Known Issue – Turnitin Slowness 5-15

Turnitin is experiencing a service incident. Users may experience slowness when uploading submissions, and there may be a delay in Similarity report generation.

Turnitin Support is working to identify the issue and a resolution. We will update this post with any new information.

Known Issue – Simple Syllabus Error and Google Chrome

We have received reports of issues accessing Simple Syllabus through the Google Chrome browser. Users may receive an error message that says “Checking proxy and firewall” or ” This site can’t be reached.”

Solution: Update your Google Chrome browser to the latest version. Visit Google’s help site for instructions to update your browser.

Known Issue – Upcoming Hypothesis Maintenance 5/25

Hypothesis will be unavailable through Blackboard on Saturday, May 25, 2024 from 2:01am – 10:00am. Hypothesis will be enhancing their systems with a scheduled maintenance.

We will send out another reminder closer to this date. If you have any questions, please contact CIT for more information.

May Instructor News from the Center for Instructional Technology 

Join us for the 2024 Global Accessibility Awareness Week celebration! 

Please plan to join us on May 13 – 17, 2024 as we celebrate advancements in accessibility at UA! Let’s build knowledge, skills, and community together. Visit accessibility.ua.edu/GAAD for more details about the week’s activities and to register for an accessibility learning session. Thank you for being an ally; your dedication makes UA better for all!

Five ways to boost digital accessibility at UA 

  1. Design for accessibility – Convey content in multiple ways; don’t just use images, color, video, or audio. Always use headings and lists when available, alternative text for images, descriptive link text and when using colors or graphics to help communicate a message, be sure to check the color contrast of designs. Use tools like the Webaim color contrast checker to check color contrast and Wave to check the accessibility of a webpage.
  2. Provide captioned or transcribed versions of any media you use – Captioning grants are available to caption and/or transcribe UA-owned video and audio. Contact accesibility@ua.edu or visit accessibility.ua.edu to learn more about captioning and to have your recordings captioned.
  3. Build accessibility into your work practices – Take advantage of Acrobat, Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Outlook’s built-in accessibility checkers for any content you create or share.
  4. Communicate clearly and concisely – Keep the lines of communication with your users open and available. Avoid “click here”, “read more”, or other generic link/menu text. In addition, communicate to vendors/publishers/third parties that accessibility is important and ask how they are planning for accessibility. You can find suggested questions to ask vendors on the Technology Accessibility website.
  5. Attend UA’s Global Accessibility Awareness events – Join the Center for Instructional Technology (CIT) and the UA Technology Accessibility team during the week of May 13 – 17 to celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day. CIT and the Technology Accessibility team will be hosting virtual and in-person events that can help the UA community address accessibility needs and create a more inclusive campus. Learn more online at https://accessibility.ua.edu/GAAD/.

Reminder: Blackboard Course Retention Policy 

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. Fall 2022 and prior courses are being removed in May 2024. 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.

Eduroam Certificate Expires Thurs 5-2

The current Eduroam certificate expires on Thursday, May 2, and must be replaced. If your computer prompts you to accept a new Eduroam certificate on Thursday, please accept/trust the new certification to continue an uninterrupted Wi-Fi experience.

For more information and assistance, please contact UA’s IT Service Desk.

Explore the new Blackboard – Blackboard Learn Ultra Course View

All Blackboard courses will be designed and delivered in Blackboard Learn Ultra Course View (“Ultra”) by Spring 2026, and instructors of non-OTIDE courses can teach with Ultra now. Ultra boasts a simple, modern, intuitive, and consistent interface across devices and a more streamlined experience for instructors and students.  Learn more about Ultra on the CIT site and by exploring Blackboard Ultra for Instructors and Blackboard Ultra for Students in the Instructional Technology Knowledge Base.


Ultra Good Summer 

Summer is a great time to explore Ultra or prepare to teach with Ultra in the fall! Request a live course or request a practice course if you need a space to build or play, and follow along in our Ultra Team as we share tips, tricks, and things to try in Ultra this summer. We’ll invite you to the Team when we create your course.

Ultra Good Feature

Anonymous posts for Discussions 

Discussions play a pivotal role in nurturing peer-to-peer interaction and critical thinking. Instructors can now make Ultra discussion posts anonymous to help students feel more free to share their thoughts without judgment. You can turn anonymous posts on and off, and any posts made while anonymous keep their anonymity. You can’t grade anonymous discussions. Try it out — select the Discussion Settings button to begin!

Ultra Accessible

In celebration of Global Accessibility Awareness Week, explore Ultra features you can use to make course content more accessible and usable for all: the Ultra Accessibility Checker and Ally. Both automatically scan your original content, identify accessibility issues, and offer explanations so you can make your content more accessible. Ally also generates alternative formats for students to download so they can access the information they need in the way they need or want it.

Learn how Ally can help faculty and students in the short video below:

Introducing Anthology Ally for LMS

The Anthology Ally team is also joining the celebration! Register for their free Accessibility and Inclusivity in Technology webinar (5/14) and check out their upcoming Accessibility Fundamentals course (coming soon): Anthology Ally – Global Accessibility Awareness Month.

Ultra Panopto changes coming

CIT will update the Panopto integration the week of May 14, adding the ability to use content and folders with Ultra. We’ll share more information after the update, but, for now, you can see a preview here: How to Add Panopto to Your Blackboard Ultra Course


CIT Technology and Tool Highlights 

Turnitin  

Turnitin plays a pivotal role in preventing plagiarism. It compares student-submitted work against various sources, including student papers, web content, and academic journals. Upon submission, Turnitin generates a detailed report highlighting text matches and relevant data. Instructors benefit from grading tools like rubrics, voice comments, and mobile grading. Grades entered in Turnitin automatically reflect in the Blackboard grade center, and it also facilitates peer reviews among students. Overall, Turnitin enhances academic integrity and streamlines the grading process for educators.


Upcoming Learning Opportunities  

New to one of our instructional tech tools? We would love to guide you step-by-step or provide tips and ideas for using technology in your class. Just let us know how we can help!

05.02 | Teaching with Gradescope: Gradescope Basics webinar

05.02 | Build a digital portfolio and personal website

05.02 | Teaching with Turnitin: Understanding Similarity Reports and Scores webinar

05.03 | Teaching with Blackboard: Using Groups in Learn Original webinar

05.06 | Live Polling with Microsoft

05.07 | People.ua.edu Workshop

05.21 | Introduction to Panopto

05.22 | Simple Syllabus Information Session

05.23 | Meet the new Blackboard: Blackboard Learn Ultra Demo and Info Session webinar

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

Email – cit@ua.edu | Phone – 205-348-3532 | Website and Knowledge Base

Resolved – Turnitin Similarity Report Slowness

Resolved April 23, 2024 at 2:37 PM CT.

The Similarity Report service has been restored.

The incident occurred between the following times:

Central Time: April 21, 12:20 AM – April 23, 1:45 PM


Turnitin experienced a service incident around 1:00 AM on April 22, 2024. Turnitin Support has put in a fix and they are monitoring the results.

There may be delays in Similarity report generation while they work through a backlog caused by the incident.

Fall 2024 Faculty Prep Days

SAVE THE DATE: Fall Faculty Prep Days August 15 & 16

Join The Center for Instructional Technology to get your Fall courses polished and ready to go. CIT is hosting two days of workshops and one-on-one technical and pedagogical assistance to get you ready for the Fall semester. CIT will share more information about the event, including a detailed event schedule and registration links in July 2024.

April Instructor News from the Center for Instructional Technology   

Hello from your colleagues in CIT! Below, you’ll find announcements and events to assist you with teaching and learning needs.   

 

We are ready to make changes: Share Your Insights on CIT’s Monthly Instructor Newsletter  

CIT is dedicated to keeping you informed and engaged with instructional technology news. As part of our ongoing efforts to enhance communication and resource sharing, we kindly request your participation in a brief (5 question) survey online at https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=jnIAKtDwtECk6M5DPz-8p5goneL_t95MgGXO0gwnZ6BURUxDMFZBTkhFQUhCMlBTWEY1UzVLODdLTi4u 

This survey aims to gather your valuable input on how we can tailor the CIT monthly instructor newsletter to best suit your preferences and needs. Your feedback will significantly influence the content, format, and delivery of the newsletter, ensuring that it becomes a valuable and enjoyable source of instructional technology news every month. 

We sincerely appreciate your time and insights as we strive to create a better newsletter for UA faculty, instructors, and academic administrators. 

 

Save the Date: Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2024! 

Please plan to join us on May 16, 2024 as we celebrate advancements in accessibility at UA! Let’s build knowledge, skills, and community together. We will soon share more details about the day’s activities. Thank you for being an ally; your dedication makes UA better for all! 

 


 

Meet the new Blackboard – Blackboard Learn Ultra Course View  

Blackboard Learn Ultra Course View (“Ultra”) offers a simple, modern, intuitive, and consistent interface across devices and a more streamlined experience for instructors and students. All Blackboard courses will be designed and delivered in Ultra by Spring 2026, and instructors of non-OTIDE courses can teach with Ultra now. Visit the CIT site to learn more about Ultra and UA’s plans, join or watch a recorded demonstration/information session, or request a practice course: Blackboard Learn Ultra Course View 

Ultra Good Features 

Unsplash royalty-free image service 

You can now easily search for and add royalty-free, high-quality images to your Ultra course! No more hunting for good visuals or copyright concerns – simply select the Image button in the content editor, choose Stock images from Unsplash as the image source, enter keywords to search, and select images to add.  

 Insert image options for Unsplash. The search terms are autopopulated from your text, but you can select the X (close) button and use your own search terms if you’d prefer. 

Try it out by creating a course banner using Unsplash. 

Anthology Community  

YOUR VOICE MATTERS! Ask and answer questions, engage in user groups and programs, submit product feedback and more – join theAnthology Communityto connect with Blackboard users around the world! Create a Community account and participate inTeaching & Learning discussions, joinproduct or user groups, and subscribe toblogs. Here are some highlights from the Community. 

Blackboard Learn Ultra User Group 

The Blackboard Learn Ultra User Group is a favorite among CIT staff. Teaching or thinking about teaching with Ultra? Check out these group meetings, led by Ultra users, that feature presentations, panels, workshops, and Q&A with institutions and experts.

Blackboard Learn Ultra Course Seminar 

Ready to start preparing your course in the Learn Ultra Course View? 

This program, comprised of two 1-hour sessions, will provide you with the information and best practices to start building and preparing your course in the Learn Ultra experience. We’ll explore the Learn Ultra course features and functions within two primary areas: 

  • Setting up and designing a Learn Ultra course. 
  • Using the course for assessment, interaction, collaboration, and learner support. 

This program is for instructors, course builders, instructional designers, and others who support educators in the design and execution of their courses. 

Upcoming webinars: 

  • April 17 & 18 | 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. EDT 
  • May 14 & 15 | 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. EDT 
  • June 12 & 13 | 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. EDT 

Register here: Learn Ultra Course Seminar for Instructors 


CIT Technology and Tool Highlights  

Adobe Portfolio  

Adobe Portfolio is a tool that empowers both students and instructors at The University of Alabama  to showcase their work, build their personal brand, and enhance their professional profiles. Adobe Portfolio offers a versatile platform to curate and present your achievements. Let’s explore some exciting ways to leverage this resource: 

  • Showcase Student Work: Students can create digital portfolios to display their class projects, artwork, and other accomplishments.  
  • Highlight Coursework: Whether it’s essays, presentations, or multimedia projects, a portfolio provides a professional platform to exhibit students’ academic work. 
  • Internship and Job Search: Students can curate their portfolios to include internship experiences, relevant skills, and career aspirations.  
  • Personal Branding: Instructors and students alike can use Adobe Portfolio to establish their online presence.  
  • Project Documentation: Adobe Portfolio allows users to document and present their work in an organized manner. 
  • Collaborative Projects: Instructors can encourage collaborative projects among students. Teams can create joint portfolios to showcase group work, collaborative research, or interdisciplinary efforts. 

Members of the UA community have free access to Adobe Portfolio through our Adobe Creative Cloud license.  

How are UA Instructors using the tools?  

“Adobe Portfolio allows Hospitality Management students to create digital portfolios that showcase their internship experiences.  Students show creativity, knowledge, and professionalism through their projects.” 

  Morgan Milstead

Morgan Milstead | CFCS, CPF  

Senior Instructor and Academic Advisor 

 Hypothesis: Social Annotation in Action 

 Cerritos College and Hypothesis: Revolutionizing Engagement, Retention and Student Outcomes 

  “The retention shot up in that class in particular, it was transformative.,” – Professor Francie Quaas-Berryman, Cerritos College. 

 Don’t just take our word for it! Hear the story from faculty at Cerritos College and how they implemented Hypothesis that resulted in increased engagement, grades, and retention. 

 Learn more here. 


Upcoming Learning Opportunities  

New to one of our instructional tech. tools? We would love to guide you step-by-step or provide tips and ideas for using technology in your class. Just let us know how we can help!  

04.04  |  Meet the New Blackboard: Blackboard Learn Ultra Demonstration and Information Session

04.08  |  Live Polling with MS Forms 

04.08  |  Turnitin Basics 

04.08  |  Understanding Similarity Reports and Scores 

04.09  |  Getting Started with Panopto 

04.11  |  Gradescope Basics 

04.16  |  Doing more with Panopto 

04.17 | AnnotatED 2024 – a Hypothes.is event

04.18 | Meet the New Blackboard: Blackboard Learn Ultra Demonstration and Information Session 

04.25 |  Turnitin Basics

04.25  |  Understanding Similarity Reports and Scores 

04.26  |  Fostering Student Engagement in Blackboard Learn Original 

04.29  |  Meet the New Blackboard: Blackboard Learn Ultra Demonstration and Information Session 

Turnitin and Gradescope Maintenance April 20

Please be aware that Turnitin has scheduled down time on Saturday, April 20 for 5 hours. This is a maintenance window from 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM CDT.

Turnitin and Gradescope will be unavailable to all students and faculty during this time.

March Instructor News from the Center for Instructional Technology   

Hello from your colleagues in CIT! Below, you’ll find announcements and events to assist you with teaching and learning needs.   

 

Launch of UA Accessibility Forum  

UA’s Technology Accessibility Team is excited to announce the launch of the Accessibility Forum.  The forum aims to unite the campus community and share accessibility wins, updates, and other accessibility-related information.  All UA faculty and instructors are invited to participate in the forum to learn more including accessibility in all aspects of teaching and learning at UA. Please join us for the first forum meeting scheduled for March 5 in A232 Gordon Palmer at 9:00 am.   

Kristen Kaylor, Sr. Accessibility Instructional Designer in UA Online Teaching Innovation and Digital Education (OTIDE) will be the guest speaker for this month’s meeting.  She will present A.I. Unleashed: Transforming the Accessibility of Images, Graphics, and Math Through Alt Text Automation. The team will also share important accessibility updates for the campus community. 

We are looking forward to seeing you at our first Accessibility Forum meeting! 

 

CIT at OLIS 

CIT was thrilled to participate in the Online Learning Innovation Summit, a professional development conference that brings together faculty, staff, graduate students, K-12 teachers and administrators from The University of Alabama and the region. Held March 1 at the Bryant Conference Center, OLIS featured presentations, workshops, demonstrations, and discussions around online learning and teaching technologies.  

Visitors to the CIT table were greeted with giveaway items and discussions of creative and effective ways to integrate instructional technologies into their classroom or online course. CIT staff Melissa Fortson and Dr. Rachel Thompson presented Artful Achievement: The University of Alabama’s Blackboard Learn Ultra Journey, a session on UA’s rollout of Blackboard Learn Ultra Course View. 

 


There’s more to Learn with Ultra – Blackboard Learn Ultra Course View  

From the simple, modern, intuitive, and consistent interface across devices to the streamlined experience for instructors and students, there is more to Blackboard Learn Ultra Course View. Instructors of non-OTIDE courses can teach with Ultra now, and all Blackboard courses will be designed and delivered in Ultra by Spring 2026. Visit the CIT site to learn more about Ultra and request a practice course: Blackboard Learn Ultra Course View 

Ultra Good Features 

Forms 

Do you need to collect information to place students in clinical experiences? Survey your class to gauge interests or opinions? Conduct formative assessments? Instructors teaching with Ultra can now create Forms!  

Ultra’s Forms page showing the dropdown menu for question types .

Available question types include Essay, Likert, Multiple Choice, True/False, Text, Local File, and File from Cloud Storage. Among other settings, you can adjust the due date, grade category, whether the form is graded or not, and how many attempts students have to complete the form. You can work with the responses in Learn or download them as a CSV file.  

Class Conversations 

Teaching with Ultra? You can enable Class Conversations for individual content items so students can discuss the content with you and their classmates: asking for help, sharing sources, or answering questions others have. As the conversation develops, it appears only with the relevant content. Conversations don’t appear on the discussions page.  

Conversations layer in an Ultra course 

You can enable conversations for these content items:  

  • Documents  
  • Assignments  
  • Group assignments  
  • Tests  
  • Group tests  
  • Offline submissions  
  • Links to teaching tools  

Check out Forms, Class Conversations, and other Ultra good features: Request a Blackboard Ultra Practice Course.    


 

CIT Technology and Tool Highlights  

Flip  

Did you know that 84% of educators see greater engagement from their students when using Flip.  

Here are some simple ways to use Flip to prompt student creativity throughout the school year: 

  • Introductions - A great way to start off the semester is to create an Introduction topic (assignment or activity) via Flip so students can share information about themselves and their learning goals. 
  • Prompt students to share their opinions and build presentation skills – Flip provides students with ongoing opportunities to share their experiences, opinions, or reflections any day of the year via videos vs writing. 
  • End of semester reflections - Ask students to set goals for themselves at the beginning of the semester and then revisit those at the end the semester.  

How are UA Instructors using the tools?  

“I’ve found Flip to be a game-changer in my graduate-level courses! I currently use Flip for my in-person and online courses for class discussions, assignments, and project presentations. Flip has fostered a more dynamic learning environment where everyone actively participates, and I’m truly impressed by its impact on my teaching and student learning. I’ve been particularly impressed by how much my graduate students enjoy using Flip for discussions. The asynchronous nature of Flip allows them to contribute thoughtfully on their own schedules, fostering deeper reflection compared to traditional in-class discussions. They also appreciate the increased accessibility, allowing students juggling work and personal commitments to fully participate. The low-pressure video format has been especially helpful for students who might otherwise feel hesitant to speak up in class, leading to richer and more diverse discussions. Overall, Flip has created a more inclusive and engaging learning environment for my graduate students, and they consistently express their positive experiences with the platform.”  

Elizabeth McDonald, Elizabeth A. McDonald, Ph.D.  Assistant Director for Instructional Design  UA Online, Teaching Innovation and Digital Education

Elizabeth A. McDonald, Ph.D. 

Assistant Director for Instructional Design 

UA Online, Teaching Innovation and Digital Education

 

Respondus Monitor  

Respondus Lockdown Browser is a browser that locks down a testing environment within Blackboard. Respondus Monitor is an add-on feature for Lockdown Browser that uses a webcam to record student exam sessions and flags suspicious behavior for instructor review. 

Screen Recording  

Sometimes you want to see what’s happening on a student’s screen during an online assessment. Perhaps it’s to investigate a suspicious behavior or to verify a student’s claim that a question didn’t display properly. You might require students to provide an oral explanation of a spreadsheet or watch them type a translation. There are many ways to take advantage of the new screen recording feature in Respondus Monitor: Screen Recording for Respondus Monitor 

Show Your Work  

An optional setting in Respondus Monitor, the “Show Your Work” feature allows students to show their written work or notes at the end of an online exam by taking pictures of the written materials with their webcam. Submitted photos appear in the proctoring results. Learn more: Using the “Show Your Work” feature in Respondus Monitor

Video embed: Respondus Monitor: Show Your Work Feature, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eU-kf23JGTU
 

Live Chat Help 

Live chat help for students is available within LockDown Browser when using the Respondus Monitor webcam proctoring feature. Chat agents can assist test takers with pre-exam issues related to the webcam and microphone. Live chat is accessible within the pre-exam steps (select “It’s not working” at any time) and within Help Center (select the “Need More help?” button). Both options will walk users through troubleshooting steps before beginning a chat with an agent.  


 

Upcoming Learning Opportunities  

New to one of our instructional tech. tools? We would love to guide you step-by-step or provide tips and ideas for using technology in your class. Just let us know how we can help!  

 

03.04  |  Doing more with Panopto webinar  

03.04  |  Teaching with Blackboard: Creating Assessments in Learn Original webinar 

03.05  |  People.ua.edu workshop 

03.07  |  Build a digital portfolio and personal website 

03.07  |  Teaching with Blackboard: Fostering Student Engagement in Learn Original webinar 

03.07  |  Meet the New Blackboard: Blackboard Learn Ultra Demonstration and Information Session 

03.08   |  Teaching with Blackboard: Using Groups in Learn Original webinar 

03.18  |  Teaching with Blackboard: Creating Accessible Course Content webinar 

03.19  |  Live polling with Microsoft Forms 

03.21  |  Teaching with Turnitin: Turnitin Basics webinar 

03.22  |  Meet the New Blackboard: Blackboard Learn Ultra Demonstration and Information Session 

03.26  |  Flip Tech Support Office Hours 

03.28  |  Teaching with Gradescope: Gradescope Basics webinar 

03.29  |  Teaching with Blackboard: Blackboard Learn Basics webinar