Posts Tagged ‘Transition’
After consulting with faculty and assessing our options last spring, Learning Ventures began the transition from WebCT to Blackboard (Bb) 9 in March of 2010. If you are still using WebCT for online or web-assisted teaching, the time to switch is now.
The GOOD news is Bb 9 has some great tools for engaging students online:
- The Blog (web log) tool is a great way to encourage the development of an online community.
- The Discussion Board is easier to grade and easier to track student posts and replies.
- The Journal tool offers a private way to communicate with your students while tracking their individual reflections.
- The Wiki tool allows a group of students to collaborate on a collective document.
- The SafeAssign tool helps students cite their writing properly.
- The Assignment drop box allows you to submit multiple documents at once.
- You can drag and drop files to the course.
Bb 9 is a very different experience for the faculty and the instructional designer; therefore, you will need time and assistance to create a maximally learning-centered experience for your students. Learning Ventures offers extensive, hands-on support for faculty who use Bb 9. In addition to our regularly scheduled workshops (schedule available here: https://utdl.edu/DL_training), we invite your department or program to schedule an instructional session at your convenience.
To get more information about Bb 9, or to make an important connection with an instructional designer, contact LV:
For more updates on the transition, follow us on Twitter (@UTLV) and check our blog (feed available on the “Teaching” pane in the UT Portal. Also: http://wordpress.utoledo.edu/learningventures).
Students and faculty are reporting problems with the quiz function in Blackboard 9.1. We introduced a “patch” that we think will take care of many of the issues, so if you’ve had trouble with a quiz in the last few days, consider trying it again now. However, there are a number of rules that we strongly recommend you ask your students to follow. You can publicize these rules on your course site or send students to this post.
We recommend that all BB9.1 users use the Firefox browser 3.6 (free download) when taking tests rather than Internet Explorer, Safari or other browsers. Some browsers are only “compatible” but not “certified” for use with some operating systems. You can check the optimal combination of browser and operating system at Blackboard’s help site. If a student has an operating system with no corresponding certified browser, the student should use a UT computer or the “Virtual Lab.”
Before starting your quiz or test, it is important to follow a few guidelines to better ensure that you will not experience technical problems that might cause your assessment to “lock.”
- Close all windows on the computer and then launch a new window to login to the learning management system.
- Close other applications before taking the quiz/test (including chat programs).
- If there is a specific start time for the test, login 10-15 minutes early to test the connection.
- After opening the test, scroll to the bottom of the page to be sure the save and submit buttons are available.
- Only click “Save and Submit” AFTER you have completed the exam.
- Do not use any of the browser navigation buttons (i.e. Back, Forward, Home, etc.) during the quiz/test. Only use the buttons in the quiz itself.
- Do not leave the assessment page without completing the assessment and clicking the “Save and Submit” button at the end (if it is a forced completion test).
- Do not click the Refresh or Reload buttons in your browser while taking the quiz/test.
- No other browser windows or applications should be running on your computer while taking a quiz/test. Shut everything else down before you start.
- Do not click on buttons in the Blackboard navigation while taking a quiz/test.
- If you are only able to answer one question at a time (questions present themselves on separate pages), make sure you only single-click the “Next” button to move forward.
It is recommended you take a practice test on your course site or the practice test available on LV’s “Guide to UT Online Learning” or “A Web Assisted Guide to UT Online Learning.” Be sure to use the computer that you will use to take tests.
Many of these rules apply to other kinds of “secure” web sites and are worth remembering in any event. Please contact UTLV if you have any questions or concerns about the assessment tool in BB9.1 or if you would like help with online exams.
(Tips reprinted with permission from Cape Fear CC).
If imported content from WebCT appears for instructors but not students and students get messages like “File Not Found” or “You Do Not Have Permission To Access This File” etc, then we suggest you take the following steps, and that you suggest two additional steps to your students:
- In the “Control Panel” at the bottom left of the left-pane menu, click on Files.
- Click on the course number (i.e. the “Alphanumeric.” For example, MLS 4600_5600 (since the course is cross-listed as a 4k and 5k course).
- Then, in the window labeled “Course Content:…”, click on the the Contextual Menu to the right of the WebCT imported content folder (it will say “imported content”) and select Permissions. (The “contextual menu” looks like a chevron or a double-arrow pointing downward).
- Click the Add Course User List button near the top of the screen. The button has white writing with a blue background.
- Click the check box to the left of All Course Users and click the Submit button to secure your changes.
Presto, bingo…all course users (including students) should now be able to see content imported from WebCT. If you’d like to see this actually done with a little narration from me (BP) and our senior designer, Dr. Peter You, follow this link to a screen capture: http://screencast.com/t/MTM1Mzky
If students still have problems and cannot see course content, ask them to “clear the cache” in their web browsers. Once they do, the page will load appropriately.
We ask that you make a final decision concerning your choice of server–Blackboard 9.1 or WebCT 4.1–no later than NOON on Saturday, August 21, 2010.
Learning Ventures is attempting to process many requests to adopt Blackboard 9.1. However, technical issues involving the integration between Banner (which contains enrollment data) and Blackboard (in which students are enrolled), as well as the sheer volume of requests, are slowing our processing. If you are already teaching a web-assisted or online course and would like to use Blackboard, please keep reading. If you have not yet asked for a web-assisted course and would like to do so, please request a web assisted course.
Below are four very important pieces of information if you are using Blackboard for your online or web-assisted course. ALL of this information and more is available on the Learning Ventures blog: http://wordpress.utoledo.edu/learningventures). To get our updates, check the “Faculty” tab in the portal for the Learning Ventures window, or better yet, include our RSS feed (http://wordpress.utoledo.edu/learningventures/feed/) in your email program or RSS feed reader. Posts on the LV site are linked to keywords or “tags” and the site is easily searched for the topic of interest to you.
Faculty and students will have access to both WebCT (Blackboard 4.1) and Blackboard 9.1 beginning this weekend (Saturday or Sunday, August 21 or 22). We ask that you make a final decision concerning your choice of server no later than NOON on Saturday. This is for the sake of your students so that logging on is easy and for the sake of our organization so that we can effectively assist faculty teaching online.
If you’ve been keeping up with our transition plans, you know that we are loading ALL courses onto both our old WebCT server and our new Blackboard 9.1 server. Our intention is to have every unused site contain a link to the site being used for instruction so that students cannot get lost. But we will need to know which site you are using in order to do this. You should have notified Lansing Stoll if you want to use Blackboard 9.1. Otherwise, the “default” is to WebCT. If you have notified Lance and are not yet being directed automatically to the correct server, please have patience: we are processing hundreds of requests and need time to fulfill them all.
If you are using Blackboard 9.1 and want to help prevent confusion, you can advise students to access the appropriate server. Access can be achieved in any of the following three ways:
1. Via “My Courses” on the Portal. BUT: To use this option, you will have to manually change the link directing students to the Blackboard server. To do this:
- Go to “My Courses” and look at your schedule
- Next to each course you will see a red “Edit” button
- Click the red “Edit” button.
- You will get to a window called “Set Course Homepage.” It will allow you to select the “default” homepage for your course.
- Click “WebCT-Fall”
In the box marked “URL:”, enter the following values:
If you intend to use WebCT, leave it unchanged! WebCT is the “default” server.
If you intend to use Blackboard instead of WebCT, enter: http://blackboard.utdl.edu
- Click “Save Changes”
- You will be returned to the “My Courses” page where you can check the link. Once it is updated, the link will take you and your students to the appropriate server.
2. Via the UT Learning Ventures web page.
- Go to www.utoledo.edu/dl
- Just below the banner, you will see a “dropdown” menu.
- Choose the correct system from the dropdown menu and click “go”
3. Direct Link:
- If your course is in WebCT in the fall, give students this link (in an email or on paper): https://utwebct.utdl.edu:2153.
- If your course is in Blackboard in the fall, give students this link: https://blackboard.utdl.edu.
In order to avoid frustration and to accommodate the transition to our new system, Learning Ventures decided to give faculty a choice between the old and the new. Therefore, if you are teaching a web-assisted or fully online course this fall, you will have access to a course site in both Blackboard CE 4.1 (aka WebCT 4.1)and Blackboard 9.1. Here’s how to move ahead if you’d like to teach with the new system:
If you are a faculty member and you would like to use Bb 9.1 for fall, please do the following:
1. Contact Lance Stoll (firstname.lastname@example.org ) and ask him to code your course as Bb 9.1 so that your students can log into your course via the myUT portal.
2. If you would like to use a WebCT backup from a previous term, contact UTLV@utoledo.edu or if you already work with an instructional designer, contact that designer directly. In your message, indicate the course number, section number, and semester of the backup you would like to use. You may also build your course from scratch.
3. Before Friday, August 20, email your students via the myUT portal and tell them that you will be using Bb 9.1 for fall (see the attached file).
4. To learn more about Bb 9.1 features and tools, attend our workshops or review our online guides. All training sessions and workshops will be “BB9.1” oriented, though we will continue to offer online resources and staff assistance in WebCT.
5. If you have any questions, contact UTLV@utoledo.edu, call LV Support (530-8835), or drop us a message through the chat window on our main page (utoledo.edu/dl). ;
Once you’ve taken the plunge into BB9.1 (and there are many advantages to doing this), UTLV will do the following:
· Post a message in the course site that you will not be using (either Bb 9.1 or WebCT). This message will direct students to the correct login screen.
· Load students into the Guide to UT Online Learning approximately two weeks before the start of the term.
· Load students into both WebCT and Blackboard sites on Friday, August 20.
· Provide Bb 9.1 workshops for students in FH 2010.
Please contact LV if you have any questions, and check back often for updates and suggestions. This site is searchable, so if you click on the appropriate “tag” or use the search window and type in “blackboard” or “9.1,” you’ll get a full list of all our postings on that topic.