Think, Know, Prove–New Version of Blackboard

Think, Know, Prove is a regular Saturday feature, where a topic with both mystery and importance is posted for community discussion. The title is a shortened version of the Investigative Mantra: What do we think, what do we know, what can we prove? and everything from wild speculation to resource referencing fact is welcome here.

We have a new version of Blackboard, you know. My students seem to be navigating it without difficulty, so far; mostly the same is true for me, in no small part thanks to Ephrem’s screencast videos. Issues remain, though.

I have heard that there is an issue with the email function; don’t know if that has been fixed yet. My three biggest problems so far have been 1) student difficulties opening and printing .pdfs; 2) the fact that when I post an External Link to specific YouTube video, it initially goes to the video, but then redirects to the home site before the video loads; and 3) when I tried to solve that problem by posting the video under the “Mashup” column (in a strange use of that word, it seems), I get only an error message.

The first one is solved easily enough with a link to Adobe Reader and a brief explanation (and demonstration) that students should print from the .pdf frame rather than the browser. The second and third is resolved by having students right click on the link and open it in a new window. Still, something about that isn’t right.

Mathissexy likes the new Gradebook much better than the old one, and I agree except for the fact that the frame is so tiny that I can only see 8 or so names at a time and the thing scrolls like walking zombie (as in not smooth).I like the Journal function, too, and suggested that students use it as a place to record their learning as we go (I might even require that next semester; not sure, though), but I haven’t made use of the Blog or some of the other new tools.

Surely that is not all anyone has to say about it. What do you like? What do you despise? What should they fix?

What do you think? What do you know? What can you prove?

6 thoughts on “Think, Know, Prove–New Version of Blackboard

  1. There are some significant problems with the Turnitin function, which have yet to be sorted out. It is causing me an enormous amount of pain and grief- but I am hopeful that these are growing pains and will be worth it in the long run.
    Other than that, I like it…

  2. At the bottom of the grade center list of names is button which says, “edit rows displayed”. You can choose how many rows and list your whole class. There is a edit paging function in other parts which does something similar.

    Thanks for the other information. Michal figured out weighting which she emailed to me this week.

    In grade center, go to Manage>Categories, and check that all of the categories you wish to include in your weighting exist (If you don’t see a category that you want, click create category.

    You can even edit a category name by clicking the downward arrows.

    Go to Create Calculated Column>Weighted Column and give your column a name (e.g. “Weighted Column”). This will be a total percentage for your students to refer to.

    Choose display type (percentage, score, etc.)

    Choose the categories you wish to include, and assign a percentage per category (percentages must add up to 100%).
    Note – Ignore columns for now, just manage the categories.
    Note – Those who cracked this code all use percentages and not points. This means that if the Assignment category is worth 30%, all the assignments you include, whether 3 or 10, will be weighted equally. (I think this is optional, but I always weight them equally.)

    Now, you can create a column (assignment #1, assignment #2, and choose their appropriate category (This is similar to old BB.) Go to Create Column, and the rest is easy: give it a category, points, etc.

  3. Yes, a big high-five to Ephrem and his resources.
    Call me old fashion, but I’m still wonderin’ how District was able to place a syllabus link on all our pages, but still can’t (or won’t) give us the quick enroll feature on PeopleSoft.

    Sorry to go off on a tangent Philodave,
    Overall the new Bb is just an upgrade that we (including the hamster in my pocket) have to collectively figure out. Good post and great tips from Jenny and Michal. Maybe we need a blogroll while we get accustomed to the new interface and features; supplement Ephrem’s blog. We could have used similar assistance when we made the switch from SPAS to PeopleSoft and when we upgraded to Office 2010. Oops, sorry, some of us are still on Office 2003.

    • Quick enroll…wouldn’t that be nice? Perhaps the folks from the reinvention task forces circulating during open registration will suggest that (anyone?).

      As for Bb, I agree that more conversation about the ins and outs will be good. Room 1046 is always available. We could have an informal return to CAST Technology Tuesdays in the next few weeks as things are getting squared away. I’ll likely be in there this Tuesday around 2. So far, I’ve been pretty pleased with all of the new features. I’ve been using the blog feature for my daily class summaries and students have been chiming in effortlessly. We’ll see. It’s always good to have supervised play on a new system.

    • You never have to apologize to me for tangents, Realist. They are coin of the realm for me…

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