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End of Semester: Instructor Tasks

posted Dec 4, 2014, 5:35 AM by TWUTechKnow

At the end of each semester complete these tasks to bring classes to a close: 

Make Each Course Unavailable

Making a class unavailable removes student access to the course. If you set course duration dates, the course will automatically be unavailable on the end date.
  1. On the Control Panel click Customization and click Properties.
  2. In Section 3, Set Availability, select No.
  3. Click Submit.

Export Each Course Grade Center to Excel

It is recommended that instructors backup the grade center after any grading activity. At the end of the semester, complete a final backup of the grade center for record keeping purposes.
  1. From the Control Panel, click Grade Center and click Full Grade Center
  2. Click Work Offline on the right side and click Download.
  3. On the Download Grades page in section 1, Data, select Full Grade Center.
  4. In section 2, Options, select the Delimiter Type as Tab.
  5. If users or columns have been hidden and you want the information backed up, select Yes for Include Hidden Information.
  6. Click Submit.  A file containing the Grade Center data will be created.
  7. Click Download and choose where to save the file. 
    NOTE: The file will be downloaded with an *.xls extension which will open in Excel.

Top Tips for Instructors Testing

posted Nov 19, 2014, 7:50 AM by TWUTechKnow   [ updated Nov 19, 2014, 7:53 AM ]

You can make testing successful by adjusting specific settings. The top 5 tips from the Blackboard support team are: 
  • Do not check Force Completion on test settings.
  • Set a time limit on the test instead of using Force Completion. If using a timer, use Auto-Submit so that a student’s work is automatically submitted when time expires.
  • Stagger proctored test times so smaller (25 or less) groups of students are testing rather than larger groups
  • If you are creating a test with a large number of questions, consider using the Test Generator to bulk import questions into a test
  • Post Top Tips for Students (attached) in your class prior to the test along with directions for contacting the Technology Service Desk.

lynda.com

Want to see this in action?  

Visit Lynda.com course Blackboard 9.x Essential Training for Instructors and Blackboard Essential Training.

Blackboard 9.x Essential Training for Instructors
1. What’s New in Blackboard 9.1 SP8 and SP9? Using newand improved assessments 
11. Creating Online Tests
12. Deploying and Grading Tests 

Blackboard Essential Training
10. Deploying and Grading Tests: Setting test availability and deploying the test; Assisting students with common testing obstacles 

NOTE: TWU faculty, staff, and students must set up an account prior to using service. To set up an account go to: http://www.twu.edu/LTS/.


Why Do We Recommend Timed Tests Instead of Force Completion?

Force completion is the setting that causes 90% of all test “lockouts.”  When a test is set on force completion, if students lose connection to the test for any reason they are locked out of the test, resulting in the need for a test to be reset. These connection issues could result from clicking a back button, losing internet connection, or just staying on the test page for too long. These things may happen, and the longer a test, the more likely at least one student will experience this happening. Unfortunately, over time students have become aware of this issue as well and have been known to enter the test and request a reset after viewing it. 

Why is a Timed Assessment Better?

When students enter a timed assessment, the clock starts ticking down and continues even if the student exits the test. If force completion is turned off and students lose connection to the test, the timer keeps ticking, but they can re-access the test. This prevents test lock outs, and still holds students responsible for taking a test in one sitting. 

See our site for the complete list of Top Testing Tips for Instructors.

NOTE: Blackboard support encourages you to post the Student Test Taking Tips in your Blackboard classes!

Blackboard 9.1.A14 Upgrade

posted Nov 6, 2014, 7:38 AM by TWUTechKnow   [ updated Nov 6, 2014, 7:44 AM ]

Blackboard will be upgrading on Thursday, December 18, 2014. From 12:01 am on December 18 to 11:59 pm on December 18 (approximately 24 hours), TWU’s Blackboard system will be down to perform the upgrade. 

This upgrade will move the system from 9.1.13 to 9.1.A14 resulting in the addition of several frequently requested features including:

  • Anonymous & Delegated grading: Instructors determine during assignment set up if they will use delegated or anonymous grading.
  • Student Preview Mode: Instructors will have a “student preview mode” available in each course shell. This will allow them to see the course as a student will see it.
  • Improved Calculated Formula questions: In calculated formula questions, instructors can select the number of decimals or significant figures for the correct answers generated by the system. 
  • Simplified content creation: Creating assignments, discussion boards, and tests have been simplified and streamlined. 
  • Achievements: The achievements tool allows instructors to create opportunities for students to earn recognition for their accomplishments. Instructors designate criteria for issuing rewards to students in the form of both badges and certificates.

Sneak Peak Webinar 

We invite you to join the Learning Technologies Support group for a Sneak Peek of the new feature and interface.  Webinar tours will be held on the following dates.  

Wednesday, November 12 @ 2 pm 

Join Session

Tuesday, November 18 @ 10 am     

Join Session

Monday, December 1 @ 1:30 pm     

Join Session

*Click Join Sessionto join webinar as early as 15 minutes prior to session time. Departmental and individual session times are available by request: Blackboard@twu.edu.

Blackboard 9.1.13 Show Test Results and Feedback to Students

posted Nov 5, 2014, 1:27 PM by TWUTechKnow   [ updated Nov 6, 2014, 7:44 AM ]

Blackboard 9.1.13 has enhanced options for instructors to determine what and when students see feedback for tests. Instructors can choose initial and subsequent options. It is recommended that instructors tell students what and when feedback can be expected for a test. Instructors can share this information in the test description. 

Feedback Options:

Initial Options:
  • After Submission
  • One-time View
  • On Specific Date
  • After Availability End Date
  • After Attempts are graded
Choices:
  • Score per question*
  • Answers
    • All Answers
    • Correct
    • Submitted
  • Feedback
  • Show Incorrect Questions
*NOTE: Score per question will show the students their score and the text of the test question. If you want students to see their score but not the text of the test question, leave the Score per question box unchecked.

Score Per Question

Subsequent Options:
  • On Specific Date
  • After Due Date  
  • After Availability End Date
  • After Attempts are graded
Choices:
  • Score
  • Answers
    • All Answers
    • Correct
    • Submitted
  • Feedback
  • Show Incorrect Questions

Show Test Results and Feedback to Students:
Feedback to Students

Blackboard IM: Office Hours

posted Nov 5, 2014, 7:55 AM by TWUTechKnow

Instructors can have office hours online through Blackboard IM. This option features a main chat area and a waiting room. Instructors can choose to automatically move students in the waiting room into the chat area, or promote them individually.

Office Hours Set Up

Instructors can adjust settings such a waiting room chat, automatic promotion, require a reason to enter, and a greeting to students for the Office Hours feature. 
  1. Click the dropdown arrow on the Status Bar. In the Office Hours section, click Custom.
  2. The Edit Custom Status window is displayed. Enter a title for the status.
  3. In the Settings section, select preferences for the following options:
    • Enable waiting room chatting-if this is not checked, the waiting room participants are anonymous and participants cannot communicate or see each other’s identities.
    • Automatic promotion-this allows students entering the waiting room to automatically be entered into the main room when there is no one else in the room.
    • Allow Office Hours messaging only-this feature limits the messages you can receive through Blackboard IM during office hours.
    • Require reason for entering- this allows the instructor to determine why the students are requesting time.
    • Greeting for the waiting room-this greeting is sent to each student entering the waiting room.
    • Save for future use-save current settings for this custom status.
  4. Click OK.

Office Hours

Blackboard 9.1.13 Excel & the Grade Center

posted Oct 22, 2014, 7:58 AM by TWUTechKnow   [ updated Oct 22, 2014, 8:07 AM ]

All course grade centers can be exported to Excel using Blackboard’s download feature. This process provides a backup of the Full Grade Center. Blackboard support strongly advises using this procedure each time changes are made in the grade center to ensure backup of sensitive grade information. 

How to Export the Full Grade Center

  1. On the Control Panel, click Grade Center and click Full Grade Center
  2. Click Work Offline on the right side and click Download.
  3. On the Download Grades page under Data, select Full Grade Center.
  4. Under Options, select the Delimiter Type as Tab
    NOTE: If users or columns have been hidden and you want the information backed up, you must select Yes by Include Hidden Information.
  5. Click Submit.  A file containing the Grade Center data will be created.
  6. Click the Download button and choose where to save the file.
NOTE: The file will be downloaded with an *.xls extension which will open in Excel.
lynda


Want to see this in action?

Visit Lynda.com course Blackboard Essential Training for Instructors.

7. Using the Grade Center: Beyond the Basics Downloading grades and editing in Excel  & Uploading student grades

 

NOTE: TWU faculty, staff, and students must set up an account prior to using service. To set up an account go to: http://www.twu.edu/LTS/.



How to Import an Excel File to the Grade Center
Blackboard features an option to import Excel files into the grade center. Excel offers complex mathematical functions that instructors can use for specific grade calculations. If you export (download) the Grade Center to Excel to do additional grade calculations, you will need to import (upload) the grades back into Blackboard.
  1. On the Control Panel, click Grade Center and click Full Grade Center
  2. Click Work Offline on the right side and click Upload.
  3. On the Upload Grades page click Browse My Computer to locate the file.
  4. Select the Delimiter Type as Tab
  5. Click Submit.The Upload Grades Confirmation screen will appear.
  6. Click Submit.

Blackboard 9.1.13 Grade Center Organization

posted Oct 16, 2014, 7:18 AM by TWUTechKnow

Instructors can organize their grade center view using the Column Organization tool in the grade center.

Access Column Organization tool:

  1. On the Control Panel, click Grade Center, and then click Full Grade Center.
  2. On the Manage drop down, click Column Organization.
In the upper portion of the screen, items common to all grade centers are displayed. These items include first and last name, username, student ID, last access and availability. Instructors can select if they always see username, student ID, last access and availability by dragging and dropping those items above the gray marker line “Everything above this bar is a frozen column. Drag this bar to change which columns are frozen.”

Instructors can click the 4 way arrow to the left of the gray marker line and drag it below any items they prefer to always see in the grade center. To move only one or select items above the gray marker line, click the 4 way arrow to the left of each item and drag it above the gray marker line.
All Grade Center Views

Column Hide-from Instructor View:

Instructors are able to hide columns from display within the Grade Center. Hiding columns that are not being used from instructor view reduces the need for continuous scrolling across the page. 

Hiding columns in the grade center from instructor view does not hide them from students. To hide a column from both the student and instructor, hide the column from the student first*. Then, hide the column from the instructor.
  1. On the Column Organization page, check the box beside any item to be hidden.
  2. At the top or bottom of the screen, hover the mouse over the Show/Hide button.
  3. Click Hide Selected Columns.
Columns that are hidden will appear in light gray font.
Grade Center View: Hide Selected Columns

Column Visibility-from Instructor View:

Instructors can make columns previously hidden appear in the grade center. This process will allow the columns hidden from instructor view to be visible in instructor view. If a column is hidden from or visible to students, this process will not change that status.
  1. On the Column Organization page, check the box beside any item to be displayed.
  2. At the top or bottom of the screen, hover the mouse over the Show/Hide button.
  3. Click Show Selected Columns.
Columns that are displayed will appear in black font.

*Column Hide-from Student View:

See information about hiding columns from student view.

Thank you to Dr. Barney Sanborn, Department Chair of Kinesiology for this tip!

Post First & Moderated Discussion Board

posted Oct 1, 2014, 8:32 AM by TWUTechKnow   [ updated Oct 1, 2014, 8:32 AM ]

Blackboard 9.1.13 enhanced the discussion board with the post first feature. This feature can be used to insure that each student creates their own work before seeing other posts. When selecting this option, students will not be allowed to create threads. If the discussion board is to be graded, only forum grading is available.

Moderated Discussion Board is a way for instructors to insure that each student creates their own work before seeing other posts as well as determining if content is appropriate. When a discussion board is moderated, each post is held in queue until the instructor (or other designee) “publishes” the post to the class or “returns” the post to the student. If the instructor decides to return the post to the student, an option is given to add comments.

Create a Post First Discussion Board:

  1. From course menu click Discussions.
  2. Click Create Forum.
  3. Enter a Name and Description of the forum.
  4. Select forum availability.
  5. In section 3 Forum Settings select the appropriate forum settings. See more information about discussion forum settings.
  6. Click Submit.

When students access this type of discussion board for the first time the forum description is shown to them:
discussion forum

 

Moderated Discussion Boards

Instructors can use moderated discussion boards to determine what posts are published for students to view. Instructors can choose to publish or return each student’s post.

Force Moderation of Posts is a setting in Discussion Board Forum Set Up.

Moderate a Discussion Board:

  1. Navigate to the discussion board for moderation. Click the forum title.
  2. On the forum page, click Moderate Forum.
  3. The Moderation Queue page is displayed. By each post click Moderate.
  4. The Moderate Post page is displayed. In section 2 Post Moderation 2 options are available: (1) Publish or (2) Return. If Return is selected, an option to attach a message is available.
  5. Click Submit. Repeat steps 3-5 until finished.

Thank you to Dr. Judith Moreillon, Assistant Professor in School of Library & Information Studies for this tip!

Naming in Blackboard

posted Oct 1, 2014, 7:14 AM by TWUTechKnow   [ updated Oct 1, 2014, 8:32 AM ]

When naming items in Blackboard, some characters such as #, $, &, @, ! and others can be interpreted as code. Naming applies to any content such as assignment names or names of files uploaded for assignments, discussion board names or any material posted to discussion boards, test names, test questions, or test answers, and content items.

Letters (A-Z or a-z), numbers (0-9), periods (.), and underscores (_) are all acceptable. Please avoid using special characters such as #, @, !, $, %, &, *, or others.


Naming Items:

Invalid Names

Valid Names

File#1.doc

Fileone.doc

File/one.doc

File_one.doc

File.one.doc

File1.doc



See Naming in Blackboard. Please post or share this information with students.

Blackboard 9.1.13 Courses Tab Listing

posted Sep 23, 2014, 9:02 AM by TWUTechKnow   [ updated Sep 23, 2014, 9:02 AM ]

Instructors can view a full list of courses in the Courses tab on Blackboard. Even courses that are hidden in the My Courses module on the homepage are displayed in the Courses tab. Instructors can locate older courses or empty course shells through the Courses tab.

Organize Courses tab Listing:

  1. Log into Blackboard and click Courses.
  2. Hover the mouse in the upper right corner and click the gear icon.
  3. The Personalize: Course List page is displayed. 
    • In section 1, Edit Course List, instructors can check or uncheck the Course Name of any course they wish to display or remove.
    • To reorder the list, instructors can hover the mouse over the left side of the list (to the left of the Select All/Unselect All checkbox) and drag the course to the preferred order.
  4. When finished, click Submit.

Thank you to Dr. Brigitte Vittrup, Associate Professor in Family Sciences for this tip!

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