Blackboard Teaching & Learning Conference: Bocconi University, Milan, 21-24 March 2017 #BBTLC17

Blackboard Teaching & Learning Conference logo

I was delighted to attend Blackboard’s Teaching and Learning Conference held this year at Bocconi University in Milan, Italy. This is a key annual event that brings together Blackboard users from HE institutions across Europe, the Middle East, Asia and South Africa. I was accompanied by TEL colleague, Maria Papaefthimiou, TEL/AV Support Manager, Helena Bampton, and Real Estate and Planning (REP) DTL Angelique Chettiparambil-Rajan. We spent an interesting few days attending presentations and workshops about Blackboard and technology enhanced learning, and were pleased, this year, to present on some of the TEL developments we’ve achieved at UoR. Maria and I presented a paper sharing the TEL team’s strategies for successfully engaging and supporting UoR academics in using TEL. Angelique also shared REP’s experiences of piloting a whole-school move to electronic submission, online marking and e-feedback. Both presentations were well received and feature in an article in Blackboard’s eLearn magazine, to be published shortly both in print and online.

Photo of Blackboard Conference welcome

It’s not rocket science! 

The opening keynote was delivered by the ever-engaging education consultant, Eric Stoller. You can access his presentation below. (The reference to rocket science is linked to Blackboard’s CEO, Bill Ballhaus’ background in astronautics!)

Virtual poster presentations from the conference can be accessed here.

Post-event resources, including presentations and photos, are available on the Blackboard Community website. (You will need to create an account to access the Community site.)

Link to Conference resources via Blackboard Community site

What were our key findings?

Looking at the usability of Blackboard through student eyes 

Meg Juss shared Edge Hill University’s experience of surveying the student experience of using Blackboard. Their 7th bi-annual learning survey asked students questions about Blackboard and subsequent comprehensive usability testing established that students found aspects of Blackboard ‘confusing’, ‘jumbled’ and ‘overwhelming’. ‘A user interface is like a joke: it’s not that good if you have to explain it!’, asserted Meg. With this in this mind, findings helped Meg and her team to improve the Blackboard experience for students by standardising course templates, improving navigation and re-designing their ‘My Library’ tab. As a result, usage of the library tab increased by 12% and 82.5% of respondents agree or strongly agree that, ‘using Blackboard has enhanced the knowledge and understanding I get from lectures, tutorials and practical sessions.’ (7th Student eLearning Survey (2016-17) ~ 576 responses)

Gamification

Staff from Durham and Saxion University in the Netherlands shared how they have brought elements of gamification, such as progression, rewards and use of Blackboard’s adaptive release feature, to Blackboard courses to help engage and motivate their students.

A search engine for Blackboard 

Staff from the University of Leuven, Belgium, described how they have used their technical expertise to develop an in-house search engine to enable users to search for content within Blackboard. This is a feature that is currently missing from the off-the-shelf Blackboard Learn platform but which Blackboard are looking to develop.

eAssessment

It was interesting to hear the experiences of other institutions of electronic submission and online marking and feedback. TEL Manager Mark Gamble from Bedfordshire University shared his experience of staff trying to use the Blackboard Assignment tool for blind double marking. This information will be useful as we here at UoR progress with our EMA programme.

Roadmap – where next? 

Photo of map - where next?

It was good to see Blackboard’s roadmap and hear about improved features coming soon. These include increased drag and drop options in some of the learning tools, and a better experience using Blackboard on mobile devices.

#BBTLC17

 

 

Turnitin enhancement: Timeout setting revised

Turnitin updated Feedback Studio on 14th December.

The most important improvement appears to be this one:

“Fixed an issue where instructors were getting timed out of the Feedback Studio if marking student work for over an hour”.
https://guides.turnitin.com/01_Manuals_and_Guides/Administrator_Guides/Feedback_Studio_Success_Kit/Feedback_Studio_Release_Notes

We believe that this timeout issue may have accounted for issues experienced recently by a few staff at Reading.

As we understand the situation, leaving feedback within the Feedback Studio window was – incorrectly – not being counted as activity, with the result that staff could be logged out of Turnitin when they had been marking for 60 minutes. This has now been fixed.

User activity within the Feedback Studio window (e.g. key stokes and mouse clicks) will now reset the timeout clock. Therefore, the 60 minute timeout should now affect only those users who have the Feedback Studio window open for over 60 minutes without clicking or writing comments.

Continue reading

Suggested solutions if you encounter any issues when marking in Turnitin Feedback Studio

Here are some suggestions for staff marking student work using Turnitin Feedback Studio, in case you encounter any technical issues.

Very occasionally, you might find that

  • you are not able to save comments
  • you are not able to open previously saved comments
  • the Feedback Studio screen freezes.

If you do experience any of these problems, we believe that the simplest way to resolve them is to switch back to the old Turnitin interface, ‘Turnitin Classic’.

There is a link to do this at the bottom of the Feedback Studio window.

return to Turnitin Classic

(for more detail see our Feedback Studio User Guide)

 

You may also be able to avoid problems with the Feedback Studio by clearing your browser cache:

IE11
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/17438/windows-internet-explorer-view-delete-browsing-history
Chrome
https://support.google.com/accounts/answer/32050?hl=en
Firefox
https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/how-clear-firefox-cache
Safari
https://kb.wisc.edu/page.php?id=45060

 

Finally, these issues may be related to Turnitin’s 60-minute timeout.

A Turnitin user session will not remain active indefinitely… Continue reading

Supporting your new students to use Blackboard – help is available!

Welcome Week 2016 is now less than a week away! It’s an ideal opportunity to introduce your new students to Blackboard and show them how to submit assignments online and where to find self-help materials. You’ll be pleased to hear that the TEL team have produced some customisable PowerPoint resources to help you to do this. Visit Blackboard’s Support for Staff tab where you’ll find a section called ‘Resources to use with your students’, as shown.

Support for Staff tab

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here you’ll find PowerPoint resources ready for you to amend to suit and help you support your students in their use of Blackboard:

Resources to use with students

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please also remember to signpost your students to Blackboard’s Support for Students tab for links to guides and help materials on all aspects of using Blackboard and Turnitin in their studies.

If students are unable to self-help using these resources and you find yourself unable to advise, they can contact staff in the relevant Student Support Centre or can get in touch directly with the IT Helpdesk by emailing it@reading.ac.uk.

We hope you find these resources and reminders helpful and wish you every success in the new term!

TEL CQSD

Students now get submission receipts for Blackboard Assignments

In the past, when students have submitted work to the Blackboard Assignment tool they did not receive a receipt. This was a source of dissatisfaction for both staff and students, as work submitted via the Turnitin tool does generate a receipt, emailed to their University email address.

This issue has now been addressed – the University has paid Blackboard for an additional building block (plug-in) and this was made live on Wednesday evening.

So now, every time a student submits work to a Blackboard assignment, a receipt will be sent to their University email address. This receipt contains the following information:

  • a submission ID
  • the student’s name and student number
  • the assignment title
  • the title and ID of the Blackboard course
  • date and time of submission
  • a link to the file(s) submitted
  • a link to a web version of the receipt

Blackboard Assignment receipt

 

We have updated the guidance available to students via the Support for Students tab on Blackboard

Please note our advice to students

  • Do not delete the email receipt – you should retain it as proof of submission.
  • This receipt only indicates that a submission has been made by you on the date and time shown, and received by Blackboard.
  • It is not confirmation that a file you have submitted is correct or has uploaded properly.
    Always check the files you have submitted to make sure that they can be viewed or downloaded.

Even with a receipt, the onus is still on the student to ensure that they have submitted the correct files, that they are in the correct format, and that they can be viewed in and/or downloaded from Blackboard. Not all students will read our guidance, of course, so please reiterate these points to any of your students who are required to submit work to Blackboard assignments.

Staff access to receipts

Once a student has submitted to a Blackboard assignment on your course, you will find that a Receipts folder has been created in the course Fileshare, and all submission receipts will be stored here.

Receipts folder

 

For each receipt you can identify

  1. the student username (contained within the filename)
  2. the date and time of submission

assignment receipts

 

You would have to open a receipt to see other details, such as which assignment it relates to, or what files were submitted.

So identifying submission by a specific student to a specific assignment could be time-consuming. But, in case of dispute, the first step would be to ask the student to forward to you the receipt which was emailed to them.

We hope that the introduction of Blackboard assignment receipts will reduce student anxiety around e-submission, and increase transparency for both staff and students as to what was submitted when.

Turnitin webinar: Can Turnitin really help students to improve their writing?

As part of Turnitin’s series of webcasts on topics associated with their product, Academics from Australia will be presenting on how they have used Turnitin as tool to improve students’ academic writing skills.

The webinar will look at how initiatives to use Turnitin as an educational tool and the development of resources to support students in their use of the similarity reports can have a positive impact on academic integrity, and the student experience.

The webinar is taking place on 24th August 1 pm (AEST Australian Eastern Standard Time), which means it takes place at 4am BST but is in the ideal time zone for colleagues on the Malaysia campus. UK Colleagues can always sign up for the webinar and watch the published recording later on.

Register to join the Turnitin webinar

Tii webinar image 24 Aug 16