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 ecublackboard@ecu.edu 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 http://www.ecu.edu/sabameeting/, the login page will be located at: https://sabameeting.ecu.edu/ and our e-mail address will change to sabameeting@ecu.edu.

 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: http://www.ecu.edu/sabameeting/upgrade2013.cfm.

This upgrade is planned for Memorial Day weekend (May 25th through the 27th).  Please contact us at centra@ecu.edu 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 https://training.ecu.edu/ and locate the training titled “New TurningPoint 5 Clickers Training”.

 Please contact us at clickers@ecu.edu if you have any questions.