On Sunday June 9th the TLP was flooded by a broken water pipe. We relocated to MLIB 031 temporarily, with a smaller lab.
As of Monday, August 5, the TLP lab was re-carpeted and we’ve moved back in. All facilities are available except the training lab, which should be ready in a few days.
Blackboard Learn was upgraded on May 30. One exciting new feature is the User Profiles. The new profiles display student photos in courses, and allow students to easily view a course roster.
Introducing Bb Learn Profiles
Note: All students and faculty will be invited to set up their profile the first time they log in after the May 30 upgrade – or just click “do it later” and proceed to log in.
- Add a picture of yourself and and an “about me” blurb
- Set your privacy: visible to everyone at CSU, Chico, private, or hidden
- Profiles enhance Discussions, Journals, Blogs and recent activity views
- The new “People” tool lets you see who is in your classes.
Watch the new Profiles in action…
Each week, TLP will spotlight new Blackboard Learn functionality coming this summer.
Blackboard Learn will be upgraded on May 30 to the latest version. Two of the new features are an all-new Calendar and a global navigation and notification area called My Blackboard. Read more about the upgrade here.
Introducing the new calendar
The new calendar provides all the features of a modern web calendar, including:
- View the calendar by course, month, week, day.
- Course due dates are automatically added to the calendar and color coded by course.
- Drag and drop calendar entries; due dates automatically updated when moved.
- Subscribe to a course calendar in your Outlook, Google or iCal-compatible mobile calendar.
See the new calendar in action:
Find out what’s new in My Blackboard
My Blackboard provides a personalized, timely view of information across all your courses. In just a couple of clicks, you can access:
- Recent Posts (Discussion, Blog, Journal, Wiki)
- Updates (notifies you of what’s available, due, overdue, needs grading, etc.)
- Calendar (events and due dates in all your courses, plus personal calendar)
- Retention Center (faculty only, shows “at-risk” students)
- Recently posted Grades (students only)
Check out My Blackboard in action:
Other new features are on the way!
Each week, TLP will spotlight new Bb Learn functionality coming this summer. Read more about each:
Updated: Blackboard Learn was upgraded on May 30 to the latest version of the software. This upgrade brings many requested and new features and improve system security.
The system upgrade occurred on Thursday, May 30 from 5:00 am to 10:00 am (extended by 1 hour). During this time, Bb Learn was unavailable. All other campus systems including PeopleSoft were be unaffected by this upgrade.
The “My Vista Courses” link will stay in Bb Learn until October 18, 2013. The previously announced date to remove this link has been extended. Read more about Vista going away.
What are the new features?
The new Bb Learn version delivers many features requested by our faculty as well as some great new tools, including:
- Profiles with pictures and privacy settings (learn more)
- New calendar (learn more)
- New navigation and notification menu “My Blackboard” (learn more)
- Improved discussion forums (learn more)
- Webcam recording to YouTube in many tools (learn more)
- Detailed test question analysis (learn more)
- Monitoring of student performance
- In-line grading and commenting on submitted student assignments (learn more)
Why is it happening on May 30?
While there’s no perfect time for this upgrade, May 30 has been selected with the utmost priority given to minimizing service disruption for students and faculty. As part of visible planning, the timing of the upgrade has been vetted with campus governance committees on academics and campus technology. The upgrade cannot take place during the summer term because there are approximately 200 courses running at that time. Upgrading on Thursday May 30 ensures there is sufficient time to upgrade and test the system prior to the start of the summer term. This also gives advance notice to faculty teaching in the fall about new features.
What will I see after the upgrade?
Updated: User profiles were not activated during the profile, so the first time you log in you’ll notice the new My Blackboard menu at the top right of the page.
Special note to faculty: If you have not completed grading of student assignments submitted to Bb Learn prior to May 30, you will see the new assignment grading interface when you attempt to view the assignments after the upgrade. Learn more about the new grading interface.
This post will be updated as the new features are introduced. If you have questions or concerns, please use the comments below.
If you find yourself making instructional material PDFs, forms, flyers or publications, be sure to avail yourself of our new campus-wide license for Adobe Acrobat Pro XI. All campus faculty and staff computers are eligible to install the software – find the instructions in the ITSS knowledge base. Things you can do with Acrobat Professional:
- Make PDFs searchable and accessible to students with disabilities
- Edit, combine and optimize PDFs
- Create fillable forms and collect data with Forms Central
- Create perfect PDFs from your Office suite.
ITSS supports the installation of Acrobat Pro. The Accessible Resource Center offers their 5-clicks PDF accessibility workshop, and TLP can help you to scan, edit, manipulate and press the perfect PDF for your instructional materials.
Some of you may recall that you could add your own auditors, TA’s, and guest instructors for Vista – not to mention creating, erasing or deleting your prep areas. We appreciate your patience as the Distributed Learning Technologies team has redesigned all of that excellent functionality from the ground up for Bb Learn, with a new improved interface and even more capabilities.
The new Bb Learn Self-Service application has been released, and it allows faculty to do all of these things for themselves, without contacting TLP or a system admin:
- Add auditors, graders, teaching assistants and guest instructors to your courses and prep areas
- Create or delete prep areas
- Apply “course models” to your courses – basically a template with ready-to-use tools and content areas to match your needs
- Additionally, organization leaders can add and remove co-leaders and participants!
The link can always be found on the TLP Home page and in Bb Learn under the Faculty Support tab.
The Kaltura tool in Blackboard Learn has been making it much easier to add streaming videos to your course, whether you’re adding new high-definition videos or moving over your previous content from the Real Media Mole server. We’ve just upgraded the tool in Blackboard so that going forward, you can take advantage of these great features:
- Mobile playback – videos now play on HTML5-capable devices like smart phones and tablets.
- Simplified code in Kaltura Media tool items – easier to edit.
- Screen capture tool – available in the My Media area, you can make screencast movies. (requires Java)
- New 480p MP4 quality – better playback for Camtasia and other standard-definition videos.
If you haven’t started using Kaltura yet to post sounds or videos or enable your students to submit their own course media, contact TLP or check out the Knowledge Base.
We’ve just added two new sessions of our popular workshop “Google Docs for Student Collaboration” to our February calendar. In this workshop we discover some of the great tools Google offers to Chico State faculty and students including Documents, Spreadsheets/Forms, Drawings and Presentations. Learn how real-time collaborative writing, threaded annotation discussions and the powerful sharing capabilities can be used with your class. Enroll here:
Friday Feb. 8 at 11:30am
Friday Feb. 15 at 10:00am
Over the last year, we were first thrilled to introduce the Wiki tool in Bb Learn and then disappointed that the Wiki tool suffered from a pernicious software bug which made the interface nearly unusable beginning in January 2012. At last, the Distributed Learning Technologies team and TLP are happy to announce that the Wiki has been fixed as of now! A wiki can be added to a content area from the “Tools” menu in your content area and it can also be granted as a group tool for your student teams to research and write collaboratively.
Bb Learn Wikis can be graded and will display individual student word counts to help you evaluate contributions. TLP’s Collaboration workshop will cover the Wiki tool and you can also get advice on how to use it with your classes by scheduling a consultation with an ITC or by watching Dr. Cris Guenter’s Bb Learn Spotlight presentation, where she demonstrates how her students used the Wiki to reflect on their explorations in Second Life.
Welcome back, Wiki.