New Blackboard features for 2018

Blackboard Features It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Every December, the UNE IT department updates Blackboard, giving the gift of handy new features to students and instructors. Here are three of those goodies that the Instructional Design team is anxiously anticipating. Drag-and-Drop Files Whenever you need to add a file to Blackboard, it can be a hassle to search the file viewer to pick one document from a list of many. The new drag-and-drop feature should make this a little quicker. You’ll be able to click and drag right from your desktop or whatever folder you have open already. Drag-and-drop will be available to both students and instructors. Submission Receipts Ever clicked the assignment submit button and wondered, “Wait, did… Read more >>
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Diagramming Tools

Diagramming Tools Diagramming can be useful no matter your profession, but we have several health-related programs at CGPS, and in healthcare diagramming is very nearly an essential skill. We’ve had the opportunity, then, to try several different web-based diagram authoring tools, and want to suggest two to anyone out there with needs similar to our own. We chose these two based on four parameters: Flexibility – Because our students use diagrams for widely variant applications, from modeling relational databases to workflows, and our the diagramming tool should be able to do all of it easily Ease of use – Because students, faculty and staff need to be using the tool, not learning how to use it Affordability – Not only for us,… Read more >>
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Connecting People in Online Classrooms

Connecting Online Students We all dream of some sort of seamless integration of a myriad of tools (or a myriad of features) that allow us to connect and perform certain tasks. Text, voice, video, real-time and recorded, presentation mode, all-platform, aesthetically pleasing, easy to set up and use, free of course, and with on-demand tech support are primarily the requirements for any type of tool we would consider. While Blackboard has a built-in tool, it’s not always the most intuitive to use, nor does it meet the tough requirements from above. We just want to connect, we want it to be convenient, and while we can stop to wonder at the amazing opportunities the last century has brought about, we usually don’t. We… Read more >>
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Tools for Google Drive Productivity

Google Drive Productivity tools We use Google Drive quite a bit in our course and curriculum development. It is a favorite tool for collaborating with stakeholders and subject matter experts from all over the world. Meetings are difficult to schedule when design partners belong to four separate time zones, but Drive allows us to keep track of who is doing what, when, and where we are in that process. One of the first things I do, at the start of any project, is create a Drive folder in which that project is going to live. Then I try to remember to check it regularly. As I tackle more and more of these types of projects, however, it becomes easier for me to get lost… Read more >>
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Tips for Improving Paragraph Integrity

Resource Articles People often talk about personal integrity, but what about paragraph integrity? An essential part of clear prose, paragraph integrity means each sentence within a paragraph follows from the one that came before. Oftentimes a piece of writing is unclear because it lacks paragraph integrity. Happily, clear paragraphs follow certain rules that are easily discerned. In Style: Toward Clarity and Grace (1990), Joseph M. Williams writes that most paragraphs consist of an issue and discussion. “Regardless of how many sentences we use to introduce the body of a paragraph,” he writes, “we have to grasp a central principle: Whether readers are conscious of it or not, they try to divide units of organized discourse—paragraphs, sections, or wholes—into two sections.” These two… Read more >>
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Blackboard Releases Results from Usage Study

Blackboard Features Blackboard Learn. North America. Spring 2016. 927 Institutions 70,000 Courses. 3,374,462 unique learners. The most recent Blackboard usage study casts a much wider net than has been their scope in the past. Titled “Patterns in Course Design,” the learning management system heavyweight released an interpretation on the current environment of course design. By crunching the aggregate data across their broad sample, they were able to classify every course into one of five “archetypes.” They accomplished this by analyzing the tools deployed within the courses and how they were utilized. The identified archetypes reflect larger patterns of course design and student experience. These five archetypes are telling of the primary use of the Blackboard learning management system. Three out of four… Read more >>
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Engagement and Interactivity in Online Lectures: Exploring TED-Ed

Online Lecture Engagement In the best circumstances, a lecture attended in person is an exercise in engagement and interactivity as well as instruction. Understandably, this too is what we strive for in online education, but we are presented with additional hurdles. The instruction being given is prerecorded, has already happened, and cannot be influenced in real time by ideas in the classroom. Students are experiencing the content asynchronously, at the different times that are convenient to each of them. Students cannot ask follow-up questions while instruction is being given. In the same manner, the instructor cannot assess in-the-moment understanding of the instruction being given. There are a number of tools for addressing the challenges listed above, but one of the most important aspects… Read more >>
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