myLesley is Upgrading and Moving to SaaS

During the upcoming winter break myLesley will transition to a SaaS environment and upgrade 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.

 

What is SaaS and why do I care?

SaaS is short for Software as a Service. If you use Google applications or Office 365, you are already using SaaS applications. These cloud-based systems are always available to you and updates happen behind the scenes without impacting your ability to use them whenever you need them.

Currently, applying updates and fixes to myLesley requires making the system unavailable to all faculty, staff and students for hours or even days. Moving myLesley to a SaaS delivery model will allow us to make updates, apply fixes and perform ongoing maintenance with little to no downtime. In order to minimize the impact on courses, we have chosen the Flexible Deployment Option When a new update to Blackboard is released, usually twice a year, Lesley will be offered three dates to update. We will carefully select a date with the least impact, usually between terms and semesters. When a convenient date is not available, new tools and major changes will be turned off and rolled out carefully.

In short, SaaS will ensure that we will always have the latest version of Blackboard with little to no downtime.

 

What is changing in myLesley?

There will be no major changes to myLesley. Your courses will look and perform the same way they did before, but with some behind the scenes fixes and updates. However, we are taking this opportunity to clean house a little.

myLesley has been up and running for 12 years and there are some dust bunnies lurking in the corners in the form of legacy tools and add-ons that no longer serve the same purpose they used to. As part of the update, we will remove some of these additions in order to streamline management and improve performance. Most of these tools are currently invisible to you, but a few may affect you.

 

What’s going away?

Crocodoc
Crocodoc is the inline grading tool used to grade student submitted assignments directly in myLesley. The company that owns Crocodoc has decided to discontinue service in mid-January. Blackboard is replacing Crocodoc with its New Box View which is due to be released later this month. The New Box View tool will look a little different, but is expected to perform mostly the same.

Blackboard IM (BB IM)
While the Blackboard IM collaboration and messaging tool has not technically been terminated 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 interfaces and mobile capabilities.

After the upgrade, you may still continue to use your existing BB IM, but you will not be able to create new accounts. If you need assistance switching to Skype for Business or Collaborate Ultra, email eLIS@lesley.edu.

Collaborate (Original)
Collaborate Original web conferencing software 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, making access a problem. Collaborate Ultra is web-based, much easier to use, and also integrated directly into your myLesley course.

VoiceThread LTI Integration
No, we are not getting rid of VoiceThread. The Lesley VoiceThread portal and your ability to create and share VoiceThreads is DEFINITELY staying. However, the integration for myLesley has been less than successful. It is primarily intended for schools that do not have their own private VoiceThread portal. Trying to use both has resulted in some oddities and quirky behavior. Since the integration tool is far more limited than the full portal, we are turning off the myLesley integration in January. If you have used the myLesley tool recently, email eLIS@lesley.edu and we will help you update your content.

 

What do I need to do?

It’s always a good idea to have a backup of your course materials. You may wish to archive your course(s) prior to the upgrade just in case. You can find instructions for doing this on the Lesley Support site.

We also recommend that you closely review your course content after the upgrade to ensure everything is behaving as intended. We don’t expect any issues, but it’s good to be prepared.

If you are using any of the tools we plan to remove and have questions or need assistance, email eLIS@lesley.edu.

 

For the most recent information on the upgrade, please check the myLesley Upgrade page at: http://tinyurl.com/myLesleySaaS.

 

 

Atomic Learning is now Hoonuit!

Hoonuit logoYou have eLearning resources at your finger tips with Hoonuit–formerly known as Atomic Learning. If you had the opportunity to use Atomic Learning before, you know that this online tool provides you with on-demand personalized learning. Hoonuit (pronounced “who knew it”) has evolved beyond software training and now features software and technology training, student resources, instructional strategies, leadership resources, and online teaching/blended learning resources.

What kinds of resources does Hoonuit offer?

Hoonuit features a robust library of eLearning content for faculty, students, and staff including:

Software and Technology Training:

  • Microsoft Office Products
  • Collaborating and Sharing Using Office 365
  • Adobe Creative Suite
  • Google
  • And more!

Student Resources:

  • Preparing for a College Workload
  • Becoming a Good Note Taker
  • Strategies for Working in a Group
  • Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Successful Time Management
  • Networking and Internships
  • And more!

Instructional Strategies:

  • Questioning Strategies
  • Assessment of Learning
  • Writing Effective Learning Outcomes
  • Digital Video in Class
  • Universal Design
  • And more!

Leadership Resources:

  • FERPA
  • Successful Time Management
  • How Do I Grow My PLN?
  • Leadership Styles
  • And more!

Online Teaching/Blended Learning:

  • Creating Engaging Lessons Online
  • Succeeding in an Online Class
  • Being an Effective Online Student
  • Effective Online Discussions
  • And more!

A l list of some of the available resources may be found here: Hoonuit Higher Education Resource List.

Sounds great! How do I access Hoonuit?

Simply go to http://atomiclearning.com/login/lesley and log in with your myLesley username and password. You may also click on the Hoonuit module on your myLesley Home tab.

Is Your myLesley Course Ready for Fall?

Is your myLesley course ready for the start of the semester? This handy list can help you make sure. Download a copy to review as you set up your course.

Announcements
Have you posted a welcome announcement for you students? Is textbook information available? Learn how to send an Announcement with all your important information before the first day of class.

Faculty Profile and Contact Information
Is your contact information available and up-to-date? Create a faculty profile or create an Item with your contact information.

Syllabus
Have you uploaded your current syllabus? Upload your syllabus to myLesley so it’s always easily available.

Course Content
Have you checked all the links in each module? Learn to add or edit hyperlinks in myLesley.

Are discussion forums for each week set up? This guide will show you how to set up and manage the myLesley discussion board.

Have you set up release dates for each module? Using release dates is optional, but can help you reveal content to your students on a schedule that you set in advance.

Assessments
Have any tests or surveys been deployed? Create and manage your tests and surveys in myLesley.

Have any Assignments been set up for students to submit their work? Create and manage assignments to collect and grade papers online.

Grade Center
Are the correct point values assigned to each item in the Grade Center? Are there any grading columns that need to be added or deleted? Review how to set up and use the myLesley Grade Center.

Additional Content
Depending on your course and the type of activities you have, you may or may not be using the tools listed below.

Have any wikis been set up?
Have any blogs or journals been set up?
Have any course groups been set up?

Have you created or updated any VoiceThread content?
Have you created or updated any VoiceThread groups?

 

If you need assistance, please contact us at elis@lesley.edu or visit http://support.lesley.edu.

 

VoiceThread Introduces a New HTML5 Version!

Say goodbye to Flash! VoiceThread has introduced a new HTML5 version, which runs in your browser without having to install and enable Flash. The new HTML5 version looks and feels the same as the Flash-based version, but now offers new features suck as adjustable playback speed, streamlined audio/video recording, and increased security.

How do I switch over to the new HTML5 version?

You may switch over to the new HTML5 version at any time. To begin, log in to VoiceThread.

Click on your email address on the top right-hand side of the page to open a menu. Select Display Preferences.
VT Display Preferences (screenshot)

In the Player Version section, select HTML5.
VT Preferences Select HTML5 (screenshot)

Refresh the page. You will now be upgraded to the new HTML5 version of VoiceThread.

Which web browsers are supported?

Chrome and Firefox are fully supported. Please be sure to use the most up-to-date version of the browser for the best experience.

HTML5 audio and video recording is NOT supported on Safari or Edge browsers at this time. You may use Safari or Edge to view a VoiceThread but you will not be record audio or video until the browsers have been updated to support this feature. Internet Explorer (IE) is not supported.

When is the deadline for moving to the HTML5 version?

You may switch over to the new HTML5 version any time between now and December 31, 2017. After that date, VoiceThread will automatically transition everyone to the new HTML5 version.

 

Fall Bootcamp 2017: Teaching and Learning with Technology

Are you interested in adding more instructional technology to your course but not sure where to start? Jump into your fall teaching with a half-day learning technology bootcamp to learn how to effectively use technology in your course.

The workshop will consist of sessions on using the learning management system (Blackboard) to enhance your face-to-face course and hands-on experience with some of the technology tools you can use to enhance your course. Topics covered will include:

  • Using myLesley (Blackboard) to communicate with your students
  • Adding content to your myLesley course
  • Adding Video to myLesley (Kaltura)
  • VoiceThread

Event Details:
Tuesday, August 15, 2017: 1:00-4:00 PM
University Hall, 3rd Floor

Space is limited in this workshop! REGISTER by August 8th to reserve your seat. Click here to register.