Blackboard Upgrade

In August we will be upgrading Blackboard to the Q4 2018 release. This upgrade brings mostly administrative, security, and bug fixes to the system. Only two features of note will change or be introduced, the integration of cloud storage has been added and the Bb Instructor app will permit annotation of assignments in the inline grading workflow. Users will be able to select documents from cloud storage, Google docs and OneDrive, from the file selector to add files to content items and assignments. Both students and faculty will have this option available in the new version. With this upgrade, the ability to annotate documents submitted for assignments will be available in the in-line grading workflow in Bb Instructor. In the earlier version, instructors could assign a grade but not annotate.

Just as our move to SSO was not smooth sailing, our Blackboard upgrade in August is proving to be challenging as well. In the past, we have been able to skip versions of Blackboard during the upgrade cycle. Given that there is not a lot of change in the product (the company is focusing much of its development effort on their SaaS, Software as a Service, product to add features to equal those available with the hosted version), we were planning on skipping the Q4 2018 version and moving to the Q2 2019 version. As we planned for testing Blackboard informed us that in order to move to Q2 2019 we had to upgrade to Q4 2018 as a step in the process.

If the added step only added a small amount of time, we might have considered that path. Unfortunately, every Blackboard upgrade in our hosted environment takes a minimum of 12 hours. To do two back to back upgrades would mean a minimum of 24 hours downtime. Add to that the requirement that the servers on which our system is hosted need to have an operating system upgrade that will add 4 hours to the process and we have much more downtime than anticipated during a brief window between terms. We can’t do this to our community. Too many instructors need the period between terms to update content in their courses or to upload and organize materials for new courses. Taking the system down for 28 hours during this critical time was not an option. Instead, we will upgrade to the 4Q 2018 version in August and wait until winter break to upgrade to the 2Q 2019 version.

As we move forward to select a new LMS, selecting a SaaS product which will not require downtime for upgrades will be critical.

Blackboard now uses SSO – but not without a few hiccups!

On May 4th we changed the authentication for Blackboard to use Single Sign On (SSO) to improve the user experience. Initial testing did not reveal any problems but as sometimes happens with technology, we found some as soon as we went live. One issue, a missed configuration setting was quickly identified and corrected. A second issue took longer to identify and correct but will also require some action on the part of end users.

If you use the mobile apps, Blackboard and Bb Instructor, and you have selected the “stay logged in” feature, you will see a failed login attempt when you try to access Blackboard.

To clear the error and log into Blackboard, you need to reselect the institution and reselect Wentworth Institute of Technology. Reselecting the institution refreshes the settings for authentication and will correctly redirect the app for authentication. 

To fix error in mobile app, reselect Wentworth Institute of Technology as the institution.

The new authentication prompts users to click on the Web Login button. This action will open a browser window for Office365 authentication on you mobile device. Once you log in, you will be returned to the Blackboard app.

Although there were hiccups, we hope users find SSO for Blackboard to be an improvement in their overall experience.

LIT now offers academic-focused video services to support teaching and learning

LIT is pleased to announce the addition of academic-focused professional video services to support teaching and learning for online, hybrid and traditional courses at the institution.

We have recently purchased high-end video equipment including: a Sony NX100 NXCAM professional  camcorder, Sennheiser wireless microphones and lighting equipment to enhance the overall quality of the materials that we produce for your courses.


As a pilot project, we worked closely with the Mechanical Engineering department to produce a series of lab safety videos with Professor Peter Rourke.

image of Professor Peter Rourke in front of the Vertical Milling Machine

image of Professor Peter Rourke in front of the Vertical Milling Machine

We are looking to expand this service and would like to reach out to individuals and departments who are interested in using video in creative and compelling ways to support and enhance the teaching and learning mission at Wentworth.

The LIT academic-focused video service is different from Special event recordings, and Faculty Speaker Series recordings that are produced by our friends and colleagues in Media Services, a unit of the Division of Technology Services.

Please contact LIT at to learn more about our academic-focused video services to support teaching and learning, and set up a consultation with an Instructional Designer.


Creating the Active Classroom 201

Last month our “Creating the Active Classroom 101” blog addressed some easy methods faculty could implement into your class with minimal disruption to your current teaching style.

This month LIT would like to share more active classroom methods that build on last month’s 101.

To facilitate student involvement, reflection, interaction, and enjoyment in the learning process, active learning may hold the greatest promise for meeting the needs of students in today’s multicultural classrooms. We know that not all students learn in the same way. Faculty who consistently use different active learning strategies have a better chance of not only matching students’ learning style preferences, but also strengthens those style of which students are weak (Guild & Garger, 1985).

Let’s look at a few examples:

Ask the Winner – Ask students to silently solve a problem on the board. After revealing the answer, instruct those who got it right to raise their hands (and keep them raised); then, all other students are to talk to someone with a raised hand to better understand the question and how to solve it next time.

Process Analysis – Students track the steps they take to finish an assignment and comment on their approaches to it.

Empty Outlines – Distribute a partially completed outline of today’s lecture and ask students to fill it in. Useful at start or at end of class.

Punctuated Lectures – Ask student to perform five steps: listen, stop, reflect, write, give feedback. Students become self-monitoring listeners.

|  Kevin Yee | | Last updated 3/10/2019 Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

Celebrating Faculty Showcase 2019!






OnMarch 14th Wentworth celebrated accomplishments of faculty including: teaching, scholarship, professorships, mini-grants, EPIC learning, sabbaticals, and creative works. Over 70 attendees gathered to explore new ideas and possibilities, engage their curiosity, and converse with colleagues. Check out the Photo Gallery and Showcase Presentations:

  1. RAMP, Wentworth’s Pre-College Bridge Program – Eric Miller
  2. SummerFAB: High School Architecture Program – Lora Kim, Carol Burns
  3. Teaching and Learning in the Active Classroom – Mami Wentworth, Mel Henriksen
  4. Undergraduate International Advising for Retention in Higher Education – Faith Litchock-Morellato
  5. A Triple Star System Discovered Using Principles of Relativity – Ben Placek
  6. Modeling Neutron Stars – Extreme Physics, Mathematics, and Computer Programming – William Spinella
  7. Cognitive Ambidexterity – Michael Mozill
  8. Bistline Grant Highlights – Cristina Cosma
  9. ePortfolio Program Implementation – Cindy Stevens
  10. Learning Lightboard – Nasser Yari
  11. Quiz Retake for Study Habit Insights and Improvements – Aaron Carpenter, Jim McCusker
  12. Figure and Caption – Visual Based Assessment of Lab – Joe Martel-Foley
  13. Following the Path of Cezanne and Zola in Aix en Provence – Gloria Monaghan
  14. Student-Designed Women’s History Videos for the Massachusetts Historical Society – Allison Lange
  15. Blue Line Extension: The Continuing Evolution via Student – Jim Lambrechts
  16. How to Blend International Business, Geography, and Politics in Improving Students’ knowledge and interests – Hossein Noorian
  17. Self-Publishing Your Book – Bruce Decker
  18. First-Party Success or First-Party Failure? A case study on audience perceptions of the Nintendo Brand during the Wii U’s PLC – Ronen Shay
  19. Balancing the Three Pillars: Teaching Web Analytics through Software, Theory, and Service-Based Learning – Ronen Shay
  20. Engineering Forensics – Failure Analysis & Prevention – Ted Greene
  21. From Civitas to City: Understanding Urbanism through the Roman City Project – Jody Gordon
  22. Standards Based Mastery Grading 2.0 – Emma Smith Zbarsky
  23. Transactive energy in micro-grid solar network using smart outlets and blockchain technologies – Charlie Pham, Memo Ergezer, Afsaneh Ghavavati
  24. Integrating Service Learning into Technical & Professional Communication – Juval Racelis
  25. The Psychology of Place — Phyllis Wentworth
  26. Designing course term projects based on agile methodology – Charlie Pham
  27. Contemporary Immigration and Victimization: applications of criminological theories on the immigration and crime nexus – Allen Wong
  28. Oral History as Public History and Service Learning – Ella Howard
  29. Initial experience with enhanced digital teaching tools – Dave Rosenberg
  30. Stopping Sight Distance Analysis Under Connected Vehicle Environment – Tugba Arsava, Mehmet Ergezer
  31. $1 Million Cyber Range on $0 Budget – Rick Trilling
  32. Teaching CM Students through Research and Innovation: The Design & Development of a Rolling Safety Station (ROSS) – Todd Johnson
  33. 10 Principles of Good Design – Letter Press Poster – Carlos Villamil
  34. Column Test Device: Design and Built in WIT – Hadi Kazemiroodsari with students
  35. Effectiveness of short lecture videos – Masoud Olia
  36. Using the iPad in the classroom for design and more! – Derek Cascio
  37. Research to Teaching – Robert Cowherd
  38. Development of Construction Management Elective Course with Service Learning Component – Monica Snow
  39. The Development of Dynamic Web and Graphics for Spatially Oriented Homework Questions – Doug Dow
  40. MATE ROV Competition – An Overview of Design Progress – Aaron Carpenter, Jim McCusker Peter Rourke
  41. From teacher-directed to self-directed learning – Mike Stacey
  42. Traffic Study for Service Learning – Anuja Kamat, Tugba Arsava
  43. Concrete Canoe: Light Weight Concrete – Anuja Kamat with students