Known Issue – Comments on blogs and journals can’t be read

Some users are experiencing an issue when using graded journals and blogs on Blackboard.

When an instructor posts a comment on a student’s post, the student is unable to view the comment. A “loading” message appears, but the comment never loads (see image).

Comments loading

Blackboard has identified this as a “Known Issue”, but there is no target date (as yet) for a fix.

Instructors are advised to use the Feedback area to the right of the journal to give comments to students. This can be read by students.

Alternatively, the issue does not appear when using ungraded blogs or journals. So, if you are creating a new blog or journal, consider using the ungraded version, and create a separate column in the Grade Centre to track grades.

For advice, instructors should contact us by emailing blackboard @ nuigalway.ie

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Grade Centre workshops announced

Exams to grade

creative commons licensed (BY-SA) flickr photo by lordsutch: http://flickr.com/photos/lordsutch/74873411

To assist in returning provisional semester 1 results to students, CELT is offering the following workshops:

Workshop: Returning Provisional Grades to Students in Blackboard

It 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.

This hands-on workshop will bring you through the steps necessary to ensure that you can securely return grades to students.

Tasks that will be included:

  • Setting up the Grade Centre to ensure secure return of grades
  • Creating a new column for provisional grades
  • Releasing results
  • How the student access grades

Depending on the group, we can look at more advanced tasks:

  • Downloading the Grade Centre to work offline (in Excel)
  • Uploading grades from whitesheets [new tool]
  • Returning letter grades instead of percentages
  • Exporting grades from Grade Centre to whitesheets [new tool]

Participants should be comfortable with the basic functionality of Blackboard.

Dates

  • Tuesday 20th January 2:30 – 4:30 OR
  • Wednesday 21st January 10:00 – 12:00 OR
  • Tuesday 27th January 2:30 – 4:30 OR
  • Wednesday 28th January 10:00 – 12:00

Numbers in each workshop are limited, so it is essential to reserve your place in advance. To book a place, please complete the form available online. Bookings will be taken on a first come basis, so early registration is recommended.

All workshops take place in AM102, Ground Floor, Arts Millennium Building

Further workshops on using Blackboard to enhance teaching and learning are planned. For an up-to-date listing of our events during the year, visit the CELT website at http://www.nuigalway.ie/celt/events/events.html

Posted in Assessment and Grading, Grade Centre, Staff Training | Tagged , | Leave a comment

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,300 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Mobile Learn at NUI Galway – stats for semester 1, 2014

Blackboard Mobile LearnTM has been in use at NUI Galway since March 2012. We’ve written some previous posts about its use, based on the limited statistics provided by Blackboard. Apart from a period earlier this year, when we had to switch off access to the app completely, usage stats for the app have been very healthy.

Today I took a look at the pattern of logins for semester 1, which has just completed. During that time, there were more than 18,000 unique logins on mobile devices. Compare this to the figure of 8,446 unique logins during the academic year 2012/13. This means that the majority of our students are accessing their Blackboard courses using smartphones or iPads.

A view of the number of logins per day over the semester shows a typical pattern with decreased use at weekend, and a drop off as the exams are completed and Christmas approaches:

Mobile stats S1 2014_V2

It’s interesting to compare this with the picture from two years ago, semester 1 2012:

BB mobile sem1 May 2013

In that year, there was a slower start (the app was relatively new) and a definite increase in use in the final 4 weeks of teaching. Otherwise, the patterns are very similar, apart from one thing – the number of logins. In 2012, number of logins on a weekday was just over 1000, with a maximum of 1.81 thousand on Monday 19th November. In 2014, logins dropped below 2000 only at weekends. The maximum was 7.56 thousand on Tuesday 23rd September.

I don’t know if Blackboard is counting logins in the same way as they did 2 years ago, but this seems to be a threefold increase on our usage.

As in previous years, just over one third of logins come from iOS devices, which includes iPhones and iPads, while BlackBerry users have almost disappeared from the picture:

Unique Users device S1 2014This is not particularly consistent with results from a student survey earlier this year, where more than 1700 students at NUIG responded to a question about which smartphone they used. Just over half use an Android phone, while the numbers of iPhone users is just over one third.

StudentSurvey Device 2014Perhaps the discrepancy is in the additional iPad users – or maybe the iOS app is more popular.

Whatever about the accuracy of the stats, mobile learning is definitely happening, and we’re hearing more stories and anecdotes about the use of the app. Mobile Learn is primarily for students to access their Blackboard courses. When we upgrade next month, a new app for instructors, allowing them to grade using mobile devices, will be available. We’re looking forward to trying that out.

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We’re upgrading!

I’m pleased to let you know that our Blackboard Learn system will be upgraded early in January before the start of the new semester.

To facilitate the upgrade, the Blackboard service will be unavailable from 5:00am Tuesday, January 6th to 11:00am Wednesday, January 7th.

Why upgrade?

Blackboard is an increasingly important tool in the academic and student life on campus.   Since Blackboard became a mainstream, fully supported service in September 2007 its uptake by teaching staff and students has been astounding. This upgrade is relatively minor but has some welcome new features including:

  • Student Preview – allowing instructors see all aspects of a course from the student’s perspective, including the submission of assignments and feedback/results.
  • Anonymous and Delegated Grading – allowing instructors to hide student names while grading, or to delegate grading of particular assessments to multiple graders.

More detail on these features will be available during the month of January. Check out a previous post for some more information about the Student Preview feature.

How this will affect your courses

When you log back into Blackboard after the upgrade you should not notice any changes to your courses or content. There will be some small changes to the interface, including the new Student Preview button, and some improvements to grading areas for journals, blogs and wikis.

Support and Training

Please visit the Blackboard help resources for staff, for useful guides and videos.

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More workshops in October

I am pleased to advise you of the following two Blackboard workshops for staff offered by CELT.

All workshops take place in AM102, Ground Floor, Arts Millennium Building

Numbers in each workshop are limited, so it is essential to reserve your place in advance. Bookings will be taken on a first come basis, so early registration is recommended.

To book a place on any of these workshops, please fill out the online registration form.


Workshop: Getting Started with Blackboard Collaborate

Wednesday 29th October, 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, create 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.


 

Workshop: Adding Video to your Blackboard Course with Kaltura

Thursday 30th October, 2:30 to 4:30 pm

Find out how you can use the Kaltura building block in Blackboard to upload you own video content and share it across multiple courses; create simple screen recordings; or record a short message from your webcam. You can also create video assignments for your students; they upload their videos and you can easily moderate them before adding them to a course gallery.

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


 

Further workshops on using Blackboard to enhance teaching and learning are planned. For an up-to-date listing of our events during the year, visit the CELT website at http://www.nuigalway.ie/celt/events/events.html

Posted in Blackboard Collaborate, Collaborate, Kaltura, Staff Training, Video | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Assessment Workshops Announced

I am pleased to advise you of the following workshops offered by CELT on the topic of using Blackboard to support Assessment.

All workshops take place in AM102, Ground Floor, Arts Millennium Building

Numbers in each workshop are limited, so it is essential to reserve your place in advance. Bookings will be taken on a first come basis, so early registration is recommended.

To book a place on any of these workshops, please fill out the online registration form.

Workshop: Using Turnitin on Blackboard to deter plagiarism

Wednesday 15th October, 2:00 to 4:00 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

Thursday 16th October, 10:30 am to 12:30 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: Using Blackboard for Assessment and Feedback

Wednesday 22nd October, 10:30 am to 12:30 pm

Blackboard at NUI Galway provides a range of options to support student assessment, including: online submission of student work; support for marking and the return of feedback; interactive tools to support reflection and collaboration; originality checking; video assignments; multiple choice quizzes; and more.

This workshop will give you an opportunity to experience some of the tools available and direct you to resources where you can find out more. It will also demonstrate how the various assessment tools link to the Blackboard Grade Centre, and how marks and feedback are available to students there.

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

 

Further workshops on using Blackboard to enhance teaching and learning are planned. For an up-to-date listing of our events during the year, visit the CELT website at http://www.nuigalway.ie/celt/events/events.html

Posted in Assessment and Grading, Grade Centre, Plagiarism, Staff Training, Training, Turnitin | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment