It’s almost that wonderful time of year again; that magical time when eager instructors will turn their eye to Blackboard and see that their courses for Fall 2014 have been opened for them to edit. It’s an exciting time where a lot of people would like to copy their existing Spring 2014 courses into the new Fall courses. How does one do this without loosing all that work though? Improvements to Blackboard have made this process simple and straightforward. There are a few things you should be aware of before you hit that copy button though. To ensure a smooth copy, read the step-by-step instructions on how to copy your course from one section to the next via this article in Experts. As always, if you’re in need of assistance when it comes to copying your course feel free to contact the Computer Services Help Desk, and if you’d like in-person support with Blackboard visit one of our “Ask the Experts” sessions in Library 205 every Friday from 1:30 to 5:00 pm.
Academic integrity is extremely important at Missouri State University, and one of the ways that you can ensure your students are practicing it is by using SafeAssign to review papers submitted through Blackboard. SafeAssign can also be used to help students identify how to properly attribute sources rather than paraphrase without giving credit to the original source. So the SafeAssign feature is effective as both a deterrent and an educational tool. SafeAssign is fully integrated into Blackboard, so Instructors can create SafeAssignments in their Blackboard courses in the same way that they add standard Blackboard assignments.
SafeAssign Originality Reports will be getting a new look soon! The general features and information presented will not change, but an update of the SafeAssign central services on will display the new look and feel to users on April 26th.
Computer Services provides step-by-step instructions on using SafeAssign in this article in Experts, as well and training on SafeAssign and the other methods of assessment offered through Blackboard. Just look for the Blackboard: Assessing Learners classes in My Learning Connection. As always, if you have questions about using SafeAssign or any other issues with Blackboard, please contact the Computer Services Help Desk.
A common scenario plays out in discussion boards across the world: A professor posts a discussion prompt and then an eager, intelligent student posts a well thought out and informative thread, only to see nearly every following thread retread what had already been posted in suspiciously similar language. If only the professor could force everyone to make their own posts before they could read and respond to others…
Well you can, and it’s extremely easy! With the addition of an option where “Participants must create a thread in order to view other threads in this forum” in the Forum Settings, you’re able to limit participants access to the forum until they’ve contributed their own thread independant of what’s already been posted. To start using this feature, visit the “Forum Settings” page in Experts. For assistance using this feature in your Discussion Boards or any other help with Blackboard, feel free to contact the Computer Services Help Desk.
Here’s what the option looks like in your Forum setup screen:
And here’s what the Student sees:
What if you didn’t have to answer tons of student email that all asked the same thing: “What was my grade on (insert assesment name here)?” Giving students access to their grades through Blackboard makes this chore no more! Through the My Grades feature, students are able to view the grades that have been entered for them in Blackboard. They can only see the grades associated with themselves, so no need to worry about students seeing each other’s grades. Now, when you create an assessment in Blackboard, it will automatically create a grade center column, but what about work done offline? All that you’ve got to do is create a column in the Grade Center and then enter the student’s grades. It’s a cinch! To get started entering external assessment grades in Blackboard, head over to this article in Experts. If you’d like to show your students the My Grades feature, this article has all the steps you need. If you need assistance with entering grades or anything else into Blackboard, feel free to contact the Computer Services Help Desk.
Student’s view of My Grades:
There are times when a student’s needs require exceptions when it comes to taking a test on Blackboard. They may require extra time, multiple attempts, a different availability, or you might need to turn Force Completion off. These accommodations are easy to make in Blackboard with Test Availability Exceptions! With this handy feature, any of the exceptions you need to create can be done in a matter of clicks, either while deploying the test or after it’s been presented to students. For instructions on utilizing Test Availability Exceptions or the other accessibility features in Blackboard, check out this guide in Experts, and if you’re in need of assistance, feel free to contact the Computer Services Help Desk.
Adding a banner is a great way to personalize the look of your course. They’re easy to create and upload as well! You don’t have to have any fancy design software, Microsoft Powerpoint will do the trick beautifully. For instructions on creating your banner in Powerpoint, follow this tutorial. After you’ve created your banner and are ready to upload it, follow the steps in this Experts guide.
Computer Services was excited to team up with Missouri State West Plains Campus and Greenwood Laboratory School to provide Blackboard Black Belt Boot Camps to their instructors. The West Plains bootcamps were organized in collaboration with West Plains Instructional Design and Technology and Academic Affairs department with the efforts of Chulapol Thanomsing, who we thank greatly. We enjoyed visiting their campus and working with the staff and instructors. The sessions for Greenwood were spearheaded by Denise Vinton, and she’s always a pleasure to work with.
These Boot Camps are intensive sessions for Blackboard training that bring already experienced users to their Blackboard Black Belts. We were thrilled to see how quickly everyone was willing to learn new facets of Blackboard, and how often discussions in the boot camps lead to instructors discovering new ways to use Blackboard features and tools. If you’re interested in organizing some Blackboard Black Belt Bootcamp events, or other training for your department or area, please contact Computer Services Training & Documentation at email@example.com
Congratulations to all of the Missouri State University’s Blackboard Black Belts so far for 2014!
Cathy Proffitt Boys
Photos of West Plains Black Belt sessions by Chulapol Thanomsing:
Our Blackboard administrator has confirmed that using the latest version of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer as an instructor is causing errors. In Windows 8.1 this means that with edit mode on the browser will error out. With Windows 7 you’ll still be able to access the course, but when you attempt an edit you’ll get the same problem. As of right now, the best workaround is to use Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome to use Blackboard. We’ll keep updating as more information becomes available.
Inline Grading is the feature that allows you to view, annotate, and grade student’s submissions in Blackboard. This useful addition makes grading a breeze! With the latest round of updates, you’re now able to use the Inline Grading feature with Blogs, Journals, Wiki’s and more! If you’re ready to start using Inline Grading, head over to this page in Experts. Computer Services offers many classes on all of the great features in Blackboard, so if you’d like to receive some in-person training on Inline Grading and a whole host of other features, search for classes sponsored by Computer Services Training & Documentation in My Learning Connection. Check out this video from Blackboard for more on improvements to Inline Grading:
Groups are a great way to increase engagement and communication amongst your students in your Blackboard course. New features in Blackboard make it extremely easy to create, interact with, and manage groups. If you’d like to start utilizing this feature, get started with this page in Experts. Computer Services is offering classes on Groups and Group Management titled “Creating Individualized and Group Learning Paths” that you can register for though My Learning Connection. If you need assistance setting up or working with groups, feel free to call the Computer Services Help Desk or visit one of our “Ask the Experts” sessions any Friday between 1:30 and 5:00pm in Meyer Library 205.