Just as there are reason to use streaming media in an online class, there are reasons to limits its use. Following are a few of the things one needs to consider before loading their course with tons of media.
- Bandwidth and Storage – Streaming media require sufficient bandwidth to play, especially at higher quality. It takes up a lot of space. Lack of proper bandwidth can result in slow playback, possible start/stop of video if connection is not good, and poor quality of video. In developing the media the instructor needs to be mindful of this and use it when pedagogically sound reasons exist.
- Online Only – Student can only watch the video when they are online. If the user’s Internet connection is cut during playback or they need to watch your content offline, they will be out of luck. As an instructor, make sure you provide the link to the students well in advance so they will have plenty of time to view the materials prior to any due dates.
- Cost – Media can be costly to produce. Depending on the projects it can include expensive camera equipment and high-end computers, as well as technical expertise. Check with the technical staff concerning the amount of assistance you can expect and the equipment available to you before starting any major project.
- Creation – Producing good video content isn’t always easy. You will need to write scripts, properly light your subject, record and edit it, all before you can Stream Media. There are some simple techniques that you can use, which we will discuss later, but for now know that creation can be costly and time consuming. It is better to start off with a small manageable project than to shoot for a Hollywood style media project that never gets produced.
- Copyright Issues – An alternative to creation of your own video is to use media that someone else has already produced. If you choose to not create your own media project then you must make sure you have settled any copyright issues with the creator of the video. Streaming copyright protected materials can land you and the education institution in legal battles.
There are several advantages to providing streaming media to an online class. The following is a list of reasons, but it is not comprehensive.
- Instant Playback – Media files are large. If a media file is loaded into a standard Learning Manage System (LMS) such as Blackboard, the student would have to download the entire file before viewing, which can take considerable time depending on the bandwidth provided by their Internet Service Provider (ISP). Streaming media allows the student to start viewing quickly and jump forward and backward in the video.
- Piracy Protection – Although nothing is completely secure, Streaming Media technology is harder to copy. The technology does not stored the media file on the viewer’s computer and once the media is played, it is discarded by the media player. This provides the content creator more control over intellectual property.
- Education – Streaming media can be used to augment educational opportunities, particularly in online education. It helps to engage students at both the auditory and visual level, which improves retention of material.
- Anytime Anywhere – Students can access the media anytime and anywhere. Students can take as much time as needed to study and review the materials. After viewing the material they can take time to formulate question and analysis the materials before engaging others in discussing the media.
- Equal Access – Video has been used for many years in the traditional classroom for a variety of pedagogical reasons. Distance learning classes should have equal access to visual material. Streaming media gives the instructor that opportunity without wasting a lot of valuable time downloading the media.
Streaming media is video/audio content sent in compressed form over the Internet. With streaming media, one does not have to wait until the file is completely downloaded to play because it is sent in a continuous stream. This continuous stream allows it to be played as it arrives. Users can pause, rewind or fast-forward, the media just as they can with a downloaded file. The exception being with live streams.
In this series live streams will not be discussed, instead recorded media will be the focus. Recorded media has the advantage of being editable, whereas live streams takes place in real time. Live streams are not modified as they are streamed to the audience, therefore mistakes are included.
With recorded media the instructor has the ability to pull out all the little golden nuggets of wisdom and rearrange the media to flow in a fluid manner. This allows the instructor to maintain control of the content and the order in which the student receives the materials. This is not the only advantage to using media in the online classroom, but I will discuss this in greater detail later in the series. This series will cover the following topics:
- Advantages of Streaming Media in the Classroom
- Disadvantages of Streaming Media in the Classroom
- Pedagogy for Streaming Media in the Classroom
- Types of Media and Instructor can create for the classroom
- Getting Started Creating Streaming Media
- Tools for Creation of Streaming Media
- ADA Compliance of Streaming Media
The Tasks tool is a great asset when working on large course projects. You can use the tasks tool to organize projects/activities by defining task priority and tracking its status. As an instructor you can keep student’s on-track by prioritizing activities and monitoring their progress. The Task tool can also be use by the student to organize and prioritize their activities in a single course or in all their courses.
There are two types of Task, Course task and Personal task. A Course task is created by the instructor and can be used to monitor the students’ progress. Personal task are created by students and cannot be viewed by anyone except the creator.
From the Student Menu click Tools> Task> Create Course Task
Faculty View of Task List
Student View of Task List
Faculty View of Task Status
Faculty can see a list of course task with a summary of students’ progress.
By clicking on the Number associated with the Task a detailed summary will open with a list of student names and statuses.
Personal task are created by students and cannot be viewed by anyone except the creator. The process of creating a task is the same except the task must be accessed outside an individual course. To create a Personal task you must log in to Blackboard. On the BridgeValley Online tab under the Tools Module select Tasks> Create Personal Task.
This is a great time saving tip for students and faculty. One way Discussions are used in an online classroom is to create community. There are many other reasons to use it, but despite the reasons sometimes it is difficulty keeping up with all the post. Normally you would click the post open, read and reply, close it and repeat the process for the next post.
In the example below there were about 80 post to read. Instead of going through the normal process for each post you can select the post you want to read by clicking the selection box to the left of the post (or all post can be selected at one time by clicking the select box in the row header) and clicking the Collect button.
A new window will open where you can view all the selected post on one screen. Not only can you view the post, but you can reply to the individual post. In addition, you will have the ability to sort and\or print from the collect view.
The Glossary is an often under-utilized blackboard tool that creates a list of terms with definitions for students. One of the major drawbacks to the glossary is keying all the terms. This can be time consuming and tedious work.
Recently I came across an article by Barbara Schroeder on the Technology Teacher blog titled, Collaborating in Blackboard: Student-created Glossary. The article explains how she turns this exercise into a collaborative activity for her students. This activity not only helped the students learn the terms but made them feel some ownership with the course.
Basically Ms. Schroeder would share a common document with student and require each student to input one word and definition a week (In the proper format) into the document. The students would include their name at the end of the definition as proof of their participation. After the due date the instructor would save and upload the file to the glossary and assign points for each student’s participation.
This resulted in the continuous improvement of a course glossary that could be used in future courses.
Formatting of the shared document is simple:
- It must be in TXT or CSV format.
- Each record must be on a separate line and do not include blank line between records.
- Each field must be enclosed in double quotation marks.
- Each field must be separated with one of the following delimiters: comma, colon, or tab.
Record format is as follows: “Term”,”Definition.”
“Genre (ZHAHN-ruh)”,”a type of literature. We say a poem, novel, story, or other literary work belongs to a particular genre if it shares at least a few conventions, or standard characteristics, with other works in that genre.”
For detailed instructions on creating a course Glossary and uploading a Glossary file, check out the Blackboard Glossary Instructions help page..
Providing extended time for exams for students with accommodations just got easier with the new Test Availability Exception in Blackboard 9. Instructors can build their test as usual, but when the test is deployed an additional setting allows the instructor to create exceptions. This option replaces the need for creating a duplicate exam and using adaptive release.
Tests must be deployed to a Content Area before accommodations can be set. Instructors can provide accommodations for the following items:
- number of attempts
- time duration
- force completion
- more than one student can have unique availability exceptions added
Once the test has been deployed in a content area, edit the settings by selecting the action link next to the title of the test. Select “Edit Test Options.”
To add an exception:
- Select “Add a User or Group” under the Test Availability Exceptions.
- Adjust the Attempts, Timer, Availability and Force Completion settings to suit accommodations.
- Press Submit.
Teaching an online course has many advantages and disadvantages. One advantage is that content can be moved from semester to semester without having to completely rebuild a course. The instructor can modify the content to keep if fresh, but they do not have to do a total overhaul.
One disadvantage of online learning is moving content from semester to semester. Sometimes this process will make a mess of the gradebook. As content is modified or changed over time, the gradebook will still reflect columns for old assignments and exams.
A simple way to remove unwanted and unused columns is to check the column information. Go to the full grade center and click on the action link in the column header. If the column information only displays Hide Column, that column is associated with a tool in Blackboard such as quiz, assignment or discussion as seen below in Column A Information. This column cannot be deleted. If a column is not associated with a tool, the column will have a delete column option as seen in Column B Information.
If the delete Column option is available you can delete the column. (Keep in mind that certain columns may have been manually added without using blackboard tools. These column can be deleted but use caution.)
If a column is associated with a Blackboard tool and you want it gone, you will need to go into the tool and make the assignment non-gradable. Sometimes this will automatically remove the column, other times you will need to go back to the gradebook and manually remove the column as discussed above.
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Published on Aug 28, 2014 by Mark Rober for Creativity Design Science.
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A rubric evaluation report provides a comprehensive report of statistics for an item that you graded with a rubric. If you want to evaluate a rubric or its use in your course, you can run the report at any point in the grading process.
Rubric Evaluation Report delivers three statistics about the rubric’s use in grading an item.
- Rubric Overall Performance shows the average total score of all attempts scored using the rubric.
- Rubric Analysis shows average scores, compared against the possible points, for each criterion.
- Frequency Distribution shows the distribution of scores across each level of achievement
To Run a Report from the Control Panel
- On the Control Panel> Course Tools> Rubrics.
- Access the rubric’s contextual menu and select View Associated Content.
- Point to the item’s contextual menu and select Rubric Evaluation Report.
- On the Run Reports page, select a Format, Start Date, and End Date.
- Click Submit.
Run a Report from the Grade Book
- On the Control Panel> Grade Center> Full Grade Center
- Find the column associated with the rubric. Click the contextual menu and select Rubric Evaluation Report.
- On the Run Reports page, select a Format, Start Date, and End Date.
- Click Submit.