Monthly Archives: April 2013

Blackboard: Assessment Creation Best Practices and Update Reminder

April 29, 2013

ECU Faculty: As we approach the end of the semester and final exams, it’s the perfect time to share Assessment Creation Best Practices and Information. This blog post reviews a list of tutorials and best practices for both building and taking Blackboard exams. If you ever experience any issues with students taking your Blackboard exams, please report these problems to the Help Desk ( as soon as possible. When reporting these issues please include the following information.

• Course ID
• Test location and name
• Student email ID
• Symptoms (behavior/details, browser, PC or Mac)

Important Reminder: The planned downtime for the Blackboard update will start at 1 pm on May 11th (grades due at 12 noon). During this downtime period you will not have any access to the ECU Blackboard system. Please consider getting your Summer 1 and Full Term Blackboard sites ready before this downtime starts.

Beginning May 13th, you will have access to new features in Blackboard, which will make your Blackboard experience that much better. We invite you to visit the Blackboard 9 Service Pack 9 blog post to learn more about this update and the new features.
As always, if you have any questions please call or email Matt Long, Cindy Bowers, or Allen Dennis. / 328-9074 / 328-9167 / 328-2841

New Features Coming Soon…Blackboard, SabaMeeting, and TurningPoint

April 11, 2013

This is the time of the year when we upgrade our learning platforms to provide new functionality for faculty and students.  The time period in between spring and summer semesters is the optimal time for us to release new features and updates that will enhance your teaching and learning environment. In May, you can expect to see new features in Blackboard, SabaMeeting (formerly Centra) and TurningPoint.

 Blackboard: May 11th

 Beginning May 13th, you will have access to new features in Blackboard, which will make your Blackboard experience that much better. We invite you to visit the Blackboard 9 Service Pack 9 blog post to learn more about the new features.

 New Feature Summary:

 Course to Course Navigation – You will be able to quickly jump back and forth between your courses.

  • Auto Regrading – Have you ever found an error in a test (after students took it) and you had to manually change each student’s grade? With “Auto Regrading” you can correct the error in your test, and Blackboard automatically gives those extra points to each user who requires a grade change.
  • Copy and Paste from WORD option – How many times have you heard us say that copying/pasting from Word can cause problems? Another new feature is a cleanup tool; it strips html code that comes from pasting from a Microsoft Office document.
  • Course Structures – choose between a wide variety of pre-built course structures.  These course structures have a predefined navigation setup, such as menu tool links and content area. They “add” to your course and never overwrite anything (e.g. a menu item you created).

 **Please note that planned downtime for Blackboard will start at 1 pm on May 11th (after grades are due). You will receive notification when the Blackboard update is complete.  Please contact us at if you have any questions.

SabaMeeting (Centra) Upgrade: May 25th  

 We are upgrading from SabaCentra 7.7.2 to SabaMeeting 8.1.1 during first summer session. This upgrade will introduce several new product changes and enhancements. One of the biggest changes that users will see is the change in the name of the program. Saba has changed the name of their web conferencing program from SabaCentra (which we’ve always just called Centra) to SabaMeeting. After this upgrade, the Resource Center will be located at, the login page will be located at: and our e-mail address will change to

 Another of the big changes in this release is that of a fully functional browser client. Saba is continuing movement from a client that has to be downloaded and installed to a version that runs within any browser. With this release, the browser client will have all of the capabilities of the desktop client and more because the browser client is where Saba will now be placing all of their new features. It’s important to note, that even after the summer 2013 upgrade, the desktop client that everyone is familiar with using will still be available for everyone to use alongside the browser client, so you will have plenty of time to get comfortable with the browser client.

 Just a few of the additional changes and enhancements include:

  • Ability for ECU faculty/staff to create their own meetings
  • Android client release
  • Option to make one primary live video large
  • As well as several more…For a full list of product changes and enhancements with descriptions of each, please visit:

This upgrade is planned for Memorial Day weekend (May 25th through the 27th).  Please contact us at if you have any questions.

TurningPoint Upgrade: May 11th

We will be upgrading the TurningPoint Blackboard building block in May, which will allow you to begin using TurningPoint 5 software with Blackboard. TurningPoint 5 combines polling in PowerPoint, polling in any application, Self-Paced Polling and Results Manager all into one single program. Once we upgrade the TurningPoint building block, you must upgrade to version 5 of the software or you will no longer be able to upload clickers data into Blackboard.

The TurningPoint 5 software can be downloaded for free at Turning Technologies in the downloads area of the website. You are encouraged to download the “PC – No Install Version” or the “Mac – No Install Version” and install it directly onto your Piratedrive. By doing so, your program settings and clickers data will follow you to any computer that you use on campus, regardless of whether it is a computer in your classroom or the computer in your office. If you plan to use TurningPoint for Power Point to embed polling in your Power Point slides, you will also need to install and run TurningPoint 5 on your desktop. **Please note: student clickers data should only be stored on Piratedrive or a secure encrypted USB flash drive. Visit the ITCS Data Encryption page in the ITCS Service Catalog to learn more.

If you upload clickers data to Blackboard, we recommend that you go ahead and give the new version a try. Right away you will see the new enhancements and simplified interface changes between version 4 and version 5. The next training session will be offered on April 25th from 10:00 am to 11:30 am in Laupus Library Room 2502 G (West Campus). To sign up, just login to and locate the training titled “New TurningPoint 5 Clickers Training”.

 Please contact us at if you have any questions.


Sloan-C Emerging Technologies for Online Learning: Presentations this Week

April 8, 2013

 ECU Faculty and Staff: You’re invited to attend the Sloan-C 6th Annual International Symposium/Emerging Technologies for Online Learning virtual conference this week.  Attend one or all of the webcasts.  Dates and times are listed below and you can register on the ECU Training Calendar.

 Sloan-C 6th Annual International Symposium
Emerging Technologies for Online Learning
April 9-11, 2013
Visit the conference website for a description of each presentation.

 A conference devoted to the emerging and innovative uses of technology designed to improve teaching and learning online

April 9, 2013 Location: Austin 309
4:30 pm
50 minutes
MOOCs: Monetization Models and Pedagogy as Part of a State University’s Strategic Vision
Catheryn Cheal (San Jose State University, USA) 


April 10, 2013 Location: Austin 308 
11:30 am 70 Minutes
Plenary Session
Seven Tales of Learning Online with Emerging TechnologiesLead Presenter: George Veletsianos (University of Texas at Austin, US)
1:10 pm 50 Minutes The Assessment and Development of Student and Faculty Readiness for Online InstructionLead Presenter: Lynda Randall (California State University, Fullerton, USA)JoAnn Carter-Wells (CSU Fullerton, USA) 


April 11, 2013 Location: Joyner East 204 
11:00 am 60 Minutes Plenary Session  


The Art of Innovation
Lead Presenter: Tony Wan (EdSurge, US) – Panel Moderator
Carl Malartre (Buzzmath, USA)
Lida Hasbrouck (Gingkotree, USA
)Nick Sedlet (HireArt, USA)
Beth Davis (PAR Framework, USA
)Victor Karkar (scrible, USA)
Dr. Marianne M. Wolf (ValuePulse, USA) 
12:10 pm Unpacking the Impact of High-Touch Online Instruction: Following the Data Trail to Improved Student OutcomesLead Presenter: Catherine Honig (National Louis University, USA) 
1:10 pm 50 Minutes Interactive Dynamic Teaching with Web Conferencing … not as hard as you thought!Lead Presenter: Joshua Geller (Groopex, USA) 
2:20 pm 50 Minutes Four Big Ideas for What’s Next in Learning TechnologyLead Presenter: Kyle Bowen (Purdue University, USA)

Think-In: Featuring poster presentations and concurrent sessions

Think-In 2013
Wednesday, April 3rd
9:00 am to 12:00 pm
Joyner Library 

  • Do you have just a few minutes to visit the Think-In?  Stop by and visit the poster area featuring 28 poster sessions by faculty, staff, and learning platform vendors.
  • Do you have 40 minutes to listen to one of our concurrent sessions?  Enjoy one or more concurrent sessions presented by faculty, staff and learning platform vendors.
  • Have more than an hour, then you will also have time for snacks and conversation too!

Don’t miss this once-a-year opportunity to learn about the innovative, creative and effective ways ECU faculty are integrating technology to support student learning.  Join us to discover new ideas to enhance your classroom, and enrich your teaching experience.    

Visit the Think-In 2013 website for the complete list of presentations and Register for the event. We’ll have great prizes and refreshments too

 We look forward to seeing you on April 3rd!

 Questions about Think-In 2013? Contact Ginny Sconiers at