Spring 2014 Newsletter

Welcome to the 2014 spring semester, it is great to be back! With the excitement of the new semester we have several options to assist you with preparing your Blackboard courses. If you’re interested in hands-on training, please plan to attend our upcoming open lab. If webinars are more your style, you’ll enjoy the return of our Learning Shorts series, and remember to take advantage of the Blackboard “Help” tab for videos, guides, and tutorial information. Please see the newsletter for the details.

To learn more about training opportunities, resources, and technical support, please visit us at the STaR website and remember you can reach us by mail at STaR or by phone at 501-569-8954. As always, you’re welcome to stop by at DKSN 104 and 105 to talk to us in person!

Have a great semester!

Getting Started

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.

Open Lab

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

•     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 this time does 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.

Upcoming Learning Shorts

Join us for the return of our Learning Shorts series on Friday from noon to 12:30 p.m. Watch for your email invitation and plan to be with us as we explore these upcoming topics:

Instructional Design, Interaction and Engagement:

⁃    January 24, Instructor Presence
⁃    January 31, Student Engagement

Kaltura Media: The Basics:

⁃    February 7, Uploading Your Media
⁃    February 14, Webcams for Everyone
⁃    February 21, Using Your Screen Capture
⁃    February 28, Student Presentations

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

New Ottenheimer Library Help Link

New this spring, a link for library help has been added to Blackboard course shells. The link will provide students with point-of-need assistance in locating books, articles, and more.

To preview the link, switch to the student view. Then, select Library Help under the course menu.

We hope you will encourage your students to use the link.


How do you engage your students? One way, is to provide learning content that attracts student interest. Now you have a new tool to assist students to “master the basics,” of your course content. Blackboard’s StudyMate lets you create and seamlessly integrate learning assessments and other activities into your Blackboard grade center.

You can appeal to your student’s unique learning styles by letting them use StudyMate to create their own activities, such as flashcards, fill in the blanks, crosswords, glossaries and other learning activities from content you provide. Students may also study collaboratively to create an online “study hall” where they can interact, share, respond and correct each others activity items.

Instructors may:

⁃    Select project types, fact cards, term/definitions, and multiple choice
⁃    Create various activities
⁃    Allow students to create their own activities
⁃    Set activities to appear in the Blackboard grade center
⁃    Access the publisher test bank network with textbook adoptions
⁃    Access quick start guides and video demos resources
⁃    Reuse StudyMate multiple choice questions in Blackboard
⁃    Import existing StudyMate items
⁃    Access mobile devices with the “StudyMate LMS Edition” app from iTunes

StudyMate provides students with new ways to make learning interesting and fun!

Learn more:

Blackboard’s Date Management Tool

It is that time again. Time to prepare your spring 2014 semester courses. This semester you’ll be able to use the new Date Management tool to speed up the transition. This tool allows instructors to easily modify all content and tool availability dates in a course from old dates to newer, relevant course dates, which is especially useful if you are copying your course from a previous semester.

To use the Date Management tool, you’ll first need to copy an existing course into your new course shell. (Click here for information about course copying.) Once your course copy is complete, you will need to access the control panel menu in your new course. From that menu you will see “Date Management” under the expanded “Course Tools” section.

There are three adjustment options to consider when using the Date Management tool:

•    Course Start Dateexample:  If an assignment has a due date of 10 days after the course’s start date, the “course  start date” adjustment option would move the due date to 10 days after the “new” start date.

•    Adjust by Number of Daysexample: On June 1 you adjust course dates by 30 days. An assignment that was set to be due on September 1, is now due on October 1.

•    List All Dates for Review – select this option to display a list of all content and tools with dates in the course on the Date Management Review page. Use this option to review all of the dates and analyze them for adjustment.

Learn more:
Date Management

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

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