Overwhelmed by Your Blackboard Course List? Hide Old Courses You No Longer Need!

When you log into Blackboard, you’ll see all the courses for which you are enrolled as an instructor.  If you’ve been teaching for multiple semesters, this list can get unwieldy and overwhelming!

My Institution - Course List

Good news!  You can hide old courses from the list.  Here’s how…

GROUP BY TERM

Roll your mouse cursor over the My Courses title bar, and click the gear icon that appears:

Manage My Courses Button

Next, select Group by Term:

Checkmark next to Group by Term

Using the term dates as a guideline, click to un-checkmark those terms you no longer need to see:

This will hide whole semesters at a time from your course list!

Note: these courses are only hidden (NOT deleted), and you can return to re-checkmark/view them again at any time.

 

HIDE INDIVIDUAL COURSES

If there are courses on your list not assigned to a term, you may hide them individually by scrolling down and clicking to un-check the course under the Course Name column:

CourseList-5-HideIndiv

 

REORDER COURSES (OR TERMS)

You also have the option to reorder courses (or terms), by rolling your mouse cursor over any course (or term), clicking and holding the arrow at left, and dragging the course (or term) up or down:

Course list with arrow for rearranging

 

SUBMIT

Click Submit to solidify all your changes for this channel (see below for “Courses” Tab):

Submit button

 

REPEAT ON COURSES TAB

Unfortunately, the “My Courses” channel on the My Institution tab and the “Course List” channel on the Courses tab are not synced.

To avoid confusion, click Courses from the top menu, and repeat this process with the Course List:

Courses link in top menu

Now you’re all set to enjoy a cleaner, simpler course list!  🙂

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Test Accommodation Process for Students with Disabilities

Some students have disabilities which hinder their timed-test taking abilities. In this blog post, I will explain how the Disabled Students Programs and Services Department (DSPS) has chosen to handle the test-taking accommodation process for online classes.

Although Online Instruction plays a small part in facilitating the test-taking accommodations, all accommodations are provided through DSPS.


Step 1: Student Submits Accommodation Request

Students with disabilities must request testing accommodations through the link provided in the GWC Campus Links box, which is visible on their My Institution page, when they log into Blackboard:

GWC Campus Links Box with Accommodations Request link

Instructors may also provide students with the direct URL:
http://www.onlinegwc.org/dsps

The student fills out and submits the form, which initiates the process.

Step 2: DSPS Contacts Instructor

After confirming that the student has an active file with verification of their disability, a representative from the Disabled Student Programs and Services (DSPS) Department will email the instructor.

The representative will offer to handle the testing accommodations within the Blackboard course, but will also let the instructor know what accommodations are necessary, should the instructor choose to carry out the accommodations process themselves.

Step 3: Instructor Input is Needed

At this point, there are three potential outcomes:

  1. The instructor replies to DSPS, indicating that they wish to handle the accommodations on their own.
  2. The instructor replies to DSPS, requesting that DSPS handle the accommodations (outlined below).
  3. If the instructor does not reply within a reasonable amount of time, DSPS will handle the accommodations (outlined below), so the student does not fall behind in their coursework.

NOTE:  If tests have not yet been created in the course, accommodations cannot be provided by DSPS.
Please create tests before replying to DSPS’s inquiry.  If you are going to create your tests one at a time, throughout the semester, you will need to notify DSPS after creating each test, so they can edit the settings, or you will need to ensure you apply accommodations to each test you create.

Step 4: DSPS Provides Accommodations

Upon receiving the instructor’s request for accommodations (or if no response is received), the DSPS representative will gain access to the Blackboard course, and edit the Test Options for each available test, adding an exception that will create the proper accommodation for the student.

These accommodations will not affect the other students or be visible to the other students in any way.

Effective Discussions (Recorded Webinar) and the Blackboard Innovative Teaching Series

I recently attended a webinar that I wanted to share with all of you.

It is called The Ins and Outs of Writing Effective Discussion Questions, and it has been recorded and uploaded to YouTube as part of the Blackboard Innovative Teaching Series.

In this 1-hour webinar, the presenter gives helpful insight on how to interact with students within discussion boards, to engage the students’ interest and encourage class collaboration.

Blackboard hosts new Blackboard Innovative Teaching Series (BITS) webinars weekly:

I have set the embedded webinar archive to start at the 3 minute mark, where the content begins:

“Collect” Feature in Discussions

Have you ever wanted an easy way to view all replies to a Discussion thread,
without having to click through each one individually?

In Blackboard Learn, the “Collect” feature provides just that!

Enter any Discussion Forum.  To the right of any thread title, click the action menu:

Action menu to the right of thread title link

Then select Collect:

Collect option on the action menu

You will receive an aggregated view of the entire thread, from the original post (at the bottom) to the latest reply (at the top):

all thread posts and replies displayed on one page

You can also use the buttons in the upper left to sort the posts by Author, Subject line, or Thread Order, either Ascending or Descending.

I hope this makes your life (or at least your discussion thread experience) a little easier!  🙂

ACE Testing Accommodation Process

Some students have disabilities which hinder their timed-test taking abilities. In this blog post, I will explain how the test-taking accommodation process is handled for online classes.

Although Online Instruction assists with these test taking accommodations, all other accommodations are provided through the Accessibility Center for Education.

Please Note:

Once testing accommodations have been provided by Online Instruction,
if you make any changes to your regular tests or test options,
you must also make the same changes to the ACE tests.

If you create new tests, you must also make copies of the new tests for the ACE student,
or contact Online Instruction (after creating the new test), to request that an ACE copy be made.


Step 1:  Student Submits Accommodation Request

ACE students must request testing accommodations through the link provided in the GWC Campus Links box, which is visible on their My Institution page, when they log into Blackboard:

GWC Campus Links Box with Accommodations Request link

Instructors may also provide students with the direct URL:
http://www.onlinegwc.org/ace

The student fills out and submits the form, which initiates the process.

Step 2: ACE Contacts Instructor

After confirming that the student has an active file with verification of their disability, a representative from the ACE Department will email the instructor, requesting approval for a member of Online Instruction to enter the course, to provide accommodations.

At this point, the instructor can choose to handle the ACE accommodations on their own, or to continue with the rest of the process outlined here.

Step 3: Instructor Provides Permission

The instructor must reply to ACE’s inquiry, providing permission for Online Instruction to enter their Blackboard course.

If tests have not yet been created in the course, Online Instruction cannot provide accommodations.  Please create tests before replying to ACE’s inquiry.  (If you are going to create your tests one at a time, throughout the semester, you will need to notify Online Instruction after creating each test, so a corresponding ACE test can be created.)

Step 4: ACE Contacts Online Instruction

Upon receiving the instructor’s reply, the ACE representative emails Online Instruction with the accommodation details.

Step 5: Online Instruction Creates Accommodating Tests

An Online Instruction staff member copies all existing tests, creating a duplicate set with extended time for the ACE student.

Note:  While only the ACE student will be able to take the ACE tests, the ACE tests’ Grade Center columns will be visible to all students.  You may receive questions from students because of this, but please know that they only see the columns, and are not able to take the tests.

Step 6: Instructor Makes Changes/Edits to BOTH Tests

Once Online Instruction has created your ACE tests, if you wish to make any changes, you must do so to both the original and the ACE test, for continuity. The tests are not linked, so adjusting the original will not automatically affect the ACE copy.  This includes removing or adding questions, changing questions, and adjusting test settings and dates.

Exception to the above rule: If you are using question sets or random blocks, making changes to the question wording in the pool will affect both tests.

Clickers and Blackboard: Lunch & Learn at OCC

Lunch & Learn with Turning Technologies
Hosted by Orange Coast College

RSVP with Eric Wilson at ewilson@occ.cccd.edu.

GWC faculty and staff are welcome to attend a Lunch & Learn event, hosted by OCC, to learn best practices with student response systems. Turning Technologies’ products have proven to enhance effective teaching methods. Come and discover how student response technology can be used as a true pedagogical tool.

Date: Friday, February 22, 2013
Location: OCC Captain’s Table

All three sessions contain identical training content. Please select the one that best suits your schedule:

9:00 a.m. – 10:30a.m. Clicker Training: TurningPoint AnyWhere with Blackboard
10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Clicker Training: TurningPoint AnyWhere with Blackboard
12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Q&A and 1-on-1 meetings
1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Clicker Training: TurningPoint AnyWhere with Blackboard

What’s New in Blackboard in Service Pack 10

The following features, new to Blackboard in Service Pack 10, are available now!

My Blackboard

My Blackboard displays important information from all courses in one centralized location.  This makes it easy for you and your students to quickly become aware of updates and new activity in your courses.

My Blackboard also includes a streamlined and stylized version of My Grades, for students.

View a video overview of My Blackboard.

Calendar

The Calendar has been modernized in style and function.

It now automatically reflects any due dates (but not display after/until dates) that you add to tests/assignments/grade center columns!  Editing entries is as easy as clicking them to change their information, or just clicking and dragging them to a different date!  And due dates changed from within the calendar will also be updated in their corresponding test/assignment/grade center column.

The calendar can also synchronize with your Outlook/iCal/Google Calendar.  Scroll down to look for the “Get External Calendar Link” button in the lower left corner.

View a video overview of the new Calendar.

Text Editor

The Text Editor appears to you and your students, in many areas throughout the Blackboard course.

With this update, you can now copy/paste directly from Microsoft Word (without risking faulty coding).  There is a full-screen view, and also a convenient word count in the lower right corner.

Hint: Click the “i” icon in the upper right of the text editor menu to view a legend of all icon functions.

View a video overview of the new Text Editor.

Item Analysis on Tests

Item Analysis provides statistics on student test performance, to help you recognize questions that could be improved, or may have been scored incorrectly.

Questions are marked as poor discriminators when students who generally performed well on the test chose the incorrect answer for the question.  Question difficulty is determined by the percentage of students who answered the question correctly.

Questions that may need review due to poor discrimination and/or difficulty are indicated with red dots.  The test questions can be adjusted from within the Item Analysis area, and the student attempts will be automatically regraded, based on any changes made.

View a video overview of Item Analysis.

For more information, please visit Running Item Analysis on a Test, on Blackboard’s Help Site.