Blackboard Collaborate Upgrade on Thursday, August 2, 2012

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Blackboard Collaborate will be upgraded to the latest version at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 2, 2012. Collaborate is a virtual learning environment integrated into Blackboard.

The newest version has some minor enhancements such as greatly improved noise cancellation features and the ability to better monitor which permissions each participant has within the Collaborate session.

This upgrade is not expected to cause any outage of Blackboard or Collaborate services.

For more information, contact Educational Technology at edtech@mst.edu.

Blackboard 9.1 Training Opportunities

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Educational Technology is offering several opportunities to learn more about Blackboard 9.1 in 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.

Blackboard Collaborate Training Opportunities

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Educational Technology is offering several opportunities to learn about Blackboard Collaborate in August (before Fall 2012). Collaborate is a virtual learning environment where students and instructors can interact online much as they do within a traditional classroom.

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

http://edtech.mst.edu/events/collaborate/

Each training opportunity will cover the following:

  • Uses (live class, record a class, virtual office hours)
  • Features (white board, application sharing, web tour, changing permissions, chat, polling)
  • Creating a new session
  • Accessing recorded sessions

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

Blackboard Maintenance on Sunday, July 15, 2012

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IT will be performing Blackboard maintenance on Sunday, July 15, 2012, starting at 12:00 a.m.

Blackboard will be unavailable for 4-6 hours between midnight and 6 a.m.

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 http://help.mst.edu.

Blackboard 9.1 is HERE!

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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:

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

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 http://help.mst.edu. 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!

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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:

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

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: http://edtech.mst.edu/support/blackboard9/archivecourse/

    • 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 http://edtechconnect.mst.edu/blackboard_91/ for more information.

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.

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!