Learning Centered Technology

Technology for the Educator

StudyMate Class for Mobile Devices

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Mobile StudyMate

Mobile StudyMate

StudyMate StudyMate Class is available for use on mobile devices, such as the iPhone, iPod touch, BlackBerry, Pre, Android, and more. Using the device’s browser, log into your online course and navigate to the StudyMate Class project.

The mobile app will detect the type of device and all learning activities will be displayed in the proper size and format for that device. In addition, a free “StudyMate LMS Edition” app is available for the iPhone/iPad (from iTunes), Android (from the Android Marketplace/Google Play), and Kindle Fire (from the Amazon Appstore).

The apps allow StudyMate Class users to synchronize projects with online courses and work with learning activities offline.

Some of the activities available with StudyMate Class for Mobile Devices include: Fact Cards, Flash Cards, Crossword Puzzles, Matching, and Fill in the Blank.

Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

February 8, 2016 at 9:00 am

Study Mate Class

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StudyMate helps students “master the basics” of course material through learning activities, self-assessments, and games. A dozen activities – such as flash cards, crosswords and quizzes – engage students with course content in an individualized way.

A very important component of online course, which is often lacking is the interaction piece. Instructors can use discussions and other activities to allow students to interact, but this method of interaction helps keep students engaged.

Another important component of StudyMate Class is that the product allows the students to create the activities. The old saying that “one learns best by teaching” holds true with this method of study. The work is created and judged by piers; therefore, students will strive to produce good works.

StudyMate is a product of Respondus. To learn more check out their website at www.respondus.com.

Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

February 1, 2016 at 9:00 am

Respondus LockDown Browser

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LockDown Browser is a custom browser that locks down the testing environment within Blackboard,. When students use LockDown Browser they are unable to print, copy, go to another URL, or access other applications.

Over the holiday break, lockdown browser was installed on all the lab computers on campus. If students will be using lockdown browser off campus, there will need to download the software. Check under Respondus in the Faculty Blackboard community for more instructions on the use of Lockdown Browser.

Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

January 25, 2016 at 9:00 am

Thing to do Weekly throughout the Class

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Weekly To Do

Once a week (preferably on the same day each week) we recommend that you:

  1. Post a note to the class announcements area, telling students what you will be covering in the coming week and reminding them of any due dates.
  2. Update your class schedule with any new or revised due dates
  3. Summarize discussion forum conversations, since it can be hard to bring a close to those discussions and/or point out the important points before moving on to other discussions!
  4. Consider holding online office hours
    1. Giving your students a chance to communicate with you in real-time can help build strong relationships and motivate students to fully engage in the class. Two popular options for conducting live office hours with geographically dispersed students are chat rooms (text-based discussions) and Big Blue Button (web conferencing) sessions. Just let your students know when and how to join your office hours!
    2. To add a Chat Room to BlackBoard,
      1. Go to a Content Page> Select Tools> Chat> Select Chat Session> Office Hours
    3. To use Big Blue Button:
      1. Go to a Content Page> Select Tools> Big Blue Button> Add the Name an description> Submit

 

Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

January 18, 2016 at 9:00 am

Thing to do Daily throughout the Class

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Things to do Daily

How often you check the class is an individual decision, but you should let your students know, up front, how often they can expect to hear from you. Checking in at least once each business day and once over the weekend is a good way to keep in touch and to keep the e-mail and discussion forums from piling too high!

  1. Monitor the Class Discussion Forums
    1. You can check for Discussion Board post from the BridgeValley Online tab and looking in the What’s New module. This process divides the post by course so you will only have to check one place instead of entering each course.
    2. You can opt to have notices sent to your email account by following the steps listed below.
  2. Monitor the class e-mail tool for new messages
    1. You have the option of forwarding a COPY of your class e-mail to your personal e-mail address.
    2. To do this go to BridgeValley Online> What’s New module> Edit Notification Settings> General Setting to choose Individual Messages or Daily Email Digest> Submit
      1. Individual Messages will send a notice each time a student submits.
      2. Daily Email Digest will send one Message a day and include all transactions.
    3. After setting the desired Notification setting you will return to the Edit Notification Settings Screen. From there you can select Individual Courses or do a bulk set for all your courses.
      1. For a bulk set, click on Courses I am teaching
      2. Select all or just the course you want notification from
      3. Make sure email is selected for the items you want notification from and click submit.
  3. Grade Assignments
    1. Students appreciate timely feedback on their assignments…and will let you know if they feel they are waiting too long! How long it will take to grade assignments and send meaningful feedback to students depends, of course, on the nature of the assignment. Students may not be able to proceed in your course until they get your feedback on how they are doing.
      1. As a general rule of thumb, it seems reasonable to expect students to receive their grades, including feedback, within one week of submitting an assignment.
      2. If one anticipates that it will take longer than that to return students’ work, it is best to inform them in advance when their grades and feedback will be available. Doing so will forestall a lot of questions from students and calls to the main office!
      3. It also is best to grade assignments in sequence (i.e., assignment 1, then assignment 2, and so on) so students can apply the feedback from one assignment to the subsequent assignment.
    2. To grade Assignment and Quizzes
      1. Go to Grade Center> Full Grade Center> Click on the Action Link of the Column Title> Select Grade Attempts
    3. To Grade Discussions
      1. Go to the course menu> Tools> Discussion Board> Select the action Link beside the Forum you want to grade> Select Grade> Select Grade.

 

 

Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

January 15, 2016 at 9:00 am

Semester Startup: The First Week of the Semester

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Week 1 Start Up Activities

Week 1 Start Up Activities

Once the class content is up and running, it is time to start managing students. At BridgeValley, students will automatically show up in the course roster, but will not have access to the course until the first day of the semester. This is done to give faculty members time to make changes to the content without interruption. Students tend to believe that online learning should take place anytime anywhere which is sort of true. The truth is anytime anywhere is correct, but it takes place within the semester dates.

During the First Week of Class Instructors need too…

  • Provide online classes with a self-introduction discussion
  • Introducing yourself to the class and asking students to post an introduction is a good way to break the ice and build a sense of community. This is also a great way for the instructor to get a feel for students, who they are and what experience they bring to the class.
  • Review the personal introductions that students post and respond to each, this shows students that a live person is present and teaching the class. It helps build community.
  • Check the class roster often, that first week is typically a drop/add period. You do not want to leave anyone behind nor allow students to continue when they are not enrolled. Some students may be unaware of their enrollment status in the class so send private emails if you see a potential problem.
  • Contact students who have not yet accessed the class. You can easily see who has, and has not, accessed your class in the Grade Center. If a student hasn’t accessed the class, there may be a problem that needs your attention. You can use the send email tool to contact students outside of blackboard. Early intervention helps prevent larger problems down the road.
  • Have at least one graded activity for the students to complete. Since you cannot physically see students, attendance is harder to take. We use to use last login date as proof of attendance, but regulations have changed. Attendance is now determined by last activity performed by students. (You may use the self-introduction discussion as the graded activity.)
  • Take attendance in all online classes and report those to the Registrar via the MyBridge account. The Registrar will note the absence and contact the students. Any student who has not attended class by the end of the fourth week of the class will be notified of their unsatisfactory progress and provided directions on how to withdraw from the class and/or institution. (For more information see Operating Policy D-OP-6-14)
    1. First date for verification of attendance check is at end of the 1st week of a term. Any student that has not attended classes will have their record flagged with a grade of NGR (no grade reported).
    2. Financial aid will not be paid until students can provide proof of attendance for all classes. Students reported as not attending must have all instructors sign a proof of attendance form indicating that the student has begun attendance.

 

Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

January 11, 2016 at 9:00 am

Semester Startup Checklist

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Semester Startup Checklist

Semester Startup Checklist

It has been said the busiest time of the year for faculty members teaching traditional classes is the last week of school. On the other hand the busiest time for online faculty is the first week of school.

At BridgeValley our Blackboard LMS is integrated with our Banner system, which means that as soon as the next semester courses are entered into banner a course shell will also be created in Blackboard. The instructor of record and enrolled students will automatically be placed in Blackboard from the banner system.

Although the course is created and students entered, the LMS locks student access until the first day of the semester. Faculty will have access immediately and can start working with the new section as soon as it appears. Here are a few things online faculty need to do to get their previously taught online class ready for a new semester.

 

 

Before Your Class Begins…

  • Copy your Blackboard section (if you have taught your course in Blackboard previously and want to reuse the same materials for the upcoming term). Instruction to Move Content from Semester to Semester
  • Change the Syllabus
    • Using word make changes to the old syllabus
    • Save the updated syllabus as a PDF document
    • From the designer view go to where the old syllabus is deployed to students.
    • Click the action link to the right of the syllabus name and choose Overwrite File from the popup menu.
    • Upload the new PDF Syllabus.
    • Double check your course link to make sure the new syllabus is available to students.
  • Change all Due Dates
    • Change due dates in the course for all course tools such as assignments, discussion, Announcements, etc… (These dates reflect in the students’ ToDo list and will show up as past due if they are not changed.)
    • With the new Date Manager updating Due Dates is much easier.
    • Go to Control Panel> Course Tools> Date Manager
    • If you have never run date manager before you will need to click Run Date Manager> List all Dates for Review> Start.
    • Once the process is complete click Next.
    • Select the Pencil to the right of each item to change the dates.
    • Once all the dates have been changed click the Refresh button at the top right of the screen and Blackboard will send you an email with all the new dates.
  • This process will change dates for…
    • Calendar
    • Assignment
    • Quizzes
    • Discussions
    • Announcements
    • Selective Release items
    • and any other dated item
    • If a date is missing from the list of available items you will need to go to that individual item and add the date. After that is complete the item should appear in the date manager.
  • Hide/Reveal Selected Content
    • All items including exams, modules, assignment, etc. can be hidden in BB9
    • In the designer view click the Action Link beside the name and select Edit
    • Check to make sure Permit Users to View this Content is set properly to make it available or unavailable to students.
  • Check The Grade Book For Unwanted Columns
    • Sometimes a lot of unwanted columns appear in the grade book such as Totals, Weighted Totals, and extra Start Here columns
    • To remove them click on the Control Panel> Grade Center> Full Grade Center
    • Identify the column you want removed and click on the Action Link in the column header and select Delete Column
    • If there is no delete option, it means the column is attached to a tool such as discussion or quiz. In order to remove that column you will need to go to the tool and delete or edit the assignment. If you want to keep the assignment but remove the column in the grade book, you simply make the assignment not gradable.
    • You Can Now Delete The Column In The Grade Book
    • You can now return to the full grade center and delete the column.
    • To organize the order in which the columns appear to instructors and students
    • Go to the Full Grade Center and click Manage> Column Organization
    • Click the four headed arrow on the left of the screen and drag the columns in the order you want them displayed
    • Make sure to click Submit after arranging the order of column or you will lose the changes.
  • Check The Discussions For Previous Semester Post
    • Click on Discussions
    • You should see a list of Forums; to the right of each forum you should see Total Post. If there are post click on the Forum Title to enter the forum
    • In the Column title row select the checkbox to select all post
    • Click the delete button to remove unwanted post
    • This must be done for all forums that contain unwanted post.
  • Check Course Menu For Dual Tools
    • When copying a course from one semester to the next you will sometimes find dual tools on the course menu.
    • Most often Homepage, Start Here, Tools, and Help will be duplicated, but others may be as well
    • To remove click the action link beside the unwanted item and click Delete
  • Organize the Course List on the Blackboard Homepage
    • When you first log onto Blackboard 9 where you see your list of courses, on the My Courses Title bar module, click on the round icon on the right of the screen.
    • On the Edit Course List page you can hide courses by unselecting the course.
    • You can also change the order the courses appear on your home page by clicking and dragging the course up or down the list of courses.
    • When completed click the Submit button.
  • Review your course content and fix any broken hyperlinks, images, etc.
  • Update your course calendar. Many faculty use the “Calendar” tool to help students see important due dates. Others prefer to include that information on their syllabus or on a stand-alone web page. Regardless of location, busy students appreciate having this information!
  • Merge your course sections, if applicable. If you are teaching two sections of a course you can have the students to appear in one section. This process will keep you from having to maintain content in two separate areas. To have your courses merged please contact the Director of Digital Learning.

 

Next week I will cover tips for the first week of the semester.

Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

January 5, 2016 at 9:00 am

Semester Start Up: One Week Before the Class Starts

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One Week Before Class Starts

One Week Before Class Starts

One Week Before the Class Starts…

  1. Send your students a welcome letter that tells them:
    1. The URL of the course. (Direct Link: http://ilearn-bridgevalley.wvnet.edu)
    2. How to login (Normally students log into the course through their MyBridge account. (The username is their B number and the password is their six digit birthdate.)
    3. What materials they need to purchase and where to can get them
    4. Who to contact if they need technical assistance (Password reset 304.734.6600 and Blackboard reset 293.5192. )
    5. Reinforce course prerequisites – What are they? How necessary are the prerequisites? Will you enforce them?
  2. If you do not want your student so see some content hide the selected class materials from student view. (Optional)
  3. Post a “Welcome Announcement” for your students.
    1. Tell your students to begin the class by reviewing the syllabus and working through your class orientation materials. Provide any addition directions for those materials!
    2. Remind students of the official class start date.

Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

January 4, 2016 at 9:00 am

Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year 2016

Happy New Year 2016

Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

December 28, 2015 at 9:00 am

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Wishing you a Wonderful Holiday Season

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Motorcycle Santa 2015

Motorcycle Santa 2015

Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

December 21, 2015 at 9:00 am

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