Friday, April 19, 2013

Blackboard Learn Upgrade

We will updating to the latest version of Blackboard Learn, Service Packs 10 & 11, beginning on May 9th at 10:00pm Eastern through May 11th at Noon. These updates will provide a more user friendly and modern experience for you as a daily user of the system. Feel confident that the updates to Blackboard Learn were done with educators and students in mind. Nearly 640 institutions, including ones like HCC, as well as over 600 educators and nearly 600 students contributed to the development of this latest release of Blackboard.

Several existing features have been improved and some exciting new features added to make your day more efficient. Here is an overview of tools that you can expect to be using soon:

  • New Content Editor: The new Content Editor vastly improves the user experience for formatting text, pasting content from Microsoft Word, and adding content to all areas of Learn. Blackboard has also replaced the old math editor with a new mathML equation editor.
  • Assessment Item Analysis: Now you can easily refine your assessments by evaluating the quality of each question and that question’s ability to discriminate between students who understand the material and those who do not. Ineffective questions can easily be identified and then quickly corrected with the Automatic Regrade feature.
  • My Blackboard: This feature introduces a new, modern user experience in Blackboard Learn that consolidates critical information from all your Courses and Organizations as well as your school-wide academic network. The new tools in My Blackboard – Profile, Posts, Updates, My Grades, and People – were developed to meet the needs of today’s active learner and enhance student engagement. My Blackboard allows you to easily monitor activity across your courses. You can be confident that your students are up-to-date and engaged in the online learning experience.
  • New Global Navigation Menu: Always present in the top right corner, the new navigation menu is the entry point to My Blackboard and also provides one-click access to your Courses, Settings, and Blackboard Help. Additionally, the new menu will tell you how many items in My Blackboard are new or need your attention, so you never miss a thing.

Resources to Help

To ensure you can familiarize yourself with these new features of Blackboard Learn and be ready to integrate them in your instruction. Here are a few valuable resources that you may be interested in reviewing which are offered by Blackboard and CITT:
  • CITT Resources – a set of resources from Blackboard and CITT
  • Quick Hit Videos – a set of videos on YouTube that introduce all the new features
  • On-Demand Learning Center – free access to video tutorials and getting started guides.
  • Feature Showcase – review all of the new features.
  • Guided Trial – experience a pre-populated course in Blackboard Learn. Check out the latest features as well as tips and tricks for grading and student collaboration.
  • – assistance using the new Blackboard Learn platform, organized by role.
  • Educator Cohort – series of online meetings to familiarize educators with new features

Universal Design Module

The Florida Consortium on Postsecondary Education and Intellectual Disabilities has created a module on Universal Design for Online Learning. The module is five sections and takes about two hours to review.

From the module's webpage:
  • Section 1: Introduction to UDL provides the history of UDL, its relevance to what we know about variability in learning, and the principles that comprise the UDL framework. Four sections addressing the interrelated components of the UDL curriculum follow the introduction.
  • Section 2:Network-Based Goals provides guidance of how to structure a learning activity such as a lecture, presentation, laboratory experiment, or an assessment by identifying its true purpose and how to effectively communicate goals to students.
  • Section 3:Methods presents flexible strategies to support student learning.
  • Section 4:Materials guides you in the selection of flexible media and materials that support a variety of pathways to meet specific learning expectations.
  • Section 5:Assessing Students offers considerations for designing assessments that accurately measure student knowledge, skills and engagement by maintaining construct relevance and reducing irrelevant or distracting elements that interfere with the assessment’s validity.

Click Universal Design for Online Learning to view the the module.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Professional Development On-Demand?

HCC now has Go2Knowledge! Go2Knowledge is an on-demand professional development system that offers over 75 webinars. Certificates are issued upon the completion of each webinar.

Training topics include:
  • At-Risk Populations
  • Campus Safety
  • Organizational Development
  • Student Success
  • Teaching & Learning
  • Technology

There is also an area of Open Educational Resources. These are links to educational materials that are routinely used by educators worldwide.

Contact CITT for access instructions.