Learning Centered Technology

Technology for the Educator

Archive for October 2015

Active Learning in Blackboard: Fish Bowl Activities

leave a comment »

For a traditional Fish Bowl Activity students are given index cards, and asked to write down one question concerning the course material. These questions are then put in a fish bowl or box, the instructor will randomly pull out questions and answer or have someone in the class answer them.

This is a great technique to gauge the class knowledge on a topic and clear up any fuzzy points. This techniques is easy to mimic in the online classroom by using discussions.

Blackboard Fish Bowl Activity

Go to the content area in the course where you want the Fish Bowl Activity to appear.

Click Tools> Discussion Board> Create New Forum> Name the forum something appropriate such as Chapter 1 Fish Bowl.

In the description create text to explain the process, see the example listed below:

Ask a question of clarification regarding some aspect of the material which you do not fully understand or question concerning the application of course material to practical contexts. You are submitting the post anonymously so no one including the instructor will know who ask what questions. No points are awarded, this is strictly to clarify any remaining questions on the topic.

Students may participate in the answering of question. Please click rely for any question you wish to answer. This Forum will be monitored by the instructor and any remaining question will be answered by the instructor.

Click Submit> Select the Fish Bowl Activity and select Next> fill out form and click Submit. The Forum will appear in the content area.

Fish Bowl

Fish Bowl

Students can submit questions now as they come up in the class. At the end of the chapter or module, the instructor can respond to all the unanswered question.


Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

October 26, 2015 at 9:00 am

Active Learning in Blackboard: Reading Quizzes

leave a comment »

Everyone recognizes the importance of students coming to class prepared in a traditional classroom, it is even more important in an online classroom. In an online classroom students must read. Even if an instructor includes audio/video, the primary method of learning is through reading and comprehending the material that is consumed by the student.

Traditional faculty have given Reading Quizzes to make sure students are keeping up with their readings. The way this is accomplished in the online classroom is basically the same, the student is given a test about the materials.

In Blackboard the test tool is used. Questions are designed from the materials present in the class and give the students clues as to what they should be comprehending from the materials. For instance detailed questions such as exact length or color, will indicate that detail is important. Comprehension questions will test their overall knowledge of the topic. Those questions will ask students to give a larger picture of what they read and understand.

The test tool in blackboard has a number of different question types to accomplish this, they include:

  1. Calculated Formula
  2. Calculated Numeric questions
  3. Either / Or Questions
  4. Essay Questions
  5. File Response Questions
  6. Fill in Multiple Blanks Questions
  7. Fill in the Blank Questions
  8. Hot Spot Questions
  9. Jumbled Sentence Questions
  10. Matching Questions
  11. Multiple Answer
  12. Multiple Choice
  13. Opinion Scale / Likert Questions
  14. Ordering Questions
  15. Quiz Bowl Questions
  16. Short Answer Questions
  17. True / False Questions

Blackboard Reading Quiz Activity

  • To get started go to Control Panel> Course Tools> Test, Surveys, and Pools> Test> Build Test> fill out the test information form and click Submit.
  • Create Questions and choose the type of question you want to create.
Create Questions

Create Questions

  • Fill out the form and click Submit.
  • Once you have included all the questions for the test click OK.

All that is left to do is to deploy the test.

  • Go to the place you want the students to access the test, preferably near the reading materials.
  • Click Assessments> Test> Select the Test> Submit> Fill out the Test Options Form and click Submit.

Your Reading test is now created and deployed to the students.

Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

October 19, 2015 at 9:00 am

Active Learning in Blackboard: One Minute Paper

leave a comment »

This active learning exercise allows the instructor to assess a student’s knowledge of a particular topic at a specific point in time. The one minute paper is traditionally done walking into a classroom and asking students to pull out a paper and pen. A question is asked of the entire class. Students are given one minute to write whatever pops into their minds about the topic or question. Sometimes the instructor collects the papers and sometimes not. If collected the instructor can get an understanding of each student’s knowledge on the topic. If it is not collected it will help the student understand their own weaknesses and strengths on the topic.

Blackboard One Minute Paper Activity

To get started go to Control Panel> Course Tools> Test, Surveys, and Pools> Build Pool>

Create Pool

Create Pool

Fill out the form and click submit.

Create Question> Essay> Enter Question Title and Question Text> Submit.

Repeat creating Essay question until you have enough questions to distribute to the course. (For approximate 20 students you should create at least 4 question.)

Once the pool is complete use the quiz tool and create a Assessments> Test> Create a New Test>

Test Information

Test Information

Inside the Test Canvas click Reuse Question> Create Question Set> Select the Pool you just created> from the pool select the question> Click Submit

Select Pool

Select Pool

In this example it shows that we have a total of 4 questions but only 1 question will be displayed. In other words each student will randomly receive one of the four questions and because they were essay questions the student will have plenty of space to write.

When you click Ok, you will be taken to the options window and allow to set time and availability dates. Make sure to set the timer to 1 minute with Auto-Submit turned on.

Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

October 12, 2015 at 9:00 am

Active Learning in Blackboard

leave a comment »

Active learning is defined as a process whereby students engage in activities, such as reading, writing, discussion, or problem solving that promote analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of class content.

On March 10 2015, Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach posted the article The key to making the shift to active learning (and why technology is not enough) to highlight the need for active learning. She included this graphic visualizing the depth of Active Learning verse Passive Learning. ( see http://plpnetwork.com/2015/03/10/shift-active-learning-technology-answer/)

Active Learning

Active Learning


I have decide to do a series of post on active learning and how some of the techniques can be translated into an online environment. I will cover a number of active learning activities and walk you through the tools in blackboard to make the activity happen. In this series I will discuss the following:

  • One Minute Paper
  • Reading Quizzes
  • Fish Bowl Activities
  • Puzzle/Paradoxes
  • Evaluation of another student’s work
  • Jigsaw Group Projects
  • Role Playing
  • Panel Discussions
  • Debates


Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

October 5, 2015 at 9:00 am

%d bloggers like this: