Blackboard Grading – Your feedback wanted!

Blackboard is currently working on a new version of Blackboard Instructor and wants faculty feedback on the grading functionality. With the recent changes in the inline grading tool in Blackboard it may be time to let Blackboard know what you need so that they can include those necessary features in the new app (and hopefully pass on the information to Box so that they include them in Box View).

From Blackboard:

Last year we released Blackboard Instructor, a mobile app that gives instructors a simple and intuitive way to manage courses, interact with students, and view content with an emphasis placed on their immediate needs.

The next phase of Blackboard Instructor, currently in development, focuses on grading functionality – and we want your feedback! Join one of our feedback sessions on Thursday, March 1st. Sessions will be led by Daniel Loury, Director of Mobile Product Management.

During the session, Dan will walk through the Blackboard Instructor grading roadmap, give a demo of grading workflows in development, and gather your feedback. We hope that you will join us to share your thoughts!

Register for the one of the sessions on March 1st and 2nd and let Blackboard know what you need for grading!

Empty Documents Posted to Blackboard

Had an interesting troubleshooting session involving a file submitted for an assignment. The file was empty. The instructor gave a grade of 0 for the attempt. And a student was mystified how a week’s worth of work went missing when the file was on her computer and had lots of content.

Some preliminary sleuthing by the instructor uncovered a post by another university warning that they had seen problems when students using Microsoft Edge and Microsoft Word tried to attach documents to Blackboard assignments and the attached files were empty. Some additional research revealed that the students had the file open in Word while attaching it to Blackboard. Having the file open in Word seems to be the culprit. Although students had saved the file just before attaching, the file that was attached was empty. This issue was reported to Blackboard about 2 years ago and seems to have been addressed by Microsoft. In testing, we were not able to replicate the problem.

Why report this problem given that a fix seems to be in place? It’s the somewhat troubling practice of having a file open while trying to submit it. If you forget to save the file before exiting, you can accidentally submit the wrong version of your assignment. Given that some instructors only allow one submission, you may have to ask the instructor for permission to resubmit. Given that many students work up until deadline this may mean that you are asking an instructor to reset your assignment minutes before the deadline, your request might not be seen until too late.

Some words to the wise: Save all changes. Exit the program used to create the file (any program not just Microsoft Office programs). Attach your file and submit your assignment. You’ll rest easier knowing that the file you think you submitted is the file your instructor will be grading.

Changes on the Horizon

The LIT Advisory Committee is hard at work! Several working groups are focused on fine tuning our academic technology toolkit going into the next fiscal budget cycle. Here are a few updates.

  • Video at Wentworth: The group assessed several vendors and are selecting a few to come to campus for demonstrations. This work is informed by faculty, staff and student survey data collected over fall 2017.
  • On-Demand Videos: Based on usage and unique content that faculty and students rely on, the group recommended renewal of Lynda.com. Look for information regarding the migration strategy away from Atomic Learning/Hoonuit.
  • Faculty Showcase: March 15, 2018, 3:30-5:00 We’re excited to showcase the teaching, learning, scholarship, grant, and creative work of 30+ faculty! Save the date, see what your colleagues are doing, get ideas you can implement, network and enjoy great food!
  • Bettering Learner Engagement Study: Findings from a COF grant to study the impact of academic technology on student success to enhance teaching practices are being shared on campus. Look for open forums in the late spring, early summer.
  • Teaching with Technology: advancing the use of tablets in teaching
  • Bb Hosting Migration: conducting research on different LMS options
  • Plagiarism Detection/Education: in the process of assessing tools

Learn more about the LIT Advisory Committee!

New Blackboard Tab – Academic Resources

Over the winter break a new tab appeared in Blackboard, Academic Resources. The purpose of this tab was to provide a place for many of the modules that have been crowding the My Wentworth page in Blackboard where users could easily find them. When Wentworth migrated to Blackboard Managed Hosting from UMass Online, we licensed Blackboard’s Community System. This tool allows us to customize the interface with additional tabs which we can use for any number of purposes but which we’ve decided to leverage to sort out the confusing mix of items on the My Wentworth page.

The new Academic Resources tab has information targeting students  such as the Academic Calendar (important dates), Tutoring schedules and appointments for the Center for Academic Excellence, as well as the Library Twitter feed and Library Search information. College of Professional and Continuing Education students have a subtab with resources specific to that population.

Over the next few months, modules on the My Wentworth page may migrate to other tabs.  In addition, with more real estate on the new tabs, we can add additional resources and information. For example, on the My Wentworth Tab there is a subtab, Support Resources. On this tab we have modules that receive the status feeds from several of our tools. If you are experiencing a problem with Turnitin you can check the support feed to see if they are experiencing problems. There are currently feeds for Blackboard Managed Hosting, Turnitin, WileyPlus, and the Twitter feed from DTS. We also have the contact information for support here as well as information about the context sensitive help system in Blackboard.

As we add tabs, we will begin to curate what modules belong on which tab and the content will shift. We will not be removing resources, only moving them to make it easier to find specific item.

Tell us what you think and let us know what resources are missing by sending us an email at lit@wit.edu.

LIT is on Twitter!


The LIT team is on Twitter! I have recently met with the WIT Social Media team to discuss trends, hashtags, and strategies moving forward at Wentworth. On a weekday basis, I try to maintain activity on our account, either posting LIT announcements or retweeting helpful material for faculty. To help with organization, I have utilized HootSuite to manage the account. Hootsuite is an online platform that allows you to schedule Tweets, follow hashtags (I like #HigherEd and #edtech!), view analytics, and manage multiple accounts if needed.

Please follow us at @LIT_at_WIT

Moving forward, I would like to start implementing daily hashtag themes like other WIT Twitter accounts have been doing. #MotivationMonday, #WITWednesday, #ThrowbackThursday are a few hashtag trends already in effect elsewhere in the college. Twitter can even be a great outlet to showcase faculty!

Twitter has also proved to be a great implementation for faculty for use in their classrooms. From quick announcements to helpful resources in retweets, Twitter is a great tool to connect to your students outside the classroom and LMS in a quick ‘n easy, instantaneous way. From Best practices and tips for Twitter in the higher-ed classroom:

College students have become used to instant communication. Many professors complain that technology has given their students short attention spans and poor study skills. Others bewail the end of civilization, as they see their students reading Facebook during class instead of taking notes.

In reality, students are adapting to a new information environment. The cues that guided young academics to new ideas a generation ago were subtle, steeped in unwritten formalities, and exclusionary. Today, the best students are using social networks, feeds, and blogs to forage for the information that matters to them. But others will inevitably take advantage of the social buffet to browse away from your course’s content.

What to do?

Try taking the reins, to meet your students at the information smorgasbord. Getting your students to interact with each other outside of class is one of the best ways to deepen their educational experience.

Source: http://johnhawks.net/weblog/topics/teaching/resources/twitter-best-practices-2012.html

So as faculty can connect to their students in this way, the LIT team would like to do the same for our faculty. In the near future, I would like to expand the LIT’s engagement with social media to platforms like Instagram, keeping up to date with snapshots of our events and daily life here at Wentworth.

If you have any suggestions or experiences with Twitter/social media in your classroom or you would like to learn more about social media here at Wentworth, starting a Twitter account, etc., please email us at lit@wit.edu.

And again, please follow us at @LIT_at_WIT for up-to-date announcements, upcoming events, and helpful resources for faculty!

Other Wentworth accounts:

@WentworthInst Doers. Makers. Innovators. Collaborators. Students @ Wentworth Institute of Technology.

@witproject40 ‏ #ChoosetoThrive w/ Project 40 this month by #FindingMeaning 

@WITadmissions Coming to YOU from the Wentworth Institute of Technology’s Admissions Office.

@WITPlanning The Planning and Construction Department is located in the Service Building

@WentworthCPCE At Wentworth Institute of Technology’s College of Professional and Continuing Education we help adults achieve their education and career objectives.

@WENTCIVILENG Department of #CivilEngineering at Wentworth Institute of Technology. RT’s are not endorsements.

@WentworthBkstr We are the Wentworth Bookstore, located in Beatty Hall. Your source for new, used & rental books and official Wentworth gifts & apparel.

@WITLibrary Tweets from the Wentworth Institute of Technology Library. Usually useful, frequently fun, occasionally alliterative. We’ll answer your questions, too.

@DTSatWIT ‏ Tech Spot is Wentworth’s Technology Help Desk.

@WentworthAlumni 

@wsgwit ‏ Your Voice, Our Mission… Student Government here to serve. Tweet or DM for questions, comments, and concerns about Wentworth!

@WIT_SSC The Student Service Center at Wentworth bringing you billing, financial aid, registrar & international info Instagram: WIT_SSC

@WITevents Wentworth Events Board

@WITLeopard The Center for Student Engagement. Contact us about student orgs, commuter programs, orientation, events, leadership, ticket sales and more at @WentworthInst

@WITswe Wentworth Institute of Technology’s Chapter of Society of Women Engineers

@SH101atWIT A health and wellness e-magazine for @WITCampusLife students. Actively promoting campus health & wellness!

@colleges_fenway Consortium of the 6 colleges in the Fenway Area. Download new Colleges of the Fenway app in any App Store! Your go to guide for everything COF!

@WeekendsatWIT Bringing fun free stuff to Wentworth, one weekend at a time. Follow us to get updates on our weekly events!

@Witwellness Wellness Education at Wentworth Institute of Technology is here for you!

@WITCoopsCareers Equip. Evolve. Excel. #WITSworking Wentworth Hall: First Floor.

@WITdiversity We are the Center for Diversity & Social Justice Programs @Wentworthinst | Stay up-to-date with all of our events! #WITDiversity

@WITNews  Wentworth is recognized for its focused academics, cooperative learning, innovation and entrepreneurship, collaboration and partnerships, and ideal location

Some of our supported software:

@Blackboard Education’s partner in change, helping learners, educators, institutions & companies thrive in today’s complex world. Tweet @blackboardhelp for support.

@blackboardhelp Supporting Blackboard software and clients. Contact us if you need assistance!

@echo360  We’re passionate about teaching and learning! 3M+ students love our active learning technology for a more collaborative, social and engaging college experience.

@Kaltura Kaltura’s Mission is to Deliver Video Technology that Powers Any Experience and Workflow. Our video solutions are in use by leading organizations worldwide.

@voicethread ‏ 

@lynda Learn the skills you need to achieve your full potential.

@iclicker iClicker makes presentations interactive with Q&A polling, elevating audience engagement.

@Turnitin Creating technology to improve student writing and empower original thinking.

@SafeAssign SafeAssign™ is a plagiarism prevention service, offered by Blackboard to its Blackboard Learning System Enterprise, Vista Enterprise and CE Enterprise clients.