Category: Instructional Technology News

Instructional Technology News – August 9

Hello instructors,

Meg here from the Office of Information Technology. While our CIT team is busy migrating Blackboard to the cloud, I want to share a few IT items to help you (and your students) be prepared for the Fall 2021 Semester.

Crimson email is now powered by Microsoft O365.

Early this summer OIT migrated student and alumni Crimson email accounts from Google to Microsoft O365. We did this to increase collaboration among students and faculty/staff by hosting email together in one environment. Hosting student email in O365 allows for students, faculty and staff to be in the same email directory, and it allows for more functionality with tools like Microsoft Teams.

Students can use a variety of methods to access their email. Here’s four options:

  1. Log into myBama.ua.edu and click the Crimson Email link
  2. Visit mail.crimson.ua.edu on the web
  3. Add the account to the Outlook desktop app
  4. Add the account to the Outlook mobile app

Students should be accessing their email regularly to receive important campus updates. If your students have any questions about email, please direct them to the OIT website where we have more information and answers to frequently asked questions – oit.ua.edu/crimson.

Connect to Eduroam wireless internet.

This summer we changed how individuals connect to the Eduroam wireless internet network. Individuals must connect with an email address and myBama password.

For faculty and staff, that’s your myBama username@ua.edu email address. Students can connect with their Crimson email address. Returning students and faculty may need to re-establish a connection upon arrival to campus. More information about campus internet service is available on our website.

Download free software.

OIT offers many software packages to students, faculty and staff. Visit oit.ua.edu/software to download software tools like Adobe Creative Cloud, MATLAB, McAfee Antivirus, Microsoft O365 and more.

Move content from Google Drive to Microsoft OneDrive.

Beginning May 2022, OIT will no longer support Google Drive for Crimson accounts. Students should begin using UA’s preferred cloud storage service, Microsoft OneDrive. Step-by-step guidance is available on our website for moving content out of Google Drive and into Microsoft OneDrive. If you share any materials with students via Google Drive, please make the switch to OneDrive.

We’re here to help.

Visit oit.ua.edu for more information about IT services.  You can also reach us at the IT Service Desk, itservicedesk@ua.edu or 205-348-5555.

Continue learning, even while Blackboard is unavailable.

The CIT team is hard at work updating Blackboard Learn. Melissa will be in touch later this week when Blackboard service resumes. In the meantime, we’ve added several webinars and workshops to our website to encourage students and instructors to continue learning, even while Blackboard Learn is down. I hope to see you in one of the Outlook and OneDrive workshops tomorrow!

Thanks,

Meagan

Instructional Technology News – August 3

It’s here. After more than one full year of preparation, the CIT is moving Blackboard Learn to the cloud! We’ve been buzzing about this upgrade since April, and we appreciate your patience as we perform the upgrade to make UA’s instance of Blackboard Learn a more flexible, scalable and resilient platform.

Blackboard Learn unavailable Aug 5-13

In case you missed it, Blackboard Learn will be unavailable Aug. 5-13 for a database migration and upgrade. With the upgrade comes an enhanced look known as Ultra Base Navigation. Ultra provides a new way to navigate course content that will save you time and help you stay on top of what’s important. Visit our website to see a preview of Ultra, along with answers to frequently asked questions.

While Blackboard is down, I encourage you to partake in an instructional technology workshop. Meet your new favorite tool: Flipgrid, or refresh your Zoom skills. We hope to see you in a workshop next week.

Our team will be offering a new workshop – Meet Blackboard Ultra Base Navigation, to introduce the new features that come with Ultra. Make plans to attend!

We’ll be in touch next week as we wrap up the migration to the cloud. As always, reach out to us with any questions or concerns. We’re here to help.

Instructional Technology News – July 23

Final grades due, more information about the Blackboard Learn SaaS upgrade, and hello Flipgrid/goodbye VoiceThread. Subscribe to our news updates and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Final Grades due August 3

Did you know you can import your final grades from Blackboard Learn with just a few clicks? Learn how on our website: Importing Grades Into myBama from Blackboard. Grades for all Summer classes must be submitted via myBama no later than 11:59pm on Tuesday, August 3. For additional information on non-attendance grading as well as other grading policies, definitions, and terminology, please visit the University Registrar’s Grade Reporting page. Speaking of “final,” if you administer exams via Blackboard Learn, you might share this resource with your students: Testing Tips for Students

Blackboard Learn unavailable August 5-13

Blackboard Learn and certain tools accessed through Blackboard Learn (Panopto, Collaborate, and Turnitin) will be unavailable from Aug. 5 until Aug. 13 while UA’s instance of Blackboard Learn moves from being hosted in Blackboard’s data centers to being hosted in the cloud, also known as software as a service (SaaS).

Moving UA’s Blackboard Learn instance to SaaS allows for flexibility, scalability, resilience and innovation. The move also allows us to deploy Blackboard Ultra Base navigation, which offers a modern look that is more accessible and fully responsive. If you’ve used Blackboard Collaborate or the Blackboard Learn mobile app before, you’ve seen the Ultra look. Although the look is new, the course features and workflows remain the same, so there is little learning curve for students and instructors. There are, however, some new ways to navigate the Blackboard Learn environment that benefit all users.

We’ve posted more information about the upgrade, answers to frequently asked questions, and guides and tutorials on the CIT website: Blackboard Learn SaaS upgrade information – and a new way to navigate Blackboard Learn

We think these resources are especially helpful for instructors and students:

Base Navigation for Instructors
Base Navigation Video for Instructors
Base Navigation Guide for Instructors (PDF)

Base Navigation for Students
Base Navigation Video for Students
Base Navigation Guide for Students (PDF)

Flipgrid to replace VoiceThread

UA is transitioning from VoiceThread to Flipgrid as our video discussion and collaboration tool. Flipgrid offers a modern, fun and accessible video discussion option for UA instructors and students, ideal for engaging students asynchronously. Learn more on our website, and start using Flipgrid today: Flipgrid to Replace VoiceThread

VoiceThread will be removed during the August 5-13 Blackboard Learn upgrade. If you previously used VoiceThread for recorded lectures, you can export that content and upload into Panopto, then share it as a link in Flipgrid. Step-by-step instructions on how to export VoiceThread content are available on our website:  How to Export VoiceThread Content

We’re here to help! Contact the Center for Instructional Technology for help with instructional technology needs, questions and concerns.

Instructional Technology News – July 12

A quick introduction, Blackboard course content cleanup, Panopto recorder update, Blackboard Learn unavailable Aug. 5-13, and hello Flipgrid/goodbye VoiceThread.

New CIT Assistant Director Melissa Green

Thanks to Meagan Bennett for last week’s introduction and for shepherding our Instructional Technology News over the past year. I’m Melissa Green, and I’m thrilled to serve as the new Assistant Director of the Center for Instructional Technology. This role focuses on instructional technology education and outreach for our campus. Along with technology accessibility and thoughtful integration of technology in teaching and learning, building community is a passion of mine, and I look forward to growing this community together. If you haven’t already, please subscribe to our news updates and follow us on FacebookTwitter, and YouTube.

Blackboard cleanup begins THIS THURSDAY, July 15

Beginning July 15, the Center for Instructional Technology will remove old course content from the Blackboard Learn system. This is in accordance with UA’s LMS Course Retention Policy, which states that materials more than two years old will be removed from the system. Students and instructors should save any materials they wish to keep.  Visit the CIT website for more information on how to back up Blackboard content: How to Back Up Blackboard Content as an Instructor

Panopto recorder update required after July 15

Panopto for Windows and Panopto for Mac users: A July 15 Panopto update will require you to update your software. Step-by-step guidance and instructions for upgrading are available on Panopto’s website:

Blackboard Learn unavailable August 5-13

Blackboard Learn and certain tools accessed through Blackboard Learn (Panopto, Collaborate, and Turnitin) will be unavailable from Aug. 5 until Aug. 13 for a database migration and upgrade. This move will help provide a more stable, scalable, secure, and updated Blackboard Learn experience for UA users.

More information is available on the CIT website, and our CIT team will be sending additional communications to all Blackboard instructors.  We began communicating about this upgrade and downtime in April, but as always, we appreciate your assistance sharing this information! We know there is never a good time to bring down a critical system like Blackboard Learn, but we are looking forward to this migration and the capabilities it will offer.

Flipgrid to replace VoiceThread

UA is transitioning from VoiceThread to Flipgrid as our video discussion and collaboration tool. Flipgrid offers a modern, fun and accessible video discussion option for UA instructors and students, ideal for engaging students asynchronously. Learn more on our website, and start using Flipgrid today: Flipgrid to Replace VoiceThread

VoiceThread will be removed during the August 5-13 Blackboard Learn upgrade. If you previously used VoiceThread for recorded lectures, you can export that content and upload into Panopto, then share it as a link in Flipgrid. Step-by-step instructions on how to export VoiceThread content are available on our website:  How to Export VoiceThread Content

We’re here to help! Contact the Center for Instructional Technology for help with instructional technology needs, questions and concerns.

Instructional Technology News – June 10

Blackboard cleanup to begin July 15.

Beginning July 15, the Center for Instructional Technology will remove old course content from the Blackboard Learn system. This is in accordance with UA’s LMS Course Retention Policy, which states that materials more than two years old will be removed from the system. Students and instructors should save any materials they wish to keep.  Visit the CIT website for more information on how to back up Blackboard content.

Blackboard is moving to the cloud!

August 5 – 13, Blackboard Learn will be unavailable while UA’s instance of Blackboard Learn moves from being hosted in Blackboard’s data centers to being hosted in the cloud, also known as software as a service (SaaS). Moving to the cloud allows for flexibility, scalability, resilience and innovation. With this move, Blackboard will get a new look – Ultra Base navigation.

If you’ve used Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, you’ve already experienced a taste of the Ultra look. The Ultra base navigation offers a modern, intuitive and personalized look characterized by simple workflows and an accessible fully responsive design. For more information, visit our website. As we approach the SaaS migration in August, we will post additional tutorials, guides and information.

Flipgrid to replace VoiceThread.

UA is transitioning from VoiceThread to Flipgrid as our video discussion and collaboration tool. Flipgrid offers a modern, fun and accessible video discussion option for UA instructors and students, ideal for engaging students asynchronously. By using Flipgrid, instructors can increase feelings of social connections and community among students while providing students with the opportunity to develop their voices. All UA students, faculty and staff have access to Flipgrid through UA’s Microsoft license agreement. Learn more on our website, and start using Flipgrid today!

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!

Have questions?