Category: Instructional Technology News

Instructional Tech News – April 29

Here we are, end of the semester. The innovative ideas and methods you all implemented in your classrooms this semester should be celebrated. It’s an honor to serve as your instructional technology support staff. Here are a few news tidbits to wrap up this semester.

Importing Final Grades

Did you know you can import your final grades from Blackboard Learn with just a few clicks? Learn how on our website.  All Spring final grades must be submitted via myBama no later than 11:59pm on Tuesday, May 4. For additional information on non-attendance grading as well as other grading policies, definitions, and terminology, please visit our Grade Reporting page.

LMS Course Retention Policy

Remember, in accordance with UA’s LMS Course Retention Policy, materials more than two years old will be removed from the system. We will begin removing content from the LMS on July 15. You’ve got a few more months to export course content, copy content to another course, and request a course shell to copy content from an existing course. Visit our website for more information on how instructors can back up Blackboard content. We’ll send reminders as we approach July.

Save the Date – Blackboard SaaS

Blackboard Learn is moving to the cloud August 5-13. Our teams are currently testing the new environment, and we’ll be in touch with more details this summer. In the meantime, save the date for Blackboard Learn to be unavailable for these few days in August.

Faculty Roundtable – A Year in Review

Join us May 7 and May 14 for faculty roundtable discussions. We’ll chat about your experiences teaching this semester. We’re excited to hear from you.

Zoom Updates

You all know that Zoom regularly updates its software with security enhancements and new features. In the latest release, Zoom offers enhanced screen annotation for Zoom meetings, whiteboard auto-shapes on Zoom’s mobile application, and more emoji options for meeting reactions.  Another fun new feature: Immersive View. Be “together” with your class or colleagues, from a distance. Individuals can enable this feature by visiting http://zoom.us, then My account, Settings, In Meeting (Advanced).

Crimson Email Migration

Our peers in OIT are preparing to migrate Crimson email from Google to Microsoft O365 May 7-9. This will help simplify email at UA by hosting student, faculty and staff email in one environment. All Crimson accounts have been notified of the migration; however, we want to make sure you all are aware too. Step-by-step guidance for accessing Crimson email in O365 is available on the OIT website. There you’ll also find answers to frequently asked questions, a Google to O365 tool comparison chart and more. You can also visit OIT’s YouTube channel for informational videos.  If you have any questions about the migration, contact the IT Service Desk at 205-348-5555 or itsd@ua.edu.

Have questions about importing final grades, exporting content from Blackboard or other instructional technology items? We’re here to help, and by now, you know how to find us.

We wish you the best wrapping up this semester!

Instructional Tech News – April 12

Back Up Blackboard Content

Remember, in accordance with UA’s LMS Course Retention Policy, materials more than two years old will be removed from the system. Instructors can export course content, copy content to another course, and request a course shell to copy content from an existing course. You’ve got options, and we’re here to guide you through them. Visit our website for more information on how instructors can back up Blackboard content.

Gradescope and Blackboard

If you haven’t checked out Gradescope, we encourage you to look into it. Gradescope can be used for evaluating handwritten responses, programming, diagrams, formulae, and other coursework that can be challenging to assess virtually.

Gradescope recently hosted its Gradescope User Summit where instructors presented on topics including “Building community in online classes,” “Student-centered active learning strategies,” and more. Check them out on our website and learn how to add Gradescope to your course today.

Faculty Roundtable – A Year in Review

Join us May 7 for a faculty roundtable to share your experiences teaching in the 2020-2021 academic year. Let’s learn from one another. What worked? What didn’t? Share strategies that you successfully implemented in the classroom – whatever that looked like for you. Join us to share it all; the good, the bad, the ugly, and no we aren’t just talking about Zoom filters. More information about the virtual roundtable event is available in the UA Events Calendar.

Instructional Tech News – April 5

We’re excited to announce that in August UA’s instance of Blackboard Learn will move from being hosted in in the Blackboard Data Center to being hosted in the cloud, also known as software as a service (SaaS). This move will provide flexibility, scalability and new opportunities for innovation.

Blackboard Learn Saas: What you need to know.

We’ll be in touch with more details as the migration approaches, but for now, take note Blackboard Learn will be unavailable Aug. 5 – Aug. 13.  We know there is never a good time to bring down a critical system like Blackboard Learn, but we’re looking forward to this migration and the capabilities it will offer. Some awesome new features are coming your way, and we’re excited to share them with you.

LMS Course Retention Policy

Remember – we will be conducting routine Blackboard Learn course clean up at the end of the spring 2021 semester. The Course Retention Policy states that any materials more than 2 years old will be removed from the system. Students and instructors should save any materials they wish to keep. More information is available on the CIT website. And yes, this will make our migration to Blackboard Learn SaaS a much lighter move.

Turning Webinar Series

Turning Technologies is more than clickers. Turning Technologies provides classroom engagement and assessments that allow students to participate in real-time using mobile apps. Interactive polling options are often used for participation points, class quizzes and surveys. We’re partnering with Turning Technologies to offer weekly webinar trainings every Wednesday at 12pm in the month of May! Details about each training can be found on the CIT website. We hope to see you there.

Instructional Tech News – March 30

Faculty Roundtable – A Year in Review 

Join the CIT for a faculty roundtable to share your experiences teaching in the 2020-2021 academic year. Let’s learn from one another. What worked? What didn’t? Share strategies that you successfully implemented in the classroom – whatever that looked like for you. Join us to share it all; the good, the bad, the ugly, and no we aren’t just talking about Zoom filters. Save the date, May 7, and we’ll be in touch with meeting details soon.

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra Maintenance

Thursday, April 8 Blackboard will be releasing a new version of Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. Users can expect intermittent availability during the maintenance window, 1am – 5am on Thursday, April 8. Details about the new version, and its features, are available on the CIT website.

Update Zoom

Keep your Zoom software updated to receive the latest security patches and feature enhancements.  Visit the Zoom website for instructions on updating to the newest version.

Zoom Recordings

Remember – Zoom cloud recordings auto-delete after 60 days. Be sure to download recordings you wish to keep before they are deleted.

Blackboard Webinar Series

Blackboard offers free, ongoing webinars to help instructors make the most of teaching with Blackboard Learn and Blackboard Collaborate. Topics include “Blackboard Collaborate Basics” and “Grading in Blackboard Learn” as well as an “Ask the Experts” series. Learn more on Blackboard’s website.

Instructional Tech News – March 1, 2021

Midterm Grades due March 5 at Midnight

Midterm grades are due 3/5 at 11:59 p.m. Instructors are required to submit midterm grades for all 100- and 200-level courses. Midterm grading should be used to submit grades assigned for non-attendance.

Helpful Grading Info

Reporting a non-attendance grade? Find the date the student last accessed your Blackboard course using the Performance Dashboard or by viewing the Last Access column in the Full Grade Center.

Students unable to see feedback?

For a student to see written feedback on a test or assignment, students will go to My Grades in Blackboard, then click on the name of the assignment/test. For a test, they will also need to click on their grade to view test questions, answers, or feedback. To view overall assignment feedback in a pop-up window, students can click on the comment bubble next to their grade on the My Grades page.

If students are not seeing feedback for a Turnitin assignment, make sure the Post Date has passed in the assignment settings. If the post date has passed, students can follow along with this video to view their feedback. If you or your students continue to have issues navigating feedback or Peer Mark assignments, please let CIT know!

Instructional Tech News – Feb. 23

Customizing the Blackboard Grade Center
Need to align your Grade Center with your course syllabus? Learn how to create columns, weight grades, and adjust your schema with CIT’s Blackboard Advanced: Setting Up the Grade Center YouTube video.

Midterm Grades due March 5 at Midnight

Midterm grades are due 3/5 at 11:59 p.m. Instructors are required to submit midterm grades for all 100- and 200-level courses.  Midterm grading should be used to submit grades assigned for non-attendance.

Helpful Grading Info

Zoom with Closed Captioning and Live Transcripts
Zoom live transcription is now available for UA Zoom accounts! This can be enabled by the host, and any participants can view the captioning as needed. Live transcription only supports English. To enable captioning, sign into the Zoom web portal and edit In Meeting (Advanced) Settings.

Instructional Tech News – Feb. 8

Midterm grading has opened!

Depending on where you are in the process, you might be reaching for the ever handy, How to Upload Grades into myBama webpage, maybe you’re using Gradescope to evaluate handwritten assignments, or perhaps you’re looking into testing tools like Lockdown Browser. If you fall into one of these categories, or somewhere in between, don’t worry, we have the tools and tips you need.

Reporting a non-attendance grade? Find the date the student last accessed your Blackboard course using the Performance Dashboard or by viewing the Last Access column in the Full Grade Center.

Finally, a heads up that Blackboard Collaborate Ultra may experience downtime Thurs. Feb. 11 from 1am – 5am because of scheduled maintenance.

Review our website for more information on each of these topics, and as always, contact us with questions. We’re here to help.

Instructional Tech News – Jan. 25

Using Panopto in Safari Reminder

Safari users may need to make a settings adjustment if prompted to log into Blackboard when accessing a course. We have step-by-step guidance on our website. This setting can also affect other Blackboard content, such as RedShelf or publisher content.

Zoom Airplay Issue

Our teams are investigating an issue where some presenters are unable to connect devices via Airplay when screensharing during a Zoom meeting. Visit the CIT News page for updates as our teams work toward a resolution.

VoiceThread Workshops

Our colleagues at VoiceThread are offering many free webinars in the coming weeks. One that could be particularly beneficial for UA instructors, Using VoiceThread in Blackboard. Learn more about this webinar, and others, on the VoiceThread website.

CIT Workshops

Speaking of workshops, we have our own in-house lineup. Looking ahead I suggest the Feb. 17 workshop, Using Collaborate Ultra in Blackboard. Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is a superb option for A/V and online classes as the tool is within your Blackboard course. Learn more, and register for the workshop, on our website.

You have questions, we have answers.

Give us a call at 205-348-3532, email us at cit@ua.edu or book an appointment to meet with us online.

Instructional Tech News – Jan. 19

Zoom reminders, new virtual learning spaces list, Respondus guides and webinars.

Zoom Best Practices

Review our Zoom best practices webpage to ensure you set up Zoom meetings that are both secure and accessible.  Remember that attendees are not required to have a Zoom account, so be sure to not check the box requiring all attendees to be authenticated users.

Virtual Learning Spaces

OIT has created a searchable list of virtual learning spaces – areas where students can attend or participate in online classes while on campus. Check out the new list, and please share with your students.

Respondus Tools
If you are using (or thinking of using) LockDown Browser and Respondus Monitor for remote exams, these resources will be helpful in your preparation.

  1. Rapid Rollout Guide for Instructors – Essential information for using Respondus Monitor with online exams.
  2. Frequent Training Webinars with Live Q&A – Free, 45-minute training sessions. Each session is followed by an extended Q&A period where questions are answered live.
  3. 24/7 Live Chat – Remember, students can access built-in troubleshooting and live chat from within Respondus Monitor if they encounter a technical problem.

Instructional Tech News – Jan. 12

Zoom updates, Blackboard tutorials and beginning of the semester reminders.

Perform Zoom updates.
Before your first Zoom appointment of the semester, be sure to update your Zoom client. Zoom regularly publishes updates to keep the software secure. Zoom’s website offers instructions on how to update the software. Some recent updates include enhanced nonverbal feedback, raise hand for host and co-host, poll reports available during live session, and improved grouping of security options when scheduling.

Make course readings active with Hypothesis.
Have you seen Hypothesis in the “build content” menu of your Blackboard courses? Setting up readings with Hypothesis allows you to host student discussions right on top of your course content (and grade them, too!). Add images, links and videos into the margins of your content. To learn more, please contact Nathan Loewen or schedule a meeting with the Hypothesis team.

Provision Panopto.

Before using Panopto, make sure it is connected to your course. To get started, click on the Course Videos link in the course menu of Blackboard Learn. If you receive a message that says your course is not provisioned, follow the prompts to configure your course. For more information on Panopto, visit the CIT website.

Need a refresher on Blackboard basics? Visit our “Getting Started” resources.

A few more helpful Blackboard Learn tutorials:

Book an Appointment
Have questions about setting up your course? The CIT is here to help. Book an appointment to meet with us online.

Have questions?