Assumption College

Services - Services

 
Instructional Technology

December 2, 2010

Changes in Blackboard course site creation for Spring 2011
Filed under: Blackboard, Uncategorized — Lynn Cooke @ 11:14 am

As you may have already noticed, Blackboard sites have been created for Spring 2010 courses. Going forward we will automatically create sites in Blackboard for all courses offered. Currently we are using a manual batch process but as spring semester progresses we anticipate switching to an automated system which will pull the course listings from Datatel and generate the sites in Blackboard. Although a site is created for every course offered by the College, this does not mean that you have to use Blackboard for your courses. The decision to use Blackboard for any course remains with the instructor.

Combining Sections or Courses

If you have multiple sections of a course or cross-listed courses that you want to combine into a single site you can combine them using the Course Enrollment Merge tool. The instructions for merging course enrollments are posted on the Instructional Technology Blog. The direct link to the instructions is: http://www1.assumption.edu/blogs/support/wp-content/documents/CourseMergeTool.pdf

Removing Unused Sites from My Courses

The Course Enrollment Merge tool will make the course you are using as the combined course available, but make the other course sites unavailable. If you don’t want to see these unused sites in your list of courses in the My Courses module in Blackboard you can choose not to display them. The instructions for changing which courses appear under My Courses are also posted on the Instructional Technology Blog. The direct link to the instructions is: http://www1.assumption.edu/blogs/support/wp-content/documents/MyCoursesQG.pdf

Copying Content

In the past we have copied content from old courses to new, however, with the increased number of courses using Blackboard this has become unmanageable. Blackboard does have tools available to course instructors that permit copying content from one course to another. The course copy tool is one option but a somewhat better option seems to be the Export/Import tool set. The instructions for using the Export/Import tools are available on the Instructional Technology Blog. The direct link to the instructions is at: http://www1.assumption.edu/blogs/support/wp-content/documents/CourseExportImport.pdf

 Course Availability

Another change in procedures is in making courses available to students. In the past we made all Blackboard courses available on the first day of classes. Instructors who wanted their courses available sooner had to do so themselves. Because we are creating Blackboard sites for all courses and because instructors are not required to use Blackboard we will not know who is using Blackboard and who is not. Additionaly, some instructors using Blackboard want students to have access to their sites in advance of the semester and others want to wait until the first class (or later) for students to access the sites. To accommodate these varying needs we will no longer make courses available. Instructors can at any time after a site is created make their Blackboard sites available to students. Instructions for making course sites available are posted on the Instructional Technology Blog. The direct link to the instructions is: http://www1.assumption.edu/blogs/support/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/Bb9CourseAvailabilityQG.pdf

 Additional changes:

As we move forward with the integration of Blackboard with the Datatel system, we will be automating functions including creating course sites and enrollments. At present, we plan to implement the integration tools on the test system this spring. We will test the system and compare to the production system to determine whether the system is working properly. A number of instructors will be contacted to verify enrollments on the production system for comparison to the integration data on the test system. Our hope is that we will begin integration on the production system after registration for Fall 2011. As the project progresses we will provide updates on changes to procedures and timetables.

 

Currently, the process for adding students to courses for spring is to batch enroll. The first batch enrollment will take place the early the week of January 10th. In addition a second batch enrollment will occur after add/drop ends to pick up adds. Unfortunately the batch process does not remove students who drop the course. Removing students will be manual and we ask that instructors check their rosters in Blackboard after we process the second batch enrollment and remove students who have dropped. The instructions are posted on the Instructional Technology Blog. The direct link to the instructions is: http://www1.assumption.edu/blogs/support/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/addremove.pdf

 

If you have students who need to be added before the second enrollment update, you can add them using the instructions above (the instructions for removing students include instructions for adding as well). Alternatively, if you send students to IT, please tell them to bring proof of registration – a copy of their course schedule or a signed add/drop slip.

MS Word and Blackboard
Filed under: Uncategorized — Lynn Cooke @ 11:06 am

In the past I’ve often suggested, especially to students, that to avoid losing a long post to Blackboard that users compose content in Word and copy and paste to Blackboard. In the past this worked. The early versions of Blackboard did not have a text editor that formatted text, and this wasn’t much of a problem. However, current versions allow formatting of text and the hidden code in text copied from MS Word began causing problems. The most recent versions of Word have a new file format and use XML. XML is a markup language similar to HTML, the code of the web. Because of the similarities between XML and HTML the hidden code in Word text is often interpreted by browsers with varying results. Often the effects produced by this code make the text appear in a way that distorts the text or even makes it invisible.

To avoid problems users should take steps to avoid coping Word code into Blackboard. Granite State College’s Educational Technologists have posted a set of instructions that outline how to copy text from Word and remove the code that causes problems:

http://bbresources.granite.edu/techassist/bb9/pdfs/copy-paste-code.pdf