Blackboard News You Can Use – April 2019

Blackboard Blackboard News You Can Use

Welcome back to Blackboard News You Can Use, your brief monthly newsletter to help you promote student success through MATC’s web-based learning environment, Blackboard Learn. In this edition, we share a few updates and reminders.

Reminder – Network Outage Planned During Spring Break

Per the IT Department, a network outage is planned for the Milwaukee campus on Saturday, April 13th 6:30 AM to 10:30 AM CST. Internet, phone systems, INFOnline, and Blackboard will be unavailable during this time. This upgrade will allow us to provide higher capacity and greater reliability of MATC’s network. Questions? Call MATC-IT Help Desk at 414-297-6760

Blackboard Update Coming April 25th

On Thursday, April 25th starting at 5:00 PM (CST), Blackboard will undergo a routine maintenance update to correct a few known issues; no changes in tools or features are expected. We will be using the same major version of Blackboard as we do currently, updating from Blackboard 9.1 version 3500.0.4 to 3500.0.5. The update process will take approximately 24 hours to complete with no expected downtime. See these detailsfor more information.

Summer Preview – Take a Look at the New Mobile-friendly Navigation of Blackboard

This summer, Blackboard’s home page and base navigation will be updated with a fresh new look. Your current courses will not change, but you are invited to opt into a pilot to try a new form of course design called Ultra Courses. Please take a look at this video to get an idea of what’s coming. If you would like to be part of the Ultra Course pilot, contact

Ultra Course Highlights – Key Features
  • Mobile-friendly – The Ultra Course View adapts to the size of a user’s screen whether they’re viewing the course on a mobile phone, a tablet, or desktop computer. Users can access their course on the go and on their schedule.
  • Simplified workflows – Adding course content? Simply point to the Course Content area and select the plus sign. The system quickly walks you through the process of adding assignments, discussions, links, and external content. Other common tasks, such as grading and sending messages, are simplified in the Ultra Course View as well.
  • Modern navigation – No need to dig for course tools. At the top of your screen, you’ll find content, events, discussions, grades, and messages, no matter where you are in the course.
  • Embedded analytics – Keep students informed about their progress and each month, Blackboard releases new tools and improvements to the Ultra Experience, allowing faculty to quickly innovate.

Closed Caption Resources

Per MATC’s Closed Caption Policy, faculty who provide instructional videos to students must ensure that they are accompanied by closed captions that describe the video’s content. See this resource guide to support your efforts towards satisfying this requirement. Remember – NBC Learn and Films on Demand are sources of closed-captioned video for your courses.

Career Essentials Reminder

Faculty should set up a Career Essentials Assessment in their courses with a rubric and goal alignment. See the following resources to learn how to set up the assessment and score student performance. If you have questions about this process in Blackboard, contact your campus Faculty Support Liaison for consultation.

Information about Career Essentials is available to students on the Student Support website, in Blackboard, and will be displayed on campus digital displays. You may share this message with students.

Advanced Training for Blackboard Online

There is still time to take your Blackboard skills to the next level this spring. The following section will be offered online – register in INFOnline today

ZERD-199-900 Advanced Blackboard
April 28th, 2019 to May 19th, 2019
Online; one synchronous online meeting and one office hour required.

Open Educational Resources

Open educational resources (OER) are types of course content that are free to use under an open license. They are often used in higher education to lower the costs of supplies for students, diversify the types of learning materials in courses, or provide supplemental materials to scaffold learning. Types of OER include textbooks, videos, images, homework exercises, interactive games or simulations, and lectures. To learn more about finding OER for your courses, see this article.

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, 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.

FIC Equipment Checkout

Did you know that you can check out a laptop or iPad for instructional use for a period of 14 days? For questions, send an email to To request equipment, complete the FIC Equipment Checkout Request Form. The FIC is located at the Downtown Milwaukee Campus in Room M201.

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

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