Online Learning News You Can Use – August 2021

Blackboard Blackboard News You Can Use

Welcome to Online Learning News You Can Use, your brief monthly newsletter to help you promote student success through MATC’s online learning environment, Blackboard Learn. In this edition, we share news and resources to support your teaching practice.

Hot Topics

Update Your Syllabi for Summer and Fall Term

All faculty must provide an up-to-date digital copy of a syllabus to students in each course section in Blackboard. Please make sure that you are using the Center for Teaching Excellence’s updated syllabi templates when preparing your syllabi for the upcoming summer and fall terms. You may download a template as a Word File or copy a template into Google Docs for customization.  To add a current syllabus to a section in Blackboard, see these instructions.

The Career Essentials Rubrics Have Been Updated

Per the feedback we received from faculty and the faculty-driven Student Learning Assessment Task Force, MATC’s Career Essentials rubrics have been updated to reflect a 100% grading scale with a “Not Demonstrated” level. This change is intended to improve the consistency of scoring student performance with the rubric. To use a rubric in your Career Essential Assessments, see these instructions. Only the rubrics have been updated; the overall Career Essentials Assessment setup and procedure have not changed.

The Student Support Website has Moved

Students can find support for online learning, Blackboard, Gmail, Chromebooks, and other technologies at our new Online Learning Support Site. This new streamlined and mobile-friendly site replaces the Ecampus student support website, which will be taken down this fall. If you have bookmarked content from our old site, refer to our sitemap for the new links by topic.

New Tool Integrations and Product Updates

We are pleased to announce that the Qwickly Course Tools you love to use for sending communications to multiple sections at once have several new features! You can now schedule announcements in advance, create calendar events, create simple items or assignments, and check web links.

New to the Bb Assist page is the Ally File Transformer Tool. This free tool allows students to convert and download an existing document into an alternative format; this improves the accessibility of content to meet the needs of diverse learners. The Ally File Transformer tool can convert an uploaded document to a tagged PDF, OCRed PDF, audio clip, HTML page, electronic braille, and beeline reader format.

The YuJa Video Platform integration is now available in Blackboard. This tool replaces TechSmith Knowmia and is accessed directly through Blackboard’s YuJa course tool. YuJa supports automated closed-captions, in-browser video editing, and embedded quizzing. For an orientation to this new tool, faculty may attend a live YuJa Training Webinarwatch a recording of a session, or watch our short Yuja Basics Video.  To integrate videos hosted in YuJa with your fall Blackboard sections, you will use the YuJa Media Chooser tool within your Blackboard courses.

TechSmith Knowmia will become unavailable by mid-August.  Videos that were hosted in TechSmith Knowmia are in the process of being migrated to YuJa. Faculty will receive an email notification once this is complete. 

By mid-August 2021, Collaborate Ultra will be updated with a new and improved whiteboard experience. The new whiteboard will feature better formatting tools and improved control over annotations, including support for sharing annotations from breakout groups and reusing elements through copy/paste functions. More information is available in the Collaborate Ultra Release Notes.

Coming by the end of August, Blackboard will update its cloud-storage integration with OneDrive, Google Drive, Box, and Dropbox. Although there will be some minor changes to the look and feel of this tool, previously uploaded documents to Learn from cloud-storage solutions will not be impacted by the update. You do not need to do anything to prepare. The expected changes to the cloud-storage integration include:

  • You may connect to cloud-storage solutions when creating content in courses. There will be a slightly modified cloud storage file-picker that will require end-user authentication for each provider.
  • Access to cloud storage accounts from within Blackboard’s Profile and Tools pages in the base navigation will no longer be available. This is based on security enhancements around handling cookies.

Blackboard Faculty Support

Faculty liaisons are your first point of contact for Blackboard how-to questions and instructional support. See the Faculty Liaison Schedule for their availability to meet online for consultations. For high-level troubleshooting/errors, contact onlinelearning@matc.edu.

Faculty who need one-on-one support related to applying the 21st Century Classroom Competencies in their teaching practice should contact the Center for Teaching Excellence for assistance at cte@matc.edu.

Training Courses and Webinars

Faculty who need to attain level 2 of the 21st Century Quality Classroom Competencies are strongly encouraged to complete our Fall Term Blackboard Training Classes. You may register in Self-Service

  • ZERD-197 Introduction to Blackboard | Saturdays August 28th  – September 4th, 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
  • ZERD-198 Intermediate Blackboard | Thursdays October 14th – 28th, 5:00 -8:00 PM

In addition to our training courses, faculty are invited to attend a series of free Teaching with Blackboard from Basics to Advanced Webinars provided by the Blackboard company. Register through the provided link above to learn how to design assessments, manage the grade center, improve student engagement, and more. Recordings from past webinars hosted by MATC’s Department of Online Learning and Blackboard are available on YouTube to view at your convenience.

Student Online Blackboard Orientation Schedule

Students whose courses will be delivered in an online format this semester are advised to attend a Student Blackboard Orientation Webinar through Collaborate Ultra. Sessions will be offered throughout the month of August and additional sessions will be planned for the future.

Educational Technology Resources

The following tools are available to support remote teaching and learning in Blackboard. If you have questions about using these technologies, please contact onlinelearning@matc.edu.

Getting Started with SmarterProctoring

SmarterProctoring is MATC’s online test proctoring tool for securing Blackboard exams. Faculty can customize an automated proctoring session with options for recording the student, locking down the browser, and verifying student identity through photo-ID.To learn more about using SmarterProctoring to protect high-stakes Blackboard exams, see these resources:

Chromebook Resources

Faculty and students who are new to using Chromebooks may find these resources helpful.

Resources to Support Online Instruction

Faculty Support 

Student Support


Published by the Department of Online Learning
Website: edtechnews.matc.edu   Email:  onlinelearning@matc.edu
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