April 2013

April 19, 2013

ECU Faculty and Staff: The semester is coming to a close and summer session offers new features and enhancements to several of our learning platforms. We invite you to take a few minutes and catch up on the latest learning technology news.

  • ECU Technology Survey
  • Think-In 2013
  • New Features Coming Soon: Blackboard, SabaCentra and TurningPoint
  • 3D World of Second Life
  • Yammer at ECU

Time is running out — Respond to the ECU Technology Survey today!

 You should have received an e-mail asking you to respond to our ECU Technology Survey. Your feedback is very important to us, and we incorporate your use of technology and suggestions into our planning. If you haven’t yet responded to the survey, please take a few moments today to do so. Thank you for your time and feedback!

Think-In 2013

Think-In 2013 was a success!  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 our vendors that sponsored our event. This year’s presentation topics included collaboration technologies that enhance instruction, managing DE student expectations, enabling student centered learning, delivering short lecture ‘bytes’, and collaborating for retention and engagement, just to name a few.  We invite you to visit our Think-In 2013 website and click on the Presenters tab to access the webcast, concurrent session recordings and poster presentation files.  You will find a great variety of topics and information about how ECU faculty are integrating technology to support student learning.  Watch for announcements about Think-In 2014!

New Features Coming Soon…Blackboard, SabaMeeting, and TurningPoint

This is the time of 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

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. Feel free to 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 is the change in the name of the program from Saba Centra (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.

For a full list of product changes and enhancements with descriptions of each, please visit our SabaCentra Upgrade to SabaMeeting List of Changes and Enhancements.  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.

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 PowerPoint 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.

Learn about the 3D world of Second Life

Second Life is a user-created 3-dimensional environment with great scholastic potential for creating an immersive, collaborative learning environment. In Second Life, users can create and customize a virtual representative (avatar) to experience and explore the virtual world. Second Life provides a creative environment for social connection, instruction, meeting and learning among educators and learners from all across the world.

ITCS offers Second Life training classes to all faculty members who want to learn how to use the 3D virtual world in an instructional setting or individual training classes on specific skills. For those who have moved beyond basic skills in Second Life, ITCS personnel can show you how to take the next steps in creating an engaging learning space for your students.

To learn more about ECU’s presence in SL, visit: http://www.ecu.edu/ecusecondlife

Please contact Sharon Kibbe (collinss@ecu.edu) to find out how you can become part of the virtual learning community.


 On Saturday, May 18, 2013 from 1:00PM to 5:00PM EST, Yammer will be applying a major database software patch which may require approximately 4 hours of downtime. All precautions have been taken to ensure downtime will be as minimal as possible and no customer data will be lost. As always, we appreciate your patience! Please follow @YammerOps on Twitter or go to http://status.yammer.com (http://status.yammer.com) for details when it happens.

© 2013 ITCS at East Carolina University.  ECU Learning Technologies Digest is published by
Information Technology and Computing Services.