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:

Student Tracking Through Course Reports

Do you miss Blackboard Vista’s tracking capabilities?
Have I got news for you!
Introducing…

Blackboard Learn Course Reports

These reports provide detailed statistics on the usage of your course and student activity.  You may choose to run these reports for a single day, a particular week, or for the entire duration of the course to date.

I am highlighting the reports I think will be of most use to our instructors:

NB: “TOTAL” REFERS TO THE TOTAL WITHIN THE SELECTED DATE RANGE ONLY.  
If you want the totals for the entire course, you must select dates that encompass the entire course.

All User Activity Inside Content Areas

  • total number of clicks (from all students) in each content area of your course
  • each user’s total clicks within each content area of the course
  • total activity inside content areas, broken down by date
  • each student’s total clicks inside content areas per date

Download the PDF with samples from this report and instructions on how to run it.

Course Activity Overview

  • total user activity (from all students) in hours, broken down by day of the week
  • total user activity (from all students) in hours, for the whole course
  • average number of hours per user
  • number of hours each student spent in the course, compared to the average

Download the PDF with samples from this report and instructions on how to run it.

Overall Summary of User Activity

  • total user activity (from all students) in each course tool
  • pie chart showing the most utilized course tools
  • each user’s number of hits in each course tool
  • total user activity (from all students) in all course tools, broken down by date
  • each student’s total activity in all course tools, broken down by date
  • charts displaying total activity in course tools per hour of the day, and per day of the week

Download the PDF with samples from this report and instructions on how to run it.

Student Overview for Single Course

  • students hours of activity, broken down by the day of the week
  • student’s total hours of activity
  • total number of items visited by the student
  • number of logins
  • detailed breakdown of times the student accessed each course item
  • detailed breakdown of total number of hours spent on each course item.

Download the PDF with samples from this report and instructions on how to run it.

User Activity in Forums

  • all users’ hits (clicks) for each discussion forum
  • pie chart of the most viewed forums
  • all users’ messages (posts) for each discussion forum
  • pie chart of the most utilized (posted-to) forums
  • each users total activity within each discussion forum
  • chart of total user activity (from all students) in all discussion forums, broken down by date
  • table showing the total number of hits (from all students) in all discussion forums, broken down by date
  • table for each month, breaking down each user’s activity (in all discussion forums) by date

Download the PDF with samples from this report and instructions on how to run it.

You may also view Blackboard’s video tutorial on Course Reports.

Final Note:  Course Reports are not, in fact, completely new; however, a glitch in Blackboard that was just recently fixed had previously made them unusable.  I hope they will add richly to your Blackboard teaching experience!

Determining “No-Show” Students in Online Classes

Due to California state mandates (Title V – section 58004), you are required to drop “No-Show” students from your course, prior to the Census Date for the class. In traditional, face-to-face classes, you can take roll to determine who has not showed up, but what about in online classes?

The Grade Center in Blackboard Learn comes equipped, by default, with a “Last Access” column.  This column shows the most recent date on which your students accessed your course.

If a student’s entry in the “Last Access” column is blank, it means that they have never accessed the course. 

Screen capture of the grade center showing the last access column with some cells having dates and some blank

As the instructor of an online class, you determine how many days the students have to access the class, before you consider them a “No-Show” and drop them, provided you do so before Census Date.

You may drop students any time after the first day of class, but prior to the withdrawal deadline, by logging into your MyGWC account and following the procedures for dropping students as noted in the MyGWC Faculty Guidelines manual.

New Building Block Features Available!

There are two new features available to you in Blackboard Learn, which were added as building blocks this past Friday:

1.  Student View

You now have the ability to view your course with a student view mode that is more accurate than the one you get by switching Edit Mode OFF.

To initiate the Student View, click Course Tools from the Control Panel and then click Student View:

Course Tools and Student View

When you’re ready to exit the student view, click the Teacher View link, which will appear at the bottom of your course menu:

Teacher View link on Course Menu

2. Groups Viewer

If you are utilizing groups in your course, this feature makes it easy to see which of your students have been assigned to which groups!

To access the Groups Viewer, click Course Tools from the Control Panel and then click Groups Viewer:

Course Tools and Groups Viewer

You will see a list of all your students, with their corresponding groups indicated on the right side:

List of student names and corresponding group numbers

You will also have two buttons at the bottom of the list, which allow you to either Print the list, or Download it as a spreadsheet file!

We hope that these two building blocks will improve and streamline your teaching experience in Blackboard Learn.