Blackboard grade center view

Sending email messages to students from a Blackboard course

We all have our workflow preferences and places that we check to stay connected. Some prefer using Course Messages (which in our configuration won’t send the message to a student’s email, unfortunately), and others prefer using actual email service. There may be a practice compromise to accommodate both the need for convenience such as emailing a student (or a number…

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October 28, 2015 |

faces with a play button as in video

Video Annotations and Discussions

In our courses, we sometimes use videos as a prompt to start a discussion. The video is most likely to be included in the viewing section (aka Multimedia or Watch this), and possibly a link would be included in the prompt itself. It’s also possible to streamline the discussion flow by removing the permission to create a new thread on…

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October 1, 2015 |

Google Forms

Using Google Forms

Hey everyone, We’re back again this week with a quick overview of how to get started with Google Forms. I was surprised to find that we hadn’t covered Google Forms before, so consider this post an introduction to some of its basic features. Because Google Forms does merit much more attention, expect that we’ll return to the tool in the…

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September 24, 2015 |

Captioning in YouTube

Captioning in Youtube

In the interests of making the online Masters of Social Work program as accessible as possible, we’ve tried to make sure that all the video and audio content provided in the courses has, at the very least, transcripts. Above and beyond accessibility issues such as those involving hearing impaired students, transcripts are useful for students to print and take notes…

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August 21, 2015 |

Google Chrome Profile

How, and why, to Create Chrome Profiles

Hey all, here’s a quick but useful tip for creating and managing Google/Chrome profiles in your Chrome browser. Doing so allows you to have multiple browser’s tailored to the different hats you wear in your life. I maintain separate Chrome browsers for my personal and my work lives. How might you use it?

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July 24, 2015 |

Google Docs Add Ons

Google Docs Add-Ons

We’ve touted the benefits of using Google Drive in the past. This time, we’re going to talk about a new(ish) dimension of capabilities within Google Docs (and Google Sheets, though we’re not getting into that today), that empowers users to integrate functionality from a multitude of different services directly, contextually, within Google Docs. Google introduced add-ons to Google Docs and…

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June 25, 2015 |

checklist

Self and Peer Assessment

In many instances, it is beneficial to students to do peer evaluations – that makes them look at submissions more critically and learn in the process, plus using a predetermined rubric helps identify the high points and the important performance criteria for an assignment. The Self and Peer Assessment feature in Blackboard allows students to submit an assignment to a…

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June 18, 2015 |

All accounts

Password Managers and Security

How many online accounts do you have? How many passwords? I have over 99. I’d be more specific about the number but I don’t want to count them, and the counter in my PW Manager Dashboard only goes so high. Admittedly, I probably have more accounts than most faculty and administrators. My job involves experimenting with online tools and teaching teachers how…

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May 22, 2015 |

Analyze my Writing

Analyze My Writing

Thanks to another mention by FreeTech4Teachers.com, I have looked into this Analyze My Writing engine. In the past we have talked about Wordle and Tagxedo, which are both fine word cloud generators, which in addition to making long pieces of text look pleasant, highlight most commonly used words in a chunk of text. The idea behind these is that you…

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May 14, 2015 |

Hypothesis Pop-Up

Annotate the Web with the Hypothesis Tool Extension

One of the most powerful differences between printed text and digital text, as we’ve already covered, is the ability to annotate in the margins as you would a physical book. We’ve talked about tools that allow you to annotate screenshots, and tools that allow you to curate, then annotate, webpages and articles–now, I want to cover a tool, and point…

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April 3, 2015 |

online student time management

Using Google Docs as Online Student

Among the things that online students point out as the most important to success are time management and staying motivated (see all the seven factors listed in this Educause article). Clearly, it’s easy to get side-tracked if you don’t have to go to a class at a particular scheduled time – remember this was actually the best thing about asynchronous classes…

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March 31, 2015 |

Audio Recordings

Audio Recordings

Over the last year, with the smoother integration of YouTube videos into the Blackboard system (such as Vide Everywhere, aka Record from Webcam), we have used the video features extensively and in an increasing number of courses. There are admittedly lots of advantages to taking courses online, but cultivating a robust community remains a challenge in distance education. So, using…

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March 26, 2015 |

Google Cultural Institute

Google Add-ons: MailChimp, HelloFax, EasyBib and Many More

At first, I wanted to write about Arts and Social Work, but that was quite a bit of a stretch as I was only going to tell you guys about a very cool Google Chrome extension (only works in Chrome, of course) called “Google Art Project”. It can enrich your web browsing experience by opening a beautiful piece of art…

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March 19, 2015 |

Edit Group Set Enrollments - New Student Orientation

Randomize Group Enrollments

Instructors often like to have control over student group assignment. Sometimes, it matters not who is where, but a rather quick assignment is needed. While there is absolutely no way to change the type of the group set already created (at present), it’s possible to have the system randomly assign all the students (more or less evenly) across all the…

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February 23, 2015 |

icloud

Types of Cloud Storage Tools Pt. 2

(This is Part 2 of a 2-part survey of the various cloud storage tools you can utilize in the classroom. For Part 1, looking at Dropbox, Box and Copy, click here.) Some cloud storage tools have evolved beyond offering storage on their own. The advantage of using the same tool to create your media as you use to store it…

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January 13, 2015 |

Box Logo

Dropbox or ...?

Types of Cloud Storage Services – 3 and 3 – Part 1 (In Part 2, I’ll return to talk about Drive, OneDrive and iCloud) Box, Copy and Dropbox This group of cloud services is simpler than the group I will cover in this two-part series, “Types of Cloud Storage Services.” Box, Copy and Dropbox provide some ancillary services, but their focus is…

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December 18, 2014 |

canoe line drawing

Interactive Stories

We have already talked about writing, let’s talk about writing interactive stories. In online courses, writing is often the predominant activity. It’s not just styles, grammar, and perfect APA citations that matter, of course. There are lots of skills that students must demonstrate when writing academic papers. What we don’t include as much is this dimension of interacting with writing…

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December 11, 2014 |

Blackboard Features

Look at all these Writing Tools in Blackboard

One of Blackboard’s strengths is the variety of tools it has that allow students to express themselves in writing. I’ve divided these tools into two camps, Individual and Social. Tools in the Individual camp are designed for writing projects that only the student and the teacher see; tools in the Social camp are designed to engage the class as a…

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November 20, 2014 |

global navigation

Customizing your preferences for course notifications settings

With the recent developments, it looks like we are now able to set up email alerts for the events in your course that you want to keep track of. The switch happened to be turned on on Tuesday without a warning and your inbox may have been affected: all of a sudden, instructors and teaching assistants started receiving alerts from…

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November 5, 2014 |

monosnap window

Monosnap and Skitch - Screenshot Palimpsests

You know the word palimpsest? It is one of my favorites. It refers to a document on which more recent writing appears over older writing. The intent of such writing isn’t defined by the term itself–sometimes the newer writing is meant to deface the older writing (as with graffiti), sometimes to supplement it (as with JJ Abrams’ new book) but many…

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November 3, 2014 |

word cloud

Why Use Word Clouds?

Word Clouds You may be quite familiar with word clouds (by Wordle or Tagxedo, although lots more options also exist: thing 1 and thing 2). A whole bunch of text is popped into a word cloud engine and then – boom! – you only get a handful of words (you control the number) which are usually the most frequently used…

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October 16, 2014 |

spell check icon

How do I check spelling in Outlook Web Access?

Spell checking is available in Internet Explorer 10 and later versions, and current versions of Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. Check the options for your web browser to learn more about how to use it to check spelling. To learn more about the browsers that are compatible with Outlook Web App, see Supported browsers for Outlook Web App. Spell check in…

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October 2, 2014 |

Mapping 100 Years of Revolution

Bringing stories home using maps

There has been this trend to map either individual stories or certain events, or works of fiction to bring them to life in geographical terms. The most obvious ways to use this would be to have students map out stories of their clients, clearly refugees, immigrants, and those who have moved a lot are best suited for this type of…

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September 11, 2014 |

Blackboard Features

How to replace a file in Blackboard

This week it’s an easy tip for those who often update their forms or other files in Blackboard. The first impulse is to go and edit the item/page and upload a file and link it. As a result, you will end up with two files in the file structure, the old one and the new one (however, if you keep…

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September 5, 2014 |