Academic Technology - Florida State College at Jacksonville

Academic Technology

Student Content

New Password Reset Tool for Students

help.fscj.edu, Student Content, TutorialBrandi Bleak

Starting Wednesday, November 14, 2018, when students log in to myFSCJ, they’ll be prompted to choose and answer a few easy security questions. Once this is set up, any future password issues will be a breeze to resolve.

When the Student tab is selected, students, faculty and staff will be prompted to select and answer three security questions from a dropdown list. Once all three questions are chosen and answered, students will click Save, then will be taken back on the Student tab.

After this process is complete, students can easily change or reset their password by clicking the myFSCJ link called Student Help. To reset the password, students will be prompted to answer the security questions they set up. If their answers are correct, they’ll be able to reset their password.

As always, if students have trouble resetting their password, or with any other technical issue, the FSCJ IT Service Desk is happy to help. Help tickets can be submitted by visiting help.fscj.edu and selecting Submit a Ticket.

Just to clarify, this new system is for student passwords ONLY. While some faculty and staff members do have both staff and student passwords, this system will only work for student IDs and passwords. Staff IDs and passwords will not be affected.

Blackboard Upgrade and New Features for Students

Student Content, EdTech, help.fscj.eduThomas Lewis
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As we approach another exciting Fall Semester here at FSCJ, we have some new features for Blackboard rolling in as well! In this post, we'll focus on the features that directly have an impact on you, our students. 

Drag and Drop Assignment Submission

When submitting assignments, no longer do you have to take those extra steps in browsing for your file. Instead, you can now drag and drop your assignment directly from your computer, including cloud storage services, to the "hot spot" within the Attach Files area. When you drag and drop your assignments, make sure they all have different names or they won't transfer successfully.

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Submission Receipts for Assignments

After a successful submission, the Review Submission History page appears with information about the submitted assignments and a success message with a confirmation number. Students can copy and save this number as proof of their submissions.

When students working on group assignments, a receipt is generated for each member, and the anonymous state of an assignment is respected.For assignments with multiple attempts, students receive a different number for each submission.

Students will also receive an email with a confirmation number and other details for each submission. To see a history of your past submission receipts, go to My Grades and click on the Submission Receipts link at the bottom of your grade history.

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Blackboard System Outage

Blackboard will be upgrading to a new version so that we can provide these and many other new features. To do so, the system will be unavailable beginning Saturday, August 25 at 8:00 p.m. until Sunday, August 26, 2018 at 8:00 a.m. This is the weekend between grade submission and start of the Fall term (to help not inconvenience our fellow students and staff.)

We hope you're just as excited as we are for these new improvements! If you have any questions or concerns, feel welcome to reach out to us at edtech@fscj.edu.

Going Cold Turkey – Studying with Moderation

Student Content, EdTechThomas Lewis
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It’s the day before the test and you’re getting down to the wire in terms of studying. However, you can’t seem to stop making new tabs with YouTube, Netflix or Reddit while staring down Blackboard. These distractions can be troublesome as your limited amount of time is now being eaten away from your studying efficiency. Sometimes you can tell yourselves that a five-minute break isn’t a big deal, but those times can stack up against you once you put all of those breaks together.

Instead of taking a bunch of breaks everywhere, why not do bigger chunks of studying without having the temptation to open another tab to distract you? For most people, it’s hard to have that self-control because our minds can run rampant and then you’ll want to go look some piece of information up.  Many people who want to become more driven just delete their social media accounts, which is an effective method but it’s also very destructive.  There’s a better solution though, an application that doesn’t just block you from popular websites but also helps you with the important skill of moderation.

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Introducing the Cold Turkey Blocker! A free application that not only helps you moderate your distractions but completely locks you out of any distracting website for the time declared. If you want to pay an additional fee you can block applications and create a schedule as well. Once the timer for Cold Turkey has started, there’s no undo button, you have to wait out the entire duration! Cold Turkey comes with these default web sites blocked, but you can add as many as you need.

4chan.org

9gag.com

addictinggames.com

amazon.com

boingboing.net

bored.com

break.com

bufferapp.com

buy.com

ebay.com

espn.go.com

facebook.com

feedly.com

flickr.com

fmylife.com

funnyjunk.com

funnyordie.com

instagram.com

penny-arcade.com

pinterest.com

pof.com

reddit.com

runescape.com

stumbleupon.com

theoatmeal.com

twitch.tv

twitter.com

In case that’s not enough and you need to write a paper, there’s an even better way to block out the distractions. Using the Cold Turkey Writer, which is essentially a notepad that locks you out of everything until the time limit you have set is over. Another option available is that you can’t close the Writer until the word count you set is complete. Although this seems like a lot in terms of preventing distractions, this forced moderation really helps jumpstart the self-control you might need for the upcoming semester!

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Both of these Cold Turkey apps work great on PC/Mac with Google Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer. I can further attest to this as I used both upon writing this article. Check it out!

Innovate to Educate: Professor Jeff Smith

DMP, Student Content, Innovate to Educate, EdTechRobyn Reese

Innovate to Educate is a series created by Educational Technology and Digital Media Productions to share information about innovative technology being used by our amazing faculty at each of our campuses.

In this episode, we sit down with Dr. Jeff Smith, Program Manager for the college's Dental Programs, to discuss how he became interested in technology and the ways that the Dental Hygiene Program has used technology, including iBooks and iPads, to encourage student engagement and enhance academic performance. 

New Blackboard Apps!

LMS, Tutorial, In Focus, Student Content, EdTechRobyn Reese
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We are happy to announce that Blackboard has released a suite of new, improved mobile apps and that they are now compatible with myFSCJ for Fall 2017 and beyond! Blackboard has split the functionality of the apps to create one that is specifically tailored towards the needs of students and one that is perfect for instructor use! 

Blackboard App (for Students)

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The Blackboard App is the current name for the student-centered version of Blackboard mobile. It replaces the current Blackboard student app, which has been discontinued.

It is available in the iOS App Store, in Google Play, and in the Windows Store. 

Like the previous version of the Blackboard mobile app, students can still take tests, view announcements, post discussions, and review grades with Blackboard App. Now, the app is optimized for mobile, so that the content will adapt to all screen sizes and be more visible and accessible! Users can also upload assignments and attachments from Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive, making it easier than ever to work on the go using just your mobile device. The new homepage for the app also features an activity stream, displaying due dates, posted grades, and assignment uploads for all classes in one continuous, integrated flow. Collaborate is also now fully integrated into the mobile experience, so students do not need to use another app or their browser to join learning sessions on their phone or tablet. 

The Blackboard app will be continuously updated, with the intent of making it easier and more efficient for students to complete online coursework wherever they are. For more information, visit Blackboard's help site.

Login to the Blackboard Student app:


Blackboard Instructor

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The Blackboard Instructor app is brand new, and only shows the courses that are being taught, not those that the user is enrolled in. Instructors can use the app to view and send announcements or make courses available for viewing by students. The app is fully responsive and mimics the content layouts and file structure of a Blackboard course within the full LMS. This structure can also be edited or changed from the mobile app.

The app contains a student viewer that can help faculty to better understand the student mobile experience while taking tests, watching videos, and reading content. The app will also allow the user to export content for use in other mobile apps or in a web browser. It also incorporates Collaborate access natively, so that sessions can be run completely from the mobile app without relying on a browser or separate plug-in. For more information about the Blackboard Instructor App, visit Blackboard's help site. 

Login to the Blackboard Instructor app:


To access your online courses on the Blackboard Mobile app, please follow the directions listed below:

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1. Ensure you have the correct app downloaded onto your smart-device. The Blackboard Mobile app’s icon should appear as a blue square with a pencil. (Note: The Blackboard Learn app, which looks like a chalkboard, is not compatible with myFSCJ, so if you only have that app on your device, please download the correct Blackboard Mobile app).

2. Upon opening the app, you will be prompted to enter your college. Type in “Florida State College at Jacksonville”.

3. You will be presented with a prompt telling you to “Web Login”. Click the “Web Login” button.

4. You will be redirected to the myFSCJ login page. Please login using your myFSCJ userID and password.

5. Locate and click the Blackboard link underneath the “Useful Links” section of the student tab. For instructors, locate the Blackboard link within the faculty tab.

6. This will certify your session and take you back to the Blackboard Mobile app interface.

 

If you are experiencing any issues during any one of these steps or with the functionality of the app, please contact the Technical Service Desk at (904) 646-2300, option 3.

Taking Better Selfies!

Photos, Student ContentRobyn Reese

In the age of Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, taking flattering selfies seems like an important life (or even career) skill. Each day, when scrolling through my social feeds, I see well-composed photos of people at the springs, in front of famous monuments, or snuggling with their super adorable pets. I have to admit that this annoys me slightly because I am HORRIBLE at taking selfies. In fact, I sometimes feel like I am the only Millenial who cannot manage to hold my phone out at the right angle and compose my face so I look gently happy and in possession of the right number of chins. Granted, I am kind of an old Millenial, but I refuse to believe that I am as old as I look in my selfies.  

When discussing this with my coworkers, who are depicted in the lovely images below, I was told that awesome selfie-taking is not some sort of crazy voodoo magic, but rather is a skill that can be learned through practice and the application of a few simple principles, as explained below. 

  1. Know your Angles It turns out that "your good side" isn't really a myth! Take some time to look at yourself in the mirror (or on your camera's screen) to determine how to hold your face in a way that you think is most flattering. Generally, people who take good selfies are making the same face, at the same angle, in all of their photos. They are not necessarily naturally photogenic, they have just figured out how to work what they have. You have "it", too, you just need to find "it".  
  2. Camera Placement This is somewhat of a controversial issue. Many people believe that holding the camera out and slightly up can keep you from exhibiting the dreaded five chins. It can also produce odd shadows on your face, though, and it can look a bit forced. Alternatively, holding the camera on the same level as your face, and within two feet of it, can produce a nice look. To keep your face sharp while snapping an image, poke your chin out and down while shoving your shoulders down into your back and away from your ears (remember, beauty is pain).
  3. Lighting is Everything  Proper lighting can change the look of the planes of your face, the texture of your hair, and the quality of your skin. Natural lighting is best for photography, and especially flattering is the "Golden Hour" around sunrise and sunset. If taking a photo in the middle of the day, try to keep the harsh sun behind you, but use your head as a natural block of the actual sun to avoid overexposure. Avoid fluorescent or harsh lighting at all costs--if taking photos inside, try to find a window or skylight with slightly filtered natural lighting.
  4. Background Choice Your background should reflect the purpose of the shot and should be thoughtfully chosen. If you want to document your visit to a fabulous location, focus on making that the focal point of the photo by holding the camera further away from you and experimenting with different viewpoints until you find something that looks interesting. If you just want to show off your outfit or a new haircut, keep background distractions to a minimum.
  5. Take a Million Shots Great photos don't happen by accident. Usually, that perfect image seen on your friend's Instagram is just one of twenty slightly different takes on the same subject. The burst feature on your phone's camera can really come in handy here, as it will allow your phone to take a series of photos while you focus on voguing.  Try moving the camera up and down, or rotating the phone and your body on an axis.  Be experimental! This is supposed to be fun (at least, that's what I hear).
  6. When All Else Fails, Filter!  Postproduction is always important! Instagram and Snapchat come with tons of built in filters to change the coloring of an image, or to blur it to mask tiny imperfections. I am also a big fan of the Adobe Photoshop Fix mobile app, which allows you to adjust color, fix blemishes, cut out backgrounds, and even use a clone stamp tool to remove tiny distractions. 

Good luck, happy selfie-ing, and don't forget to smize! 

 

Protect Yourself from Phishing Emails

Student ContentRobyn Reese

Have you ever recieved an email from a reputable source and thought that something was not quite right about it? It may have been a well-disguised phishing scam, designed to trick you into giving up your personal information or email login. 

Please be advised that there has been a recent rash of scam or phishing emails that appear to be coming from widely used IT services, like Dropbox. Though these emails use logos and branding that make them seem legitimate, they are scams intended to steal email login or other personal information. It is important to always be vigilant when reading emails (at work and at home), and to investigate anything that seems suspicious or unexpected before opening it or clicking on any attachments.

Here are some general clues that an email may be phishing:

  • Does it address you personally? Spam emails often do not refer to the recipient, or refer to them by email address only.
  •  Is the tone urgent and the information incomplete? Since the goal of phishing is to get you to click on a link without thinking, messages are often short with few details, but contain attachments that seem too important to ignore.
  • Who sent the message? Carefully check the email address of the sender. Though it likely will contain the name of the business that is being impersonated, there will be extra information in the domain (For example: Drop-Boxmailing@drop-boxing-authorized.com).
  • Where do the links or buttons lead? Hover, but do not click on any buttons or links within the message to ascertain that they will direct you to a legitimate website. Often, as in the case above, they will direct you to a site that looks legitimate, but has a URL that is too long or contains extraneous information designed to confuse the reader.
  • Does it ask you to enter your email username and password to access the link or attachment? No reputable company would ask you to login with this information.

If you receive an email that you suspect may be a scam or phishing, do not open it. Instead, please forward it to the IT department, so that we can investigate and report back to you.  Instructions for how to report spam or phishing emails can be found here in our Knowledge Base.

Behind the Scenes of 2017's Commencement Livestream!

DMP, On Location, Photos, Student ContentRobyn Reese

Digital Media Productions (with a little bit of help from Educational Technology) was responsible for live streaming FSCJ's annual Commencement exercises, held at the Veterans' Memorial Arena on May 11, 2017. Live streaming enables students' families and support systems to watch the commencement from anywhere in the world via live.fscj.edu or Facebook live. This year's stream was viewed by over 3,500 people in 38 different countries! 

Live streaming requires the use of ten people, three cameras, several computers, yards of cables, and hours of preparation! View the carousel of images below to get a look behind the scenes at the process of setup and filming. 

Chatbots In Education: Are They Useful?

Student Content, EdTechElizabeth Rodrigue

Recently, the term "Chatbot" has come to prominence in EdTech research. What is a Chatbot? They are software that allows for a conversational or messaging style interface to simulate a human interaction. They are computer programs that do their best to act like humans. Some Chatbots have artificial intelligence and many have a database of information and responses for whatever they are asked. Many people use Chatbots on a daily basis to shop, get directions, or even schedule appointments. Some examples of Chatbots would be Siri, Cortana, and Alexa, created by Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon, respectively. Increasingly, people are turning to chatbots to control huge aspects of their life, as they can be used for organization, media consumption, and even to control your home's climate!  

How can Chatbots be used in education? Many colleges have already started using or discussing the idea of Chatbots as part of the learning experience. The general idea is that a Chatbot software would make it simpler for students to navigate their classes and college life while making it easier for professors and staff by answering the repetitive questions for them and freeing up more space for more in-depth academic interactions. So, students would be able to turn to the Chatbot for class times and room numbers, when assignments are due, applying for student aid, registering for classes, and other routine queries. An example of successful implementation of a chatbot is Georgia State's AdmitHub so that their students could complete all of the typical student actions, such as signing up for housing, through a simple chat interface.

Another example of a working Chatbot in education is integrated into the foreign language learning software Duolingo. Learners can hold a text-based conversation in the language they are studying that revolves around a specific concept. the responses entered into the interface determine the direction of the conversation, which helps one to practice language organically, in  a way that is more useful for retention and more authentic to the real-world speaking and writing experience.

Chatbot technology is still relatively new so humans have to respond to and edit content on occasion.  In the future, it is a hope that chatbots will be able to "learn" organically, so that human interaction will enable them to gain more knowledge that they can then use in future interactions.  All in all Chatbots can make a significant difference in education but we still have a long way to go with the technology so that Chatbots can completely function on their own.