Category Archives: Blackboard 9

LDB Essentials for Instructors

Fall 2016

For Instructors: Respondus LockDown Browser (LDB) Essentials 

LockDown Browser (LDB) is a product of Respondus, and is a secure browser designed to cut down on cheating when students are taking tests online. When using the browser (LDB), students cannot print screen, access email, search the web, open new tabs, etc. New to LDB as of Fall 2016, is a Help Center within LDB for students, with a system check tool, knowledge base, and an option to contact tech support. 

Please view this short video from Respondus to get an overview of LDB. Choose Overview next to the Blackboard logo to view the video. (Note: Any reference to Webcam Monitor when you are reviewing Respondus material can be ignored. We have not adopted the Webcam Monitor tool.)

As an instructor, you do not need to install anything. LDB is available in your course tools (Control Panel > Course Tools > Respondus LockDown Browser). Students download LDB to their desktops. Our computer labs also have LDB installed on the computers.

A blog post has been created for students re: LDB. The Install URL for students is always under the Blackboard Support tab at the top of their Blackboard landing page. Please share the blog post with your students if you plan to use LDB: LDB Info for Students

How to require Bb tests to be taken in LDB:

screenshot LDB

Once your tests have been added/deployed to a content area, you need to associate the tests with LDB, so access Respondus LDB in your course tools (Control Panel > Course Tools > Respondus LockDown Browser).

You’ll then be in the LDB dashboard. (Screenshot above)

  1. Choose Modify to require LDB for test-taking.
  2. You have the option to create a password to share with students, but it’s not necessary. (Not to be confused with the password info below, in #3)
  3. Important: LDB will auto-generate a scrambled password in your test options for each test to be taken with LDB. If you go back to the settings for any reason, do not remove that scrambled password in Test Options – ignore it because it is the lock in LockDown Browser. If you do need to make any change in Test Options, like a date change, go back to the LDB tool in Course Tools, and if you see a red “Fix It” message, just click Fix It, and the test will be active again.

The most common troubleshooting question from students: “I am trying to take an online test, and a box pops up and asks for a password.” The student is not accessing Blackboard through the LDB icon on the desktop. Remind the student to click the LDB icon on the desktop to get into Blackboard.

The most common troubleshooting question from instructors: “Students are not able to access my quiz to be taken with LDB and they mention an error message.” The instructor has gone into Test Options to make a change in settings, which breaks the link. The fix is to go back to the LDB tool under course tools, and if there is a “Fix It” message, simply click Fix It.

Questions? ecublackboard@ecu.edu

 

LDB Essentials and Help Center

Fall Semester 2016

Respondus LockDown Browser for Students

LockDown Browser (LDB) is a special browser for online test-taking, and it is also a building block in Blackboard. Some instructors require that online tests be taken using LDB as the browser. All other programs on your computer (email, YouTube, Facebook, etc.) need to be closed down for the install to continue (you will be prompted). If you plan to use computer labs on campus to take your exams, skip the download/install instructions. Campus lab computers have LDB installed.

LDB icon

  1. Download LDB to your desktop. Link for Download
  2. Look for the Respondus LockDown Browser icon on your desktop (screenshot left). Click, and log into Blackboard. Find your test, and Begin.
  3. Respondus now has a Help Center, if you run into any difficulties while taking an online test. See below.

Respondus recently added a “Help Center” button to the toolbar of LockDown Browser that lets students run a system check on their computer, networking environment, and the Learning Management System (Blackboard) itself. The data is presented in a simple format that allows students to solve basic problems, such as a computer with poor Internet connectivity.

HELP TAB

It is easy for students to send this technical information to our ECU help desk, Blackboard Support email inbox, or open a ticket directly with Respondus. Providing the System Check information speeds up the troubleshooting process. There is also a student-centric knowledge base within LockDown Browser.

  • Any reference to the Respondus Web Monitor can be ignored. We have not adopted that product.
  • Always communicate with your instructor if you run into any difficulties taking your test in LDB.
  • (Do another install at the beginning of each semester – no need for uninstalling.)
  • Submit a Help Ticket to the Respondus LockDown Browser queue with any issues not solved in the LDB Help Center.
  • For general questions, send an email to: ecublackboard@ecu.edu

Weighted Column Does Not Display Properly

Scenario: Your Weighted Total Column has empty boxes where you normally see categories and columns.

The Fix: This is nearly always remedied by clearing your browser’s cache/history. And it usually happens in Firefox.

To clear your cache in Firefox or Google Chrome:   Shift+Ctrl+Delete, leave all boxes marked that are checked. For Firefox > Click “Clear Now.” For Google Chrome > Click “Clear Browsing Data.”

Or, change from Firefox to Google Chrome browser and look at your Weighted column again. You don’t have to continue working in Blackboard with Chrome if you don’t want; the display issue is temporary. (It is common to switch back and forth between browsers if something does not display correctly in Blackboard.)

Send us a note with questions: ecublackboard@ecu.edu

Fall Semester 2016 Things to Do

Instructors: Prepping for FALL 2016 Semester

question mark

 

 

The Top 10 Most Frequently Asked Questions from Instructors

  1. How do I make my course available to students?
    • Control Panel > Customization > Properties > Set Availability > Yes
    • We (Bb Support) do not automatically make your courses available. It is up to the instructor to make the courses available to students.
  2. How do I log into Blackboard? I get a message that my username or password is incorrect.
    • Please submit a help ticket asking for assistance, and include your Banner number and your username.
  3. How do I copy my course from one semester to the next? Go here.
  4. How do I merge (or collapse) two or more course sections? Go here.
  5. How do I add another instructor or a TA to the course?
    • Control Panel > Users and Groups > User > Find User to Enroll > Browse (type username only in the box), click Go > when you see the username, click the box and then Submit.
    • If that does not work, please send an email to ecublackboard@ecu.edu with the username and role (TA or instructor). The Blackboard team will add your TA or instructor.
  6. Does a browser change really make a difference with Blackboard?
    • Yes it does. Firefox and Google Chrome are still favorite browsers for Blackboard, even for the Mac. It’s a common suggestion from the Blackboard team, “Please try another browser.”
    • We’ve also found that clearing the browser’s cache/history every couple of weeks is useful when there are display issues (such as in the gradebook). It just takes a few seconds to clear your cache/history. Instructions are here.
  7. I don’t see SafeAssign as an Assessment. Where is it?
    • If you notice the SafeAssign green-check icon is missing in your courses, there is nothing wrong. SafeAssign is a submission option when creating an actual assignment, and the green icon is a thing of the past. The assignment icon is the same for a SafeAssignment and regular Assignment. (That happened a year ago, after the May 2015 upgrade.)
  8. Drops & Adds – How does that work?
    • We update the Blackboard feeds frequently at the beginning of the semester, syncing data with Banner multiple times per day. The drops and adds are updated from Banner – you do not need to remove or add students.
    • If you use Groups in your courses, consider waiting to add groups until you’re pretty sure your roster is stable and there won’t be many more drops and adds.
  9. What kind of Blackboard training do you offer instructors?
    • To search for Blackboard training sessions, please log into ECU’s Cornerstone Portal for training.
    • If you do not see what you need, please contact one of us for a desk-side or small group departmental training session.
    • Blackboard has a YouTube channel for instructors where you will find short instructional videos for the different tools and features in Blackboard: Go here.
  10. Do I need to do anything special at the beginning of the semester if I use Tegrity or Mediasite in my courses? Yes.

As of May 2016, ECU uses TeamDynamix for our help ticketing system, so for any technology-related questions, please submit a help ticket or call the Help Desk @ 252-328-9866.

 

Blackboard Support Team

Introducing, QWICKLY

What is Qwickly?

Qwickly is a user-centric productivity platform for Blackboard.  Qwickly allows faculty to make courses available, send emails, post announcements, and post content to multiple courses at once. We are confident that this will be a huge time saver for those teaching many courses or multiple sections of the same course.

Qwickly was designed to dramatically simplify the workflow of common tasks. One great example is the Make Course Available Tool. Consider the current workflow to make a course available in Blackboard.  Go into each course, select the Properties area in the Control Panel, change the value of Make Course Available to Yes, and then submit the form. We’ve taken this repetitive task (which needs to be done for every course) and created a tool that lets the user complete the task in just a single click.

Blackboard Avatar Workaround


The avatar feature in Bb has been turned off since the May upgrade because the latest version of the tool could potentially share ECU user IDs/email addresses to Bb 3rd party vendors. We don’t want that sharing feature, so we turned it off.  The workaround below allows faculty and students to add avatars BUT does have some limitations.

First off, faculty and students cannot add miscellaneous information about themselves in the profile area.  Secondly, the avatar rollover feature will not work.  We realize this is not a perfect solution, but we are hoping it is a reasonable workaround until the Profile tool is updated in September. We will keep you updated. In the meantime…

Here is how to add an avatar to your ECU Blackboard profile.

1 – Open the Navigation Pane by clicking the Gray icon at the top. Then click the SETTINGS option.

settings

2 –  Click Personal Information.Bb_personalinfo3 – Click Personalize My Settingspersonalize

4 – Browse and choose your Avatar.  You will need to logout and log back into Bb to see it.

browser to avatar

Example of Avatar in the discussion boards area.
bb_avatar_db

Notifications

6/10/16

The Notifications feature in the Global Navigation area of the Blackboard landing page is currently not working for students in Blackboard. Until the issue is resolved, students will need to go directly to their Blackboard courses to check for new announcements, gradebook updates, and new assignments. If you have questions or need assistance, please submit a Blackboard Service Request.

5/9/16 – 5/11/16 Blackboard Planned Maintenance

You have been redirected to this page because Blackboard is in the middle of a planned downtime.  

 

New Features:

Announcement Date Restriction Default – When creating an announcement, “Not Date Restricted” is now selected by default.

Escaping Special Characters – When a user uploads a file to Learn and the filename contains special characters (such as / \ : ? * ” < > | ), the system replaces the special character with an underscore ( _ ).

Reply-to Header – This release fixes an issue with email sent from Learn. Some email clients do not use the reply-to header of emails sent by BbLearn to populate the “To:” field when the user replies to an email. As a result, some students were confused when they received email from do-not-reply@<bblearn_domain> instead of their instructor’s email address.

Browser Support – Learn 9.1 now supports the Microsoft Edge browser. Some new browser releases no longer support NPAPI plugins. Without these plugins, some Learn features may not render correctly. More on browser support

HTML5 Support – The Content Editor now supports HTML5 Audio and Video playback in Chrome and Edge browsers.

Updates to Current Features

Discussion Threads  – Users can navigate from thread to thread without having to return to the main Discussions page. More info here.

Accessibility Updates

Discussion Boards – Forum descriptions are read on the Create Thread page. This improves accessibility for users with screen reader technologies. More info here.

Assessments – When creating a hot spot question, an Image Alternate text box is now available. This improves accessibility for users. More info here.

Content Editor – The default heading size for all of the embedded headings has been increased so they are properly read in both the view and edit state in the Content Editor. More info here.

 

Course Structure Tool in Blackboard

See our blog post for the upcoming Blackboard updates (May 9-11).

Course Structure Tool in Blackboard

We’ve created some sample courses using the Course Structure tool in Blackboard. If you’re new to Blackboard or open to changing your course structure to give your course a facelift or new design, give this tool some consideration. You can access the sample courses as a guest, by clicking the link(s) below. You must be logged into Blackboard first, before you access the sample course. Simply open a new tab or window, log into Blackboard, then come back to this page and click the link(s) to view the sample course(s).

C O U R S E            Course Structure

Selecting a Course Structure:
Your Control Panel is where you will find the Course Structure Tool. Customization > Teaching Style. Also, please review this Course Structures on how to get started, and what you should know about Course Structures. Take a look at Blackboard’s Course Structure Help Page for an expanded description of course structures.

Following are very brief descriptions of the course structures used in the sample courses above:

CASE STUDY – focus on activity

Use the case study approach to engage students in critical thinking for real-world situations.

MODULE – focus on content

A module is an independent unit or lesson. Modules are usually self-contained and students can access them in any order, making them suitable for self-paced courses.

WEEKLY – focus on time

Organizing content by time can help students stay on track. You can make folders for future weeks unavailable until they are needed to keep students focused.

TRADITIONAL – focus on content

The traditional course structure organizes the online environment by content type or function. For example, there are course areas for assignments, tests, and your content.

SCIENCE-FOCUSED – focus on content

You can use the science-focused course structure to present information and lab materials to students and provide areas for reflection and collaboration.

GUIDED DISCUSSION – focus on communication

Guided discussion is an active learning technique that encourages students to reflect on their own experiences, explore alternative ways of thinking, connect to a topic, and improve analytical skills.

TOPIC – focus on content

Use the topic-based course structure to organize your course in self-contained segments. (This course has some information on the flipped classroom, but does not have the canned content from Blackboard.)

Notifications Issue

STUDENTS: There is an issue with the Notifications feature in the Global Navigation area of the Blackboard landing page (top right of screen once logged into Blackboard). Blackboard will be unavailable from 2:00 am to 3:00 am on Wednesday, April 27th for technicians to make critical updates to resolve this issue.

Issue: The student may see a little red box with a number. When that number is clicked, the student expects to see notifications for all Blackboard courses. Instead, no notifications will appear. Please go directly to your course to check for new announcements, gradebook updates, new assignments, etc.

Again, the issue will be resolved during a downtime, April 27th, from 2:00am to 3:00am.

Questions? ecublackboard@ecu.edu