Fall Digest 2013

Seasons Greetings!

As we wrap-up the fall semester, we would like to offer you a recap of our best website posts and provide some quick steps for preparing your course for spring.  We also have important information to share about the retirement of Wimba Classroom. Read ahead to learn more.

Our office will be closed Monday, December 23 through Wednesday, January 1. We will reopen on Thursday, January 2. If you need assistance in the meantime, please send us an email (star@ualr.edu) or give us a call 569-8954.

Getting Started

As fall comes to a close, it’s time to prep for the spring semester. Here’s a quick guide to help you get started.

Making Sense of your Course ID:
Each Course ID includes the year, term, department code and section number:

  • Fall Term = 60
  • Spring Term = 10
  • Summer Term = 30

Your live spring shells begin with the Course ID 201410.

Preparing the Course for the New Semester:

Please visit our Quick Start Guides for more information on these topics:

·  Merge course sections, How to Merge Course Sections
·  Copy course content from a previous 9.1 course, How to Copy Courses
·  Make your course available to students, How to Make Course Available or Unavailable
·  Grade Center basics, Getting Started with the Grade Center

Learn more:
For more information, don’t forget to visit the “Help” Tab in Blackboard for Quick Start Guides, Video Tutorials and the Faculty FAQ.

Grade Book Options

Would you like to download your grade book so you can work offline or save it for archival purposes? Blackboard Learn lets you easily do this from within the Full Grade Center. Follow these steps to complete the process:

  1. Access Full Grade Center from the Control Panel > Grade Center
  2. Select “Download” from the drop-down menu.
  3. Adjust downloading options.
  4. Select where to save the file (Content Collection or My Computer).
  5. Press Submit.
  6. Click on “Download” – file will be downloaded to specified location.

If you would like to work offline, be sure to keep the column headers intact; after making changes you can re-upload the file. Follow these steps to complete the process:

  1. Access Full Grade Center from the Control Panel > Grade Center.
  2. Select the “Work Offline” button on the right side of the screen.
  3. Select “Upload” from the drop-down menu.

Learn more:
Blackboard Video Tutorial: Working Offline with the Grade Center
STaR Resources Guide: Grade Center Guide

Working with Incompletes

Just a reminder! With the version of Blackboard we’ve been using for the past year, there is no need for you to contact STaR regarding incompletes for your students. Whenever a grade of “I” is entered into BOSS, the student will continue to have access to the original course until the grade is changed in BOSS. Keep in mind that if you do not update the grade in BOSS, that it will default to an “F” according to UALR policy as described here. Once the grade is changed in BOSS by you or is automatically converted to an “F” the student will no longer have access to the original course.

Wimba Sunset

Faculty members and colleagues we would like to announce the sunset of Wimba Classroom, as well as, Wimba Voice. Many of you are already using Blackboard Collaborate, however, as of August 1, 2014 Collaborate will officially supersede Wimba Classroom as our web-conferencing tool for UALR.

Blackboard Collaborate is now available for use on computers, tablets, and mobile devices allowing faculty students, and other colleagues to experience interactive web conferencing and view multimedia recordings.

Collaborate features include:

·      Streamlined User Interface
·      Multi-Point Video and Updated Media Recording Capabilities
·      Chat, Whiteboard, Clip Art, Slides, and Other File Content
·      Streamlined User Interface
·      File Transfer Capabilities
·      Built-In Teleconferencing
·      Break Out Room Capabilities and Management
·      Web Tours
·      Application Sharing
·      New Accessibility Features
·      Record and Share Session in Your Course Content
·      Guest Access

Transferring Wimba Archives to Kaltura Media

If you have Wimba Archives that you would like to continue to use in your course, you’ll want to make plans to download your media and transfer it to the Kaltura Media Server before the August 1 deadline.

This is a great housekeeping opportunity as Kaltura lets you share your files across multiple courses from the server. An additional tool, the Kaltura Faculty Repository lets you also share course media with your colleagues. Kaltura easily processes most standard media formats and lets you manage your files from your course using the Mashup tool and My Media.

Please visit our tutorial:
Wimba to Kaltura Migration

Learn more
Blackboard Webinar: Collaborate Overview for Moderators
Blackboard Collaborate and Kaltura Media Tutorials are available on the Bb “Help” tab.

Open Lab and Course Assistance

In preparation for the spring semester, we are offering two open lab sessions in Dickinson Hall 101:

  •  Wednesday, Dec.11, 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
  •  Wednesday, Jan. 8, 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p. m.

A support specialist and an instructional designer will be available to assist you with any questions you may have related to preparing your course in Blackboard. They can assist you with everything from how to copy your course to how to design effective assessments.

If those times do not work for you or you would like more in-depth training, please contact us for additional options.  If you feel comfortable with Blackboard but would like to know how you can enhance your course, consider scheduling a course consultation with one of our instructional designers.

Learning Shorts

Join us for the return of our Learning Shorts series. Our first session will be:

  •  Friday, Dec. 13, noon – 12:30 p.m., Kaltura, An Introduction to Kaltura Media

Watch for your email invitation and plan to be with us as we get acquainted with Kaltura’s media options.

Learning Shorts coming soon:

  •  Mid-January, Instructional Design, Interaction and Engagement
  •  February, Kaltura Media, The Basics

Learn more:
Visit our Learning Shorts webinar series and catch up on new features and trends in Blackboard.

Kaltura Media the Possibilities

The Blackboard Kaltura plug-in provides you with several options to upload, create, and manage video and audio content from the convenience of your home, work, or anywhere you can access your course.

With an intuitive interface, you can access Kaltura Media wherever the Build Content tab is available. You may use the Mashup Tool and the Content Editor to manage your media content directly. Kaltura encodes and streams most common audio and video formats and allows students to take advantage of most mobile devices to access course content.

Kaltura allows you to:

·      Create and upload media via your computer
·      Manage media information inside your course content
·      Share media with colleagues via the Faculty Repository
·      Create and repurpose media snippets
·      Create Media Galleries links

Explore the possibilities! Visit the Blackboard “Help” tab for more information about Kaltura.

Learn more:
Kaltura Tutorials
Upload Media – uploading files from your computer.
Webcam– create a video using your computer webcam.
Screen Capture – capture your computer screen.

Test Options for Accommodations

Many students registered with the DRC require accommodations for extended time on in-class and web-based tests and surveys in Blackboard. Meeting these accommodations in Blackboard is now easier than ever with features built-into the test settings.

Instructors build their test as usual, but when the test is deployed an additional availability setting can be added under the test options for a single student or a group of students. This option replaces the need for creating a duplicate exam and using adaptive release.

Since instructors are not creating a duplicate, “new” exam test for an accommodation, the test will be accessed from the Grade Center like those for students without accommodations and will allow the instructor to grade the test in the same column. Students with and without accommodations will experience the same access to test information such as grades and feedback. Special settings for “Adaptive Release” are no longer required.

Learn more:
Providing Extended Time for Exams

Inline Grading for Assignments

Have you ever wished that grading assignments submitted through Blackboard were easier? Wish no more. Grading in Blackboard is now streamlined with Inline Assignment Grading. Inline Assignment Grading is a revision to the workflow for grading Assignments in Blackboard Learn. Instead of requiring Instructors to download student-submitted files to view or edit those submissions, instructors are now be able to view student-submitted files “inline,” i.e. in the web browser, without requiring any plug-ins, applets, or client-side applications.

When an Instructor views a document submitted through an Assignment, that document is converted to a format that is viewable inside the web browser. Supported document types that can be converted are Word (DOC, DOCX), PowerPoint (PPT, PPTX), Excel (XLS, XLSX), and PDF (PDF). The converted document is displayed in a viewer on the Grade Assignment page. Formatting and embedded images of the original document are preserved in the conversion. Additionally, annotations tools are available as part of the inline viewer, enabling instructors to provide feedback “comments, highlights, and even drawing/annotation” directly on the inline view of the document.

Note: Inline grading does not currently work with the Blackboard Mobile Learn Application or documents submitted through Safe Assign.

Learn more:
Inline Grading for Assignments 

Grade Center Activity Log Returns

Back by popular demand instructors can access the activity logs for tests in the Grade Center. This lets you review information about a student’s activity during an assessment and is helpful should you need to confirm technology or connection issues that may occur during an assessment.

Learn more:
Activity Log

Ottenheimer Library Offers Services for Distance Learners

Students who are enrolled in online classes and do not live within Central Arkansas are eligible for Ottenheimer Library’s Distance Learning Library Services (DLLS). The Distance Learning Coordinator can assist faculty in providing access to library resources, creating research guides, as well as to providing library instruction for their online courses. For questions or to request assistance, please contact Lisa Li, Distance Learning Coordinator at 501.569.8806.

Learn more:
Please see the Distance Learning Library Services website for additional information.


Posted in: Blackboard News, Digest

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