Fall 2014 Newsletter

Welcome Back!

Cooper's fountain image

Football, falling leaves and chilly evenings will soon be upon us, which means school is in session! To help kick-off the semester we would like to share with you new features, useful tools, and important need-to-knows. For those needing a refresher or help getting started we have several training opportunities available and a great line-up for our Learning Shorts series.

Please take a few minutes to read through the items that interest you. If you have questions or concerns don’t hesitate to reach out to us at STaR@ualr.edu, 569-8954, or DKSN 105.

Getting Ready

201460 fall image

It’s time to prep for the fall 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 shells begin with the Course ID 201460.
Note: Course shells are available 90 days prior to their coming semester.

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

Add a Teaching Assistant:

Request a teaching assistant, course builder or instructor be added to your course by completing the add user form.

Note: We do not add students to courses as that function is handled by Records and Registration.   

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.

What’s New

Blackboard logo

Recently Blackboard enhanced several of its most used tools and we think you will enjoy the new improvements to the communication, management, and grading tools.


Course Message Notifications

While messages remain private users can now receive pending course email notifications to their UALR email account to alert them to check their Blackboard course Messages for new communication. Notifications can also be viewed from the Updates area (under the Global Navigation Menu), or the What’s New institutional and course modules.

Learn More – click to view Bb Help article

Grade Center

New intuitive options are available to allow instructors and students to view grades more in sync. Students can view their grades in order, last activity, or by due date. Grades can also be sorted by all, graded, upcoming, and submitted.

Learn More – click to view Bb Help article

Inline Grading

No more downloads unless you want too! You can review assignments in your browser from right inside the course and the expanded grading area provides you with several annotation options to provide student feedback. The grading sidebar tool in other interactive tools like wikis, blogs, journals, and discussion boards lets you review and upload documents.

Learn More – click to view Bb Help article

Date Management

Instructors can now conveniently rollover important course dates such as due dates, availability dates, and active release dates. However, the tool does not support publisher content or Blackboard Collaborate start and end dates.

Learn More – click to view Bb Help article

Group Management

You can easily manage large students groups, modify group memberships, and interface group participants with the grade book with updates to the Group Management tool.

Learn More – click to view Bb Help article

Learning Shorts Series

Learning Shorts imageWe know life is hectic and schedules are busy. So we have redesigned our Learning Shorts series with you in mind.

Join us in September as we kick-off the semester with a month long series on using Kaltura Media.

Flexible and Convenient Interaction

Each Monday we will share an email and post to the website with one or more video segments about the uses, pedagogical best practices, or updates for a tool or feature.

So relax, kick-back, and enjoy getting up to speed on the latest in online teaching.

After watching the video segment join the conversation on Twitter or Facebook by using the hash tag #starshorts.

Ask questions, share ideas and respond to others.  We’ll be monitoring the feed throughout the week.

Training Schedule

Join us as we kick-off the semester with two training sessions to get you off to a great start.

 Blackboard Basics 
AugustBb Training graphic 20 and August 21, 10:00 a.m.
Register for Blackboard Basics

Need-to-Know Information for Teaching Online at UALR

    • Experience the Course as a Student
    • Working with Your Course Menu
    • Customizing Your Course
    • Day 1 Tasks

Course Management

August 20 and August 21, 1:00 p.m.
Register for Course Management

  • Course Communication
  • Managing Dates
  • Setting Up the Grade Book

Traveling Open Lab

Not Sure Where We Are Located?

open lab image

No worries, we’ll come to you! Throughout the Fall semester STaR will be taking open labs to various locations across campus. Join us to ask a quick question, or stay the entire session. We’ll be there ready to assist with your technical and instructional design needs.

Enhanced Quality Matters Rubric

Quality Matters and UALR

Offering quality courses, especially in an online format, is not always easy to accomplish. The University of Arkansas at Little Rock is proving that it can successfully be done with the help of Quality Matters. Quality Matters is a toolset and process that is:

Quality Matters logo•    Based on national standards of best practice, the research findings and instructional design principles.
•    Designed to promote student learning.
•    Integral to continuous quality improvement.
•    Part of an inter-institutional, faculty-driven, peer review process.


Since January 2014, fourteen course have undergone an official Quality Matters review and received Quality Matters recognition which is no small thing. It indicates a faculty member has spent a lot of time and thought in developing a strong course. Quality Matters focuses on course design—making sure learning objectives, assessments and measures, and instructional materials are all in alignment while designing an interactive/engaging course for students using the appropriate technology. Achieving recognition means this has accomplished and students can take the course with confidence that the stated learning objectives will be taught.

The Quality Matters rubric is updated as needed to ensure it continues to provide a toolset and process that meets the standards above. The newest update to the rubric will be available on August 1, 2014. At that time all reviews will be conducted using the new, updated rubric. Most of the changes are small ones and reflect changes in online education. Some of the changes include:

•    Wording to accommodate the increased use of competency based outcomes.
•    Three new standards relating to privacy, multimedia, and technology.
•    Improved annotations to enhance clarity.
•    Some small point value changes.
•    Areas dealing with accessibility and usability have seen the greatest changes.

We think you will find the new rubric to be even more helpful as you design your courses. Contact Dr. Donna Kay at STaR for more information on Quality Matters and the QM Rubric.

Kaltura Media                                         

Flash Media Transfer

Spice Trade graphic
The move is on. With the adoption of Kaltura Media, we will begin file transfers from the Flash Media to the Kaltura Media server this fall.

For the most part the transfer to Kaltura Media will take place behind the scenes. It will, however, require us to “quick enroll” into your course to provide you with a folder where you may access the file links.

As with other files, you may either copy or move the files where you would like for them to appear in the course. Should you inadvertently remove a file from the course content area it can easily be retrieved provided it has not been deleted from the server.


Kaltura Features

Kaltura Media lets you share your media files across all courses where you are the instructor. You can upload media files directly from your computer or create media using the Kaltura webcam or screen recording options. Kaltura makes it easy for users to view media on various digital devices.

Kaltura also has several galleries with varying functionality that allows you to share your media and set permissions for its use.

Kaltura Series in September

We hope you will join us during September as we explore how to upload, create, and manage Kaltura Media in our new Learning Shorts video series.

Blackboard Communities

Meet, Manage, and Organize

Bb Commuities imageBlackboard provides users with space to conduct department meetings, training, student organizations, tutoring, and much more. These flexible shells are not restricted by semester or student enrollment and are self-managed.

You can also enable your organization to self-enroll users and assign any number of administrators to help you self-manage your community.

You can access your organization though the my.ualr.edu or by logging into the Blackboard network. The shell is visible on the “myOrganizations” page and provides users with a search box to locate other organizations that are open to non-enrolled users. Organizations may also be accessed and managed through the Blackboard Mobile learn application.

For more information about Blackboard Organizations, please contact us at STaR@ualr.edu, 569-8954, or DKSN 105.


As always we encourage you to share your feedback about our learning management system, Blackboard. To report a bug or submit a feature enhancement please complete our feedback form.

Clip Art Mobile PhoneUALR Mobile Survey

We are seeking your participation in this survey to gauge interest in creating custom Blackboard Mobile applications for the UALR campus community. Please take a few minutes to fill out the survey. You can direct any questions to star@ualr.edu.

Take the survey!

Have a great semester!

As always, visit the Scholarly Technology and Resources website (STaR) to learn more about training opportunities, resources, and technical support. You can reach us by email at star@ualr.edu or by phone at 501-569-8954. Of course, you’re always welcome to stop by at DKSN 104 and 105 to talk to us in person!

Posted in: Digest, Newsletter

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