Learning Centered Technology

Technology for the Educator

Archive for February 2012

Best Practices: Deploy a Test

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This is hot off the press; we have not experienced it yet, but keep your eyes open. This relates to an issue in BB9.1.7 (we are on BB9.1.6), but there is a possibility we may experience the problem. This issue has been confirmed by Blackboard.

If a new test is not given a due date at the time of creation, it will not show up on the course homepage To Do module, even if you later go back and give it a due date. The time and date must be set up at creation of the item for it to show up and be changeable in the To Do list.

Best Practice: Always include a Due Date  when you deploy a test. This date can be fictitious, something in the future; it is just going to serve as placeholder date until the real one is determined.

If you forget to include the date at creation, the only way to get the test to show up in To Do is to undeploy the test and redeploy.  This simply means you must delete the deployed test (not the Test itself) from the content area and redeploy (add the test back) into the content area.

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Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

February 24, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Best Practices: Quiz Access

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Some students have experienced issues with accessing quizzes in BB9. They have either been kicked out of a quiz during an exam or have received an Access Denied message when trying to enter a quiz. In working with Blackboard and searching the BB admin list serve, the culprits seem to be Force Submissions and auto- saves.

The force submission option is designed to force a student to do the exam in one setting. If for any reason the student clicks off the quiz page and then tries to come back, they will not be allowed to continue the exam. They will receive a Denied Access message.

The second issue, auto-save, is designed to automatically save student answers in the quiz. If you recall previous versions of WebCT, a student could potentially lose all their answers if they did not click save after answering each question. This feature is designed to keep students from losing their answers.  The problem happens when a student clicks submit while the auto-save is taking place.  This will sometimes kick them out and deny them access.

Best Practice: Until a patch is provide, do not use the Force Submission option in the quiz settings. For the auto-save feature, encourage your students to watch for the auto-save and not submit while it is saving questions. To see the auto-save, there will be a save button beside each question, when the auto-save is saving you will see a green check-mark appearing on the save button beside each question. Ask your students to either save each answer as they go or keep an eye for the auto-save.

Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

February 24, 2012 at 11:22 am

BB9 New Building Blocks Available

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You may have noticed a couple new features in BB9 this week. In response to faculty concerns over not being notified when they have new messages in a class, a building block called My Messages was added to the institutional homepage. This module is located on the top right of your screen and list all the courses you are enrolled in that have new messages. It will also tell you the number of new messages in each course. Clicking on the course name will take you directly to the message center in that course. A course will not show up on the list if no new message is available.

A second building block was added that allows users to check their browser setting. It is located on the institutional page at the bottom right of the screen. It is a button that says Test Browser. Clicking on this link bring up a Web Browser Tests page that identifies Required and Optional components of your browser. It also allows you to test for third party files such as Acrobat and Word. The More Information button at the top left allows you to learn more about the various components of the browser check.

Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

February 24, 2012 at 10:47 am

Posted in BB9 Essentials

BB9 Best Practices: Due Dates for Quizzes

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Through a series of disconcerting events we have learned that Due Dates do not shut off an exam for students. The availability dates controls student access to an exam, while the due date controls the notifications sent to the homepage To Do module. Further examination revealed that when the faculty changes a quiz due date after a student takes an exam, that student will get a past due notice in his/her To Do Module.

Best Practice: Set the due date and availability dates for all quizzes. If you need to let a student take the exam late, only change the available until date. This will allow the student access without sending a notice to the rest of the class that a quiz is past due. You can also use the Adaptive Release feature to hide the late released item from other students. You may also wish to inform your student that as long as they can confirm in my grades that their submission has been received, they can dismiss the notification.

Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

February 24, 2012 at 9:22 am

BB9 Best Practices: Grade book Jumping Issue

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Blackboard recommends Mozilla Firefox as the browser of choice for BB9. I am not saying you have to use Firefox but some BB9 features work better in Firefox than in Internet Explorer (IE). One such example is the Grade Book. In IE when you move your mouse over the grade book columns you will notice the rows expand and contract. This can be very disorienting.

Another nice feature of Firefox is its ability to identify misspellings. It is a feature very similar to MS Word, if you are typing something and a misspelling occurs Firefox will underline the word to let you know there is a problem.

Best Practice: If you are having issues with something in BB9 and are using IE, check to see if changing your browser to Firefox will correct the problem.  You do not need to exclusively use Firefox for all your web browsing but it may be helpful for BB9. If you are worried about your bookmarks, you can import them into Firefox or use a social bookmarking website such as Diigo, Delicious, or any other site of choice. Here is a list of top social bookmarking sites for 2012.

I have also included the BB9 list of recommended browsers for BB9.1.6.

Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

February 24, 2012 at 9:21 am

Deny Students Access to a Course

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Sometimes it may be necessary to deny a student access to a course. To do that in BB9 (version 9.1.6) complete the following steps:

  1. From the Control Panel click Users and Groups > Users
  2. Find the student and click the Action link beside Username
  3. Click Change User’s Availability in Course
  4. Click the Available option button and select No and Submit.
Change User's Access to a Course

Change User's Access to a Course

Deny Student Access to a Course

Deny Student Access to a Course

Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

February 22, 2012 at 2:22 pm

Financial Aid Reports: Last Log in Date vs. Last Submit Date

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With the changing requirements of attendance by financial aid recipients, it is essential we properly track students in online classes.  Recently I was having a discussion with a faculty member who mentioned that she had one student who occasionally checks into her online course, but has failed to turn in any work. It is not satisfactory for students check in for roll call in a traditional classroom and leave; therefore it is not acceptable for a student to look in the window of an online class and not participated.

BB9 gives the last log in date of all students. Just because they have logged on does not mean they are participating. To check the last log in date go to the full grade center and check Last Access. You can do a quick scan of the columns to make sure students are turning in work. As an alternative you also check to Grading History page to get actual dates when assignments were turn in.

To find the Grading History enter the Blackboard Grade Center. (Instructions for BB9.1.6)

  1. Click on Reports > View Grade History
  2. On the right side of Grade History Page click the number of days you want to check and click Go.
  3. You can then see the students name
  4. Attempted Submitted Date
  5. If you can’t easily find the user, download the information to Excel using the Download button at the top of the page. You can then use the search function in Excel to find the student.
View Grade History

View Grade History

Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

February 22, 2012 at 12:40 pm

Viewing Discussions

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(Instructions for BB9.1.6)

When you have a list of threads in a discussion forum, instead of clicking on each thread you can easily view all of them on one page by using the Collect button.

  1. Select all post by checking the Select All Checkbox.
  2. Click the Collect Button
  3. Click the Sort by button and choose Thread Order.
Collect Discussion Post

Collect Discussion Post

 

View Collected discussions by Thread Order

View Collected discussions by Thread Order

Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

February 22, 2012 at 11:05 am

BB9 Quiz Settings

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Take the following 6 steps  to keep your exams secure and experience less student issues in BB9. (These instructions are for BB9.1.6)

  1. Set the test to open in a New Window.
  2. Once you have completed all work on the exam make the Link Available to students.
  3. Do Not check Force Completion, it will lock student out of the exam if they accidently click off the quiz window or if they have internet failure.
  4. Make sure to set the Display After  Checkbox and insert the date so student can access the exam. (If you do not click the checkbox, the system will not hold the date and time.)
  5. Make sure to click the Display Until Checkbox. (If you do not click the checkbox, the system will not hold the date and time.) If you do not set this item, students will be able to access your exam even after the due date and you will not be alerted in the gradebook that the assignment was submitted late.
  6. Make sure to click the due date checkbox and insert the date and time. This setting appears on the course homepage to alert the student that an exam is due. (If you do not click the checkbox, the system will not hold the date and time.)

To get to these setting go to where you have deployed the exam and click the action link beside the exam. Choose Test Options from the pop-up menu.

BB9 Quiz Settings

BB9 Quiz Settings

Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

February 22, 2012 at 9:04 am

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