Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Using Journals in blackboard

This tutorial will guide students through the steps to post an entry in your student journal in Blackboard.
Be sure to follow the instructions from your professor. This is merely a guide on how to use the Blackboard system.  

Remember, your journal can only be viewed by your professor.  Other students in the course cannot see its content.  There is an option for journals to be shared with the class, if you can't see anyone else's journal (along the right side of the screen) then they can't see yours.

Starting Your Submission

[your Journal may be located in the ASSIGNMENTS section of your course. This tutorial assumes you have located the correct link]
Remember you will have to submit multiple entries. Each time you access the Journal, you will create a new entry. You may have to make multiple entries a week.
You can SAVE entries as DRAFT which can be completed at a later time. You can access your drafts in the top right part of your screen.

Creating Your First Entry

Use this screen to write your entry. See the Blackboard user manual for more information on using the text editor.

Post Entry

You can upload a file before submitting
To POST entry, click POST ENTRY.

View Your Entries


All of your submitted entries will be shown. You can edit the entries IF your instructor has made that option available.
You can view COMMENTS.
Also, the far-right has an INDEX which will show all of your entries (either weekly or monthly). The (2) means there are 2 entries for that time period.
If you have other questions, please contact the Blackboard Helpdesk at (877) 736-2585 or visit their homepage.

View Drafts

Your drafts will be listed. Your instructor DOES NOT see drafts, only the entries that were submitted.

Using Journals in Blackboard

This semester, the Center for Academic Technology is offering workshops on Blackboard and other technology related topics.  Sign up now!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

FREE Online Tutoring for all UDC students through SMARTHINKING!

Did you know that all University of the District of Columbia students have access to FREE Online Tutoring through SMARTHINKING?

There are Math, Business, Nursing, and Writing subjects and over 1500 tutors to help you!

To access FREE tutoring:
1. Log into your Blackboard account
2. Select a course
3. Select "tools" on the left
4. Scroll down to click “Smarthinking login

If you have difficulties accessing your account, please call 202-274-5665 or email
Once you are logged in, check out their Student Handbook here  and feel free to contact SMARTHINKING’s Customer Support Team at 888.430.7429 ext 1 or 

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Advent Of Mobile Learning Technology -- And Explaining Slideshare

I think everyone knows about Slideshare, it's usually my first stop before starting on a new presentation.  For the uninitiated, Slideshare is like YouTube for Powerpoint presentations.  (a similar service for documents of all types is People from all walks of like share their presentations, creating a digital library of information.

Like all internet resources, the credibility and authority of each presentation must be examined, however there are a few ways to do this.

Slideshare recently added a statistics box to each presentation, now you can see what other folks thought about the presentation, usually the best barometer of its credibility.  Think of it like user reviews on Amazon or Ebay...I find user ratings to be tremendously helpful!

[FYI, an embed is when you share content from one site on another.  By using the embed button on Slideshare, when I created this blog post, I became the 9th person to do so -- resulting in 140 views--as of today]

In Blackboard 9, Slideshare, in addition to YouTube and Flickr (pictures), are now part of the learning management system.  From any content area, you can click on BUILD CONTENT where you can browse each site and share learning resources with your students.

Visit this site for step by step instructions on adding mash-ups to your course.

OK, so now back to where the motivation for this post started... mobile technology!  Blackboard recently released a mobile browser (for the Android, Iphone Blackberry and iPad), an act which has already been seen as a catapult to the mobile learning industry (See Wall St Journal article).

Mobile learning is one of the two spaces I am really excited in terms of education technology, with the other being virtual learning.  Well, here's a Slideshare presentation on Mobile Learning...ENJOY!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Getting Started with Groups in Blackboard

Utilizing groups within Blackboard allows students to work collaboratively and learn from each other.  The  latest version of Blackboard streamlines many of the administrative functions for managing groups.

Additionally, a group can be given their own 'room' in blackboard complete with a journal, blog, wiki, discussion board and other tools to facilitate the learning process. [view this excellent resource from North Dakota State University which explains the difference between these tools]

Blackboard has quite a few online resources to accompany their new release and help you learn more about groups.  See a few of them below.

Do you use group functions in Blackboard?  If so, let us know how in the comments field.  We'd love to hear your feedback.

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Getting Started With Groups


For more on groups, see this annotated version of the  Blackboard 9.1 User Guide.  Also, here's another document from the very good people at North Dakota State University on how to utilize groups in Blackboard.

Here's an interesting Slideshare presentation on using groups.

This semester, the Center for Academic Technology is offering workshops on Blackboard and other technology related topics.  Sign up now!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Rubrics and Blackboard

This lesson will discuss the creation of rubrics in Blackboard. Also check out the Blackboard page on rubrics online.

Access Rubrics

Select Rubrics from the Course Tools menu. If you don't see the Rubrics options, view this short tutorial to add it. Note, you must CREATE the rubric before you associate it with an assessment.

Create New Rubric

If you have already created a rubric, you will see it on this screen (see the PRACTICE rubric). More than likely, you will need to CREATE a rubric

Name rubric

You may have multiple rubrics, be sure to name them appropriately. The description may be useful to you , but is not mandatory.

Define Rubric

Blackboard provides a simple template. You can add rows/columns and assign point values too.

Modifying Columns

You can edit a column or row by clicking on the chevron (circled) and pressing EDIT. Note in this picture, the "Show Point Range" box is checked and now the points aren't fixed, but can be a range.

Connecting the Rubric with an Assessment

You must go to the Control Panel and access the "Full Grade Center" to connect a rubric with an assessment.

Select the Assessment

Click on the chevron in the column header. If the assessment can support rubrics, select the "View and Add Rubrics" option

Select the Rubric

Select the rubric you wish to use with the assessment by pressing ADD RUBRIC.

Confirm Selection

Make sure the checkbox is selected for the rubric you wish to connect with the assessment.

Changed Your Mind?

If you wish to view the rubric, slect the icon with the two overlaid squares (on the left). To disassociate (it won't delete) the rubric from the assessment, press the X.

Grading with the Rubric

When you start grading, press VIEW GRADE DETAILS to view the student's submission.

Viewing the Rubric

When you are in the grading screen, you can view the rubric (as a reminder). Students will also be able to see the rubric, although the score for each section won't be visible.

View short Video on Rubrics

Be sure to turn the volume up. Here's the link to the tutorial:

Thursday, September 16, 2010

How to Share a Document Using Google Docs

LiveScribeSo I’ve set a goal to become a paperless teacher within the next 6 months.  Between dropbox, Google Docs, Scribd, and a 4 gig USB drive, I’m very determined to make this happen.  I’m also lucky enough to have an ipad and a LiveScribe Pen  (pictured) to help me stay paper free.

But this post isn’t about me, it’s about my quest to help veteran faculty members to better leverage technology in their teaching.   Most faculty are misguided in thinking technology is an end-product for classroom use. They often dismiss the use of technology in class prep and post-class work.  In all honesty, I end up using more technology to make MY LIFE easier, as opposed to *in class* ‘stuff’.
Yesterday, a prof. asked me about a way to share a document with colleagues so he could get a quick turnaround on comments and revisions.  I used Jing to introduce him to Google Docs (they already had a Gmail account) and the sharing capability. 
I didn’t go into ALL of the features [get a tour], but it worked just fine.  Check it out below [here’s the link]

To learn more about Google Docs and file sharing, check out the Google Docs help page.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

How to Respond to Discussion Boards

[This tutorial was created to assist students in utilizing Discussion Boards.  Each week, Dr. Broadnax will ask her students to comment on ethical questions posed in the course text.  Students will write their entries by a predetermined date and then respond to their classmates once the first phase of the project is complete.]

This lesson will show you how to respond to Discussion Boards in Blackboard in Dr Broadnax's Ethical Issues in Health course. You can view this tutorial online at:

After logging in to Blackboard

Click on the button labeled DISCUSSION BOARD

Select the Appropriate Forum

A discussion board can have multiple forums. Typically, each forum will represent a new assignment. Be sure to read the description and make sure you are entering information in the appropriate forum.

Understanding Threads

A forum may have multiple threads. So, to recap, a Discussion Board may have multiple FORUMS which may have multiple THREADS. A thread is similar to an email with multiple responses. When you reply to an email, you see the original email and your response(s) together. Think of a thread as the same concept where replies to the original email message are kept together.
You must click a thread to view its content.
Your instructor may allow you to create threads also. Feel free to suggest topics or pose questions to your classmates.

Responding to a Post

When you click on a message, you will be able to view its content on the bottom of the screen.

Clinking on Message

When you respond to a message, it is called a post (or message). You may be asked to respond to the posts of your classmates, be sure to click on the appropriate post before hitting REPLY.

To Reply to a Message

Enter information and then SAVE or SUBMIT.

Viewing New Post

To learn more about discussion board in Blackboard, go to:
For Blackboard help beyond this tutorial:
In person: Building 41, Room 106 on the Van Ness Campus
Blackboard Help Desk available 24/7/365! Telephone: 202-274-5665 or toll free: 877-736-2585

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What does a high quality online course look like?

An excellent site (from California State University) for assessing online learning. Check it out:

[taken from]
This site is designed to answer the question being asked: What does a high quality online course look like? It is our hope that instructors and instructional designers will use this site to learn more about the Rubric for Online Instruction, and be able to view examples of exemplary courses that instructors have done in implementing the different components of the rubric.

Screen shot 2010-04-25 at 8.23.51 PM.png

Monday, September 13, 2010

Enticing Teachers To Try Technology

While this article from The Journal focuses on K-12 technology integration, many colleges and universities are also struggling with the same issue.

Technology is a marvelous tool for enhancing the curriculum, engaging the students, and bringing life to an antiquated classroom. Most educators will agree this premise is true. But how do you get teachers to take the leap and dive into technology integration in their classrooms? One solution some districts have tried is to equip all classrooms with technology--interactive whiteboards, documents cameras, LCD projectors, etc. The expectation is that if they equip it, the teachers will use it.

A recent Educause survey listed “faculty adoption and innovation in teaching and learning” as the number  4 challenge in Teaching and Learning.

As the Internet augments the learning landscape and students become more immersed in online environments, it’s often the instructor who is least equipped to utilize new(er) technologies.  Colleges attempt to entice faculty to enhance their technology skills with everything from free laptops (at Virginia Tech) to incentive pay (Univ. of Nebraska.)

The University of the District of Columbia is currently in the midst of formalizing many of its technology offerings and support services.    While ‘entice’ wouldn’t be the right word to use for our efforts, we’ve been excited by the attendance at our most recent technology boot camp and have reworked our fall technology offerings (see below) to better fit faculty needs.  We invite your comments on how your institution ‘entices’ faculty to try new(er) technologies.

To register for an upcoming LRD workshop, go to Blackboard [] and click on the tab in the far right corner labeled WORKSHOPS.  Space is limited so please register early and often!

Friday, September 10, 2010

October Workshop Schedule

The document below links to the October workshop offerings from the Center for Academic Technology.  To view workshop descriptions, click here

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Introduction to Blackboard

Link to this post: 

This tutorial (view as PDF) will introduce you to the Blackboard 9.1 system. We will discuss how to login, how to access courses and a general orientation on the system.

What is Blackboard?

Blackboard is a learning management system which connects students and professors outside of the traditional classroom. See for information on Blackboard.

Logging On

Go to and use your EMAIL login [username and password] to gain access.
If you don't know your login information, see the following two screenshots.

Finding out Your Email Login

Access the UDC email site: By default, your username is FIRSTNAME.LASTNAME and the password is your student ID number (found on the back of your ID card).

After you Login . . .

All of the courses you are currently enrolled in will appear in the top right of your screen.

Back to Blackboard . . .

Be sure to spend a few minutes orienting yourself with the look and feel of your course. Explore the buttons to the left.


You will be able to submit assignments online. Be sure to check due dates.

Various Tools

Blackboard 9.1 has several tools to make learning more interesting and engaging for the student. Your professor will decide which ones to use in the course.

Viewing Grades

You will be able to access any entered grades here.

Other Resources

1. Click on this link to view the ALDADIN library website.
2. Click on this link for HELP with Blackboard




You can search on various online journals and databases.

Searching E-Journals

Enter a term [in our case 'Nutrition'] and results will display on the screen. In most cases you can print or download the text directly from the site.



If you have issues, a service desk is available 24 hours a day. You may also be able to have a LIVE CHAT. You can access this site directly at


Visit the Center for Academic Technology webpage [] for other Blackboard related help.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Teaching College Courses Online vs Face-to-Face

onlAn interesting article from The Journal on the emerging trend in higher education to bring more courses online.

Experiencing a huge demand for college courses taught over the Web and not wanting to be swept aside by competitors from the commercial sector, universities are often pressuring faculty to teach courses online. Many faculty members have never taught online, and therefore wonder what they are getting themselves into. What are the differences between teaching online and teaching face-to-face? What can faculty members expect from the experience of teaching college courses on the Web?
Read the full article