Don’t Let the Weather Disrupt Your Course!

Unexpected events can disrupt precious class time. With a little preparation, you can keep the continuity of learning moving:

  • post course content on Blackboard Learn
  • use various discussion options to engage students in dialogue (discussion forums, VoiceThread)
  • create short content videos to deliver content whether it’s narrating and annotating slides or problem solving using Panopto or the Lightboard
  • hold virtual office hours or group problem solving sessions using GotoMeeting or Zoom
  • hold a virtual real-time class using GotoMeeting, GotoTraining, or Zoom

For a course consult with an instructional designer, stop by LIT in Beatty 318, email, or call 617-989-5428.

What’s Your Course Accessibility Score?

Starting December 17th, 2019 your Blackboard Learn courses received the gift of Ally, a tool that gauges content accessibility and provides guidance and tips to make lasting improvements. Use self-help resources  on, attend LIT workshops or drop into Beatty 318 for more information.

Can Universal Design for Learning (UDL) reduce your course pain points? UDL is a sound educational practice demonstrated to move the needle on student persistence, satisfaction, and retention by reducing barriers of learning for everyone, especially reaching mobile learners through anytime, anywhere interactions.

Alternative formats files can be downloaded: tagged PDF, HTML, ePub, Electronic Braille, and Audio

Student’s Get: multiple formats to access content uploaded to their courses to make it easier to use content on mobile devices in tagged PDF, HTML, ePub, audio and electronic braille formats.




Faculty Get: Only faculty see at-a-glance scores that show how accessible uploaded files are with tips on how to make them even better (PDF, Word, PowerPoint, OpenOffice/LibreOffice, uploaded HTML).

Visual color dials indicating low, medium, high, and perfect Ally accessibility scores






Course Accessibility Report

Faculty can add a course tool link to view their Course Accessibility Report.

depiction of Ally course accessibility dashboard

Rethinking the Way College Students are Taught

Image result for teaching styles

Learners often express preferences about how they would like to receive information – by reading, hearing or doing – and these are often referred to as ‘learning styles’. Many teachers believe that assessing learning styles and teaching to learners’ preferences will improve learning.

While your students may have a preference, they also use different styles depending on the type of content being taught. For example, if you are teaching an engineering course that requires diagrams and visuals, student adapt their style to use their visual skills, because this makes the most sense and the best way to learn the content. However, students may need additional content using their preferred learning style to reinforce and/or drive home the new knowledge – reading – hands on activities – opportunities to reflect and have discussions with their peers. These teaching strategies provide additional support for your students.

By using a more student-centered approach to your teaching, students are encouraged to be more independent, and have more autonomy over their learning. Student engagement provides an environment which enables them to focus on their learning style and adapt to new knowledge that works for them.

Read More: Rethinking the Way College Students are Taught

Post Course Copy House Cleaning Tips

Reminder: Once you’ve copied a past course into the current term, while most of your prep work is done, you are not quite finished. There are some important housekeeping items to remember:

    1. Check Content and assessment items and revise/replace them as needed. Make sure content is in the appropriate location. Consult your department for any specific requirements.
    2. Run the Date Management tool, correct due dates, and release dates associated with items. Documentation for Date Management
    3. Use Link Checker tool to Check all External Links Documentation for Link Checker
    4. Check all links embedded in content items – Link Checker does not check these links.
    5. Check YouTube and other Mashup Content, is the media still available? Choose replacements as needed. Check other third-party content like Atomic Learning and Lynda/Linkedin Learning videos, too. As we refine the academic technology toolkit, some tools may be replaced and content will also need to be replaced.
    6. Grade Center Clean-Up – Remove (don’t just hide) any unneeded columns (from quizzes/tests/assignments that have been removed) and make sure grade calculations include the correct columns/categories and weighting. If you are adding assignments, make sure the grades calculate properly. CPCE courses are based on 1000 points. Added assignments can inflate this value.
    7. Remove any grading Schemas not in use. Wentworth changed its undergraduate grade schema starting in Fall 2018. If you’ve copied your course, you may have copies of the older schema that can impact how grades are displayed in your course.
    8. Check to make sure settings on Discussion Forum are appropriate for your course and allow students to create new threads. We discourage allowing students to delete their own posts because most online and hybrid courses require students to reply to other students’ posts and deleting posts with replies could impact the grades of other students.

This information is available as a pdf.

Follow these steps and you’ll be off to a good start of the semester.

Exam Security – LockDown Browser Available

Do you use the testing system in Blackboard? Are you looking for a way to prevent students from browsing websites or using other applications during a Blackboard test/quiz? If so, we have a tool for your students. LockDown Browser is a special application that runs on a student’s computer that locks them into a Blackboard test. The student can’t browse other websites, other parts of Blackboard, or use other applications on their computer. They can’t print the exam or copy and paste the questions into email to send to other students.

How do you get this wonder for your course? It’s already in your course. We have added this tool in Blackboard and it is available to instructors in the control panel. After you create your test/quiz using the regular Blackboard tools, you will deploy the test/quiz as usual. Up to this point there is no change. To use LockDown Browser, you navigate to the Course Tools section. There you will find a link for “Respondus LockDown Browser.”

LockDownBrowser Link on Blackboard Control Panel

LockDownBrowser Link on Blackboard Control Panel

Clicking on the link brings you to an about Lockdown Browser page with a video introducing LockDown Browser and a companion product, Respondus Monitor (which Wentworth does not currently license). Click on the Continue to LockDown Browse button to continue setting up a test to use LockDown Browser.

LockDown Browser Button

Once on the LockDown Browser page you can open the settings for any test and indicate whether students will be required to use LockDown Browser to access the test.

Menu to LockDown Browse Settings in Blackboard

Accessing LockDown Browse Settings in Blackboard

On the settings page, you select the option to require LockDown Browser and any options that you want.

LockDown Browser - All settings

LockDown Browser – All settings

On the settings page, you can select LockDown Browser as a requirement and allow access to some tools that might be needed for the exam – such as a calculator.
Click Save + Close when done and you have made LockDown Browser a requirement for your exam.

But Wait, there’s more… Before having students take their first test with LockDown Browser, you should plan on having students download, install and test the set-up using a practice test. LIT/TechSpot can come to class to troubleshoot any problems in advance of any real tests so that instructors and students can be confident the system will work.

During the fall term we piloted LockDown Browser with a few courses with success.  LIT wants to assist any other instructors interested in using this product to administer exams. There are specific best practices around testing with LockDown Browser and we’d like to help you with your first experiences to make them as problem free as possible.

If you are interested in using LockDown Browser with your course, please contact LIT at and we’ll be happy to schedule a consultation.