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eLearning Frenzy

eLearning is like a sewer, what you get out of it depends on what you put into it.

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Seeing is Believing: Let Students See How Online Tools Work

I have posted previously on the importance of showing students what success looks like in an eLearning environment.   Whether via a rubric or by the example of a previous student submission, letting students see how they can be successful with an assignment or activity in your course is generally a good idea.

This post will help you discover how to utilize a tool that your students will use in their activities by employing it to display course content or provide course communication. That’s right, you are getting two for the price of one!

WikisThe Wiki Tool

The wiki tool can be the most rewarding/frustrating tool in your arsenal of activities that you have in your eLearning courses. Providing students with instructions on how to use the tool is definitely important, but many times they don’t end up using it the way you intended. This may be because they didn’t have an example or the 1 page example didn’t really show how a completed wiki should look.

Example: Use a wiki to display course topic or content.

Let’s say one of your course modules deals with Jean Piaget and Cognitive Development/Learning. Create a Wiki to display the content across multiple wiki pages:

  • Page 1 – Wiki Home – Overall introduction of unit
  • Page 2 – About Piaget – Biographical/historical look complete with picture
  • Page 3 – Cognitive Development: Explainer on Piaget’s theory
  • Page 4 – Cognitive Learning Today: Embedded video and text

Leave one page with places for your student to add their own text to the wiki demonstrating how a wiki should work in practice.

BlogsThe Blog Tool

In today’s day and age it easy to make the assumption that all students know how to use a blog or are familiar with journaling due to social media. However, this is generally not the case as most social media posts are micro-blogs (very short 126 characters or less) and full of emojis, text-speak and hashtags.

Example: Use a Course Blog to summarize the week/topic/module, provide commentary on student performance and provide a look into the next week/unit/topic.

This example allows you to demonstrate how a blog works and allows you to communicate important news and information to your students.

Each week make a blog post that:

  • Summarizes what the students went over
  • Provides kudos for student performance
  • Provides encouragement for student struggles
  • Allows for commentary to point out important details about the course content.
  • Gives students a preview/intro into the next unit.
  • Be sure to use multimedia so that students see what the blog can do.

*Use other communication tools in your course (announcements, e-mails, calendar entries) to remind students to check the blog. Be sure to encourage students to comment on your blog posts (a few bonus points for your top 3 commenters across a semester).

Both of these activities will give your students a good idea about how they can use these tools to complete the activities/assignments that you have placed in your course.

This strategy works with multiple types of tools/activities in and outside your LMS. Things like VoiceThread, GoogleDocs, course hashtags and many others are easy to pair with the “Seeing is Believing” idea.

Hopefully, by employing these types of strategies in your online/hybrid/web-enhanced courses, you can reduce student anxiety and increase student success!

New Semester Checklist – Top 5

top5If you teach online in higher ed, then you are familiar with the effort, energy and involvement it takes to engage with your students in that environment.  If you’ve taught online for more than a few semesters, then you know that you do need to put some thought into your transition of teaching a class from semester to semester.  Thought goes into your course materials, learning objectives and how your class is setup in Blackboard or whatever flavor of LMS you use.

Ask any teacher, course builder or instructional designer and they can probably give you an extensive checklist of items to pay attention to before the semester starts.  This blog post however will cover only our take on the Top 5.

  1. Copy/request copy of course.
    In anticipation of the new semester, make copies or request copies be made of the courses you are transitioning.  It is difficult to work on getting ready for a new semester if you do not have a place that you can do so without affecting your current students.

    * For those of you who just use the same course and only the students change, it still might benefit you to have a “sandbox” or “working” course where you can develop outside of the production course.

  2. Check your syllabus.
    Go through your syllabus and check for things like:

    • Is the textbook correct?
    • Is your contact information current?
    • Do you have the same office hours?
    • Change any due dates and scheduled activities (course schedule).
    • Ensure learning objectives/activities match with their counterparts in the course (in case you’ve changed them).
  3. Check Blackboard (LMS) content availability and due dates.
    Nothing can be more frustrating for students than to come to content in your course and find they don’t have access to or can’t see the item or activity that is supposed to be there.  Go through your due dates and availability dates to be sure that they line up with the current semester.  Blackboard provides the Date Management tool that does this all in one place.
  4. Update your welcome message.
    Providing a contextually relevant and current welcome, video, audio and/or paragraph will not only go along way toward connecting you to your students, it will demonstrate that you are actively interested in your students.
  5. Update course announcements.
    During the course of a regular semester, you will send out multiple updates or announcements to your students.  Be sure to remove irrelevant course announcements and update/reschedule announcements so that they reflect the correct date or time of year.

BbWorld16 session blog: SaaS deployment for Blackboard Learn Top 20 Questions

July 14, 2016                                              Trey Buck
1:30 – 2:20pm                                           Product Manager, learn
Venetian J                                                  Blackboard

  • General SaaS Questions
  • How does SaaS apply to Blackboard Learn
  • How do I get to SaaS
  1. What is Blackboard’s experience with SaaS?
    10 years of experience across multiple data centers
  2. What is Blackboard Learn with SaaS Deployment
    -Largest most established integration infrastructure in the LMS business.
    -A Single continuous version.  (code unified across deployments)
    -Flexible deployment option – control your local version
    -Available with original experience and Ultra (nothing is functionally different)
    -You can pilot Ultra with a particular set of courses/departments/colleges etc..
    -Multiple Tiers (SaaS Standard, SaaS Plus, SaaS Advantage.
  3. What does architecture look like?
    – Sophisticated and complex (partnered with AWS and IBM) able to automate and scale on demand
  4. What are the tiers of SaaS deployment mean?
    -Advantage: SLA 99%, Base Storage 1 TB, Interface: Ultra and Original, Continuous flexible deployment, Learning core, learning essentials, learning insight, full building block support, Full LTI web services and rest api, Test instance, staging instance, direct data access, service delivery mgmt
    -Plus – staging instance optional and direct data access optional, no service delivery mgmt
    -Standard – Full LTI’s – Optional, No staging, no direct Data, no service delivery mgmt.
  5. Why SaaS?
    flexibility, elasticity, scalability, resilience, innovation & change mgmt, Big Data
  6. How will my institution benefit from moving to SaaS
    – Enhanced Quality: fixes and maintenance more quickly
    – Rapid Innovation: Enhancements and features more quickly
    – Improved experience: Zero downtime updates
    – Easier Change Mgmt: Smaller, continuous, delivery updates
    – Better Support: Less variety of versions being supported
    – Peace of Mind: Experienced Bb Staff managing operations
  7. Which Critical Factors should I be considering when it comes to managing my online learning environment
    – Physical and Network Security
    – Scalability
    – Data Security
    – People and Processes
    – Redundancy
    – Monitoring Practices
    – Reliability
    – Change Management
  8. What are the main benefits of SaaS Plus & Advantage
    – Full Building Block support (includes custom and homegrown)
    – Flexible deployment options – determine when changes occur to your system
    – Support all learning solutions
    – Additional Services (advantage)
  9. Will all of our existing integrations work with SaaS
    – Building Blocks (all 3, but Ultra has exceptions)
    – SOAP Web Services (not in Ultra, yes in SaaS)
    – IMS LTI 1.2 Yes
    – Partner Cloud and Restful API – Yes
  10. What is continuous delivery and flexible deployment option?
    – Continuous delivery: developing software and releasing in small chunks (like apps on your phone) cadence is approx every 2 weeks (fixes enhancements and new features) default methodology.
    – Flexible delivery: Unique Bb offering: Release Candance – Q2/Q4 release Cadence (once or twice a year is fine) Still have cumulative updates, releases are larger and contain more code changes (optional delivery methodology)
  11. How do you know which is right for your Institution
    – Continuous delivery: less training, benefits of bug fixing (quicker)
    – Flexible deployment: controlling when releases come out (good starting point)
  12. What is Direct Data Access and how does it relate to OpenDB?
    – uses real replica of exact copy of db on production db
    – Direct Data is copied and up to date of productions in minutes..
    – Same schema and queries will work.
    – Security built in
  13. What does move to SaaS entail?
    – Prepare: Plan for Transition
    – Execution of Plan
    – Prepare Data, test migration and integration setup confirmation, final migration and cutover
    – two migration options:
    1. Course Based Migration
    2. Full Data Migration
  14. What is the difference between two migration options?
    Course based – start with a fresh instance and bring over archived courses, limits downtime, configurations and settings would not be brought across
    Full Data Migration – Clone current environment and file system, Restore info to new SaaS instance, Requires downtime, Maintains existing Data, configuration and settings
    For both options Blackboard provides: Project planning, test migration, final production migration, all for no additional charge
  15. Do you have an example of Project Plan?
    (Takes about 5 months on average – migration occurs in a much smaller window)
  16. What is Blackboard’s experience in helping us migration
    lots – 100 migrations a year, been doing it for years have a team that helps
  17. What consulting and training services are available if I’d like more help?
    ATP, Training program development, Building Block Evaluation, SIS Framework mentoring and grades journey services
  18. Does moving to SaaS mean that I have to take ULTRA
    No! you can optional upgrade certain courses etc.. It is an option
  19. So then where does Ultra Experience Fit IN?
    Wherever you want it!
  20. What does Transition to Ultra look like?
    Transition to SaaS Deployment with Original experience, then implement Ultra as needed/wanted.
  21. Why two Milestones?
    Two Words: Change Management!

 

 

BbWorld16 Session Blog – The Blackboard Portfolio Tool

portfolio-iconJuly 14, 2016
9:30 – 10:20am
Titian 2205

Features, Uses and Campus Wide Implementation process

Jason Rhode and Stephanie Richter
Northern Illinois University – Faculty Development & Instructional Design Center

  • Background Info
  • Bb Portfolios: Features and Examples
  • Campus-wide implementation process
  • Portfolio Usage across campus
  • Considerations

Building Portfolios

  • Add artifacts from files or from prior Blackboard assignment submissions
  • Embed media directly in the page
  • customize and preview features
  • Manage multiple portfolios for different purposes
  • Use templates for standardized portfolios

Grading Portfolios

  • Faculty can create an assignment with portfolio submission enabled
  • If Portfolio submission is enabled, student can only submit a portfolio
  • Faculty can grade and provide feedback as usual in the grade center

Sharing Portfolios

  • Share snapshots internally with institution users
  • Share snapshots externally with people outside institution (grad school/employers)
  • Download entire portfolio as a zip file (HTML) for future use and portability

Portfolio Examples

porfolio1

porfolio2.png

Campus-wide Implementation Process

  • Identify key stakeholders
  • Raise Awareness
  • Test Portfolio Tool
  • Develop Support Resources
  • Train Users

Key Stakeholders

  • Provost’s Office
  • Assessment Office
  • IT
  • Faculty Development Center
  • FYE

Raise Awareness

  • ePortfolio symposium
  • University Tech conference
  • e-mail newsletters etc..

Considerations

  • Staffing (support, development technical)
  • Implementation time (1 year)
  • Support Resources (robust and multi-format, samples)
  • Establish policies (who gets template? naming, who approves template format? How long are student accounts active and portfolios accessible?)

Summary

  • Implementing portfolios is a campus wide process involving multiple stakeholders
  • Consider how portfolios will be used for teaching and assessment as you plan your implementation
  • Students will need most support, but faculty need to be comfortable so that students can be successful.

There is a Bb Portfolio Users group on community.blackboard.com

 

 

 

 

 

BbWorld16 Session Blog – Build Online Engagement through a Virtual Student Unions

Bellini 2003
July 14, 2016
8:30 – 9:20

Engagement (Tinto)

  • Academic and Social engagement promotes college succes
  • Social connections lead to social and emotional support
  • Great involvement in educational activities and learning

SACS

  • Provide support program
  • Services
  • Activities
  • Promote student learning and development

The plan a Virtual Student Union

  • Support for successful online learning
  • Easy to find resources
  • Connecting learners to TROY
  • Positive educational experience
  • Social Engagement

*Trojan Cafe shows up as a course for all students.

  • Course entry page is web embed with highlights, dates/calendar and headlines.  Articles that are relevant to students: preparing for grad school, how to budget, dealing with tragedy (orlando)).
  • Online contests and giveaways.
  • Student forums: General chat, textbook exchange, contests and giveaways, military student room, how can we help?
  • Robust Resource site (html again) blackboard tutorials, online writing center, advisor, etc….
  • HTML pages through course to promote engagement (essentially a website within a course)
  • Trojan cafe course pages are HTML Blackboard Content Management System (CMS) Web folder URL.  Blackboard Course Created (URL button added), pages designed in adobe muse, webpaged saved as html

BbWorld16 Session Blog – Student Success in Higher Education: Plan, Predict, Engage

Venetian G
July 13, 2016 4:35 – 5:25

Only 59% graduate from college after 4-6

12.5 Million 20-somethings with some college credits and no degree

Understanding students’ struggles through research – what we learned:

  • Student journey is messy
  • Students feel alone and anxious
  • feel urgency to make decisions
  • lack of connections between short and long-term goals

The average advisor to student ratio – 1:300

Student success is a complex problem, but there are clear ways Blackboard can help.

Our student success philosophy

  • Plan
  • Predict
  • Engage

Blackboard Plan -empowering students to take control of educational journey (exploration, planning, registration) Partnership with Burning Glass

  • Discover careers based on interests (in development) Bb Plan
    Students can self-identify interests and seek careers that align with those interests
  • Explore career and skill demand (is there demand for that profession and if so, where is it?)
  • Learn about jobs first hand – partnership with road-trip nation (video interviews of people in professions) giving students first hand accounts of working in desired profession.  See real job postings that exist today
  • Seek Help from Advisors – making help accessible to students
  • View Degree Progress
  • Conduct “what if” analysis (what if I wanted to that program instead?)
  • Planning a course schedule
  • Register for courses

Blackboard Predict – Humans helping students (enabling those people to do a better job at helping students) Importance of Data, What they are doing with Data

  • Predict takes in 2 data sources SIS (demographic data) and LMS (course activity)
  • Taking that data and predicting (probability that student will pass etc..) which then points to who should I reach out to and who would benefit most from the interaction? for advisor.
  • Knowing more about students, passing the data on through a display that gives advisor more information about you (helps advisor engage with student to build relationship)

Blackboard Engage – The business of being a student needs to be easier (personalized, relevant and focused on student success)

  • Building toward a streaming pathway
  • supporting entire student lifecycle from inquiry to enrollment to student support: Global advisor and coach community, lead nuturing and enrollment mgmt, student support services, and more…
  • Communications need to be customized to where that student is in their lifecycle and who they are.

Improve advising with Blackboard Advise – a web-based advising tool that provides insight into students plans.

  • enable advisors to guide students to success (quickly understand who is on track and who is at-risk
  • Provide proactive guidance and support critical milestones
  • 24/7/365 contact centers (financial aid/enrollment mgmt/registration/advising)

 

BbWorld16 Session Blog -Online Student Orientation: the impact on grades, retention, and preparedness

July 13, 2016
3:30pm – 4:20pm
Bellini 2003

Tahnja Wilson, Strategic Design Initiatives
Arizona State University

ASU’s online campus created a 1 week online student orientation course.

Objectives of Orientation Course

  • Explore academic and career resources
  • Recognize value of degree
  • discuss academic integrity
  • demonstrate ability to navigate and interact
  • Use results of various assessments to becomee successful student
  • Create a personal work/school/life balance plan

Started as only for Starbucks students.  But went to all online students.  (good for at risk students, adult learners, degree-completers, online)

Student feedback – After completing orientation I’m prepared to take college courses online (96%) before orientation number was 46% , 94% would recommend to other students.

Retention – Those that do not pass orientation or did not take it retention from term to term is lower than those who did by as much as 12%.

Grades are better for those who do the orientation.

Setting Expectations

  • encourage taking prior to courses start
  • stress time commitment of 10-13 hours
  • Dailey assignments, meant to get students into habit of being a student in compressed online environment
  • Review objectives of course with students
  • Ensure that university e-mail is working properly.  Test sending/receiving email
  • Monday through Sunday Course; course loads on Friday.  First assignment due Monday
  • First assignment due on Monday is the syllabus quiz – requires lockdown browser.
  • online ed is not self-paced
  • does require interaction with peers/instructions.
  • office hours will not be at their convenience
  • iPads, Chromebooks and smartphones are not compatible for everything that students need to do in class

Managing Commitments

  • expectations
  • classes with limited flexibility
  • Technical difficulties

Professor Communication, Course Structure

  • Grades not being posted
  • faculty not getting back to students
  • Books, due dates not updated or changed

Orientation is part of larger student success initiative.  ASU wants to improve freshman persistence to 90%, identification of systemic, cultural, social and political obstacles that interfere with successful course completion are key to exploring new ways to remove barriers and help students understand, apply and make course content relevant to them.

First Year Student Success Initiative

Identify freshman level ASU courses with high DEW rates, faculty rotation, freshman presence

Phase 1 – focus on popular degree programs
Phase 2 – include 100 level SQ (science quantitative) courses

11 credit limit on first-time-freshmen

Enrollment to Success Coach handoff – earlier to work on:
– Orientation
– Financial Aid
– Advising
– Mindset

Fall Focus: Course/Faculty/Dept 

  • Course focus/360 evaluation
  • master class – faculty bootcamp
  • master faculty
  • ID Meeting July/August
  • Lead/QM Webinar September
  • Faculty Lead/Faculty: July/August/September+
  • First Year Student Success Initiative/Success Center Official kickoff: August

Student/Coach

  • Success Center
  • Success Coach
  • Success Tips
  • Success Site/ASU Online

Student Facing

  • Success Coaches
  • Success Site
  • Success Tips
  • Succeed Online
  • Online Tutoring
  • ASU Orientations
  • Assessments

BbWorld16 Session Blog – Enhancing the Learning Environment Using Technology

Venetian H
July 13, 2016
1:30 – 2:20

*Everyone of college credit courses has a Blackboard component.  Every faculty member must go through rigorous online training on how to use Blackboard.

Overview

  • learning Feedback
  • tool integration
  • avatars
  • interactive learning activities
  • collaborate ultra

Featured Technologies

  • Storyline (Articulate)
  • Powtoon
  • Collaborate
  • elearning brothers

Student Feedback – breaks and used different teaching materials, enjoyed the games, fun experience, method of instruction was good, encourages attendance and learning, interactive activities, content was more like a conversation rather than a bunch of words. games you post are fun and help us to assimilate the reading assignments.

-Use Welcome to Course Storyline instead of just video
-jeopardy and other games for self-assessment competency checks

Collaborate Ultra

  • Personalized profiles
  • Whiteboard
  • Application Share
  • Polling – Brand New for July Update
  • Session Attendance Reports – Brand New for July Update

BbWorld16 Session Blog – Best practices when using video in Blackboard Learn

video.pngJuly 13, 10:30 – 11:30am
Titian 2301 B

Isaac Belcher – Tarleton State University
Justin Carrell – Tarleton State University

Why use Video? – One small step (powerful driver)  How instructors can make themselves known to students.  Making feedback meaningful and personal.

Examples of Impactful videos:

  • Video should be engaging, and real, not overly scripted – authentic (leave the ummm’s in)
  • Video allows instructor to demonstrate complex problem solving (working math problems) Students have ability to watch you work through a problem over and over again…added benefit.
  • Demonstrating how to do something online (taking a test to make students think about the concept faculty was teaching – just demonstrating answering one question from large pool)
  • not just moving a lecture to online environment.

Technical Considerations:

  • Quality – enough to get the job done.  Don’t need lexus when camry will do.
  • Length – students will typically watch a video from 7 – 10 minutes
  • Placement – where do you put it?  (embed)
  • Format – streaming format, not player specific, mobile friendly
  • Storage – on streaming server (kaltura, panapto etc…)

Flipped Classroom – Why Flip (Bloom’s Taxonomy Considerations) Ability to utilize class time for application (Evaluation, synthesis, analysis, application, comprehension, knowledge)

Tools for flipped classroom:

  • Zaption* – affirming knowledge layering quizzing over video(Kaltura has Interactive quizzing that does this) *Zaption is going out of business.
  • NBC Learn
  • Films on Demand
  • Screen captures
  • Bb Collaborate

Stay tuned into your video analytics to make more informed decisions about how to best used media in your online courses.

Studio:

  • Familiar Environment – mimics classroom
  • Computer Considerations – beefy computer to handle video recording and different applications.
  • Audio – boom mic, desk mic, lavalier
  • Lighting
  • Room Design
  • Video Sources

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