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.
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.
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 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.
Once you have completed the edit, click the green box with a white arrow to submit the change.
After completing the date update, the system will send you an email listing all the activities, with both old and new dates.
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/.
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.
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
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
Create a SmartView
- From the Full Grade Center> Manage> Smart Views
- From the SmartView Screen> Create SmartView> Fill out the form> Click Submit
A Grade Center Category is a classification of a column in the Grade Center such as, “Test,” or “Quiz.” Uses include:
- Categories are helpful in organizing the Grade Center
- Categories may also be used when creating Smart Views.
- Categories can integrate with Grade Center columns such as Weighted Grade Column.
- Categories can also be used in the creation of a Report.
Default Grade Center Categories
Many instructors like to customize their categories to help distinguish between a quiz or an exam, or homework and a test. This comes in particularly handy if weighted grades are an issue. For instance, you can customize the weighted column to have a higher percent weight for exams than for quizzes.
- From the Full Grade Center> Manage> Categories> Create Category
Change a Column Category
When a grade column is created in BlackBoard, it will be given the category of the tool used to create the column, such as Test when you create a text or quiz. At the time of creation you can change the category or you can change it later. You must create the category before you attempt to change the Category. To change a column category in the Grade Center:
- From the Full Grade Center>Click Action Link beside Column Label> Edit Column Information> Category
Instructors can Exempt students from any grade item in the Grade Center. Exempted items are not added to any statistical or total grade calculations.
How to Exempt a Grade from the Grade Center Page
- From the contextual menu (Action Link) for the column of the student you want to exempt from an activity and select Exempt Grade.
Before the exempt Student One has 19 points or 100 percent for their running total, Student Two has 5 points or 26.32 percent of their running total. Once the grade has been exempt, Student One is unaffected. Student Two points remain the same but now they are at 100 percent of their running total.
How to Clear the Exemption
- From the contextual menu next to the Exempted item, select Clear Exemption.
How to Add Comments to an Exemption
- From the contextual menu next to the Exempted item, select Quick Comment.
- Type in the comments in the Feedback to User and Grading Notes fields.
- Click Submit.
6 Anti-Theft Apps for the iPad and iPhone
According to consumer reports over 1.6 million smart phones were stolen in 2012. Thefts of smartphones and other mobile devices increased again in 2013. According to Android Authority California and Minnesota took steps toward becoming the first states in the country to pass laws requiring smartphones to feature stronger anti-theft technology.
The Huffing Post reports that major smartphone manufacturers and wireless companies would offer free anti-theft features on all new smartphones made after July 2015. The features, known as a “kill switch,” would allow users to erase data on a stolen smartphone and lock the device so it can’t be used again.
Apple products have recently updated some of its software to help discourage the theft of ipads. If an iPad is stolen, it cannot easily be restored or reset to factory condition without the original passwords. The Android uses a app called Cerberus, which takes a photo of anyone entering a wrong access pass-code. Until the law is inline with society check out this article by TechTarget on some existing technology the help discourage theft.
BridgeValley Community and Technical College was founded on March 20, 2014 after the consolidation of Bridgemont and Kanawha Valley Community and Technical Colleges. Existing campus locations will be maintained in Montgomery and South Charleston, along with the addition of the new Advanced Technology Center.
As a result of all these changes BridgeValley has adopted Mondopads as the technology of choice for synchronous remote delivery.
On May 13, 2013 Dr Laura Little and I presented, Strategies for Teaching Across Campuses to the BridgeValley Faculty. This presentation covered a number of strategies faculty can use when presenting synchronously to students at multiple locations.
This presentation does not cover mondopad specific instructions, instead it is designed to get you thinking about how remote delivery is different from traditional classroom activities. Check out the presentation at Strategies for Teaching Across Campuses and download the Preparedness Checklist, During Delivery Checklist, and After the Delivery Checklist.