Welcome back to a new semester and 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 briefly review resources and opportunities to enhance your teaching practice.
Meeting Online with Collaborate Ultra
Similar to Skype or Google Hangouts, but designed specifically for education, Collaborate Ultra is a communication tool integrated within courses in Blackboard that faculty can use to conduct online office hours and synchronous web-based meetings with students. This mobile-friendly tool supports up to 250 participants in a session with live webcam streaming and call-in options in addition to tools for chat, break-out groups, presentation, polling, and recording. Possible uses for this tool include tutoring, alternative lecture delivery, and authentic assessments requiring live dialogue. View the video tour and quick start guide to learn more! For additional information about benefits and best practices when implementing virtual office hours through live synchronous web meetings, see this article.
ZipGrade – A Scantron Alternative!
Faculty who use scantron sheets to conduct multiple-choice tests in face-to-face courses may be interested in using ZipGrade, a digital alternative that turns your Apple or Android mobile device into an optical scanner for grading. The app is free to download and scan 100 tests per month; unlimited scanning available for $6.99 per year. Note that the app will only work with ZipGrade’s answer sheets, which you are free to customize and print. With additional settings, a scan can automatically identify students from a roster and you can view an item analysis when grading. To learn more, see ZipGrade’s Getting Started Guide and the walkthrough video.
Creating Mobile-Friendly Courses – Free eBook
Through the Blackboard Community Site, faculty may download a free e-book to the explore benefits and best practices in supporting mobile learning through Blackboard’s student and instructor apps. More information about Blackboard and mobile content is available here:
Best Practices in Online Test Design
When creating tests delivered through Blackboard, we recommend following these best practice guidelines.
Reminder: Fall Blackboard Training Courses are Available
Faculty who are looking for training in the use of Blackboard to support teaching and learning are encouraged to enroll in our 1 credit, free professional development courses this fall. All courses will be offered at the Milwaukee campus with additional online requirements. Attendance is required for all class meeting dates to earn credit. See the Fall Training Schedule and register through INFOnline.
Blackboard Instructional Support – We’re Here to Help
Do you have questions about using Blackboard in your teaching practice? Connect with a Faculty Support Liaison for one-on-one assistance. Faculty Liaisons can also answer general questions regarding WIDS and COS’s. See their schedule for their availability in your local campus Faculty Resource Center.
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.
A 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.