Fall 2013 Faculty Course Tool Updates
|BYTE Week (Build Your Technology/Teaching Expertise) is August 19-24.
New topics this year! Sample workshops include What's New in
Blackboard, Blackboard GradeCenter, Blackboard Assignments (make your
life easier with the new inline paper commenting tool!), Respondus
Monitor, Office 365, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and topics like "Charting a
Course Plan for Online Learning" and "Management and Pedagogy of
Asynchronous Online Discussions," plus many more. Find times and sign up now »
Reminder about Summer Blackboard UpdatesmyMason was updated after the end of the Spring '13 semester. Summer Blackboard courses have already enjoyed a fresh new look (without changing the location of the tools!), modern calendar, users profiles, global navigation tools, new content/math equation editor, additional testing features, and new ways to customize your courses look and feel. Watch our video and get detailed new feature documentation »
Self-Paced Online Blackboard WorkshopWe listened when you said you couldn't find time to attend our in person workshops. So we spent this summer building an online workshop covering all of the basics and more about Blackboard. This is an open course you can sign up for, and follow along as time permits. You can also quickly jump to a specific topic if you have always wanted to learn more about a specific feature. Look for the Enroll button on the Courses tab of myMason.
Blackboard Inc. is also offering a free online workshop for Collaborate Web Conferencing. Sign up »
Course Reports & New Retention CenterCourse Reports, a Blackboard tool to view information about student course usage and activity, were unavailable during the Spring semester. We had discovered that under certain circumstances, some data was missing from these reports. After extensive work with Blackboard, Inc. these issues have now been corrected. A new additional tool, the Retention Center, graphically allows you to quickly review relevant data points to determine which students might need extra help in your courses. These options are available under "Evaluation" in your Blackboard courses' Control Panel. Watch a video about the Retention Center »
Student View ChangeMany faculty use the Student View tool to log in as a student in their courses, to take a test or confirm settings are correct. You can now access this tool at the top right of every page of your course. When you want to go back to the Instructor View, click the button in the same place.
Quickly Make Courses AvailableWe heard you! We have added a new, easy way to make your courses available to students. On your Courses tab on myMason, look for the option at the top right of the page. Be sure to refresh the browser to see the change of availability in your Course List.
Respondus MonitorRespondus LockDown Browser is a custom web browser that locks down the testing environment within Blackboard Courses. Students cannot access anything except for the test on their computer. Monitor is a new additional option that records the student (using their webcam video and audio) to ensure the student taking the test at a distance is not receiving help or using disallowed study materials. We strongly recommend you set up a practice test for your students before using this tool during an actual test. View more »
CollaborateBlackboard Collaborate, the web conferencing tool used to hold live online sessions or to record presentations/lectures, was updated to include:
- Audio Conferencing: All sessions now include a telephone number so attendees can call in if they cannot access the session in any other way. This is a great backup option if a user has trouble accessing a session.
- Android support: Now both iOS and Android users can access live sessions via their smart phones and tablets. Mobile access is intended for Participants (Students), the full Moderator (Faculty) options are still best accessed via a computer. Download the app »
- Convert recordings to mp3 or mp4 format for downloading for editing or off-line playback. How to »
New to Collaborate or wish you felt more comfortable with the tool? Sign up for a free self-paced workshop »
WordPress Course BlogsThe Division of Instructional Technology is pleased to announce the launch of its Course Blogs Pilot. Course Blogs is powered by WordPress, a web-publishing platform that enables users to set up a blog or site quickly and easily. It provides a set of standard templates and plugins with which to customize your site. This tool is maintained by the Division of Instructional Technology (DoIT). Instructors seeking to add a collaborative element to their course material might create a group blog on WordPress, but manage grading and other sensitive information within Blackboard. Course Blog sites are available for faculty to use for academic courses and is intended to use for active courses, not as a host for personal or departmental sites, organizations, or as an archive for materials. Find out more »