Bb Grader Reaching End of Life – March 29, 2019

Bb Grader the iOS app for instructors that facilitated grading is reaching it end of life and will be unsupported as of March 29, 2019. The good news is that Blackboard has integrated the grading functionality into the Bb Instructor app.

While Bb Grader may still function after March 29th, any problems encountered will not be addressed by Blackboard support. If you are using Bb Grader, please install Bb Instructor and begin using that application for your grading.

 

Banner Grade Submit – Spring 2019

At the beginning of Summer term 2016 we introduced a new grading workflow that allowed instructors to submit grades from Blackboard directly to Banner. Our hope is that eventually we will no longer need the grade submission tool in LeopardWeb that is so painful to many instructors. As you are probably aware, this implementation has not been without problems but we’ve worked out most of the bugs in our previous workflows and responded to requests for a simpler process for those who choose to keep grades in a system other than Blackboard.

If you don’t use Blackboard for grades: simply bypass the Blackboard Grade Center and proceed to the Banner Grade Submit link under course tools in the Control Panel for your course.

Select Midterm or Final Grades. You should see a list of students appear. Next to each student’s name there will be a box for you to type in the letter grade that the student will receive. Enter all the student grades and click the Submit Grades button at the bottom of the page. You should see a message indicating successful submission and your grades are on their way to Banner.

NOTE: Occasionally we see instances where the list of students does not populate. Please let us know about this so we can continue to investigate with the vendor. A workaround that solves the problem is to create a group in the course and add all the students to the group. Selecting the group from the “Visible Groups” menu populates the student list.

If you use Blackboard to track and calculate grades: the process is easy.

  1. Set External Grade Column – this is the column in Blackboard that contains the grades you want to send to Banner:
Steps in setting External Grade

Setting External Grade for Banner Grade Submit

2. Send grades to Banner:

Steps to submit grades to Banner

Banner Grade Submit Workflow

Items to check:

  • External Grade should be set to score or percentage. (If you want students to see a letter grade when they view their grades in My Grades, either reset the display of the external grade after you submit grades or create a separate column to display the letter grades.)
  • Was your course copied? Check to make sure old schemas are not in your course. See instructions for cleaning up unused schemas.

NOTE: If you teach a graduate-level course you will need to manually adjust grades below a B- to F in accordance with the Wentworth Graduate Grade Schema. The Banner Grade Submit tool only recognizes one grade schema and we have selected the Undergraduate schema as the one which applies to the most courses.

LIT is happy to help you with this process, stop by Annex Central 205, email lit@wit.edu, or call 617-989-5428.

For those that want to get a head start, we’ve prepared Full Illustrated instructions for using Banner Grade Submit.. In addition, here’s a Video showing how to submit grades with Banner Grade Submit.  Also visit a blog summarizing grade submission.

Click RESTART: Reframe the Crtl-Alt-Del Mindset

broken computer screen“I’m not tech savvy.”

“I give up.”

“Technology hates me.”

“I hate technology.”


 

I often wonder if technology reflects back to us the energy we give it. Is the computer screen is really a mirror?

Perhaps the train was delayed this morning, jammed packed with commuters like a sardine can, and in the downpour of rain my umbrella breaks before I reach the office. Dunkin Donuts made my coffee wrong and I seemed to have left my phone charger at home. With a deep sigh, I toss the broken umbrella in the trash and slump into my desk chair, turning my attention to my laptop and the dimension of technology.

What ensues? Program crashes, spinning wheels, system errors, sound isn’t working, etc..etc. “Murphy’s Law!” I mutter, pounding the desk with a clenched fist. My pen subsequently rolls off to the floor.

Does this sound familiar? If we bring negativity and stress into our mouse clicking and typing, our patience dwindles, our angry fuses become shorter, and our computer knows it. 

So what can we do? Well, the easy stuff. Ctrl-alt-del, of course. Force quit. Give up. Close the laptop cover down. Blame the machine. Blame the coffee order.

What SHOULD we do? The simple stuff. Hit our own pause button. Hit restart. It’s not always easy but it can more than likely resolve a situation with a very simple solution. Troubleshooting is often not as difficult as we think. I have been supporting technology for 14 years and have been an avid tech nerd since I was a little one. Although I have a lot of experience, I often solve things by my own troubleshooting methods. I even solve software or hardware problems that I’ve never seen before. Most of the time, things are fixed with one easy click. This may be hard to believe, but on many occasions, by the time I walk over to the user asking for support their computer has magically fixed itself before I even press a button.

“Now it’s working. How did you do that?” Merely a coincidence? But why does it happen so often? Was it because I had empathy, patience, and confidence for both the user and machine?

Do things break when we’re happy and things are going well? Of course! But how we react and handle the situation having a positive mindset “preinstalled” will diffuse the situation with more ease.

I find that when users become so frustrated and stressed over an issue, the obvious answer in front of them becomes blurred until an outside perspective is able to point it out. I often find people give up or “ctrl-alt-del” their mindsets before even trying. It’s ok to feel this emotion but try to let it pass like an ocean wave. Eventually, with practice, these waves become less tidal like and more surfboard friendly. So, I encourage the pause, three deep breaths, the restart, the “what if..”. It isn’t easy but it can be simple. We just have to try. A mentor once told me, “What’s the difference between simple and easy? Simple requires effort.”

Simple Troubleshooting Suggestions:

  • Look for the obvious. Example: My sound isn’t working in my headphones?
    • Is the volume muted?
    • Are your headphones plugged in?
    • Is the sound set to correct source in system preferences?
  • Try to pinpoint the source of the problem by elimination:
    • Do your headphones work in something else like your cell phone? Yes? Then it’s not the headphones themselves.
    • Can you hear sound from the computer speakers if you unplug the headphones? Yes? Then maybe it’s the jack.
    • Can you hear sound in your headphones from something else like a YouTube video? Yes? Then it’s not the jack. Sounds like it’s the program.
  • Restart your machine. This often fixes more things than not.
  • Update your software and your operating system. Try to set a reminder to do this every 1-2 weeks. Think of it like brushing your teeth to prevent cavities.
  • Try a different browser: Webpage issues? Check with Chrome, Safari, and Firefox. It may be a browser related problem.
  • Google it. I find I am not alone when faced with a certain problem. The internet can provide to be a wonderful source for tech support issues.
  • Think the “what if it’s..” possibilities:
    • If you have time, challenge yourself. What else could be going wrong here? Did I forget something? Could it possibly be this? Try other ways.
  • All else fails? Call us at 617-989-4989, Email lit@wit.edu, or stop by Annex Central 205. You are never without support!

Keep the Calm:

When I work on my computer, I often have to multitask. What often seems to be 50 browser tabs open and 20 more emails I have to answer, stress levels can certainly increase. Here are some personal suggestions to keep the stress at bay:

  • Listen to ambient background noise as you work., For example:
    • https://coffitivity.com/
      • Coffitivity recreates the ambiance of a coffee cafe to boost your creativity and help you work better.
    • Relax Melodies App
      • Although designed for sleep, I find that listening to rain, wind, or whatever I customize it to can help blockout background noise and helps me to focus.
    • Lo-fi radio: beats to relax/study to
      • The latest craze in YouTube, Spotify, etc. is radio streams of lo-fi beats to study to. There are plenty out there! 
  • Search for meditation or breathing extensions on your browser:
    • Calm for Chrome
      • Stop mindless checking by taking a breath before you check! Facilitates alternative, productive ways to take a break.
    • Current
      • Catch a wave of calm with new tab pages serving mindfulness tips, breath visualizations and micro-meditations suited for the work day.
  • Take 5-minute breaks away from your desk.

I’m not perfect when it comes to technology either. I certainly can let it get the best of me when I’m having a bad day. However, being mindful of how I’m feeling and the affects it is giving me becomes more apparent the more I practice. When I learned that a simple pause and “restart” can make all the difference, I make sure to click that when I can. You can always, always.. restart your day.

image of desk with plant, colored pencils, chocolate, computer, phone, note pad, tea and button saying 'keep calm and carry on'

Creating the Active Classroom 101

Promoting an active classroom doesn’t require a lot of major changes to your current teaching style. What it does require is incorporating simple engagement techniques that get your students up, moving, and interacting with your classroom content. “Students generally have difficulty connecting abstract knowledge with real-life applications” (Glaser & Struss, 1967). Providing your students with opportunities to ground newly learned content into real-life applications helps retain and personalize the content.

Research shows that students learn best when thinking, reflecting, and sharing with their peers. Set up and organize your classroom in a way that facilitates small group work – pair students in groups of 2’s, 3’s, or 4’s during your lecture sections. Create a collegial and welcoming atmosphere that encourages discussion (Berry & Sharp, 1999; Nicol & Boyle, 2003).

Here are some methods that are quick and easy to implement in your classroom:

  1. Use Clickers in the classroom – A clicker is a device that allows students to anonymously select answers to poll question and provides the professor with statistics on how many students get the answer correct or wrong .Read more about clickers here.
  2. Conduct Think-Pair-Share sessions – At intervals in your lecture, ask students to individually reflect on a concept or idea that you just presented. Then have students work in pairs to share their ideas or thoughts. Have the pairs present to the whole the class their findings. Read more about Think-Pair-Share here.
  3. Conduct Affinity diagram activity – Use an affinity diagram activity when you want students to work together to organize, group, and find relationships among data, ideas, and issues.  Read more about affinity exercise here.
  4. Use the Socratic methodA simple technique where the professor does not give answers, but rather asks a series of guided, probing questions that students discuss to reason through the answer(s).Read more about the Socratic method here.

Video Content Migration

As a reminder, we are no longer using Kaltura or Echo 360 and have made the switch to Panopto’s video platform beginning the Fall 2018 term. Working closely with our new Enterprise Video vendor, all video files from Kaltura and Echo 360 systems were migrated to the new Panopto platform.

Contact LIT so we can help you access and use the Kaltura and Echo 360 videos we moved to Panopto in your courses moving forward. It is important that you contact LIT if you have video files you intend to use during the current Spring 2019 semester and beyond.  After the Summer 2 term in August, which will represent one calendar year since we migrated the content, all unclaimed video files will be moved to an “unclaimed property” folder and will be permanently deleted.

There are a few steps involved in setting up (provisioning) a course in Blackboard to use the video files that you have created and we would like to work with you so that you feel comfortable using the new video platform.

In the spirit of helping us to help you, we need to hear from you as soon as possible so that we can support you

Here’s a taste of what Panopto Enterprise Video Platform offers and a LIT Panopto support site to prompt some video ideas:

  • A secure environment for hosting and sharing your video content
  • Easy to use software for recording video content and live streaming
  • A unique search engine for finding any word mentioned in any video
  • Complete integration with Wentworth’s Learning Management System
  • Easy to use editing features
  • Create assignments for students to upload their own video submissions
  • Ability to caption videos
  • Adding quizzes, YouTube videos, PDFs, slides, etc. to the session
  • Integrates Discussions, Notes, and Bookmarks

Please drop by Annex Central 205, email us at lit@wit.edu, or call 617-989-5428 and we will be happy to assist.