Users will be relieved to learn the Blackboard upgrade in June does not require relearning the interface, as it did in summer 2010. Instead, old features have been enhanced and new ones added. Among the changes:
- New capabilities for bulk uploading, managing, and using content in a Course are available with the Course Files feature. Course Files can also be used for creating a shared dropbox, which has the advantages over the WebSpace Dropbox of 1) keeping everything right in the Blackboard course site, as opposed to sending users to another application; and 2) allowing users without Princeton IDs to participate.
- New content types include Mashups, which allow you to pull data from YouTube videos, SlideShare presentations, and Flickr photos, and Lesson Plans.
- Paste From Word allows you to paste MS Word files into text boxes without losing formatting.
- The Lesson Plan feature enables Instructors and Course designers to create a structured unit plan with distinct and customizable sections that provide a means of documenting information such as description, learning level, delivery instructions, and so on.
- Now you can keep Priority Announcements at the top of the page by putting them above a repositionable bar.
- Back to the future: Announcement e-mail notifications once again contain the text of the announcement and are sent to course staff, as well as to students.
Grade Center Improvements:
- Smart Views : Grade Center Smart Views allow for more customization and types. Selecting a favorite view links to it directly from the Control Panel.
- Needs Grading Page : For Courses with many enrolled Students and gradable items, the Needs Grading page can help determine which Assignments and Tests need grading first.
- Color Coding : Grades can now be color-coded. Grading Color Codes apply background and text color to items in the Grade Center that meet specified criteria. Colors can be defined for items based on Grade status or based on the score.
- Rubrics : Instructors can create a Rubric to provide guidelines for grading an Assignment, Blog, Wiki, Journal, or Discussion Board. Instructors can associate the Rubric to a grading column and view the Rubric while assigning a grade.
- Anonymous Grading : Instructors can grade assignment and test attempts while information identifying the Student remains concealed.
About the speaker:
Dennis Hood is in his 11th year of managing Blackboard for Princeton. He also uses Blackboard in teaching his speech communications course at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY.
I recently came across a site called Enter The Group. It’s a free site that allows you to create private or public classroom webpages that have great features for students and faculty in regards to project management and collaboration. What’s cool about Enter The Group is that you can upload assignments, use a blog, create discussion boards, add events on a classroom calendar, conduct polls, and you can sign in using a Google account or Facebook. Continue reading
At the Lunch and Learn on April 27th, 2011, Dennis Hood spoke about what Blackboard users should expect from the latest version of Blackboard at Princeton. He demonstrated the cosmetic and functional changes that will come after the upgrade in June. Blackboard 2011 offers more straightforward navigation, tools for increased productivity with less clicks, and a cleaner look and feel. Continue reading
What is the Educational Technologies Center at Princeton
The Educational Technology Centers at Princeton University have assisted faculty members at Princeton in using technology in teaching, learning, and research for more than two decades. In fact the present ETC had it roots in the ICGL, the Interactive Computing Graphics Laboratory, established at Princeton in 1974.
Things have changed quite a bit since then: the original purpose of
the laboratory was to allow graphics support for faculty, staff and
student projects. The work terminals used in the first lab on the fourth
story of the E-Quad, were connected to a mainframe computer, allowing
users to do complex visualizations of data and research. Today, each one
of us has a computer or portable device that exceeds the capabilities
of that mainframe.
Just because computing has become smaller, cheaper and almost
ubiquitous in our daily lives, it doesn’t always mean that it’s always
easy to pick the best solution for a need. When ETC assumed its present
name in 1999, the tagline for this group was “technology consultants for
faculty.” That remains ETC’s mission. For more than two decades, we
have been working with Princeton faculty members on projects that
combine their scholarship with current technology.
We’re here to help.
How can we help you?
Do you need some advice on how to use an interesting new technology in your course? Do you have a teaching or research project that could benefit from IT?
Here are a few examples of the sorts of services we provide:
- we can send someone to your office to give you a one-on-one tour of the new Blackboard 9
- we can give you advice on how to use discussion boards, blogs or
other social media to improve the quality of student feedback in your
- we can advise you on the current state of trending technologies, for
example, how an e-book reader or slate-type mobile device might help to
improve your productivity
- we can tame your office hours by providing tools that make
scheduling easier, or allow you to hold your office hours online at
hours more convenient to you and your students
- we can help you budget IT needs in your next grant proposal
- we can get you or your department a presence on the web that represents your professional life at Princeton
- we can consult with you about exploring new technologies you may not have the time to research yourself
- we can discuss the possibilities of testing new technologies in an upcoming course