Monday, February 11, 2019

Problems Uploading PowerPoint

Blackboard users with Windows 10 and Office 2016 are receiving the following message when attempting to upload PowerPoint files to the Whiteboard in Blackboard Collaborate for web conferencing:

                "Failure Calling PowerPoint to Process Presentation"

At this time, the following workarounds are available:
  1. Download and use Apache OpenOffice to complete the PowerPoint upload process
  2. Save and upload your PowerPoint slides as image files:
To Save the Slides as Images
·         Open PowerPoint
·         Open the presentation needed
·         Click File
·         Click Save as Pictures
·         Save the pictures to your Desktop for easy finding
·         Select Format: JPEG
·         Click Save
·         The images are now saved to a new folder on your Desktop
To Upload the Images to your Session
·         Open your Collaborate session
·         Click Load Content
·         Browse to the Desktop folder created above and select all of the images from the newly created folder by pressing Command + A
·         Click Open
·         Select: Import Images as Individual Pages > Load
·         The Page Explorer will open. This will allow you to move slides to different rooms and organize them.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Starting December 31, 2018, Blackboard Instant Messaging (BBIM) will no longer be available, as Blackboard has discontinued this service. It is recommended that Bb Collaborate be used in lieu of BBIM.  For more information on Bb Collaborate, click here.

For faculty who choose to use BBIM this fall 2018 semester, there is a known issue where new users cannot download the BBIM file to install the product on their laptop or computer from the Quicklinks, Course Tools area.  Faculty must invite unregistered users via the BBIM application on their computer by following these instructions:
  1. Open BBIM on your computer or laptop. 
  2. Go to the View menu and make sure that "Show unregistered classmates" is checked.

3.      Go to the Classmates tab and expand the "Without Blackboard IM" list for your course.  You can then click on the envelope to invite the unregistered users. 

4.      You can enter an optional message to send to the students in the “Your Message” box.

An email will be sent to students with a link to create an account and download BBIM to their computer.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Updates for Blackboard Learn: what it means for you

Blackboard will be upgraded to the Q4 2017 release on May 20, 2018.
During the upgrade, Blackboard will be unavailable beginning at 3:30 am on May 20th and may be unavailable for up to 20 hours. 

The new Q4 2017 release will provide new features and enhancements that may simplify some of your everyday tasks, offer a better mobile experience, and improve accessibility, assessment and grading. Here are some of the top highlights of this new version:

  • Improved mobile experience. When accessing Learn on your mobile device, look for the new hamburger icon that makes navigating BbLearn even easier; plus, many tools are now mobile-friendly including blogs, journals and discussion boards.
  • More efficient Grade Center cleanup. You can now delete multiple gradebook columns at once making managing the gradebook easier.
  • Discussion board “Replies to me.” Keeping up with discussion posts is simpler with unread replies to your own posts called out.
  • Collaborate for groups. Increase student group engagement by offering web conferencing tools. Synchronous collaboration, content sharing and whiteboarding are sure to get your students involved.

Here are a more resources you may find useful:

  • Blackboard Innovative Teaching Series (BITS): Blackboard hosts BITS webinars to share strategies and best practices for increasing educator efficiency and improving learning outcomes. You can register for live webinars or watch recordings of past events.
  • Blackboard Community Educator Group: Connect with other educators across the world that are using Blackboard through Blackboard’s Community Site.
  • Blackboard Help Site: Find detailed documentation on all the features and functionality in Learn on Blackboard’s Help Site.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

New Inline Grading Tool Issues

For those of you that have become frustrated with the new “New Box” inline grading tool in Blackboard, you may be interested to read that they are working to improve this feature.

Please see this blog post for more information.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

20 Tips for Using NBC Learn

20 Tips for Using NBC Learn

Tip 1

NBC Learn Video Tour

NBC Learn Higher Ed ( is a collection of more than 21,000 videos, documents, and images that can be incorporated into classroom lectures and online modules. New to NBC Learn?
A guided video tour walks you through the site’s key features. Watch the whole video or skip ahead to specific features like Creating Playlists or Sharing Videos.

Tip 2

Using the NBC Learn Video Player

NBC Learn’s video player works like a baseball card: you can flip the player over to reveal more detailed information about the media on the front. Simply click on the backwards-facing arrow in the upper right corner to view a summary, hyperlinked keywords, and a citation generator for every NBC Learn video.

Tip 3

NBC Learn Transcript Feature
Every video on NBC Learn comes with a full text transcript, allowing students to cite specific evidence from the videos in discussions or written assignments.  To access the transcript, open any video and click ‘Transcript’ on the right side of the player.

Tip 4

NBC Learn Offline Player
NBC Learn allows users to download an unlimited number of video playlists for offline use. Once you’ve downloaded the Offline App, it lives on your computer’s hard drive, and you can sync playlists any time you’re connected to the internet. When you’re not online, simply open the App to watch full videos—no need to search around or wait for videos to load!

Tip 5

Citation Generator for NBC Learn Videos
Use NBC Learn’s video archive for research and generate Works Cited entries in no time.  To create a citation:
1.      Flip over the video player by clicking the backwards facing arrow in the right corner.
2.      Click ‘Citation’ and choose from MLA, APA, and Chicago Style.
3.      Copy and Paste the citation to a Works Cited page.

Tip 6

Creating Playlists
On NBC Learn, you can save groups of videos to a Playlist for easy access.  To save videos:
1.      Click on the plus sign next to any video. The button will turn into a green checkmark once selected.
2.      Click on the ‘Tools’ dropdown menu in the right corner (underneath the search box). Select ‘Add to Playlist.’
3.      If you want to add the videos to an existing playlist, select the playlist from the window and click ‘Save.’
4.      If you want to create a new playlist, select ‘New,’ enter the playlist’s name and click ‘Save.’
5.      To access your playlists, click on ‘My Playlists’ from any page. To view playlists offline, download the NBC Learn Offline App.

Tip 7

Embed videos into Blackboard
NBC Learn features thousands of 2-6 minute videos, ideal for quickly recapping a historic event or introducing a new topic.  To embed videos into an item on Blackboard:
1.      Click the ‘Mashups’ button underneath ‘Text.’
2.      Select ‘Add NBC Content’ from the dropdown menu. This will open a pop-up window with the NBC Learn Homepage.
3.      In the pop-up window, open the video you want to embed and click ‘Embed.’ This will return you to Blackboard.
4.      Add additional directions or questions for students. Click ‘Submit’ when you’ve finished editing the item.

Tip 8

Create Discussions with NBC Learn Videos
Increase student engagement by asking them to share and analyze NBC Learn videos in Blackboard forums. Use forums to discuss:
·         Current Events related to course topics
·         Case Studies
·         Videos chosen by students to share with the class

Discovering Videos

Tip 9

Browse NBC Learn’s 40+ Collections
NBC Learn Higher Ed has more than 40 Collections, including Business Administration, Communications, and Health and Wellness. Click on the menu on the left side of the page to start exploring. Each collection contains several sub-topics, allowing you to further narrow the results. To return to a broader topic, click on the name of the collection at the top of the menu or click ‘Back.’

Tip 10

NBC Learn Advanced Search
With over 21,000 resources, NBC Learn has videos to increase relevancy and rigor for every course. After performing a keyword search on NBC Learn, use our Advanced Search to filter results by:
·         Event Date or Air/Publish Date
·         Collection (e.g. Biology, Marketing)
·         Source (e.g. Archival Film, NBC Nightly News)
·         Type (e.g. Document, Video)

Tip 11

Use Keywords to Find Related Videos on NBC Learn
Every video on NBC Learn comes with a list of Keywords on the back of the video player (click the backwards-facing arrow in the right corner to reverse the video player). Use these to generate key terms lists for students or discover related videos by clicking on the hyperlinked keywords.

Tip 12

Curriculum Alignments
With over 21,000 resources across 40 disciplines, NBC Learn is a powerful tool that can increase engagement and relevancy in your course—no matter the subject. For faculty at your school, we offer complimentary curriculum alignments so you can determine the resources that best fit your course. Email syllabi or other materials to to take advantage of this free service.

Featured Content

Tip 13

Business Case Studies from NBC Learn
Ask students to apply business concepts to analyze case studies from NBC Learn’s Business Administration Collection. Topics include:
·         Current Events in Business such as United Airlines’ new plan to cut down on oversold flights 
·         Career Profiles on Steve Jobs, Marissa Mayer, and more!
·         Innovation in Business, including How Grocery Stores Are Using Algorithms to Stock Their Shelves

Tip 14

Health Innovation Videos on NBC Learn
NBC Learn can help students pursuing careers in healthcare stay up-to-date on the latest innovations in their field. The Health & Wellness Collection features hundreds of videos, including:
·         The findings of recent scientific studies—2017 Research Shows Link Between Poor Sleep and Increased Alzheimer’s Risk
·         Developments in medical technology—Can Virtual Reality Sessions Treat Chronic Pain?
·         Changing practices in healthcare—Telemedicine, Billed as the Future of Medicine, Is Here Now

Tip 15

Historic News Broadcasts from NBC Learn
NBC Learn features broadcast news archives and Universal Newsreel footage dating back to the 1930s. Share these with students to illustrate shifts in media coverage and public perception of events from history.
·         A Look at Segregated Busing (Civil Rights Moment, 1955)
·         Viet Cong Attack on US Bases at Pleiku (Vietnam War, 1965)
·         Supreme Court Hears Case of United States v. Nixon (Watergate, 1974)

Tip 16

History Mini-Docs from NBC Learn
2-6 minute mini-documentaries from NBC Learn can help students quickly review important historical topics, from Women in Medieval Times to Thurgood Marshall and Brown v. Board of Education.   Use these resources to get students up to speed before delving into more complex analysis or assigned them as review before exams. Check out NBC Learn Original Social Studies Videos or US History Collection for more videos.

Tip 17

Inspiring America and Making a Difference on NBC Learn
NBC Learn features stories from “Inspiring America” and “Making a Difference,” two series from the Nightly News that profile individuals and organizations having a positive impact on their communities. Use the videos to:
·         Discuss social entrepreneurship case studies
·         Inspire student leadership
·         Highlight underreported issues facing specific communities

Tip 18

Primary Source Videos from NBC Learn
NBC Learn offers a wide variety of primary sources for teaching and research. Featuring full text transcripts in addition to video footage, NBC Learn offers users the ability to relive key moments from American history. Collections include:
·         Speeches from the Civil Rights Movement
·         Political Ads dating back to 1952
·         Presidential speeches

Tip 19

Science Videos on NBC Learn
Video footage and explanatory graphics in NBC Learn science videos can help illustrate complex concepts.  Popular series include:
·         Changing Planet—From melting permafrost to the spread of infectious disease, this series outlines the impact of climate change on Earth.
·         Mysteries of the Brain—Seven videos introduce students to the structure and functions of the brain.
·         When Nature Strikes—This series features striking footage of natural disasters and detailed explanations from experts who study them.
·         NBC Learn Original STEM Videos—This collection features 2-6 minute explainer videos ideal for reviewing basic concepts.

Tip 20

Writers Speak Collection from NBC Learn
NBC Learn’s Writers Speak collection features authors from all genres discussing influences on their work. Videos can be used to provide context on an author’s work or models for students’ own writing process. Videos include:

Visit NBCLearn's online Toolkit for more teaching resources and how-to’s.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Plagiarism Evasion Tactics

art via EssayShark
As we embark on a new semester, you should be aware that students are finding new and creative ways to circumvent plagiarism-detection software such as SafeAssign and Turnitin. These so-called paraphrasing tools are free websites which allow students to copy and paste text, which is then rewritten for them. 

Following is a list of the tools we know of. If you are aware of any others, please share in the comments section.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Blackboard Maitenance

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On Saturday, August 19th, Blackboard will be down for 12 - 24 hours due to scheduled maintenance. Maintenance will begin at 12:01 am.