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.

 

UNMC Educational Technology Update – Spring 2012

UNMC Educational Technology Update
Spring 2012
3/16/12

Contents

  • Mobile
    • BBMobile
    • UNMC mobile site – m.unmc.edu
  • Blackboard
    • Issues
    • BBMobile
    • Latest Version
  • Campuspack – Blogs and Wikis
  • Campus Classroom and Cluster Computers
    • Recent Updates
    • Summer 2012 Planned Updates and Changes
  • Echo360 – classroom recording system
  • 2012 Educational Technology Presentations, Training and Seminars

Mobile

BBMobile
The Blackboard Mobile free edition is available for use at UNMC.  It can be used using the following methods:

  • WiFi connection for I-devices including ipad, iphone, etc.
  • Using a device connected to the Sprint network provides full access to BBMobile for all smart phones and tablets.

The app is freely available for download and installation on the above devices.  We are interested in feedback about this app and its usefulness.  To make it available to non-sprint or IOS devices, a campus annual license would be needed so feedback on its usefulness would be very helpful.

The following services are available via the Blackboard Mobile app.  It is possible to access to courses and organizations, view documents and items in a mobile device specialized window, and link to and take exams via the browser.  The app provides  the quick loading of items and the course via the devices browser to provide a near desktop experience, this is most useful on the ipad.

To Use the Blackboard Mobile App please follow these steps:

  • Download Blackboard Mobile app for particular device, usually available from the device app store.
  • Install and open the app
  • Blackboard Mobile begins with a selection screen
  • Choose UNMC to access the UNMC Blackboard system
  • Login with your id and password
  • Your courses and organizations should be available for use.

Based on initial experience, the best uses of the app include general access to blackboard on small form factor devices and with the Ipad as a quick check of course material which is then used through a browser or downloaded for off-line use.

UNMC mobile site – m.unmc.edu
A campus mobile site is now available to the campus mobile users at m.unmc.edu.  This site provides news, events, maps, tools, contact us and easy access to www.unmc.edu.  On most portable devices it can bookmarked and have a quick link added to a phone or tablet using the normal device methods for creating shortcuts.

Blackboard

Mobile – see above

No Known Current Issues

Latest Version Testing and Plans
The latest software update for Blackboard (Version 9.1, Service Pack 8) has been released.  Normally these updates are bug fixes and minor changes, this one while not fundamentally changing the components of Blackboard, does introduce a new and redesigned interface.  Preliminary review has been positive but we would like to offer the opportunity for more of the campus to review this release prior to installing it as the campus blackboard active version at the beginning of the summer.

Currently the test server (oldbb.unmc.edu) is  housing the previous release of Blackboard with copies of UNMC courses and organizations as of May 2011.  To update this server to the latest release, all courses and organizations will be archived and stored to allow retrieval of these courses if needed by faculty or programs. If you want to archive any courses yourself or delete them from the planned archiving, please visit (https://oldbb.unmc.edu) by Tuesday, April 10, 2012 and archive or delete desired courses.

Anything still on the oldbb.unmc.edu, the morning of Wednesday, April 11, 2012, will be archived. After the archive, you can request course restores from the academic 2010/2011 year by contacting Joe Ziskovsky at jziskovs@unmc.edu or Melissa Diers at mdiers@unmc.edu. 

After Friday, April 13, 2012, we urge faculty to login to oldbb.unmc.edu and view/interact with the new version of Blackboard 9.1 Service Pack 8 to prepare for the Summer upgrade of the production server (my.unmc.edu).  Comments and suggestions can be sent to leis@unmc.edu.

Campuspack

Campuspack is an online resource for protected social media activities such as blogs, podcasts, group and instructional class work.  It links to blackboard but can be used in standalone configuration.  It is available through blackboard and at unmc.campuspack.net and requires use of a UNMC campus id and password to access and use.

The campuspack software company updated Campuspack on Jan. 1, 2012.   Using with classes and individual students has been improved.  It is now easier to setup assignments and work areas for the whole class, groups or individuals, see below.  The following features were enhanced or added:

Campuspack User Interface Changes
Most of the changes are minor and will not interfere with the user experience. However, in some cases if users are to take advantage of the new features they will be exposed to new screens. Users will notice the following changes in the user interface after the Campus Pack 4.4 upgrade.

Updated Icons: The Campus Pack content icons have been updated. These changes should not interfere with the usage of Campus Pack and are similar to previous icons.

Authenticated RSS: Users will see a grayed out RSS icon  on the header of all content that is not shared with everyone in the world (public content). Users are not required to subscribe to authenticated RSS feeds.

Batch Creation of Content: When a user adds new content to a course they will see a new Assignment Type option that enables them to create content either for the entire class or separate content items for individuals or course teams. Note that a user will be exposed to other new screens only if they choose the Group or Individual option. If the Class option is chosen then the user experience is same as before.

Note: The new screens related to the Batch Creation of Content feature are off by default. If you would like to use the Batch Creation of Content feature please email support@learningobjects.com.  This feature will be turned off by default only until the next upgrade which will be available in Summer 2011.

New Features and Enhancements

FeatureDescriptionTarget User Group
Authenticated RSS FeedsCampus Pack 4.4 will support RSS everywhere. The authenticated RSS feature enables RSS access to all content in Campus Pack, whether public to the world or shared privately to a limited audience.All users
Batch Creation & Management of ContentCourse designers and faculty no longer need to manually create individual and group assignments one-by-one by hand. Campus Pack 4.4 enables batch creation of content.Instructors
Managing Content AvailabilityCourse designers and faculty can make content available/unavailable to students via a flag on the Content Settings screen. Blackboard Learn and Moodle integrations are supported – this setting is linked to the “Availability” flag in Blackboard Learn and the “Hide/Unhide” option in Moodle.Instructors
Blackboard 9 Group Tool SupportBlackboard Learn users can now create Campus Pack Wiki, Blog and Podcast Feeds in Course Groups.Instrutors
Content Export ImprovementsThe export code has been re-worked to support multiple export formats.  Initially, the released version of the new feature will add a single HTML page plus attachments in a ZIP file in addition to the multiple page, or standalone site format.All users
Content Recycle ImprovementsWhen recycling sites that were copied from another course, we are now looking at the enrollment information from BOTH courses. When a site is created by a user who’s content we are deleting, rather than just deleting the site wholesale, we are now going to look at all pages, individually.  Only the pages created by users whose content we are deleting will be deleted.  Pages created by other users will not.Instructors
In-line Audio/Video Player ImprovementsThe Campus Pack inline player can now play .m4a and .m4v files.All users
Transcoding .wav filesWAV files transcoded to MP3 - any WAV files uploaded to a podcast will be transcoded into MP3s, to make for lower-bandwidth downloads.  When a WAV is uploaded, ot the recorder is used, the audio is temporarily unavailable while it is converted into MP3, a format that is better suited to podcasts.All users

Campus Classroom and Cluster Computers

The workstations in campus classrooms and student computer clusters are administered centrally using Citrix software and servers.  When a computer is rebooted, the operating system and software applications are reloaded onto the computer.  This allows for consistent computer setup and easy updating of the computers with new software.

Recent Updates
The most recent changes and additions that have been deployed to classroom and cluster computers include:

  • A McKesson Update to selected rooms in the vicinity of clinical areas or known to be used by clinical physicians.
  • Epic OneChart access has been added to Sorrell 1010 and 1012 computers and will be added to other classrooms and clusters as it becomes generally available.
  • Outlook Email – Icons for access to Outlook email have been added to the cluster workstations and will be added to classrooms in the next few weeks.

Planned summer 2012 updates
The planned updates and upgrades for Classrooms and Educational Technology include the standard software updates and refurbishment of equipment in educational technology enhanced classrooms throughout campus.  Of particular note are the following:

  • Computers are being upgraded in the Sorrell 1010 lab, the Sorrell clinical skills center, the Sorrell and student center computer clusters, and the instructor workstations in Sorrell 1010, 1012, 4053 and 22 Sorrell small conference rooms.
  • Upgrading video in Sorrell 3002 to HD quality
  • Adding additional echo rooms, locations to be identified.
  • Upgrading of existing echo units to hd echo units.
  • Testing a campus collaboration server.

For more detail, visit http://blog.unmc.edu/edtech/educational-technology-updates-and-upgrades-spring-and-summer-2012/

Echo360 – classroom recording system

The Echo360 classroom recording system is now installed in over 25 classrooms and conference rooms across campus.  Over the past few months the server was upgraded to a new enhanced server using 64bit architecture to provide increased speed in the adding of and playing back of lectures and other video recordings.  The ability to provide a podcast and vodcast format on requested recordings has also been added.

A new feature is now 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 can be individually controlled by course or event.  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.

A new version of the Echo360 software has been announced that will include live streaming as well as the current recording method and reviewing of material.  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.

Upcoming 2012 Educational Technology Presentations, Training and Seminars

  • April 12, 2012 − 11am to 1pm, SOCIAL MEDIA IN HEALTH SCIENCE EDUCATION
  • Summer session (Date TBD) – Proposed Presentation on Educational Simulation
  • For other IT training sessions please visit – http://www.unmc.edu/its/training.htm