Tuesday, December 6, 2011

More Ideas for Teaching with QR Codes

qrcodeScattered throughout Macys, on realtor signs, in every magazine, even on my pineapple – they are everywhere! Using this technology as the lever, QR codes can also serve as an effective tool as they take instruction mobile. With careful thought, instructors can use QR codes to create engagement with lessons, manage the classroom even facilitate inquiry. While it seems like we have been inundated with ideas for using QR codes in the classroom, a recent Edutopia article provided some fresh ideas. In Twelve Ideas for Teaching with QR Codes, Andrew Miller provides a brief tutorial on what a QR Code is, how to make one, and most importantly how to “harness the excitement of technology with a purpose of effective instruction”.
His ideas include:

• Building 21st century resumes that require interaction
• Linking students to exemplary work
• Integrate codes with a Service Learning Project
• Sustaining a greener classroom
• Provide students with incentives and praise
• Guide students to online activities
• Help students track learning
• Provide students with optional activities
• Compile research
• Create interactive labs
• Differentiate instruction
• Voting

In addition to these ideas, the resources and comments located at the bottom of the article may provide inspiration for using QR codes with your students. Just remember, “this technology is a tool and needs to fit a purpose”.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Going the Distance: Online Education in the United States, 2011

It's that time of year again when The Sloan Online Survey results are released. This annual report focuses on online learning in higher education. Since the initial report in 2002, the series was named in recognition of the support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. This year, in addition to the Sloan Consortium; Kaplan University, Inside Higher Ed, and Pearson have offered to support the continuation of these reports.

The current report, Going the Distance: Online Education in the United States, 2011 found that:

*65% of higher educational institutions now report that online learning is critical part of their long-term strategy

*Over 6.1 million students were taking at least one online course

*The number of higher ed students taking online courses increased by 10% from the year before

*67% of academic leaders believe that learning outcomes in online education are the same or superior to those in face-to-face

*The percentage of faculty members who accept online education as a viable form of learning is less than one-third

*Most training for online teaching in higher ed takes place internally

Infographic for the Report

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Flip Your Class!

The Kahn Academy (http://www.khanacademy.org/), a free educational library that features thousands of educational videos and an interactive dashboard for formative assessment, is causing quite a buzz in education. In this 10 minute interview the founder of Kahn Academy, Salman Khan, discusses how his videos help to create a “flipped classroom”, one in which the lecture is taken out of the classroom so that project-based learning can take place in the classroom. Kahn talks about how instructors are able to focus on “higher value” activities, such as simulations, discussions, and group work, when students learn the skills on their own time that are often taught face to face. After hearing his thoughts and ideas, you may want to consider a flip!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Add Some Bling to Your Blackboard

If you think you are tired of looking at your boring Blackboard, think how your students feel! This document will give you some fresh ideas for making your course more visually interesting. You will find tips for using Blackboard tools for customizing your course, such as buttons, links, and banners as well as tips for using embedded content and interesting Web 2.0 tools.

Bling Your Blackboard Class

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

How Exactly are Students Using Technology?

It’s clear that today’s students rely heavily on electronic devices even when they’re not incorporated in the classroom. In one survey of college students, 38% said they couldn’t even go 10 minutes without switching on some sort of electronic device.

But how students are using their devices, how technology is affecting their educational experience, and what effect it has on their well-being are questions that are harder to answer. In the infographic below, online higher education database Onlineeducation.net has summed up some of the existing research on these points.

Students Love Technology
Via: OnlineEducation.net

Blackboard Beginning of the Semester Checklist

Use the Beginning of the Semester Checklist to ensure that your class is ready for student access. The checklist will assist you in turning off unnecessary tools, making the course available, and initiating communication. In addition you will also find instructions for the Add Test Student feature which allows instructors to login to their courses as a students.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Embedding Video in Blackboard

The ever-growing collection of shared online video content provides an excellent opportunity for educators. The following links offer many sites for online videos, many of which can be easily embedded in your Blackboard course.

Shared Online Video Resources, Portals, and Pedagogical Activities

Easy Instructions for embedding video in Blackboard:
Embedding Video in Bb

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Blackboard End of the Semester Checklist

The End of the Semester Checklist will help you wrap-up your course on Blackboard with end of the semester maintenance tips.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Blackboard 9.1 Tool Guide

Last year I ran across a Moodle Tool Guide for Teachers and thought that whenever I get the time I would create one for Blackboard. Well, the time has come. This guide will allow you to compare the functionality and pedagogical advantages of some standard Blackboard tools, as well as how tricky the tool is to set up.

While the original Moodle Tool Guide was created to be printed as a poster, this one is designed to be printed front to back on 8 1/2 x 11 paper to keep as a handy reference.

Feeback and suggestions are appreciated.


Modified from Moodle Tool Guide for Teachers (http://www.cats-pyjamas.net/2010/05/moodle-tool-guide-for-teachers/) Joyce Seitzinger. May 2010

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Save the Grade Center!

If you are using the Blackboard Grade Center, you really should consider exporting a copy every time you make changes. You can also work in the Grade Center offline once it has been exported as an Excel file
  1. In your course, click Grade Center > Full Grade Center
  2. Click the "Work Offline" button > Download
  3. Leave the defaults as they are and click the "Submit" button
  4. Click the Download button.  This will tell your browser to download the file
  5. Note where you are saving the file on your computer, and click the Save button

Monday, April 11, 2011

Using Smart Views in the Grade Center

You can easily see only selected columns or Groups  in the Grade Center which makes viewing the Grade Center display more manageable. This video tutorial will show you how to create and use
Smart Views in the Grade Center.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Clearing a Student's Attempt on a Test

Students may get "kicked  out" of a test for several reasons, such as loss of the Internet connection or accidentally closing Blackboard. If the test is set to "Force Complete" the student will not be able to access the test to finish and submit the attempt. . When this happens, it is up to the instructors to re-set the attempt so that a student can retake the test from the beginning.
  1. From the Grade Center on your Control Panel click the Smart View for Tests.
    Smart View for Tests located under the Grade Center

  2. An “In Progress” icon will appear in the test cell to the right of the student’s name. 
    An "In Progress" icon in a Grade Center cell
  3. Click the chevron and select the Attempt Date to view the attempt details.
    An "In Progress" Attempt

  4. Click the Test Information link near the top of the screen.
    The "Test Information" link

  5. Click the Clear Attempt button.
    The "Clear Attempt" button

  6. A confirmation window will pop open.  Click OK.
Please note: once a student’s attempt has been cleared, all data affiliated with that attempt will be permanently deleted.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Minimizing Issues with Tests and Quizzes in Blackboard

There are many reasons - ranging from network to browser to Blackboard itself - that students may have issues taking assessments in Blackboard. Depending on circumstances, students can be disconnected from Blackboard while they are taking a quiz. This is not unique to Blackboard as other learning management systems have similar problems.

There are best practices instructors should follow to minimize the risk of something going wrong during and assessment.
  1. Set the exam to be given one question at a time. This ensures that the user's session is continuously updated, and the likelihood of the user getting kicked out due to inactivity is reduced.
  2. Do not select the "force complete" option. Without this option selected, users are able to re-enter the exam from the last point that they saved an answer if they should get kicked out.
  3. Advise students to not "double click" when they hit the Submit button.
  4. Firefox is the recommended browser.
Have students read the Instructions for Taking Online Exams found on the Blackboard website in the Student area.

    Monday, March 14, 2011

    Quickly Find Items That Need Grading

    Instructors can now access assignment, test and SafeAssignment attempts that need grading from a new Needs Grading page accessed in the Grade Center section of the Control Panel. On the Needs Grading page, instructors can view how many attempts are ready for grading and sort and filter the items. Attempts are placed in a queue for easy navigation among items when grading or reviewing. Once an attempt is graded, it no longer appears on the Needs Grading page.

    Monday, March 7, 2011

    Cleaning Up Your Course List

    Every semester, Blackboard courses are created and populated automatically with instructors and students. As an instructor, your course sites will appear in Course List on your My Blackboard page with the notation (unavailable) after their names, which means that they're unavailable to students, but are still available for instructors to work on. Depending on the number of courses you are teaching, you may have accumulated a long list. You can avoid a long list of course sites by hiding them from your view.

    1. Click on the "gear" icon located in the upper right corner of the Course List.

    2. "Uncheck" the attributes of the courses that you do not want appearing on your Course List.

    3. Click Submit.

    Monday, February 28, 2011

    Hiding and Collapsing the Course Menu

    Blackboard offers users the option to hide the Course Menu so that the area of the course you are viewing takes up the entire screen. While this is a helpful feature, it may cause confusion due to the fact that if you "accidentally" hide the Course Menu, by clicking on the arrow directly to the left of the main page, you will not be able to see your Course Menu. Users also have the ability to totally collapse the Course Menu by clicking on the arrows directly to the left of the course name at the top of the Course Menu.

    To Hide the Course Menu
    1. Click the < icon on the left side of the main screen.
    2. When you are ready to view the Course Menu again click the > icon on the left side of the main screen.
    Collapse and Expand the Course Menu
    1. To collapse the Course Menu, click the two "upper arrows" directly to the left of the course name at the top of the Course Menu.
    2. When you are ready to expand the Course Menu, click the same arrows, which are now pointing down.

    This short screencast demonstrates how to hide and collapse the Course Menu and how to un-hide and expand the area.

    Friday, February 18, 2011

    Accessibility Simulations

    These simulations will provide you with the opportunity to experience what it is like to have certain disabilities.  You will have to download specific free plug-ins found on each site in order to view the simulations. WebAim Web Accessibility in Mind

    Screen Reader Simulation This simulation will help you to understand what it is like for a person with vision loss or low vision to access the Internet using a software program called a "screen reader."
    Low Vision Simulation This simulation provides and opportunity for users to experience a web page as someone with a visual disability might see it.
    Distractibility Simulation
    The goal of the simulation is to illustrate the design principles that make it easier for individuals to access the information on a web site.

    2010 Horizon Report

    2010 Horizon Report
    The annual Horizon Report describes the continuing work of the New Media Consortium (NMC)’s Horizon Project , a long-running qualitative research project that seeks to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have a large impact on teaching, learning, research, or creative expression within learning-focused organizations. The 2010 Horizon Report is the seventh annual report in the series.
    In reading the 2010 Horizon Report, you will explore the four key trends selected for 2010 which are key in driving technology:
    • The abundance of resources and relationships made easily accessible via the Internet is increasingly challenging us to revisit our roles as educators in sense-making, coaching, and credentialing
    • People expect to be able to work, learn, and study whenever and wherever they want to
    • The technologies we use are increasingly cloud-based, and our notions of IT support are decentralized.
    • The work of students is increasingly seen as collaborative by nature, and there is more cross-campus collaboration between departments.

    Add New Test Student

    Instructor can now create a Test Student User Account using the Add Test Student tool accessible from the Course Tools of the Control Panel. An instructor can create only ONE test student user account. This test student account is tied to an individual instructor and can be added to any course of the instructor.

    Once a test student is added to a course, the instructor can log into the course as a test student THROUGH THE NON-FRESNO STATE OR COMMUNITY USERS LINK LOCATED UNDER THE REGULAR BLACKBOARD LOGIN. You will not be able to login as a Test Student through the regular login area.

    NOTE: Please do not share this account with others because they will gain access to ALL the courses associated with this test student. This account should be used to only test your course as a student. Please do not use this account for guest users or official course records.
    Twitter Bird Gadget