myLesley is available!

myLesley is now on the latest version of Blackboard (Q4 2017). Most of the changes are behind the scenes to improve performance.

However, there are a few changes you should be aware of:

  • A new look using a more responsive theme that will allow you to better access myLesley regardless of your device (computer, tablet, phone).
  • Blackboard is updating its inline grading tool for grading student submitted assignments directly in myLesley to the New Box View.
  • Blackboard IM (BB IM) has been retired from myLesley. We recommend switching to Skype for Business and Collaborate Ultra.
  • Collaborate Original has been retired from myLesley and replaced with the newer and easier to use web-based Collaborate Ultra. Collaborate Original recordings will still be available through this academic year, but you will not be able to create new Original sessions.

If you have questions or concerns, please email eLIS@lesley.edu.

 

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.

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.

 

 

What to Look Forward to in Blackboard for Fall 2014

On August 26, 2014, myLesley will be upgraded to the latest version of Blackboard (Blackboard Learn 9.1 April 2014). This scheduled myLesley upgrade will resolve known issues and include several new features and enhancements that are especially useful for faculty. They include:

Student Preview – Quickly View Your Course as a Student
Toggling the new Student Preview button provides instructors with the capability to see and experience their myLesley courses exactly as their class does. While in Student Preview mode, instructors can perform the following student activities: submit assignments, take tests, create blog posts, create journal and wiki entries and view traditional student only tools, such as My Grades. For more information, review the Details or watch the Overview Video below.

SafeAssign
SafeAssign, the tool that reviews assignment submissions for plagiarism, is now integrated as an option right in the Assignments tool and also includes a suite of new reporting features. For more information, review these Details.

Atomic Learning
Atomic Learning is a free service available to all Lesley students and faculty. Atomic Learning features hundreds of self-paced video tutorials on popular software tools and online resources. You can now add these tutorials directly to your myLesley course for students to review without needing to login to a different site. See our Atomic Learning tutorial for more information.

Achievements Tool
The Achievements tool allows instructors to define criteria for issuing rewards to students in the form of both Badges and Certificates. Students can see which rewards they’ve earned and what’s required of them to receive additional rewards, providing insight into learning progression toward defined competencies. For more information, review the Details or watch the Overview Video below.

Anonymous Grading
Instructors can hide student names from submitted assignments for anonymous grading. Review the Details for more information.

myLesley Update for Spring 2014

Happy New Year and welcome back from the break. We are excited to announce that as of January 3rd, 2014, myLesley will be updated to include a couple of enhancements: the profile feature and a new “look and feel,” which will enable viewing the discussion board in tree view again. You will find detailed information about these enhancements below.

New Profiles
You can now create a profile in myLesley to share with your classmates and instructors. Your profile will allow you to post a photo of yourself, and provide a little information about yourself, such as what you are studying. Profile photos can be viewed next to your posts on the discussion board, allowing you to better connect with your classmates and colleagues. You also will be allowed to choose how you want your name to display in your profile.

profile_update

Learn how to create your profile at http://tinyurl.com/qjxhdjm.

Return of the Discussion Board Tree View
If you have missed the Tree View on the Discussion Board, the new “look and feel” of Blackboard allows us to get that back. You can once again choose to view discussion forums in list or tree view depending on your preference.

tree_view

New Icons
The new “look and feel” of myLesley also includes a few new icons:

icon1  The new Logout button looks like a power icon seen on many digital devices.

icon2  View and edit your Profile.

icon3

 Posts from multiple courses.

icon4  View the Calendar.

When editing content, the chevron menu icon chevron  no longer exists. In the new, cleaner look, you will not see edit icons until you hover your mouse over the item of content you wish to edit. Once you move your cursor to the item you would like to edit, all the edit options will appear. The old chevron edit icon has been replaced with a simple down arrow.

chevron_ex

Please remember that if you hover your mouse over any icon you don’t recognize, a text popup will identify it for you.

pop_up_note

For more information on how to use myLesley, please refer to our Faculty Instructional Resources site.