Friday, August 30, 2013

Internet Outage

An Internet outage caused many KUMC websites, including Blackboard, Connect and Chalk, to be inaccessible for users between approximately 7:10 - 7:25 on Friday, August 30.
This issue has been resolved.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Blackboard Tests and Special Accommodations

If you need to set up a test/quiz to meet a time accommodation for one student in a course, there are two ways to do this. I will first provide the way I would recommend implementing this task.

Sonny's Recommended Method

Set up your quiz as you normality would with access to all students and all test options set to how the test/quiz had been released in prior course offerings.

Here are the changes you need to make:
A. Make sure "Force Completion" is always off.
B. Set your timer for the usual time requirement for the test/quiz.
C. Make sure the Auto-Submit is set to "OFF."

What this will do is allow all students to go over the time requirement. Students who complete an auto-graded test/quiz before the timer will see their score (if you have it set up this way) immediately after completing the test/quiz. Students who go over the time requirement will not see a grade. The instructor will have to go into the Grade Center and see the late submissions. The test/quiz will be graded, but you will have to manually update the late submitted grades.

So, for your student who needs the time accommodation:

  • Meet with them before they take the test/quiz. 
  • Tell them that the timer is set to X-minutes, but they will have 1.5X-minutes (time and a half) to complete the test/quiz. 
  • Tell them that they will need to set their own timer up (a smartphone has a timer or any timer device is okay). Blackboard will track when they submit there test/quiz, so don't won't about the Blackboard timer reaching zero. They are allowed to go over time. 
  • Let them know that you will manual review and update their grade once you have time to review it. Again, they will not be penalized for going over the time limit, but you will check to see how much time over the limit they went.

When you set up tests/quizzes in this manner, you will also need to provide some instructors to those who go over the time limit. For example, you add to the instructions that students will be penalized 10% their total grade per minute over the time limit. This prevents other students from exceeding the time limit too much, but allows additional time for your student who needs it.

The good aspect of this method keeps all grades in one column in your Grade Center. The negatives can be a little more attention by the instructor to review all the students who go over the time limit, and it may cause some stress for the student with the time accommodation as they see a false timer running. Hopefully, the later can be reduce by talking with them in-person to reduce their stress.

The Other Method

There is another method to set up a test/quiz for a student who need a time accommodation. Follow this tutorial if you are interested in this method. It involves creating an additional test/quiz for this one student and setting up adaptive release so that the right students take the correct test/quiz. Here are the reasons that I DO NOT recommend this method:

  • All students will see two of the same test/quiz in their grade center. They will see only the score for the one they took and see the other one not completed. This may indicate that there is a special test/quiz and may suggest there is a student with special accommodation in the class.
  • It makes the grade center double in size. Now, you have two columns for every test/quiz. If you have a lot tests/quizzes in your course, it makes it harder to navigate.
  • You have to set up adaptive releases to every test/quiz to make sure students are taking the right test/quiz. More work for the instructor.

If you have any question about set up a test/quiz to meet time accommodations, you can always contact TLT at 913-588-7107.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Your Blackboard Profile and Internet Explorer

We have discovered an issue when trying to edit your Blackboard Profile while using Internet Explorer 8 and above. Even though Internet Explorer 8, 9, and 10 are supported the Blackboard Cloud does not function correctly if you are using Internet Explorer in compatibility mode. When you use Internet Explorer in compatibility mode you are telling Internet Explorer to run like Internet Explorer 7. Therefore; when you try to access your Blackboard Profile in compatibility mode you receive an message that says "The profile you are looking for could not be found." To resolve this issue turn compatibility mode off and you will then be able to access your profile without a problem. Alternatively you can also use another browser such as Firefox or Chrome. These two browsers are not affected by the compatibility mode issue.

Unscheduled Blackboard Outage (8/28) - Resolved

Some users may have experienced an issue entering course between 1 AM- 7:45 AM Wednesday 8/28. This issue has been resolved and entering courses is acting normally. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Blackboard Discussion Forums

One way to engage students in content outside of the class is the use of Discussion Boards. Since the features of Blackboard's Discussion Boards differ in some aspects from ANGEL, I would like to offer some resources to become acquainted with the new format.
In addition to these resources, I would like to provide some addition insight and guidance when using Discussion Boards in Blackboard.

Editing the Description of a Discussion Forum and the link to the Discussion Forum

Many instructors put a link to a discussion forum within a module so that the discussion forum is presented with the rest of the course content. Note: if you change the description of the link, this DOES NOT change the description (prompt question) of the discussion forum. You will need to updated both descriptions or do not add a description to the link to the discussion forum. This may cause some confusion for both the instructor and students if not set up correctly.  Also, a link to a discussion forum does not provide the description (prompt question) right after you click on the link. The description (prompt question) is only shown when the student clicks on "Create Thread" button. To get a better idea of this, watch this video.  ~ Windows Media  ~

Recommendation: First, provide a detailed name to a discussion forum (i.e. "DB: Module 1: Topic of Forum") when you create the forum. By doing this, students will be able to navigate the Discussion Board for the particular forum whether they link from within the content or go directly to the Discussion Board link in the left-hand navigation. Next, provide a link within the content to the particular forum (not the entire discussion board) and copy and paste the forum's description (prompt questions) to provide a better experience for the students. This is more work for the instructor to provide the same description in two places. This means updating in two locations also. But, again, this provide a better experience and communication to the students by doing it this way.

As always, if you have any questions about Discussion Boards or Blackboard in general, contact TLT.

Monday, August 26, 2013

JayDocs Migration This Weekend

JayDocs will be migrating to a larger, more efficient server this weekend starting at 11:59 p.m. August 31st.  This transition should not take more than 6 hours. 

Users may access JayDocs during this time, but there may be periods of down time.  We advise users not to upload any materials to JayDocs during this migration as the files may not go through reliably.  You may however login and download files, but be aware that the connection may terminate every so often during the migration period.

If you have questions about the migration, please contact Ann Alexander (913-588-7206 or  For technical support issues following the migration, please call Customer Support at 913-588-7995.

We thank you in advance for your patience.

Classroom Updates

TLT-Media has been very busy improving the teaching and learning facilities on our campus.  Many of the changes have been subtle, and a few have been dramatic.  The first floor Orr-Major small classrooms, the 4th floor lab rooms, and several of the small classrooms in the School of Nursing building have been re-furnished with flexible light weight seating and moveable tables to facilitate different room configurations for diverse teaching styles.  The chairs are also color coded to the rooms to make chair accountability easier.

About one third of our computers and projectors have been replaced. Some of the projectors were last produced in 2004.  The new projectors are brighter, quieter, greener, and less expensive than the ones they replaced.  The computers are noticeably faster as well as more reliable with solid state hard drives instead of disc drives.  Within a year, all of our projectors and computers should be of current manufacture.

One of the more obvious changes has been the transformation of B018 SON from a tiered lecture room with a capacity of 74 into a flat active learning space expanded to 112 seats.  Dramatic change is an understatement.  With the projector on the front wall, and 70” display monitors on the other three walls, everyone should have a good sight-line to see the content.
SON B018 - Before
SON B018 - Before
SON B018 - After

Varnes 4024
Room 4024 in the Varnes Center has also been similarly repurposed for active learning.  Both rooms now have 110VAC outlets in the tabletop to keep the students myriad electronic devices charged and ready for learning without the danger of extension cords all over the floor.

Filed under work in progress, Wahl Hall West Auditorium (WHW) is coming back into operation after over a year lying dormant.  It has been tastefully redecorated with new seating with available 110VAC on the seat risers, new carpet and tile flooring, and the dated honey oak trim has been painted to give a modern look and feel.  The updated technology includes three 60” monitors and a wide screen projector, an HD CODEC and cameras for video conferencing, and a digitally controlled audio system.  It should be ready for occupancy early in the Fall semester.
Wahl Hall West Renovations

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Classroom Technology Orientation and Training

If you're new to KUMC classrooms and classroom technology, please plan to attend one of our orientation and training sessions, where you'll learn all about our auditoriums and classrooms, and how to operate the technology in these rooms. No RSVP is needed. Just attend whichever session best fits your schedule.
  • Thursday, 8/22 at 10 - 11 am in B018 Nursing
  • Monday, 8/26 at 8 - 9 am in 1027 Orr Major
  • Tuesday, 8/27 at 2 - 3 pm in B018 Nursing
  • Friday, 8/30 at 9 - 10 am in 1050 Nursing
If you're unable to make one of these sessions, please give us a call at 913-588-7326 to arrange a one-on-one session.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

ARES Course Reserves in Blackboard

The ARES Course Reserves course tool is no longer located under the Resources tab in Blackboard. Instead, the ARES course tool link can be added to the left navigation panel in each course that you have requested readings. Keep reading to see what steps you need to take in order to use ARES with Blackboard.

Using ARES with Blackboard:
The process for requesting journal articles has not changed. Please continue to contact Copyright Clearance to request your course readings. You can fill out the online request form here, or you can contact them for more information at, 913-588-5073.

Adding the ARES Course Tool Link to your Blackboard course:
1. After you have requested your readings, log into Blackboard and select your course.
2. On the upper left hand side of the screen, click on the "+" Sign
3. Choose "Tool Link"

4. Name the tool link
5. Using the drop down box, select "Ares Course Reserves"
6. Be sure to make this link available to users
7. Click "Submit"

Copy and Pasting, the Correct Way

Many times, we need to copy text from a Word document or PDF, and then paste the text into Blackboard. When you do this, you end up with a lot of hidden markup html tags in the source code which can led to crazy formatted text. The best solution is to remove the formatting when you paste.

The short cut for copying is CTRL + C.
The shortcut for pasting is CTRL + V.

To paste this as plain text, press CTRL + Shift + V instead of the standard CTRL + V, and the system will paste unformatted text. 

Note: many programs follow this parameter (Chrome, Firefox, etc.) but not all, particularly Microsoft programs like Word or Outlook. For those there's a few alternatives: 

  1. CTRL + ALT + V will show a 'paste special' dialog box.
  2. CTRL + Spacebar will remove formatting in already pasted text.

Blackboard FAQ: Understanding the Grade Center

The Grade Center in Blackboard is different from ANGEL. For one, when you create an assignment or test, a column in the grade center is automatically created. No need to map an assessment to the grade center like you had to do in ANGEL. However, when we converted from ANGEL to Blackboard, if you had an old copy of an exam or assignment in ANGEL, it added a column to the Blackboard grade center automatically. So, you may find three Exam 3 in your Blackboard grade center.

For more information on the Bb Grade Center, watch the TLT review or refer to the Bb online tutorials.

Also, here are a couple of resources that you can save or print off as you prepare your online tests.
If you need assistance with the grade center, please make an appointment with your TLT Liaison.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Blackboard Cloud Profile Cookie Issues

If you should experience an issue with the Blackboard profiles or anything under the menu in the upper right corner that has your name on it. It may because of your browser setting not accepting third party cookies. To turn this feature on in Firefox and Internet Explorer those steps are listed below.

For Firefox open up your options menu by clicking either on the tools menu or the Firefox menu at the top left and selecting options.Click on the Privacy tab and select  Accept cookies from sites and make sure that third party cookies is set to From Visited. If you do not want to do that you can add an exception for the url

For Internet Explorer click on the cog wheel at the top right and select Internet Options. Go to the privacy tab and select "Advanced" and make sure that third party cookies are accepted. If they are not then you will need to override that setting.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Question Sets: Differences between ANGEL and Blackboard

Both ANGEL and Blackboard have Question Sets. But there are some major differences you need to know.

In ANGEL, you were able to display a question set at a time. Also, you could add a heading to a question set with a full html editor. Some instructors took advantage of these features to present a set of questions that all related to the header information. For example, you could present a case study or image in the header of a question set, then all the questions in the question set would refer to the information in the header. A pretty nice way to display a set of related questions.

Unfortunately, this is not how Blackboard implements question sets. So, if you had any assessments that were set up this way, all the information contained in the question set header was not transferred over. You will need to find each question that referred to the information in the question set header, and add that information to each question.

Also, we have noticed that when some question sets in ANGEL transferred over to Blackboard also as question sets, the point total for that test/quiz may be calculating wrong. Please contact TLT for assistance to fix this issue.

So, what is at question sets in Blackboard?

A Question Set is a collection of questions retrieved from selected Tests and Pools. From this set, you specify how many questions to display. The specific questions displayed are randomly chosen for each time the test is taken.

For each question set, you can specify:

  • The pools and tests from which it will be drawn
  • The type of questions to be drawn
  • The number of questions to be drawn

If the number of questions to be displayed is less than the list of questions (example: 3 out of 50), then the questions are randomly distributed so that each user may be viewing a different set of three questions. The Instructor can choose to display the same questions to all users by selecting all the questions listed.

Creating Question Sets

  1. Create or access the test.
  2. On the Test Canvas page, point to Reuse Question.
  3. Select Create Question Set.
  4. On the Create Question Set page, search for questions using the Browse Criteria.
  5. Select the questions to include in the test. Select the checkbox in the header row to select all questions.
  6. Review your selected questions.
  7. Click Submit.

Adding More Questions

To add more questions after the initial submission, expand the Questions in the Set and click Add Questions.

More Information

  • Enter the total number of questions to display to students. To ensure students are presented with a question set each time, enter a number less than the total number of questions.
  • Enter a point value per question. The point value you enter will be assigned to every question in the set. You cannot assign separate point values for individual questions in the same question set.
Note: When you add questions to a test using the Question Set feature, each question is linked. The questions do not exist in the test. Therefore, if you change an original question, the revised version of the question will be displayed. Once the test with the linked question is deployed, the questions will no longer reflect revisions made to the original.

Blackboard FAQ: How to Change the Appearance of the Course

If you want to customize your course's appearance, there are a few ways to do this.

The easiest way to change your course's appearance is to change your course's theme. This can be accomplished by clicking on the color fan in the upper right-hand corner and select a theme.

There are additional settings in the Teaching Style section located in Customization on the left-navigation bar. Here, you can choose a course structure, the entry point to your course, course theme (like above), the left-hand navigation menu style, and even add a banner to your course. Feel free to play with these options as they will change the look-and-feel of your course, but will not affect the content in your course.

The Blackboard Recycle Bin

Blackboard offers a new, easy way to help retrieve certain types of deleted course content: the Recycle Bin.

When you upload files such as Word docs, PowerPoint presentations and images into Blackboard, they are placed in your Content Collection.  If you subsequently choose to remove that content from your Content Collection, you can check the checkbox next to that item and click the “Recycle” button.  Rather than deleting this content permanently from Blackboard, this simply moves the content into your Recycle Bin.

If you change your mind and wish to restore the content to your Content Collection, simply click on the Recycle Bin folder, check the item(s) you wish to restore and click the “Restore” button.  

Act quickly however, to help conserve server resources and keep Blackboard running smoothly, items remain in your Recycle Bin for only 30 days!

Blackboard FAQ: How to Make a Course Available to Students

By default, all Blackboard coursesites are disabled to student access. When you have edited and updated everything in your coursesite, you will need to give students access to your site. To make a course available to students:
  1. Within your course on Blackboard, Click on “Customization”
  2. Choose “Properties”
  3. Next to #3 – Set availability, select “Yes” next to “Make this Course Available”

Friday, August 9, 2013

Blackboard Training

We are hosting informal Blackboard training for the follow dates:
  • Friday, August 9, 2013, 10 - 11am, SON 1045
  • Friday, August 16, 2013, 2 - 3pm, SON 1045
 This is a time to come and ask us questions as we switch from Angel to Blackboard.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Scheduled Authentication Change to Blackboard (8/12)

On Monday 8/12 at 8 AM we will be implementing a change to the authentication method of Blackboard. Users already logged into blackboard will not experience any loss of connectivity. Some users trying to log in between 8:00 AM - 8:02 AM. Once this change is made the login page of Blackboard will look different, but you will login using the same username and password as you always have. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Profiles in Blackboard

Put a face to the name! Blackboard users, create a profile that includes your name, interests, what you are studying, and a picture that will display for others in your courses.  To get started: watch this video.

Note: Do not share private information on your profile.

Scheduled Internet Outage (8/7)

All TLT systems (Blackboard, Adobe Connect, Camtasia Relay) will be unavailable Wednesday 8/7 between 10:30 PM and 11:30 PM. Users may experience lost of connection to these systems or not be able to log into them. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.