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Like a smorgasbord, this session will present a varied selection of tips and effective practices using the new features of Blackboard 9.1. (Note that some of these ideas can be implemented in earlier Blackboard versions as well as other LMSs, for example the Upside-Down Pop Quiz.

Presented at Ohio Learning Network Spring Colloquium April 11, 2011


Published in: Education
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  1. 1. SmorgasBlackboard Effective practices to help your students learn and make your life simpler Corrie Bergeron, M.Ed. Lakeland Community College Center for Learning Innovation Some rights reserved
  2. 2. What’s your preference? <ul><li>Get students to read the text The Upside-Down Pop Quiz </li></ul><ul><li>Let the machine manage the files Disambiguate student filenames with Assignments Download </li></ul><ul><li>Let the machine do the math Grade Center calculated columns and weighting </li></ul><ul><li>Just show me what I need to do Grade Center Filters & Smart Views </li></ul><ul><li>Manage the email blizzard (and CYA in the process) Use Bb’s Email tool to your advantage </li></ul>
  3. 3. The Upside-Down Pop Quiz Get students to read the text (and learn the material)
  4. 4. Upside-Down Pop Quiz: Features <ul><li>Online, self-grading (no essay or SA) </li></ul><ul><li>Straight out of the text, open-book </li></ul><ul><li>High-level concepts and minor-detail items </li></ul><ul><li>Feedback gives page # </li></ul><ul><li>Unlimited attempts </li></ul><ul><li>Total reading quizzes = 10% of final grade </li></ul>
  5. 5. Upside-Down Pop Quiz: Benefits <ul><li>Frees up class time </li></ul><ul><li>Students take it >1, scores increase </li></ul><ul><li>Students come to class prepared </li></ul><ul><li>Textbook becomes launching pad for lecture / discussion </li></ul><ul><li>No more DIYD&DIYD: boring or losing </li></ul><ul><li>Quick check before class shows weak areas; instructor can review just those </li></ul><ul><li>Students can review for exams </li></ul><ul><li>You can ask those really nitpicky questions that you’ve always secretly wanted to but never dared to because you know the students would form a mob and attack </li></ul>
  6. 6. Upside-Down Pop Quiz: Drawbacks <ul><li>Some students have “issues” </li></ul><ul><li>It’s work to create the quizzes (but less than rehashing the text in class) </li></ul><ul><li>Some students might “game” the test to avoid reading whole chapter (To minimize the benefit of doing this, use pools, random, one-at-a-time display) </li></ul>
  7. 7. Disambiguate student filenames with Assignments Download Let the machine manage the files
  8. 8. Assignments Download: Features <ul><li>Students submit homework online </li></ul><ul><li>Download all submissions as a zip file </li></ul><ul><li>Bb adds assignment name, user id, and timestamp to student’s filename </li></ul><ul><li>Student comments included as .txt files </li></ul>
  9. 9. Assignments Download: Benefits <ul><li>Unzip to folder, file management is DONE </li></ul><ul><li>No more juggling email attachments </li></ul><ul><li>No more, “10 copies of homework3.doc – with no student names!?!” </li></ul><ul><li>No ambiguity about whether or when assignment was submitted </li></ul><ul><li>Grade offline </li></ul>
  10. 10. Assignments Download: Drawbacks <ul><li>Assignment name is the .zip filename, so special characters break the download link (Fix it by changing the name) </li></ul><ul><li>Filenames can get very long </li></ul><ul><li>Many empty .txt files downloaded of students don’t use comments. </li></ul><ul><li>May change grading workflow </li></ul>
  11. 11. Grade Center calculated columns and weighting Let the machine do the math
  12. 12. Calculated columns: Features <ul><li>Average, Min / Max, Total, Weighted Total </li></ul><ul><li>Weight by category, column, combo </li></ul><ul><li>Drop or use high / low scores in Weighted and Total columns when categories selected </li></ul><ul><li>Calculate equally or proportionally </li></ul><ul><li>Shows columns in selected categories </li></ul><ul><li>Hide columns from students or show </li></ul><ul><li>Include in calculations or not </li></ul>
  13. 13. Calculated columns: Benefits <ul><li>The machine does the math! </li></ul><ul><li>Add or delete items at will </li></ul><ul><li>Running Total shows grade-as-of-now </li></ul><ul><li>Min/Max can give snapshot of student performance </li></ul><ul><li>Flexibility lets you set up your grading policy the way you want to </li></ul>
  14. 14. Calculated columns: Drawbacks <ul><li>Students reliably confused by weighting </li></ul><ul><li>Until there is data for all categories, weighted total is incorrect </li></ul><ul><li>Instructors sometimes confused between Average and Total columns </li></ul>
  15. 15. Grade Center Filters & Smart Views Just show me what I need to do
  16. 16. Filters & Smart Views: Features <ul><li>Filters: display based on Category & Status (ex: Assignments that Need Grading) </li></ul><ul><li>Criteria-based display of rows and columns </li></ul><ul><li>One-click access to “Favorite” Smart Views </li></ul>
  17. 17. Filters & Smart Views: Benefits <ul><li>Grade Center loads faster </li></ul><ul><li>Less scrolling! </li></ul><ul><li>“Needs grading”- there’s your to-do list </li></ul><ul><li>Quickly enter zeroes for Not Attempted tests, assignments, etc. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Filters & Smart Views: Drawbacks <ul><li>Views are “sticky” so next time you enter GC it may appear empty, so Don’t Panic </li></ul>
  19. 19. Use Bb’s Email tool to your advantage Manage the email blizzard (and CYA in the process)
  20. 20. Email: Features <ul><li>Adds course ID to subject line of email </li></ul><ul><li>Sends to the email address stored in Bb </li></ul><ul><li>Appears to come from user’s email address </li></ul><ul><li>Copy sent to sender </li></ul><ul><li>Can attach files </li></ul><ul><li>Can send from Grade Center </li></ul><ul><li>Send to all, groups, individuals, roles </li></ul>
  21. 21. Email: Benefits <ul><li>Security: Instantly see that an email is from a real student in a particular class </li></ul><ul><li>Convenience: Set up inbox folder & filter to collect all course email </li></ul>
  22. 22. Email: Drawbacks <ul><li>Need to learn the course ID system in use </li></ul><ul><li>Email systems may think Bb email is spam </li></ul><ul><li>Students often don’t check email (too bad!) </li></ul>
  23. 23. Actual Teaching <ul><li>Now you can do more of it. </li></ul>