Archives for August 2010

Blackboard Course Combine Issues over Weekend

Last Friday (Aug 27), IT performed some updates on Blackboard. An unrelated follow-up process resulted in a misalignment between Blackboard’s student enrollments and the Registrar’s student enrollments. As a consequence, course combine requests were not properly handled, thus many courses were not showing up for numerous students and faculty.

IT was able to find and fix the problem that occurred.

If you believe your course is still not properly combined by tomorrow, Tuesday, August 31, then please contact the Help Desk at 573-341-HELP (4357) or online at

When you contact the Help Desk, please have the following information available:

  • Course identifier (course name, ID, or reference number) – if multiple courses are involved due to a course combine request, please have the information for each course
  • Instructor
  • When you LAST saw the problem

IT apologizes for any inconvenience we caused.

Blackboard Maintenance on August 27, 2010

Blackboard services will be undergoing maintenance on Friday, August 27, starting at 5:30 p.m.

Blackboard will be inaccessible for approximately 30 minutes to all faculty, students, and staff during the maintenance window.

Please call the Help Desk with questions about this or any other IT issue at 573-341-HELP (4357) or submit an online Help Request at

Questions and Answers on Blackboard 9 for Fall Semester 2010

Q: When I login to Blackboard it is slow and takes forever to load. Is there any way to make Blackboard load faster?

A: Yes. Turn off the “What’s New” module, located under the Course Catalog module. Simply click the “X” in the upper right corner of the module to turn it off.

More information about customizing the Blackboard Home tab can be found at:

Q: How do I make my course available?

A: Courses are unavailable by default. To make a course available, follow the link below:

Q: How do I add content?

A: There are several different ways to add content depending on what type of content you are adding. If you want to simply upload files, follow the link below:

If you want to upload an assignment that is tied to the Grade Center, follow this link:

Q: How do I combine courses?

A: Combining courses will merge student enrollments from one or more source courses into a single destination course. ONLY STUDENT ENROLLMENTS will be merged. Content will NOT be copied using the course combine tool (there is a Course Copy tool available in Blackboard for that function). The link below explains the process of initiating a course combine. It may take a day or two for the process to complete.

Q: How can I move information from last year’s course to my new course for this semester?

A: The quickest and easiest way to move content from one course to another is to use the Course Copy feature inside of Blackboard. This ONLY MOVES CONTENT. It does NOT copy over student enrollments.

Additional information about Blackboard 9 features can be found on our EdTech web site:

Please call the Help Desk with questions about this or any other IT issue at 573-341-HELP (4357) or submit an online Help Request at

Periodic Table Video — Fluorine

For your education — I found a link to a video on fluorine, the most reactive element in the entire periodic table. This stuff is extremely dangerous by itself, but it exists all around us bound up in molecules such as tin fluoride and sodium fluoride. Fluoride compounds are found in our toothpaste and water to enhance good dental hygiene, among other uses.

One of my friends is a chemical engineer. In his job, he’s handled any number of highly toxic, corrosive, and otherwise dangerous chemicals. Hydrofluoric acid is the one chemical he is actually afraid of.

This just one in a whole series of Periodic Table of Videos. Apparently the video below is actually an update to an earlier video. Fluorine is so difficult to handle in its native state that they had trouble getting the video they wanted. Fortunately they found a chemist who has considerable knowledge and experience in working with elemental fluorine.

Just to give you an idea of how dangerous fluorine is, check this out. And this, which discusses what happens when you mix the oxidizing power of oxygen with the reactive power of fluorine.

“eMail’s for old people” — Benoit College Mindset List

Zac March, director of UM’s eLearning Initiative, sent out a link to an article on how the class of 2014 thinks about technology. This article is based, in part, on the Beloit College Mindset List, published every year since 1998.

What I thought was most interesting about the initial article from was the conversation it stimulated among the eLearning folks (even more interesting was the conversation took place through email).

Several folks commented on just how old the class of 2014 made them feel based on their mindset (myself included–at 36 years old, I graduated high school right when these students were born).

And yet, the phenomenon of students regularly communicating with each other is actually very old. What we find difficult to grasp is the speed at which students are able to communicate with each other (basically real-time communication all the time). In centuries past, people thought nothing of sending dozens, maybe hundreds of letters a month to their friends and family. The correspondence among America’s founding fathers alone fills numerous thick books and they were also busy running their own business interests and farms (not to mention our country).

Our parents and grandparents were also not strangers to prolific letter writing. I can’t speak for anyone else, but both my mother and grandmother love writing letters–once they discovered email, nonstop communication ensued.

As far as the actual list goes, I do have a few bones to pick with the authors of the list.

  • “The males among them are likely to be a minority” — Maybe at another school, but not at Missouri S&T. However, I have seen other studies that are showing that female enrollment in colleges and universities is rising while male enrollment is dropping.
  • 6. Buffy has always been meeting her obligations to hunt down Lothos and the other blood-suckers at Hemery High. — This makes no sense (Buffy the Vampire Slayer hunted vampires at Sunnydale High, as anyone who actually watched the show would know). The authors of the list clearly need to do better research when referring to pop-culture icons.
  • 21. Woody Allen, whose heart has wanted what it wanted, has always been with Soon-Yi Previn. — Do college freshman actually know who Woody Allen is? Why would they even care who he “has always been with”?
  • 31. The first home computer they probably touched was an Apple II or Mac II; they are now in a museum. — This may be true for my generation, but PCs were rapidly coming into vogue in the early nineties when these students were born. Most of my classmates in college had a PC in their dorm room, not an Apple II or Mac. Again the authors display a lack of research on their part.
  • 53. J.R. Ewing has always been dead and gone. Hasn’t he?  — This was old news even when I was a child. Again, why would incoming freshman even care?

Although there are some points on the list that seem like they don’t make a whole lot of sense, most of the items are the “cultural touchstones” between my generation and the incoming generation. Things do change over time. Get used to it.

Wimba Tool Upgrade in Blackboard on Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wimba tools in Blackboard will experience a brief (5 minute) interruption between 5 and 6 p.m. today, August 19, 2010.

Wimba Voice and Classroom building blocks inside of Blackboard are being upgraded to the most recent version to resolve a browser incompatibility issue.

Wimba Voice and Classroom tools are used for virtual classroom experience and collaboration among students and instructors in a course.

More information on Wimba can be found at:

Please call the Help Desk with questions about this or any other IT issue at 573-341-HELP (4357) or submit an online Help Request at

Search Stories from Google

Apparently Google/YouTube has created a feature called “Search Stories” that allow you to create a short video based on your search terms. Julie Phelps, one of our Instructional Technologists, has created the following Search Story using terms related to Missouri S&T Educational Technology. Enjoy!

Top Ten Requirements for Good Teaching

The online journal Faculty Focus has a recent article on Good Teaching: Top 10 Requirements. Most of the points Dr. LeBlanc discusses involve strengthening the communication channels between students and instructors. Effective communication is key. But it also helps to be well-versed in the material that you are trying to teach.

Dr. LeBlanc points out that good teaching is about “doing your best to keep on top of your field, reading sources, inside
and outside of your areas of expertise, and being at the leading edge as
often as possible.” This is in addition to the other communication roles that a good teacher must fulfill.

Update (Angie Hammons)





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“Good teachers practice their craft not for the money or
because they have to, but because they truly enjoy it and because they want to.
Good teachers couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”


When you think about teaching, do you consider it a
craft?  Is it something you are excited about doing?  How do you know
if you are any good at it?  Do ratings give a clear picture?  The
article Good Teaching: The Top 10 Requirements takes a look at the craft
of teaching. 


Teaching for me has always been about impacting the lives of
students.  As I have moved into working with faculty and other
instructors, I don’t see that connection every day.  What I do see are
individuals who are excited about making a difference for students. 

Blackboard Services have been Restored

Blackboard services have been restored.

EdTech and IT apologize for any inconvenience caused by an unexpectedly long outage.

Please call the Help Desk with questions about this or any other IT issue at 573-341-HELP (4357) or submit an online Help Request at

Blackboard Currently Unavailable for Maintenance

Blackboard services are currently unavailable due to maintenance.

The maintenance is taking a little longer than originally expected.

Stay tuned for an update when services have been restored.

Please call the Help Desk with questions about this or any other IT issue at 573-341-HELP (4357) or submit an online Help Request at