Monday, July 28, 2014

Blackboard World Takeaways (Not just free pens!)


Last week, my colleague and I traveled to Blackboard World (or on Twitter, #Bbworld14) in Las Vegas, NV.  This was my first time attending Blackboard World.  The tech talk began immediately, when, at the airport terminal, I overheard a SharePoint conversation.  I managed to get on the flight and into the desert heat without information overload.

Once we arrived and settled in, we received the conference agenda.  As expected: breakout sessions, opening and closing Keynotes, Blackboard’s CEO pep talk, and an Exhibit Hall, full of friendly vendors wanting you to use their services. Rather than be annoyed or passive, I found the Exhibit Hall to be the most interesting!  I enjoyed learning how other products could do something differently or even better.  In addition, I always have fun signing up to win free iPads or picking up loads of free pens.


During his presentation, the CEO revealed that Blackboard is working on a new version of their Learn product.  The new version includes a sleek interface and removes the dependency of Java.  This new interface will introduce a new way to enter content into courses and rearrange that content.  It is still a work in progress and should be out sometime next year.


Overall, we attended 12 sessions on upcoming products, aligning content, learning analytics, course design, and mobile apps.  During these sessions, what I kept hearing repeatedly was the importance of personalizing your online course.  Students desire face-to-face interaction. Video seemed to be the solution: videos of course tours at the beginning the semester, assignment instructions and test study guides, journals, and most common, student feedback.  


Fellow conference attendees stated common hesitation for creating videos, such as failed attempts in the past, accessibility issues, training, and time.  Here at TLT, we try to eliminate technology intimidation in both your face-to-face and online courses. Here are a few ideas I heard on how to make your course more personal:

  • Suggest groups use Adobe Connect to record their meetings for class participation
  • Use Audacity to give students audio feedback
  • Encourage your students to create a MyEdu profile in Blackboard to develop a social media presence
  • Use your webcam to record and introduce each week’s topic


All and all, Blackboard World was a blast. Clay and Julie are back and ready to assist (our colleagues, too!) on how to make your online classes more personal and answer any questions regarding the upcoming changes to Blackboard. Feel free to call TLT (x8-7107) for ideas and training on technology in your courses!  

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Unscheduled Network Outage (7/20) - RESOLVED

Anyone attempting to get to any KUMC web site between 5:48 - 6:20 PM Sunday July 20th would have been unable to connect. This issue has been resolved and all systems are functioning normally. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Blackboard Slowness - July 16

Some Blackboard users may have experienced slow response times between 8:21-8:26 and 8:31-8:35 this evening, July 16.

All Blackboard servers appear to be responding normally now and TLT will continue to monitor the situation.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Blackboard + MyEdu Profiles

In January 2014, Blackboard acquired MyEdu, an online academic profile service. MyEdu allows users to build their Blackboard profile with the use of tiles. Tiles highlight users’ education, skills, and work experience.

Example of a MyEdu Cover Page

To build your MyEdu profile:

1.    Login to Blackboard https://bb.kumc.edu
2.    Click on your name in the upper right corner, and then click on the gray avatar
3.    Accept the terms of service agreement
4.    Select the I Don’t Have a MyEdu Account option
5.    Provide any information you would like to share, including upload a picture
6.    Click Add Titles to include information on your major, university, work experience, etc.

Watch the video for further instructions. As always, call TLT x8-7107 for assistance!

Monday, July 7, 2014

ScheduAll Unavailable: July 8, 11 am-12 pm

UPDATE: This work has been completed as of 11:28 am.

In order to fix a printing issue with the system, ScheduAll will need to be restarted between 11 am-12 pm on Tuesday, July 8. Interactive Web Reports and the ScheduAll client will be unavailable during this hour.

We apologize for the inconvenience.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Student Response Tools to Engage Students & Assess Learning

Student response tools are interactive assessment tools that can be a great way to engage students in the classroom as well as to quickly assess student learning. These tools provide faculty with the opportunity to easily gauge students' understanding of content in real time, which then can be used to guide classroom instruction. Combined with feedback from the instructor, these tools also allow students to better determine their understanding of course content.

Clickers are often used for student response systems, but they sometimes come with a cost to departments or students. If you are interested in getting started with student response activities in your course here are three free tools to check out:



1. Infuse Learning (www.infuselearning.com)

 

Infuse Learning is a web-based student response tool that is compatible with iOS and Android devices, as well as desktop and laptop computers. It is a very simple tool to use with several great features.

When an instructor logs in they can start a new class which generates a "room number" for students.  Students simply visit the student url, enter their name, and log in with the room number. Once students have entered the room, the instructor has several different assessment activities that they can send out to students, such as on-the-fly questions and pre-created quizzes. There are a variety of questions to choose from such as true/false, multiple choice, sorting, open-end response, numeric, and likert questions. The question/questions will appear on students' screens and they will simply respond accordingly. Results can easily be shared with the class and downloaded for later review.

One of the best features of Infuse Learning is the InfuseDraw feature. It allows an instructor to push out images or drawings with questions to students, and the student can respond back with a drawing of their own. Student responses can then be saved as a pdf for instructors to review. This can be a great feature for creating labeling questions or having students complete questions that involve complex equations.

To see a quick introduction to Infuse Learning check out this YouTube video at http://youtu.be/-skvqjepU1Q



2. Socrative (www.socrative.com)

 

Socrative is a student response tool that can be accessed via a browser or via a mobile app, and is compatible with mobile devices as well as desktop and laptop computers. Its functionality is similar to Infuse Learning, but with a very simple and clean interface. Instructors create a room, share that room name with students, and then students log into the room, via the web or app, using the room name.

Instructors have the ability to create quizzes within Socrative that can be pushed out to students, as well as ask questions on-the-fly. These features can be great for quick formative assessments, however, instructors are limited to three types of questions: multiple choice, true/false, or short answer. Student answers populate in real-time, allowing students and instructors to see results quickly. Reporting within this tool is well done, allowing instructors to download Excel files of results, or pdfs with results by question or student.

"Space Race," a competition activity within Socrative, could be particularly engaging for students. In this activity, students compete in teams to answer questions in order to advance their teams' rocket ships. As students answer questions the rocket ships advance on the instructor's screen. This activity could be a great way to liven up assessment in the classroom, engaging students in the course while providing meaningful feedback to the instructor.

The "Exit Ticket" activity allows an instructor to pose questions at the end of class to gauge how well students understood the content covered during class. Three questions are posed to students to determine how well they understood the material and what they learned during the class period. The feedback received from students can help guide future instruction, giving instructors indicators of students' perceptions of their understanding of course content.

For more information, you can find a brief overview video of Socrative at http://youtu.be/_EoJtCtOhio.  

Note: Socrative 2.0 is the newest version of Socrative, but some of the Socrative apps have yet to be upgraded from Socrative 1.0. Their website indicates that this should be completed in July.

 



3. Geddit (www.letsgeddit.com)


Geddit is another student response tool that can be accessed via the web or via an app. It is also compatible with mobile devices and laptop/desktop computers. To use this tool, students will have to create accounts which is not a requirement of the tools mentioned above. Geddit's focus is a bit different from the previously mentioned tools, as its primary use is for students to provide real-time feedback to their instructor on their perceptions of their understanding, although a quizzing feature is available as well.

Within Geddit instructors create "lessons", which can be best interpreted as sessions of time in which students can submit feedback while you are teaching a lesson in real-time. As an instructor proceeds through a lesson in class they will stop at key points to ask students to submit feedback on their understanding of the content. Students can then enter their self-assessment feedback on a five-level scale, along with any comments that they may have, which will be sent back to the instructor in real-time. This saves students from any embarrassment that they may have with sharing this information with others, and allows the instructor to immediately see which students may need additional assistance. 

At the end of the lesson the instructor can pose quiz questions to further assess students' understanding. Instructors can pose multiple choice, short answer, long answer, and poll questions. Geddit also allows instructors to easily input formulas for math questions.

Once a lesson has been closed, instructors can view a breakdown of the students' self-assessments, as well as the quiz results. Geddit will also flag students that may have not understood the content covered based on the feedback provided.

You can find resources to help you get started with Geddit at http://www.letsgeddit.com/public/articles.



These are just a few of the student response tools available on the web. If you know of any other great student response tools or have examples of how you have used student response tools in your courses, please share in the comments below.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Unscheduled Blackboard Outage (6/30) - RESOLVED

Some users may have experienced an issue logging in or connecting to Blackboard between 6 - 6:50 PM Monday June 30th. The issue has been resolved and Blackboard is functioning normally. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.