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

Pearson MyLab and Mastering Server Maintenance Scheduled 9/26 – 10/1

Some server maintenance will impact Pearson users 9/26 – 10/1.

From Pearson:

“Amazon Web Services (AWS) has informed Pearson that it needs to restart a number of its servers between September 26 and October 1, 2014.

Pearson, along with many​ other companies, uses AWS to offer several of its products and services over the internet. This means that some features in Pearson products which use AWS to run and support their systems could be unavailable during these restarts. Each server restart takes around 20-25 minutes.

Why is this happening?

AWS has indicated that these restarts are in response to a security issue. Restarting each system allows AWS to ensure its services remain secure. Since we were advised of the plan to restart the AWS servers, we have been working around the clock to review the possible impact and take all possible steps to mitigate or minimize disruption for our customers. We will post messaging on our 24/7 Technical Support site (http://247pearsoned.custhelp.com/) if any disruptions do take place and teams will work to restore performance as quickly as possible.

Thank you for your patience as we work through this process with AWS. Please reach out to your Strategic Customer Operations Consultant with any questions.

Thank you,

Pearson MyLab and Mastering Team”

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Blackboard Feature Spotlight: Global Navigation Menu & My Blackboard

My Blackboard

The Global Navigation Menu & My Blackboard Suite of tools makes it faster and easier to interact with Blackboard for both instructors and students. To access it, simply click on your name in the upper right hand side of the Blackboard window. This will reveal the Global Navigation Menu, a far more convenient way of navigating from course to course. Along the left side of the Global Navigation Menu, you’ll see a series of icons. These are the My Blackboard suite of tools. Each tool gives you quick access to some aspect of your digital learning experience, from the “Posts” area which covers your discussion boards, blogs, wikis, and journals to “People”, which allows you to connect to your fellow Bears in a whole new way. For more information about the Global Navigation Menu and My Blackboard suite of tools, check out this article in Experts.

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Blackboard Spotlight: Online Training Courses

Computer Services is excited to introduce several new learning options on your way to master Blackboard! Several of our classes will now be offered online through Blackboard Collaborate. These classes are fully synchronous, so you can interact with the instructor in real time and find answers to all of your Blackboard questions. To take part in one of these sessions, register online through My Learning Connection. After you register, you will receive an email with instructions for logging into the class.

We’re also developing an asynchronous Blackboard Jumpstart course to earn your Blackboard White Belt anywhere at any time; keep an eye on the Blackboard blog for more information about this exciting opportunity. Last but not least, we’re also offering virtual sessions of our “Ask the Experts: Blackboard” session from 1:30–4:30 p.m. every Friday that the University is open. Visit the Blackboard support website to drop in to our virtual office during those times.

If you have any questions about our synchronous or asynchronous classes or our weekly virtual open session, please contact Ryan Spilken, Technical Trainer, at (417) 836-6056.

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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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