Archives for April 2012

Blackboard 9.1 Training Opportunities

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Educational Technology is offering several opportunities to learn more about Blackboard 9.1 in May (before Summer 2012) and August (before Fall 2012).

To sign up for a training opportunity, visit the link below:

http://edtech.mst.edu/events/blackboard9-1/

Each training opportunity will cover the following:

  • Basic functions of Blackboard 9.1 – A few functions have changed since Blackboard 9. This includes, but is not limited to:
    • Adding content (more features available)
    • Content management (single-sourcing now possible)
    • Syllabus tools
    • Learning Modules
    • And more…
  • Grade Center – Many of the Grade Center features remain unchanged from version 9, but many additional enhancements have been added.
    • “Needs Grading” to immediately see which assignments need attention.
    • “Quick” smart views for tests and assignments; additional smart views can be created for easy filtering.
    • Color code cells based on instructor-created criteria (e.g. grade thresholds).
    • Rubrics can be tied to assignments, blogs, wikis, and discussion forums for easy and consistent subjective grading. Rubrics can be made visible to students before or after they submit an assignment (or not at all).
  • Assessments – New test creation tools allow for much more flexibility in creating a test or quiz.
    • Create blocks and sets of questions, which can be randomly assigned to each student.
    • Pick questions out of a pool by a variety of criteria (or randomly assign questions from a pool).
    • Assign topics, levels of difficulty, and categories to question sets.

For more information, contact EdTech at edtech@mst.edu.

Alternative Assessments with EdTech on April 18

EdTech is hosting an eLearning Community of Practice event on Wednesday, April 18, in Norwood Hall Room 208, from 2 – 3:30 p.m. The focus of this event is using alternative assessment techniques and tools.

Summative and formative assessments are both important components to the learning process for both students and instructors. Summative assessments typically take place after the students have “learned” the material to gauge how well they actually learned the content (think standardized test for an example of summative assessment).

Formative assessments, by contrast, take place during the learning process, allowing students to practice the conceptual material while minimizing immediate accountability (formative assessments are often ungraded). Self- and peer-assessments are very effective types of formative assessments in the classroom.

A balanced implementation of summative and formative assessments will yield the greatest benefits for both students and instructors.

For more information about how formative and summative assessments might be useful to you, come to the eLearning Community of Practice on Wednesday, April 18, in Norwood Hall Room 208 from 2 – 3:30 p.m.!

(Snacks will be provided courtesy of EdTech)

Wimba, Blackboard Collaborate temporarily unavailable in classrooms and CLCs

Wimba and Blackboard Collaborate are temporarily unavailable in classrooms and CLCs due to a security issue identified and blocked by a vendor.

Information Technology technicians are investigating and will restore functionality on classroom and CLC computers as soon as possible.

Updates on this issue will be posted to itpress.mst.eduedtechconnect.mst.edu, and distributed to the Edumine group via email.

For further assistance, please call the IT Help Desk at 573-341-HELP (4357) or submit a ticket online at help.mst.edu

Blackboard is Changing! What Does it Mean for You?

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At the end of the semester, Blackboard will be upgraded to a new version (9.1). As a result, some of the features in Blackboard will be changing. The basic functions will remain the same, but implementation of those functions will work a little differently.

It is important that any instructor who uses the features below learn about the upcoming changes!

EdTech will be more than happy to provide assistance with using the changed features. Contact EdTech for more information and assistance.

Here are the features that will be changed:

  • Wimba Live Classroom – This feature is a virtual classroom environment. It is being replaced by Blackboard Collaborate, which has most of the same functionality. To learn more about Blackboard Collaborate, or participate in the current pilot program, contact EdTech.
    • The 1-800 number that was available for Wimba sessions will NO LONGER BE AVAILABLE. Students (and Instructors) who wish to add their voices in order to participate in a Collaborate session will need to purchase a webcam/microphone or a separate microphone. These are very cheap and easy to obtain either online (e.g. Amazon.com) or through a local retailer (e.g. Walmart, Best Buy, Radio Shack, etc.).
    • Other Wimba tools (Voice Authoring, Voice Board, Voice Email, Voice Presentation, Voice Podcaster) will still be available.
    • Blackboard purchased Wimba some time ago (along with Elluminate, which is the foundation for Collaborate), thus all of the tools provided by Wimba now belong to Blackboard. The best features of Wimba and Elluminate were combined into Collaborate. The other Wimba tools appear to have been left alone for the most part.
    • The functionality of the Voice tools hasn’t changed in the new Blackboard 9.1 environment.
  • Blogs and Wikis (Learning Objects plug-in) – In the current version of Blackboard (9.0), blog and wiki tools are provided by a third-party vendor plug-in (Learning Objects). In the new version of Blackboard (9.1), these functions will be provided by Blackboard’s built-in blog and wiki tools.
    • Blackboard also has a journal tool, which is similar to both a blog and a wiki. The journal tool is similar to a blog in that it can be configured to allow only one contributor (a student) and to be viewable only to the student and the instructor. Or it can be set to be an open journal visible to all students. Journals can also be collaborative (much like a wiki), allowing for multiple contributors. Groups can use the journal tool to record important information for various projects and assignments.
    • Blackboard’s built-in tools integrate directly into the Grade Center much better than Learning Objects’ tools, and are also compatible with other Blackboard features such as the grading rubrics.

EdTech will be providing more information about the transition to Blackboard 9.1 over the next several weeks, through the end of the semester. EdTech will also be offering opportunities to learn more about these and other features through on-campus workshops. Stay tuned for updates!