UNMC Education Technology

EdTech Newsletter: Spring & Summer 2012


  • Blackboard: Update of Blackboard to latest version
    • This version has a major UI update, will require communication to campus users. Major change in the layout of screens
    • Details provided in Appendix A. Of special note are the changes to testing to allow corrections after an exam has been taken without losing students results and how material can be shared between courses more easily.
  • Classroom and cluster workstations – Target Dates: May thru July 2012
    • May
      • Replace 72 computers in Sorrell 1010, 4 years old this summer.
      • Upgrade Anatomy Lab to Windows 7, May after semester end.
      • Replace cluster computers that are 3 or more years old – Sorrell (16), Student Center (6) = 22
      • Replace 2 oldest printers in clusters with new, high-speed units — Replace 2 heaviest used printers in Sorrell Cluster, move existing to Pharmacy Cluster as second high capacity printer and Library 8thfloor.
        • The current units in the high use Sorrell area are used at max usage level and wear out rather quickly. Printers with highest page counts will moved to low use areas as secondary printers and new printers added to the Sorrell location.
    • June
      • Replace instructor workstations
        • Sorrell 1010, 1012, 4053 and 22 small conference rooms throughout building – June 2012
        • Refresh existing computer’s images with latest versions of drivers and software, June 2012.  Includes adobe, browsers, video players, etc.
    • July
      • Replace student and room computers in Clinical Skills, 33 computers – July 2012
      • Replace computers in other classrooms throughout campus that are 3 or more years old – Need to be identified.
        • Wittson classrooms
        • Pharmacy classrooms
        • Nursing selected rooms 2nd floor
    • Determine if replacement needed
      • Replace oldest computers in Anatomy Lab, 16 – (Need to determine when to-do based on usage of lab)
  • Classrooms:
    • Upgrade Sorrell 3002 video to HD quality for input into the Echo recorder
      • Assess how we get HD quality out of room to use in overflow and video recording in video ops center.
      • Complete as soon as possible without disruption of existing classes.
    • Add echo to additional classrooms
      • 5 more rooms summer 2012, rooms to be identified
      • Possible rooms
        • DRC 1004, 1005, 1006
        • Public Health additional rooms – 1 or 2
        • Anatomy Lab
        • Conference rooms used for classes and training.
    • Upgrade 20 echo devices from standard to HD units (standard units no longer being supported after summer 2012)
    • Replace Sorrell 3002 spyder multiple projector controller with new spyder or other product to improve reliability.  Replace as soon as the work can be done without disruption to classes in room at end of spring semester.
    • Reprogram and configure Echo recording in COPH to allow capture of room video at all times including during Tandberg session.
  • Video recording and streaming:
    • Upgrade streaming video infrastructure with new dual recording streaming encoders and new distribution server with portal and universal import capabilities.
      • 3 recording units with licenses
      • New Helix server for delivery of content and uploading new content for distribution.
    • Detail on Helix server and recording units. [Add url to site]
  • Echo360
    • Upgrade echo360 to most recent release to assure continued maintenance and add collaboration and streaming capabilities.  (First upgrade being done during spring break, as user interface will not expand extensively.  Anticipate streaming available summer, need to determine who would want to use?)
    • Details of Features for Echo360 – Appendix B – Echo360 V5
  • Respondus Test Software:
    • Discontinuance of Respondus 4.0 test creation and transfer software at end of contract and grant funding – Summer 2012
  • 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.
    • Piloted or selected release to campus for use with courses and projects. (early summer 2012)

Appendix A – Blackboard Update

The new version, version 9.8, provides a new streamlined, easier to use interface for Blackboard.  A couple of the changes that should be of special interest to faculty are highlighted in yellow and features that may have special application for programs, departments and colleges are highlighted in green.  Of particular note is the exam enhancements which now allow corrections to existing tests even after students have taken an exam, for example if a question is scored incorrectly, it can be rescored after students take it to give credit for a correct answer.  Also, improvements for sharing content between courses have been made which should allow the sharing of course content across multiple courses.

New User Interface

New User Interface: Our focus on the user experience really shows with the new user interface in Service Pack 8. It’s new, yet familiar. Providing a clean and uncluttered experience, users will find it easier to navigate and complete tasks.

Course Themes: In addition to the new Default Theme, there are over 50 other professionally designed themes to choose from so that you can match your course to your subject, color preference, or current mood. Changing the theme of a course is as easy as selecting an item from the drop-down menu.

Quick Setup Guide: The Blackboard Learn platform supports all pedagogical methods. We know that different courses require different structures and designs and the new Quick Setup Guide makes it easy for you to choose an appropriate theme and structure for your course so you spend less time designing and more time on the real work of teaching and learning.

Making Things Easier

Automated Regrading: The most requested new feature in SP8 will save you time and make it easier to correct problem questions in assessments. With Automated Regrading, instructors can drop, give full credit, change point value, or change which answer is marked correct and the system will re-grade submitted assessments gracefully and provide notification about what has changed.

Course Relationship Management: Administrators have a powerful new set of tools to make daily work easier for instructors and students by centralizing the course management process. The Merge Enrollments feature supports Multi-Section Management and Cross-Listed Courses, so instructors can manage all aspects of teaching multiple sections in a single course environment.

Task-Based Navigation: We know you teach multiple courses and when you are performing a task, you often want to do it for several courses. Task-Based Navigation lets you jump from one course to another, retaining the context of the page, so you can perform the same task across multiple courses, saving you time and frustration.

Highlights of New Features & Enhancements – Teaching & Learning

Course Delivery

▪    Merge Enrollments – Multi-Section Management: Multi-Section Management, via the Merge Enrollments feature, enables system administrators to merge the rosters of multiple course sections into one master course. Instructors can then manage course content, communications, grades, and access original courses from one central location.

▪    Merge Enrollments – Crosslisting: Crosslisting, via the Merge Enrollments feature, enables administrators to deliver two or more courses/sections from two different programs as a single combined course. In Learn, students in a crosslisted course see only the course in which they are enrolled. Inside the course, all course content is shared with all associated crosslisted courses.

▪    Term Support: Term Support allows administrators to create date-based terms and associate them with a selection of courses. Further, this association allows batch alignment of many of the date-based course settings and preferences. Instructors see a list of courses sorted by most recent instructional term first in their My Courses module.

▪    Course-to-Course Navigation: Course-to-Course Navigation allows students and instructors to jump from course to course while retaining the context of the page or task from the original page of any recently accessed course.

▪    Activity Reports: Activity Reports provide reporting on how instructors and students are utilizing their Blackboard Learn courses and course materials. Administrators can generate reports for any course in the system, any user, or a collective view of users. Instructor reports are limited to their individual courses and the students enrolled in those courses. The following reports are available: Course Activity Overview – available to Instructors and Administrators; Student Overview for a Single Course – available to Instructors and Administrators; User Activity Overview – available to Administrators only; and Single User Activity Overview – available to Administrators only.

▪    Goal, Content Alignment, and Course Performance Reports:

▪       Goals Content Alignment: All Course Delivery clients can now align content in the course to goals. With this goals toolset, Instructors and Instructional Designers can edit, create, align, and report on goals. Administrators can still import goals via XML data files and edit other goals packages, such as the K-12 NCLB Standards.

▪       Goal Coverage Reports: With the alignment of goals to content, institutions can understand what course content is aligned to stated goals to identify gaps. The following reports are available: the Course Coverage Report – available to Instructors and Administrators; and the Full Coverage Overview Report – available to Administrators.

▪       Performance Reports: With the alignment of goals to content, institutions can determine how a student is performing against learning goal(s) within a course and understand how the collective student membership within a single course are performing against a single goal. The Course Performance Report includes the Learner Performance Report and Goal Performance Single Course Report. Both reports are available to Instructors and Administrators.

▪    Automated Regrading: Instructors can now fix problematic questions by simply editing the invalid question directly and having all necessary updates flow automatically to the Grade Center. For any assessment question, Instructors can drop, give full credit, change point value, or change which answer is marked correct. After the question has been updated, Blackboard Learn recalculates the score of all submitted assessments that included the updated question, reflects the updates in the Grade Center, and provides notification to both the Instructor and optionally to the Student for all impacted submissions.

▪    Negative Marking: Negative Marking allows Instructors to apply negative point values for incorrect answers on assessment questions.

▪    Course Structures: Course Structures are pre-built structures that focus on specific aspects of a course including Activity, Communication, Content, Systems, and Time.  Other Structures mimic the ANGEL and WebCT legacy platforms. These structures re-align the left navigation to match the pedagogical needs of the particular course type.

▪    Course Themes: Course Themes are pre-built designs that Instructors can select to match their design preferences and teaching methods. Course Themes add a background image to the course display and change the color of the user interface. Course Themes do not affect content and can be changed at any time. Note: To use the Course Theme, the new default theme should be enabled, or an existing custom theme should be built upon the new default theme. Refer to the New Default Theme topic below for details.

▪    Quick Setup Guide: When Instructors first enter a course they are presented with a Quick Setup screen that provides links to documents that outline working with content and getting started in the course environment. There are also direct links to the On Demand Learning Center and help.blackboard.com. This feature will help acquaint new users to Blackboard Learn courses, features, and capabilities to help them quickly get started.

▪    New Default Theme: The default theme in Blackboard Learn has been updated to enhance usability, place more emphasis on content and actions, remove on-screen clutter, and increase usable screen space. If you are upgrading from a previous Service Pack, the default theme already enabled will remain. A new theme, Bb Learn 2012, will be added to the Theme and Palette Catalog and may be applied at any time.

▪    Improvements to handling Mini-Websites and File Packages: When an instructor links to an HTML file attachment from a course item, access to that HTML file will be granted to all users enrolled in that course. Instructors can also grant access to other files in the same folder or selected files in the Content Collection to handle mini-websites and packaged content. Student access is constrained by Adaptive Release rules, and these rules, along with access to the files, will be propagated along with the files when the course is copied.

Content Management

▪    Goal Alignment to Files and Folders: Files can be aligned to any active goal via Course Files in the Blackboard Learn course or the Content Collection. Content can be discovered by searching by goal, revealing all content aligned to that goal. Folders and their content can also be aligned directly to a goal. For files attached to content items, Instructors have the option at the time of attachment for the content item to inherit the alignment of the attached file.

▪    Archive/Export with Files in Content Collection: Both Archive and Export now offer the choice to include links or both copies and links to files outside of the Course Files home folder (from the Content Collection). The Manage Package functionality includes a view into the external content such that users can pick and choose the files they want maintained in the archived/exported package.

▪    Improvements to handling Mini-Websites and File Packages: When an instructor links to an HTML file attachment from a course item, access to that HTML file will be granted to all users enrolled in that course. Instructors can also grant access to other files in the same folder or selected files in the Content Collection to handle mini-websites and packaged content. Student access is constrained by Adaptive Release rules, and these rules, along with access to the files, will be propagated along with the files when the course is copied.

Outcomes Assessment

▪    Evaluation Workflow: The evidence collection evaluation workflow allows multiple evaluators to evaluate collected evidence using a rubric in Outcomes Assessment.  Coordinators can generate reports on the rubric results collected directly from the Blackboard Learn course without conducting an additional rubric evaluation in Outcomes Assessment.

▪    Reporting Efficiency: Pre-built reports shipped with Outcomes Assessment run significantly faster due to a new ETL (Extract, Transform, and Load) process that changes the database tables that are referenced for the pre-built reports. Custom reports do not automatically run against the new ETL tables, but they will continue to function normally.

▪    User Experience Enhancements: A “Discover Goals” interface has been created allowing educators to select a goal from several places within Blackboard Learn.  The rubric creation and evaluation process in Outcomes Assessment is now consistent with the experience in Course Delivery.

▪    Goals Update: Standards and objectives are now referred to as Goals. Goals can be created from any “place” within Outcomes (e.g. Institution, Units, Programs, etc.). When batch loading or changing goals, clients will be able to use our XML-loading method, previously available only with K-12 licenses.

Goals Coverage Reports: The Review Related Goals report shows all relationships that exist within in the system for the selected set of goals. Choose to view all relationships or only relationships to a particular type of goals. The report is only available to Administrators with an Outcomes Assessment license.

Appendix B – Echo360 Version 5 features

Multiple ways to capture and use other video

Choose software capture with or without a dedicated appliance, and live webcasting and on-demand viewing. With all of these options, it’s no wonder that EchoSystem is 
the solution of choice for more than 400 institutions around
the world.


EchoReady makes hosted lecture capture what it should be – easy on your instructors and your budget. EchoReady bundles the favorite components of the EchoSystem into a single, ready-to-use service. Capture content on every computer and automatically share it to your favorite LMS.  Students enjoy a rich online experience on all of their favorite devices.

Live Webcasting

Remove the barriers experienced by distance students with a live, virtual classroom experience. Completely automatic and immensely flexible, EchoSystem Live webcasts and records multiple combinations of audio, video and display. Students engage with their classmates and instructor through peer-to-discussions, Q&A and other online teaching tools.

Classroom Capture Software

No dedicated appliances are required with the newest version of EchoSystem Classroom Capture software. Budget friendly, it takes advantage of your existing computers. Support for up to two USB cameras or document cameras mean that it is cost-effective to record even the most complex classroom technology set up.

EchoCenter Improvements

Monitor engagement with EchoCenter heat maps which visually identify viewing patterns. Instructors can identify problems at a glance and a single click navigates to the trouble spot.

Personal Capture for Faculty and Students

Personal capture software gives student or instructors even more control with pause, resume buttons and adds support for Apple Lion OS X.

Lecture Collaboration

Bookmarks, discussions and notes take course engagement to new heights. The latest version of the EchoPlayer creates a collaborative online study experience surrounding course content and lectures. Students can exchange ideas, make their personal study time more efficient and even ask instructors questions.


First iPad Player for Blended Learning

For on-the-go learners, give them their instruction on their favorite devices, day or night. The EchoSystem is the first blended learning solution to include a brand-safe, student-controlled playback designed exclusively for the Apple® iPad™. It displays course visuals, scene-based navigation and watermarks for institutional branding. The EchoSystem also includes Apple iOS and Android™ streaming enabling viewing of recordings in a secure environment that prevents the sharing of instructor IP.


Flexible Capture and Stunning HD Quality

High-def and dual-display capture give students the high-quality, immersive learning experience they expect. Amazingly flexible, recording parameters can be set by classroom, instructor or individual capture. Ideal for special events, distance learning curriculum or everyday classes to grab students’ attention, EchoSystem 4.0 gives students an outstanding blended learning experience with maximum teaching flexibility.

Organize, Track, Learn: The EchoCenter

EchoCenter is a playlist of lecture and supplemental recordings for each course by date. Embeddable into learning management systems like Blackboard® Learn, EchoCenter makes it easy to navigate, identify and launch multimedia course content. EchoCenter enables instructors to track recording usage and preview online student discussions and questions.




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