Known Issues Sept 2016

Thanks to messages by faculty to our Blackboard Team, we were able to research and replicate a couple of issues. If you do not use the Discussion Board, do not give online tests or do not give online tests with question types needing manual grading (e.g., essay or short answer), this post is not for you.

We did contact Blackboard Learn and the two issues below are Known Issues. We do not know when a fix will be in place; however, we have workaround suggestions.

Discussion Board Access Denied Error Message. This happens when discussion forums are no longer available, either by selecting No for availability or by choosing date/time settings during the forum setup. The work-around for now:

  1. If you have non-gradable forums (chosen from settings), you will not be able to read the posts if the forum has been made unavailable by either the unavailable button or by date settings. A red Access Denied message will pop up. You will need to make the forum available again. (Suggestion until the fix: By creating a forum worth 0 points, instead of “no grading,” the students’ posts can be read from Needs Grading or Full Grade Center.) Of course, you can make the forum available again; however, all students will see the forum.
  2. If you have gradable discussion forums, which were set as unavailable either by the unavailable button or by date settings, you will need to read the posts from either Needs Grading or Full Grade Center. If you try to read from the actual Discussion Forum, you will get a red Access Denied message. Of course, you can make the forum available again; however, all students will see the forum.

Save and Next Button / Exit Button Not Working When Grading Tests with Answers Needing Manual Grading. When grading test attempts on a Blackboard quiz or test after all submissions are in, you may be used to grading the short answer or essay questions, and then moving to the next student by clicking “Save and Next.” The Exit button and the Save and Exit button are not working as expected. Choose the Save and Next button and ignore false error, “This page is asking you to confirm that you want to leave. Data you have entered may not be saved.” The data IS in fact saved, so it is okay to choose Leave Page. It will take you back to the full grade center.

Questions: ecublackboard@ecu.edu

LDB Essentials for Instructors

Fall 2016

For Instructors: Respondus LockDown Browser (LDB) Essentials 

LockDown Browser (LDB) is a product of Respondus, and is a secure browser designed to cut down on cheating when students are taking tests online. When using the browser (LDB), students cannot print screen, access email, search the web, open new tabs, etc. New to LDB as of Fall 2016, is a Help Center within LDB for students, with a system check tool, knowledge base, and an option to contact tech support. 

Please view this short video from Respondus to get an overview of LDB. Choose Overview next to the Blackboard logo to view the video. (Note: Any reference to Webcam Monitor when you are reviewing Respondus material can be ignored. We have not adopted the Webcam Monitor tool.)

As an instructor, you do not need to install anything. LDB is available in your course tools (Control Panel > Course Tools > Respondus LockDown Browser). Students download LDB to their desktops. Our computer labs also have LDB installed on the computers.

A blog post has been created for students re: LDB. The Install URL for students is always under the Blackboard Support tab at the top of their Blackboard landing page. Please share the blog post with your students if you plan to use LDB: LDB Info for Students

How to require Bb tests to be taken in LDB:

screenshot LDB

Once your tests have been added/deployed to a content area, you need to associate the tests with LDB, so access Respondus LDB in your course tools (Control Panel > Course Tools > Respondus LockDown Browser).

You’ll then be in the LDB dashboard. (Screenshot above)

  1. Choose Modify to require LDB for test-taking.
  2. You have the option to create a password to share with students, but it’s not necessary. (Not to be confused with the password info below, in #3)
  3. Important: LDB will auto-generate a scrambled password in your test options for each test to be taken with LDB. If you go back to the settings for any reason, do not remove that scrambled password in Test Options – ignore it because it is the lock in LockDown Browser. If you do need to make any change in Test Options, like a date change, go back to the LDB tool in Course Tools, and if you see a red “Fix It” message, just click Fix It, and the test will be active again.

The most common troubleshooting question from students: “I am trying to take an online test, and a box pops up and asks for a password.” The student is not accessing Blackboard through the LDB icon on the desktop. Remind the student to click the LDB icon on the desktop to get into Blackboard.

The most common troubleshooting question from instructors: “Students are not able to access my quiz to be taken with LDB and they mention an error message.” The instructor has gone into Test Options to make a change in settings, which breaks the link. The fix is to go back to the LDB tool under course tools, and if there is a “Fix It” message, simply click Fix It.

Questions? ecublackboard@ecu.edu

 

LDB Essentials and Help Center

Fall Semester 2016

Respondus LockDown Browser for Students

LockDown Browser (LDB) is a special browser for online test-taking, and it is also a building block in Blackboard. Some instructors require that online tests be taken using LDB as the browser. All other programs on your computer (email, YouTube, Facebook, etc.) need to be closed down for the install to continue (you will be prompted). If you plan to use computer labs on campus to take your exams, skip the download/install instructions. Campus lab computers have LDB installed.

LDB icon

  1. Download LDB to your desktop. Link for Download
  2. Look for the Respondus LockDown Browser icon on your desktop (screenshot left). Click, and log into Blackboard. Find your test, and Begin.
  3. Respondus now has a Help Center, if you run into any difficulties while taking an online test. See below.

Respondus recently added a “Help Center” button to the toolbar of LockDown Browser that lets students run a system check on their computer, networking environment, and the Learning Management System (Blackboard) itself. The data is presented in a simple format that allows students to solve basic problems, such as a computer with poor Internet connectivity.

HELP TAB

It is easy for students to send this technical information to our ECU help desk, Blackboard Support email inbox, or open a ticket directly with Respondus. Providing the System Check information speeds up the troubleshooting process. There is also a student-centric knowledge base within LockDown Browser. If you are not certain you want to click the Terms & Conditions box when utilizing some of the help features, you can contact Blackboard Support at ecublackboard@ecu.edu or submit a help ticket with ECU’s Help Desk.

  • Any reference to the Respondus Web Monitor can be ignored. We have not adopted that product.
  • Always communicate with your instructor if you run into any difficulties taking your test in LDB.
  • (Do another install at the beginning of each semester – no need for uninstalling.)
  • Submit a Help Ticket to the Respondus LockDown Browser queue with any issues not solved in the LDB Help Center.
  • For general questions, send an email to: ecublackboard@ecu.edu

Lynda.com Work-Around

Blackboard’s building block for Lynda.com is not working as expected.

The issue: Faculty are unable to embed a new Lynda.com course into a Blackboard course. Note: If you had pre-existing Lynda.com course links in your previous Bb courses, your links should still work. Lynda.com engineers are working toward a resolution.

The Work-Around: As a work-around, please follow the instructions:

Part 1

  1. Log into ECU’s Lynda.com here with your Pirate ID and password.
  2. Search for Lynda.com content to find the Lynda course you’d like in your Bb course. Click the Lynda course name.
  3. Once you decide on a course, click Share and then Copy, which will give you the URL to paste in your Bb course. Please see screenshot below.

screenshot share

Part 2

  1. Return to your Blackboard course and go into the content area of your choice.
  2. Choose Build Content, then Add Web Link (screenshot below).
  3. Type a name for your Web Link (e.g., Lynda.com course)
  4. Paste, which will add the URL you got from Lynda.com. (Windows users > Ctrl+V = paste. Mac users > Command-V = paste.)
  5. Submit.

screenshot web link

If you have any questions, feel free to send an email to ECU’s Lynda.com support team.

Weighted Column Does Not Display Properly

Scenario: Your Weighted Total Column has empty boxes where you normally see categories and columns.

The Fix: This is nearly always remedied by clearing your browser’s cache/history. And it usually happens in Firefox.

To clear your cache in Firefox or Google Chrome:   Shift+Ctrl+Delete, leave all boxes marked that are checked. For Firefox > Click “Clear Now.” For Google Chrome > Click “Clear Browsing Data.”

Or, change from Firefox to Google Chrome browser and look at your Weighted column again. You don’t have to continue working in Blackboard with Chrome if you don’t want; the display issue is temporary. (It is common to switch back and forth between browsers if something does not display correctly in Blackboard.)

Send us a note with questions: ecublackboard@ecu.edu

Fall Semester 2016 Things to Do

Instructors: Prepping for FALL 2016 Semester

question mark

 

 

The Top 10 Most Frequently Asked Questions from Instructors

  1. How do I make my course available to students?
    • Control Panel > Customization > Properties > Set Availability > Yes
    • We (Bb Support) do not automatically make your courses available. It is up to the instructor to make the courses available to students.
  2. How do I log into Blackboard? I get a message that my username or password is incorrect.
    • Please submit a help ticket asking for assistance, and include your Banner number and your username.
  3. How do I copy my course from one semester to the next? Go here.
  4. How do I merge (or collapse) two or more course sections? Go here.
  5. How do I add another instructor or a TA to the course?
    • Control Panel > Users and Groups > User > Find User to Enroll > Browse (type username only in the box), click Go > when you see the username, click the box and then Submit.
    • If that does not work, please send an email to ecublackboard@ecu.edu with the username and role (TA or instructor). The Blackboard team will add your TA or instructor.
  6. Does a browser change really make a difference with Blackboard?
    • Yes it does. Firefox and Google Chrome are still favorite browsers for Blackboard, even for the Mac. It’s a common suggestion from the Blackboard team, “Please try another browser.”
    • We’ve also found that clearing the browser’s cache/history every couple of weeks is useful when there are display issues (such as in the gradebook). It just takes a few seconds to clear your cache/history. Instructions are here.
  7. I don’t see SafeAssign as an Assessment. Where is it?
    • If you notice the SafeAssign green-check icon is missing in your courses, there is nothing wrong. SafeAssign is a submission option when creating an actual assignment, and the green icon is a thing of the past. The assignment icon is the same for a SafeAssignment and regular Assignment. (That happened a year ago, after the May 2015 upgrade.)
  8. Drops & Adds – How does that work?
    • We update the Blackboard feeds frequently at the beginning of the semester, syncing data with Banner multiple times per day. The drops and adds are updated from Banner – you do not need to remove or add students.
    • If you use Groups in your courses, consider waiting to add groups until you’re pretty sure your roster is stable and there won’t be many more drops and adds.
  9. What kind of Blackboard training do you offer instructors?
    • To search for Blackboard training sessions, please log into ECU’s Cornerstone Portal for training.
    • If you do not see what you need, please contact one of us for a desk-side or small group departmental training session.
    • Blackboard has a YouTube channel for instructors where you will find short instructional videos for the different tools and features in Blackboard: Go here.
  10. Do I need to do anything special at the beginning of the semester if I use Tegrity or Mediasite in my courses? Yes.

As of May 2016, ECU uses TeamDynamix for our help ticketing system, so for any technology-related questions, please submit a help ticket or call the Help Desk @ 252-328-9866.

 

Blackboard Support Team

Introducing, QWICKLY !

What is Qwickly?

Qwickly is a user-centric productivity platform for Blackboard.  Qwickly allows faculty to make courses available, send emails, post announcements, and post content to multiple courses at once. We are confident that this will be a huge time saver for those teaching many courses or multiple sections of the same course.

Qwickly was designed to dramatically simplify the workflow of common tasks. One great example is the Make Course Available Tool. Consider the current workflow to make a course available in Blackboard.  Go into each course, select the Properties area in the Control Panel, change the value of Make Course Available to Yes, and then submit the form. We’ve taken this repetitive task (which needs to be done for every course) and created a tool that lets the user complete the task in just a single click.

The vendor, Qwickly, has four videos on YouTube to learn more about the features. Please click the links to access the videos:

Making your courses Available or Unavailable

Posting an Announcement in one Course or Multiple Courses

Sending Email in one Course or Multiple Courses

Posting Content in one Course or Multiple Courses

The screenshot below shows the Qwickly Module on your Blackboard landing page. You can slide it up or toward the top of your landing page if you’d like to reorder the modules. (By default it is at the bottom.)

screenshot

Questions? ecublackboard@ecu.edu

Blackboard Avatar Workaround


The avatar feature in Bb has been turned off since the May upgrade because the latest version of the tool could potentially share ECU user IDs/email addresses to Bb 3rd party vendors. We don’t want that sharing feature, so we turned it off.  The workaround below allows faculty and students to add avatars BUT does have some limitations.

First off, faculty and students cannot add miscellaneous information about themselves in the profile area.  Secondly, the avatar rollover feature will not work.  We realize this is not a perfect solution, but we are hoping it is a reasonable workaround until the Profile tool is updated in September. We will keep you updated. In the meantime…

Here is how to add an avatar to your ECU Blackboard profile.

1 – Open the Navigation Pane by clicking the Gray icon at the top. Then click the SETTINGS option.

settings

2 –  Click Personal Information.Bb_personalinfo3 – Click Personalize My Settingspersonalize

4 – Browse and choose your Avatar.  You will need to logout and log back into Bb to see it.

browser to avatar

Example of Avatar in the discussion boards area.
bb_avatar_db

New Yammer Login Process Faculty and Students

Yammer Login Information

Starting on 7/5/2016 faculty, staff and students will be required to use the following URL’s to login to Yammer.

Faculty –  pirates365.ecu.edu to login to Yammer.  The old login URL will auto redirect to this new login URL. Once you login you will notice a Yammer pane. Click this pane to move inside the Yammer environment.

Studentsmymail.ecu.edu to login to Yammer. Once logged in mouse over the top left-hand tile icon.  Then, choose the Yammer pane.  Notice that each pane has a set of options. If you want, you can pin this pane to the top ribbon area if you so choose. (see the tutorial below)

Faculty Tutorial

1 – Go to pirates365.ecu.edu to login.

Yammer Login

2 – Once you have logged in you should see a Yammer Pane.   Click the pane and you will be moved into the Yammer environment.

yammer pane

Student Tutorial

1  – mymail.ecu.edu and login.

2 – Rollover the pane icon.  Click the Yammer pane.  Note that you can pin the pane to the top ribbonstudent rollover pane

3 – student pin pin

 

 

 

If you have any question please submit a Yammer helpdesk ticket .