New Blackboard Features for Fall 2014

Course Menu button circled in red

Our Blackboard downtime on August 15th was a success. In addition to the needed security updates and patches, Blackboard added some two great new features. Student Preview Mode I’m most excited about the new Student Preview mode. In the past W&M professors who wanted to see what their class looked like to students or how […]

Pioneering W&M’s First Fully Online Classes

Prof. Coleman's online lecture on Metabolism.

William & Mary’s College of Arts and Sciences quietly crossed into a new era at the start of the second summer term with the launch of two fully online classes. Don’t be surprised if you missed it; the two pilot classes weren’t advertised or formally announced. How It Started Meetings began last December, and continued […]

SCORM und Drang, or, Testing out Some E-Learning “Objects”

This is not a SCORM, but it does do a good job saving student answers. The pencil and paper method, however, cannot grade exams for you.

The other week I was thinking about little projects to test out on the e-learning development kits, and I hit upon the idea of teaching myself how to create interactive content in Camtasia Studio. After watching the how-to video on Camtasia’s website (go figure — most of the help for Camtasia is developed in Camtasia, […]

Blackboard Spring Cleaning: Archiving Your Gradebook and Courses

Cleaning up all the papers.

The term has ended; the dorm rooms have been emptied. Painstakingly-taken class notes were thrown away just minutes after final grades were distributed. Students sold books back or passed them along to friends. No one wanted to carry the minutia of the spring term into their summer. Post-Semester Blackboard Clean-Up A similar ritual takes place […]

The Most Successful Online Discussion Board — a Case Study

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This post outlines how Professor Tom Ward in the School of Education used a discussion board activity with a midterm project to facilitate critical thinking, peer coaching, and the authentic application of conceptual knowledge in a doctoral level Advanced Statistics course.

Blackboard Usability Suggestions — the W&M Student Perspective

Changing the course name in Blackboard helps students know which course is which.

W&M students are a notoriously busy group, so when I invited twenty of them to lunch to talk about Blackboard I wasn’t surprised that only four could attend. I was surprised, however, by some of the things they said. For example, while all of the professors I know are excited about flipping their classrooms, students […]

Blackboard, Yea or Nay? Join the LMS Search Committee to Decide

blackboard

William & Mary chose Blackboard as our learning management system (LMS) in 1999.  Our senior students graduating in 2014 were in kindergarten.  MySpace ruled social media and YouTube didn’t exist.  DVDs were still fairly new and iPods weren’t even in development yet. That first version of Blackboard looked a lot different from the version we […]

Upcoming Blackboard Workshops

April Lawrence, academic technologist for the School of Education, and Rachel Kleinsorge, our resident Blackboard expert, will be hosting a pair of Blackboard classes to help professors use the new Blackboard tools. The workshops will take place from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., on Monday, January 13, 2014, at the School of Education and Tuesday, […]

Blackboard Upgrades 2014

An example Access Log.

Blackboard is an ambitious company, releasing updates several times a year. Our most recent Blackboard update took place on January 3rd. While there are some small formatting changes, like the addition of a quick links button to the upper left of the screen, the changes below will probably be the most noticeable. Test Access Log Things […]

Interactive Rubrics: A Blackboard Tool for Planning and Grading

rubrics

This semester I’ve been experimenting with Blackboard’s interactive rubric tool. The interactive rubric tool enables faculty to build custom (and reusable) rubrics that can be associated with Blackboard assignments and discussion forums. I created a rubric for each of the seven assignments in my course, and opted to make the rubrics visible to students. (Instructors can keep grading rubrics hidden, if they wish.) Students seemed to appreciate having clear expectations for each assignment, and I appreciated having a rubric to easily click through during the grading process. The rubric tool is extremely customizable, so faculty can determine the criteria that work best in their assignments and disciplines.