Learning Centered Technology

Technology for the Educator

Smart Phones

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Smart Phones

Smart Phones

As many of you are aware the new iPhone is coming out soon. Apple is actually releasing two phones, the iphone 6 and the iphone 6 plus. If you are in the market for a new phone you may be asking what the difference are between the two and what are my other options?

Business Insider has published an article The Key Differences Between The iPhone 6 And The iPhone 6 Plus by Alyson Shontell. This article compares the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus.

DroidLife has another article Comparison: iPhone 6 and Plus vs. Galaxy S5 vs. Galaxy Note 4 vs. Moto X vs. G3 vs. One (M8) by Kellex. This site has a nice comparing the different phone in categories’ from price to battery life, weight, displays, and much more.

Finally Adario Strange from Mashable does a comparison in his article iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus vs. the Competition. He compares iphones, Galaxy S5, HTC One M8, Lumia 930, and Moto X.

Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

September 15, 2014 at 9:00 am

Posted in Other Topics of Interest

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Customizing the Grade Book: Grading Periods

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It is not uncommon in higher education for faculty to have to report mid-term grades. This can be simple with a little planning. Blackboard Grading Periods is a simple way to accomplish this reporting.

Grading Periods are used to sort Grade Center Columns into sections based on due dates. These sections help manage the Grade Center by associating Grade Columns together so that viewing and reporting can be done based on a Grading Period instead of the entire Grade Center.

It goes without saying that in order for this to work properly, due dates must be set for all activities listed in the grading center.

Create Grading Periods

To get started go to the Full Grade Center> Manage> Grading Periods> Create Grading Period.

  • Add a Name to identify the grading period.
  • Fill out the date range for the columns you want included.
  • Select the Associate Columns option.
  • Submit
Grading Period

Grading Period

To View Grading Periods

  • Return to the full grading center.
  • Select Filter and change the Current View to the Grading Period you want to view.
Current View

Current View

 

Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

September 8, 2014 at 9:00 am

Textbooks

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Textbooks

Textbooks

Every instructor has struggles with students getting a late start because of textbook prices. Today I would like to share a few resources I have collected for free and inexpensive textbook alternatives. There are a number of sites out there like Merlot (http://www.merlot.org/merlot/index.htm?action=find) and Open Stax (http://openstaxcollege.org/books) that have alternatives to the pricey traditional book publishers.

Although it may be too late to incorporate these resources into this semester, now is the time to start thinking about the future. If you are looking to design a new online class or substitutions to your current course offering, please check out this list alternative solutions for your classroom.

Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

September 1, 2014 at 9:00 am

Normal: Battery Analytics

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The web is full of articles on how to increase your mobile battery life such as ZDNet’s 26 ways to improve your iPhone’s battery life. All of these are good resources to help, but who wants to do a web search each time you are looking for the precise steps to disable your phones background refresh option.

 

Normal: Battery Analytics

Normal: Battery Analytics

This week I have a new app for you, although it is not necessarily educational it is very useful. The app is called Normal. It is useful to discover the battery sucking apps on your mobile device and how to fix the problems. Check it out at the App Store Normal: Battery Analytics.

Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

August 25, 2014 at 9:00 am

Collecting Threads

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The discussion board is one of the more powerful tools a faculty can use to build community and allow students to interaction with other students in Blackboard. Keeping up with those discussion post is much easier if you use the collection feature. Collection is available to both faculty and students and is extremely easy to use. Once you enter the forum all you do is select and collect.

  1. Click Select All
  2. Click Collect

Collect

Collect

The selected threads will open and all be listed on one page. From the open post you can respond to individual post. This feature even allows you to print the post. Discussions have never been easier to review and all it takes is two simple clicks.

Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

August 18, 2014 at 9:00 am

Posted in BB9 Essentials

Tagged with , ,

Achievements in Blackboard Learn

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The achievements tool allows instructors to create opportunities for students to earn recognition for their accomplishments. These opportunities are called achievements. Instructors designate criteria for issuing rewards to students in the form of both badges and certificates. Students can see which rewards they have earned and what is required to receive additional rewards. Instructors can easily see which students have reached learning milestones.

Badges

Badges

To create Achievements

     Control Panel> Course Tools> Achievements> Create Achievement

Create Achievement

Create Achievement

Select the type of achievement:

  • Course Completion: The certificate reward is required. An additional badge is optional.
  • Milestone: The reward can only be a badge.
  • Custom: The reward can be a badge, certificate, or both.

Decide the name and location of the achievement. Use the description box to describe the achievement the student has completed.

Achievements

Achievements

Six steps to Define Triggers

  1. Rule Name – Force completion of this achievement after a specific date. If no date is selected this achievement can be completed at any time.
  2. Date – Force completion of this achievement after a specific date. If no date is selected this achievement can be completed at any time.
  3. Membership – Give this achievement to specific users or groups.
  4. Grade – Identify a specific grade that must be made to complete this achievement. Possible points for a Grade Center grade or calculated column are listed in brackets beside the column name. The score entered must be numeric.
  5. Review Status – Force users to review specific content to complete this achievement.
  6. Select Reward – Click Select Reward to select reward. Click Cancel to quit.

The final step is to select the reward. Blackboard will offer a few images to attach to the reward or you can add your own.

Badges

Badges

Delete Achievements

Access an achievement’s contextual menu and click Delete. If you choose to delete an achievement which has already been earned by a student, the associated reward will also be deleted.

 

Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

August 11, 2014 at 9:00 am

Overwrite File in Blackboard 9.1.12

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A common problem in building an online class is the constant updates. Each semester you will need to update your syllabus and other course materials. The best way to do this is through the Overwrite File command. This command will allow you to replace the existing file with a new file without having to change a link within the course content.

To Overwrite a File

  • In the Control Panel click on Content Collection.
  • Click the Action Link beside the file name you want to update.
  • On the popup menu select Overwrite File.
Overwrite File

Overwrite File

 

  • When the Overwrite File window pops up click choose file (The file does not need to have the same file name as the original)
  • Select the file and click open
  • Click Submit
Overwrite File

Overwrite File

When you return to the place in the course content the old file will be replaced with the new.

Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

August 4, 2014 at 9:00 am

Add a Test Student to Courses in Blackboard Learn

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If you have been using Blackboard 9 for a while you are aware that faculty Student View does not give you a true image of what your student’s experiences. A new building block, Add a Test Student, fixes that problem by allowing instructors to add test student in their class without involving the admin staff.

To add a test student log into the course as instructor. Under the Control Panel click Course Tools> Add Test Student.

Add Test Student

Add Test Student

Blackboard will create a test student using the account name in which you are logged into blackboard and add a “_s.” Choose you own password and select enroll and submit.

To use the account, log out as instructor and log back in under the test student account information.

Removing the Test Student from your course.

When you want to remove the test student, log in as the instructor. Under the Control Panel click Course Tools> Add Test Student.

Remove Test Student

Remove Test Student

Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

July 28, 2014 at 9:17 am

Retention Center

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The Retention Center provides you a simple way to keep track of your students. When a student misses a deadline, makes a bad grade, or does not access the class on a regular basis the retention center will automatically alert you to the problem. You can directly contact the at risk student from the retention center. The monitor option allows you to flag at risk students for closer monitoring.

To access the Retention Center click Control Panel> Evaluation> Retention Center.

At risk students will automatically appear in the Retention Center. The default categories of Missed Deadlines, Grades Alert, Activity Alert, and Access Alert will appear in the center. A Customize button at the top right of the screen will allow you to customize and create new alerts.

Retention Center

Retention Center

The bottom portion of the Retention Center screen consist of your course activities. It offers a few suggestions for the instructor to add an interactive class experience to keep students engaged. Instructors can directly access the discussion boards, blogs, announcement and other activities from the Retention Center.

Retention Center Support

Retention Center Support

 

 

Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

July 21, 2014 at 1:00 pm

Date Manager

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The Date Manager is a Blackboard Building Block that allows you to set dates for various course activities. The date manager only shows activities that have dates associated with them such as Start and End Dates, Adaptive Release Start and End Dates, and Due Dates.

I have notice two issues with the date manager, but they are easily overcome.

  • An activity does not show up in the Date Manager. The activity was never associated with a date. You will need to access the activity through the course content and rerun the date manager.
  • Too many activities show up in the Date Manager. If the course was taught previous semesters and some announcements or quizzes are expired, they will still show up in the date manager. You must remove dates from all activities you do not want to show up.

To access the Date Manager go to Control Panel> Course Tools> Date Manager. The first time you run the date manager you will be asked to select Adjustment Options, choose List All Dates for Review option and click Start.

Date Manager

Date Manager

 

Date Management Progress will update the system to the current status. Once it is 100% complete click Next. You will see a complete list of activities and dates. Click on the Pencil Icon to the right of the activity to edit the dates.

Date Listing

Date Listing

 

Once you have completed the edit, click the green box with a white arrow to submit the change.

Set Dates

Set Dates

After completing the date update, the system will send you an email listing all the activities, with both old and new dates.

Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

July 14, 2014 at 9:00 am

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