eLearning Frenzy

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


session blog

How to Create Richer Experiences Using Group Work

7/22 at 10am
Research has shown students can benefit from group work in several ways. But not everyone is a fan. In this session, the panel describe effective tools and techniques to enhance the group work experience. The session will outline the chief problems associated with group work along with ways to address them. Faculty and students will also be on hand to discuss how they’ve successfully implemented group work and how it’s evolved over the years.

  • Benefits of Group Work
  • Problems associated with Group Work
  • Potential Solutions
  • Results (instructor perspective)
  • Results (student perspective)

Benefits of Group Work

  • Plays to Human Nature (being social significantly enhances learning)
  • Improved Peer Relationships (once you get past forming/storming)
  • Increases in Engagement (active learning)
  • Sense of independence
  • self-directed learning
  • learn to operate in relationships
  • Collaborative exchange
  • Enhance Problem solving
  • Peer Learning

Problems Associated with Group Work

Why students hate it:

  • Various student skill levels
  • Dealing with dominant/passive personalities
  • self-selecting group issues
  • grading discrepancies and issues
  • unclear purpose
  • undefined student roles
  • unclear instructor expectations
  • Vagueness of accountability and fairness
  • Difficulty with meeting and communication
  • Difficulty using various technologies
  • Difficulty pacing project work
  • Difference in opinion of final product

Potential Solutions

Start of Group work/project

  • Purpose and instructions (importance of group work in real life included)
  • individual contract (have students agree to certain terms – using bb quiz) Students don’t agree it doesn’t open up project.
  • Timing of implementation
    • back half of semester
    • mimic earlier assignment (make it familiar for students)
    • accurate group distribution

During Group work/project

  • Group Contract with Defined Roles
  • Mandated live sessions
  • Documentation of Communication
  • Instructor Presence (feedback along the way is essential)

Grading the Group Work Project

  • Grading based on 60/40 split
    • instructor: grade project 60%
    • Students grade peers 40%
  • Grades adjust from review of documentation
  • Role dependent grade adjustments

Results – Instructor Perspective

  • Started with high anxiety of project
  • High growth and interaction
    • live sessions crucial
  • questions were content focused
  • One one student not involved
  • Projects were very strong
  • Student feedback surprisingly positive

Results – Student Perspective

  • Contract with spelled out exactly ( no one could say I didn’t know)
  • Groups were assigned
  • Knew instructor was paying attention and that did make a difference (recordings of live meetings)
  • Grading yourselves made a difference
  • roles made division of work excellent

What we learned

  • Implement on back half of course
  • Mimic earlier assignment for familiarity
  • Individual/group Contracts
  • Mandate Communication
  • Force student voice in participation

BbWorld20 Session blog – Blackboard Learn Roadmap Session

7/22 6:45am

Updates on Learn and Mobile Apps

1 Blackboard, 2 Experiences, 3 Hosting Methods
330 Clients currently on Ultra

Everyone a teacher, everyone a learner
Enabling leaners and educators to engage in Highly collaborative learning.

Update for content editor for original courses

  • Mobile optimized
  • fully responsive
  • copy and pasting has been improved (original formatting or simplified html) Images also copied and pasted
  • MS HTML is removed!
  • Pasting link from youtube/video automatically embeds video
  • Add button
  • pop-up windows now are overlay bubbles (mobile friendly)
  • ability to enter and format computer code (computer science)
  • accessibility checker
  • available later this year

Updated in-line grading Bb Annotate

  • Marking text (select text and choose markup)
  • removing annotations easy
  • adding own text to document
  • built-in search tool
  • draw with tools or use freehand
  • Add image
  • Side-panel shows preview and quick navigation
  • adding comment where you want
  • Learn SaaS – reusable comment bank

Collaborate Whiteboard – coming soon

  • additional drawing tools
  • new shapes and brushes
  • multiple pages
  • sharing whiteboards to breakout room
  • Exporting annotations

Automated Feedback for Ultra

  • correct and incorrect responses
  • coming soon

Peer Assessment for Learn Ultra

  • coming soon
  • shows in stream for faculty and students
  • instructor sees 360 degree view of peer evaluation process when assessing

Connected and Open

  • deepen LTI implementation
  • growing set of REST APIs
  • become industry standard
  • Premium Ultra APIs – surface apps and tools when an where needed in Bb interface
    • allows integrated tool to communicate security with application
    • app engages with user when and where they need to
    • Eesysoft (context-based help and assistance)
    • Blue by Explorance – course evaluation software (prompting students to evaluate when needed)
    • Qwickly – Attendance pro (self-checking attendance request) Students see checkin option on course main page, no need to go somewhere special to do this.

App Catalog

Bb Data Strategy

Ultra View of Activity as related to grades (marks)

Bb data reporting – available as part of learn SaaS – in one place learn about Collaborate and Learn usage.

Bb Achieve – add-on solution for learner engagement and interaction

  • Content engagement (filter down to department lvl)
  • Performance Dashboards

Access and Equity

  • Ally availability for mobile app.
  • Ally as a service
    • Course content
    • Ally for websites
    • Ally as a service REST API

Personalized Learning Experience

  • Blackboard Assist (Learn SaaS) – helps students where and when they need it with assistance from Bb, institution, and partners. Comes with curated partners (can be turned off)
  • Bb Chatbot (Learn SaaS) Uses Bb Help site originally (no additional charge) future more premium paid version with more options
  • Student List View of Gradebook in Ultra
  • Learning Module Progress indicators (Ultra course View)
  • Offline Content (Bb App) – being able to download course content on mobile device (available now)
  • Messages – Bb and Bb Instructor App (push notifications)
  • Bb Watch OS app for students (view grades, due dates, announcements)

BbWorld20 Session Blog – Streamlining and Improving Instructions for students

7/21 @ 12:45 pm

  • Overview of problem
  • Research on Student ownership/engagement
  • Implementation of triggers
  • Results of implementation
  • Potential future Uses


  • Students not reviewing intro material
  • same questions over and over
  • same mistakes over and over
  • rise of frustration all around


  • Overall Lack of Academic Agency
    (activities not meaningful, no voice in how they are learning)
  • Increase Ownership through
    • Course Contracts (students agree to expectations etc…)
    • Student Choice/Selection

Course contract (ownership and engagement)

  • Share power and authority
  • focus on process and product
  • clearly defines expectations
  • sets up a “pact” mentality

Student Choice

  • share power and authority
  • choose items of interest
  • discussions, PBL, etc… (have 5 readings and choose three of them, propose a topic for discussion)

Adaptive Release

  • Original use – Release dates
  • Evolving use – Rough Drafts
  • Current use – course contracts

Implementation of Contracts

  • course orientation quiz (how to navigate, syllabus, expectations)
  • Needs for something better
  • Need to force students to complete/agree
  • Results and Evolution of Contract

How quiz works

  • 10 mc questions 1 pt a piece Examples:
    • I have read late policy
    • I will not use wikipedia
    • Writing style is APA
  • Have to agree to all 10 in order to proceed.

Beyond Course Orientation

  • Implementation on Individual Assignments
    • Triggers to answer to open access to other part of course
    • column in grade center that delineates where triggers are as opposed to normal course work
  • Implementation Using Graded Videos
  • First Rendition of Choose Your own path
    • get more by watching instructions, assignment template, easter eggs etc.

From Contracts to Choice

  • Focus more on student choice
  • Making it work
  • Possibilities
    • Variety of assignments
    • variety of career options
    • variety of topics
      – Examples: Tech orientation org prior to class registration, which Grade are you teaching opens specific content for students.

BbWorld20 Session Blog – Blackboard Ally Roadmap

7/21 @ 10:45am

Recent Updates & Roadmap

Ally has had 36 product release in just under a year.

Also announcing 5 new major feature additions today/very soon.

Recent additions Reporting

  • usage tab in institutional reporting (student usage) break down alternative format usage, downloads, courses, distribution. instructors, how many fixes, how often feedback was opened..over time.
  • Data is all available in BbData
  • LTI tab – Feature Flags (to release new functionality when we want) eg. translated version alternative format.
  • Dedicated integration with eesysoft (enable flag to capture ally data for eesysoft)

Recent Additions for Instructors

  • improved integration for ultra experience courses
  • feedback flows:
    • PDF’s without title
  • course accessibility report (gives instructor summary at course level)

Recent Additions for Student Facing

  • New alternative formats (BeeLine reader, Translated Version)
  • Alternative formats have become more prominent in UI
  • Beeline Reader – Technology developed for speed reading purposes works with with Dyslexia and ADHD students (uses color gradient to guide eye through text)

Announcements – New for Ally!

  1. Reporting at Departmental Level launching in next few weeks (based on institutional hierarchy) Adds an additional directory tab to institutional report. Can be configured to be available to departmental administrators. (requires latest version of learn SaaS)
  2. Ally launched in Arabic even for Alternative Formats
  3. Ally Alternative Formats soon to be available for content created within the LMS (Original and Ultra)
  4. WYSIWYG Feedback – coming in future
    – provide instructor feedback for WYSIWYG content
    – Feedback directly embedded in content editor
    – live score while editign
    – highlights within the editor
  5. Future (Expand accessibility checklist
    -support for excel
    – text spacing, line spacing
  6. Support for Audio/Video content (future)
    – add support for additional types for video/audio sources
    – tools for instructor to provide captioning
    – integrated with 3rd party
  7. improved audio alternative formats (future)
    – for documents over 100k characters
    – Option to highlight text with audio alternative format
  8. Crowdource Remediation (forward looking)
    – duplicative manual remediation across insitutions
    – ally can facilitate re-use remediation by suggesting improvements elsewhere

Ally for Websites
– check content for issues
– reporting
– alternative format

Define domain/subdomains you want to track over time.

  • Checking for broken links (get a list)
  • Report for each domain or overall report
  • Launch feedback component from report

BbWorld20 Session Blog – Blackboard Collaborate Roadmap: Supporting Online Learning now and into the Future

7/21 10:00am

“Lightyears of progress in weeks.”

Impact of COVID-19 on our roadmap

  • Accelerate some features/shift priorities
  • Performance
  • Server capacity
  • Security

Forward Looking-statement (disclaimer that things may change) Roadmap is plan but may change in future.

Who we are as solution

  • Made for teaching and learning
  • Trustworthy
  • empowering engagement
  • Inclusive
  • Responsive
  • Easy to adopt
  • Measurable

EOS of Collaborate original

  • Tech stack made it inevitable
  • collaborate ultra is mature and well adopted
  • more scalable
  • most asked for features: add in ultra roadmap
  • Some original features cant’ make it

Made for teaching and learning

  • Roles, asymmetry and engineered collaboration
  • feeling safe and included
  • part of an ecosystem
  • part of a pedagogic path, not just an event
  • variety of instructors, needs, creativity, teaching methods

First half of 2020

  • Large sessions in scheduler (instructors more autonomous) (allow 250+
  • Poll results download available
  • sharing camera as content
    • document cam
    • mobile cam
    • show experiment/practice

2nd half of 2020 in chronological order

  • Profanity filter 8/6/2020
  • Recording reminder
  • Timer: test and plan
  • 1000 attendees in session


  • stability and robustness – #1 priority
  • Security and privacy as educators
  • Safety and privacy by design

First half of 2020

  • telephony capacity increase
  • scalability improvements
  • Secure by design features deactivating guess access/ recording access from only inside if wanted
  • Review of scalability of 3rd party

2nd half of 2020

  • improved monitoring – to proactive intervention
  • Security compliance adopting industry standards (OWASP)
  • Bulk invitation (early August) from scheduler
  • Recordings bulk management (visibility of your storage use, bulk delete for admins, consider retention policies
  • Waiting Room!!! (end of 2020) Apply to guests only first.

Empowering engagement

  • Teaching is not “meeting:
  • engagement is everything and needs to be engineered by prof
  • empower isntructor

New Whiteboard 8/6

  • Whiteboard and file annotation crucial for pedagogy, collaboration, engagement, complete exercise
  • Formatting (Pencil thickness, fonts, font size shapes with color fill and more
  • usability: copy and reuse elements, paste text, wrapping, eraser, confirmation for clear all
  • Annotation persistence: between slides (laod a blank doc to have multiple white board pages) Between tools (go from files to whiteboard to app sharing and get back to your previous annotations.
  • Breakout groups interaction for file annotations

for 2020 and beyond Whiteboard

  • pointer
  • multiple whiteboard pages
  • who made which annotations
  • sharing breakout whiteboard into main room

Engagement – 2nd half of 2020

  • Chat mentions
  • Video Gallery (highest priority) balance between interaction and focus enhancing the number of video feeds that can be seen at once (more faces) students with lower bandwidth don’t get penalized…let students choose

Balance Engagement and Focus (2021)

2nd half of 2020

  • Video Gallery (just video grid only when speaking not sharing content – yet) you can zoom and pagination.
  • Add templates and gallery when sharing
  • Pinning Videos

Leveraging for pedagogical uses 2021

Looking towards 2021

  • Recording pause and resume
  • more options for sharing recordings
  • More whiteboard/chat improvements


  • LMS (Learn) (calendar, groups as breakout groups, course content)
  • Live captioning (finding right parnter)
  • partnership with 3-play media

Session Preparation

  • groups, polls, etc

Secure and Inclusive engagement and collaboraiton

  • chat moderation
  • students can’t delete others annotations

Data powered

  • integrate with bb data
  • engagement score during session
  • engagement coaching via data
  • gallery view powered by predict

BbWorld20 Sesion Blog: Ways to Empower Faculty to Create a More Inclusive Environment

7/21/2020: 9:15am

Goal for Digital Accessibility and Inclusive Education TAMUCC

Create a more inclusive digital academic environment

  • Culture of Awareness and support
  • Positive and open mindset

Strategy for Success


  • finding stakeholders and partnerships
    • Departments (disability service office, HR, faculty excellence, and others)
    • Governance (support from administration, faculty senate, committees, SGA)

Discovering strategy and vision

  • learning the lessons (technically ready, but buy-in and culture wasn’t there)
  • moving forward (training, support, accessibility website)
  • building awareness
    • Digital accessibility day (content remediation)
    • one-on-ones with IDs/Trainers
    • Accessibility simulation lab

Making Strides by Empowering Faculty

Engagement, professional development and embracing the current situation.

  • Community of Practice
    Talking about UDL, accessibility standards and introducing Bb Ally.
  • Leveraging Quality Assurance
  • Effective Communication
  • Supporting the Transition

Ally turned on for all courses – Communication around Ally went out via Dept newsletter, faculty advocate and other communication resources, Bb Org, Certification etc…

Worked Students into communications – alternate formats (from department, training resources and instructors)

BbWorld15: Increasing Student Engagment with Digital Badges – Session Blog

Megan Cole – Head of Marketing at Badge Labs
Dr. Melissa Stange – Lord Fairfax Community College
Richard Shelton – Coordinator of Academic Services Northeastern State UniversityDonna Shelton, PHD – Professor of Spanish, Northeastern Oklahoma

Badge Labs – Consulting and Development term for Open Badges

Open Badges Ecosystem:

What are open badges?
Representing skills that are real based on real tasks and work.  Employers are willing to pay for hire for and give credit for real results.

can be used to:

  • recognize learning
  • Assessment learning
  • Motivate learning
  • Study learning

Badge anatomy: name, description, criteria, issuer, evidence, date issued, standard, tags

Badges can

  • capture complete learning path,
  • build maps of learning and pathways & opportunities of more learning,
  • build and communicate reputation & identity,
  • foster an ecosystem that is connected,
  • signal learning to key stakeholders & potential employers.

Building an Open Badges Ecosystem: Openness, Learner Agency, Innovation (Blackboard, IMS Global, Mozilla, Badge Labs, digitalme, Pearson, concentric sky)

We will be at 10million badges issues by 2016.

Lord Fairfax CC Digital Badge Pilot: 1 f2f two online courses 74 students in total, badges & certificates possible, adding a “My Badges” button, Mozilla backpack.

Students didn’t know how badges apply to them after they left college.  Had to educate the students while they educated us.  Credly was more preferred to backpack.  GPAs went up.   Badges were a motivator


– Retention rate went up
– More uploads to backpack if extra credit given
– Increased quality of learning
– increased faculty discussion of badges
– Improved collaboration in online courses
– Expanded learning opportunity – e portfolio
– Provided discussion between curriculum advisors & college
– CBE moving forward got approved
– nationally accredited badge

Lesson’s learned

  • If only content is copied between courses, the trigger rules are lost
  • If content is not included in a copy or export/import achievements are not export
  • select both content & adpative release rules to get copied correctly
  • Bb admins have to set up goals before faculty can add as an alignment to get on goal coverage report
  • Had to add extra content (lecture) to explain badging & badge backpack
  • Takes time to setup initially
  • Learning terminology
  • triggers elements not changeable, recreate
  • No direct path to change rewards

Next Steps

  • Continue data collection
  • expand badges in computer science
  • continue to work with deans for faculty adoption
  • Submit badge research and pilot finding for publication in system journal
  • Assist knowledge to work CBE team to create new national credential badge
  • Develop System-wide badges in conjunction with articulation agreements
  • Work with local industry
  • Continue to participate in the IMS global networking CBE group

Richard Shelton – Northeaster State University

  • Achievements to recognize all learners: students, faculty, staff community
  • First introduced in individual courses
  • In near future expanding to faculty and staff
    – Faculty Professional Development
    – Human Resources Training
  • Continued Education

Use in course projects – series of milestones awards: submissions and completely and grade they received.

used to increase motivation to submit assignments and to improve submission rate

Encourage students who enjoy gamification (used in university studies course)

Positive anecdotal results.

Sequential online instructor training courses – used to promote awareness of badges.

Next Steps:  Moving to University-level achievements.

Continuing education – Police Officers seem to like badges.

Donna Shelton:

CAEP is new version of NCATE -CAPE go throuth SPAs to evaluate various groups

Digital badge use through Blackboard to be implemented in fall 2015 as key element of new program.

New digital badge based assessment eight aligned ACTFL Standard 6, Professional Development, Advocacy and Ethics

Standard 6: candidates engage in ongong professional development opportunities that strengthen linguistic, culture and pedagogical competencies.

– Series of conferences with program faculty (educate about badges)
– Course embedded and extracurricular opportunities to earn badges: 3 badge categories, acceptable performance level: two badges in each category
– Reflection essay in last half of student teaching semester

Badge Types and example Tasks:

Language Proficiency, Cultural Knowledge and Pedagogy


  • help with motivation
  • recognition for extra-curricular activites
  • tracking accomplishments, help with resume
  • educate badge consumers
  • marketing with badge images

Custom achievements, badge icon creation, use Organizations to track across courses, Upgrade will include portfolios that go across courses.


  • students as earners – educating
  • Issuers (faculty) – educating
  • University as issuer – logistics, rules etc..
  • Outside issuers – local industry, cont. ed, professional development, HR
  • School districts as consumers.

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