Academic Technology - Florida State College at Jacksonville

Academic Technology

EdTech

What's New with (and What's Coming to) Blackboard Collaborate Ultra?

LMS, News, EdTechRobyn Reese
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Are you a Collaborate power user, or a relative newbie? Either way, Blackboard is giving FSCJ faculty and staff a ton of new reasons to try out Collaborate for the first (or five hundredth) time this year!

Currently, FSCJ adopts the Collaborate "Ultra" product, which has a different-looking interface and more advanced features that the  "basic" product. One of the best features of this version of Collaborate (and, in truth, what makes it "Ultra"), is that it is a continuously-developed product that is updated periodically by Blackboard with new and improved features. 

On March 28, 2018, Blackboard held a webinar to discuss some of the changes and improvements that they would be pushing out to the Collaborate web conferencing tool over the coming year. The chart above, taken from the webinar, lays out these changes in a visual format. Read on for a bit more information about the most impressive and useful ones. 


Available Now

A Collaborate room can now accomodate 1,000 participants, as opposed to the 500 that were previously possible. This is owing to upgrades to their local servers that allow for increased traffic. 

More Participants! 

Expansion of Phone-In Capabilities

 

 

Taking a cue from Cisco's popular WebEx product, Blackboard Collaborate will now allow users who are enrolled in courses to access Collaborate meetings by dialing in on their mobile phone or landline. Whereas in the past users could use a mobile phone for audio only, it can now be used as the sole way of connecting to a Collaborate session. When the session is set up, a phone number and pin are established that can be shared with students who may need it. Keep in mind that users who are using the dial-in only option to access a Collaborate session will not be able to access shared documents or whiteboards, so if at all possible the Blackboard mobile app should be used by students on the go so that they can get the full interactive experience. 

Recordings can be Renamed

Users can now rename their Collaborate recordings for easier searching, archiving, and viewing by students. Currently, by default Collaborate recordings are labeled with the date and time of the recorded session and are titled with the name of the course. Instructors can now change this designation so that sessions can be labeled by topic or activity to aid in keeping materials organized. Remember that Collaborate recordings remain in course shells indefinitely, but only appear in the recordings list for 30 days. Recordings that are older than 30 days require the user to shift the viewing timeline using the controls in the collaborate viewer. 

Users can now direct their chats to individuals in the class, rather than using the chat box and making their questions or comments visible to everyone in the session. This might be useful for shy students or to establish back channel conversations amongst participants. The moderator can always maintain a bird's eye view of all conversations occurring within the session.  

Private Chats Enabled


In Development Phase (To be Released by the End of the Year)

On-Screen Timer

The on-screen timer is being released as part of Blackboard's commitment to Academic Effectiveness. Part of the tool set that currently includes the polling function, the timer will be controlled by the session's moderator and will be visible in all breakout rooms that may be set up for group work with the intent of helping participants to complete work with a defined pace. 

Improved Group Viewing Options

Blackboard is working to release an improved participant viewing interface that will allow the moderator to see all of the participants, not just the one who currently has the floor. Taking on a tiled look, when the moderator chooses this view, they will be able to see up to  24 participants on a grid at a time--in a look that is reminiscent of the Brady Bunch--super useful for ensuring that all students are attentive, and for gaging understanding based upon non-verbal cues. This view is currently in development, but Blackboaard hopes to have it released by the end of the year. 

Downloadable Attendance  Report

Blackboard is finally releasing a super-useful new downloadable attendance report at some point this month that will enable instructors to gather data on which students attended a Collaborate session and for how long. This is just the first artifact of Blackboard's new commitment to using data to enhance the effectiveness of Collaborate by adding assessment tools. More reports are in the research phase, as described below. 

Auto-Captioning

In line with Blackbaord's current push to improve accessibility in all of its products, auto-captioning is coming to Collaborate! Captioning focuses on the speaker who currently has the "floor", and can be used to increase options for instructors,  it should be noted that Blackboard has made no guarantee about the accuracy of captioning, and thus it may not meet the 99% accuracy guideline set out in the Americans with Disabilities Act. They will, however, provide the option to clean up captioning files that are attached to recordings after the session is complete.


In Research Phase (No Release Timeline Set)

Whiteboard enhancements

Blackboard is working on developing methods for saving whiteboards so that they can be reused from class to class. This would be especially helpful for instructors who host sessions in a series and want to pick up where they left off. Whiteboards will also be able to support multiple slides in the future, so that users will not need to clear the board to make more space to keep working on a problem or issue.  Whiteboards from breakout sessions will also soon be importable into main sessions, for easier sharing of group work. 

In the coming months, Blackboard administrators will be able to have access to reports that detail the number of times that Collaborate tools are being used globally, as well as how many times individual recordings are being watched. Instructors will have access to reports that chart how engaged students are in a lesson, based upon the number of interactions that they have with the content. 

More Reports


As you can see, Blackboard will be releasing a number of really valuable improvements to Collaborate Ultra over the next few months! Educational Technology will do its best to keep the faculty, staff, and students at FSCJ abreast of any changes that occur. 

Innovate to Educate: Michael Turnquist and Tech in the LLC

Videos, Innovate to Educate, EdTechRobyn Reese

In the fourth episode of Innovate to Educate, Assistant Director of Educational Technology Brandi Bleak welcomes Cecil Center's Library Learning Commons Manager Michael Turnquist to discuss the use of iPads and the Educreations app to create podcasts and learning objects that are integrated into the college's Libguides system. 

Having been involved in the "business" of education for a number of years, Mr. Turnquist is interested in how to make it easier for students to create and find information in Mathematics and Science. Sensitive to the ways that information transfer and availability have changed with the advent of computer technology,  the conversation revolves around how libraries are changing in response to these phenomena. 

Join us for a common-sense look at how FSCJ's libraries are incorporating technology reach our students! 

Improvements to the Blackboard Inline Grader are on the Horizon!

LMS, EdTechRobyn Reese
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The Educational Technology team has not received a great deal of positive feedback about the new Blackboard Online Grader. One of the most important tools for teaching and learning online, the inline grader is used to provide specific feedback on student papers by using annotations, highlighting, and comments that are nested within the paper's content. 

Until the end of 2017, the inline grader was provided by Crocodoc, until the Box Corporation purchased Crocodoc and sunset the technology. Blackboard was then required to use a similar Box product for the inline grader. Users quickly found that the new product did not have comparable functionality at all, and many complained to Blackboard to report the need for old tools that were not contained within the new product. 

In February, Blackboard announced that Box will be more aggressively rolling out new features for the inline grader that will hopefully make it more useful and useable. The chart below provides a roadmap of the tools that are in development currently and those that have been targeted for addition in the future: 


What it appears users really want is the ability to select the point annotation icon and have it persist, allowing creation of multiple point annotations at once without having to reselect the point annotation icon in the nav bar each time. Currently Available

Allow Multiple Point Annotations to be "Sticky" / Created in Succession


Users want to free-hand draw on documents. Currently Available

Drawing Annotations


Display List of Current Annotations / Summary View

Users want to see that comments exist and the content of comments without having to mouse-over the annotation.  Additionally, the expanded point annotation covers other text/content in the document, and the point comment content disappears when not being moused-over making it impossible to see multiple point comments at the same time.  Being able to see the content of the annotation comment(s) in a list format without mouse-over would solve both concerns. Available in the first half of 2018


Change Highlight, Text, and Drawing Annotations Colors

Users want to have different options for highlighting color, text color, and drawing color when annotating.


Users want to edit their own comments after they have been posted and recognize which comments have been edited after initial posting.  An additional benefit would be for instructors to be able to edit annotations from users with less permissions (e.g. Teaching Assistants or Graders).

Editing Comments


Users want the ability to download a version of the original document with current annotations applied to the document.

Download Documents with Annotations


Users want to strikethrough text and associate a comment with the strikethrough.

Strikethrough Annotations


Users want to be able to add annotations to excel-based documents (.xls, .xlsx)

Annotate on Excel-based files


Area Annotations

Users want to select a free-form area and associate a comment with that area.


Users want to more easily see when a comment is associated with a highlight vs when text is only highlighted without a comment.

Indication of Comment in Highlighted Text (vs Highlighted Text without Comment)


Users want to be able to move and/or relocate comments.

Drag-to-move Annotations


The Perfect "Duet"

Faculty Content, EdTechBecky Hudson
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The new app “Duet” is an exciting way to turn your devices into a second screen for your Mac or PC. The app allows the user to double your workspace without having to purchase a second monitor. By giving the user a dual screen, Duet helps to increase the productivity of the user by almost 50 percent. The former Apple engineers that created this app designed it to be compatible with all desktops that use OS X 10.9 or Windows 7+, as well as all iPads and all iPhones running iOS 7.0+. With the use of a 30-pin or lightning cable, the second display is pretty easy to set up and can be very handy!

When setting up “Duet”, the user must first go to the app store and purchase the app for $9.99 on the device they wish to pair. After the app has been purchased and downloaded, the user then creates an account with an email address. Once the account is created, a link is emailed to the user to download the program on your Mac or PC.

Once you are up and running, what to do? If you plan on having multiple internet windows up, then you are fine. When testing, we found that it was easy to navigate between screens and websites to get your work done. Even websites like YouTube that have a complicated visual interface have no issue moving between screens and still offer clear uninterrupted video.

Next, we tied to do something a little harder. When trying to open programs like Final Cut Pro, the amount of information being transferred between screens seemed too much for the Duet app. Using the dual display in Final Cut Pro resulted in a frozen and distorted screen on my later model PC running Windows 10. It just seemed like the transfer couldn’t handle that much information. When we tried it on a newer MacBook Pro, though, the app worked beautifully. The resolution was on point and I really liked the ability to have a larger viewer window for my project.

The Duet app is a useful and fun app to play with. By giving the user double the workspace, it made for fun, effortless way to get work done. Depending on the processing power of the Mac/PC that you are working from, the Duet app can deliver a retina display at 60 frames per second with no lagging. If you are looking for a way to double your workspace with a device that you already own, the Duet app is definitely the way to go.

To learn more about Duet visit www.duetdisplay.com

Did you miss Canvas Demo Day?

DMP, LMS, EdTechRobyn Reese
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The Academic Technology Department hosted a live-streamed demonstration of the Canvas Learning Management System on Friday, February 16 from 9:30 to 11:30 A.M. A recording of this event can be found below. This demonstration is intended to provide faculty and staff with a first look at Canvas so that they can become more familiar with the LMS that the Faculty Senate has recommended for adoption by our institution in the coming years. 

The demonstration was facilitated by Dee Bohne, Canvas Senior Enterprise Director; Brian Yuhunke, Canvas Solutions Engineer; and Steve Brunner, Canvas Senior Director and Solutions Engineer. The live and remote audience had an opportunity to ask questions about the use of Canvas and its features. A copy of the chat transcript that was created during the broadcast can be found here. 

If, after watching the broadcast and reading the chat transcipt, you have questions about the use of Canvas, please contact EdTech@fscj.edu. For general information about the LMS, please visit our dedicated Canvas page by clicking here. Thanks for watching our broadcast! 

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. 

Turnitin Feedback Studio Videos

EdTechRobyn Reese
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Did you miss the Turnitin webinar on February 9? Not to worry! We have resource videos below that can help you to learn how to use the major features of this vital Blackboard plug-in. Turnitin has also created a video that can be shared with students to assist them in learning how to submit Turnitin assignments. You can use the embed codes in the viewers below to add these videos to your Blackboard shell or blog! 


Students: How to Submit a Turnitin Assignment in Blackboard

Faculty:  How to Create A Turnitin Assignment in Blackboard


Faculty: How to read a Turnitin Originality Report in Blackboard


Faculty: How to provide feedback with Turnitin Feedback Studio in Blackboard

In Focus: 10 Tips for Spring Semester Success

Faculty Content, DMP, In Focus, EdTechBrandi Bleak

For this episode, the Educational Technology team reached out to members of the faculty and administration to gather 10 tips that will help faculty to have a great start to the Spring semester. So, let’s get started!  


#10  - Syllabus & Course Preparation Checklist

The folks at FSCJ Online have prepared a comprehensive checklist to help you make sure that you’re able to stay on top of all of the tasks that need to be completed before the start of the Spring semester.

This document lives in the Faculty Exchange and we've added a link below for ease of use and download.  

Syllabus & Course Preparation Checklist document


#9  –  Requesting Course Access

While you are preparing your course content, you may need access to a prior semester’s course for content copy. To request access to a course taught prior to Fall 2017, email EdTech@fscj.edu or submit a ticket via help.fscj.edu.


#8 – Course Availability

The PeopleSoft integration has changed the way that course shells are created within Blackboard. There are a few crucial points that you need to be aware of. 

Each course is shell is created and made available to the instructor 60 days prior to its start date. This means that A session, B session, and C session course are created at different times.

The instructor then decides when they would like the course to be available to students, and has the responsibility of closing it at the end of the semester. This can be done by either setting a date range for the course to be available, or by setting it to be continuously open. The instructor must then remember to close it manually at the end of the term. 

Here's a tutorial on making a course available within Blackboard.


#7 – Know the Important Term Dates

There are important dates that occur throughout the semester like grading windows and drop for non-attendance. These dates are communicated during the term via email from Academic Operations and are available on the fscj.edu site, and can be accessed here.


#6—How to Access the Grading Roster

During the Fall semester, many instructors had difficulty accessing the grade rosters with myFSCJ. 

To access the grade roster, users must navigate to the Faculty tab and click the ‘person’ icon. This is the best way to access the grade roster! Although there are other ways to obtain similar content, they don’t provide the full functionality of allowing you to enter grades.


#5 – Course Evaluations & Survey Results

There’s a new process for Course Evaluations. 

During the last portion of the semester, students have the opportunity to evaluate their courses. This process opens on the Friday before the last week of the class within the Student tab of myFSCJ. The evaluation reports will be made available to instructors and administrators five days after the last day of class.

Course Evaluations Training Document


#4 - Using Kaltura MediaSpace

You may have noticed that the Kaltura Mash-up button is no longer in Blackboard! To access MediaSpace to upload, edit, or curate videos, in the short term, you must use the link that it still located in the Artemis portal under the Technology tab. From there, you can acquire an embed code located in the bottom right-hand corner of the video that can be added to the Blackboard video function to link to your content.


#3 – Finding Information & Answers

With so many new processes and information to keep up with, there are a few spots we recommend that faculty view regularly in order to stay updated. 

The Academic Technology Blog is managed by the Educational Technology team, and contains information about system updates, articles about new technology, apps, and more. It also contains a student section with information that you may want to pass along in your classroom. 

The Blackboard home page is being redesigned to include faculty updates with relevant content, software keys, and important announcements.


#2 Report Issues So They Can Be Reviewed

Check your Blackboard course shells as soon as they’re available and report any questions or concerns through the help desk. The sooner we locate any problems, the easier it will be to fix them. Even if you’re unsure if something is a problem, let us know and we can do the research for you.


#1 – You Have Help!

So, what’s number one? You! Being there when you need us is a top priority for all of us!

There are lots of resources available to assist instructors so you can keep your focus on your students and the classroom. 

Help.fscj.edu is the Information Technology Help Desk site where users can search the Knowledge Base for answers to common issues, submit a ticket that will be routed to the department that can assist, call and speak to a representative, or email in an issue to service.desk.@fscj.edu.

Dedicated Faculty Development Specialists are available on campuses for in-person assistance with Professional Development, Blackboard, myFSCJ, video and photography needs, design work, and much more. Discover more about the Faculty Resource Centers.

Training.fscj.edu is the newly redesigned site by the Training and Organizational Development team where professional development and training content can all be found.

And Faculty members can always contact the Faculty Senate, the Faculty Union, or the Academic Technology Committee to report issues that may need additional review or evaluation.


Thanks for tuning in to this special Spring Semester edition of In Focus! We look forward to supporting you as we work together to make this a great semester!

Making a Blackboard Course Shell Available

Faculty Content, Tutorial, EdTechBrandi Bleak

When an instructor has prepared their Blackboard course shell and are ready to make the course available to their students, there are a few steps that need to take place. If no steps are taken, the course will become available to students upon the first day of the session.  

To make a course shell available, select Customization from the course menu. Next click Properties.

 

As a reminder, course shells will not be available to instructors until 60 days prior to their start date. 

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Set Availability

When instructors are ready to set the availability of a course, first scroll to Set Availability and ensure that Yes is selected.

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Set Course Duration

Instructors can decide whether they would like the course to be available immediately or to become available on a specific date in the future.

By default, course shells are set to become available to students enrolled on the date the course begins. To make the course available in advance, either change the date or select Continuous for the duration to make the course available immediately.  Note that courses with continuous enrollment will NOT close automatically at the end of the term. If continuous enrollment is selected, faculty must remember to make these course unavailable at the end of the term.

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If you have any questions or issues with course availability, please submit a ticket at help.fscj.edu or email EdTech@fscj.edu.

Online Syllabus Builder - Deployed Updates

EdTechBrandi Bleak
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This week, the developer of our Online Syllabus Builder deployed an updated version that addressed a number of recent issues. Here is a list of the expected fixes: 

Self Developed and Word Documents

  • An issue causing the Spring courses to not populate has been resolved.
  • If a user revisits a page after creating their syllabus, it did not show the syllabus status. This has been resolved.

Edit Screen

  • Flagging now enabled if user edits two different syllabi in the same session
  • Issue with save button not functioning as expected has been fixed
  • Deans employee ID has been added to transaction for backend processing 

Portrait Screen 

  • Checked to make sure session not timed out before deleting portrait
  • Checked session before trying to change image
  • When a session times out, it will now redirect user to the login screen

Office Hours 

  • Issue with saving office hours has been corrected
  • It was reported that Tuesday auto-selects. This should no longer happen.
  • College logo updated to match the new standard
  • Bullets removed from template page