Learning Centered Technology

Technology for the Educator

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

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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

Livescribe 3 Pen

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Livescribe 3 Pen

Livescribe 3 Pen

My new favorite toy is the Livescribe 3 Pen for the iPad. Many of you may be familiar with the Livescribe pen, but let’s face it, it was a hassle dealing with the USB cable to upload your pen cast. The Livescribe 3 connect via Bluetooth to your ipad and your writing are uploaded with no hassle.

The device feels like a real pen in your hand, although a little on the thick side. The pen and notepad allows you to keep traditional style hardcopy notes and simultaneously creates an electronic copy. It uses your ipad’s microphone to record voice and automatically sync’s with your writing. The ipad app allows you to send electronic copies via email. The pen itself uses real ink and on the opposite end is a nice stylus tip for your ipad.

Another bonus is the online content can be converted to text with the swipe of a finger. Of course that requires legible handwriting to work properly.

One of the major drawbacks of the pen is the need to use special paper, proprietary dotted paper. They do say that you can print copies of the special paper if you own a 600dpi (or higher) inkjet printer.

You can learn more about the pen at the Livescribe website located at http://www.livescribe.com/en-us/smartpen/ls3/.

Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

July 7, 2014 at 9:00 am

Posted in iPad, Other Topics of Interest

Tagged with ,

14 Google Search Tricks That Make Life a Whole Lot Easier

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Google

Google

I know I have touched on this before, but this is good stuff. Huffington Post has created a list of 14 ways to make google more productive. In this article 14 Google Search Tricks That Make Life a Whole Lot Easier author Carina Kolodny covers a variety of tips for google. For instance, do you know how to do a search for fill in the blanks? Do Math? Convert Currency? Make Google Flip Out? Check out the answers at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/30/google-search-tricks_n_5338470.html.

Additional search tips for Google

Time zones – Search for ‘time in <place>’ and you will get the local time for that place, as well as the time zone it is in.

Translations – A quick way to translate foreign words is to type ‘translate <word> to <language>’.

Conversions – Currency conversions and unit conversions. For example, you could type “convert 12 inches to millimeters’ and get an instant answer.

Check flight status – If you type in a flight number, the top result is the details of the flight and its status. for example, typing in AA 1067 reveals that American Airlines flight 1067 departs Los Angeles at 7:30 AM today and arrives at Chicago terminal 3 at 1.30 PM.

Weather forecasts – Type the name of a city followed by ‘forecast’.

Public data – To see trends for population and unemployment rates of different cities and counties, type ‘population’ or ‘unemployment rate’ followed by the location. So for example, typing ‘unemployment rate’ Charleston, WV returns the answer 5.4 percent, and shows a graph of unemployment rates over the last 10 years.

 

 

Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

June 30, 2014 at 9:00 am

CountDown +++ and CountDown Days Since, Days Until

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CountDown

CountDown

 

Today I have two similar apps, CountDown +++ and CountDown Days Since, Days Until. Who among us have not been faced with a looming deadline or better still an important event such as vacation or graduation? Sometimes it is nice to know exactly how many days before the big event. Today’s apps address that problem.

Countdown +++ is a nice little app that counts you down to the precise second of any day. It allows you to set date name, date, time, various alarms, as well as color code you event. You can set up a variety of events and sort alphabetically, or by most current or less current. You can also go into the settings determine what happen after the countdown is over. You can select show “Done” or continue counting up, which will display a count of how long it has been since the event launched. Currently it is $.99 cents in the app store. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/countdown+++/id573550084?mt=8

The CountDown Days Since, Days Until is very similar to the Countdown +++ app. It allows you to set title, date, icons, and backgrounds as well as a number of other features. You have the ability to use your own photos as backgrounds. The major differences I found between the two apps was this one allows you to import events from your calendar and share events via facebook, tweets, text, and emails. Countdown Days Since, Days Until is free. Check both apps out at the App store. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/countdown-days-since-days/id732814593?mt=8

Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

June 23, 2014 at 9:00 am

Posted in Fun, iPad

Customizing the Grade Book: Smart Views

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A Smart View is a focused look at predefined Grade Center categories. It shows only the data that matches a set of criteria specified. Smart Views are useful to quickly find data when the Grade Center includes a great number of students and columns.

Smart Views allow Instructors to create views based on performance criteria for gradable items such as assessments or assignments. There are five different types of Smart Views that specify the student information:

  • Course Group: Subsections of students. (Course Groups must be created before they can be used as selection criteria.)
  • Performance: Student performance on a single item such as a mid-term exam.
  • User: Individual students.
  • Category and Status: Create a Smart View based on category and status.
  • Custom: A query for selecting students using a combination of attributes.
  • Once built and saved, Smart Views become a selectable item on the Smart View page, enabling easy navigation from one view to another.

Changing to Smart Views

  • Go to the Full Grade Center> Filter> Change Current View
Smart View Filter

Smart View Filter

 

Create a SmartView

  • From the Full Grade Center> Manage> Smart Views
Create Smart View

Create Smart View

 

  • From the SmartView Screen> Create SmartView> Fill out the form> Click Submit
Smart View

Smart View Form

Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

June 16, 2014 at 9:00 am

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