Blackboard Seminar Series – Rubrics: Friday, September 16, 2011

Educational Technology (EdTech) is hosting a Blackboard Seminar Series event at noon on Friday, September 16, 2011 in Centennial 103.

The focus of the discussion will be RUBRICS, an invaluable tool in grading highly subjective assignments such as discussion boards and presentations.

Why should rubrics be used? How can they be used effectively? Julie Phelps, Instructional Technologist for Educational Technology, will guide the discussion towards answers to these questions.

All instructors are welcome to attend.

All attendees are welcome to bring a brown-bag lunch. EdTech will provide water, dessert, and some other snacks.

For more information about Blackboard Seminar Series events, please contact EdTech.

For more information about Blackboard, visit:

FLC — Using TurningKey for Testing

When: Friday, September 9, 2011 at noon

Where: Centennial Hall 104

Presenter: Dr. Dan Reardon, Assistant Professor of English and Technical Communication

Sponsored by:
CERTI and Educational Technology

Dessert and drinks provided — feel free to bring your own lunch.

Instructors will discover how to use TurningKey software in conjunction with clickers to give paper-based, self-paced tests that can be graded instantly, showing the instructor individual results for each student. Reports can easily be generated for valuable feedback, assisting instructors in aligning course and unit objectives with evaluation and assessment procedures.

Blackboard Seminar Series on Friday, April 15, 2011

EdTech is hosting a Blackboard Seminar Series on Friday, April 15, at Noon in Centennial Hall Room 103.

This session will focus on how to effectively use assessment tools inside (and outside) of Blackboard.

Topics will include:

  • Assignment tools – students can submit assignments that show up in the Grade Center for easy download and feedback
  • Adaptive Release – determine which students are able to view and complete assignments, or determine grading criteria for which assignments are available.
  • Test options – see which options are available for deploying a test, such as multiple attempts, date and time restrictions, and more.
  • Respondus – a test creation tool compatible with Blackboard that facilitates the process of creating tests and pools. It is also compatible with Microsoft Word for easy import into Blackboard.

This will be a brown-bag lunch event, with beverages provided courtesy of EdTech.

For more information, contact Educational Technology at or 341-4131.

Faculty Learning Community: Online Homework

Introduced by Dr. Harvest Collier, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies

Organized by Diane Hagni, Center for Educational Research and Teaching Innovation (CERTI)

Notes compiled by Barb Wilkins, Educational Technology

Edited as needed by Malcolm Hays, Educational Technology (EdTech)

Dr. Collier asked everyone in the room to introduce themselves and give a little bit of info about why they are at the Faculty Learning Community (FLC). Present are a mix of people, some who have tried online HW and some who have not, some have tried in the past and not met success while others have never tried. Still others have tried and had success.

First part of presentation is given by Peris Carr, using Mastery Chemistry for Chem 1.  They picked this solution because the TAs were not grading fairly. Mastery is “fair”, they always grade the same way. It is not a Missouri S&T system, but is run by Pearson Education.  Students must pay additionally for it and register for it.

When you pick a book, you get a kit. Decision to do Mastering Chem is partly because of the book, but one reason they are using a particular book is because of the Mastering Chemistry.  The students do need to purchase a new book to get the program included.  A new book comes with access to online HW.  Or they have the option to buy a used book, but then they have to purchase online access, which costs more than online access. The program comes with an eBook also. Access is currently good for 2 years, if they have to repeat the course, they do not have to purchase a new access. If they take chem 3, still have access. If the student leaves and comes back and needs more access, they will often extend more than 2 years if they needed.

Kellie Grasman:  Wiley will no longer have access to online book unless they go through a manual process to get continued access.
Student in Mastering Chemistry program must make sure name and email matches files at Missouri S&T – so if Robert Smith goes by Bob and signs up in Mastering with Bob, they need to change to how they are registered in Mastering.

Instructor gives course ID and students join the course. When they log into Mastering, they see what is due soon.  Becomes red when short time til due
Chem 1 – homework is due 3rd day after each lecture. It allows students to rework all the problems for practice. Students are allowed to do each problem twice for points. If they solve problem and it is wrong, they are given feedback and told it is wrong. They can then get help or do it again as long as it is not due yet, they can get points. Multiple settings faculty can choose.
Grading is automatic. Students type an answer and submit.  Students can review what they typed in before. The online Gradebook shows color coding–red is not done. Green bar shows progress. Grades from Mastering Chemistry can be exported as an Excel spreadsheet, which can then be imported into Blackboard’s Grade Center.

Individual student grades can also be viewed, and the instructor can see answers by problem

The instructor can pick problems that are prewritten or can write their own. Problems can be randomized with numbers so that all students have different answers. If instructor wishes, he can change a date for good reasons. 

Questions:  How much do students try? How many give up? They (Chemistry instructors) are presently looking at this. 

Before Mastering Chemistry, the department used to have paper HW. Often, students would copy from one another. Now, each student must log in. The cheating has gone down because everyone must log in. Because of the immediate feedback, students are more likely to ask for help then go back home and re-enter the session. Also, every problem has national average info – how do your students do compared to the national average? We were better at everything except nomenclature – now we focus more on that than we used to. Also, instructors can look at common answers that are wrong.  They can adjust teaching to help with that. Pearson monitors common incorrect answers to write tutoring help for those questions. 

K. Grasman, an instructor for Engineering Management 137 —

She inherited 6 sections of Engineering Economics (Eng Econ), had way too much homework to grade with too little help. That was first reason to investigate online HW. She also needed to develop an online section. She looked for publishers with online homework so that she didn’t have to write all the problems herself and provide them in Blackboard. Wiley had just developed a new product, and was the only one with such a  product for Eng Econ.  She wanted to minimize cheating, reason for doing problems.

She does not call it homework, but calls it practice. Students can watch lectures online, but need to practice. Sitting watching instructor watch problems is not working. Now they have to practice themselves. 
Engineering Management adopted WileyPlus. It has an online text build in. It is outside Blackboard.  Students have option to purchase just the access code, and print some sections of the book.  Access code is about $65.  Printed book is $108 with access code.  Most students purchase code and print what they want.  Pilot in Fall 2010, now all 300 students using same book and homework.

Structure – assignments each week, with 3 chances to answer. Instead of paying a grader, students in the course have daily problem solving sessions. Now they have 2 former students who are undergrads, available by chat and in person, for one-on-one assistance instead of a grader. Also using discussion board to post questions for feedback by another student or instructor.  So far, it feels more efficient. Students MUST get it before it is too late which forces them to try.

Questions:  Chronology. Do they complete before lecture or after? Chem is due 3 days after lecture. 

So at what point does instructor look at answers and see if they need to reteach? 

Two aspects – one is improving on future classes.  Other is short return time – only two lectures, so still time to correct. If new class, need to monitor more closely. 
Chem gives reading quizzes that are timed, mostly definitions. Instructors give only 3 minutes with 3 questions. Students use mastering. They turn on mastering at noon of the lecture before, turn off at 8 a.m. on the day they are due. 

Eng Econ – Online HW changed way all of class is done. Previously students had to come to class. Most were present in body (in mind?). Now students get fundamentals in class if they show up. She can go back and see – last week large number could not get problem after 3 tries. Now, she uses that feedback to teach. 

With Chem – 4 sections are working together. Sometimes one is way ahead, sometimes one is way behind. Students do learn to attend lead, ask instructor to pick up pace. Course more consistent across instructors.

How do students feel about online HW? Two thoughts. Complaints based on inexperience, feel entitled to good grade, it is hard, unfair. After a while, they learn and deal with it. Kellie spoke to a lot of students about it. Disadvantage is that instructor loses process that student goes through. Students type in numerical answer, but doesn’t see what is behind it. She is afraid that it may de-emphasize process to students, but she discussed it in class. She still does assessment in class where process is shown so they still have to show it. Small errors must be accounted for in person. Chem allows additional answer attempts for reduced credit, which helps to account for partial credit or for small mistakes.
Students who spend more time on the online HW do better – time on task is known.
Can provide practice only – then only
have tests for grades. 

Blackboard Seminar Series – Bb Outside the Classroom

EdTech and CERTI are co-sponsoring the November Blackboard Seminar Series, which will focus on using Blackboard resources outside of the classroom environment.

This event will take place in Centennial Hall Room 104 at Noon on Friday, November 5, 2010.

Featured speakers include:

  • Bih-Ru Lea, of the Information Science Technology department. She will discuss her IST 490 Research Organization in Blackboard.
  • Johnathan Harper and Peris Carr, who manage the General Chemistry Discussion Board.
  • Malcolm Hays, who worked with both Dr. Ed Malone (English & Tech Com) and Dr. John Hogan (Geology & Geophysics) to set up Blackboard organizations to support graduate and undergraduate degree programs.
  • Diane Hagni, who has worked with EdTech to support the Clickers in the Classroom Blackboard organization.

Blackboard Seminar Series events are “brown bag” lunches. Attendees are welcome to bring their own lunch. Dessert and beverages are provided courtesy of CERTI.

Please RSVP to if you plan on attending.

Blackboard Seminar Series – Using Rubrics with Blackboard

EdTech and CERTI are co-sponsoring the October Blackboard Seminar Series, which will focus on using rubrics both inside and outside of a Blackboard course. Barb Wilkins, Instructional Technologist for EdTech, will be presenting.

This event will take place in Centennial Hall Room 104 at Noon on Friday, October 8, 2010.

  • What are rubrics?
  • Why should I use one?
  • How can they help me in assessing student work inside and outside of Blackboard?

Blackboard Seminar Series events are “brown bag” lunches. Attendees are welcome to bring their own lunch. Dessert and beverages are provided courtesy of CERTI.

Please RSVP to if you plan on attending.

Faculty Learning Community — Student Perceptions of Technology

Presented by: Matt Shaner, Manager of IT Relationship & Asset Management

Data comes from EDUCAUSE.

Two stereotypes of students/professors. One stereotype that students have about professors is that professors don’t like technology–Matt showed a video of a professor who destroys a laptop with liquid nitrogen and yells at students not to bring laptops to class.

Another stereotype that professors have about students is that they are over-reliant on technology, as illustrated with a video about two people stuck on an escalator that suddenly loses power.

The data presented comes from a combination of EDUCAUSE and S&T student data. EDUCAUSE data includes 25,000 students nationwide, and about 180 students from S&T.

Why should you care? Almost 92% of incoming freshman say technology is important or very important when choosing a college. Also, about 50% of students nationwide said that IT classroom experiences should prepare them for the workplace.

How much time is spent on the Internet? Missouri S&T: 37% for 26-40+ hours. National average: 25%.

Virtual worlds such as Second Life are not being used much by students. Only 28-30 universities have a presence in Second Life.

Multiplayer Online Computer Games: 72% of S&T students log on at least once a month. About 10% log on once a day. If World of Warcraft were a country, it would rank 75th in population (ahead of Greece and behind Zimbabwe).

46% of S&T students are among the first adopters of new technology. Only 10% are among the late adopters of new technology. 36% of students nationwide are first adopters.

How many instructors at S&T use IT effectively? 45% of students say most/almost all instructors use it effectively, which is on par with the national average.

37% of S&T students get more actively involved in courses that use IT resources. Again on par with the national average (36%).

48% of S&T students strongly agree that use of IT in courses improves their learning.

Only 17% of students said they would skip class if the course materials are online, which 56% said they would not.

Discussion findings — Any of it surprising? One professor pointed out a disconnect between the 92% who said technology was important in choosing a college and those who actually use technology when they get here, at least for instructional purposes.

Another comment — What technologies are being used in the private sector now that could be used in the college setting to prepare students better for that world. For instance, collaborative tools such as wikis or virtual communication tools such as Skype. Some tools such as clickers and texting should only be used to enhance the learning experience and don’t translate well to the workplace environment.

Another comment — Comp Sci students seem to like professors who use chalk. However, they may really be responding to the effectiveness of the use of the tool, rather than the tool itself. A professor who is very proficient in PowerPoint could receive the same favorable perception for PowerPoint slides as another professor who likes to use chalk. Counterpoint — we should still be preparing students for the workforce because they will be forced to use the tools such as PowerPoint. Showing students how to do that *right* is important.