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Top Testing Tips for Instructors

posted May 1, 2013, 7:28 AM by TWUTechKnow .   [ updated Apr 16, 2014, 9:25 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 in your class prior to the test along with directions for contacting the Technology Service Desk.
lynda


Want to see this in action?

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

1. What’s New in Blackboard 9.1 SP8 and SP9? Using new and improved assessments

11. Creating Online Tests

12. Deploying and Grading Tests

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!

Webinars & Lynda.com

posted Jan 16, 2013, 6:16 AM by TWUTechKnow .   [ updated Mar 3, 2014, 12:52 PM ]

Blackboard 9.1.9 Information Sessions

Webinars

Learning Technologies Support will offer several opportunities to learn more about Blackboard 9.1.9.



lynda
 

Lynda.com

TWU has purchased a subscription for all faculty, staff and students to Lynda.com – an online tutorial video database that covers almost 1,500 tutorial topics on a multitude of subjects including SPSS, Blackboard, Adobe, Microsoft Office products and many more. A complete list of topics can be found at www.lynda.com.

Many Blackboard Tips of the Week will feature highlights from Lynda.com courses. Be sure to set up your account today!

Blackboard Module

We have prepared a blackboard module containing information on getting started with Lynda.com. This will add a lynda.com link on your course menu which contains directions for students on creating their account and a place for you to provide links to specific tutorials. The module and directions for loading the module is available here or request by emailing LTS@twu.edu.

Set Up Your Account                          

To access the tutorials, you must create an account. Here’s how:

  1. To register for your free account, you must click here.
  2. Click Create A Profile
  3. Fill out the registration form to create your account. 

    NOTE: Your username must be your TWU email address – make sure to include @twu.edu. The Password requires at least 6 characters including a number and a symbol.

  4.  Once registered, you can access lynda.com by going directly to www.lynda.com.

NOTE: You should never be prompted to pay in order to see more videos. If this does occur, contact the Technology Service Desk at (940) 898-3971 or servicedesk@twu.edu.  

This service provides foundational learning for the beginner, supplemental technology tutorials to complete assignments for the student and inside tips and tricks for the expert. Each tutorial topic is divided into short videos (usually 3-5 minutes) which can be reviewed as often as needed. If you watch all the videos in a course, a certificate of completion is provided.

For more information about this service or for information on utilizing it in your classes, please feel free to contact the Learning Technologies Support Team at LTS@twu.edu.


Blackboard 9.1.13 Start of Semester FAQ’s

posted Dec 19, 2012, 1:03 PM by TWUTechKnow .   [ updated Apr 16, 2014, 2:21 PM ]

The most frequently asked faculty questions at the beginning of the semester:

Check Links to External Websites

Instructors that use external links should verify those links work accurately. Web links may change and students will not be able to access the information. Two important sites to check this semester:

How Do I Make A Course Available?

Blackboard courses are created as unavailable to students by default. This means that students cannot access a course listed in Blackboard until the instructor makes the course available. To make a course available:
  1. On the Control Panel click Customization and click Properties.
  2. In section 3, Set Availability, select Yes to Make Course Available.
  3. Click Submit.

lynda.com

Want to see this in action?

Visit Lynda.com course Blackboard 9.x Essential Training for Instructors.
2. Setting Course Availability

NOTE: TWU faculty, staff, and students must set up an account prior to using service. Set up an account.


How Do I Copy a Previous Semester’s Content into a New Course Shell?

Instructors can copy materials into a Blackboard course from previous courses by using Course Copy. This feature allows instructors to use materials in more than one course, section or semester.
  1. Enter the course from which you will be copying the material (the source course).
  2. On the Control Panel click Packages and Utilities and then Course Copy.
  3. In Section 2 Select Copy Options click Browse next to Destination Course ID. In the Course window that pops up check the destination course and click Submit.
  4. Check the Course Materials to copy. If you check Assignments, Discussion Boards, or Tests, Surveys and Pools, then you must also select Grade Center Columns and Settings.
  5. Click Submit. At this point you should receive a message that states “Success: Course copy action queued. An email will be sent when the process is complete.”

NOTE: Please be aware that after the email confirmation is received it can take up to 8 hours for all of the material to be fully displayed.


lynda.com

 Want to see this in action?

Visit Lynda.com course Blackboard Essential Training
5. Copying & Moving Content

 

NOTE: TWU faculty, staff, and students must set up an account prior to using service. Set up an account.


How Do I Enroll an Instructor, GTA, or Student in My Course?

TWU has an automated process that enrolls most students and instructors of record in Blackboard. If a student adds the class after the auto process was turned off they will need to be manually added to the class. Instructors choose the role as they add people including instructor, teaching assistant or student.
  1. On the Control Panel click Users and Groups and click Users.
  2. Click Find Users to Enroll (located above the search bar).
  3. On the Add Enrollments page enter username. If needed, click Browse to search.
  4. NOTE: Select the appropriate role (Instructor, Teaching Assistant, or Student) from the role dropdown, and click Submit.

lynda.com

Want to see this in action?

Visit Lynda.com course Blackboard 9.x Essential Training for Instructors.
6. Managing Users: Enrolling students and others

NOTE: TWU faculty, staff, and students must set up an account prior to using service. Set up an account.


How Do I Remove an Instructor from My Course?

Instructors can remove other instructors from a course if they first change their role to student. TWU has an automated process that enrolls most students and instructors of record in Blackboard.

NOTE: If an instructor is officially listed as the Instructor of Record, the instructor will be added into the course using the automated process. To change the instructor of record, departments must contact University Scheduling UniversityScheduling@twu.edu to update course records.

  1. On the Control Panel click Users and Groups and click Users.
  2. Beside the name click the down arrow and select Change User’s Role in Course.
  3. Change the role to student. Click Submit.
  4. Beside the user name click the down arrow and click Remove Users from Course.

How Do I Learn More?

Information sessions and Lynda.com tutorial videos are available to learn more about Blackboard. All faculty, adjunct faculty, staff, TA’s, and GTA’s are welcome to attend any of these sessions being offered by several offices:

Learning Technologies Support Webinar Schedule

Additional Webinars and Faculty Event


lynda.com


Lynda.com course Blackboard Essential Training for Instructors

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

 

NOTE: TWU faculty, staff, and students must set up an account prior to using service. Set up an account.



Blackboard 9.1.13 Grade Center Management

posted Dec 19, 2012, 1:03 PM by TWUTechKnow .   [ updated Apr 16, 2014, 9:28 AM ]

Instructors can customize their grade center view by hiding columns or rows. Columns can be hidden from either the student or the instructor view, or both. Rows can be hidden from instructor view in instances where the student is no longer enrolled in the course.

Hide a Column from Student View:

  1. On the Control Panel, click Grade Center and then Full Grade Center.
  2. Click the downward arrow in the column header of the column you would like to edit and click Show/Hide to Users. The column heading now displays a circle with an orange line through it to indicate the column is not visible to students.

Hide a Column from Instructor View:

  1. On the Control Panel, click Grade Center and then Full Grade Center.
  2. From the Manage drop down menu click Column Organization.
  3. Select the check boxes next to the Grade Center Columns to be hidden.
  4. Click Show/Hide. Click Hide Selected Columns.
  5. Click Submit. Hidden columns will appear greyed out in the Column Organizer. 
NOTE: Hiding a column from displaying within the Grade Center only prevents the column from being seen by the instructor. The column is still available for student viewing. See more about Hiding Columns from Instructor View

Hide a Row:

  1. On the Control Panel, click Grade Center and click Full Grade Center.
  2. From the Manage drop down menu, click Row Visibility.
  3. The Row Visibility screen is displayed. Place a check beside the name(s) to hide. Click Hide Rows.
  4. Click Submit.
See more about Grade Center Row Visibility

lynda.com

Want to see this in action?

Visit Lynda.com course Blackboard Essential Training.

7. Using the Grade Center: Beyond the Basics. Managing columns in the Grade Center

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/.



Blackboard 9.1.13 Excel & the Grade Center

posted Dec 19, 2012, 1:03 PM by TWUTechKnow .   [ updated Apr 16, 2014, 9:28 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 Retention Center

posted Dec 19, 2012, 1:03 PM by TWUTechKnow .   [ updated Apr 16, 2014, 9:28 AM ]

The Early Warning System is now called Retention Center. The Retention Center allows an instructor to gather information about student activity in their course. While basic rules are set up by default, instructors can also create additional rules specifically for their course.  Instructors set up rules based on criteria of their choosing. The Retention Center functionality is based on the Grade Center.

Retention Center Rules

There are four types of rules the instructor can run:
  • Missed Deadlines rule: can be used to identify student(s) that miss due dates. A Missed Deadlines rule can only be applied to assignments or assessments created through blackboard. Missed Deadlines rules will not work on manually created items.
  • Grades Alert: can be used to determine when student(s) meet a score or percent on a specific assignment. This rule can be applied to as an assignment, assessment, or manually graded item. 
  • Activity Alert: based on students’ overall activity within a course.
  • Last Access Alert: identifies the last time a student(s) accessed the course.

Retention Center

In addition instructors can monitor specific students as well as send email notifications to students.

See more information about the Retention Center.

Open Lab 

Learning Technologies Support is offering Open Lab sessions on the Denton Campus to assist you with Start of Semester Procedures and the Roster Merge Tool.  Please join us:
  • April 17, 2014 at 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM in ACT 503 
  • April 28, 2014 at 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM in ACT 503

Blackboard 9.1.13 Global Navigation

posted Dec 19, 2012, 1:03 PM by TWUTechKnow .   [ updated Apr 16, 2014, 9:28 AM ]

New in Blackboard 9.1.13 is Global Navigation. Both instructors and students can use Global Navigation to view course calendars, discussion boards, and course updates. Instructors also have access to their retention center (formerly known as Early Warning System). Students also have access to My Grades.

Global Navigation for Instructors

  • Posts: shows posts, comments, replies from all courses. Instructors can view discussion board activity for a specific course. 
  • Updates: shows announcements, assignments, discussion board activity and tests for all courses or for specific courses. Links are available to open the item or dismiss items. Instructors can adjust settings to determine what updates they receive.  
  • Retention Center: instructors can see an overview of each class and specific rule alerts. Links are available to navigate to the specific course retention center. 
  • Calendar: displays events for all courses. Instructors can determine which courses are displayed. Instructors can add, modify, or delete course events. Instructors can add personal events. 
Global Navigation Menu

See more information about Global Navigation
See more information about Retention Center
See more information about Calendars

Global Navigation for Students

  • Posts: shows posts, comments, replies from all courses. Students can view discussion board activity for a specific course.
  • Updates: shows announcements, assignments, discussion board activity and tests for all courses or for specific courses. Links are available to open the item or dismiss items. Students can adjust settings to determine what updates they receive.  
  • My Grades: grades can be sorted by date or course
  • Calendar: displays events for all courses. Students can determine which courses are displayed. Students can add personal events.
Global Navigation Menu


Blackboard 9.1.13 Post First Discussion Board

posted Dec 19, 2012, 1:03 PM by TWUTechKnow .   [ updated Apr 16, 2014, 9:28 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.

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:

Blackboard 9.1.13 Date Management

posted Dec 19, 2012, 1:03 PM by TWUTechKnow .   [ updated Apr 16, 2014, 9:28 AM ]

Date Management allows instructors to update all due dates and availability dates in a course. Instructors can adjust dates by a certain number of days or by course start and end dates. Instructors can adjust items individually or in bulk. Instructors can adjust due dates and or dates of availability.

Run Date Management by Item Type or Date Type

  1. On the Control Panel click Course Tools and click Date Management
  2. In the Item Types and or Date Types dropdown boxes, make specific selections. 
  3. Click Run Date Management Again.
  4. Choose from one of the following options:
  5.     a. Use Course Start Date
      or
        b. Adjust by Number of Days
  6. Click Start.

Date Management for Individual Items or Bulk

  1. On the Control Panel click Course Tools and click Date Management
  2. Check beside each item (individual) or place a check beside Name (bulk)
  3. Click Adjust Dates.
  4. A blue shaded box will be displayed at the bottom of the screen. Enter a number of days to adjust dates. Enter a number to add days, enter a negative number to remove days.
  5. Click Go.
View more information about Date Management in our Blackboard Documentation.

Blackboard 9.1.13 Test Exceptions

posted Dec 19, 2012, 1:03 PM by TWUTechKnow .   [ updated Apr 16, 2014, 9:28 AM ]

New in Blackboard 9.1.13 is the option for instructors to determine test exceptions. Instructors can set exceptions by individual student(s) or groups. 

Test Exception Options

  • Attempts: Single Attempt, Multiple Attempt, Unlimited Attempts
  • Timer: Time limit and Auto-Submit
  • Availability: dates and times
  • Force Completion: NOT recommended. This setting causes test “lockouts.”
Test Availability Exceptions


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