Author Archives: Cynthia Bowers

Known Issues in Bb after the upgrade

5/23/2014

After our upgrade last week, we have some known issues. Troubleshooting and finding a solution to these issues is priority.

  • Copy & paste function in a text box in Blackboard does not work when pasting from a web page using Firefox as the browser. Please try Google Chrome. Copy & paste from a Word doc works. (see below for details from Bb)
  • Course drops are not currently dropping in Bb. We are working w/ the vendor on this issue right now.  This is our top priority.
  • “Last Visited” feature does not working correctly.  Fix is coming out in June.
  • Slow/sluggish when logging in and/or adding or accessing content. Clicking F5 to fix this.

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COPY and PASTE problem info from Bb.

In Firefox, Cannot Paste text into Content Editor that was Copied from Firefox

Date Published: Apr 30,2014 Category:Product:Browsers; Planned First Fix Release:Blackboard Learn April 2014 Release; Version:9.1 SP13 (9.1.130093.0),9.1 SP14 (9.1.140152.0) Article No.: 000037400

Product: Blackboard Learn

Release: 9.1

Service Pack: 9.1 SP13 (9.1.130093.0), 9.1 SP14 (9.1.140152.0)

Issue Description: Users are unable to copy and paste content from Firefox to the Content Editor.

Steps to Replicate:

  1. Open Firefox with two tabs
  2. In one tab, go to any website
  3. In the other tab, access Learn as an administrator
  4. Within Blackboard, access any course
  5. Enter announcements tool and create an announcement
  6. From the other tab, copy any text from the website
  7. Go back to the Learn tab and attempt to paste the content into the Content Editor within Blackboard (using ctrl+V)

Expected Behavior:
The text is pasted into the Content Editor.

Observed Behavior:
Nothing is pasted.

Resolution/Workaround:

  1. Paste the text into another program, like a text editor, then copy it again from that program and paste it into the Content Editor.  Alternatively, another browser can be used.
  2. Make changes to the advanced configuration in Firefox:
  • Open Firefox
  • Go to about:config
  • Type in “dom.event.clipboardevents.enabled”
  • Double click the search result item to toggle value from “true” to “false”

Target Release: Blackboard Learn April 2014 Release
Patch Available: No

Please let one of us know if you have any questions. The Blackboard Support Team…

Matt longm@ecu.edu

Cindy bowersc@ecu.edu

Allen dennisa@ecu.edu

LockDown Browser Info – Instructors

Overview

LockDown Browser by Respondus is a tool/building block in Blackboard, which is effective at reducing test-taking issues, and is designed as a deterrent to cheating on online exams. As instructors, your email messages from students who report being kicked out of tests will be reduced. Respondus LockDown Browser is a secure, custom browser that locks down the testing environment within Blackboard. Instructors will find the tool in their Bb course, under Control Panel > Course Tools > LockDown Browser (no installation necessary for instructors). When an assessment is started, students are locked into it until they submit it for grading (unless the instructor makes an exception to LDB settings).

URL to provide students for download of LDB: Install Link

Article: Five Little-Known Reasons for Using LockDown Browser

You can provide a web link to students to install the browser on their home computers. We keep that link updated on the “Blackboard Support” tab once you log into Blackboard. The browser will only be used for test-taking within the Blackboard environment. Or, students can take exams in many computer labs where LDB has been installed on machines on both east and west campus. We have many instructors on campus who use LDB for their online quizzes and they are happy with the tool for academic integrity purposes, and for reducing the “I got kicked out…” messages and phone calls from students.

Finally, the student module in Blackboard has LDB information for students with instructions, tips, and resources for help.

Instructions & Info

Best Practice – Suggestion

Consider creating a simple, practice quiz (with complete/incomplete instead of a grade) that you require to be taken with LDB. Doing so cuts down on 1) any last-minute downloading of the LockDown browser before the first real quiz, and 2) last minute “help” emails from students before the first real quiz. For a good look at what LDB is about, watch this LockDown Browser for Instructors video from the Respondus people, which also gives you a view of what students will see. Would you like a sample quiz? Ask the Blackboard team! We have created a generic 5-question sample quiz you can import to your course.

Here’s why we like LockDown Browser:

    • Integrates with Blackboard; instructor has the choice whether to utilize LockDown browser for one test or all tests
    • Compatible with PC and Mac
    • Instructor can still provide links to outside sources to view during exam; however, students cannot navigate to any other website from that link.
    • Assessments are displayed full-screen and cannot be minimized
    • Assessments cannot be exited until submitted by users for grading
    • Task switching or access to other applications is prevented
    • Printing functions are disabled
    • Print Screen and capturing functions are disabled
    • Copying and pasting anything to and from an assessment is prohibited
    • Right-click menu options are disabled and function keys are disabled
    • Screen capture, messaging, screen-sharing, virtual machine, and network monitoring applications are blocked from running
    • The browser automatically starts at the login page for the institution’s course management system
    • URLs cannot be typed by the user
    • External links don’t compromise the “locked” testing environment
    • Assessments that are set up for use with Respondus LockDown Browser cannot be accessed with other browsers.

THE TWO MOST IMPORTANT TROUBLESHOOTING TIPS

  1. If just a few students are having problems on their own computers, it is likely a configuration/setup issue on their personal computer. The Help Desk or Blackboard Support team can do the troubleshooting.
  2. If ALL students send you an email because they are experiencing problems logging into the test with LDB, it is likely a LockDown Browser configuration setting. A quick way to check that LDB is still correctly required for the exam, go to the Control Panel > Course Tools > Respondus LockDown Browser. You will see a list of your exams. If you see a red “error” message, click Fix. Do NOT go back to Edit Test Options to change any settings, and from that Edit Test Options area, DO NOT delete the default password or UNcheck the Password Required box. That number is an LDB-generated password that needs to be in place (do not provide that to students and do not delete it).

See this blog post about an optional settings change on the instructor side if students cannot submit an exam in LDB. This is a nice addition to the settings.

Support

A Blackboard Admin will be happy to help you check your settings or do any troubleshooting with students. Contact the Help Desk at 252-328-9866, or the Blackboard Support Team: ecublackboard.ecu.edu, bowersc@ecu.edu, longm@ecu.edu, or dennisa@ecu.edu

From one of our instructors:

“I was hesitant about requiring LockDown Browser for the 150 students taking 12 quizzes per semester in my classes.  I was concerned that I would be overwhelmed with problems and questions.  However, the problems were few and as usual the Bb team would swoop in to help me with any and all of those.  The online instructional materials created by the Bb team are very effective.  Students taking the few minutes to review those rarely have additional questions about using LockDown Browser. “  KVS

Computer Labs on Campus with LDB installations

AHN1307
AHN1310B
AHN2160
AHN2502 (Laupus Library Computer Lab)
AHN3314
AHN4345
AHN4405
Austin 104
Austin 110
Austin 204
Aycock Basement
Bate 2005
Bate 2007
Bate 2009
Bate 2016
Bate 2017
Bate 2018
Brewster C203
Brewster D201
Brewster D213 (Kim Lab)
Brewster D214  (Kim Lab)
Brewster D302
Brewster D302A
Belk 1414
Belk 3102
Brody (BR2L37)
Christenbury 105
Eller House 110
Flanagan 214
Flanagan 378
Graham 207
Howell Science N301
Joyner Basement (CAVE)
Minges 101
Minges 82
Mendenhall Basement Computer Lab
Old Cafeteria 2501
Rivers 128
Rivers 139
Rivers 254
Rawl 135
Rawl 208
Rawl 304
Scales 132
Sci Tech 343
Sci Tech 347
Sci Tech 435
Ward 244
Ward 332
White Hall Computer Lab
Wright 301

LockDown Browser | Frequently Asked Questions

 

FAQFOR STUDENTS:

What is LockDown Browser?

Respondus LockDown Browser (LDB) is a customized browser that increases the security of online testing in Blackboard. LDB functions much like a standard browser; however, some options have been removed or behave differently. For example, in the exam environment, the exams are shown in full screen and cannot be minimized, resized, or exited until submitted for grading.

How do I install LockDown Browser on my local computer?

Use this link. http://www.respondus.com/lockdown/information.pl?ID=745639734

It is a quick install and does not take up much room on your computer.

In anticipation of downloading LDB on my local computer, or if I have difficulty with using LDB once installed, what can I do?

  • Make sure your Java is updated by going to http://www.java.com/en/download/installed.jsp
  • Clear out your Java cache: Windows > Control Panel > Java > General > Settings.
  • If you are prompted to make Blackboard a “trusted site” on your computer, click Yes.
  • If you are trying to download LDB at your workplace, there may be some restrictions (firewall or otherwise) for loading software. In that case, you will have to check with the system administrator.

How do I take a test in Blackboard using LockDown Browser?

Once you have installed LDB, click the LDB icon on your desktop to get to ECU Blackboard from the LDB browser. You will be prompted to close all other programs down, such as Outlook, iTunes, Facebook, Dell Dock, etc. Once you are logged in, go to your course and the content area where the exam is located. Take the exam like you normally would, and click Submit when you are finished.

Do I need a password to take the exam?

Generally, no. Most instructors do not assign a password to an exam in LDB.

Is LockDown Browser Mac friendly?

Yes indeed.

Do the computer labs on campus have LockDown Browser installed on the computers?

Yes they do. Here is the list of labs that have computers with LDB:

LDB_table_labs

 

 

 

 

 

 

If I have questions or issues with LockDown Browser, who do I call?

Contact the Help Desk @ 252-328-9866, or submit a Help Ticket @ https://ithelp.ecu.edu/Default.asp . Or, send an email to ecublacboard@ecu.edu

FOR INSTRUCTORS:

Why are instructors using Respondus LockDown Browser for giving exams in Blackboard?

Respondus LockDown Browser is a customized browser that increases the security of online testing in Blackboard. When students use Respondus LockDownBrowser to take a Blackboard test, they are unable to print, copy, go to another URL, access other applications, or close a test until is it submitted for grading.

Do I have to install LockDown Browser?

No. It is a building block/tool in your Blackboard course. (Students do an LDB install.)

How do I find LDB in my Blackboard course?

Control Panel > Course Tools > Respondus LockDown Browser. [If you do not see it there at the beginning of the semester, to Control Panel > Customization > Tool Availability > Respondus LockDown Browser > check the box to make it available in your Tools.]

How do I associate my exams with LDB?

  • Go to Course Tools in the Control Panel.
  • Click Respondus LockDown Browser.
  • You will see your list of exams; choose the exam
  • Click Modify Settings, then “Require LockDown Browser…”

Should I provide a link to students to install LDB?

Yes; please add it to a content area or an announcement. Here’s the link:

http://www.respondus.com/lockdown/information.pl?ID=745639734

Should I create a practice quiz for students to try LDB?

Great idea! Contact the Blackboard Administrators. We have a generic 5-question quiz we created for this very purpose. Contact Matt Long, Cindy Bowers, or Allen Dennis

General questions? Send a note to ecublackboard@ecu.edu

 

Taste of Technology

We want to get the word out on some of the training sessions we have available, so we’re offering a “Taste of Technology” hour-long session consisting of three 15-minute summaries of tools and features and 15 minutes of Q&A. We will come to your department or college for a small or large group session! You choose which three topics you want covered, e.g. Blackboard topics, web conferencing, lecture capture, clickers, test creation solutions/integrations with Blackboard.

Please see the Taste of Technology Flyer PDF!

SafeAssign Hints

For those instructors who use SafeAssign, the following two things might be helpful.

  • At the beginning of each semester, If you do course copies from one semester to the next, please perform a quick synchronization of your course to the SafeAssign global database: Control Panel > Course Tools > SafeAssign > SafeAssignments > click the yellow button “Synchronize this course.” See the screenshot below.
  • If any of your students have an issue submitting a paper to your SafeAssign link, ask them to try again using Firefox as their browser. If that does not work, please have them submit a help ticket and we’ll do some troubleshooting.

screenshot_synchronize

 

Questions? Send an email to:

Matt Long, Cindy Bowers, or Allen Dennis

Email Notification Issue in Bb 5/26-28

A Blackboard email issue was identified and resolved on 5/28/13. If you sent an email(s) from your Blackboard course between 8 a.m. on Sunday, May 26, and 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, May 28, the emails were not sent. You will need to resend any email messages that were sent during this timeframe. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Course Copy Process

With the recent upgrade from Service Pack 7 to 9, one of the new features pertaining to the Course Copy process is a message to instructors, letting you know that the copy process is in the works or “waiting.” Please see the screenshot below. This is normal, and you will see this message before you get the email saying the course copy process is complete. At the beginning of the semester when many instructors are building their courses and doing course copies at the same time, expect a delay. Importantly, do not repeat the copy process or you will duplicate content and that will require cleanup to delete redundant content items. Log out/log in or refresh your course now and then to watch for the content to appear. Or, wait until you receive the email telling you the copy process is complete.

screenshot_coursecopymessage

 

The Course Copy tool is available under the Control Panel in Blackboard. Go into your source (or past) course to Packages and Utilities > Course Copy. From there, you will choose your destination (or current) course and be able to choose all of the content areas and tools to be included in the copy. (Do not include Enrollments at the bottom of the page – those are enrollments from the past course.)

Do you need instructions for doing your own course copy and /or section merge? Video or PDF instructions 

Questions? Please contact: Matt Long longm@ecu.edu, Cindy Bowers bowersc@ecu.edu, or Allen Dennis dennisa@ecu.edu

Sample Blackboard Quiz Available for Use

For your use – a generic sample 5-question quiz

  • If you are interested in adding a short quiz to your Blackboard course at the beginning of the semester to determine if students can successfully take an exam in Blackboard, we have created a 5-question generic quiz. You can use the quiz “as is,” or you can edit the questions.
    • Send an email with the full Course ID to Cindy, Matt, or Allen and we’ll gladly add that quiz to your course. Once you determine if the questions are satisfactory for your purposes, then deploy/add the quiz to the appropriate content area in your course.
  • If you use LockDown Browser to give quizzes and would like a sample quiz, please follow the instructions above. (If you are unfamiliar with LockDown Browser, please see below.)

As a reminder, we offer training in Blackboard, plus we have many instructional materials for the tools and features in Blackboard.

Technology Survey Results from Fall 2012

Regarding our technology survey from September 2012,  we appreciate the instructors who took the time to respond to the two questions: (1) Are there any tools or features that you would like to see integrated with Black board, ECU’s Learning Management System? What additional support resources can we provide? (2) Please share any additional thoughts on how we can improve and enhance your overall Blackboard experience.

We value your comments, ideas, and suggestions and they are often the catalyst for our research of new technology products. The survey responses from faculty included many comments and questions about specific tools, features, and functionalities within Blackboard. It would be too lengthy to include a suggestion, solution, or comment to each response; however, since there were commonalities among the responses, we’ll mention a few areas, plus provide some resources where you will find instructions, and/or examples.

Blackboard’s Discussion Board

Some common questions about the discussion board included email notification, viewing all posts, and grading. When a discussion forum is created, there is a setting to “allow subscriptions.” If that box is checked, the instructor (and all users) will receive an email when a thread/post is added. Switching between list view and tree view provides a different look, as does choosing “Collect” to view specific forums and posts, plus print them (when desired). Regarding switching back and forth between the discussion board and the grade center, the most efficient solution is to add points to the discussion forum. Once points are added, instructors can grade all posts right from the Discussion Board. If you did not set it up that way, you can still “edit” the discussion forum and add points.

Blackboard’s Grade Center

The Grade Center, although not a Microsoft Excel product, is a rich tool with spreadsheet capabilities. Weighting grades at the beginning of the semester is a timesaver, thanks to categories that can be linked with assessments. That way, no matter how many assignments you add, as long as they are associated with a category already added to the weighted column, they are factored into the user’s weighted grade. We have a user-friendly instructional PDF on weighting grades on our Blackboard blog. Also on our blog, is a PDF on grade book housekeeping that is good to refer to when a total column does not add up, points or grade weighting looks “off,” or you can’t find a column that a student sees.

Creating a “My Grades” menu item gives students an alternate way to navigate to their grade center. It is a tool, so it can also be accessed through Course Tools. The grade center can be downloaded to Excel using the “Work Offline” button; however, please be cognizant of student data on your work or home computer. We have FERPA guidelines http://www.ecu.edu/cs-acad/registrar/FERPA.cfm on our Blackboard blog. After you download your grade book to Excel and do some work, you can also upload that file back into the Bb grade book.

By adding gradable items (assignments, interactive tools), and assigning points to each item, a column is auto-created in the grade book. No need to manually create columns unless you are giving paper assignments or quizzes, or adding a column for participation, for example.

Blackboard’s Interface and General Functions

Blackboard’s interface allows users to format content from a rich WYSIWYG text box, e.g., font choices, sizes, colors, hyperlinks, images, lists, to name a few. The formatting text box is available for announcements, instructions, addition of content, etc. A user-friendly function is to create menu items/content areas from the front page, directly pointing to content and/or assessment areas, reducing the number of clicks. Course design/organization is discussed in our Blackboard Overview sessions.

Blackboard’s Integration with Turning Point

Audience response systems, or clickers, offer an option for student engagement and active learning. Clickers are designed to actively engage students, gauge students’ level of understanding of the material presented, and provide prompt feedback. Student responses are anonymous to other students. TurningPoint AnyWhere is for instructors who want to create instant polling questions from content on web pages, PDFs, Microsoft Office products, whiteboards, and more. For instructors who want to create and save quizzes and create interactive presentations in a PowerPoint format for current and future classes, they will use TurningPoint software. Once students have purchased and registered their TurningPoint clickers, instructors with TurningPoint software can easily upload grades from polled responses into their Blackboard courses.Both TurningPoint and TurningPoint AnyWhere downloads are free and compatible with PC or Mac. TurningTechnologies has an array of resources and videos to help decide which software is appropriate for different needs in higher education. Go to http://www.ecu.edu/itcs/clickers/ or see the list of resources below.

 Blackboard’s Integration with Joyner Library

ITCS and Joyner library are currently working collaboratively on both faculty and staff Blackboard modules.  These modules will highlight faculty and student support information and other timely information. Please see our list of resources below for more information.

Collaborate for Web Conferencing

In the fall of 2012, ITCS began to pilot a platform named Collaborate, which is a Blackboard building block.  Collaborate is a web-conferencing tool that directly integrates within the Blackboard interface.  Like Centra, Collaborate offers live video, chat, application sharing and playback of any recorded event. The pilot will continue in the spring of 2013 and slots are available along with group training sessions. If you are interested in learning more about this platform feel free to contact John Southworth, southworthj@ecu.edu or see the resource list below.

RESOURCES:

Course Copy and/or Collapse for Spring ’13 Courses

In anticipation of Spring 2013, you may want to copy your Fall course content into your Spring course shell. Or you might want a course merge (also known as collapse). Go to our Course Copy-Section Merge web page to learn how to copy content yourself, merge multiple sections, or submit a request. For instructions, you can watch a mini-video or view a PDF – your choice. It’s quite easy to do your own course copy from one semester to the next and you decide what should be copied.

Things to remember about course copy and course merge:

  • By doing your own course copy, you decide what should be copied. The actual process of you going through through the steps takes 1-2 minutes at the most.
  • When you do your own course copy, remember that depending on the amount of content in your course or the Bb “traffic” (1-2 weeks before the semester when many instructors are doing the course copy process at the same time, your content might take longer to show up. Normally it is 15 minutes or less. It is important that you do not get impatient and repeat the process, or your content will duplicate and you’ll have lots of cleanup to do. Watch for a COURSE COPY RECEIPT in your email inbox after you click Submit. Do not panic if it is not instant; the content will show up.
  • If you want a section merge AND course copy, which comes first? The section merge, then do your course copy.
  • If you do a section merge of two sections (e.g., 001 and 601), your student enrollments for each section will merge into your “parent” section.

Questions? Matt Long longm@ecu.edu, 328-9074 OR Cindy Bowers bowersc@ecu.edu, 328-9167