January 27– Instructor News

Hello from your Center for Instructional Technology! We hope that your semester is off to a great start. Below, you’ll find announcements and events to assist you with teaching and learning needs.  

Instructional Tech Changes and Announcements 

PointSolutions change in classrooms 

TurningTechnologies is now Echo360 Point Solutions, and the classroom computers will now reflect the new name and branding. The processes in the desktop software (used by instructors) are unchanged.  

No More People.Ua.Edu Sites for Graduate Students 

Effective January 1, 2023, new People.ua.edu sites will no longer be created for graduate students. All existing site owners who are graduate students will be contacted in early 2023 about their next steps. UA offers two alternative solutions: Adobe Portfolio (part of Adobe Creative Cloud) and Microsoft Sway (part of Microsoft 365 Education). Both products are available to all UA staff, faculty, and students. 

  • Adobe Portfolio is part of Adobe Cloud which provides several apps and services. Get started with your site by visiting Adobe Creative Cloud. Log in using your UA credentials. Look on the left side panel and you will see Portfolio. Alternately, you can go directly to Adobe Portfolio and login using your UA credentials. There are tutorials available through Adobe and OIT. 
  • Microsoft Sway is part of Microsoft 365 Education which includes many applications for work essentials, collaboration, organization, and even apps for fun. Visit OIT’s Microsoft 365 Education page to access MS Sway. Tutorials and training can be found at Microsoft 365 Training. 

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 

Turnitin Class Expiration – Known Issue 

When a Turnitin Feedback Studio (TFS) assignment is created in a Blackboard Learn course, Turnitin automatically assigns a default class expiration date as 6 months in the future, or the latest TFS assignment due date in the course, whichever is farther away. When the Turnitin class expires, students can no longer submit papers or access TFS activities.  To extend the Turnitin class expiration date, make a new Turnitin assignment with due dates that match the last date when students should be able to view the TFS assignments and tools for the course. For more information visit Turnitin Assignment Settings. 

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. Courses taught prior to Fall 2020 are now eligible for removal. Instructors should save any needed course content or student grades. Students should save any necessary coursework as well. Non-academic courses, referred to as non-integrated courses, are subject to removal following two (2) years of inactivity. 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. 

Hypothesis and Vital Source at UA 

Hypothesis social annotation tool used by U Alabama now features an integration with the VitalSource eText platform. If you are teaching with eTexts from VitalSource and are interested in having students annotate the material, the Hypothesis integration is available to you now when you create assignments in Blackboard. You can learn more about how to create a Hypothesis assignment with VitalSource content in the Hypothesis knowledge base.   

Upcoming Learning Opportunities 

Get Started with Gradescope  

Wednesday, February 1, 2023, 11:00am-12:00 pm CST  

Join this virtual, one-hour session to learn how to use Gradescope to: 

  • Set up assignments where students can submit freeform work (no printers or templates needed) 
  • Grade your existing exams and homework on Gradescope 
  • Make rubric changes as you grade – changes apply to previously graded work to maintain consistency 
  • Write each comment only once – apply previously used comments with a click 
  • Use ‘assignment analytics’ to gain insight into student learning 

Blackboard Learn Original Roadmap 

Tues Feb 7, 2023, 10:00 am – 11:00 am CST 

Get an exclusive look at the upcoming Learn enhancements and feature releases. Join Blackboard product management leaders as they provide an update on the Learn roadmap and give you an exclusive look at what’s next for Blackboard Learn. Complete the registration form to reserve your virtual seat. If you can’t attend the session, you will get a recording if you register.  

Register today at https://learn.anthology.com/RoadmapWebinarSeries#registerAnchor 

Create Graphs, Graphics and Data Visualization 

Tues Feb 7, 2023, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm CSST 

Effectively communicating complex academic and technical processes and concepts relies on sound design principles and the ability to render them using industry-standard tools. Discover essential tools and workflows in Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Express that will help you develop clear and powerful visual representations for your presentations, papers and research. Link to register for free: https://www.tickettailor.com/events/edgegainltd/782559/# 

Annotate with Hypothesis 

Thursday, Feb 9, 12:00 –1:00 pm  

We have a special treat! Our favorite representative from Hypothesis, Becky George, will present a LIVE and in-person Hypothesis workshop in Gordon Palmer Hall, Room A232. Becky will give an overview of Hypothesis, guide you through the basics, then answer your specific questions. Please bring your own device. Lunch will be provided (in-person workshop only). The in-person workshop is limited to 20 participants so register early! –  Annotate with Hypothesis Registration 

OLIS 2023 – Transforming the Online Classroom: Challenges, Opportunities, and Innovation 

February 10, 2023, 8:00 am – 4:00 pm, Bryant Conference Center 

The Online Learning Innovation Summit is a campuswide professional development conference hosted by UA Online. Faculty, staff and graduate students from across The University of Alabama and the region will come together for brainstorming, problem-solving and sharing experiences and best practices surrounding online learning and teaching technologies. Learn more at OLIS 2023. 


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

Email – cit@ua.edu 

Phone – 205-348-3532 

Website and Knowledge Base – http://cit.ua.edu