Innovate&Educate – monthly newsletter

Are you interested in keeping up with new developments, trends, best practice case studies and information about events? Blackboard has launched a monthly newsletter for international customers (i.e. non US) and you can sign up here.

newsletter

The April issue focused on mobile learning, including a case study from Liverpool John Moores University. The next issue will be about Institutional Analytics.

 

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Blackboard Mobile 2015/16

Since the Blackboard Mobile Learn app was first made available to students in March 2012, it has been a popular way for students to access course materials. We have been tracking basic usage statistics, which shows steady use during term time, almost no use during the summer months, and a peak at the end of January, when provisional semester 1 results are released.

The figures for the academic year 2015/16 show no difference in the pattern:

mobile 1516

During this period, from the beginning of September to the middle of May, the stats report more than 67K unique logins, though I’m not sure how that’s counted. In semester 1, logins per weekday were between 5 and 10 thousand, more in the first few weeks of the semester. On September 28th (Monday) there were 12.31K logins.

Access decreased in semester 2, with a clear gap over the two weeks of the Easter break. I suspect, as well, this might be due to the launch of the new Blackboard app – Bb Student – the numbers for which (I believe) are not included in the available stats.

As in previous years (see stats from 2012/13) there was a spike at the end of January (29th January) when there were more than 22K logins to Blackboard from a mobile device. This coincided exactly with the release of provisional results for semester 1 modules.

Some reflections

  • It is clear that mobile access to Blackboard is important for students, and that the mobile app is being used.
  • I understand (please correct me if I’m wrong) that these stats are for use of the Mobile Learn app only, and do not include the new Bb Student app. In that case, currently we have no way of tracking the usage for Bb Student.
  • The stats only track logins, and not what students were using within the app. Clearly, students are looking at results, but what else are they doing?
  • 67K unique logins seem like a huge number, particularly when we have only 17K students. It begs the question – what is being counted? Does it reflect the fact that students may be accessing on more than one device?
  • It seems that iOS users make up almost 75% of all logins. Does this mean that we have a lot of students with iPhones, or is it because of students and staff with iPads?
Posted in Mobile Learn, Monitor Activity | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Online Results Entry – new training dates announced

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flickr photo by flippinyank https://flickr.com/photos/26326001@N08/3967559034 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Returning Grades webinar – covering the essential steps of final mark return, this one hour online session is suitable for all staff. The online format will be useful for anybody who is off campus, or who would prefer to get a live demo from the comfort of their office. There is no need to sign up in advance, just use the link below to join the session. http://tinyurl.com/celt-training-room1-guest

Dates for webinars: Tuesday 3rd May  @ 10am, Tuesday 10th May @ 10am, Monday 16th May @ 3:30pm, Thursday 19th May @ 3:30pm

 

Returning Grades workshop/drop in – similar to the webinar but offered onsite in the Arts Millennium building. This format will be useful for those who would like some hands-on support. Staff are encouraged to sign up in advance using the online registration form.

Dates for workshops: Wednesday 4th May @ 10am, Monday 9th May @ 10am, Thursday 12th May (Gaeilge) @ 2pm, Tuesday 17th May @ 10am.

 

Service Desk – individual support will be available via the servicedesk (email blackboard@nuigalway.ie)  for those with particular issues.

 

Please note that these general workshops and webinars will not be able to cater for individual School/Discipline/Programme procedures or workflows. However if support is required to help identify how the Grade Centre can work with internal workflows, we are happy to schedule a bespoke workshop for any group. Just email blackboard@nuigalway.ie to request such a session.

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Online Results Entry – Blackboard training/support update

To support the new Marks Return process using Blackboard, I’d like to let you know about the various supports available from CELT to support the Blackboard-related activities, up to the submission date of May 25th (May 9th for School of Medicine).

Following a review of the training/support available in January (for provisional results and the return of marks for visiting students) we will be offering the following supports for May:

Online resources – A one page checklist  and accompanying video demonstrating the essential steps. This will be hosted on our Teaching with Technology website.

Getting to Grips with the Grade Centre – a 2 hour workshop aimed at teaching staff who want to know more about how to use the Grade Centre for continuous assessment, feedback to students, and calculating overall marks. This will be offered initially on Wednesday 13th (pm) and Friday 15th (am) April.  Registration is now available.

Returning Grades webinar – covering the essential steps of final mark return. This will be offered online at various times after 3rd May (when Marks Return opens on Blackboard) and is suitable for all staff. The online format will be useful for anybody who is off campus, or who would prefer to get a live demo from the comfort of their office.

Returning Grades workshop/drop in – similar to the webinar but offered onsite in the Arts Millennium building. This format will be useful for those who would like some hands-on support.

Service Desk – individual support will be available via the servicedesk (email blackboard@nuigalway.ie)  for those with particular issues.

Please note that these general workshops, webinars or drop-in sessions will not be able to cater for individual School/Discipline/Programme procedures or workflows. However if support is required to help identify how the Grade Centre can work with internal workflows, we are happy to schedule a bespoke workshop for any group. Just email blackboard@nuigalway.ie to request such a session.

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Marks Return Timeline for 2016

marks return timeline

The Online Results Entry (ORE) team have just released the Undergraduate Marks Return Timeline for the return of module marks to Exams Office in May 2016.

Module marks can be extracted from Blackboard any time between Tuesday 3rd May and the deadline, 5pm on Friday 25th May. After that, the most recently extracted set of marks will be uploaded to Quercus. From there on, the process is exactly the same as in previous years – Broadsheets will be produced for the College Office in time for Exam Board meetings.

Late submissions or changes (after 5pm on Friday 25th May) will not be facilitated through Blackboard.

We’ll be announcing new workshops for performing the mark extraction on Blackboard very soon.

 

 

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Perform Extract now Closed

The “Perform Extract” feature is now disabled (no longer visible) on Blackboard.  This is to help signal to instructors that the return of marks via Blackboard, for international students, is closed.

 

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Generating module grade summaries

With the move to replace white sheets as part of the Online Results Entry (ORE) project, one thing that people are looking for is a quick and easy way produce grade summaries for a module, ideally broken down by course instance.

As luck would have it, Emma Holian in the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics has produced such a tool and is willing to share it.

This app … was built to offer a service to NUIG academics to aid the process of reviewing grade distributions of their modules in preparation of External Examiner meetings, i.e. prior to uploading results to Exams Office.

The app is of particular benefit as it automates the summaries.  The app has been updated in July 15 following the NUIG changeover from using whitesheets to uploading marks via Blackboard. This app is now formatted to read directly from a downloaded copy of the Blackboard gradebook, and indeed can be used if you are a user that edits the gradebook offline since you can view grade distributions before uploading grades to Blackboard.

The app takes as input a csv file downloaded from the Blackboard Grade Centre, and produces a summary of the distribution of grades within that module.

Emma Grade Summary

A breakdown by course instance is also possible.

The data uploaded is not stored on the server and cannot be accessed by others.

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