Forget the weather, join us at Blackboard Festival 2015

flickr photo by Papieren Geluk http://flickr.com/photos/46626916@N00/520324568 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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