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August 18, 2011 / dlitgroup

Welcome Back to School – Fall 2011

Welcome back!

As usual, the summer went by way to fast…

Anyway, as you head back to campus and your offices, check out the Distance Learning and Instructional Technologies Department’s “Back to School” page at: to get the lastest updates and highlights from the summer as you begin to create your fall classes and get plugged in with the latest of instructional technologies.

This page highlights a wide array of enhancements, here is an excerpt of the top 7 new features in Blackboard:

  1. Needs Grading
    This feature includes gradable Blogs, Wikis, and Discussion Board activity. Attempt information for timed assessments includes details on how much time the student spent on the attempt versus how much time was allotted.When an instructor chooses to make an interactive tool gradable, they will also have the option to choose how many interactions will place the item in needs grading status. A Discussion Board forum, for instance, might be set to only appear in Needs Grading status after a student has made three posts, rather than with each individual post.Here is a more information about using the Grade Center to grade discussions.
  2. Timed Assessments
    Instructors also can now choose to make the  assessment save and submit automaticallywhen the timer expires, or allow the assessment to continue beyond the allotted time.Attempt information for timed assessments includes details on how much time the student spent on the attempt versus how much time was allotted.Furthermore, onlne tests are now automatically saved every 5 seconds which ensures that student answers are not lost during an assessment attempt.
  3. Interactive Rubrics
    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.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.More information about the new rubrics feature is available here.
  4. NBC Learn
    The NBC player has been enhanced to provide transcription for accessability and enhanced playback.
  5. Blackboard Drive
    For faculty that use the Xythos Drive (to be released as Blackboard Drive) and the Blackboard Content System, files can be opened through a browser directly (through the drive) which provides more efficient editing of course files without the need of downloading and uploading.
  6. Wimba Pronto is now Blackboard IM
    Many faculty, staff, and students are using Blackboard IM (formerly Pronto) for tutoring, interoffice collaboration, communication, and online office hours.  This tool is an excellent way to connect with students and peers as well as to share your online presence!  Blackboard purchased Wimba Inc. last summer, and this has resulted in a few changes and improvements with the instant messaging tool that is integrated in Blackboard.As you login to the Pronto tool, you will be prompted to download and install a new version called Blackboard IM.  This new version is nearly identical with a few user interface improvements to make it easier to use.  In addition, there is a new web tour collaboration feature that provides you with a way to guide students through a website.
  7. Blackboard Connect
    A new service available for Fall is Bb Connect.  This provides faculty with the ability to easily send students a text message or a text-to-voice phone call from within Blackboard.  Students will need to enter their mobile number in order to receive this communication.Tip Sheets:


How to Get Help for Blackboard

  • Known Issues and FAQs are available here.
  • Send Technical Support, Problems, and Error Message Questions to: | IT Support
  • Send How-To and General Questions to: | DLIT or Chat LIVE with DLIT staff using the school tab on Blackboard IM.
  • Training Opportunities are available through the Center for Teaching Excellence at:
  • Blackboard Self Help Resources are available at:

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