Blackboard Festival Badges…

As part of this year’s Blackboard Festival, you may have noticed we’re running a workshop on Digital Badges (which kicks off the festival on the 26th August at 10am).

At NUI Galway we are currently leading a national project ( that is exploring how ‘digital badges’ can be used in higher education, and we would be happy to advise and facilitate anyone who might be interested in trialling badges.

So if you’re new to badges, thinking about using badges in your teaching, or just curious, register to come along and find out more.


Can you identify – if so, why not attend our workshop? :)

In addition, to recognise the participation of staff in the festival, we’ll also be awarding digital badges to attendees, starting with our entry level badge, earned by attending either one or two workshops.

To reward our more dedicated festival fans, we have a silver badge (earned by attending three or more workshops) and an extra shiny gold badge (can anyone attend five and earn this one!). Anyone who earns a badge will be provided with guides on how to claim and display their badges.

So get registering to earn yours…

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Change to Instructor Enrolments on Blackboard

From 17 August, there will be a change in how instructors are assigned to their modules on Blackboard. Following a new integration with the AKARI Curriculum Management system, CELT will no longer be processing new Module Requests.

New 1516 course shells on Blackboard will be created by Monday 17th August. As in previous years, if you are currently an instructor on any 1415 course, you will automatically be given access to the equivalent 1516 course.

If you need access to a new course, either because you didn’t teach it in 2014/15 or because it’s a brand new module code, there are two possible ways to get access:

If there is already at least one existing instructor on the Blackboard course, that person can add you as an instructor. This is exactly the same process as before, and CELT would not have added extra instructors in the past anyway. For one instructor to add a new instructor:

  1. On the Control Panel, expand the Users and Groups section and click Users.
  2. On the Users page, point to Enroll User on the action bar and click Find Users to Enroll.
  3. Type a username or click Browse to search for users. Only users that are not already enrolled in your course will be identified in a search for users.
  4. Select or type as many usernames as needed. Separate multiple usernames with commas.
  5. Select a Role (Instructor or Teaching Assistant) and Enrollment Availability (Yes) for the users.
  6. Click Submit.

If there is no existing instructor on the Blackboard course, an instructor can be assigned by updating the Module Teacher field on AKARI. This action can be performed by the module owner or any of the module editors on AKARI.

Adding a Blackboard Instructor via Akari

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Forget the weather, join us at Blackboard Festival 2015

flickr photo by Papieren Geluk shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license

Are you, like us, fed up with the Galway weather this year? Why not leave the wellies and umbrellas outside and join us for the third Blackboard Summer Festival.

As well as two Intro to Blackboard training workshops, we have planned a further three days of events aimed at helping you to explore and use some of the many tools for teaching, learning and assessment that are available through Blackboard at NUI Galway.

Getting Started with Blackboard

To support new users of Blackboard, or those who need a refresher course, our basic Introduction to Blackboard workshop will be offered on two dates:

  • Monday 24th August, 10:00 to 12:00
  • Tuesday 25th August, 2:00 to 4:00

To sign up for either of these dates, visit our online registration form.

Course Rollover and the New Academic Year

Do you need some help bringing materials from last year’s course to this year’s version? Come along to our Copying Content between Courses workshop. It’s offered on two days during the festival, Wednesday 26th and Thursday 27th, 1:00 to 2:00.

Maybe you would like to think about the design of your Blackboard course, and how it might be more engaging for students? Consider coming to Course Design to Enhance the Student Experience.

Visit our online registration form to sign up.

Beyond Lecture Notes and Announcements

Events in our festival schedule include one- and two-hour workshops and demonstrations on topics that cover interactive tools, using Blackboard for assessment and feedback, and teaching online. We aim to cater for all staff who use Blackboard, no matter what your level of experience. So, whether you are completely new to Blackboard, a regular who would like to know a little more, or an expert, we are confident that you’ll find something of interest in our programme.

Timetable 2015

See workshop descriptions below

Descriptions of each of the events are below, clustered by theme (Getting Started, Course Design, Engagement, Collaboration and Assessment).

To sign up for any of these events, please use the online registration form.

Introduction to Blackboard (pre festival workshops)

Level: Beginner

Event Type: 2 hour workshop

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.

Copying Content between Courses

Level: Beginner (assumes some basic knowledge of Blackboard)

Event Type: 1 hour workshop

Do you want to re-use your materials from last year, but need a little help to copy the content and tidy up materials? Come along to this hands-on workshop which goes through the steps and gives you the chance to complete this task with a little support from the CELT Learning Technologies team.

Goes well with: Course Design to Enhance the Student Experience

Course Design to Enhance the Student Experience

Level: Intermediate

Event Type: 2 hour workshop

Suitable for instructors who have already been using Blackboard, but would like to bring their courses to the next level. In this hands-on workshop, find out how to customise your Blackboard course to increase student engagement.

Goes well with: Copying Content between Courses; Kaltura Video in Blackboard; Assessment Options in Blackboard; Getting Started with Blackboard Collaborate; Collaborative Tools in Blackboard

Reading List Service

Level: Beginner

Event Type: 30 minute presentation followed by questions and discussion

Monica Crump, Head of Information Access and Learning Services in the Hardiman library, will talk about a new Reading List Service being piloted. Find out about how this can make reading lists more manageable, with the help of the library, and how it can be brought directly to your students within your Blackboard course.

Goes well with: Introduction to Blackboard; Course Design to Enhance the Student Experience

Kaltura Video in Blackboard

Level: Intermediate

Event Type: 1 hour demonstration

Find out how you can use the Kaltura building block in Blackboard to upload your 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.

Goes well with: Course Design to Enhance the Student Experience

Getting Started with Blackboard Collaborate

Level: Beginniner (to Collaborate)

Event Type: 2 hour workshop

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. Blackboard Collaborate sessions can be created inside a Blackboard course and are ideal for virtual classrooms or virtual office hours.

Come along to this introductory hands-on session where you will experience Blackboard Collaborate from both student and instructor perspectives. In the workshop you will create your own Blackboard Collaborate meeting room, use a range of learning tools (e.g. live voting), and learn how to record/archive your online learning sessions.  The session will conclude with useful tips and tricks on how to manage your online learning experience and an overview of how Blackboard Collaborate is being used throughout NUI Galway to enhance the student learning experience.

Goes well with: Course Design to Enhance the Student Experience.

Collaborative Tools in Blackboard

Level: Beginner (assumes some basic knowledge of Blackboard)

Event Type: 2 hour workshop

Suitable for instructors who have already been using Blackboard, but would like to explore options to increase student interactivity online. The workshop includes an introduction to collaborative tools such as Discussion Boards, Blogs and Wikis. The Sign-up List feature will also be demonstrated (allowing students to work in groups) as well as the Survey tool (useful for feedback and class surveys).

Goes well with: Course Design to Enhance the Student Experience; Assessment Options in Blackboard

Introduction to Digital Badges on Blackboard

Level: Intermediate

Event Type: 2 hour workshop

Digital badges or ‘micro-credentials’ are a means of recognising or accrediting learning.  Digital Badges allow a visual image (the traditional badge), to be linked to ‘metadata’, eg. the criteria met in earning the badge, evidence of the learning and details of the issuing organisation. In this hands-on workshop, we’ll cover the basics of badges: what they are, how they’re currently being used in Higher Education, and discuss best practice guidelines. Participants will learn how to issue badges within Blackboard, design a simple badging infrastructure and earn a badge or two along the way.

Goes well with: Course Design to Enhance the Student Experience, Assessment Options in Blackboard

Assessment Options in Blackboard

Level: Beginner (assumes some basic knowledge of Blackboard)

Event Type: 1 hour demonstration

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 one hour demo will give a very quick overview of the tools available and direct you to resources where you can find out more.

Goes well with: Collaborative Tools in Blackboard; Introduction to Digital Badges; Getting Started with MCQs

Getting Started with MCQs

Level: Intermediate

Event Type: 1 hour workshop

MCQs (Multiple Choice Questions) can be used for self testing or for continuous assessment as part of an overall assessment and feedback strategy. Some disciplines use MCQs, or other question types, for high stakes assessment. This hands-on workshop will give you the chance to create and deploy an MCQ test in your Blackboard course, covering recommended test settings, with a little support from the CELT Learning Technologies team.

Goes well with: Course Design to Enhance the Student Experience; Assessment Options in Blackboard

Using Turnitin on Blackboard to deter Plagiarism

Level: Intermediate

Event Type: 2 hour workshop

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.

Goes well with: Assessment Options in Blackboard; Using GradeMark to give rich feedback

Using GradeMark to give rich feedback

Level: Intermediate (assumes knowledge of Turnitin)

Event Type: 1 hour workshop

Turnitin’s sister product, GradeMark, is used to support online grading of assignments. It is used to provide rich feedback, including comments (and comment banks), audio comments and rubrics. This workshop will give a hands-on introduction to the functionality of GradeMark.

Goes well with: Assessment Options in Blackboard; Using Turnitin on Blackboard to deter Plagiarism

To sign up for any of the festival events, visit the online registration form.

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New Teaching with Technology website

Teaching with TechnologyToday we are proud to launch our new Teaching with Technology site, aimed at staff at NUI Galway who need some information, support or resources to help them make better use of technology in their teaching.

This replaces our old Blackboard support site, and includes information about a wider range of technologies offered at an institutional level via CELT (AV technologies, Blackboard, Turnitin), or popular technologies in the cloud (such as twitter, facebook or prezi).

We hope you’ll visit and give us your feedback.

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Blackboard Rollover 2015

The annual rollover and creation of new courses will take place this summer in August. It’s a little late this year because of a related infrastructure project. Watch out for further updates on this soon.

Availability of new courses for 2015-16

We aim to create and provide access to 1516 courses on Blackboard by Monday 17th August.

As in previous years, if you are currently an instructor on any 1415 course, you will automatically be given access to the equivalent 1516 course.

Cleardown of courses from 2011-12

All staff and students currently have access to 4 years’ worth of courses on Blackboard. In preparation for the rollover period, all 1112 courses will be cleared from Blackboard.

If you have any content contained (only) within a 1112 course, it is important that you take a copy of this content before Friday 31st July. Individual items can be saved locally, or you may choose to export your course as a package suitable to re-use in another Blackboard course. For assistance, please contact

If you have any student submissions contained within a 1112 course, please ensure that you have saved these locally as they will no longer be accessible on Blackboard after Friday 31st July.

The good news is that this will help to clear up your MyCourses list when you login. For more information on how you can manage this list, see a previous post – Organising your MyCourses list.

Training and Resources

The CELT Learning Technologies team are in the process of revamping our Blackboard resources site and a new, improved site will be launched shortly. In the meantime you can continue to use the existing resources at

We are also currently planning our third Blackboard Festival, a week of training opportunities on various aspects of Blackboard, including drop-in sessions, information sessions and workshops. Details will be announced soon.

You may also be interested to learn that the CELT Learning Technologies team is now on Facebook. Follow us there for updates on our activities and information about upcoming events and workshops. We hope you’ll comment on our activity, ask questions and offer your suggestions.

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Cloud Profiles Deletion Emails

We’ve had a number of enquiries from people who have received an email from Blackboard with the subject Blackboard profile inactivity.

The body of the email reads:

Hi YourName,

You are receiving this email because you have not used your Blackboard profile in almost a year! If you do not access your profile by doing one of the following it will be permanently deleted in 30 days:

  • Log into your school’s Blackboard site and visit your profile.
  • If you no longer have access to your school’s Blackboard site, create a free account on CourseSites and use this email address when setting up your profile. You will be given the option to connect your CourseSites Blackboard profile to this one.

If you do not want your profile to be saved, you can ignore this email. This will only affect your Blackboard Cloud Profile. Any Blackboard accounts at your institution that are still active will not be affected. Please refer to the help page for more information about Blackboard Cloud Profiles.

These emails are not spam, though they might appear that way, and Blackboard has not been hacked. Please don’t panic if you get one of these emails. It just means that you haven’t accessed your social profile on Blackboard within the past year. It does not mean that you are locked out of Blackboard.

You can choose to completely ignore and delete the email, without any affect to your Blackboard account.

If you’d like to access your social profile (just to see what it’s all about), see more about profiles in the short video below, or visit the Blackboard help pages.

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Blackboard Feedback Survey 2015

Survey_WhiteWhy take the survey?

As you end your studies in NUI Galway this year, we hope you will take the time to tell us about your experiences in using technology as part of your learning – both what you liked and what you think could be improved. We will use this information to better understand your experiences, and use it to help inform change.

NUI Galway Students

Take our survey here:

NUI Galway Staff

Take our survey here:

The survey is run by the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) and you and your answers will remain anonymous at all times.

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