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.

Unable to join Blackboard Collaborate Ultra sessions using Chrome Version 79 or Lower – Chromebook

Chromebook devices that are unable to update the Google Chrome browser to version 79 or higher will be presented with an error when attempting to join a Blackboard Collaborate Ultra session using the Google Chrome browser. The user will be unable to join the session and the error will reference the version of Google Chrome installed on the device.

Resolution/Workaround:

First, make sure that you are indeed unable to update to a more recent version of Chrome. Chrome Update Instructions
If you are unable to update, impacted users may still be able to join Blackboard Collaborate Ultra sessions from their Chromebook device by using an alternate browser.

Chromebook devices that support installing and running apps from the Google Play Store can install one of the following for use with Blackboard Collaborate Ultra:

  • Microsoft Edge
  • Mozilla Firefox (requires a touch-screen device)

Vendor Workshop – Delivering Assessments Remotely with Gradescope

Join us for an online workshop Tues. Sept. 29 from 1pm – 2pm, to learn how instructors use Gradescope! The workshop will offer guidance on how to deliver assessments remotely and outline various assessment options to meet your immediate needs, including:

  • Fully online assignments, no paper required
  • Existing paper-based assignments
  • Combining online and paper-based approaches

We will also cover the grading and rubric-building workflow on Gradescope and walk attendees through both the instructor and student interface for creating and submitting assignments and viewing feedback.

Workshop Learning Outcomes

  • 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
  • Create better rubrics to increase student learning
  • Use ‘assignment analytics’ to gain insight into student learning

Make Plans to Attend

Tuesday, September 29, 1pm – 2pm

The workshop is free; however, registration is required: ​https://info.gradescope.com/alabama-workshop.

A recording of the session will be shared with all registrants. So please feel free to register even if you can’t make it to the live session!

More About Gradescope

Gradescope is a feedback and assessment tool that dramatically reduces the pain and time associated with grading exams, homework, and other assignments. Gradescope is widely used for delivering assessments remotely. It enables instructors and graders to give better and more timely feedback, resulting in improved learning outcomes. Dynamic rubrics help streamline the tedious parts of grading while increasing grading consistency. AI-assisted Grading allows instructors to automatically group similar answers and grade all the answers in each group at once. Gradescope also helps with grading programming assignments at scale and can automatically grade printed bubble sheets. You can learn more and create an account at www.gradescope.com. The Gradescope team is happy to help, so please let them know if you have any questions at help@gradescope.com.

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.

Blackboard Learn course list not loading in myBama

Update 3:20pm – Issue resolved. Load balancer restarted and service resumed.


For some users, the Blackboard Learn course list in myBama is not loading courses. To access Blackboard Learn courses from myBama, select More at the top of the screen and choose Blackboard. Users can also log in to Blackboard Learn directly at ualearn.blackboard.com using myBama credentials.

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.

Respondus Lockdown Browser not compatible with Window 10 S – Surface Pro

Windows 10S is not a compatible operating system with LockDown Browser, nor can LockDown Browser be obtained via the Windows App Store. At present, support for Windows 10 S Mode isn’t on the roadmap for LockDown Browser. Full Respondus Support Article

Compatible Operating Systems

Windows: 10, 8, 7. Windows 10S is not a compatible operating system.
Mac: macOS 10.12 to 10.15
iOS: 11.0+ (iPad only).