April 28 Instructional Technology News

Hello from your Center for Instructional Technology! Below, you’ll find announcements and events to assist you with teaching and learning needs.  

Summer and Fall 2023 Syllabi in Simple Syllabus  

UA’s new online syllabus platform, Simple Syllabus, launched April 17. All sections must have a syllabus published in Simple by the first day of classes. Instructors will receive initial reminders to complete their Summer 2023 syllabi on May 1. Syllabi include required course and section information, as well as institutional and, in some cases, college-specific statements and policies. Instructors should add and edit section-specific information using Simple’s built-in editor, which allows for text formatting, links, videos, images, tables, and more. Simple Syllabus is available through myBama, Blackboard Learn, or direct login. For information about creating and sharing a syllabus, adding Simple Syllabus to Blackboard Learn, or registering for a support session, visit CIT’s Simple Syllabus support resources. 

Upcoming Learning Opportunities 

Simple Syllabus Information Sessions 

In Person Sessions in A232 Gordon Palmer Hall:  

  • Thursday, 5/4, 2PM 
  • Friday, 5/12, 9AM 
  • Thursday, 5/25, 10AM 

Virtual Sessions in Microsoft Teams: 

  • Wednesday, 5/3, 10AM 
  • Monday, 5/8, 3PM 
  • Tuesday, 5/23, 3PM 

Register for a session 

Simple Syllabus Support Appointments Available 

If you prefer individual help to set up Simple Syllabus, request an appointment. 

Blackboard/Anthology Digital Teaching Symposium  

On Thursday, May 4, 2023, we hope you can join us online for a full day of free, peer-led virtual sessions on digital teaching strategies for the unique needs of 2023 and beyond. The Digital Teaching Symposium brings educators together to share and discover innovative uses of technology in an ever-changing teaching environment. Explore ways to keep learners engaged, foster innovation, and develop strategies to help you and your students navigate, excel, and thrive in a shifting higher education landscape.  

Digital Teaching Symposium Registration and agenda 

Gradescope – Stories from the Classroom 

Join the Gradescope team on May 8th, 2:00-3:00 pm, to discover how other instructors use Gradescope to:  

  • Design formative and summative assessments without constraints around logistics and grading capacity. 
  • Develop smarter workflows to help instructors, whether grading alone or coordinating a multi-section course with 20+ graders. 
  • Gain insights you need to support student learning, understand trends, and improve teaching. 

Registration is required – Gradescope Registration 

Activating Annotation in Blackboard with Hypothesis 

On May 9, 12:00-1:00 pm, the Hypothesis team will share how teachers are using annotation-powered reading to help students develop foundational academic skills like deep reading and persuasive writing. In addition to sharing pedagogical best practices for social annotation, we will demonstrate how Hypothesis is used with course readings in your LMS. Participants will gain a clear understanding of how to start incorporating social annotation into their courses to improve student outcomes. Register online  

Check out more instructional technology workshops at https://cit.ua.edu/workshops/  

Instructional Tech Resources and Reminders 

The CIT Knowledge Base is your clearinghouse for tutorials, known issues, and best practices: 

Ultra Course View Pilot Continues 

Instructors interested in teaching with Ultra Course View in an upcoming academic term should submit a request via the CIT portal: Blackboard Learn Ultra LIVE Course Pilot Request 

Collaborate End of Use 

On August 1, 2023, Class Collaborate will be deactivated and no longer available to use at UA. This change does not affect the Blackboard Learn system, only the virtual web conferencing tool, Collaborate. Instructors and program managers should download any needed recordings from Collaborate by August 1, 2023. CIT suggests instructors use Zoom or Teams for synchronous class meetings and Panopto for lecture capture.  

Cleaning Out Older Blackboard Courses 

Academic courses in Blackboard Learn are subject to removal two (2) years following the end of the semester in which they are taught per UA’s LMS Course Retention Policy. For example, courses taught in Spring 2023 will be removed after May 2025. Courses taught prior to Spring 2021 are now eligible for removal. Spring 2021 courses will be removed starting in May 2023. Non-academic courses, referred to as non-integrated courses, are subject to removal following two (2) years of inactivity. 

Instructors should save any needed course content or student grades. Students should save any necessary coursework as well. Steps to save content are linked below. 

More information on the policy and instructions for backing up Blackboard content are available in the LMS Course Retention Policy FAQ. 

As always, we are available Monday-Friday, 8:00-4:45 to help you. We look forward to working with you soon. 

Email – cit@ua.edu 

Phone – 205-348-3532