Learning Centered Technology

Technology for the Educator

Archive for June 2015

BlackBoard 9.1 SP14: New Score Attempts for Test

leave a comment »

Service Pack 14 in Blackboard allows instructors to determine which grade is recorded for multiple attempt Test. A Score attempts using drop-down list has been added to the Test Options.

Multiple Attempts Test

Multiple Attempts Test

This is a workflow improvement to ensure that instructors know about and can easily find this setting for tools that support multiple attempts.


Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

June 29, 2015 at 9:00 am

BlackBoard 9.14: My Grades for Students

leave a comment »

Blackboard Learn Service Pack 14 has several upgrades to the student My Grades. Students can now sort the order of grades several ways.

My Grades

My Grades

The Order by: drop-down list allows students to change order by last activity, due date (Latest First), or Due Date (Oldest First). The default order is Course Order, which displays items in the order the instructor has arranged them in Grade Center.

Students can now narrow the grade list by selecting All, Graded, Upcoming, and Submitted. Graded allows the students to view only the rows that have been graded by the instructor. Submitted show all items submitted, but not grades.

Feedback is included in-line, so students can view it on the page without additional mouse clicks.

Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

June 22, 2015 at 9:00 am

Blackboard Learn 9.1. 201404.160205 – The New Student Preview

leave a comment »

Student Preview

Student Preview

As technical support for the online classroom, I am often asked by faculty members about how to preview their course as a student. For a while we used the edit mode, but everyone knows that is not a true student view. Then we moved to the Add A Test Student tool, which required the faculty member to log out and back in under a demo-student. Finally blackboard has added a Student View that does not require a log out.

The Enter Student Preview function appears in the top-right corner of your course pages, next to the Change Course Theme function.

With student preview, you can experience your course as your students do. You can do the following student activities:

  • Submit assignments
  • Take tests
  • Create blog and discussion posts
  • Create journal and wiki entries
  • View student tools, such as My Grades

Student Preview is a great improvement over previous solutions. The next time a student tells you that they cannot see an assignment, take a look for yourself.

Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

June 15, 2015 at 9:00 am

ADA Compliance and Copyright

leave a comment »

ADA & Copyright

ADA & Copyright

ADA Compliance of Streaming Media

When producing or using audio, images, or video in your online classroom you will need to pay attention to the Americans with Disabilities Act for accessibility concerns. At minimum ALT tags, transcripts, and Captions are required depending on the media. Several links are available to help you understand ADA Compliance:

Tools for Creating Closed Captions

Copyright and Fair Use

I will not speak a lot about copyright and fair use laws because is not my expertise, but I do know you will need to consider this when using any work you did not create. I have listed a couple reliable sources your you to learn more about copyright and fair use.

Remember ADA compliance and Copyright issues are not just the right things to do, they are the law.

Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

June 8, 2015 at 9:00 am

Posted in Streaming Media

Tagged with

Tools to Create of Streaming Media

leave a comment »

Tools For Creation

Tools For Creation

This is not a comprehensive list of software to use to create streaming media, it is a list of some of my favorite. Depending on the type of computer you use such as a Mac or PC, different software will be available. As multimedia continue to advance many computers come with built in software to help with many of these task. Your computer may already contain software to record and edit audio and video files so the first place you need to look is on your computer. This list is basically a getting started list to help you see the art of video production is not as scary as you think it is, you have just got to get started.


To create audio files you will only need a microphone. To record the sound you can use the built-in microphone, if your system has one, or attach a microphone to your computer, or use a headset with a built-in mic. Many tools exist out there to edit the audio, my favorite is Audacity. You can download it for free at http://web.audacityteam.org/.

Depending on your content you may need to write a script prior to recording. Once recorded and edited you will need to save the file as a MP3. MP3 is a digital audio codec, a method of compressing and decompressing digitized sound. The digital information on a standard audio CD requires about 10 megabytes per minute of music.


To create video files you will need a video camera with a built-in microphone. Often people will use the cameras on their laptop, iPad, or phones to capture simple videos. These products usually come with software to do some minor editing. To do major editing you will need a product like Director, Adobe Premiere, or Camtasia, but these come with a high price tag. There are plenty of free stuff out there to get you started. You may want to check out the following:

You will need to convert your finally video to MP4 format. MP4 is a compressed video, meaning it has been altered to take up less space on your computer. It is difficult to give a file size for this video because many factors determine size such as time, dimensions, pixels, framerate, and clarity. This format is commonly used in streaming video and can be played by a variety of players.

PPT Voice-Over

PowerPoint are another easy to produce video types. You will start with a standard PowerPoint and use the tools within the software to add a voice-over. Basically all you will need to produce the video is a microphone or headset with a built-in microphone.

Creating the voice-over depends on the version of PowerPoint you are using. For Office 2013 it is a simple matter of going to the Slide Show tab and choosing Record Slide Show from the Set Up menu. Simply clicking through the slideshow will advance the slides and record your voice. Once you have completed the show save it and export to a video (Internet & DVD) file. When saving, make sure to save as MPEG-4.

Screen Captures

Screen capture software allow you to capture events from your screen and preserve it in a video format. In addition to capturing the screen, many software packages allows you to do a voice-over of the action on the screen. A variety of software is available, my favorite is Camtasia, but again it can be expensive. Sean Aune from Mashable has created a list software to help you get started with screen captures, you can find at http://mashable.com/2008/02/21/screencasting-video-tutorials/.

Jing is one package I use frequently. It can be downloaded at https://www.techsmith.com/jing.html for free. Jing does have its limitation. It is limited to only small videos (Under 10 minutes) and cannot be edited by the software. To edit a screen capture from Jing you will need to use something like Camtasia. As for the time limit, in most cases for online training your content should be broken into small chunks anyway. More than 10 minutes on a video can cause students to lose interest and not comprehend the material.

The only thing you need to get started with screen capture is the software, a good microphone or headset and maybe a script of the final product. You will need to save the file in MP4 format.

Conferencing Videos

Conferencing software is most often used in synchronous meeting, but often it allows you to record the meeting for later viewing. One of the drawbacks of using these recording is the real-time element, the video usually cannot be edited, therefore if the recording took an hour to record, it will play for an hour. Often times the software will give the audience an opportunity to fast forward, but being unfamiliar with the content sometimes it is hard to determine where to begin fast forward and where to stop.

There are some free software such as Google Hangouts (http://www.google.com/+/learnmore/hangouts/) but each has their strengths and weakness. Check out PCMag’s list of recommendations for more information. This can be found at http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2427703,00.asp.

To get started with conferencing video you will need a video camera with microphone.

Interactive Videos

Interactive instructions is one of the more difficult media to create. It involves software that requires a high level of expertise to master. It often involves a combination of several types of media such as images, videos, and sounds.

My favorite interact video software is Camtasia (https://www.techsmith.com/products.html). Camtasia allows you to combine videos and images, as well create interactive components to engage students. It will also allow you to create close caption for your video. Again the price can be a problem for some people as well as the level of expertise.

A good alternative would be ScreenCast-o-matic (http://www.screencast-o-matic.com/). It contains editing and script tools, webcam recording, and draw and zoom actions. This software runs $15 a year and has the added bonus of caption available.

Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

June 1, 2015 at 9:06 am

Posted in Streaming Media

Tagged with ,

%d bloggers like this: