It was a very good read

Am posting what my cohorts sent out yesterday in case you didn’t read – 

Visit the Learning Technologies Digest blog for the past newsletters archive.


September 9, 2014


ECU Faculty and Staff: We hope your semester is off to a great start.  We invite you to take a few minutes to catch up on the latest learning technology news.


In this issue:

–        Blackboard New Feature Spotlight
–        Best Practices for using SafeAssign
–        SabaMeeting: Set up your Class Meetings
–        Lecture Capture using My Mediasite
–        Training Feature: Classroom Technology Class
–        Videoconferencing: Collaborate from Anywhere
–        Faculty: Integrate into your Blackboard Courses
–        Read & Write Gold Software for Faculty and Students
–        The Online Tools Guide
–        Register for IT Training in Cornerstone


Blackboard News
Have you had a chance to try any of the new Blackboard features?  Here’s a summary of some of our favorites and a brief description of each.  You’ll find most of these are helpful timesavers. 

  • Test Options now includes Test Availability Exceptions.  This feature allows you to adjust the time or number of attempts for specific students.  This will be very helpful if you have students that require additional time to take a test.
  • The Discussion Board is more user-friendly and offers visible avatars (pictures).  You have more options to control what your students see.  For example, you can create a ‘post-first’ forum that requires students to create a thread before they can see other posts in the forum.  The ‘post-first’ option encourages the submission of original threads before reviewing other classmates work.
  • The new Inline Grading feature will save valuable grading time.  This feature allows you to view and provide feedback on student submitted work within Blackboard, rather than downloading and uploading student files.


To learn more about these and other new features in Blackboard, please visit the Blackboard Blog: New Features.


Best Practices for using SafeAssign in Blackboard
SafeAssign is a product within Blackboard that can be used as an educational tool to help students identify and properly attribute sources.  There are two ways instructors can use SafeAssign: (1) Create a SafeAssignment and (2) Direct Submit.  When a student submits an assignment via SafeAssignment, it is compared to an Institutional Database (ECU) and the Global Reference Database (optional) in order to identify areas of overlap.  In addition, SafeAssign provides a Direct Submit option for instructors, this feature allows an instructor to submit a student’s paper.  We do not recommend using the Direct Submit option to “only add papers to the Institutional Search Database”.  This option requires student consent.  The recommendation, which maximizes the benefits of the tool for both instructors and students, is to use the SafeAssignment option.  Here are a few of the benefits. 

  • SafeAssignment automatically creates a gradebook column and options for private and public feedback.
  • SafeAssignment allows for multiple submissions using the Draft option.  This is helpful if students will need to submit revisions.
  • SafeAssignment organizes files submitted by user and assignment name. 
  • SafeAssignment provides an area to add directions and guidance for the assignment.


Visit the Blackboard Blog for even more information. 


SabaMeeting Web Conferencing – Set up your own Class Meetings
SabaMeeting provides a virtual classroom environment where faculty and students can communicate and collaborate via audio, video, text chat, whiteboard and more.  If you are new to SabaMeeting or looking for some helpful tips, visit our SabaMeeting Resource Center and be sure to check out the SabaMeeting Best Practices 

Just a reminder, faculty and students can create and edit their own SabaMeeting events without having to complete the Course Request or Student Request forms. Students can create meetings for small groups, study sessions, or practice for class presentations. Just visit the SabaMeeting Request forms area on the SabaMeeting website for a tutorial on how to setup your meetings. 


Lecture Capture using My Mediasite
Lecture capture enables you to record, develop, and deliver instructional content. Your class lectures, test-reviews, navigation guides and course introductions can all be delivered through a streamed, real-time, synchronous environment or recorded for asynchronous, anytime-anywhere viewing. Students can view recorded content as often as needed, which not only increases accessibility, but allows for active control over learning. Lecture capture provides flexibility for non-traditional students and those learning at a distance. Students enjoy having access to recorded lectures and when surveyed, they ask for more lecture capture usage campus wide.Lecture capture news…Mediasite now offers desktop capture and personal media management through My Mediasite.  My Mediasite gives users the ability to record, upload, manage and publish rich video content.  My Mediasite is a great complement for faculty already using Mediasite in the classroom.  With My Mediasite, you can easily upload existing video or capture content from your desktop.  You call also take advantage of the Mediasite Blackboard Building Block and integrate video content into any content area within Blackboard.

To get started with Mediasite, contact the Instructional Technology Consultant (ITC) for your college or email To locate Mediasite rooms on campus, visit the Technology-Enhanced Classroom database and select Record Your Class.

Training Feature: Classroom Technology Training Class (9/24/14)
Classroom Technologies are the tools available to you in classrooms all across campus. Technologies include the physical equipment located in many rooms such as touch panels, document cameras and videoconferencing codecs, as well as, lecture capture, clickers and more. This training class is designed to help introduce you to the various technologies available, as well as assist you in developing a plan for utilizing these technologies. We will spend time looking at both how and why to use these technologies and how they can enhance your courses. Come see what Classroom Technology has to offer.  Register for the September 24th session in Cornerstone.
Videoconferencing: Collaborate from Anywhere
Do you need to schedule a videoconference this semester?  ITCS is here to help you select the technology, schedule the session(s), set up, and practice.  Visit the new Videoconferencing website to learn about the technologies available and locations. 
Faculty: Integrate content into your Blackboard Courses
New this semester!  Faculty can integrate video tutorials into Blackboard courses. is an online library of instructional videos teaching the latest software tools and skills. Taught by accomplished instructors and recognized industry experts, is a high-quality resource for students and faculty. View the Welcome to video to learn more. Interested faculty, please visit the ECU login page to request an account for your fall courses. 
Read & Write Gold Software
Students, faculty, and staff can get a free copy of Read & Write Gold!  This innovative literacy software is designed to support and improve reading, writing, research and study skills for all individuals, including English language learners. Features include: 

  • Text-to-Speech – listen while your computer reads aloud electronic text
  • Vocabulary List Builder – create vocabulary lists with definitions for studying
  • Speech Maker – create an MP3 version of electronic text for audio playback
  • Word Prediction – compose papers using this tool, which helps improve writing skills
  • Translator – translate single words or paragraphs


Download Read & Write Gold for Windows at:

Have questions or need assistance?  Please contact the IT Help Desk.


The Online Tools Guide
ITCS supports a suite of learning platforms to meet your course management, communication, and collaboration needs. ECU hosted tools are all reviewed for FERPA, state contractual rules, ADA accessibility, and security compliance requirements. We recommend you work with the university to review products, pursue contracts, and confirm that tools are ADA compliant. If you have determined that there is not an ECU hosted solution available to meet your course needs, please visit the Online Tools Guide.  The Online Tools Guide contains the requirements for two scenarios: (1) when you ask students to upload course content into a non ECU hosted system, and (2) when you place student data in the cloud.
Register for IT Training in Cornerstone

Cornerstone is your access point to register for training and to take online training courses delivered by many of the departments on campus, including IT Training provided by ITCS.  Your personalized training center within Cornerstone provides access to your training transcript, upcoming sessions, and any online training in progress.  In the Browse for Training area you will see a link to ITCS training.  This month’s IT Training classes include: Blackboard Overview, ECU BIC,  Classroom Technology, CommonSpot, iWebfolio QEP Training, SabaMeeting Virtual Classroom and Intermediate Training, and Tegrity Lecture Capture. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you Register for Training in Cornerstone.