Updating Dates in myLesley

In today’s episode, Agent L once again saves the day … and Ben Friday’s sanity. Read on and learn how to update all the due dates in your myLesley course.

agent LAgent L: Hi, Ben. What’s going on? I thought we got all the syllabi updated.

BenBen Friday: We did, Agent L, but now we need to update all the assignment due dates. The new semester is starting in a few days and all the dates are for last semester. We have to go to each assignment and fix the due date.

Agent L: Oh, Ben. You do know you can update ALL the dates in one place, right?

Ben: What?!? How? Where?

Agent L: It’s called the Date Management tool and you can find it in the Control Panel. It’s part of the Course Tools section.
date management

You have three options for updating the dates.
date management options

You can use the course start date to adjust all the dates in the course based on the date your course starts. For example, if your original course started on January 1st and you had a paper due on January 10th, that’s 9 days after your course start date. If your new course starts on February 29th, entering your course start date will adjust the paper’s due date to March 9th or 9 days after the new course start date.

You can also select to adjust by number of days. This will shift all the dates by the number of days you enter. If you enter 30 days, then your all your course dates will shift by that many days. The paper due on January 10th, will now be due on February 9th. This one might require a little math, but is a good option if know the exact number of days you need to shift dates.

The third option is to list all dates for review. This option will display all the existing dates in your course and allow you to adjust them manually. This is a good option if you already have all the dates in your syllabus or made some adjustments in your course assignments. You will still need to adjust each date manually, but you can do it all in one place rather than navigating to each dated item in the course.

Ben: That’s brilliant, Agent L! This is going to save us soooo much time. I’ll let everyone know. See you later.

Agent L: Ummm… Ben? What about that coffee? … Maybe next time.

To learn more about the Date Management tool watch the video tutorial below or view Blackboard’s help page. For more myLesley tutorials, visit the Agent Support Site.

Bb Grader App for iPad

Blackboard’s Bb Grader app allows faculty to grade Blackboard Assignments while on the go from their iPad. Just take a look at a few of the features:

  • View all assignments submitted to the Assignment tool from all of your courses.
    Grade and annotate PDF, Word, Powerpoint, JPG, PNG and HTML files directly in the app.
  • Use assessment rubrics
  • Provide text, audio and video feedback to students
  • Return graded assignments to students as you complete each one or all at once
  • Track student progress using the Retention Center

It may just become your preferred way to grade. Bb Grader is iPad only. Sorry Android and iPhone users. Check out Bb Grader in action in the video below.

Getting Started with Open Education Resources

What is OER?
The Hewelett Foundation defines Open Educational Resources as: “teaching, learning and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits free use and repurposing by others.”

OER may include textbooks, videos, tests and assessments, software, course content and even full courses. These materials are shared under Creative Commons licensing which allows the content to be freely used, copied, and remixable. The goal is have content that is free of barriers to access and sharing for educational use.

Why do I care about OER?
Textbooks are expensive. Using OER instead of publisher content that students must purchase makes education more affordable. OER gives you freedom to decide what to teach when in your course. Simply plan your course and then look for the resources to support your content and assignments rather than following the textbook structure. OER are just as good, and sometimes better, than publisher content.

Why isn’t everyone using OER?
In a 2014 survey, most faculty were unaware of OER. Those who were aware were deterred by the lack of search tools. Locating appropriate resources took too much time and energy. Fortunately, the lack of search tools is changing. Over the last decade several OER repositories and search tools have appeared to curate all this incredibly useful content.

Where can I find OER?
These searchable sites are great places to start looking for content you can use in your classes.
MIT OpenCourseWare
Open Stax College
College Open Textbooks
OER Commons

VoiceThread: Peer Review and Advanced Commenting Features (Webinar Recording)

On January 20, Sadie Anderson from VoiceThread conducted a training webinar for Lesley faculty, focusing on peer review and the advanced commenting features now available in VoiceThread. A recording of the webinar is below.

For more information on VoiceThread’s new commenting tools, see:
Private Commenting
Threaded Commenting
Direct Reply
Comment Moderation

Want to learn more about using VoiceThread in your course? Sign up for one of VoiceThread’s free online workshops or view a recording from a past workshop: https://voicethread.com/workshops

Blended Learning Case Studies: The Case of the Missed Discussion

During Pump Up Your Pedagogy week, eLIS instructional designers, John McCormick and Jaclyn Travis, presented a workshop for faculty on strategies for creating blended learning activities. Faculty worked through a problem cases together to come up with solutions for common instructional challenges. Below is the case of the missed lecture and a few potential solutions to the problem. Below is the second case faculty reviewed, the missed class discussion due to snow days, and some potential solutions.


The Case:
Professor Michael Sanchez frequently uses small-group and whole-class discussion to engage students in the content of his undergraduate business course. His course meets once a week for 2.5 hours, and due to recent snowstorms, they have now missed two classes in a row. There is one week before the class next meets.

Michael would like his students to engage with each other on the topic of best practices in managing organizations, rather than doing only individual assignments, since it will have been three full weeks of working on their own by the time they next meet. How might you advise him on using the online environment to facilitate discussion in a class of 25 students? How would you recommend he subsequently uses the next face-to-face class?

The Problem:
The students will not have met for 3 weeks unless the online environment is used before the next face-to-face class. The professor’s goal is that his 25 students engage collaboratively on the topic of best practices in managing organizations.

Because of the large number of students, small groups will have to be a component of any solution. It would be ill-advised to attempt a large online group meeting, whether it be live or asynchronous. Online discussions with this many students would be unwieldy and live sessions would be both difficult to schedule and challenging to achieve the type of engagement one might expect in a face-to-face situation.

A good solution would involve breaking the class into small groups of 3-6. Ideally, students should engage on the topic in an authentic way, so moving beyond a wide-ranging discussion around best practices in managing organizations towards a more articulated, applied activity might work well. For example, each student group could be given a case or problem-like scenario to work on. Groups can then share out their solutions in a common location online, either using text-based or voice-based technology tools. The next face-to-face class could include Q and A or discussion around those solutions.