Category: Supported By IS&T
The Blackboard Content Collection is an area of the blackboard server where files are stored. A unique characteristic of the Content Collection is that the files “saved” and/or “stored” on the server are accessible via the Internet. If you were to upload a file, e.g., a syllabus or a paper that you are writing to the content collection, you would have access to those documents as long as you have access to the Internet. These files can be linked into courses and/or shared by the owner with other users on the system.
Instructors use the Content Collection to store, share, and publish content within personal user folders, course folders, and Institution Folders throughout Courses in Blackboard. In Blackboard Content Collection, you can
• Store content for multiple courses you teach.
• Share content across courses and with other users.
• Students may have access to store or share files.
The Content Collection contains multiple repositories for users and courses to organize and share their content. Detailed information about the about the structure of the Content Collection is addressed in Blackboard Help. If you’d like an in-person consultation on how to do it, you can contact us to ask.
QSR, the makers of NVivo, offers a variety of free webinars for those interested in learning more about qualitative data analysis with this software. As well as regular introductory webinars, there are sessions on using NVivo for literature reviews, students using NVivo to organize course information, and analyzing social-media content. You can see a listing and sign up on their website.
Interested in recording video lectures and other digital content but want higher quality than what you can make on your phone? As BU faculty, you have access to a studio in Mugar Library with high-quality recording equipment and software such as Camtasia. You can learn to use it by signing up for a consultation with an educational technologist. Once you’ve done that, you can book and reserve the room to use it at your convenience.
If you’d like your students to use ePortfolios but you don’t want to go through the setup process for assignments, there’s a simpler way to track what your students did when. Every Digication portfolio has a site map, accessible in the upper right of the portfolio below the BU logo. You can look at this site map to see all the pages in the portfolio, when they were last updated, and which student last updated them.
The process of reporting program assessment is about to get easier. After a long process of faculty consultation, the office of Program Learning Outcomes Assessment, in conjunction with the Educational Technology office, has selected the Planning module from Campus Labs to assist in coordinating program outcomes assessment. This fall, instead of sending Word templates back and forth, we will have a streamlined web-based cloud interface for entering assessment options. This will make it easier for departments to record their processes as required by NEASC, BU’s accreditor. It will also allow departments to generate reports about their own learning goals in order to improve their own teaching, if they wish.
Turnitin, BU’s platform for checking academic integrity with a vast database of papers, will soon be moving to a new and revamped system called Turnitin Feedback Studio. Feedback Studio offers a streamlined user interface that integrates Turnitin’s well-known academic-integrity features with the lesser-known GradeMark features, which allow faculty to speed up their grading by dragging and dropping frequently used comments, and adding rubrics. The system will continue to integrate with Blackboard within a frame. We expect to change to the new system in late August. You can try a demo of Feedback Studio on their site, and browse a user guide for more details.
The EdTech Blog now has a Facebook page as well as our Twitter feed. New posts are now automatically pushed to both these pages, so you can keep up with the blog via your preferred social media site. And you can still get our posts in your email inbox or on an RSS feed, as before. There are now lots of ways to keep up with educational technology at BU.
In addition, we now have Share This options at the bottom of every post, so if you’re excited about a particular new edtech development you can share it on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, or by print or email.
A group of BU faculty and staff met with students in early May to hear their recommendations on uses of social media in the classroom. The students were all seniors, from COM and Sargent College (previously from CGS). We are summarizing their recommendations here for the wider BU community.
These students recommended not to force particular uses of social media in the class: let students use a closed course Facebook group as they see fit to build community, not grading them on it (or at most grading their participation pass-fail). They also recommended that faculty acknowledge and integrate ongoing current events into their classes, as a way of moving the focus off grades and into applied learning, and that Facebook and Twitter are appropriate platforms for this. For more informal discussions, they preferred closed course Facebook groups to Blackboard discussion forums.
There will likely be another meeting before the summer is out. If you’re interested in attending and have not already been invited to this group, please contact Amod Lele (he can be found via the BU Directory).
NVivo has released new versions of its Windows and Mac software, with features likely to be of interest to the BU community.
NVivo for Windows now allows you to import Qualtrics surveys as datasets and auto-code them, allowing a deep integration between BU’s data-collection and data-analysis tools. The NVivo help system has instructions to import from Qualtrics.
Both the Windows and Mac versions now support a new feature called Explore Diagrams, which automatically generates mind maps by showing you all the nodes whose coding is connected to any given node. Instructions for Mac and for Windows are available through the NVivo website.
Members of the BU community can download the upgraded version for free from within NVivo or from TechWeb.
Do you currently use the discussion board tool in Blackboard? If so, you may be looking for ways to increase student engagement and participation inside your discussion forums. A common complaint about discussion boards is that unless they are graded or required by the instructor, students do not want to participate. The conversations between students are full of flattery and follow the leader, and often lack the depth that is found in the face-to-face classroom environment.
One possible solution is through the use of YouTube video postings to the discussion board in place of the traditional text responses. To set this up, students will need to create their own YouTube channel using a Google Account. Luckily, anyone can create a Gmail account or for added features, BU students and faculty are also able to set up Google Apps for Education accounts through BU: (http://www.bu.edu/tech/support/google/).
Once a YouTube channel is created, students can upload their video from either a smartphone or computer to their YouTube channel and copy the video’s Share URL into the Blackboard discussion board thread by clicking on the “Insert/Edit Embedded Media” button. Students who are concerned about posting personal information on YouTube have the option of saving videos as “unlisted.”