Category Archives: for Teachers

Rubric

Week 8 – Blackboard Rubrics – 3/2/15

As educators, particularly as educators teaching future educators, we understand the value of feedback when grading assignments. In fact, perhaps there is even more value in the feedback than in the actual grading. This is why so much time is spent meticulously going through a submitted paper marking and putting comments in the margins, all to help the student better understand where he/she went off the mark. Students certainly appreciate the extra time that is taken and learn from this information, but wouldn’t it be nice if Blackboard could give us a little help with this? Perhaps by showing the students what criteria an assignment will be graded based on and then allowing us to use those criteria to grade the assignment and add comments and deduct points directly based on those criteria? Well, we are all in luck, because it does!

Blackboard has provided a Rubric tool that allows the instructor to create rubric for any gradable item in Blackboard that they can choose to let the student see before an item is submitted, and then once submitted, the instructor can just check the boxes as to the level of competency for each category and add comments as necessary that the student can review. Pretty nice. The rubrics can be used in conjunction with the new inline grading system that allows the instructor to mark and comment on a submitted paper directly in Blackboard, again giving better feedback to the students that is easier for the instructor to give.  The following video will demonstrate how to set up rubrics in your Blackboard class:

A rubric can be used for multiple assignments in a class, but cannot be edited once it has been used. So, for example, you can set up a Discussion Board Rubric once, and then use it as a standard for all of the Discussion Boards without having to recreate it. Want to try one out without going through the trouble? Blackboard is compiling some shared Rubrics where you can download some rubrics that have been contributed by other educators and import them into your course at http://www.blackboard.com/Platforms/Learn/Products/Blackboard-Learn/Features/Sharing-Rubrics.aspx Once you get the hang of it, perhaps you may want to share one of the rubrics you have created there. To use one of the rubrics that are listed there, just download the rubric, then in your course, go to Course Tools, choose Rubrics and Import. It will then appear as one of your rubrics and you can then use it as you would any other rubric.

If you haven’t used Blackboard Rubrics before, I encourage you to take at least one of your assignments this semester and try it out. If you need help setting it up, I’m happy to help answer any questions, but in the long run, I think you will find it will help save you a lot of time, and your students will benefit much more from the assignments that use them.

Throughout the semester, the OAA-Instructional Technology Team will be offering Professional Development opportunities. For more information on these opportunities, please visit the COE Professional Development website. To register for any professional development sessions, please use Cornerstone.

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From the TRC: TeachingBooks.net

It’s Thursday, and a new edition of From the TRC is published to highlight another service or resource the Teaching Resources Center in Joyner Library has to support the College of Education’s faculty and students. This week, it’s TeachingBooks.net.

Short of inviting an author to speak on campus it can be difficult for children and young adults to feel a connection to or the relevancy of an author’s work. It can be even more difficult to gain insight on the process of creating a book or illustration. This is where a resource like TeachingBooks.net comes in. TeachingBooks.net provides educators an opportunity to add a multimedia dimension to their lessons and their students’ reading experiences.

TeachingBooks-net_logoTeachingBooks.net is more than just a database of books, authors, and illustrators. It is an invaluable resource teachers can use as to supplement existing lesson plans or look for ideas to craft new ones. Users can search by book title, author or illustrator from the front page, or simply browse the collection of meet the author videos and resources by grade level or subject area.

To find strategies for integrating books and resources into specific curricular areas, see the Curricular Uses page. Looking for foreign-language resources?  TeachingBooks.net has resources in Spanish, French, Chinese, Ojibwe, Hmong, Russian and others. Book guides and lesson plans aligned to the ELA Common Core standards are available as well as booklists put together by the North Carolina School Library Media Association, and the North Carolina Children’s Book Award. Additional booklists from other states and those categorized by theme or book series are also at the ready.

Here are a few links to some of the TRC’s favorite authors:

Be sure to check out TeachingBooks.net’s free monthly webinar series.  Upcoming webinars will cover “Culturally Relevant Materials” and “How TeachingBooks is Used in Schools/Districts”. In addition, their on demand video tutorials cover topics such as text complexity and creating your own custom reading list.

Believe it or not, all this is the tip of the iceberg as to what TeachingBooks.net has to offer. If you don’t believe me, maybe you should check them out yourself on their blog, on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or by signing up for their newsletter.

Until next time…Dan Z. in the TRC

asynchronous

Week 7 – Collaboration in Blackboard – 2/23/15

This week’s blog is a continuation of the discussion last week on collaboration tools. As discussed previously, it can be difficult to build the same kind of community in an online class as typically occurs naturally in a traditional, seated course. The collaboration tools that are either provided in Blackboard or are available by third parties, can help provide the tools necessary to make this community easier to build.

Last week, we discussed some synchronous tools that are available to faculty to use. As a reminder, synchronous tools, are tools that require everyone to be online at the same time. There will be an online follow-up professional development session coming soon for faculty to learn more about Saba Meeting. Please keep an eye on the COE PD page for details. Now, without further adieu, asynchronous tools!

Asynchronous Tools

Asynchronous tools are tools that do not require collaborators to be online at the same time. This blog could represent an asynchronous activity if you, the readers, decided to later participate by commenting below and contributing to the article. In fact there is a Blog tool in Blackboard, but its purpose is a bit different. One thing to note before starting is all of the asynchronous tools that will be mentioned here are native to Blackboard and can be set as gradable items. Each can also be set to grade with a Blackboard rubric (discussed in Week 8).

Blog - Essentially a blog is a shared online diary for use in a class. It can be used by an instructor to let students know what was or will be done in class to save the instructor from answering individual questions repeatedly. It can open up online discussions about related topics or a place to provide evidence of class participation. It is organized strictly by date. Blogs can be set up for each individual student or by course. Blogs are much less formal than discussion boards, which will be discussed later.

Discussion Board – Even a Blackboard newbie has probably heard of the discussion board. It is the most commonly used method of communicating in an online course. Essentially the instructor creates a discussion topic and the students then respond and discuss the topic. They are organized hierarchically with forums, threads, and replies. Discussion boards are easily collapsed, expanded and searched. Users can subscribe to a forum or thread to receive an email each time someone contributes to it. One of the newer features is students can be required to participate before they are able to see other student entries.

Journal – A journal does a bit less to build communication with the class, but potentially more with the instructor, as it provides a personal writing space for self-reflection and private communication with the instructor. It can be used to reflect on personal growth, assignments, personal experiences, etc. Be advised that if you choose “Permit Course Users to View Journal” in the settings all class participants will be able to see each others journals, removing the privacy feature, essentially creating a non-commentable blog.

Wiki – A wiki is a collaborative space where students can view, contribute and edit content. It can be used if students are collaborating on a paper, study guide, etc. The biggest difference between a wiki and any of the other tools is that everyone essentially works in the same space. What this means is there is one text box and each student can contribute, but the particular contribution of one student over another is not necessarily identified, besides look at the history.  Multiple pages can be created to make essentially a website for a project.

So that pretty much does it for the collaboration tools within Blackboard that are designed to potentially work with the entire class or groups. In addition to these tools, you can also divide your class up into groups and then assign group projects. When groups are created, there is another world that opens up for students in Blackboard that provides a place for Group assignments, file exchange, discussions, tasks, and more.

In addition to the tools we’ve looked at this week and last there are lots of third party tools that are also available that may meet your needs, and new ones become available every day. In face Google provides a wide range of free tools that are certainly worth looking into.

Once you start looking at the possibilities, you’ll find there really are ways to do the things you’ve been doing in your traditional classes all these years. It might take a bit of time and training to master it, as it has in your classroom, but once you do, you and your students will be quite satisfied with the results.

Throughout the semester, the OAA-Instructional Technology Team will be offering Professional Development opportunities. For more information on these opportunities, please visit the COE Professional Development website. To register for any professional development sessions, please use Cornerstone.

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From the TRC: Award Winning Author, Duncun Tonatiuh

It’s Thursday, and another edition of From the TRC is published to highlight another service or resource the Teaching Resources Center in Joyner Library has to support the College of Education’s faculty and students. This week, it’s a reminder that award winning author Duncan Tonatiuh will be visiting campus this Saturday, February 21st.

Duncan Tonatiuh

Duncan Tonatiuh

This event is free and open to the public.

Duncan Tonatiuh
“Contemporary Codex: Using the Past to Address the Present”
Saturday, February 21, 2015
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Joyner East, Room 201

The TRC is sponsoring a presentation featuring award-winning children’s author and illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh (toh-nah-tyou) as he discusses how ancient art of the Americas influences his artwork. In addition, Mr. Tonatiuh will share how he looks at the past to address issues that affect children today, especially Latino children. Immigration and segregation are two crucial issues addressed in his works.

Born in Mexico City and raised in San Miguel de Allende, Duncan Tonatiuh graduated from Parsons The New School for Design and Eugene Lang College in New York City. His children’s books have won Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book AwardsPura Belpré Awards, and the Orbis Pictus Award.

Award-winning book, Separate is Never Equal

Award-winning book, Separate is Never Equal

Mr. Tonatiuh’s books will be available for purchase in the lobby of Joyner Library from 10:00am – 4:30pm, and he will be autographing books in the same location from 10:30am – 1:00pm and 3:30pm – 4:30pm.

His latest work, Separate is Never Equal, was named an Honor Book by the Pura Belpré Illustrator Awards and received the same award from the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal and the Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children. This book, along with his other works, are available in the TRC.

You can learn more about Duncan Tonatiuh and his books on his official website, www.duncantonatiuh.com, and access interviews with and book readings by the author on TeachingBooks.net. Tonatiuh

 

Dr. Robin Hamilton

LEED Alumna and Current Principal has Article Published

2014 LEED Graduate Dr. Robin Hamilton had an article published on February 16, 2015 in ASCD Express entitled, “Transformative Kindergarten Transition Practices.” The article discusses the impact the transition into kindergarten can make on their future academic and social success. It also discusses different transition practices that are currently used.

Dr. Hamilton is currently the principal at Parsley Elementary School in Wilmington, NC, where some of the practices are being used. In 2014, Dr. Hamilton was the recipient of LEED’s 2014 Glatthorn Distinguished Dissertation award.

Synchronous Communication

Week 6 – Collaboration in Blackboard – 2/16/15

In a traditional classroom collaboration is natural, it doesn’t need to be planned or forced. In an online environment, it is quite different, since on the way to submitting an assignment it is, shall we say, highly unlikely, that one student will run into another and they will get into a deep conversation regarding the week’s topic. Hard to believe I know.

With that being said, as educators, we know that students learn best through interaction, so how can we provide this interaction in an online class. Let’s look as some options. This week we will be looking at synchronous tools, and next week we will look at asynchronous tools. There are of course many more tools than I will be able to mention here, so if there is a particular synchronous tool that you use, please feel free to add it in the comments at the bottom of the article this week. If there is an asynchronous tool you love, please add it next week. Any of these options can be done either with the entire class, or with the class divided into smaller groups, depending on what is more manageable for a chosen activity.

Synchronous Tools

Synchronous tools are tools that require everyone to be online at the same time. If synchronous tools are to be used, it is advised that students be made aware of this at the very beginning of the semester, if not earlier, as many students chose to take online courses because they cannot meet at a certain time due to other classes or life circumstances. It is also advised that if assigned after the semester begins, students should be given a few choices for times that work in their schedules.

Chat - Participants have an online discussion by typing short, text-based messages in Blackboard. Sort of like a real-time discussion board.  A great option for online office hours because they can be recorded and viewed later.

Virtual Classroom – A more robust version of the Chat, as it includes the test box for chatting, but also includes a Virtual Whiteboard to display course materials, websites and for drawing.

Saba Meeting – A tool provided by for faculty by ECU that takes the Virtual Classroom to the next level. With Saba Meeting, communication can be done either by chat or by microphone, and can also take advantage of live video streams. In addition to the “old fashion” whiteboard and presentations, a presenter can also share his desktop to demonstrate a program or browse the web. During a meeting, surveys can be given and breakout rooms can be set. Meetings can be recorded, but will be deleted unless requested each semester to be kept. Saba meeting is a great solution, but it can be rather technical, and sometimes students can have a hard time getting in, as typically Java needs to be updated/installed. Following the User Guide will usually help with the install process.

Second Life – If you are ready to take your students to a whole new way of learning, then Second Life is the way to go. I will warn you that there is a learning curve. In Second Life, you have an avatar and you can literally have the students sit in class, go on field trips, visit your office, the possibilities are endless. ECU even has a campus and its own Pirate Ship there. The more creative you are, the more you can make of it. In the past, I have seen a faculty member teaching Shakespeare require her students come to “class” dressed in Elizabethan garb and the students loved it. There are a lot of interesting, educational things that have been built that could possibly serve as great field trips: a Holocaust Museum, The Mayo Clinic, a Renaissance Gallery, New York City, Paris, even the RMS Titanic just to name a few.

So those are some synchronous ways you can encourage collaboration in your online class. A couple work directly in Blackboard and a couple can be linked in Blackboard and then taken outside. Are there others perhaps that you use synchronously? Use the comment area below to contribute what you use.

Next week we will talk about Asynchronous Tools that you can use in your classes to help encourage collaboration. Remember that any of these tools/activities can certainly be used in your seated classes as well to enhance collaboration amongst your students.

Throughout the semester, the OAA-Instructional Technology Team will be offering Professional Development opportunities. For more information on these opportunities, please visit the COE Professional Development website. To register for any professional development sessions, please use Cornerstone.

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From the TRC: Ronnie Barnes African-American Resource Collection

It’s Thursday, and another edition of From the TRC is published to highlight another service or resource the Teaching Resources Center in Joyner Library has to support the College of Education’s faculty and students. This week, it’s the Ronnie Barnes African-American Resource Collection.

Granted, it is Black History Month and that may be one reason why the Ronnie Barnes African-American Resource Collection is the subject of this week’s post. But, honestly, the main reason is to call attention to this valuable, yet underused resource in the Teaching Resources Center.

Allow me to back that statement up with numbers. So far this school year the Ronnie Barnes Collection has accounted for less than one (1) percent of the books circulated in the TRC. If that doesn’t sound small enough I’ll dig a little deeper into the statistics. Since July 2014, the TRC has accounted for 47%, on average, of Joyner Library’s monthly total circulation of books. What does that mean? Well, out of the 20,460 books that have been checked out from the TRC since July only 161 (0.7%) have come from the Ronnie Barnes Collection. Here’s why the collection is worth checking out any time of year:

Ronnie Barnes

Ronnie Barnes, ECU Class of ’75

Ronnie Barnes, an eastern North Carolina native, was the first graduate of ECU’s Sports Medicine program in 1975 and is the Senior Vice President of Medical Services and Head Athletic Trainer for the New York Giants of the National Football League. In 2002, he endowed a fund to develop and maintain a collection of materials written or illustrated by African-Americans, or about the African-American experience.

The children’s collection includes:

  • Coretta Scott King Award books
  • Caldecott Award books about African-Americans or by African-American authors or illustrators.
  • Newbery Award books about African-Americans or by African-American authors or illustrators.
  • Biographies of African-Americans for K12 students

Additionally, the adult collection contains all genres, from scholarly books  to general fiction. The adult collection is highlighted on an annual rotating basis. At the end of each year, these materials rotate out of the Ronnie Barnes Collection into Joyner Library’s general stacks.  The call numbers in the Ronnie Barnes Collection begin with “Barnes.”

For more resources to use in the classroom for Black History month click on these TRC and Joyner Library resources:

Not sure how to put these resources to use? Here are some lesson plan ideas for Black History Month from the National Education Association, Education World, Scholastic, Smithsonian Education, National Endowment for the Humanities, AfricanAmericanHistoryMonth.gov, African-American History Through the Arts, and PBS.

Until next time. – Dan Z. in the TRC

clipboard

Week 5 – Tips for Tests in Blackboard – 2/9/15

Giving your tests using Blackboard is a great option whether you have a seated, hybrid or online class. Tests given in Blackboard allow for many question types that are self-grading, which can make your life much easier and save a lot of time. Plus you can get statistics on the questions and the results. This can help you to identify a possible bad question. As great as tests are in Blackboard, there are a couple of tips you want to keep in mind when setting up your test.

  1. Always time your tests – You do not want to allow students to work on a test for more than a reasonable amount of time. The amount of time will vary depending on the question types. In Blackboard, once the time expires, the test does not stop and will record the amount of time given versus the amount of time taken.
  2. Don’t make your tests too long – Having a test that is over an hour long is really unrealistic – even an hour long exam is stretching it. If you have a lot of material to cover, why not break it down into multiple exams? Maybe a 2 hour exam broken into 30 minute chunks. This will give the students an opportunity to take a break every so often without being penalized.
  3. Turn Force Completion off – This option is often misunderstood. Instead of using Force Completion, set up a time limit. The way the time limit works is that once a student begins the test, their time starts. If the student exits the test for any reason – voluntary or otherwise – the time continues. So if a student works on a test for 15 minutes, then leaves and goes to work for 8 hours and then returns and completes the test in 45 minutes, the timer will show that it took 9 hours for the student to take the test. It is a misconception that the time stops on the test when the student comes out of the test. The benefit of using this feature though is the student could be kicked out of a test involuntarily, but can then go right back in and continue where he left off. With the test submission issues in Blackboard, this is something to definitely take advantage of.
  4. Randomize your questions and answers – If you use a set of questions, make sure you check to randomize the questions, so that everyone does not receive the questions in the same order. Even if you are randomly pulling questions from a large pool, there is a good chance that students will run into the same questions. If you at least randomize the answers, the order for multiple choice questions will at least be different (if you do though, remember the “none of the above” answer will need to be modified to something like “none of the other answers are correct.” Also, if you have several questions referring to a single image, make sure the image is included in each relevant question.
  5. Narrow Test Availability – When you are determining your start and end dates for a test, narrow the amount of time you give for the test to be taken, if at all possible, try to include at least one weekend day since many students work and/or have other classes. No more than 2-3 days should be adequate for all. You could even reduce it to one day or a certain time frame, but be sure to announce that on the first day of the semester, so arrangements can be made as necessary by the students.
  6. Do Not Reveal Answers – Set up the test so when a student completes an attempt, the score is the only thing shown. Once your classes, or all classes using the test, have completed the test, go back in and reveal whatever else you’d like to show them (correct answers, their answers, feedback, etc.).
  7. Use Exceptions – If you have students who require extra time, make it easy on yourself and set that up in the test options before you start a test. If you end up with a student who needs to take the test a second time, or on a date other than the dates you’ve specified, you can use these Availability Exceptions to allow it for a particular student or students without having to set up another version of the test that will confuse your gradebook and the rest of your class.
  8. Update Tests Regularly – Do not use the same tests each semester. There is no reason to believe students from one semester won’t share a test from another semester. Remove the effect this could have by regularly updating tests. Even if you don’t completely overhaul all of your questions, at least integrate some new questions and rework some of the old ones.
  9. Help Students Be Successful – There are several things you can do to help your students be successful when taking tests online. Following are some tips:
    • Encourage your students not to use Internet Explorer
    • Encourage your students to use a Wired Internet Connection
    • Tell your students not to double click and be patient
    • Tell your students not to use the Browser Refresh or Back buttons while taking a test
    • Tell your students not to use the Return/Enter key while taking the test except when typing an answer to an essay question
    • If giving essay questions, have the student type directly into the text box within the test rather than going into Word and copying and pasting into the test. Word brings in a lot of extra code that can cause problems within the test.
    • Advise your students to keep the window with the test active and not go to or open other windows.
    • Advise students to let the page load completely before starting to answer questions.
    • Advise students not to leave the exam until they have completed it. Even if Force Completion is turned off, time set for the exam will continue even if the exam is closed out.
    • Advise students when they finish an exam to click Submit only once.
  10. Grade by Question, not by Student – When the time comes to grade essay questions, take advantage of the option in the Grade Center at the top of the test column to Grade by Question.