New and Improved myLesley Features

The myLesley upgrade brought with it several new and improved features designed to enhance the teaching and learning experience. These features are designed to save you time, improve efficiency and easy of use, provide a much improved mobile experience, improve accessibility of your content and Blackboard functionality, and enhance assessments and grade capabilities.

Discussion Board “Replies to Me”
A new count and filter identifies unread replies to your Discussion Board posts, allowing you to quickly and easily keep up with large Discussion forums.

screenshot of discussion board replies to me

 

Drag and Drop Files
Easily drag and drop files from your computer to the hot spot in the Attach Files area to upload them. Students can also drag and drop files to upload their assignments.

screenshot of dragging and dropping assignment file

 

Collaborate Ultra Available in Groups
You now have the ability to allow Collaborate Ultra webinar sessions to Groups pages. If allowed, students can meet online, share content and use the whiteboard, as well as record their online meetings. For more information see Group Tools or Blackboard Collaborate Ultra: Getting Started.

 

Improved Mobile Device Navigation 
The new myLesley theme includes navigation improvements for both the system and course menus. When you access myLesley on your mobile device, the navigation appears a hamburger menu (three horizontal lines) for persistent access from screen to screen. Within a course, the menu opens and closes more easily with fixed location action.

screenshot of mobile view

 

More Responsive Blogs and Journals
Blogs and Journals have been better optimized for use on mobile devices. Posts and comments will render on smaller devices and options for filtering posts or navigating groups or users will appear below currently viewed posts.

New Inline Grading Tool
The new inline grading tool, New Box View, is now available in myLesley. This streamlined grading tool accepts more file types. For more information see Grading myLesley Assignments or view the tutorial video below.

 

More Efficient Grade Center Cleanup
You can now easily clean up your Grade Center, including bulk deleting grade columns. Manual and calculated columns are removed completely, and columns associated with gradable items are cleared of attempt and grade data but remain in the Grade Center.

Before deleting columns, check very carefully that it’s the right column. Deleted grade columns cannot be recovered. For more information see Organize Grade Data.

 

Submission Receipts
Once you submit an assignment, the Review Submission History page appears with information about your submitted assignment and a success message with a confirmation number. For assignments with multiple attempts, you receive a different number for each submission. You will also receive an email with your confirmation number and details each time you submit coursework.

 

Improved Grading with Rubrics
When grading with rubrics, the instructor can save feedback and the content will remain saved when changing the rubric view from in-line to full screen. For more information on rubrics see myLesley Rubrics.

 

Missing Coursework Reminders
You can now send email reminders to your students directly from Grade Center columns to remind them about missing coursework.

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.

Blackboard Mobile Apps are Changing

Blackboard is making big changes to its mobile apps and you get to take advantage of it.

Mobile Learn —> Bb Student —> Blackboard
Blackboard’s Mobile Learn app for students will be removed from app stores on August 1, 2017 with support ending on August 31, 2017. You may continue to use Mobile Learn, but it highly recommended that students switch to the new Blackboard/Bb Student app in order to have the best experience.

Bb Student is getting a new name: Blackboard. Bb Student app is already available and free to download for iOS, Android and Windows devices. With Bb Student, you can view course content and updates, take tests, submit assignments, post on the discussion board, and join Collaborate Ultra web meetings. New features are continuously being added. If you are already using Bb Student, you don’t need to do anything other than update to the latest version when available.

 

Bb Grader —> Blackboard Instructor
The Bb Grader iPad app allows instructors to grade and provide feedback on student work submitted via the Assignment tool. The app has always had limited functionality. Therefore, Blackboard has created the new Blackboard Instructor app to focus on the needs and workflows of instructors. Blackboard Instructor is due at the end of this month, July 2017. In the meantime, continue to use Bb Grader and keep an eye out for Blackboard Instructor’s launch.

 

For ongoing information on these apps see our Blackboard Mobile support page. We will be updating it as the changes become available.

 

 

Blackboard Mobile Maintenance – Saturday July 23

Blackboard will be migrating its mobile services to a new server this weekend. As a result there will be no access to Blackboard content via mobile apps during this time.

When: Saturday, July 23, 2016, 12:01am EDT to Sunday, July 24, 2:00am, EDT

Workaround: Use a desktop computer or the web browser on your phone (Safari, Chrome, Internet, etc) to access Blackboard.

Read Internet Articles Offline

Do you have a long list of internet articles you want to read?
Do you have no time to read them right now?
Do you have a long commute but your iPad or Android tablet can’t access the internet when you’re on the bus?

Have you heard about Pocket? No? Well, it might just be the answer to your problem.

Pocket is free app for your computer, cell phone and tablet that will let you save all those articles to read later. Your saved articles will be synced across all your devices so your saved articles are available where and when you want them. No wifi needed.

pocket app

Image from engadget.com

Download the app to your device and install the extension for your browser. Then when you discover an article you want to read later, simply click the button to save it. It will be waiting for you when you’re ready. You can also tag articles to organize them by topic and  listen to the articles using text-to-speech.

Go to https://getpocket.com/ create your account and get started.