Monday, August 31, 2015

Blackboard Maintenance Schedule

Now that the semester is underway, we want to remind you of important maintenance events scheduled for our Blackboard system, so you can schedule your class work around these dates and times.
Every fourth Wednesday is the regularly scheduled maintenance window. Blackboard is unavailable from 12:00 midnight until 1:00 am on that Wednesday morning. During this time, patches and updates are applied to the servers.
In the event maintenance is performed outside of these times, an announcement is posted in Blackboard and in the TLT Blog ( Also, if Blackboard is down due to an unexpected problem, check the TLT Blog for more information.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Respondus LockDown Browser for Blackboard Tests

Starting Fall 2015, TLT will implement Respondus Lockdown Browser. This new software offers additional test security for Blackboard tests by forcing students to take a test in a secure browser that:
  • Forces a full screen view that cannot be minimized, re-sized or exited until test is submitted for grading
  • Disabled controls for printing, screen grabbing, and right-click mouse menus
  • Restricted links that open links within a test in a new secure window and prevents browsing beyond that page
  • Disable applications such as the Window Start Button, the system tray, and menu bars have been removed.
Respondus-enabled tests are recommended in a proctored environment. Currently, the Computer Testing Center (CTC-Dykes) has Respondus installed on all computers for secure testing in Blackboard. Respondus is also ideal for secure testing in classrooms where students bring their own laptops (and power cords). Instructions for students (to include in your syllabus/course) are provide later in this blog.

Note: You can use Respondus for online, off-site tests, but students could use a second computer, smartphone, or tablet to search for answers or a smartphone to take pictures of the test. So, the additional security only offers an inconvenience in unproctored environments for students who are willing to cheat.

If you are considering using Respondus for additional security in Blackboard tests, please meet with TLT first for assistance and training.

Below are videos from Respondus providing an overview and how to set up Respondus for a test:

Overview of Respondus Lockdown Browser

Setting Up Respondus for an Exam

Notes for instructors:
  • Make sure you have the exam ready and all other test options in place BEFORE enabling the Respondus feature. Adding this feature should be the last thing you do when setting up exams.
  • If you have multiple exams with the same name (i.e. Exam 1), consider remaining the exam first before setting up Respondus to ensure to are enabling this feature on the correct exam. DO NOT change the name of the exam within Blackboard once it has been set up for use with Respondus. It will cause errors.
  • When students try to close the Respondus browser window and do not submit their exam, they will have to provide a reason why they are doing this. For more information about this feature, go to this web link.
  • The Respondus LockDown Browser Building Block publishes a special password to the “password” field for the Blackboard test. This special password, which is used by LockDown Browser, shouldn’t be edited by the instructor within Blackboard (doing so will prevent LockDown Browser from working with the test).
  • If audio/video files are used in an assessment, the media player must be embedded in the question itself. This is the only way that students will have access to the control buttons, such as play, start, pause and stop. (Note that the Macintosh version of LockDown Browser, which uses the Safari engine, doesn't offer the same breadth of support for embedded media. However, embedded MP4 and QuickTime files should work fine.)

What You Need to Communicate to Students

Taking a Respondus Blackboard Test in the CTC (Dykes)

The software is already installed on all the computers in the Testing Center. All students will need to do is:

  1. Log into the computer.
  2. Click on the Respondus icon on the desktop.
  3. Log into Blackboard in this Respondus browser.
  4. Navigate to the course and test, and start the test.

Taking a Respondus Blackboard Test on Their Own Laptop

  1. Make sure laptop's power cord is plugged in before starting a test.
  2. Install the software - Log into Blackboard, click on the 'Resources' tab, and download and install Respondus.
  3. Close all open programs. (Respondus is also make students close active programs prior to running.)
  4. Start Respondus Lockdown Browser.
  5. Log into Blackboard.
  6. Navigate to the course and test, and start the test.
Here is a video link you can include in your course for KUMC students for instruction s on how to install the browser for a test on their computer:
We recommend that you set up a short Respondus test for students to practice and ensure the software works before an actual exam.

What to Include in Your Syllabus

If you plan on using Respondus for Blackboard testing, please consider adding the following text to your course syllabus. Feel free to edit this text:

Using Respondus for Online Exams 
This course requires the use of Respondus for online exams. Watch this short video to get a basic understanding of Respondus and the optional webcam feature (which may be required for some exams). Then download and install Respondus by logging into Blackboard, navigating to the 'Resources' tab, and clicking the 'Download Respondus' link.
To take an online test, start Respondus and navigate to the exam within Blackboard. (You won't be able to access the exam with a standard web browser.) For additional details on using Respondus, review this Student Quick Start Guide (PDF).
Finally, when taking an online exam, follow these guidelines:
  • Ensure you're in a location where you won't be interrupted
  • Make sure your computer is plugged in and has internet connection.
  • Turn off all mobile devices, phones, etc.
  • Remain at your desk or workstation for the duration of the test
  • Respondus will prevent you from accessing other websites or applications; you will be unable to exit the test until all questions are completed and submitted.

An Additional Benefit of Respondus - Minimizes Test Sharing/Copying

Currently, you have the choice to provide students their results, correct answers, and/or feedback after an assessment. Even though it is hard to print these results, students can copy and paste the entire test into a Word doc and then share with other students.

If you have your students use Respondus, not only are they restricted from copying and pasting during the test, but they are also restricted after the test when allowing them to see their results. That is because if you require them to take the exam in Respondus, then they must also review their results in Respondus. This helps reduce the copying of tests and still allowing students to see their results.

Best Practice – Highly Suggested

Consider creating a simple, practice quiz (with complete/incomplete instead of a grade) that you require to be taken with Respondus. Doing so cuts down on 1) any last-minute downloading of the LockDown browser before the first real quiz, and 2) last minute “help” emails from students before the first real quiz.

Additional Resources and Training

There are live 45-minute webinars available from Respondus if you want a live demo and Q&A session. Also, here is a link for a Quick Start Guide for Respondus.

As always, you can contact TLT at 913-588-7107 or if you have additional questions or need to schedule one-on-one training.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Classroom Improvements

Touch-sensitive, widescreen monitors in TLT classrooms.
Article written by Mike Ciolek
Photos by Robert Eastman
Very few things stand still in Information Resources, and TLT-Media are really movers and shakers.  
  This past summer, we installed 16:9 aspect ratio computer monitors in most of our classrooms and auditoria.  This is the wide screen format familiar to you who have some kind of plasma or LED TV in your home. Here is the big plus, they are touch sensitive, just like a smartphone or tablet.  They can even sense multi-touch like pinch, zoom, and swipe.  And you can annotate on them using just your finger and the PowerPoint embedded annotation widget.
If you display the legacy 4:3 ratio PowerPoint or other media presentations, they will still work, but will have black bars down both sides both on the computer monitor and the new 16:9 projectors and LED classroom monitors.   Check out Microsoft’s help page to learn more about changing the ratio in PowerPoint.
New study carrels in Orr Major.

Our open learning spaces are becoming more useful and attractive with the addition of upgraded study carrels on the first floor balcony in Orr Major.  Check them out if you need a private enclave to study for that next quiz.

New document cameras.
We have also brought the visual presenter/document camera/ELMO into the digital age with the installation of ELMO’s latest tricked out version.  They can do much more than there is time to talk about in this newsletter, however if you would like familiarization with their capabilities, please contact .  These will be installed in our larger learning venues, but will also be available as a deliverable when necessary to our other classrooms.
As always, here is the “file as work-in-progress” project report.  We have 16:9 HDMI projectors on order for the few remaining classrooms that have not received them.  We are also identifying which classrooms still need their share of new 3-year-cycle computer upgrades.
Study hard, teach well, and have fun this fall semester.

Scheduled Blackboard Maintenance (8/26)

We will be performing maintenance to Blackboard this evening August 26th at 11 PM. You may experience an issue logging into Blackboard or see issues while we perform this maintenance. Please do not begin anything in Blackboard that you cannot complete before 11 PM. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Using Due Dates in Blackboard

This post will provide you with some tips for setting up date options for assignments, tests and discussion boards in Blackboard.  When you create one of these items, you have the option to add dates to the Availability and Due Dates. 

Availability controls when the item appears or disappears for students. You must check the "Make the Assignment Available" button or students will not be able to see the item. 

If you want your item to show up for students for a limited period of time you have two options.  The "Display After" option is the date and time you want the item to appear for students.  The "Display Until" is if you want the item to become unavailable for students after a period of time. You do not need to set a "Display Until" date and time unless it is material that you do not want students to have access to for review.

Due Dates let students know when they need to turn work in but they do not control the availability of the item.

Why should you set due dates in Blackboard? Setting due dates helps keep students on task and organized when submitting assignments, posting and commenting on the discussion board, and taking quizzes or exams. 

Due dates automatically populate to:
  • The student's Blackboard calendar
  • The Grade Center
  • The To Do module on the Home Page
  • Some features of the My Dashboard page for students

Due dates are helpful for instructors as well. 
  • Late assignments will be identified as late in the grade center (students can still submit the assignment)
  • Discussion board posts  will automatically show up in Needs Grading after students submit a custom number of posts
  • Tests provide the option to prohibit students from taking tests after the due date

As you can see, using due dates has some huge benefits for both instructors and students during the semester.  But, what happens to the due dates when content is copied over to the next semester?  Blackboard has a really helpful tool to edit dates.  The Date Management tool that allows you to edit due dates, availability dates and simple adaptive release dates all in one place for items within your course such as discussions, assignments, tests, announcements, etc. 

Resources for setting due dates:

Resources for the Date Management Tool:

If you have any questions, please contact TLT ( or 8-7107) and we would be happy to assist you!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Scheduled Blackboard Maintenance (8/20)

We will be performing maintenance on Blackboard between 7 AM and 8 AM on Thursday August 20th. Blackboard may be up and down during that time. Please do not start anything you can not complete before 7 AM. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

How to Share a Voice-over PowerPoint File - HIM Version

Now that you have completed your voice-over presentation and saved it to your computer. Wait! You haven't! Here is a quick video on how to record a voice-over PowerPoint if you need a quick refresher.

Back to sharing. If you looked at your file size of your saved voice-over PowerPoint, it probably is pretty big. Adding multimedia and voice-overs to your PowerPoint presentation dramatically increases your file sizes, usually to a size too big to email. So, to make it easier for your audience to view your presentation, you will host your presentation on OneDrive or YouTube, your choice. Then, you can just send a link to the presentation, and your audience can easily view the presentation.

Option 1: Save to OneDrive

  1. After you complete your VOPPT, save your PowerPoint file to your KUMC OneDrive account. If you are not familiar with OneDrive, follow this link to learn more. To access your KUMC OneDrive account, follow this link to learn more. 
  2. Share your VOPPT file link. Here are more details on how to do this.

Option 2: Save to YouTube

  1. After you complete your VOPPT, you need to save it as a video. Follow this link on steps on how to do this.
  2. Now, upload you video to YouTube. Follow this link on steps on how to do this.
  3. Share your YouTube video link. Note: Make sure to set the privacy rights so that you can share correctly.

That is it! Now you have an easy to distribute voice-over PowerPoint presentation.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

New Multi-touch Instructor Monitors in TLT-Media Classrooms and Auditoriums

This summer, we have been replacing the older (4:3) instructor monitors in our classrooms and auditoriums with new HD (16:9) multi-touch monitors (Planar PCT2265). In some rooms, we also installed wider screens to accommodate the wider HD format. Over the last few years, we’ve made many improvement to our classrooms, but these new multi-touch monitors put our rooms ahead of the pack. You can continue to use our classrooms as you have in the past, but these new monitors offers some great enhancements for teaching and learning.

Because these new monitors have multi-touch interactivity, you can use standard finger motions in applications that support these capabilities. For example, instead of using a mouse, you can “click” by touching the monitor with your finger, or you can “drag” your finger along the monitor. Additionally, some applications support finger pinching to enlarge or reduce magnification.

In PowerPoint, you can annotate your slides (e.g., circle or highlight) using your finger:
  1. Hold your finger on the multi-touch monitor for a few seconds, until a large circle appears around it. (This action is similar to right-clicking with a mouse.)
  2. Remove your finger from the monitor, and a short-cut menu will appear.
  3. Touch/select the Pointer Options submenu.
  4. Touch/choose Pen, Highlighter, Ink Color, Eraser, etc.
  5. Draw on the slide by dragging your finger on the monitor.
  6. When you close the PowerPoint file, you will be prompted to save or discard your ink annotations.
Additionally, you can display your PowerPoint slides in HD (16:9) format instead of their standard VGA (4:3) format. By default, PowerPoint slides are 4:3, and your existing PowerPoint slides will display correctly on our new monitors. However, you can convert existing slide decks to 16:9, or create new slide decks in 16:9:
  1. Click the Design tab.
  2. Click the Page Setup icon.
  3. Select “On-screen Show (16:9)” in the Slides Sized For dropdown list.
  4. Click OK.
  5. After conversion, you may need to re-size and re-position text and graphics for optimal viewing.
We made other improvements this summer, including new document cameras. To learn more, you may want to attend one of our classroom 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. 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:
  • Thursday, August 20th 2-3pm in B018 SoN
  • Friday, August 21st 9-10am in 1023 Orr-Major
  • Tuesday, August 25th 8-9am in 1050 SoN
  • Wednesday, August 26th 11-12pm in B018 SoN

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Building Better Online Discussions

Discussion forums are a mainstay of online courses however, their use has not drastically changed throughout history.  The discussion forums used today are adapted from mail correspondence courses.  Students would receive readings and assignments in the mail and would have to mail their responses to the instructor, who would in turn, mail back feedback to the student.  The internet has sped up the feedback process and allowed students to interact, however, the general procedure has not changed much from the original correspondence courses.

Discussion boards get mixed reviews from students and instructors.  Students typically appreciate having the discussion board information for review and the interaction with classmates, but the task of posting and responding invokes some complaints. 

Some student complaints include:
  • Discussion boards are over used
  • A lack of instructor guidance
  • Responses are too numerous to keep up with
  • Too much variation in depth and breadth of responses
  • Discussions get off track 
  • Instructors do not keep up with grading and feedback

Preventing Discussion Fatigue

When discussions are overused, students and instructors can get overwhelmed.  This can result in discussion fatigue where the students post the minimum amount and do not engage in deeper thinking about the topic.  Instructors may give minimal feedback and can become uninvolved in the conversation.  This adds to a lack of guidance and feedback to direct students to the main ideas.  Also, when students are not continuously interacting on the discussion, the discussion becomes stagnant.

So how can we prevent discussion fatigue?


Building Community


Building a community of learners within the course will foster better discussions because they will feel safer to take academic risks and be more constructive in their interactions.  This is typically done with an introductory discussion board where students and faculty introduce themselves, but it should not stop there!  Instructors can continue to build community by posting funny videos or current events on a general discussion board to start conversations.

Facilitating Discussion

Good discussions require facilitation and some heavy scaffolding at the beginning of the course. Students need to be trained to interact and to make connections.  As the course progresses, students will become familiar with the procedure and will begin to do this more on their own. 

Here are some tips for how to facilitate discussions:
  • Write good, higher level questions
    • Convergent thinking questions like "why,"" how" or "in what ways…"
    • Divergent thinking questions like "imagine," "suppose," "predict," "if… then…," "can you create…"
    • Evaluative thinking questions like "defend," "judge," "justify," "what do you think about…"
  • Provide Structure and Directions
    • Provide rubrics with clear expectations for posts
    • Give a clear topic
    • Describe how you expect students to approach the discussion (i.e. debate, informational, reflections, etc.)
    • Provide clear deadlines and length expectations
    • Provide guidance on what their interactions with their peers should look like
    • Provide some sample sentence starters to help facilitate interaction
  • Consider lengthening the discussion time from one week to two.  This allows students to have more in depth discussions.
  • Facilitate Discourse
    • Identify areas of agreement or disagreement
    • Seek to reach consensus/understanding between students
    • Encourage student contributions
    • Set the climate for learning 
    • Assess the learning path
    • Keep the discussion on track
The goal is to create richer, more in-depth discussions to increase learning.  Change doesn't happen overnight and these changes can require the instructor to spend extra time preparing and facilitating discussions. It is very unrealistic to jump in head first and to try and do everything on this list at once. Start slow by making one or two changes and gradually add more.  Just a few small changes can help rejuvenate discussions to foster critical thinkers in the classroom!

Discussion Board Resources:


Agostinelli, M. (Lecturer), Neiffer, J. (Author). (2015, July 1). Building better online and blended classroom discussions by design. ISTE 2015. Lecture conducted from , Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Scheduled Blackboard Maintenance (8/12)

We will be performing maintenance on Blackboard to resolve an issue. Blackboard will be unavailable between 7 AM to 9 AM while we perform this maintenance. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

UPDATE: This maintenance has been completed and Blackboard is functioning normally again. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Friday, August 7, 2015


From Left: Lauren Mathiott (SON eSS), April Robbs (SOM eSS),
Kelsie Nunnally (SHP eSS) and Nellie Modaress (SON Liason.)
Last week, TLT staff attended the Summer Institute on Distance Learning and Instructional Technology (SIDLIT) at Johnson County Community College. SIDLIT is an annual technology conference that includes presentations, discussion groups, and demonstrations for educators and distance learning support staff.  

TLT staff has presented multiple times throughout the years and this year KUMC had representation from TLT, SOM and SON.  Sonny Painter presented on "Presentations with Panache: Using Aurasma Studio.” His presentation provided suggestions for adding interactivity to presentations with technology. Dr. Mark Eaton and Christina Magnifico from the SOM presented on "Facilitating Changed in Medical Education."  They highlighted how the KU School of Medicine is integrating Office 365 sites and the OneNote class notebook creator app to transform medical education into an active, competency-based curriculum. The SON faculty presented with Julie Zimmerman on “The Best of the Best: Posting Student Journal Clubs in PubMed.” They shared how faculty can use PubMed to highlight student journal clubs, encourage scholarly writing, and participate in a public, professional discussion.

The keynote this year focused on increasing engagement and networking in the content areas through a new teaching system that combines a learning management system (like Blackboard) with social networking (like Facebook.)  Other topics discussed were how to engage students with presentations and videos, digital badging for students and faculty, and new and upcoming technologies in higher education. 

Highlights from these sessions include:
  • Too much information in a presentation can prevent students from applying it.  Make your presentations short and include memorable narrative. 
  • Many students are visual learners in today's classrooms.  To help them synthesize and understand information, it is a good practice to incorporate graphics, videos and other multimedia into your teaching.
  • Mozilla Open Badge can be integrated into Blackboard.  Badges can be used to track student or faculty training attendance and skill competencies and to share them with colleagues, students and potential employers.  
  • The Horizon Report for Higher Education projects a timeline for institutions to implement the following new and upcoming technologies:
    • 1 year or less: BYOD and flipped classroom environments
    • 2-3 years: Maker Spaces and wearable technology
    • 4-5 years: wireless power, flexible displays and more adaptive learning technologies
TLT had a great time presenting, learning, and networking! See you in 2016, SIDLIT!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Exporting a PowerPoint Presentation to Video - Microsoft 2013

  • Once the presentation is finished, click the File menu in PowerPoint.

  • Select Export, and then Create Video.
  • Leave these default settings:
    • Computer & HD Displays
    • Use Recorded Timings and Narration
  • Click the Create Video button.
  • Watch the Creating Video progress bar at the bottom of the PowerPoint window to know when the video is done.

For additional information of this process, visit Microsoft's Support Page.

Scheduled Blackboard Maintenance (8/10) - COMPLETED

We will be performing maintenance on Blackboard between 7 AM and noon on Monday August 10th. Blackboard may be up and down during that time. Please do not start anything you can not complete before 7 AM. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

This maintenance has been completed and Blackboard is functioning normally again.We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

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. 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.
  • Thursday, August 20th 2-3pm in B018 SoN
  • Friday, August 21st 9-10am in 1023 Orr-Major
  • Tuesday, August 25th 8-9am in 1050 SoN
  • Wednesday, August 26th 11-12pm in B018 SoN
PS – Even if you’re experienced using our classrooms, you may want to attend one of these sessions because we made several improvements this summer, including new document cameras and multi-touch monitors.