Missouri State University
Blackboard at Missouri State University
Blackboard News & Info

Blackboard Mobile Learn App is Now Free For Missouri State!

Interacting with your students is a key component to keeping them engaged, and Blackboard Mobile Learn makes it even easier to check and update Blackboard right from your mobile device. Students and instructors can now download the Blackboard Mobile Learn app for free through the App Store and Google Play. iOS and Android devices on all carriers and networks can use the application. For more information about downloading or using the Blackboard Mobile Learn app, visit the Blackboard Mobile Learn page in Experts, or see a quick overview of the features at Blackboard’s Mobile Learn Site.


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Turnitin to SafeAssign Transition

Missouri State University’s current subscription for Turnitin is discontinued as of June 30, 2014. It was determined that most critical purposes of Turnitin can be accomplished through Blackboard’s SafeAssign tool. To help faculty make the transition from Turnitin to Blackboard SafeAssign, Instructors can attend one of the Blackboard Learn: Assessing Learners sessions on June 24th or 25th, or visit us during any Friday in the Ask the Experts: Blackboard Open Session. See the University Calendar for a complete list of Blackboard training dates provided by Computer Services. Our Experts online documentation has been also been updated, so you can view step-by-step guides on SafeAssign.

If you have any questions about Turnitin, please contact Michael Frizell, Director of Student Learning Services, Bear Claw, Meyer Library 112, ext 65006.

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Summer Training Classes

Summer is a wonderful time for iced tea, lemonade, enjoying the great outdoors, and Blackboard training? Beginning Monday, June 2, you can embark on the Blackboard Black Belt series of courses and learn everything you need to know to use Blackboard to its fullest. Class dates and times can be found on the University calendar. To sign up for classes, simply open My Learning Connection and search for classes offered by Computer Services Training and Documentation. You don’t have to attend all the courses; you’re welcome to sign up for any that fit your interest.

If you’re in need of Blackboard assistance, remember that you can always contact the Computer Services Help Desk, and every Friday you can drop by one of the Ask the Experts Blackboard sessions at the Meyer Library 205 Technology Training Center from 1:30 to 4:30 pm.

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Ask the Experts Blackboard Open Session Time Changes on May 23!

Every Friday that the University is open, Computer Services offers Ask the Experts sessions in both of our Technology Training Centers. Argos, Argos Information Gathering & Report Running, and Web Press are offered in Cheek 100 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Blackboard, Camtasia and Experts assistance is found in Library 205, but beginning on May 23rd the hours are changing. We’ll be beginning the session at 1:30, and will close the session at 4:30 pm. If you’ve got any questions about the time change for the Ask the Experts Blackboard, Camtasia and Experts session in Library 205, please email Computer Services Training & Documentation at csvtraining@missouristate.edu.

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Master the Grade Center

Blackboard’s Grade Center is a powerful tool for recording and displaying your student’s grades. Far more than just a spreadsheet, the Grade Center dynamically interacts with your course, and the input can be displayed to the student without additional steps. When you create any type of assignment, a column is automatically created in the Grade Center. Columns are organizable, allowing you to customize how you see your course’s activity. There’s an option to color code your Grade Center to create visual indicators to help you interpret information quickly. For example, you can use yellow to highlight graded items with failing scores so students and columns that require attention are prominent. Columns (and rows) can also be hidden to clear up some space; this is something to be careful about, as occasionally instructors will hide columns that still contribute to the total grade in the course. The Grade Center also features convenient access to sending email to selected members of your course. You’re able to utilize nearly any imaginable grading technique as well, such as weighting, averaging, dropping the lowest grade, and far more. If you’re ready to dig into your course’s Grade Center, start by checking out some how-to guides on Experts, and as always if you need a hand with the Grade Center or anything else Blackboard related, feel free to contact the Computer Services Help Desk.


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Adaptive Release

You’ve probably seen the words “Adaptive Release” and “Adaptive Release Advanced” while you’ve worked in Blackboard and you might have wondered just what that was. Adaptive release is an extremely powerful tool in Blackboard that controls the release of content to users based on a set of rules created by the instructor. The rules may be related to availability, date and time, individual users, group membership, scores or attempts on any Grade Center item, calculated columns in Grade Center, or review status of an item in the course. You’re also able to track a user’s progress through the rules you’ve defined by viewing the User Progress screen. It can be useful for any number of scenarios in Blackboard, from extending access of an item to an individual or group, all the way to limiting access to content until a user has achieved the desired grade on a practice test and almost everything in-between. For step-by-step instructions on how to utilize Adaptive Release, check out this article in Experts. As always, if you need assistance with Adaptive Release or any other feature in Blackboard, please contact the Computer Services Help Desk.


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Course Copy

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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.

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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.


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“Post First” in the Discussion Board

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:

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And here’s what the Student sees:


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