Apply to the 2023 Summer Academic Technology Institute

This year’s Summer Academic Technology Institute will focus on transitioning your course to Blackboard Ultra Course View.

Blackboard Ultra is the latest version of Blackboard. It has been completely redesigned with a more modern and easier to navigate interface, improved accessibility, mobile responsiveness, progress tracking, and streamlined grading. The Summer Institute is a great opportunity to learn more and transition your course to Ultra Course View with the support of the eLearning & Instructional Support team.

Overview

There are two opportunities to participate in this year’s Summer Institute with one small cohort in each.

  • July 17-21 and 24-28
  • August 14-18 and 21-25

Each cohort will participate in a 2-week hybrid seminar. You will learn how to use Ultra Course View to create an engaging and user-friendly experience for your students. By the end of the 2 weeks, you should have your course well on its way to being converted to run in Ultra.

Please note there will be 1-2 synchronous seminar meetings each week, plus individual consultations with the eLIS staff.

Space is limited so sign up soon. All faculty – core and adjunct – may apply. Your course may be in any format/modality (online, on-campus, hybrid, hyflex, synchronous, asynchronous, etc.) Priority will be given to faculty using myLesley significantly to teach their courses.

Faculty Expectations

Faculty are expected to:

  • Attend and complete the Summer Institute course.
  • Develop or make significant progress toward developing their course in the Ultra Course View.
  • Teach a course in Ultra Course View during the 2023-2024 academic year.
  • Share and explain their experiences in Ultra with colleagues, focusing on the advantages of Ultra Course View.

Faculty who successfully convert and teach their course in Ultra will be awarded a $300 stipend and a printable certificate of completion.

Application

Applications are due by Sunday, May 7, 2023.

Apply Now – Login using your Lesley credentials to access the application form.

Email elis@lesley.edu with any questions.

Merging Your Content with the New Course Menu

A new course menu and template were created for this Fall. The purpose was to create more consistency for students across all their courses and to embed supports where possible. However, if you are copying content from a previous course in myLesley to your Fall 2020 course, you may need to merge the two and clean things up a bit.

What’s in a course menu?

There are three main types of course menu items: content areas, tool links, and web links.

Course Content & Assignments is a content areaContent Areas are places in your course where you post various types of course content, such as items, uploaded documents, assignments, and more. Think of them as a folder on your computer where you group common items together. Course Content & Assignments is an example of a content area.

 

Tool Links are links to tools that are part of Blackboard or integrated into Blackboard, such as Discussions Boards, Class Email, My Grades, etc.

 

 

Technology Resources is a web linkWeb Links are links to external content. This external content can be anything on the internet that you wish to link to. For example, Technology Resources links out to the IT & eLearning Support Site at Lesley.

 

Course content and Communication are headers in course menuThe new course menu also contains Headers. These are non-clickable titles for groups of related content. They can be renamed, edited or moved just as any other menu item. “Course Content” and “Communication” are examples of a header.

Your course menu is completely editable by you. Course menu items can be renamed, moved, deleted, and hidden from student view.

Modify menu

A Common Issue After Course Copy

If you copy your course content from a prior course you may notice that you have menu items for “Course Content” and for “Course Content & Assignments.” myLesley (Blackboard) will not merge these two content areas together automatically. Just as with folders you create on your computer, these are two separate containers with different names. You need to tell Blackboard what you want it to do.

Fix your course menu in 3 easy steps

1. Rename menu items

Many faculty choose to rename the older “Course Content” menu item to “Course Content & Assignments.”

For more information see Modifying your Course Menu.

2. Delete menu items

Delete the original (now duplicate) placeholder content.

Be very sure to delete. There is no undo.

Also, delete any duplicate or unneeded menu items that copied to clean up your course menu and make it easier for your students to navigate your course menu.

3. Reorder menu items

When a course copy is done, all new content copied in is at the bottom of the menu. You can easily reorder the menu items, but clicking on the double arrow icon to the left of the menu item and dragging it to a new location.
move icon

 

For more information see Modifying your Course Menu.

Rethinking Online Discussions for Student Engagement

Faculty often complain that students do not engage deeply in online discussions. Students complain as well, feeling that online discussions too often represent hoops to jump through, with little apparent connection to the learning goals of the course. Online discussions are very different from face-to-face discussions and these differences require us to design and facilitate them differently. Attempts to use the same discussion prompts as you would in a face-to-face classroom are likely to fall flat. Instead, they require thoughtful design to engage students in deep exploration of content.

As a first step, you should be explicit with students about how discussions support the learning outcomes in your course. Successful online discussions serve one or more of these purposes:

  1. Knowledge or skill-building
  2. Application of knowledge or skills
  3. Perspective-sharing

Importance of the discussion prompt

Most discussions fail because the discussion prompt does not engage students in higher-level cognitive collaboration with peers. The prompt must not only provide a focus for student thinking; it must also encourage or require collaboration. While you can require or encourage collaboration via instructions or rubrics, it is ideal to structure discussion prompts that have collaboration embedded within them. This is most easily done by asking students to apply knowledge together through problem-solving via scenarios or case studies, by sharing “field work” (field observations, interviews), or through having learners post examples that require classmates to review or answer specific questions from classmates. It can be helpful to create prompts that require unique initial student posts and then to guide students in responding to those initial posts.  If you are using discussions to build or apply knowledge and skills, they should be challenging; otherwise, students will see no reason to collaborate on something they may feel they can achieve on their own.

Other design features

While the discussion prompt is the key to engaging discussions, there are several other considerations. In addition to clarifying the purpose of discussions in your course, you should communicate your expectations for student performance and collaboration as well as your role in discussions. A set of criteria or a rubric can help in clarifying expectations, but be sure to include collaborative behavior. While some instructions can be generic, others should be specific to each discussion. For example, you may have specific suggestions for how students should respond to initial posts that differ for different discussions.

Facilitation and Feedback

Whether you or your students take part in the facilitation of discussions, you’ll want to monitor quality and interaction. Feedback early on in a course should inform students of your judgement of how well the discussions are serving their intended purpose and how students’ behavior can shift to improve collaboration. Feedback to individuals within each discussion should be restrained, while whole-class or group feedback can be more expansive, as you’ve then allowed students the space to interact freely. Consider using audio or video feedback tools such as Kaltura or Kaltura CaptureSpace Lite, as such tools can increase instructor presence and save time typing long responses.

Design and Facilitation Guide

Creating engaging online discussions requires careful and creative thought, particularly regarding the prompt or question. It also requires a comprehensive set of supports that should be pre-built into the course. This two-page guide, “Engaging Online Discussions: Design and Facilitation”, is intended to be a concise and comprehensive resource to support the design and facilitation of your online discussions.

For more assistance with the design of online discussions, contact elis@lesley.edu. Our instructional designers would be happy to work with you to think through your use and design of online discussions.

 

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.

 

Apply to the 2017 Summer Academic Technology Institute

Join your Lesley faculty colleagues for an exciting, immersive professional development opportunity!

The Summer Academic Technology Institute is an opportunity for faculty to participate in a learning community across disciplines and schools engaged in an exploration of the effective uses of technology in teaching, learning, collaboration, and scholarship. This event is sponsored by the Office of the Provost and the Center for Teaching, Learning and Scholarship, and organized by eLearning and Instructional Support. To apply for the Summer Academic Technology Institute, please complete the brief application form here.

All faculty — core or adjunct — are welcome to apply.  Faculty who consider themselves basic technology users or who do not currently use technology in their teaching are especially encouraged to apply. Faculty selected through the application process receive a $500 stipend for participation in the institute.

The program features a 4-day institute in June, held at University Hall. Faculty engage in a rich mix of dialogue, hands-on practice, project-based learning, reflection, and application to explore innovative ways technology can be integrated into their teaching.

Examples of workshops from past Summer Tech Institutes include:

  • Putting Technology in Its Place
  • Designing Lessons for Engagement
  • OneDrive: Collaboration Made Easy
  • The Student Experience in Online Learning (panel)
  • Designing and Facilitating Online Discussions
  • Introducing Media Into Your Blackboard Course

Expectations for Summer Academic Technology Institute Participants

Faculty are expected to:

  • Participate in all four days (~9am to 4 pm) of the institute: June 5-8, 2017
  • Develop a technology-enhanced learning activity for a 2017-2018 course
  • Attend or participate in at least one professional development outreach activity during the 2017-18 school year

Important Dates

April 7, 2017 Applications Due
April 21, 2017 Participants Announced
June 5-8, 2017 Summer Institute


Application

To apply for the Summer Technology Institute, please fill out the 2017 application form.