Category Archives: 2016

November 2016

In This Issue:

  • FACULTY FOCUS: Michael Cavanagh, School of Communication
  • BLACKBOARD: The Mouse School Wheel and Other Test-Taking Tips & Respondus 4.0 Test Generator
  • ONEDRIVE FOR BUSINESS: Can I Share a File or Folder with Someone External to ECU?
  • IT ACCESSIBILITY: Training from
  • CLASSROOM TECHNOLOGY: Lecture Capture and Videoconferencing in Your Classroom


My distance education students need periodic confirmation that I am thinking about them and that they are on track to complete the course successfully.

Meaningful and Practical Communication in DE Teaching

Quite a few years ago, when I was still engaged in the practice of law, I remember going to the office one Saturday morning. While there, I ran into one of the partners working away at his desk. When I poked my head in just to say “hello,” he asked me what I was doing there on a Saturday. We both knew this was a joke—I was there working on a brief for him that we needed to file in federal court on the following Monday. But, it was his answer to my question that I’ve carried away with me all these years later. “What,” I asked him, “is a partner like you doing here on a Saturday”? (I thought only lowly associates like me had to work on the weekends.) He told me he liked to go through his files every so often on a Saturday and write a quick letter to his clients in those cases where nothing much seemed to be happening, just to let them know he was thinking about them and that he would let them know just as soon as anything about the status of their case changed. In other words, he was telling them he hadn’t forgotten about them and that they were important to him.

Similarly, my distance education students need periodic confirmation that I am thinking about them and that they are on track to complete the course successfully. In order to allow distance education students to adapt their often busy work lives with the demands of furthering their education online, I often like to post all of the work the students will have to do for the entire semester at the very start of class. My syllabus still has a weekly schedule, but if students want to, they can work ahead as far into the semester as they want. This allows the students to take command of their own schedules. The only weakness with this system of frontloading all of the work at the start of the semester is that I sometimes used to forget to talk to my class as a whole for short periods of time (I would provide grades and feedback to individual students, but sometimes neglect the bigger picture).

Now I do two things to keep my line of communication with my DE students open. First, I share a weekly Blackboard announcement which greets the students and reminds them of work due that week and also alerts them to bigger projects they should be thinking about that will be due in the future. Second, I typically respond to individual student questions by answering the question to the class as a whole. So, just like my old partner used to do on a given Saturday, I like letting my online students know that I am thinking about them and that they are important to me.


To Share with Students: The Mouse Scroll Wheel and Other Test-Taking Tips

When using a mouse with a scroll wheel, be careful with scrolling. Answers can be inadvertently changed when scrolling up and down on the test canvas. Double check your answers if you use a mouse with a scroll wheel.

Save your work often during the test using the Save button.

Do not click the Back button or the Refresh button on your browser. Instead, use the arrow keys within the test canvas to move forward or back. Using the Back button can bump you out of the exam prematurely.

Submit only once; do not close your browser or exit your test until you receive the confirmation that the test was successfully submitted.

Respondus 4.0 Test Generator

The Blackboard Team gets questions from time to time about creating tests in Blackboard, and we know the process can be time-consuming when you’re creating multiple tests from scratch. Respondus 4.0 is a time-saving tool. There is a slight learning curve. If you’re interested in using it before finals week, we recommend you download Respondus soon to become familiar with the process of creating a test to upload to your Blackboard course(s).
The vendor provides very good short videos on how to create and format test questions (with choices for question types), use publisher test banks, and publish/integrate your tests with your Blackboard courses.

The ITCS Download Center has the link and password available for you to add Respondus 4.0 Test Generator on your computer. Respondus 4.0 is a Windows program only, with no Mac version at this time. For more information, please send a note to


Can I share a file or folder with someone external to ECU?

Yes, you can share via the Email Invitation option. The recipient must have a Microsoft account in order to access the content. Anyone can create a Microsoft Account. The external person you have shared with will need to create a Microsoft account and use the username you shared the file with such as You can stop sharing at any time.



Accessibility Training from

Phillip White, IT Accessibility Coordinator, has created a playlist of videos offered by, which include seven courses or section of courses that provide training on creating accessible course documents, web pages and e-learning content.

  1. Creating Accessible PDFs with Acrobat DC
  2. Creating Accessible Microsoft Office Documents
  3. Web Accessibility Principles
  4. Web Accessibility Testing
  5. Accessibility Options in Captivate
  6. Improving SEO Using Accessibility Techniques
  7. Dragon Naturally Speaking Essential Training

Watch the Playlist:


Lecture Capture and Videoconferencing in Your Classroom

Lecture Capture is an excellent supplemental resource for you and your students. It offers the ability to record and share lectures with your students or colleagues. One of our most popular tools for lecture capture is Mediasite. Mediasite can be used to provide students access to lectures given throughout the semester, which provides an on-demand resource for review and test preparation.


Videoconferencing is becoming a popular method to bring students and guest lecturers into the classroom, who otherwise could not be physically present. It enables participants to see everyone’s facial expressions and body language. It also allows participants to share files and data, making it easy to collaborate, thus enhancing synchronous learning.


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