Welcome to a new issue of Blackboard News You Can Use, your brief monthly newsletter to help you promote student success through instruction with Blackboard Learn. In this edition, we advise you of a few important updates and some best practices for closing out fall courses or preparing for winterim courses.
Blackboard Update Coming December 13th
On Thursday, December 13th starting at 5:00 PM (CST), Blackboard will undergo routine maintenance to update security and correct a few known issues. We will be using the same major version of Blackboard as we do currently, updating from Blackboard 9.1 version 3500.0.0 to 3500.0.1. The update process will take approximately 24 hours to complete with no expected downtime. Details are available here.
Final Grades Due by December 28th
Per the Registrar’s Office, final grades must be submitted by Friday, December 28th, 5:00 PM (CST). Faculty may submit final grades using INFOnline or the ILP tool located within their course shells in Blackboard. Submitting final grades through Blackboard is as simple as completing a form and clicking a button. To learn more, see our tutorial, video demonstration, and FAQ.
End of the Semester Best Practices
At the end of each semester, instructors teaching within Blackboard must perform a series of simple tasks called the End of the Semester Process. This process is critical for preserving a record of an instructor’s course content, Grade Center, and student work in an Archive file for future reference. See this video playlist for a short demonstration of these tasks.
Preparing for Winterim Courses
Because MATC’s campuses and support services are closed during the holiday break, we strongly advise faculty teaching Winterim semester courses to refer to the linked resources and tips in the Winterim Faculty Support Guide. If you have questions about preparing your course in Blackboard, contact Distance Learning as soon as possible.
Cool Tools to Try Next Year
With the new year approaching, consider adopting a new tool in your teaching practice to support learning. We recommend checking out what the following free tools have to offer.
- Boost Engagement with NBC Learn
- Blackboard Attendance
- ZipGrade – Scantron alternative for mobile devices
- FlipGrid – Great for short video discussions or introductions
- Remind – A tool for sending text messages to your class
Friendly Reminder About Printing Services
Did you know that you can send your classroom handouts e.g., syllabi to Print Services? Print requests from instructors can be sent to print services through interoffice mail, dropped off in person Monday – Friday from 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., placed in the drop box after hours or sent via email at email@example.com, 24 hours a day/7 days a week.
Print Services is located at the Downtown Milwaukee Campus in Room M141 and provide print services for the Mequon, Oak Creek, West Allis, and Downtown Campuses. Contact Print Services at 414-297-6878.
Calling All Faculty – Join MATC’s Online Quality Council!
The Online Quality Council is looking for faculty to join the team in establishing standards and training mechanisms that ensure quality instruction in online courses. Past initiatives included implementing Quality Matters, creating the Instructional Resources document, and identifying requirements for online teaching. To join, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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