Learning Ventures

Archive for August, 2011

Online tests and tech support

Many faculty may have set up online quizzes or tests for their classes. It is critical to inform students that Firefox 3.6 or later is strongly recommended to take tests in Blackboard. If they do not have Firefox installed on their computer, instruct them to click this link http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/new/ to download the program. If they do not know what browser they are using, instruct them to click this link http://www.utdl.edu/utlv/Bb9BrowserCheck/innovation/blackboard/browsercheck.html to detect their browser.

Also students should not try to navigate away from the Blackboard website while taking a test. They can check out this blog entry for test taking tips http://wordpress.utoledo.edu/learningventures/2010/09/09/238/

It is recommended that a practice quiz be made available to students before taking a graded test so that they can detect any technical problems they might encounter and contact Learning Ventures for tech support.

TurningPoint Anywhere Tutorials

New to TurningPoint Anywhere? Take a look at these short tutorials that will walk you through the software. If you have any additional questions, please contact Taylor French-Lewis at taylor.frenchlewis@rockets.utoledo.edu or at 419-530-2149 to schedule an appointment with her.

Finding merged or cross-listed courses

Merged Courses: If a course is merged with another course requested by the course instructor, students will be populated into one course. However, only the master/primary course name will appear on the student’s and the instructor’s course list.  Therefore, students will only see the primary course listed on their course list, not the course they signed up.

A quick solution is to send out a message to your students via the “Send Email” tool in Blackboard or via MyUT portal to clarify this issue. Then you can add a banner on your course to show both course names. To do so please follow the instructions below:


In so doing a banner will be added to the course news page with both titles displayed. However, students will still see the primary course under the courses tab.

Manage Students in Groups: If you want to distinguish which students are from which class or session, you may use the Group tool to manage students in separate groups by the class or the session they registered. Once the groups are created, you can use the smart view in grade center to view students by the class or session they registered.

To create groups please visit our training guide http://www.utoledo.edu/dl/faculty/Bb9/Collaboration/groupstool.htm

Announcements notification by email is NOT working

Announcements notification by email is NOT working. When you post an announcement on your course site students enrolled in the class will not receive an email from you. They will need to log onto the course to view the announcement. Academic Support has filed a bug report/service ticket with Blackboard. We will keep you posted regarding this issue via our blog.

My course menu disappeared. What is the problem?

If a student or the instructor turns off the left course menu in one course, the menu is automatically turned off in other courses. To show the course menu, click on the show menu button (arrowhead) as illustrated in the image below.


If a student or the course instructor clicks the menu heading the menu will collapse. To show the menu, click the menu heading again to expand it as illustrated in the image below.


Blackboard 9 (and how to go back to Luminus Course Tools)

Our extension of Blackboard 9 to all courses at UT was designed to make the process of getting students and faculty into the system much easier than it was in the past. For the last ten years, faculty have had to request a Blackboard site for their courses, leading to some delays and confusion about who to call and how to get started. This is no longer the case.

The decision to implement Blackboard for all courses followed weeks of discussion in Learning Ventures and we decided that the benefits outweighed any confusion the move might cause. Among the benefits:

  • We now have Blackboard IM, a powerful chat software that allows students and faculty to engage in live video, text, and voice chat, to share a screen, and to share a virtual whiteboard. Faculty can even hold virtual “office hours,” with a queue and the ability to invite students into a group discussion.
  • The new Blackboard system provides new tools that go beyond what is available in the Luminus course tools. For example, a blog feature allows students to post short essays and then open those essays to peer assessment, all of which can be graded with the grades recorded automatically in the online gradebook.
  • All the features of the Luminus course tools are available in Blackboard and they are relatively easy to use. Email, announcements, content folders, and discussion boards are all features of Blackboard and all easily incorporated into a simple Blackboard layout.

If, however, you have already populated your Luminus course tools with course materials and do not have time to move them, or if you simply do not have the time at this point to acquaint yourself with Blackboard, then you will want to go to the MyUT portal and repair the link and restore student access to the Luminus course site. Here’s how to do that. But if you do change the link, please send a quick note to Lance Stoll to report that you are changing to Luminus. This will ensure that your preferences are preserved as we synchronize Blackboard and Banner throughout the semester:

  1. Log in to MyUT and go to “My Courses” in the faculty tab.
  2. Find the course you want to edit and click the “slash” next to the course name. (The “slash” is in the little box to the left of the course name).
  3. This is the course list as it appears in MyUT

    This is the course list as it appears in MyUT

  4. Click on “Luminus Platform” and then go to the bottom of the page and “Save Changes”
  5. Buttons you can use to change the link in MyCourses

    Buttons you can use to change the link in MyCourses

You and your students will now be taken to the Luminus course tools instead of Blackboard.

Issues with PDF files on a Mac

“I USE A MAC AND I GET AN ERROR WHEN OPENING A PDF FILE”: Over the last week, LV support has encountered issues from students and faculty who have been using Mac computers that have reported not being able to open PDF files that are embedded in Websites. This problem appears to be a problem between Apple and Adobe software, and is not limited to just Blackboard. As an official fix may not be available immediately, faculty can employ a workaround to ensure that students are able to view important course files in Blackboard.

SOLUTION: The problem only occurs when PDF links are set to open in the same browser window or added as files in Learning Modules. The workaround is to add the files as items  instead of files, and set the files to open in a new window.

If it stills does not work students will need to install a third-party PDF plugin from http://www.schubert-it.com/pluginpdf   This is recommended by the Blackboard Learn user community.  Restart the web browser and log onto the course once installed.

If you need assistance, please contact UTLV  or contact your instructional designer or the helpdesk at 419-530-8835.@utoledo.edu

Blackboard 9 in ALL UT Courses

One of the more important changes this summer involves the presence of a Blackboard site for every course at the University of Toledo. Faculty will no longer be asked to request a Blackboard site, saving us all time and worry at a busy time of the semester.

There are a few things to be aware of:

  • The Luminus Portal is still active and available to all faculty who prefer a few simple folders and rudimentary discussion board and announcement tools. Though Blackboard has the identical features (and more), and is relatively easy to use if you are only using a few tools, and though Blackboard’s additional features can be extremely useful (testing, gradebook, IM and virtual office hours, etc.), some faculty may wish to stay with the Luminus portal. If you do not wish to use Blackboard, pleaseclick here to send us a message and we’ll create an “exception” that will undo the Blackboard link. (Learning Ventures does not support courses taught in the Luminus course tools and we did not “migrate” any courses from Luminus to Blackboard as part of this change).
  • WebCT is no longer active. We began the transition from WebCT in March of 2010 and pulled the plug on WebCT after the second summer session. Learning Ventures has helped faculty move from WebCT to Blackboard. If you have an old course from WebCT and would like to have it adapted to Blackboard, send a note to UTLV@utoledo.edu with the course number and the semester you taught it. We’ll try to get it ready ASAP. Please be aware that LV’s instructional designers are overloaded at the moment and new requests may not be addressed right away.
  • Questions and concerns about Blackboard can be addressed to Learning Ventures. We are keeping track of frequently asked questions and uploading tutorials as necessary. Check our web site for more information.

Exciting news for Turning Technologies response devices or clickers users

A building block (Registration Block in BB9) has been successfully installed on Blackboard last week.  This building block allows you to make clicker registration available to your students in your course site. Follow the instructions below to make the registration tool available to your students.



Turning Technologies has an intern right here on campus to answer all your questions, solve your problems, and help you use clickers to help promote responsive, active learning in all your courses. Taylor French-Lewis is a sophomore Communications and Marketing student and works directly with Turning Technologies to assist you with your existing clicker assisted courses or to help you turn a course into a clicker-assisted course. Located in the Memorial Field House office 3040D, Taylor is available to assist you Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:00 pm until 5:00 pm, Wednesdays from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm and by appointment on Mondays and Fridays. Email taylor.frenchlewis@rockets.utoledo.edu  for immediate assistance or to schedule an appointment. Or you can stop in the office, or call 419-530-2149.

Timed Assessments in Bb9

Blackboard’s Learning Management System is relatively new and is being updated on a regular basis to better accommodate users. Our Academic Support team is responsible for monitoring available updates and installing them while minimizing interruptions to our services. The most recent update was installed on Monday (8/15/2011) morning from 12:30 to 7:30am. This update brought us several features that will make online learning more engaging, dependable, and frustration-free. Here are a few of the new features:

  • Timed Assessments
    If you’ve ever had a student complain about timed exams, you’ll find changes to the “Timed Assessments” to be valuable. Attempt information for timed assessments includes details on how much time the student spent on the attempt versus how much time was allotted. Because instructors have access to that information, they can now choose to make the timed assessment save and submit automatically when the timer expires, or to allow the assessment to continue beyond the allotted time.

To apply “Auto-Submit” to your current tests please do the following to update your test options:


  • Interactive Rubrics

Rubrics are a valuable tool for assessment. When delivered to a student prior to an assignment being due, they can help the student understand expectations, and when used in grading, they can help the assessment become a learning tool. In Blackboard, instructors can assign weights to categories, allowing the same rubric to be used across multiple items with different possible points. Rubrics can be imported and exported for use across courses.

Instructors can associate rubrics when creating gradable content items, including Blogs, Journals, Wikis, Discussion Boards, Assignments, and short-answer, file-response, or essay questions in tests and pools. Rubrics can be associated with multiple items, and all associations can be viewed from the Rubric tool. Multiple rubrics can be associated with an item. The rubrics can be visible to students at any time, or only after grading has been completed.

Instructors can interact with any associated rubric for grading in a grid or list view, and Feedback can be typed for each criteria as well as the entire assessment. Grades calculated using rubrics can be overridden. When a rubric has been used for grading, a report is available to view the results of all content graded with that rubric.

  • Automatic Student Access to Linked Files

From now on, links to files within courses do not rely on students having read permissions. If a file is linked in a course students enrolled in that course will be able to see it. They will not need explicit read permission.

  • McGraw-Hill Connect and Create Integration
    Instructors will benefit from one-stop teaching and learning through the integration of McGraw-Hill Connect and Create directly within Blackboard Learn. This combination of content and learning tools is easy to use and provides instructors one destination for creating and accessing dynamic online course materials.
    McGraw-Hill’s solutions, Connect and Create, are now integrated and available directly within Blackboard Learn. Customizable, dynamic educational content and tools from McGraw-Hill enhance and enrich teaching and learning experience. Single sign-on and Grade Center synchronization deliver centralized, immediate access to course content and grades. Compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) ensures that student privacy is protected. (Blackboard Learn Release Notes)