UNMC Blackboard News 2013 – 1

Blackboard Update

UNMC upgraded to the latest version of Blackboard Learn™, Service Pack 10, over Christmas break.  Nearly 640 institutions as well as over 600 educators and nearly 600 students contributed to the development of this latest release of Blackboard.  Many existing features have been improved and some exciting new features added to Blackboard. Here is an overview of tools that you can expect to be using soon:

  • New Content Editor: The new Content Editor vastly improves the user experience for formatting text, pasting content from Microsoft Word, and adding content to all areas of Learn.  Simply bring your course materials to life.  Blackboard has also replaced the old math editor with a new mathML equation editor. http://ondemand.blackboard.com/r91/movies/bb91_tools_using_content_editor.htm
  • Assessment Item Analysis: Now you can easily refine your assessments by evaluating the quality of each question and that question’s ability to discriminate between students who understand the material and those who do not.  Ineffective questions can easily be identified and then quickly corrected with the Automatic Regrade feature. http://ondemand.blackboard.com/r91/movies/Bb91_tools_item_analysis.htm
  • My Blackboard (May not be fully implemented until Mid-January as Blackboard is adding external to campus features that need be made available]: This feature introduces a completely new, modern user experience in Blackboard Learn that consolidates critical information from all your Courses and Organizations as well as your school-wide academic network.  The new tools in My Blackboard – Profile, Posts, Updates, My Grades, and People – were developed to meet the needs of today’s active learner and enhance student engagement. For educators like you, My Blackboard allows you to easily monitor activity across your courses and organizations and rest-assured that your students are up-to-date and engaged in the online learning experience.  http://ondemand.blackboard.com/r91/movies/bb91_myblackboard_profiles.htm
  • New Global Navigation Menu: Always present in the top right corner, the new navigation menu is the entry point to My Blackboard and also provides one-click access to your Courses, Organizations, Settings, and Blackboard Help.  Additionally, the new menu will tell you how many items in My Blackboard are new or need your attention, so you never miss a thing. http://ondemand.blackboard.com/r91/movies/bb91_myblackboard_global_nav.htm
  • Enterprise Surveys: Enterprise surveys enable you to measure satisfaction levels, community engagement, and other attitudes that impact institutional effectiveness. Surveys provide indirect measurements of student learning by relying on self-reported data and implied success. Enterprise surveys are delivered at the system level. They do not replace course surveys that are available to instructors in their courses. To learn more about course surveys, see About Creating Tests and Surveys. Enterprise surveys collect feedback from specific groups of people. Survey recipients are selected based on their role in the system, their enrollment in courses, or their membership in a department or business unit if your school licenses Community Engagement. You can also upload a list of recipient email addresses to target community members, business leaders, alumni, parents and other stakeholders. Question types available in enterprise surveys include Likert scale, matrix, multiple choice, either/or, and open entry questions. You can add instructions, section breaks, and page breaks, as well as brand your survey with a customized header and footer. You can send your survey out to multiple sets of recipients and analyze the results. Survey results are compared using response periods, which are sets of recipients and a time frame that you specify. You can also compare by enrollments, membership, demographics, or by a specific survey question. You cannot generate reports to compare results from different surveys, only different response periods for the same survey. To analyze results from different surveys, download the survey data and use a third party analysis tool. You need a special user account to access the enterprise survey tool. Your school creates this account for you. From the My Institution tab, select Enterprise Surveys on the Tools panel.
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mw7z4ykEJyI
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6MKQsp5NJo&feature=youtu.be
  • http://www.tubechop.com/watch/826797
Blackboard Innovative Teaching Series
The Blackboard Innovative Teaching Series (BITS) is a training initiative to help augment an institutions internal training efforts. Harnessing our community of Blackboard users, BITS will share the top strategies and pedagogy for both increasing educator efficiency and improving learning outcomes. BITS is free to Blackboard’s clients and is easy to participate. The program consists of weekly faculty training webinars that are taught by faculty and supported by Blackboard experts.

See all upcoming BITS events >

We have created three tracks to give you guidance on the intended audience for each webinar.

  • Getting Started: Whether you are new to online learning or Blackboard, this track will help you ease into e-Learning with the basic fundamentals and best practices.
  • Collaboration: Learn how to effectively communicate with your learners and keep them engaged through a variety of mediums ranging from text messages to discussion boards.
  • Assessing Learners: Assessment is essential for improving student outcomes. Learn how to accurately and effectively assess your students.

Register for BITS Events

Additional Resources to Help

To ensure you can familiarize yourself with these new features of Blackboard Learn and be ready to integrate them in your instruction, links are provided above.   Additional resources are listed below:

If you have questions or concerns about these upcoming changes, please let me know

We expect to complete the upgrade and regular system maintenance within a 2 hour window, during which the system will be unavailable. More details including update time frames and release notes will be available in the next 2 weeks. If you have any questions, please contact your account manager, Margaret, for more information.

CampusPack Update

This release includes connector updates, hosting improvements, and a number of bug fixes. What you can expect in this release:

  • Enhanced and revised Moodle integration via LTI and web services
  • Updated Blackboard connector with SP10 compatibility
  • Enhanced subscriptions and following for content and groups (sponsored functionality)
  • Move to Amazon S3 for attachments
  • Improves download performance
  • Improves availability, reliability, and scalability
  • Many bug fixes
  • All of the updates from the monthly patches

Smartboard Orientation Fix

Over the past 12 months there have been issues in some of the classrooms with Sympodium panels that require frequent reorientation.  This has exhibited itself in multiple ways including every time someone would log into the workstation or just the first time someone logs into the workstation during the semester.  After testing and working with Smart Technology support, the only solution found is to replace the sympodium themselves.  We are working with Smart to replace the desktop sympodium in the lecture halls in Sorrell starting with 3001 and 3002.  Working with the primary users of these and other affected classrooms, the wide-screen sympodium units will be replaced this spring and summer .  These newer units work better with both the latest Smart Technology software and Microsoft Windows.

Student Update Fall 2012

Blackboard Mobile (No longer free as of 9/10/2012)

During the past year, Blackboard Mobile access has been available to faculty, students and staff on smartphones, iPhones, iPad and other mobile devises.  UNMC used the free version which allowed these devices to access Blackboard via ethernet connectivity.  As of  9/10/2012, Blackboard is no longer offering the free option as their contract with Sprint expires.  Institutions have the option of paying a significant annual fee for the whole campus or allow individuals to purchase and use the tool.  UNMC is currently opting for the individual option, which will cost ($2.00 per year per user) or $6.00 per use for a perpetual license.  Individuals can purchase this through either the Apple store or Droid store accessible via their portable devices.  As of August 1, twelve hundred UNMC individuals had downloaded the current Mobile App.

Notable new features of Blackboard Mobile

  • Audience Response:  The current Blackboard Mobile can be used to provide audience response during classes and educational sessions by using the survey and test capabilities of Blackboard.
  • Testing:  Blackboard tests and surveys can be taken using Blackboard Mobile.  Basic question types including multiple choice and text response can be used.
  • Notification: New push notification capabilities have been added to both the main Blackboard system which allow notification to mobile devices via text messaging as well as email. and the main Blackboard system which allow notification to mobile devices via text messaging as well as email.

Printing Changes – More than 500 pages a semester now will cost five cents per page for those pages printed beyond 500 page limit.

Beginning with the Fall semester, student printing has been changed to allow each student 500 pages of printing per semester.  If a student needs to print more than 500 pages, a student can purchase additional pages at a rate of $.05 per page with a minimum purchase of an additional 100 pages for $5.00.  Larger numbers can be purchased if the student wants more pages.  This change is being made to more equitably provision student printing.  The relatively few students who need to print large numbers of pages during the year will pay for the extra pages that they need and the majority of students can still print a limited number of pages during the year.

To check how much printing you have done and how much you can still print, you can look at the print icon in the bottom right of the screen.  There is an icon there that displays your current print pages and amount available.  The picture below shows you what you will see for your campus id.  Click on the double up arrows and then select the print application.

SAS for Students

Students can now purchase SAS statistical software using a credit card ($25).  Once payment is received, information will be provided on how to access the software.  The link can be found on the main ITS page “Student Resources” and under “Software Downloads” on the quick links.

Direct Link:  http://app1.unmc.edu/forms/its/sas_license/request.cfm

New computers and Updates

During the 2012 summer, computers were upgraded in Sorrell 1010 (72 computers) and the Sorrell interaction rooms (22 computers).  The 2 printers in the Sorrell cluster were equipped with new, high-speed units.  Instructor workstations were also replaced in Sorrell 1010, 1012, 4053.  Of particular note for students is the replacement of computers in the Student Life Center computer cluster.  These units are new, low-cost thin client computers (minimal workstations that run software on an external server).  These computers provide for easier updating and addition of software and can provide even more power than traditional workstations do.  They also reduce the cost and energy consumption of the individual workstations.  ITS is interested in how these are working for students, if you have any comments please email leis@unmc.edu.

Other Notable General Updates and Upgrades of Educational Technology

  • New Echo360 version installed providing enhanced recording capabilities and hd quality capabilities.  Includes the capability to bookmark points in lectures and the ability to live stream in rooms that have the new HD Recording units installed (UNMC is gradually deploying these units in classrooms during this academic year).

Educational Technology Update Fall 2012

Update on Blackboard, Blackboard Mobile, Echo, Campuspack, Printing and other items

Current Version of Blackboard Special Highlights

The current version of Blackboard has some particularly useful features that we noted in the spring newsletter.  To reiterate items of particular note for faculty, the following provide significant enhancement.

  • Multi-Course Management – Multi-Section Management & Crosslisting: Multi-Section Management enables instructors to manage their courses (across multiple sections) and communicate across multiple courses. Crosslisting makes it possible for administrators to deliver two or more courses as a single combined course.
  • Testing
    • Negative Marking: It is now possible to apply negative point values for incorrect answers on Assessment questions.  For example, one could provide 1 point for a correct answer, a fraction off for non-correct items in multiple answer questions.
    • Regrading: It is now possible to regrade answers after an exam is completed.  For example one could correct questions where a wrong answers is marked as correct, etc.

UNMC Blackboard Fixes and Help 

  • Disappearing Menus fixed in pre-fall semester update:  Over the past few months a problem with the left main menu in blackboard has appeared.  Several users reported that the menu disappeared or had been minimized so that it was not visible.  To resolve this issue, when one first goes into a course now, the menu will always be expanded and visible.
  • Online Help Resources: A set of training materials in text and video formats are now available for faculty use.  You can access these at unmc.edu/its/bb_help_faq.htm or from the login page of my.unmc.edu.  Most of these materials are external to UNMC but we are working on a campus faq at faq.unmc.edu that will cover basic help for common questions about Blackboard or other campus supported educational software.

Blackboard Mobile (No longer free as of 9/10/2012)

During the past year, Blackboard Mobile access has been available to faculty, students and staff on smartphones, iPhones, iPad and other mobile devises.  UNMC used the free version which allowed these devices to access Blackboard via ethernet connectivity.  As of  9/10/2012, Blackboard is no longer offering the free option as their contract with Sprint expires.  Institutions have the option of paying a significant annual fee for the whole campus or allow individuals to purchase and use the tool.  UNMC is currently opting for the individual option, which will cost ($2.00 per year per user) or $6.00 per use for a perpetual license.  Individuals can purchase this through either the Apple store or Droid store accessible via their portable devices.  As of August 1, twelve hundred UNMC individuals had downloaded the current Mobile App.

Notable new features of Blackboard Mobile

  • Audience Response:  The current Blackboard Mobile can be used to provide audience response during classes and educational sessions by using the survey and test capabilities of Blackboard.
  • Testing:  Blackboard tests and surveys can be taken using Blackboard Mobile.  Basic question types including multiple choice and text response can be used.
  • Notification: New push notification capabilities have been added to both the main Blackboard system which allow notification to mobile devices via text messaging as well as email. and the main Blackboard system which allow notification to mobile devices via text messaging as well as email.
 Echo Update

The Echo360 classroom recording system is now installed in over 30 classrooms and conference rooms across campus.  The Echo server was upgraded to a new server using 64bit architecture to provide increased speed in the adding of and playing back of lectures and other video recordings.  Starting in July, replacement of existing Echo360 units with HD Echo360 units has begun.  These units provide enhanced, high resolution capabilities.

The latest version of Echo360 was installed on the server in July.  The new version of Echo360 software includes live streaming as well as viewing previously recorded sessions.  It also will allow more ways to record session without requiring the use of Echo360 appliances to record basic video in the room being recorded.  The ability to live stream from a class or event is expected to be available sometime this summer.

A new feature is also available that allows viewers to collaborate, comment and bookmark recordings. Collaboration between viewers of videos, allows the addition of personal notes and responses that can be added by students and faculty in a shared environment or only used for private notes and bookmarks. This feature is individually controlled by course or event and must be requested to be turned on for any courses or events.  Faculty who would like to test this with their students can request this option when requesting the scheduling of Echo for course lectures or events.

CampusPack

The Campus Pack Summer 2012 release is live with additional features, enhancements, and fixes.

  • Moved the datacenters to Amazon Web Services (AWS) to achieve better performance and greater scalability
  • New features like Activity Stream, Reporting Center, and Google Analytics.
  • Over 40 bugs fixed, which are noted in the Release notes.

There are free webinars on what’s new in Campus Pack 4.8 and how you can use each of the following areas in Campus Pack to engage your students in and outside of the classroom.  To view the tutorials:

Printing Changes – More than 500 pages a semester now will cost five cents per pages printed beyond 500 page limit.

Beginning with the Fall semester, student printing has been changed to allow each student 500 pages of printing per semester.  If a student needs to print more than 500 pages, a student can purchase additional pages at a rate of $.05 per page with a minimum purchase of an additional 100 pages for $5.00.  Larger numbers can be purchased if the student wants more pages.  This change is being made to more equitably provision student printing.  The relatively few students who need to print large numbers of pages during the year will pay for the extra pages that they need and the majority of students can still print a limited number of pages during the year.

New computers and Updates

During the 2012 summer, computers were upgraded in Sorrell 1010 (72 computers) and the Sorrell interaction rooms (22 computers).  The 2 printers in the Sorrell cluster were equipped with new, high-speed units.  Instructor workstations were also replaced in Sorrell 1010, 1012, 4053.  Of particular note for students is the replacement of computers in the Student Life Center computer cluster.  These units are new, low-cost thin client computers (minimal workstations that run software on an external server).  These computers provide for easier updating and addition of software and can provide even more power than traditional workstations do.  They also reduce the cost and energy consumption of the individual workstations.

Video Updates

  • The Sorrell 3002 echo recorders have been upgraded to allow for the recording of video inputs and the computer at HD levels.
  • Upgrade streaming video infrastructure with new dual recording streaming encoders and new distribution server with portal and universal import capabilities.
  • New Helix server for delivery of content and uploading new content for distribution.

Respondus

The campus contract for Respondus 4.0 test creation and transfer software was not renewed for the 2012/2013 academic year.  Individuals can purchase individual copies of the software directly from Respondus.

Collaboration Server:

To meet the need for collaboration and file storage space, LEIS is testing an open-source resource AlFresco, a collaboration system. It contains file editing and repository, blog, wiki, discussions and other tools for groups and individual. Areas wanting to pilot can contact Dan Moser at dmoser@unmc.edu.