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Instructional Tech News – Oct. 19

Engaging Students Online

Looking to increase student engagement and collaboration in your Zoom or Blackboard Collaborate environment? Visit the CIT YouTube Channel to see Jennifer Roth-Burnette, Director of Academic Support at the Capstone Center for Student Success, share advice for engaging students online. Dr. Roth-Burnette provides simple tactics you can implement in your courses to increase participation and interaction.

Texthelp Change

UA’s enterprise license agreement for the Texthelp suite of tools will not be renewed in FY21.  After conversations with campus partners, we determined that we did not have a user basis to justify an enterprise-level agreement for the product. However, Texthelp offers free premium subscriptions of Read&Write and EquatIO for educators on the Texthelp website. Additionally, one alternative to the Texthelp suite of tools are the Learning Tools offered by Microsoft 365. If you, or users in your area, have any need beyond the scope of the free tools, please let us know.

Gradescope Usage Survey

UA is evaluating if the license for Gradescope should be renewed for FY21. If you are a current Gradescope user, please complete a quick survey about your use of this tool and your opinion about its renewal. We will keep you updated on survey feedback and our next steps.

VoiceThread New Assignments

Exciting news, VoiceThread has a new assignments feature! Starting today, instructors can start opting their courses in to the new assignment features. VoiceThread assignments provide a major overhaul and redesign of the entire user experience with many new features and streamlined workflows. Instructors are not required to update to the new assignments features. Courses can be updated individually, giving instructors the opportunity to test out new features on a small scale.

Check out the VoiceThread website for detailed instructions on how to enable the new assignment feature. Once the new assignments feature have been activated, visit the VoiceThread site again for step-by-step user guides.

Reach Out for Help

As always, we’re here to help. Book an appointment to meet with CIT. It’s not too early for us to help you prep for final exams!

Instructional Tech News – Oct. 12

Testing Tips

We receive many questions from instructors regarding how to best secure tests in Blackboard. Blackboard offers settings that can easily be enabled to increase the security of online exams. Check out our Testing Tips for Instructors video to learn how to implement random answers and questions, timers, test availability and more.

Respondus Lockdown Browser – Troubleshooting Tips

A reliable internet connection is key to success with Respondus Lockdown Browser. Wired internet connections are available in most on-campus residences. If students are connected via WIFI and experience issues with Respondus Lockdown Browser, we have a few troubleshooting tips available on our website.

Respondus Virtual Training

Respondus is hosting several upcoming virtual webinars free for all instructors. Sessions will provide detailed demonstrations of both Respondus and Respondus Monitor, including recent enhancements that make Respondus Monitor even more effective and easy to use. Learn more, and register, on the Respondus website.

Encourage Engagement with Virtual Office Hours

Instructors have reported an increase of students attending virtual office hours. Additionally, students have shared with us that they enjoy the opportunity to chat online with their instructors. Keep up the classroom engagement and conversations with students via virtual office hours through Blackboard CollaborateZoom or Microsoft Teams.

Technology Need Application

Please remember that loaner hotspots, web cams and laptops are available for students in need. Students may submit a Technology Need Application on the Student Care and Well-Being website.

Meet with CIT

Book an appointment for a virtual meeting with CIT. Visit our website, and click “Virtual Help Session” to book an appointment. Select the technology you’d like to discuss, pick your date and time, then add it to your calendar! We’ll see you then.

Instructional Tech News – Oct. 6

Midterm grade reminders, student technology needs, and a new way to book an appointment with CIT.

Midterm Grade Reminder

Can you believe it’s already October? Time to enter midterm grades! Remember we have helpful resources on the CIT website, including instructions for entering Midterm Grades in Blackboard Grade Center. We also have guidance on importing Midterm Grades from Blackboard into MyBama.

Technology Need Application

The Division of Student Life, Office of Information Technology and University Libraries are partnering to provide students with necessary technology tools. Hotspots, web cameras and laptops are available for lease to students in need. Students may submit a Technology Need Application on the Student Care and Well-Being website.

UA Libraries Respondus-Ready Computers

Many computers in UA Libraries are equipped with Respondus LockDown Browser and web cameras for Respondus Monitor. Students may reserve a Respondus-ready computer through the UA Libraries website.

Book an Appointment with CIT

You can now book an appointment for a virtual meeting with CIT. Select the technology you’d like to discuss, pick your date and time, then add it to your calendar! We’re also available to meet with instructors for Blackboard settings check. Visit our website, and click “Virtual Help Session” to book an appointment.

Instructional Tech News – Sept. 28

Gradescope Workshop

Looking for a tool to streamline your grading process? Join us tomorrow, Sept. 29 at 1pm for a virtual workshop hosted by Gradescope. Gradescope is a feedback and assessment tool that streamlines grading while providing grading consistency. You can find details, and a link to register, on the CIT website.

Blackboard Calendar

Juggling competing assignments and due dates can be a challenge. The Blackboard Calendar can help students keep track of upcoming assignments, events and other due dates. Instructors can add due dates to gradable items in Blackboard. Learn more about capabilities of Blackboard Calendar in our latest YouTube Video.

Zoom Features

Along with midterm testing, many courses feature the opportunity for student presentations. If you’re hosting student presentations in your course, check out these new Zoom features including multi-spotlight, multi-pin and video recording.

Settings Checks

Did you know that CIT can offer guidance by reviewing your Blackboard settings? Before offering an exam, invite us to take a look at your course and exam settings to optimize your exam for effective functionality.

We’re here to help – both students and instructors. Please remind students that they can click the red “Support ?” button at the top of Blackboard for tech help 24/7.

Instructional Technology News – Sept. 21, 2020

A new Blackboard Learn feature, tips for student engagement, and a Zoom change reminder.

Blackboard Learn Help Tips

Notice a few new help messages in Blackboard Learn? Those are from us! We’ve integrated a new tool to be able to provide guidance and helpful tips as students and instructors navigate Blackboard. Our team recently added tips for instructors as you prepare to enter midterm exam grades. We’ve also included tips for students that link to the Capstone Center for Student Success for tutoring and coaching. We hope you, and your students, finds these tips helpful. If you have a suggestion for a tip, let us know!

Student Engagement

Teaching virtually has its perks, but it also comes with challenges. Keeping students engaged in classes can be difficult without face-to-face interactions. We’ve put together a few tips for instructors to keep students engaged, virtually. Hint – regular communication is key.

Zoom Security Changes

Reminder – beginning Sept. 27, Zoom will require that all meetings have a passcode or a waiting room enabled. Meetings that do not have a passcode or waiting room enabled will automatically be applied a waiting room.  Waiting rooms can be customized to fit the need and audience for your meeting. For more information, visit the Zoom Support website.

As always, we’re here to help. Give us a call at 205-348-3532 or email us – cit@ua.edu.

Instructional Technology News – Sept. 15, 2020

An upcoming security change, a few maintenance items, and tech reminders to share this week.

Zoom Security Changes

Beginning Sept. 27, Zoom will require that all meetings have a passcode or a waiting room enabled. Meetings that do not have a passcode or waiting room enabled will automatically be applied a waiting room.  Waiting rooms can be customized to fit the need and audience for your meeting. For more information, visit the Zoom Support website.

VoiceThread Maintenance

VoiceThread will be performing a database upgrade and maintenance on Saturday, Sept. 19 from 4am – 5am. VoiceThread will not be offline, but tools may be slow to load during this maintenance window.

myBama Maintenance

myBama will be also undergo a database upgrade Saturday, Sept. 19 from 6am until 1pm. myBama will be unavailable during the maintenance window; however, Blackboard Learn will continue to be available by direct access – ualearn.blackboard.com.

Virtual Learning Spaces

If students need a space away from their residence to attend an online class, encourage them to visit one of UA’s 60+ virtual learning spaces. These spaces are designated areas where students can attend online class meetings while on campus.

Lockdown Browser Info for Students

Lockdown Browser is a tool new to many UA students. Consider sharing CIT’s Lockdown Browser Information with your students. A few reminders for students:

  • Download the UA version of Lockdown browser, not just any version of Lockdown Browser found on the web.
  • Choose Blackboard Learn from the server list.
  • Use a hard-wire ethernet connection when possible.
  • Restart the computer and shut down other programs on the computer before beginning Lockdown Browser.

Follow CIT on YouTube

In recent weeks we’ve added several tutorial videos to our YouTube channel. Check out Testing Tips for Instructors, as well as Blackboard Basics for Students.

VoiceThread Maintenance

VoiceThread will be performing a database upgrade and maintenance on Saturday, Sept. 19 from 4am – 5pm. VoiceThread will not be offline, but tools may be slow to load during this maintenance window.

Blackboard Redirects to Panopto in Safari

When using Safari, Blackboard pages with embedded Panopto content may redirect to the Panopto login page, preventing access to the Blackboard course. To avoid this, click on Safari in the tool bar > click on Preferences > select Privacy. Uncheck the box that says Website Tracking: Prevent cross-site tracking.