- On May 12, 2014 (after spring grades have been submitted), Blackboard will be down for a few days as we perform some updates and add some enhancements to Blackboard. Many tools and features are the same, but you’ll see a new, updated “look” as well as come very cool new features! Some of our favorites: Inline grading, totally new and efficient calendar, group management, date management, updated discussion board. Look at our blog post for a preview!
- Blackboard/Blackboard Community Programs offers “The Blackboard innovative Teaching Series” on their website and this may be of interest to our instructors. There are training webinars for instructors who use Blackboard, free AND archived, with a variety of topics (e.g., best practices). We offer Blackboard training sessions (look on Cornerstone), of course.
One of our most common questions…
How do I make my course(s) course available/unavailable: Make Course Available or Unavailable
Course Copy and Section Merge (Collapse)
As a new semester approaches, you may want to merge/combine your sections or copy content from a past course to a current course. You can do one or both of these tasks yourself now. Many instructors merge courses that have identical content for grade center management. Are you interested in merging your own sections? It’s easy. Watch this video to learn how. Please go to this web page to watch a video or see our FAQ’s and resources. Or, see our list of PDF tutorials below for 1) Course Copy, 2) Section Merge, and/or 3) Course Copy and Section Merge.
Good to Know…
Test Creation information and best practices
- Blog post with test creation best practices info – see blog post
- Assignment Tool (creates link for students) – download the PDF
- Creating and Deploying Tests – download the PDF
- Creating a Test From a Pool – download the PDF
- Test-Taking Troubleshooting Tips for Instructors – download the PDF
- Test-Taking Tips for Students – Share with Students – PDF
- Respondus LockDown Browser - read the blog post for information
- Rubrics with Assessments – download the PDF
Browser Info: Reminder: Blackboard works best using Firefox as the browser (for Macs also); please remind your students. The gradebook is especially noticeable (slow, not working properly) if you are using IE instead of Firefox. See Blackboard’s recommended browsers.
LockDown Browser – A Tool for More Secure Test-Taking in Bb
Introducing LockDown Browser (as of Fall 2012)… You’ll find it in your Blackboard Course > Control Panel > Course Tools > Respondus LockDown Browser. (If it does not show, go to Control Panel > Customization > Tool Availability and check the box for Respondus LockDown Browser.) See our blog post to learn more about this tool. For instructors, it is super easy to require that tests be taken in LDB, but watch the ECU training calendar for LockDown Browser training. Consider creating a simple, practice quiz (with complete/incomplete instead of a grade) that you require to be taken with LDB. That 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.
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
For Summer, Fall, and Spring semesters:
- Don’t forget to make your course available at the beginning of each semester. From the Control Panel in your course(s), click Customization, then Properties, then #3 to Set Availability Yes.
- You can also customize your menu bar, too. With color choices and text vs. button choices, create a different “look” for each section or course you teach. From the Control Panel in your course(s), click Customization, then the “Teaching Style” button; then choose #3, Select Menu Style. From there, you can change the look of your menu bar from text style to buttons or vice versa. With our latest upgrade, you can even choose a “Course Structure.” That will be most useful to new instructors who are working from a blank shell.
It’s not too early (or late) to start thinking about a little Bb gradebook housekeeping. You may have hidden columns and don’t realize that the columns are hidden from you, but not the students. Take a look at the PDF Gradebook Cleanup when you have time. Or, maybe you’d like a video – watch our virtual Grade Center tutorial. You may need to clean up your navigation area (the menu items). Take a look at the short video on how to clean up your navigation area: Cleaning up your course navigation area.
We offer training sessions: Are you interested in our training sessions in Blackboard, Tegrity, Respondus, LockDown Browser, Yammer and/or iPad? We do most of those in Austin 309. Reserve your spot on the ECU training calendar. Keep in mind we will do small group or desk-side trainings; for more info, please contact Matt Long 328-9074, Cindy Bowers 328-9167, or Allen Dennis 328-2841. Be sure to refer your TAs and GAs to our training calendar, too. We update the calendar with new sessions often. For “virtual” training and instructions, please scroll down to see our list of videos.
Browser Update, per Service Pack 9 : Firefox is the preferred browser for Blackboard 9 at this time, for both PC and Mac. Among other things, there are less popups, images display better, and documents often download from Firefox better than IE. Download Firefox here. Google Chrome is now a certified browser. Download Chrome here. If you use Internet Explorer and find you have frequent pop-up security messages, interface or display issues, or have trouble viewing images, we suggest you switch browsers (also good advice for your students). Mac users should also use Firefox. With future service packs, we will keep you apprised of any new browser information.
To do a system check, go to: System Compatibility Check
[From the Office of IT Security, please see the blog post regarding FERPA and Blackboard.]
Learn from our PDFs and Videos
PDFs | Blackboard 9
- LockDown Browser for Instructors
- LockDown Browser STUDENT Installation, Add to Your Course
- Test Settings and Troubleshooting for Instructors
- Create and Deploy (Add) a Test
- Create a Test from a Pool
- How to Archive a Course
- Blog Tool
- Wiki Tool
- Journal Tool
- Create a SmartView for Sections in Gradebook
- Create Report for Tests
- Course Copying
- Course Section Merge
- Course Copy AND Merge
- “Organize in 5″
- Screenshots > Organization
- Discussion Board Views
- Use the Assignment Tool
- Winmedia and Core Server Tutorial
- SafeAssign Create Assignment
- SafeAssign – The Basics
- Rubric with SafeAssign
- Rubric Tool-Revised
- Rubric Reports
- Turning Point Clicker Registration Tool, Instructor Instructions
- Turning Point Clicker Registration Tool, Student Instructions
- Missing Scroll Bar Fix
- Ten Best Practices for Managing Content
- How to Hide Past Courses in “My Courses”
- Test-Taking Tips for Students – Share with Students
- Best Practices for Mobile Friendly Courses
Virtual Training and Instruction | Blackboard 9 Overview:
- Matt’s 17-minute overview of Bb9: WATCH Matt’s Video
- Allen’s 15-minute overview of the Bb9 Grade Center: WATCH Allen’s Video
- Cindy’s 50-minute recorded training session (Pirate ID/password may be required): WATCH Cindy’s Video
Blackboard’s “On Demand” Learning Center Videos & PDFs:
- Understanding & Building Your Course – On Demand Resources
- Communicating and Collaborating – On Demand Resources
- Assessing Learners – On Demand Resources
- Video list from Bb Blog Homepage – Course Content
- Video list from Bb Blog Homepage – Grade Center, Assessments
- Video list from Bb Blog Homepage – Communication & Collaboration
Mini-Videos | Blackboard 9 Tools:
- Digital Dropbox - Matt discusses how to use the Assignment Tool instead of the Digital Dropbox, which is no longer available in Blackboard 9. If your past course is still available or turned on, students can go here to retrieve documents that they need for a portfolio (in case their computer crashed or they did not save it, etc.).
Blackboard Mobile Learn
Blackboard can now be accessed on your mobile device via the Blackboard Mobile Learn app. Blackboard Mobile Learn allows students and instructors to interact with Blackboard on their Android, Blackberry, iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad device. Click here to view videos of Blackboard Mobile Learn on your mobile device.
Blackboard Mobile Learn offers a wide variety of features for easy viewing of Blackboard content on mobile devices.
- Create and view announcements.
- Create and view discussion board threads.
- Post comments on students’ blogs and journals.
- View tasks, class roster, and embedded media.
- Favorites allow you to see only certain Blackboard pages inside Blackboard Mobile Learn.
After downloading the Blackboard Mobile Learn app and running it for the first time, search for ” East Carolina University ” then select “East Carolina University” and enter your Pirate ID credentials.” Explore the functionality of this program.
Update: Blackboard Mobile Learn is now carrier agnostic! This means that all Apple, Android, and Blackberry devices can use Blackboard Mobile Learn over their carrier’s wireless data network. All wireless carrier’s are supported by this new feature.