A Student’s Take on Peer Review

In this summative assignment in a freshmen Honors English Composition class, students were asked to review their papers and assignments from the course, and determine 1-3 specific areas of growth or improvement, as well as specific classroom activities, assignments, etc. that contributed to the improvement. Students were then asked to demonstrate this in a creative work in any format/mode, and present the project to the class. A goal of the project was to reflect on one’s learning in a creative style which reflects both the learning itself and the personality or talents of the student.

Emily Tran created this awesome reflective video on her experiences with peer review.

The Blackboard App: A Student’s Perspective

Today’s post is by Lesley grad student, Mike Yaniv.

It is no secret that the reality of being a graduate student means balancing a personal, academic, and financial life. Often, students have jobs, internships and full-time course loads. Consequently, one of the more challenging but critical aspects of being a successful graduate student is not necessarily the course load itself, but managing the flow of information, time, and organization. As students rely more and more on technology to handle an increasing stream of information (and memory retention), good quality applications are not only important but are becoming crucial. The Blackboard mobile app represents a convenient and effective tool that has quickly become integral for managing time and coursework.

screenshot of the Blackboard Student app

Bb Student App screenshot

Opening the blackboard student app presents the student with the activity stream window, which includes recent course announcements, upcoming due dates, and recent course activity (including graded assignments, recent discussion board posts/replies). The app also allows students to easily participate in discussion boards, contribute to blogs/journals and wikis, and even submit assignments. Additionally, by going into the course view, all the information students need is presented in one convenient screen, allowing students to view current grades, due dates, announcements, course content, discussions, and instructor information.

This kind of robust package, combined with a convenient and easy to understand interface, has significantly improved my time management and organization. Navigation through the app is seamless and natural, requiring a very small learning curve while retaining a feature-rich experience.

In order for this app to really live up to its potential, we recommend the following best practices:

  • Use the Announcements tool for course communication. This will ensure that students receive the information in myLesley, in the app, and also via email. More information on using the Announcements tool may be found here: Communicating Within Your myLesley Course.
  • Add due dates to assignments, tests, and other graded content (such as graded discussions, blogs, etc.). This will ensure that students can track and manage upcoming due dates for all of their course assignments in the calendar tool.

Ensuring the quality of content and following a best practice approach to building a course can have a meaningful and positive impact on student performance and experience in a course. Together with the Blackboard mobile app, managing a course has the potential to become less stressful and a lot more manageable.

Grading Offline This Winter Break

During the upcoming winter break myLesley will transition to a SaaS environment and upgrade to the latest version of Blackboard (Q4 2017). The upgrade and migration to the new servers will take place from Saturday, December 30, 2017 to Wednesday, January 3, 2018. You will not have access to myLesley during this time. All other Lesley services will be available.

We highly recommend completing your grading by Friday, December 29th. However, we understand that many faculty use the winter break to do their grading. With that in mind, we have provided some resources for downloading your students’ gradable items so that you can grade offline when the server is down. The instructions include downloading student submitted assignments, collecting and printing discussions, saving blog, journal and wiki content to PDF, and downloading a copy of your Grade Center.

Please keep in mind that you must complete these steps by December 29th. You will not have access to myLesley from December 30 – January 3.

If you have any questions or need assistance, please email elis@lesley.edu.

Making the Switch to Collaborate Ultra

Still using Collaborate Original as your myLesley web conferencing tool? It’s time to switch to Collaborate Ultra. Earlier this year, Collaborate Ultra was integrated into myLesley and this January 2018, we will remove Collaborate Original from myLesley as part of our migration to SaaS.

Why are we making the switch?

Collaborate Original has been integrated into myLesley for several years. It has served us well, but as a java-based tool it required users to install multiple softwares on their computer often making it difficult to simply access an online meeting. Many faculty and students also found the interface overwhelming and clunky.

Collaborate Ultra has many advantages. First of all, it’s web-based. There is nothing to install on your computer prior to using Collaborate Ultra. Simply click on the link to the online meeting and join.

Secondly, it has a streamlined, easier to use interface. Faculty who have used it to meet with their students have found it much easier to use with a more familiar interface making it faster find the tools they need. We’ve been using it here in eLIS for two years and have been able to meet with many faculty, staff and students online while providing minimal to no prior training.

Finally, Collaborate Ultra is also integrated directly into myLesley. You can start using it right now.

Check it Out!

Take a look at the new look and feel in this video tour.

If you have questions or need assistance switching to Collaborate Ultra, contact us at elis@lesley.edu.

So Long Blackboard IM

blackboard IM interfaceLesley University has been using Blackboard IM (BBIM) since 2012. It served us well as a collaboration and communication tool for students, faculty and staff when there were few options available to us. However, it’s now time to say so long.

While BBIM has not technically been discontinued by Blackboard, it has not received updates or improvements in several years. For the last two years, we have been pointing faculty and students to other options such as Skype for Business and Collaborate Ultra. Collaborate Ultra is integrated into all myLesley courses and Skype for Business is available via your Lesley Office 365 account. Both tools have modern, easy-to-use interfaces and mobile capabilities. They can also be accessed with the same Lesley accounts that you already have. There’s no need to create a separate login and password as you did with BBIM.

For these reasons, we say BBIM….

After the upgrade, you may still continue to use your existing BB IM, but you will not be able to create new accounts and we will no longer be supporting it. If you need assistance switching to Skype for Business or Collaborate Ultra, email eLIS@lesley.edu.