Online Learning News You Can Use – May 2021

Blackboard Online Campus 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

SafeAssign Services Maintenance Coming May 18th

Per Blackboard Client Support, SafeAssign services will be offline for maintenance on Tuesday, May 18th from 12 PM to 2 PM CST. Faculty should delay creating new assignments with plagiarism detection enabled or accessing DirectSubmit until after the SafeAssign maintenance window has ended. Students may submit existing assignments with plagiarism detection enabled during this window; their submissions will be queued for when SafeAssign services resume.

Career Essentials Assessment

If you haven’t done so already, make sure that you set up and facilitate a Career Essentials Assessment in your spring sections to assess student attainment of the college’s Career Essential core abilities. A brief recorded webinar that explains this process is available here. If you have questions about this process, faculty support liaisons are available for consultation.

Submitting Final Grades through Blackboard and Checking Grades in Self-Service

Spring term final grades are due Tuesday, May 25, 2021, by 5:00 PM CST.  Faculty may submit final grades to Self-Service through Blackboard’s ILP Integration tool. A video demonstration of using this tool is available. You may confirm that final grades are present in Self-Service through these instructions

A Gentle Reminder – 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. The Center for Teaching Excellence maintains and updates these templates through Google Docs to ensure that you will always have the latest available version. You may download a template as a Word File or copy a template into Google Docs for customization. 

Blackboard Faculty Support and Training

The faculty liaisons are your first point of contact for Blackboard how-to questions and assistance. See the Faculty Liaison Schedule for their availability to meet online for consultations.

Faculty may attend Blackboard’s free Instructor Webinar Series: Teaching with Blackboard from Basics to Advanced now through the end of May 2021. Sign up for your preferred sessions through the registration tools present on their webpage. Topics include Blackboard Learn Basics, Improving Student Engagement, Blackboard Collaborate Basics, Setting up the Gradebook, Building Mobile Content, and more.

Do you need to meet Level 2 of the 21st Century Classroom Self-Assessment? Blackboard training courses will be offered this summer (see list below); registration in Self-Service will begin soon. Additional sections to run in July and August are posted in the full schedule.

Course Date & Time
ZERD-197 Introduction to Blackboard Saturdays June 5th & 12th, 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM virtual.
An additional 8 hours of coursework is required.
ZERD-198 Intermediate Blackboard Sundays June 6th to June 27th online – A flexible 3 weeks!
ZERD-198 Intermediate Blackboard Sundays, June 27th to July 11th online  – A flexible 3 weeks!
8 Week Course Conversion Workshop

Faculty interested in learning best practices in adding an 8-week option to teach your existing 16-week courses are invited to join the 8-Week Course Conversion Workshop. You will earn FQAS hours for participating in the workshop and completing the 8-week course option process. Watch your email for communications from the Center for Teaching Excellence for available dates and times. Contact the Center for Teaching Excellence at if you have any questions about this opportunity.

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


Available through MATC’s Tutoring Services Department, NetTutor is an online, on-demand tutoring service that is available to all MATC students 24/7.  Faculty may add a direct link to NetTutor in a Blackboard section to support student learning of specific subject areas, including formatting documents in MLA and APA format. To learn more about this tool, see MATC’s Tutoring Services NetTutor page.


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 Your Move to Online Instruction

Faculty Support 
Student Support


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