Wednesday, October 15, 2014

NBC Learn Videos & Blackboard

Now that mid-term exams are behind us, it's time to focus on the content ahead. What better way to introduce new topics than with interesting videos.  NBC Learn Videos are short, informative and focus on events and trends and how they relate to academic topics.  Check out this video on the Chemistry of Fear and Fright -- just in time for the end of October! There are thousands of videos on NBC Learn.  All videos may be embedded into your Blackboard, or shown offline in your classroom.

There are two ways to access the NBC Learn Videos:1. Via Blackboard.  2. Directly from the NBC Learn web site. 
Via Blackboard: 
Faculty: To access the NBC Learn videos from within Blackboard, simply go to any content area within your course, click Build Content, MashUps, and select NBC Learn Content. You will be prompted to search for a video, and then embed it directly into your course. Only faculty can set up videos within Blackboard.

Watch the Tutorial:

Directly from NBC Learn's Web Site:

Faculty and students can also log on directly to the NBC Learn web site to view videos. If you register at this site you will be able to create your own playlists and share them with others. If you would like direct access, you must access the NBC Learn web site from a campus computer; after you register, you may search for or access your videos from any computer, on or off campus. You can access NBC LEARN at:
Play NBC Learn Videos Off-Line:

Want to learn more?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Testing, Testing 1, 2, 3....

As mid-term season approaches, here are some options for using Bb for your exams.

Q:  Can I create a "Test Bank" within Bb?

A:  Yes, this is known as a Question Pool.  Pools are collections and groups of questions that you can include in tests and surveys. For example, you might have a set of 10 or 20 related questions you want to reuse in several tests or surveys, or even across multiple courses. The advantage of using a pool is you do not have to remember all those questions and manually add them to each test or survey.

How to create a Question Pool

Q:  How do I build a Bb Test?

A:  You can build a test right from within a Bb content area.  Click the Assessment button, and select "Test."  Name your test, and submit -- you'll land on the "Test Canvas" where you'll add questions. You can create new questions, or reuse questions from another test, or from a question pool.

Bb features the most common question types, such as True/False, Multiple Choice, Multiple Answer, Ordering, Matching and Essay; it also includes several "advanced" questions types. 

Instructions for Creating a Test

Q:  How can I copy the tests from one Bb course to another?

A: You can copy tests either all at once, or one a time.

Copy ONE Test to another Bb course
Copy ALL Tests to another Bb course

Q:  How do I schedule an exam, and what options are available for feedback to students?

A:  After you create an exam, you will set the "Test Options" that make the test available and set various feedback options. There are several options for releasing test results and feedback. For example, while the test is available for students to take, set the feedback options to "score only."  Then, after students can no longer take the test, set the options so that students can see their answers as well as the correct answers and any feedback you've added to the test.  The test becomes a learning tool.

 Please view the full Test Option instructions here.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Pre Mid-Term Reviews

We're gearing up for midterms!  Wouldn't it be great for your students to review course concepts in a fun and engaging way?  How about having students create their own study questions and activities? But, you say, there's really no time to find the tech tools to do this.....  StudyMate to the rescue.

StudyMate is a Bb tool that helps students "master the basics" of course material through learning activities, self-assessments, and games. It includes a dozen activities – such as flash cards, crosswords and quizzes – that engage students with course content in an individualized way.

Would you like to start using StudyMate in your Bb course right away?  

Enter your Bb Course
Click on Course Materials or any Bb "content area" you'd like to locate your activity.
Click Tools > StudyMate Class

Name your StudyMate activity, select options and click submit.

The StudyMate activity is added to your Bb content area.  Click "Select this Item" to open and begin editing your StudyMate  activity

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Now that the semester has been underway for a few weeks, it's likely that you'll want your students to begin to submit assignments.  Use the Blackboard Assignment Tool to make submitting and grading assignments easy.

There are two types of assignments in Bb -- "Regular Assignments" and "Safe Assignments."  The table below highlights the difference between the two:

 Safe AssignmentRegular Assignment
Grade Center Integrationgreen circle.pnggreen circle.png
Due Datesgreen circle.pnggreen circle.png
Check for Plagiarim
SafeAssign Report
green circle.png 
Attach Files (Instructor)
green circle.png
Multiple Attempts green circle.png
Anonymous Grading green circle.png
Inline Grading green circle.png
Assign to Groups green circle.png
Bb Rubrics green circle.png

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Picture = 1,000 Words

I have two image-related topics for you this week.

Avatars, there's not just for games.  You and students can now add small avatars or pictures to your Bb profile. The image will appear on your profile as well as within blogs, journals, discussions, and notifications modules.  The best image size to upload is 150 x150 pix.

To upload an avatar:
  1. From the global navigation menu, click Settings, and then click Personal Information. You can also accessPersonal Information on the Tools panel.
  2. On the Personal Information page, click Personalize My Settings.
  3. On the Personalize My Settings page, you can add or change your personal avatar. Click Use custom avatar image. You will not see this option if your institution has turned on the profiles feature.
  4. Click Browse My Computer.
  5. Select the avatar image file and click Open.
  6. Click Submit.

Achievements - Badges. Images, but with Meaning!
Badges are quickly becoming a popular way to display skills or achievement that' we've earned.  Blackboard now has both badge and achievement tools that may be used within courses.  Badges may be uploaded to Mozilla Backpack.   This video explains the concept of badges, and how they can be displayed in Mozilla Open Backpack..

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

And they're off.....

Start of the Semester Checklist

 Start your semester with a bang by getting your Blackboard courses up and running right away.  Here's your Fall 2014 Checklist!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Blackboard Upgrade July 2, 2014

Our last upgrade was about two years ago -- since then, Bb has done a lot of work to get Bb Learn more responsive to users' needs and desires.  We'll be upgrading on July 2, 2014 --  starting at 2 AM until (approximately) July 3, 2014 - 1:00 PM. Blackboard will be unavailable during the upgrade.

Enhancements & New Features:
  • Achievements- Badges and Certificates: The Achievements tool allows instructors and course designers to designate criteria for issuing rewards to students in the form of both Badges and Certificates.
  • Course Messages Notifications: Course messages are private and secure text-based communication that occurs within a course and among course members. Although similar to email, you must be logged into a course to read and send course messages.
  • Date Management: After instructors have copied a course, they can speed up the transition of old dates to new ones relevant for the new course using Date Management. From Date Management, instructors can adjust all availability dates, due dates, and adaptive release dates.  Watch a Tutorial Here.
  • Groups Management: Blackboard has improved the management of groups within the course site.
  • Inline Grading: Instructors have a consistent grading sidebar within assignments, blogs, discussions, journals, and wikis. This grading sidebar allows them to grade a submission, post, and entry without leaving the page.
  • Test IP Address Filtering: As a way to prevent cheating and secure high stakes tests, Blackboard Learn Service Pack 14 is introducing Test IP address filtering to enforce location restrictions specified by administrators to correspond to specified IP addresses or IP ranges. This can limit the computers that have access to certain tests to a testing lab for example or other location that can be monitored or proctored.

Check out the Features Showcase: