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.

Friday, June 27, 2014

5 Tips for Adobe Connect Conferences


Adobe Connect is a powerful web conferencing tool that has many capabilities however, users can easily get frustrated if participants are not familiar with online conference etiquette.  Here are 5 tips for making your conferences a success:

  1. Use the same "meeting" room as your last meeting.  Adobe Connect uses the term "meeting" meaning a space for a meeting.  Think of it sort of like a chat room for a meeting.  These can be used multiple times by clicking "Edit Information" to change the time and date of the meeting.  You can also create your own default set up that can be used for multiple meetings and you can save your share pods and documents to use in another meeting.

  1. Open your meeting 10-15 minutes early to allow people who are unfamiliar with web conferencing a chance to familiarize themselves with Adobe Connect and its features.  This also allows time if someone has connection issues.

  1. If your goal is to connect with participants by showing them who they are talking to consider uploading a JPEG picture of yourself into a Share Pod instead of using a webcam.  this uses less bandwidth and will make the meeting go smoother.  If a webcam is needed, use it sparingly.  Make eye contact with the camera to make viewers more a part of the meeting.  Focus the camera close on the speaker(s) head so there is limited background.  If you do not need the webcam, click stop sharing.  
  1. As a general rule of thumb, just give presenters microphone rights.  Participants can be given microphone rights from the host if needed.  Mute you phone or microphone when not speaking.  Avoid cell phones and speaker phone because it can add extra noise.  Poly-com systems that are designed for conferencing are okay to use (but not required.)  Adobe Connect has capabilities of voice without these systems. 

  1. If you are a presenter plan ahead of time how you are going to share with your audience.  You can share your PowerPoint directly in a Share Pod, share your screen or share a program.  If you share a program make sure it is how you want it viewed before sharing (PowerPoint is in presentation mode.)  If another window has to be opened your audience will not see it.


Remember, there may be problems using any web based conference programs.  To make your conference run smoothly, it is best to use a desktop computer or have a laptop that is connected to the internet through an Ethernet cable.  Wireless internet connections are slower depending on how many users there are.  Practice, Patience and flexibility are key.

 If you have any questions or tips for others please comment below or contact TLT.  Happy Connecting!

Sources:

Web Conferencing Etiquette: Top Tips - Adobe Connect User Community. (n.d.). Retrieved June 25, 2014, from http://www.connectusers.com/tutorials/2009/02/web_conf_ettiquite/index.php. 

Adobe Connect Web Conferencing. (n.d.). Retrieved June 25, 2014, from http://www.kumc.edu/information-resources/organizational-chart/tlt/adobe-connect.html

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Sharing & Managing Dates in Blackboard


To ensure student success in a course, it is always important to provide students with as much information as possible in regards to expectations for a course. One aspect of this is always providing clear information in regards to deadlines within a course. This information is usually shared via a course syllabus, which we recommend, however, Blackboard offers a great tool to share this information with students, the Calendar tool.

We recommend using the Calendar tool in Blackboard so students can easily view important dates within your course. It will display any due dates for items within a course, as well as events that you as an instructor can add to the course calendar. This tool is also a simple way for you to easily review any upcoming due dates or events within your course.



To learn more about how to use the Calendar tool within your course, please view the video below:




Exporting the Blackboard Calendar For Easy Access


A nice feature of the Calendar tool is that users can export their Blackboard calendars to other clients such as Outlook, Google, as well as to their mobile devices. We have included steps below to assist you in this process:

First, you will need to log into Blackboard and access the Calendar tool. In the left sidebar, you will find a button labeled "Get External Calendar Link". Click this button and copy the link provided.



Next, complete the following steps based on where you would like to export your calendar to:


Outlook

  1. Copy the external calendar link from Blackboard.
  2. Open Outlook and access the Calendar Tool.
  3. On the "Home" tab menu, select "Open Calendar", then "From Internet...".
  4. Paste the link into the field provided and click "Ok".
  5. A pop-up will appear asking you if you would like to add this calendar and subscribe to updates. Click "Yes".
  6. The dates will import from Blackboard, and you should now be able to see the dates from your Blackboard calendar.


Google Calendar

  1. Copy the external calendar link from Blackboard.
  2. Access your Google Calendar app.
  3. In the left sidebar, under "Other Calendars", click the drop-down arrow on the left and select "Add by URL".
  4. Paste the link in the field provided and click "Add Calendar".
  5. The dates will import, and the dates from your Blackboard calendar will appear within your Google calendar.


iPhone

 

Note: You will need to access Blackboard via your iPhone to complete the following steps.
  1. Copy the external calendar link from Blackboard by tapping on the link, dragging the link until the enter link is highlighted, and selecting "Copy".
  2. Exit the browser, and access the "Settings" app on your iPhone.
  3. Scroll down and select "Mail, Contacts, and Calendars".
  4. Under "Accounts", select "Add Account", and select "Other" as the type of the account.
  5. Select "Add Subscribed Calendar".
  6. Tap the field provided and select "Paste". 
  7. Select "Next", then "Save".
  8. The dates will import, and the dates from your Blackboard calendar. will appear within your iPhone calendar.

Android

 

According to online documentation, there is no current option available in Adroid to subscribe to an .ics feed. It is recommended to import your Blackboard calendar into a Google calendar using the steps above, then sync the Google calendar to your Android device. These steps may vary depending on your device. We recommend consulting your device's documentation and settings for further information.


Date Management In Your Course


Do you ever tire of having to go into each individual item within your course to update due dates and availability dates? Blackboard offers a tool called the Date Management tool that allows you to edit due dates, availability dates, and adaptive release dates all in one place for items within your course such as discussions, assignments, test, announcements, etc. 

One thing to keep in mind is that you cannot create new dates within the Date Management tool. You can only edit currently set dates. Also, if you have multiple Adaptive Release dates set up for an item you will not see all of those dates in the Date Management tool. Our recommendation is to edit these within the Adaptive Release settings for the course item, and to use Adaptive Release sparingly.

To learn more about how to use the Date Management tool to manage dates within a course, please view the video below:




Give these tools a try and let us know what you think! We think these tools can make it much easier to share and manage dates within a course. If you've used these tools before, please share your experiences with us in the comments below.




Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Organizing Courses in Blackboard






 Organizing Courses in Blackboard


 Who can remember taking an online course where you were confused about the layout? Courses that are hard to navigate and find things are not effective because students spend too much of their focus on finding things rather than learning and interacting with content.  Organization is vital in making a course effective.  Courses need to have clear organization and follow a consistent pattern. 
One way to help organize your course is to use learning modules to present course content.  Learning modules provide a table of contents to the left hand side for easy navigation through the content.  The first page of a learning module is a great place to give a summary of contents, learning objectives and due dates for the module.    

 
Figure 1:  This is an example of content that can be shown on the first page of a Learning Module.
 

Consistency is another thing to keep in mind. Every module should be organized similarly.  Due dates should be found easily both on the assignment and in the calendar or syllabus.  If you want to really help students, make assignments due on the same weekday and same time each module.  For example, assignments are due on Monday at midnight and discussion board peer responses are due on Thursday at midnight.  

Everyone organizes their courses differently, and that is to be expected.  The goal is to keep each individual course easy to navigate and to have consistent formatting and deadlines.  If you have other tips or ideas on organizing courses feel free to share below!

For help with learning modules: 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Blackboard Mobile & Audio Recordings

In the Blackboard Mobile app, users may experience issues listening to audio recordings.

For Adobe Connect recordings, you will not be able to listen to them on mobile devices due to the format (Android & Apple).

For narrated PowerPoints, if you download the free Microsoft Office Mobile app and then open the presentation, you will be able to listen to your lectures on a mobile device (Android).

For Camtasia Relay recordings, if the file is MP4, the recording should start automatically. 

In the Apple or Android app store, the Blackboard Mobile app is $1.99 and the Adobe Connect app is free. Contact us with any questions! 8-7107 or tlt@kumc.edu

Scheduled Blackboard Maintenance (6-16)-COMPLETED

We have completed the maintenance to Blackboard. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.