The following is important information regarding your Summer-Fall 2013 LPC Blackboard course(s). Please read and observe the entire document and save it for future reference.
More information can be found in the Online Learning Faculty Handbook (PDF), which has been updated for Summer-Fall 2013.
New for Summer-Fall 2013
Ongoing issues and tips
- Forwarding from Zonemail
- Additional time on exams
- Regular Effective Contact Guidelines
- Archiving emails
- OCDP online course updated
- Preferred web browser
- Mobile exams
- Course Copy
- DE drop policy addition
- New cheating method
- Grade Center totals column
- Best Practice Strategies to Promote Academic Integrity in Online Education
- Online tutoring
- Addition to DE info pages
- Mobile apps
- My Messages
- Announcements dialog box
- Compatibility View Settings in IE9
- SafeAssign anti-plagiarism tool
- Pasting from Word
- Bb 9.1 lesson plan models
- Elluminate Live!
- Accessibility issues in Bb 9.1
- Khan Academy videos
- Updated Module 1 assignments
- Updated model template quizzes
- Updated OCDP course
- Updated BOLT course
- EduStream - new videos and features
- CCC DE Accessibility Guidelines for Students with Disabilities
- CafeScribe digital textbooks
- Bb tutorials
- Deleting individual discussion posts
- Report Card module
- Making courses available
- Availability of old courses
- Proofread your course
- Course banners
- Email vs. Messages
- Library databases
- Blackboard maintenance
- Welcome announcements and Zonemail
- Video and audio accessibility
- Blackboard, email and The Zone - Faculty information and instructions
- Student Blackboard email, portal instructions
- Plagiarism lesson
- Course and Gradebook backups
- Blackboard support blog
Bb 9.1 SP9 upgrade
The Blackboard system is scheduled to be upgraded to Blackboard 9.1 Service Pack 9 from 8:30 p.m. June 10, until approximately 3:30 p.m. June 11. During this time, the system will be unavailable. Tutorials and information about the new enhancements can be found in your BOLT course.
Fake student name change
To make inputting scores into the Bb grade center a little easier, the fake support student in each course has been renamed LPC Ztudent. This will put the fake student at the end of your roster.
Summer support schedules
From June 3-Aug. 2, the college will be on its traditional 4-day work week schedule. LPC will be closed on Fridays during this time, so that means there will be no support on those Fridays.
Jeff Sperry will be working M-TH from 7 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Scott Vigallon's hours will be M-TH from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Scott will be attending a conference June 19-20 and will be on vacation on dates to be determined in July.
Blackboard Publisher Building Blocks Guidelines
On April 10, 2013, the Academic Senate approved the Blackboard Publisher Building Blocks Guidelines, which govern the installation of building blocks from texbook publishers. These building blocks are software programs added to Bb that are designed to increase the integration of publisher materials into Bb. Building blocks are different from course cartridges, and the current trend is that publishers are moving away from cartridges in favor of building blocks.
Read the guidelines.
Summer DE drop policy
A sentence for Summer courses was added to the Instructor's Withdrawal Option: Distance Education. The policy now reads: "The instructor may drop students who miss the first meeting of a course. The first meeting of online or hybrid Distance Education courses is the first day of the class as specified in the class schedule listing. For these courses, instructors may drop students who do not log into their Blackboard course and/or complete indicated activities by the third day of classes. DE instructors may drop students if they have not submitted work and/or accessed the class for two consecutive weeks. For Summer courses, DE instructors may drop students if they have not submitted work and/or accessed the class for one week."
Student support desk hours
Summer 2013: Hours TBD. The support desk is closed Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Try not to schedule any exam deadlines on days that the support desk is closed.
Online Learning orientation dates
Learn more about these on-campus and virtual orientations and when they will be held this semester.
Forwarding from Zonemail
To help students with email within Bb, a video has been created that shows students how to set up forwarding emails from Zonemail to their personal email accounts. Feel free to share the link below with your students. View the video.
Additional time on exams
If you need to give students more time on exams -- for a DSPS student, for example -- Bb gives you some options. Read about those options.
Regular Effective Contact Guidelines
The LPC Regular Effective Contact Guidelines were approved by the Academic Senate on Nov. 28. According to Title 5, all DE courses, whether they are fully online or hybrid, must demonstrate regular effective contact. For hybrids, this contact is required not only during on-campus meetings, but it is also required during the virtual meetings. The ACCJC has also stated that regular effective contact in all online and hybrid courses is a requirement for accreditation. Furthermore, if there is no such contact, DE courses can be designated correspondence courses during an auditing process, and this can affect the college's ability to provide federal financial aid to students. LPC’s Regular Effective Contact Guidelines aims to set forth the “minimum standards of regular effective contact,” as stated in the DE Guidelines for the California Community Colleges.
Read the guidelines.
Learn why you should do this at the end of each semester and how to do it by reading the section called Archive your Emails in the Closing your Course page.
OCDP online course updated
For those of you teaching online or hybrid courses, log into your Online Course Development Program online course to see updates to content intended to help with course design and teaching. Resources in that course are continually updated to reflect new tools and new ideas. If you don't have access, contact Scott.
Preferred web browser
If you are not already using Firefox for Blackboard, you should begin to use it. Use the other browsers as a backup.
There is a new update to Blackboard Mobile Learn that allows students to take a mobile-optimized version of an exam on their phones or iPads. In order for students to access the mobile-optimized version, you have to set up the exam first in Bb. To do so, navigate to any content area, and choose Create Assessment - Mobile Compatible Test. You'll be confronted with a new, streamlined method of creating an exam that should be easy for you to complete. Once you are finished, students can take the exam on a mobile device, or they can even take it on a computer.
Keep in mind a few things, though, before choosing to create a mobile-optimized exam:
- Since the tool is new, it has not been perfected yet.
- You will have significantly fewer options than creating regular exams.
- Only the more popular question types (e.g. multiple choice, true-false, etc.) are supported.
- It is difficult to go back and edit the exam after it has been launched.
View more information about Blackboard Mobile Learn on our Online Learning web site.
View more information about Blackboard Mobile Learn on Blackboard's web site.
Before copying from one course to another, read about copying courses. We also have a link to a video of the process on that page.
DE drop policy addition
On May 23, the Academic Senate approved the DE Committee's request to add language to the current DE drop policy (referred to as "Instructor's Withdrawal Option: Distance Education" in the college catalog). The addition brings DE in line with the same policy for face-to-face classes and helps protect us in case we ever get audited by the federal government for financial aid fraud.
Here's the updated policy (with the addition in bold):
The instructor may drop students who miss the first meeting of a course. The first meeting of online or hybrid Distance Education courses is the first day of the class as specified in the class schedule listing. For these courses, instructors may drop students who do not log into their Blackboard course and/or complete indicated activities by the third day of classes. DE instructors may drop students if they have not submitted work and/or accessed the class for two consecutive weeks.
For those of you teaching DE in the Summer, you will have to translate the "two consecutive weeks" into a corresponding time period for your class(es). The policies for DE and face-to-face are based on regular 17-week semesters.
I have posted the entire policy into the following places: the Online Learning ad that goes in the printed schedule, the Online & Hybrid Courses page on the Online Learning web site, into each online and hybrid course information page on the Online Learning web site. It will eventually be inserted into the college catalog. You should include it in your syllabi.
New cheating method
A recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education described how students are cheating on online exams by using Google Docs. Apparently, one student takes the exam, and at the end, if the instructor allows students to see the correct answers, the student posts the answers to a Google Doc, then shares the Doc with a group of students. If you feel that students might be doing this or something similar, you can always remove the option to show correct answers after submission of an exam.
Grade Center totals column
If your Total column in the Grade Center is set to Calculate as a Running Total, understand that the students' total only includes those items that have scores or attempts. This can work well for students if you have all of your Grade Center columns set for the semester and only want the students' Total column to reflect the work they have done up to a certain point.
It doesn't work well at the end of the semester when you are calculating final grades if your Total column is set to display as a percentage, and you haven't entered zeros for all of the students' missing assignments. In this scenario, a student's Total column might show 100% even though she didn't submit 5 assignments. So at the end of the semester, you should either turn Calculate as a Running Total off, or enter zeros for missing assignments.
Best Practice Strategies to Promote Academic Integrity in Online Education
This document provides a bunch tips you can incorporate to promote academic integrity in your class. View the document.
Students in any course at LPC--on campus and off--have access to online tutoring for Writing. Students in many Math courses have access to Math online tutoring. View more information. When Fall tutoring hours become available, instructors will be notified.
Addition to DE info pages
As some of you might know, there is currently a controversy at the state level about whether or not instructors can charge students an instructional materials fee for online publisher content. Hopefully, the issue will be resolved soon, but regardless of the outcome, the DE Committee decided that students should know in advance if there is a materials fee for their classes.
Since we don't know which classes will have fees and which won't, we decided to cover both bases with the insertion of a sentence in each class info page on the Online Learning site. Here's the sentence, with the key word being "might": "There might be an instructional materials fee associated with this class." The addition of this sentence has been done for you.
LPC is pleased to offer students the opportunity to use mobile devices to complete course work, conduct research and read textbooks. Click the links below to learn more about mobile learning apps for iOS and Android devices, then download the apps to get started.
A new Bb module called My Messages is available for use. If you use the Messages tool in Bb, this modules allows you to see how many unread Messages you have awaiting you. It also includes links to the Messages tool within your courses. Just go to your My Institution page, click Add Module, then select My Messages. Students can do the same thing.
If you want, you can also add the My Messages module within any of your courses. You can do this through the course menu by clicking the plus sign at the top and choosing Create Module Page. You can add it to a content area by going to Build Content - Module Page - Submit - click the link you just created, click Add Module, then choose My Messages.
Announcements dialog box
If you create an Announcement, and simply hit Submit, you will get a warning saying "You must choose a Display After and/or a Display Until value". If you just want to post the announcement without any date restrictions, click the checkbox in front of Display After, then hit Submit. You don't need to change any dates or times.
Compatibility View Settings in IE9
We've seen a lot of odd things in Bb with people using Internet Explorer 9. If you are using the IE 9 browser, you need to make sure Compatibility View is turned on. Go to the Tools menu, and select Compatibility View Settings. Make sure the checkbox in front of Display all websites in Compatibility View is enabled, the click Close.
SafeAssign anti-plagiarism tool
If you want to use an anti-plagiarism service, you can use SafeAssign, which is built right into Bb. If you need training on SafeAssign, contact me or Jeff Sperry. Keep in mind that the SafeAssign tool and the service are not as good as Turnitin's. Also, I get frequent notifications from Bb saying that SafeAssign is down or overloaded.
View SafeAssign info
View the SafeAssign instructor manual (PDF)
View SafeAssign video tutorial part 1, Creating a SafeAssignment
View SafeAssign video tutorial part 2, How to Submit to SafeAssign (for students)
View SafeAssign video tutorial part 3, Viewing a SafeAssignment
If you use my model that includes the Succeeding in an Online Course tutorial, you will have to make one question change to reflect the discontinued use of Turnitin. Read about that.
One last thing: After performing a course copy or moving an individual SafeAssignment to another course, an additional step is needed to activate the SafeAssignment in the new course. From the Control Panel, click Course Tools, then SafeAssign, then SafeAssignments, then Synchronize This Course to establish the link between the SafeAssignment and the Central SafeAssign server.
Pasting from Word
Instead of copying and pasting from Word directly into the visual text box editor in Bb, please use the Paste from Word tool. With this tool, you can copy and paste text from Word into Bb without messing things up. View more information on this.
Bb 9.1 lesson plan models
I have created a sample lesson plan for a wiki assignment that instructors can use as a model if they want. I also created one for a collaborative assignment that uses Google Docs.
View sample wiki assignment
If you are going to use a wiki with your students, you might want to view Considerations for using wikis.
View sample Google Docs assignment
Elluminate Live, which brings live interaction with students directly into Blackboard courses, is available within Blackboard. You can use Elluminate to hold office hours or tutoring sessions. You will still have the option of using CCC Confer. However, instead of holding an office hour via CCC Confer and making students go to the Confer web site, find the appropriate meeting, and log in, faculty can just add a link to Elluminate directly into Blackboard.
Elluminate is actually the engine that powers Confer, so instructors familiar with Confer should be comfortable with Elluminate. One difference is that with Elluminate, audio communication is done over the computer, while with Confer, it can be done either over the computer or by telephone. Elluminate meetings can be recorded and played back later by students.
To make Confer sessions accessible to students with disabilities, you can request a captioner when setting up the session. However, with Elluminate, someone has to physically transcribe the words as they are spoken because a captioner cannot be requested. There is a captioning tool within Elluminate to use for this purpose.
Watch a tutorial on using Elluminate.
Accessibility issues in Bb 9.1
Some of the content areas tools in Bb come with features that make content accessible to students with disabilities. Of course, other tools don't. Choosing Create Image from the Build Content button allows you a place to enter an alt label for the image and a Long Description box to enter a thorough description if needed. Adding an image or video provides options for adding transcripts. We would rather have you post images and videos to another server then create a link to them in Bb because of file size issues with multimedia and for accessibility purposes. We recommend that if you are going to use multimedia, contact the TLC for help. We have a server to post your files, and we can help with close captioning.
Also under Build Content, there is a Mashup section that allows you to search for, and post, Flickr photos, SlideShare presentations, and YouTube videos. For Flickr photos, make sure the name of the photo accurately describes the photo. If it doesn't, change it. This name is the title of the picture that students see and can be read by a screen reader. If the picture is a chart, graph, table or a photo with lots of information, you will need to write out an explanation of the picture in the Description box.
For SlideShare presentations (think of SlideShare as a YouTube for PowerPoints), you will have to include a link to an Easy SlideShare version of the presentation. View tutorial on creating an Easy SlideShare version. Also, if there's audio, you will need to add a transcription, and if there are slides with charts, graphs, tables or a photos with lots of information, you will need to write out an explanation of the slides in the Description box.
All of your YouTube videos need captions. YouTube is currently experimenting with an automated translating system that converts the spoken word to captions. However, the accuracy leaves a lot to be desired. We recommend that you contact the TLC for captioning of YouTube videos.
Khan Academy videos
One of the web's top learning sites, Khan Academy posts hundreds, if not thousands, of video tutorials, including many in the Math and Science disciplines. All of the videos now seem to be captioned, too. Go to the site.
Updated Module 1 assignments
If you use any of Scott's model templates and utilize any of his Module 1 assignments with your students, here are the most updated versions of the assignments based on any changes in Bb.
View the assignments
Updated model template quizzes
Because our Turnitin license ended in July 2011, I have updated a question in the Succeeding in an Online Course tutorial quiz that refers to Turnitin. If you use my model that includes this quiz, you will need to make a change in your course(s). The tutorial has been updated to reflect SafeAssign, therefore, if you don't update the quiz question, the tutorial won't match the quiz.
Click to see the changes in the Succeeding quiz
If you use my model that incorporates the Orientation quiz, no question changes were needed.
Click to see the most recent changes in the Orientation quiz
Updated OCDP course
For those teaching online or mostly online courses, you should still have access to my Online Course Development Program (OCDP) course. I have updated this course with lots of new teaching and learning information based on best practices. I have also updated all of the tutorials for Blackboard 9.1.
Updated BOLT course
All Blackboard instructors have access to Bb 9.1 information, tutorials, sample assignments, etc. by logging into the Blackboard Online Learning Team (BOLT) course.
EduStream - new videos and features
EduStream, the digital video service that allows instructors to post videos and video clips within their Blackboard courses, was recently upgraded to include new videos and features. Over 1,500 videos from Abrose Publishing have been added in the following subject areas: Arts, Biological Science, Sciences (Humanities), Behavioral and Social Sciences, Psychology, World History, Fine Arts, American History, and Business.
In addition, EduStream videos can be played on certain mobile devices: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and some Android operating systems. EduStream continues to include interactive, learning activities that you can also incorporate. These learning activities are Flash-based and correspond to whatever video you want students to view. They are intended to reinforce -- and assess students on -- the content of the video. Students get immediate feedback, though results do not flow into the Bb Grade Center.
CCC DE Accessibility Guidelines for Students with Disabilities
On Jan. 11, 2011 (or 1-11-11), the State Chancellor's Office issued the "Distance Education: Access Guidelines for Students with Disabilities," an updated version of the 1999 guidelines. The document reiterates that all online courses must be accessible.
Read the document, and you should become familiar with the Basic Requirements and Frequently Asked Questions sections.
CafeScribe digital textbooks
CafeScribe is an online, digital textbook solution that includes annotations, note-taking, and read-out-loud features, along with incorporating social networking. Within Blackboard, you can create links to specific pages in your digital textbook.
Learn more about CafeScribe.
If you are having any of the Bb problems listed below, try these workarounds:
- Modify Test Options - some of your settings might have changed. Before launching any exams, go through your settings to make sure they are correct.
- Some tools might not be showing up in Control Panel - Customization - Tool Availability. I've found that if you add the tool to the course menu by creating a tool link for the missing tool, it will show up in Tool Availability. If you remove it from the course menu, it will still stay in Tool Availability. Don't ask me why.
- If you are typing inside a text box on a Mac, and you want to add a paragraph, you'll have to hit the Return key twice to get a blank space between paragraphs.
- As a result of copying courses, you might have multiple Total and Weighted Total columns in your Grade Center. You can remove the extra columns by clicking the drop-down next to it and choosing Delete Column. You can even hide columns by going into the Grade Center, clicking Manage - Column Organization, checking the box in front of one of the columns, and choosing Hide Selected Columns from the Show/Hide menu.
- Bb has made viewing total points possible in the Grade Center very difficult. It is probably due to the fact that you can now exempt grades and drop lowest scores. When you do either of these, Bb gives each student his own total points possible. In reality, if you have 45 students and you drop 20 points for each student, every student will have the same total points possible. Anyway, to see total points possible, you have to go to the Total column, click inside of cell that has the student's score, and look above at the Grade Information Bar. However, when students go to My Grades, there is a Total column with their total points possible.
Here's a workaround: add the max points for each assignment to the fake support student in your class, then click inside the total column for that student. Keep in mind, of course, that fake student scores can skew overall statistics for the course. You can delete these scores when you are done.
- You can view all blog postings on one screen if: 1) you create a course blog, and 2) you index monthly. That way, you can click the month in panel on the right and see them all. However, if your blog runs over two months, you're out of luck.
- There are no dividing lines between announcements. If you want to manually add a line, you can always type a series of dashes below the last line of your announcement.
- When you make a grading column hidden in the Grade Center, be sure to disallow adding the points possible from that column into the Total for the class. By default, the points possible are added to the Total. If or when you decide to show that column, you'll need to allow adding the points possible into the Total (if that's what you want to do).
If you want to learn a tool immediately, you can check out the online tutorials at Bb's On Demand Learning Center. There are a few pages of video and text tutorials beginning with the Understanding & Building Your Course page.
Deleting individual discussion posts
If you have to delete individual posts without deleting the entire thread, you can do this by opening the post (so you can read it), then clicking the Delete button at the bottom right of the post (it's the last of 5 buttons on the bottom). Keep in mind that if you do this, you will also delete any replies to the post you want to remove. That's probably better than deleting the entire thread.
View information about Notifications.
Report Card module
This is a module students can add to the Home Page or to their My Institution page. This only works when the Total column (or Weighted Total column) in the Grade Center is set as external grade. If your Total column has a green check mark, it is set as external grade. If it doesn't, you can click the drop-down for the Total column, and choose Set as External Grade.
Making courses available
To make your courses available to students, access a course, then go to Control Panel - Customization - Properties, and for Make Course Available, click Yes, then click Submit.
Availability of old courses
To reduce the long list of courses that many of you have, LPC will automatically hide courses from the previous two years. Should you need access to courses older than two years, let Scott know.
If you want to hide more recent courses, do the following:
Click the circular icon to the right of My Courses. Uncheck the boxes under Display Course Name for the courses you want to hide, and uncheck any other boxes you want to hide. Click Submit.
Don't forget to make ALL of your old courses unavailable to students. To make a course unavailable, go to Control Panel - Customization - Properties, and for Make Course Available, click No, then click Submit.
Proofread your course
After you have copied your course, you will want to proofread it to make sure it is ready to go. View a document to learn what to look for.
Online and hybrid instructors can choose from a new set of course banners to place on your course home page. If you would like one of these, email Scott your choice and tell him which course you want it in. Scott will customize the banner, then email it to you. To place it in your course, save the file to your computer, then go to Control Panel - Customization - Style. Upload it in the Select Banner section. If you have an old banner that you want to remove, check the box in front of "Remove this banner."
These banners are only available for online and hybrid courses.
To copy a banner from one course to another, you'll have to choose Settings - Banner Image during the Course Copy process.
View the banners
Email vs. Messages
Do not confuse your students by having both the Messages and Email tools available. Messages is an internal email tool that resides in each class, while the Email tool routes email sent through Bb to students' and instructors' external email accounts.
It is recommended that you only use one of the tools. To disable one of the tools, go to the Control Panel, click Customization, click Tool Availability, then uncheck the box in front of either Email or Messages. You can always enable either tool later by checking the appropriate box.
To see the addresses of the library's databases, go to the Library web site. Students off-campus can access the databases by with following ID and password formats: The ID is the student's User Identification (W) Number. The password is the same as it is for Blackboard, which is the first two letters of the first name, the first two letters of the last name followed by the last four digits of the W number (ex. josm8999 for John Smith with W00008999). If students are on-campus, no ID or password is required.
Blackboard's primary maintenance window is from 11 p.m. Thursdays until 3 a.m. Fridays. Our system is typically unavailable during this time, and I will let faculty and students know. Because of this maintenance, if you have assignments due on Thursdays after 11 p.m., you might want to consider moving your due times to prior to 11 p.m.
Welcome announcements and Zonemail
For those teaching online or hybrid courses, please include student email info in your welcome announcement. Email within courses can be a bit tricky for first-time Blackboard users. Here's some sample verbiage:
"Make sure you understand how email works in Blackboard. Your default Blackboard address will be your Zonemail address. However, you can change your default Blackboard address in CLASS-Web (not in Blackboard). You can also log into Zonemail and set up forwarding to your private account. Learn how to do these tasks."
Video and audio accessibility
LPC is participating in a statewide grant to close caption all videos and transcribe all audio files in Bb courses. If you are adding video or audio files, please contact Jeff Sperry at 424-1654.
Blackboard, email and The Zone - Faculty information and instructions
Please click to read this important information. If you have questions, contact Scott.
Student Blackboard email, portal instructions
Make sure you understand the implications of the portal on your students.
If you need to teach students about plagiarism, there is a lesson in Bb intended just for that purpose. It includes a tutorial and an accompanying quiz. Each of the 10 questions is worth one point, and the answers are listed in random order. Of course, you can change all of the options if you want; you can also change the quiz itself, too.
View the tutorial
If you would like the lesson placed into your Bb class(es), contact Scott. Once the lesson is in your class(es), you'll have to deploy the quiz, called Plagiarism Quiz, into the Plagiarism Lesson content area.
Course and Gradebook backups
If you used Blackboard during this past semester, make sure you download your gradebook, archive your courses, and make your courses unavailable when you no longer want students accessing them. Click to view instructions on course and gradebook backups. To make the course unavailable, go to Control Panel - Customization - Properties, and for Make Course Available, click No, then click Submit. These and other end-of-semester tasks can be found in the page Closing your Course.
Blackboard support blog
I have posted a blog to help keep everyone better updated on Bb issues. Most of it will be the same info I email to you. However, this will make it easier for you to read something you might have missed. The blog is linked from the Staff Development web site (go to Instructional Technology/Blackboard) and from the BOLT (go to Online Learning info). Its URL is http://lpc-blackboard.blogspot.com.