Image Bank

The beginning of the semester is a good time to get started using Blackboard. Blackboard courses are automatically created using the course information in Banner a few weeks before the start of the semester. You can post your syllabus, course documents, and announcements to your Blackboard courses. You can also customize your course menu and/or add a course banner.

If you teach a course that is cross listed you will have a Blackboard course for each cross listing. You can combine the cross listed courses into one Blackboard course so that you can post course materials and grades to one combined Blackboard course. Combining courses may also work for you if you are teaching different sections of the same course and would like to have the different sections combined into one Blackboard course so that you can post course documents and grades in the one combined course. The beginning of the semester is the best time to combine your Blackboard courses before you add course material or grades to the courses.

Follow these steps to do it.

Here are links with instructions for

  • Merging courses [Web page]
  • Hiding old courses from view [Web page]
  • Getting started with the course environment [PDF] [Video]
  • Course structures and course themes [Web page] [Video]
  • Changing the display name for your course [Web page]
  • Adding a course banner [Web page]
  • Adding items to the course menu [PDF]
  • Posting announcements [Web page]
  • Copying content into another course [Web page]

Want more information?

Stop by one of the drop-in sessions for one-on-one help.
Explore Blackboard's On Demand Learning Center.
Try these Blackboard How-To documents.
Visit the Blackboard FAQs for additional blackboard information
or email or call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418.