Blackboard surveys and anonymity

At the end of the academic semester, many lecturers are using Blackboard to collect course and module feedback. As a  student, you may be asked to complete a survey within Blackboard.

Some students may be worried about the anonymity of their responses, especially since you have to login to Blackboard to take the survey.

You can be reassured that all your responses to a Blackboard survey are anonymous. All a lecturer know is that you have completed the survey, not what answers you gave. The key is to recognise the special symbol that Blackboard uses for the survey tool: it looks like a little clipboard with a pencil. This means that your answers are anonymous.

survey icon

Compare this to the icon for Blackboard tests, which is similar, but without the clipboard:

Test icon

Blackboard tests (MCQs, EMQs, etc) are, by their nature, not anonymous, so that test results can be associated with your grades.

For more information about taking a Blackboard survey, see the official Blackboard Help pages.

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Workshops in February and March

Blackboard imageThe CELT learning technologies team is planning a series of Blackboard workshops to take place over the next few weeks. These range from the introductory workshop on getting started with Blackboard, to some more advanced workshops on topics covering plagiarism prevention using Turnitin, creating Multiple Choice tests, and getting started with the Collaborate platform.

To book a place on any of these workshops, complete the online booking form.

Workshop: Introduction to Blackboard

Tuesday 25th February, 2:30 to 4:30 pm

This popular workshop is targeted at users who are new to Blackboard and is aimed at getting participants up and running with the system. All attendees are provided with their own Blackboard training course shell, which they populate with a variety of content during this hands-on workshop session.

Workshop: Using Turnitin on Blackboard to deter plagiarism

Wednesday 26th February, 10:30 am to 12:30 pm OR Monday 3rd March, 2:30 to 4:30 pm

Turnitin’s Originality Check helps instructors check students’ work for improper citation or potential plagiarism by comparing it against the world’s most accurate text comparison database. Turnitin has been fully integrated into Blackboard to make it easier for staff and students to use. A Turnitin Assignment can be created so that students can each submit their own work for automatic scanning. Any instructor on the course can then view the results and check the reports for signs of plagiarism.

This workshop is offered at the intermediate level. Participants should be comfortable with the basic functionality of Blackboard.

Workshop: Getting Started with MCQs

Wednesday 5th March, 10:30 am to 12:30 pm OR Tuesday 11th March, 2:30 to 4:30 pm

MCQs (Multiple Choice Questions) can be used for self testing or for continuous assessment as part of an overall assessment and feedback strategy. This hands-on workshop will give you the chance to create and deploy an MCQ test in your Blackboard course, also covering recommended test settings.

This workshop is offered at the intermediate level. Participants should be comfortable with the basic functionality of Blackboard.

Workshop: Getting Started with Blackboard Collaborate

Tuesday 11th March, 10:30 am to 12:30 pm OR Wednesday 12th March, 2:30 to 4:30 pm

Blackboard Collaborate is an online collaboration platform which provides a Web Conferencing interface. The highly responsive audio and video features, along with the instant chat and interactive white board features, creates a real time environment for all users. Collaborate sessions can be created inside a Blackboard course and are ideal for virtual classrooms or virtual office hours. Come along to this session to experience a Collaborate session and find out how to create one within your course.

This workshop is offered at the intermediate level. Participants should be comfortable with the basic functionality of Blackboard.

Posted in Blackboard Collaborate, Plagiarism, Staff Training, Tests and Surveys, Training, Turnitin | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Embedding a prezi in your Blackboard course

As part of our Blackboard Winter Festival we included a 2 hour workshop on Presentation Design with Prezi. This turned out to be our most popular workshop. It seems that lots of staff are interested in getting started with Prezi.

In case you missed the workshop, Blaneth has put together an online tutorial, where she steps you through the mechanics of creating a short Prezi presentation. You can find the online tutorial on the CELT website.

But now that you have created a Prezi, how can you put it on Blackboard? Luckily, the steps are quite easy, with one little trick that you need to know.

Step 1: Get the embed code of your Prezi.

Go to your presentation on the prezi site. Just underneath the presentation you should see an Embed button.

Prezi Embed buttonClick this and a new window opens up. You can decide how your students should navigate the Prezi (free or according to the path you have defined) and even change the size, if you want. Then click Copy code to clipboard to grab the embed code.

Prezi Embed CodeStep 2: Create a new item in your Blackboard course

Now, in your Blackboard course, navigate to the content area where you want the prezi to appear. With Edit Mode on, create a new item in the course.

Create new itemEnter a title for the item (e.g. presentation on Web 2.0 from February 12th). Then, in the text box, click the little HTML button (in red below) to switch to HTML mode.

HTML mode[Note: if you don't see three rows of buttons in the text editor, click on the chevron (indicated in green) to expand the text editor options]

In the HTML code view that now appears, paste the embed code that you copied at Step 1. Now, here’s the little trick! In the first line of the code, where you see

<iframe src="

add the character ‘s’ at the end of http to give

<iframe src="

So, your HTML code view should look something like this (change highlighted in yellow):

Insert embed codeNow click Update, and you will be returned to the Add Item screen. In the text box you should see the shape of your prezi, but not the prezi itself. Don’t worry!

You can add text around the prezi shape, if you want to add some details. You can add attachments or set availability options, as usual.

When you are ready, click the submit button. You should now find that the prezi appears within your Blackboard page and can be seen and navigated by your students.

Embedded preziYou can use the same approach if you want to embed a prezi within, for example, a blog post or wiki on Blackboard. This means that your students can also use prezi and use these tools for sharing with their classmates.

Posted in Edit Content, Prezi, Tools | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Blackboard Innovative Teaching Series (BITS)

BITSThe Blackboard Innovative Teaching Series recommences on February 13th. This is a series of webinars on different topics, aimed at instructors. You can join the webinars live, although they are US-based, so the time zone is not always suitable (we are currently 5 hours ahead of EST). They are also recorded, for easy access after the event.

Upcoming webinars include (click on any of the links to register):

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Returning Provisional Grades

GC16 MyGrades ResultIt is possible to return grades to students, in a secure manner, using the Grade Centre on Blackboard. Students will only have access to their own grades; it is not possible for them to see the grades for other students in the class.

CELT has developed a number of resources for Blackboard instructors to support the use of the Grade Centre. These can be found on our Blackboard Resource site, under The Grade Centre. Specific resources that may be of use for the return of provisional semester one results are described and linked to below.

To avoid any accidental release of grades prior to the release date, we strongly recommend that you hide the contents of the Total and Weighted Total columns.

To return provisional grades to students by manually entering each grade, see the resource Returning Grades to Students in Blackboard.

If you want to upload your grades to Blackboard using whitesheets as a source, we have recently developed a new guide in collaboration with the J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics. This guide is now available as a PDF document.

Once you have entered the grades for students, remember to make the column visible again, so that students can access their provisional results under MyGrades.

Remember that all changes to entries in the Grade Centre are tracked by Blackboard, so it’s always possible to track back and see when a grade was entered/changed and by whom. For more information about this facility see the Blackboard help article on Working with the Grade History.

We are currently scheduling a number of workshops on returning provisional grades to students using Blackboard, for the week of 27th January. Watch out for the email.

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Consider presenting at the Blackboard Teaching and Learning Conference

Blackboard Teaching and Learning Conference

Blackboard has an annual teaching an learning conference in Europe and this year it is taking place in Ireland, in UCD, on 29 April to 2 May. This is a big conference, usually attended by users from right across Europe and it can be a good way to find out how other people are using it, as well as where the product is going.

Given that the event is being held in Ireland this year, there is an opportunity for NUI Galway staff to demonstrate some of the excellent work that’s being done with Blackboard here.

The call for presentations is currently open, until Friday 24th January. If you are doing something unusual or innovative with Blackboard, do consider submitting a proposal. If you’d like our help to put together a proposal, just get in touch with any of the CELT Learning Technologies Team members. We’d be happy to hear from you.

As added incentive, the best session as voted by the audience will win an entrance ticket to BbWorld 2014, Las Vegas and a speaking slot to present the session there as well!

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2013 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,700 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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