Category: Learning Management Systems
The Educational Technology, Training and Outreach group in IS&T is looking to fill two new positions: an educational technologist supporting our LMS (currently Blackboard although alternatives are being considered), and a combined platform-administrator and educational-technologist position for a new video-streaming system.
In addition, we expect to have another educational technologist position open later this year, relating to lecture capture and audience response systems. If you apply for the LMS position, you can be considered for that position as well (if you are willing to start later). Please forward this invitation to anyone whom you think might be interested in any of these positions.
As part of the Learning Management System (LMS) investigation, the LMS Steering Committee will be conducting several live demonstrations from vendors, including our current LMS, Blackboard. All faculty and academic staff are invited to attend these sessions, but we ask that you register in advance so we can plan accordingly.
Canvas by Instructure Demonstration
Following the Blackboard demonstration on Monday, May 4 we will be hosting our fourth annual Blackboard Boot Camp. This annual event gives faculty an opportunity to hear from their colleagues and to learn more about what our current Learning Management System has to offer. Seating is limited, so please be sure to register in advance.
We look forward to seeing you! Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
Educational Technology, Training and Outreach has a website available outlining our current investigation into options for a learning management system (currently Blackboard). The site will also have details about our related investigation into an ePortfolio system (currently Digication). This site should not be taken to mean that BU is dissatisfied with either Blackboard or Digication, only that we are undertaking a periodic review to confirm whether or not our current systems remain the best ones.
BU wants to hear faculty opinions about Blackboard and competing learning management systems. We are conducting a review project to determine whether we will stick with Blackboard in the years to come, or adopt an alternate system. We want your opinions as faculty members, and we have set up focus groups on March 18th and 19th so that we can hear them. Light refreshments will be served.
If you’d like to attend a focus group, please register online. Please pass this link along to any faculty member(s) who may be interested in participating. We welcome input from any faculty at all levels.
Turnitin, BU’s supported software for academic integrity and faster grading, has recently introduced a “Cloud Submit” feature that allows students to submit assignments directly from Google Drive or Dropbox, convenient for students who are working on collaborative assignments in Google Drive or who do not wish to pay for Microsoft Word.
We recommend accessing Turnitin through its Blackboard integration. To create an assignment that will work in Turnitin: in any of your Blackboard course’s content areas (“Assignments”) or the like, go to the Assessments menu and select Turnitin Assignment, and follow the instructions. You’ll then be able to see the assignment’s results by going to Course Tools in the lower left corner of the course and selecting Turnitin Assignments. If Turnitin Assignments doesn’t appear under Course Tools, you can turn it on by going to Customization.
Note that while students may use Dropbox to submit assignments to Turnitin, faculty should never return student grades or comments through Dropbox. Because BU has no service agreement with Dropbox, Dropbox does not count as a school official for purposes of FERPA, and sharing student records with
At his Teaching Tech Talk today, Turnitin representative Shawn Lowney demonstrated some features of the Turnitin software that many users may be unaware of. Most faculty know Turnitin for its OriginalityCheck plagiarism detection function, and Lowney briefly addressed how it can perform this function well. But he also addressed other sides of Turnitin that may be less familiar.
Turnitin’s GradeMark portion contains many functions to make grading easier. Its QuickMark system allows you to save time on grading papers by dragging and dropping your most frequently used comments directly onto the paper. You can also add audio comments to convey the tone of your comments. Turnitin is integrated with Blackboard, so grades can be passed easily between the two systems.
BU offers Turnitin via the Center for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching; these features are available to all BU faculty now. We do not yet have a structure in place for offering technical support to faculty, but hope to have one established soon.
CEIT has now posted its list of Teaching Talks and Teaching Tech Talks scheduled throughout the Spring 2013 semester. The talks are scheduled on various dates and times to make it possible for faculty to explore some talks whatever their schedule. Some scheduled talks with an emphasis on new technologies include:
Databases for non-majors (Jan. 10)
The top 5 things faculty need to know about Blackboard Learn (Jan. 10)
Read & Write Gold (Feb. 6)
Flipped classroom and Echo360 (Feb. 13)
Collaboration tools in Blackboard Learn (Feb. 20)
iPad applications in the classroom (Feb. 25)
Google Apps in your classroom (Feb. 25)
Increasing instructional interactivity with clickers (Mar. 19)
Virtual student exchanges (Apr. 3)
High-tech cheating (Apr. 3)
How to use ePortfolios (Apr. 5)
Making grading easier and more transparent with rubrics in Blackboard Learn (Apr. 11)
Dimensions of online courses and student perceptions (Apr. 17)
In continuation of CEIT’s and IS&T’s efforts to engage faculty in the LMS migration, CEIT hosted a presentation on Blackboard Learn that focused on how faculty can use it for their course. Participants from the Blackboard Learn pilot were present to share their ideas and experience with the new environment. Some topics included:
– Collaboration tools in Blackboard: With this new system comes new tools and features. In terms of student collaboration, the three that are most significant are blogs, journals and wikis. Blogs allow students to share their personal thoughts with their classmates and gives them their own voice in the class. Journals, on the other hand, are designed to be a private communication between an instructor and a student. Finally, wikis are collaborative documents that allow students to edit each other’s work.
– Assignments and Rubrics: Faculty now have the ability to attached rubrics to their assignments, making grading more transparent to the students and much simpler for the instructor. Additionally, assignments are the new and improved way of accepting documents from students.
For more information on the presentation, please feel free to reach out to CEIT (firstname.lastname@example.org) or the presenter, Kacie Cleary (email@example.com).
Professors in several departments at BU (including Computer Science, Chemistry, Physics, and Mechanical Engineering) often use the free social discussion tool Piazza in their courses. Piazza is free, and allows threaded discussions to happen in a user-friendly way. Students in these courses are encouraged to post their course-related questions on Piazza, significantly reducing emails that are directed to the course staff. Questions posted on Piazza are then answered by the course staff, or, in many cases, by other students. Questions posed in these courses have ranged from logistical issues (“Which lab are we doing this week?”) to conceptual issues from students grappling with the material (“I tried solving problem 3 this way, but it didn’t work – can someone point me in the right direction?”) The latter are particularly good at drawing multiple students into the discussion.
Piazza can help you keep on top of what’s going on in your course, while at the same time reducing the amount of time you spend responding to students over email. Piazza posts can be read on the web site, whose features make it easy to see which posts need an instructor’s attention. They can also be viewed and responded to through the Piazza app on your favorite mobile device. You can also choose to get updates from Piazza via email. BU IS&T does not offer support for Piazza, but it is an interesting option for professors who feel comfortable exploring free online teaching tools.
In collaboration with the Center for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching, IS&T is happy to announce the faculty have been selected for the Blackboard Learn pilot. There are 21 faculty across the schools and colleges and about 35 courses. These courses all include undergraduate and graduate courses and large (largest at 900) and small class sizes (smallest at 10). There is a great collection of teaching styles that the steering committee feels will be representative of BU as a whole.
There is still a lot to do but we know this pilot will help shape our new learning management system. We will gradually phase out Blackboard 8 to make way for the new and improved Blackboard Learn.
You can expect to see updates and workshops on the project coming from CEIT over the next few months.