Archives for May 2012

Blackboard 9.1 is HERE!

Blackboard 9.1 is HERE!

Instructors can now use the features of Blackboard 9.1 to enhance their current summer and fall 2012 courses, as well as courses in the future.

EdTech is still in the process of developing all of the documentation for using Bb 9.1 features. However, here are some useful links to get started:

Adding Assignments

Adding Content (many more options available)

Make Your Course Available (same as before)

Grade Center Tutorials (new options available here)

Training sessions for using Blackboard 9.1 still have open seats available. To sign up for a training session, visit:

If you need assistance with Blackboard 9.1, the BEST option is to first contact the Help Desk at 573-341-HELP or submit an online Help Request at That will ensure that someone from EdTech will see the ticket and get back to you as soon as possible.

Attempting to contact individual EdTech staff members is not recommended as they may not be immediately available to provide assistance

Blackboard 9.1 is coming to campus!

Blackboard 9.1 will be released to campus on Sunday, May 20, 2012, starting just after midnight.

Blackboard will be unavailable while services are transferred over from version 9.0 to 9.1. This process may take up to 12 hours, though the expected time to completion is considerably less than this.

EdTech is offering several training opportunities for instructors. To sign up, please visit the link below: 

More information about training can be found HERE.

Here is what campus customers can expect from the transition to Blackboard 9.1:

  • All existing Blackboard courses will be transferred over as is. This includes both Summer 2012 and Fall 2012 semester courses as well as the current Spring semester courses and any courses from previous semesters.
    • Instructors who would like to export/archive a course for future use are encouraged to review the process for exporting/archiving courses:

    • NOTE: Importing a course from Blackboard 9.0 into 9.1 may cause some issues as features that exist in the 9.0 course may not be supported in 9.1. This happened with some courses that were transferred from Blackboard 8 to 9 as well.
  • A few Blackboard features will be going away for good due to changes in the system. This includes:
    • Wimba Live Classroom will be replaced by Blackboard Collaborate, but other Wimba tools (Voice Podcaster, Voice Email, Voice Board, etc.) will still be available. Blackboard purchased Elluminate (which powers Collaborate) and Wimba recently, so elements from both toolsets are incorporated into Blackboard’s Learn platform.
    • Learning Objects blogs and wikis will no longer be available. Instead, Blackboard has its own built-in blog and wiki system that are more compatible with the Grade Center. Instructors can more easily track usage of the blog and wiki entries and grade contributions quicker and easier from within the blog or wiki itself.
      • Content from existing blogs and wikis can be archived from the existing blog or wiki. Click HERE to see how to export a blog. Click HERE to see how to export a wiki (they are very similar processes).
  • New features are being introduced. This includes:
    • Grading rubrics for more consistent rating of highly subjective topics (e.g. essay questions and discussion board posts).
    • Collaborate virtual classroom environment. It’s very similar to Wimba Live Classroom in most respects with video web cam conferencing, desktop application sharing, and web sharing enabled along with the standard text chat window. Collaborate sessions can be archived for later review or converted into a downloadable format (e.g. *.MP4).
    • “Mashups” of content can be imported directly from YouTube, Flickr, and Slideshare. An improved content management system allows for “single-sourcing” of content inside a Blackboard course.
    • Improved and more-powerful Grade Center options–including grade filtering and favorite smart views.
    • Powerful question-choosing and -organizing tools. Alas, creating questions remains challenging inside of Blackboard, but once they are created (perhaps using Respondus or Diploma and then imported into Blackboard), very flexible assessments can be created to address a wide-variety of student and instructor needs.

Information about these items and more will be discussed in more detail on the EdTech Connect blog going forward. Visit for more information.

Classroom Projector “BLACK SCREEN” Behavior Change

Between now and the start of the Summer Semester 2012 (Monday, June 4, 2012), Educational Technology will be changing the behavior of the BLACK SCREEN button on all AMX control panels in classrooms.

This behavioral change will cause projectors to automatically shut down if a projector is in the “Black Screen” state for more than 30 minutes.

Pressing BLACK SCREEN a second time–or pressing any other button on the control panel (PC / LAPTOP / DOC CAM / etc.)–will wake up the projector again. Each time BLACK SCREEN is pressed to show a blank screen (i.e. every other time it is pressed), the 30-minute timer will be restarted.

A postcard explaining the behavioral change will be available in every classroom that has been changed.

EdTech routinely finds projectors that have been left on in the “Black Screen” state. Although the projector appears to be “off”, the bulb is still on and is being used by the projector, even in a lower-powered state. Both bulb and projector (fans in particular) suffer from excessive wear and tear by being in the “Black Screen” mode for extended periods of time.

Here is how much EdTech and the University must spend on each projector and bulb (approximately):

Projector $1500
Bulb $400
Other $Power to run projector (varies)

Here are some other interesting facts about projectors:

  • The typical lifespan of a projector is between 2-4 years (about the same as a computer).
  • The typical bulb life is around 2500 “high” hours, where “high” refers to hours where the bulb is fully on projecting a non-black image.
  • When a projector is on BLACK SCREEN, it is consuming “low hours”, which do not count towards the “high hours”.
  • The replacement warning for a projector only shows when a projector has consumed most of its expected 2500 “high” hours.
    • Even when a projector is in “low” (BLACK SCREEN) state, it is consuming 97% of the energy required to run the projector in the “high” state! In other words, when a projector is in the “low” state, it is only 3% more energy efficient than a projector in the fully brightened state.
  • Projectors that spend a lot of time in the “low” state will eventually become much dimmer than projectors that spend a lot of time in the “high” state. This is because of the much higher wear-and-tear on the projector and bulb.
    • This is especially noticeable in rooms with multiple projectors. In many cases, one projector may display a very bright image–indicating a relatively new, fresh bulb–and the other projector(s) may display a very dim image–indicating a bulb at the end of its lifecycle.

It is in the best interests of the University, IT, and Educational Technology to conserve energy and bulb life where it can be saved. Every projector bulb that EdTech can save means more resources be devoted to obtaining and deploying other technology, such as document cameras and SMART podiums.