April 2014

ECU Faculty and Staff:  We know this is a busy time of year with end-of-the-semester responsibilities, deadlines, and all sorts of happenings, so we’ve selected three top items to share with you.

  • Summer Updates for Blackboard, Mediasite, SabaMeeting and Tegrity
  • Think-In 2014
  • Online Instructional Tools
Technology for Thought

New Learning Platform Features Coming Soon…Summer Updates

Blackboard Refresh

On May 12th, Blackboard will receive some updates and feature enhancements. Blackboard will be down for a couple of days during the updates, so we encourage instructors to get a head start on building summer courses.

We know there will be some well-received enhancements:

  • Inline grading, which will allow you to add annotations to papers without having to download all documents, track changes, and send each document back individually. It will be a real timesaver, plus your students can see the comments and markups from their gradebooks and even print the annotated document.
  • Group Management tool, where you have a bird’s eye view of all groups, who is in each group, and have the capability to add/delete users to/from groups from that same page.
  • We know Test Exceptions will be heavily used. Many instructors want to be able to allow a student extra time on an exam or allow an extra attempt on another date. As of summer semester, that will be possible!
  • The new Global Navigation area will give instructors a quick view of what has been posted (in discussion forums, blogs, journals, wikis) in all classes, and instructors can even grade or reply to a post from that page. Of course, customization is possible to decide what should be seen upon login.
  • A favorite tool of the Blackboard Team is the new Calendar. The calendar can show assignment due dates from one course, all courses (instructor’s choice), and personal calendar items (only viewable by the instructor). Color coding of each course/section adds a great visual display to the calendar area. As well, this calendar can be exported to Outlook.

You’ll find more information about the upcoming “Blackboard Refresh” on our Blackboard Blog. *Please note the planned downtime is scheduled for May 12-14, 2014. 

Mediasite Lecture Capture

The May update will introduce My Mediasite desktop capture and personal media management.  My Mediasite gives users the ability to record, upload, manage and publish 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 supplemental material, assignment instructions, exam review and more – all from your desktop.  You call also take advantage of the Mediasite Blackboard Building Block and integrate your video content into any content area within Blackboard.

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

SabaMeeting Web Conferencing

The summer SabaMeeting update will bring the following new features and enhancements.

  • The Desktop interface (PC and Mac) will be fully upgraded with all of the features released last summer in the Browser interface.
  • Added support for remote USB presentation clickers to advance PowerPoint slides.
  • Removal of the option to select how a PowerPoint presentation is converted. All presentations will now be converted to .jpg.
  • Ability to pause, fast forward, rewind, or adjust the volume of a YouTube video played during an event.
  • Full support for Office 2013 and Windows 8/8.1

Once this upgrade is complete, we recommend that everyone use the Desktop interface to login to SabaMeeting events and only use the Java based browser interface as a backup option to get into an event. This means that after the upgrade, we recommend that you click on “Lead”, “Present” or “Launch on Desktop” to access your events. You will need to install a small SabaMeeting program on your computer the first time that you join an event after the upgrade; however, as long as you have permission to install programs on your computer, this installation should occur automatically. Also, the new version of the SabaMeeting Desktop interface will have the look, feel, and features of the current SabaMeeting browser Interface that was upgraded last summer. This interface looks much different than the traditional Centra desktop interface so if you have not yet oriented yourself to the browser interface, we encourage you to log into the browser interface over the next few weeks before the update. * Please note the planned downtime is scheduled for May 9th from midnight until 8:00 am.

Tegrity Lecture Capture

Tegrity’s 2014 Summer Release is full of great new features and functionality.

  • Recording tags are finally here; instructors and students can define and assign custom tags to recordings to help organize and group recordings in a course.
  • Variable speed playback and annotations for the Mac will give the Mac recorder the ability to change the playback speed rate and annotate over the screen and over whiteboard slides.
  • Instructors will also be able to copy recordings to several courses at the same time through the new multiple copy feature.

Visit the Tegrity blog to learn more about lecture capture.

Think-In 2014

The ninth annual Think-In in March featured flipped classrooms, wikis, student engagement, desktop recorders, course (re)design, MOOCs, 3D printing, and much more.  A special Thank You to all of the faculty and staff that presented this year, to Joyner Library staff for providing a great venue, and to the vendors that sponsored this year’s event.  In case you missed this year’s event or would like to access the poster presentation files or panel discussions, visit the Think-In 2014 website.  Watch for announcements about Think-In 2015!

Online Instructional Tools

A myriad of educational tools are available to administer and collect assessments, capture and store files, provide innovative presentation methods and collaborate with students. Examples of these tools include publisher and portfolio tools that are often an entire learning management system similar to Blackboard. As you consider the appropriate tools and technologies to meet your respective course objectives, we recommend you visit the Supported Software website for a list of ECU-supported software and Learning Technologies. In addition, contact distributed IT support in your college for the availability of discipline-specific software.

If you have determined there is not an existing university-supported tool to meet your instructional needs, and you are considering implementing an online (e.g., cloud based) solution, you need to be aware that any data hosted external to ECU, or in the “cloud,” that is not purchased or approved by the university must follow a process, visit the Online Tools Guide provided by the Office of the Registrar, Department of Materials Management, Department for Disability Support Services, ITCS, and the Office of University Counsel.