Updates to the myLesley Inline Grading Tool

New Box View, the inline grading tool for myLesley, has released two new updates: the ability for faculty and students to download the annotated PDFs and the ability for faculty to annotate Excel files (.xls, .xlsx).

To download an annotated PDF, located the graded assignment in the Grade Center (faculty) or the My Grades area (students).

When viewing the graded assignment, go to the right-hand column and click on the chevron next to the submission file.

Screen Shot of submission download options

This will bring up two options. Select Download Original File to download a copy of the original submission (no markups) or select Download Annotated PDF to download a copy of the marked up paper.

Screen Shot of submission download options

Please note that you may need to open the PDF in a PDF reader, such as Acrobat Reader, in order to view the comments.

For more information on grading assignments in myLesley, see Grading myLesley Assignments.

Have questions? Want to set up a training? Email elis@lesley.edu.

Make Your myLesley Content More Accessible

Faculty often ask if Blackboard is accessible. While most web-based tools can always be more accessible and easier to use, the basic answer is “Yes, Blackboard is accessible.” The real problem often comes when we upload files and documents to Blackboard that may not be as accessible as they should be. We may not even be aware that the files we uploaded aren’t accessible to students with impairments. Blackboard Ally wants to fix that.

When an instructor uploads a file to myLesley (Blackboard), using the exact same process they currently use, Ally compares the file to a Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Checklist. It then does three things.

For students, Ally automatically converts that file into alternative, accessible formats. Alternative formats include Tagged PDF, HTML, ePub, electronic braille and audio. If the instructor uploads a scanned chapter or article, Ally will convert it to an OCR PDF which can be read as text by a screen reader.
Ally alternative formats

This a proactive and automatic process that happens without the instructor or Disability Services doing anything. Students do not need to self-identify or request alternative versions. The downside is that the quality of these alternative versions can vary. The more complex the original document, the more difficult it is to create a converted document that is useful and easy to navigate by the students who need them.

Therefore Ally also provides guidance to faculty on how to improve the accessibility of the documents uploaded to Blackboard. Each uploaded document receives an accessibility score and red, orange or green icon. Clicking on the icon presents you with information on what accessibility issues are in the document, information on why it is an issue, and links to tutorials on how to make changes to the document.

Ally has let you, the instructor, know that your documents may not be accessible and how to improve their accessibility without the need to attend a training or to have Disability Services reach out to you. You can slowly educate yourself on accessibility and improve not just the documents that are currently in your course, but also all future documents you will create. Over time, you will simply create accessible documents from the beginning because now you know how and how easy it can be.

Lastly, Ally provides an Institutional Report telling the university which courses have inaccessible content and what kinds of content are problematic. This means that the university can target its outreach and training based on our specific issues. One program may have a lot of courses with images and no alternative descriptions. Another’s biggest issue may be that Word documents require headings and subheadings. Instead of offering generic training and support for everyone, we can now reach out to each program and offer training and assistance for the issues they actually are having. The report also allows us to demonstrate our improvement over time.
Ally institutional report main issues

Ally will be available to all myLesley courses beginning this Fall. Keep an eye out for those accessibility scores on your documents. Ally is also making continuous improvements so don’t be surprised when new features and guidance become available.

If you have questions about Ally or need assistance, email elis@lesley.edu.

Provide Grading Feedback With Audio and Video

Blackboard now allows you to embed an audio/video recording of your feedback as you grade attempts. This feature is available for all graded content, including assignments, graded discussions, or in the Grade Details area of any Grade Center column.

Why Provide Audio or Video Feedback?

Providing feedback using audio or video allows you to connect with your students, especially those at a distance. You can give them a glimpse of your personality and show them the real person behind the text. Creating this connection can make it easier to interact, share information, and ensure that your students don’t feel isolated.

Text-based feedback can lend itself to misinterpretation – students may weight all of the feedback equally or be overwhelmed by a lot of text on the page. Audio allows you to add tone and emphasis, perhaps even humor and support, while video allows you to add facial expressions and gestures.

How Do I Add Audio or Video Feedback in my Course?

You can add audio or video feedback on any gradable item in your course. To do so, access the Feedback to Learner area. You may do this directly from an Assignment or from within the Full Grade Center.

From within an Assignment:

From your student’s submission, navigate to the Assignment Details area. In the Feedback to Learner area, In the Feedback to Learner area, click on the Full Content Editor button. This will open the full text/content editor.
Screenshot of Feedback to Learner area of Assignment

For more information on grading assignments or accessing the students’ submissions, see Grading Assignments in myLesley.

From a Grade Center column:

Navigate to the Full Grade Center and hover your mouse over the item you wish to offer feedback. Click the chevron to open a menu and select Quick Comment.

screenshot of accessing Recording Feedback from within the Full Grade Center

Launch the Recorder:

From the Full Text/Content editor, click the Record Feedback Button (first button on the third row of the text/content editor).screenshot of record feedback button

This will launch the recorder. Click the video button to launch your webcam or click the record button to record audio only. Each recording may be a maximum length of five (5) minutes.screenshot of record feedback

Once you have finished recording, your audio or video recording will be added to the student’s feedback area. Detailed instructions for using the Record Feedback option may be found here: Record Audio and Video.

What if I want to upload a video I recorded elsewhere or provide my students with a screencast?

If you recorded a video in a different tool, you may upload it using the Kaltura Mashup Tool. You may also upload a video to Kaltura directly from your mobile device.

If you would like to record a screencast, you may use Kaltura CaptureSpace Lite.

Where can I find more information on providing feedback to my students?

To find out more about providing feedback to your students, check out the resources below:

 

Take Attendance in myLesley

Blackboard has rolled out a new Attendance tool, allowing instructors to easily and quickly track attendance. Using the Attendance tool will create an Attendance column in the Grade Center, which will provide an overall attendance score.

Instructors can now find the new Attendance tool by going to the Control Panel > Course Tools > Attendance.

access the attendance tool

 

For more information see Attendance or view the tutorial video below:

Grade Center Improvements

myLesley’s recent update to Blackboard’s latest version (Q2 2018) included several enhancements to the Grade Center making it easier to navigate while grading your students’ work.

Full Titles of Grade Center Columns

You can now view the full title of your Grade Center column making it easier to distinguish between similarly-titled grade items.

Before
Grade Center Column Titles Before

Now
Grade Center Column Titles After

 

View More Grade Columns

The width of the Grade Center is no longer fixed. You can now view as many columns as the size of their window will allow. If you are on a small screen, you may only see a few grade columns and need to scroll. If you are on a larger screen, you will see more columns. The grade center will adapt to the size of your browser window.

 

Full-Screen Mode

Need even more space to view the Grade Center? Instructors now have the ability to view the Grade Center in Full Screen mode. Full Screen mode collapses the side navigation and the top banner, allowing you to see more of the Grade Center on your screen.

 

More updates are coming to myLesley throughout the summer. Keep an eye out for all the new features.