BlendKit Reading response for Week 4

This week’s topic is blended content and assignments, another good reading. I liked the emphasis on integrating the online and face-to-face components of the course to make one, seamless experience for the students. There was a helpful discussion of learning activities with and without technology. I’d say the many apps and sites and services under the heading of Technique (How) only scratched the surface of what’s out there. In fact,, an outliner site/service, was mentioned on NPR on Monday.

In other, synchronicitous news, there was an article in Science Magazine reporting that lectures aren’t just boring–they’re ineffective. Active learning trumps passive learning any day. The more the brain is engaged in the process the better it learns.BlendKit Course Badge

And it was good timing that I also attended a Blackboard webinar on badges today. Lots of ways to make learning more engaging and active and rewarding! I’ve actually earned 12 badges so far in this MOOC, and one of them is displayed above. Badges may now be awarded in Blackboard too, and our OWU Blackboard is currently getting an upgrade to Service Pack 14 (all the way from SP 6!) Come fall, I’ll be doing a lot more to promote the use of Blackboard features to make courses more blended and more engaging.



Are Liberal Arts colleges insulated from current higher ed trends?

I attended a webinar on the new Blackboard Store today and found that it’s not what I expected–yet another app store–but an online bookstore with other course materials available. These materials would be exclusively for the courses the student is enrolled in. This makes sense as the next logical progression from Blackboard’s publisher integrations. It also appears they’re trying to cut Ginkgotree out by developing a similar platform native to Bb.


What gave me pause for reflection was the current trends the rep from MBS Direct (Bb’s store development partner) cited as the context for the launch of the store. It’s all stuff I’ve been hearing a lot of over the last few years:

  • Whole industries are shifting from a single, persistent source for information (or a very few) to multiple channels and multiple modalities, indeed whole new environments. He spoke of a single rock radio station per town in the 1970’s to multiple radio stations, satellite radio, digital downloads, Spotify, Pandora, internet radio, and more. We’re all familiar with these trends in music, movies, and news.

  • In higher education we have growing adjunct and part-time faculty contingents, and shrinking percentages of tenure-track faculty.

  • At the same time there are shrinking percentages of traditional students, with growing percentages of non-traditional students. So the most common type of student nowadays is one who is also working and/or raising a family while attending college.

I got to thinking how different it is at small, residential Liberal Arts colleges than at big state schools and community colleges, what to speak of for-profit, online schools. Here at OWU we still use tenure-track faculty primarily. Our students are predominantly 18-22, and the vast majority of them live and work (if they hold a job at all) on campus. We pride ourselves on having small class sizes in which students and teachers can really get to know one another.

And yet, are our students likewise insulated from these big trends affecting the rest of higher education? I doubt it. Do they increasingly prefer digital over print? Are they increasingly finding multiple sources for study help, for research materials, etc. outside of the campus library, beyond the library’s website? Are more and more of them getting their textbooks and course materials somewhere other than the campus Bookstore? And are they bringing mobile technology with them and accessing course materials, official college email, etc. on these devices? Remember, they are young millennials.

Our teaching and assessing practices need to adapt not so much to the trends in the rest of higher ed, but they should definitely adapt to the changing learning and study habits of our students, who are digital natives.

YAOS – Yet Another Online Store

Blackboard, the mammoth, monolithic LMS is announcing “a new resource that further simplifies the teaching and learning experience: the Blackboard Store(TM).” I can’t imagine how offering students or faculty another store with another expanding collection of apps/building blocks/publisher integrations/service providers is going to further simplify the teaching and learning experience. Here in the U.S. we’re paralyzed by the paradox of choice, and higher education is no exception.

Blackboard Logo

“Study hard. Shop easy.”

SafeAssign fails faculty demo

Plagiarism prevention services produce only so-so results…

After last month’s discussion of plagiarism at our Teaching Circle, I was asked to demonstrate the use of SafeAssign, the plagiarism prevention service offered by Blackboard in its Blackboard Learning System. I was happy to do so.

On Tuesday, I grabbed a few sample papers from the Internet and ran them through SafeAssign’s scan. One was from, one from Hacker Handbooks, and one from Dr. Cecilia Barnbaum’s page at Valdosta State‘s web site. The scan matching results were 100%, 100%, and 100% respectively. The faculty present were pleased with the results and with how it worked. The suspected sources included student papers from other institutions, as well as the Internet.

For Wednesday’s circle I decided to use documents that would better demonstrate SafeAssign’s capabilities. The first document was a sample exam full of random questions, such as What color is the sky? What is Lady Gaga’s given, birth name? How many windows are there in the Pentagon? and What is Pi, to the 10th digit? The second document was the EarthDance Delaware press release from 2011. And the third document was a “random sample essay paper” I composed from a variety of sources, the full text of which is posted below. The scan matching results were 13%, 24%, and 43%, respectively. (These results may have been slightly different during the presentation, as they’ve been rescanned several times since.)

The results this time around were not only disappointing, but perplexing.

Continue reading “SafeAssign fails faculty demo”

Online Class Discussions

There are several ways instructors may set up online discussions with students in Blackboard. Most of them are asynchronous, while virtual office hours are live. All of them, other than virtual office hours, can be used with specific user groups.

Discussions Forums

These are threaded conversations organized by topic. Contributions to Blackboard discussion forums may be graded assignments and assigned to groups. See how to create one: Create a Forum

Link to this section of the page.


Blogs are short blurbs, essays, or articles arranged chronologically with comments (responses) below. Blogs in Blackboard may be graded assignments and assigned to groups of students. See how to create one: Create a Blog (Note. Some features may no longer be available on Bb Ultra).

Link to this section of the page.


Wikis are editable web pages. They may be used for free-form conversations and brainstorming, as well as collaborative composition and revision. This feature automatically records version history to track who has made each change and when. Wikis in Blackboard may be graded assignments and assigned to groups. See how to create one: Create a Wiki (Note. Some features may no longer be available on Bb Ultra).

Link to this section of the page.

Virtual Office Hours

Office Hours in Blackboard is a chat room that all students in the course may join. This cannot be automatically added to the Grade Center or assigned to individual groups. It is a good tool for answering questions and discussing in realtime. You will have to communicate at what time(s) you will be available. (What are your virtual office hours?)

With Collaborate Ultra, you can create a course area for your virtual office hours that students can enter to communicate at set times. To activate Collaborate Ultra on your course, see our Blackboard for Instructors section on enabling Collaborate Ultra. To learn how to set up Virtual Office Hours using Collaborate Ultra, see this tutorial: How to Create Virtual Office Hours using Collaborate Ultra.

Link to this section of the page.

Related Pages

Blackboard for Instructors

Blackboard Help for Instructors. Also, see the main page for OWU Blackboard.

Log Into Blackboard

Current instructors should select the first link to log into Blackboard Learn with your OWU credentials.

New instructors’ Blackboard user accounts are created automatically after the following:

  1. Your employment has been processed by Human Resources,
  2. The Provost’s or Registrar’s Office has assigned you as an instructor in a course,
  3. There are students also registered in the course.

The Help Desk can manually create your user account and enroll you in the Blackboard course you’ll be teaching ahead of the these, if necessary

Course List

Organizing courses in the Blackboard Ultra Navigation has changed from a module to a page in the menu. Here, courses that you teach or are enrolled in show up as course cards that show the course title, instructor(s), and course ID. To learn more about viewing your courses, visit the Blackboard Help page here.

Make Course Available

You have uploaded your syllabus, but students do not yet have access to the file. Before students can enter your course, you must make it available to them.

To make your course Available:* Expand the “Customization” area of the course’s Control Panel.

  • Click the “Properties” link.
  • Choose “Yes” under “Set Availability” to designate your course as available to students.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the screen and click “Submit” to save your changes.

If you are teaching multiple courses, follow these steps to upload your syllabus and make your other courses available.

How to enable Collaborate in your course

If you’d like to use Blackboard Collaborate Ultra in your course(s), here’s what you’ll need to do.

  1. Go into the course where you’d like to use Collaborate.
  2. In the Course Management Control Panel, expand the Customization section.
  3. Click the Tool Availability link.
  4. Scroll down until you see “Blackboard Collaborate Ultra” in the list of tools.
  5. Click to put a check mark in the first box to the right, in the Available column.
  6. Click the Submit button at bottom right.
  7. Blackboard Collaborate Ultra will then show up in the Course Tools section of the Control Panel and the students’ “Other Tools” page.

If you’d rather not allow students to use it without you, here are two things you may want to do next:

  • Hide Blackboard Collaborate Ultra from the students’ Tools page. (Click the “Hide Link” button there.) OR
  • Lock the Course Room. (Select this option from its action menu within the Collaborate Ultra tool.)

For help, see Blackboard’s Help site or Behind the Blackboard for best practices, documentation, and known issues.

Upload your Syllabus

Click on the name of the course you want to upload your syllabus into. This will take you into your course. Be sure that the Edit Mode button in the upper right-hand corner is set to “ON.” You should see a course menu on the left-hand side of your screen. If you click through the menu buttons, you will notice that several of them contain no content. This section will walk you through uploading your syllabus, but first, you need to have your syllabus saved as a word or text document.

Tip: Do not use spaces or special characters (e.g. #,+,*) for file names because some students may not be able to open the file depending on their computer settings. Only use letter, number and underscores. For example, use “english_comp_101.doc” instead of “English Comp-101.doc”. Never use an ampersand (&).
To upload your syllabus:

  • Click the “Documents” link in the Course Menu.
  • Hover over the “Build Content” button and click “Syllabus” in the drop down list.
  • Under the Name section, enter the Syllabus Name into the text box provided.
  • Under Syllabus, select Use Existing File.
  • Click the “Browse My Computer” button to locate your syllabus (located on your computer).
  • Once you have located the syllabus on your computer, click to highlight the file and then click the “Open” button.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the screen and click “Submit” to save your changes to Blackboard.

Congratulations! You have uploaded your syllabus to Blackboard. You can use these same steps to upload any file to Blackboard, including PDF files, PowerPoint presentations, pictures, or even short video clips.

Set a Language Pack
  1. Select the course you want to modify.
  2. Open the Customization drop-down menu and select Properties.
  3. Under Select Language Pack, choose your Language Pack from the drop down list. This will be used for buttons, titles, and other text supplied by the system within that course.
  4. Optionally, put a check mark next to Enforce Language Pack. This will override individual student’s language choices.
  5. Click the Submit button.
Customizing Course Navigation

To customize the course navigation you will be adding to the course menu. You can add links on the Course Menu to items in the course. Items include: Content Areas that provide direct access to content items such as Learning Modules, Tests, and Lesson Plans; tools such as Email and My Grades; internal or external links; and elements that help organize the menu, like a divider.

Here are instructions on how to do this.

  1. Click the Add icon (+) above the Course Menu.
  2. Select the item from the list.
  3. Type the Name of the content item in the Name field.
  4. Click Submit.
Enrolling Students

Students are enrolled in Blackboard courses based on official Registrar information. This information is automatically refreshed (upload only–no drops or deletions) until the last add/drop date for that semester. Faculty may manually enroll individual students in their Blackboard courses by following these steps:

Note: These steps are not recommended for combining classes or merging courses. See Merging Courses below.

  1. Select the course in which you wish to enroll the student.
  2. Under Control Panel, in the Users and Groups section, click Users.
  3. Hover over ‘Enroll User’ and click ‘Find Users to Enroll’.
  4. Add the username of the student in the Username field. (Our usernames are the first part of our OWU email address–what comes before the ‘@’ sign.) Alternatively, you can use the Browse option to search for students.
  5. You may enter more than one at a time by separating the usernames with commas. You may also use the ‘Batch Enroll Users’ button to the right of the ‘Find Users to Enroll’ button. To batch enroll users, create a text document or Excel file with the usernames of the users you want to enroll. See the Blackboard Help site for more information.
  6. Select a role; ‘Student’ is the default.
  7. Check ‘Yes’ on the Enrollment Availability to make sure your additional users can access your course.
  8. Click Submit.

Faculty may also remove students from their courses by using the Remove Users from the Users page, by highlighting the selected users and clicking the ‘Remove Users From Course’ button. Note that when students log into their Blackboard accounts, they will only see the courses they are enrolled in and that are marked as available. If a course is not listed as it should be, contact the Blackboard Administrator.

Merging Courses

The Course Relationship Management feature automatically manages multiple sections of the same course. A system administrator will have to set one (or more) of your courses as child courses of a master course. Then, in the master course, you’ll be able to see which course students are actually enrolled in and our automatic enrollment integration won’t be affected.

Just send a request to and let us know which course you’d like to use as the master and which course(s) to link as child. It’s best if you haven’t created any content or had any interactions in the child course(s) before merging.

Copy Course Content
  1. First, you must be in the course you wish to copy content from. You must also be enrolled as Instructor in both courses.
  2. Under Control Panel, click on Packages and Utilities and select Course Copy.
  3. For Copy Type, select Copy Course Materials into an Existing Course.
  4. Type in the Destination Course ID under Select Copy Options or click the Browse button to find it.
  5. Now select specifically what you want to copy. You must have something selected under Select Course Materials.
  6. Click the Submit button. When the operation is successful, you will receive an email in your OWU inbox and a confirmation message will appear at the top of the destination course.

Note: Please do not use this method to merge enrollments of multiple course sections. Information Services can merge courses using Course Relationship Management, which has some distinct advantages over manually copying enrollments. Simply send a request to with the course IDs for the courses you’d like to merge, and which one you’d like to use as the master course.

Adding Co-Instructors

Instructors automatically enrolled in Blackboard courses are based on Registrar’s information. You may manually enroll additional instructors in your co-taught course by following the same steps for enrolling a student, above, (using the faculty’s username instead of a student’s) and setting the Role for them to Instructor (or Teaching Assistant or Course Builder.) Note that only a system administrator can remove Instructors from a course.

Problems Playing YouTube Videos

Most of the latest browsers have gotten more strict about blocking unsecured content on secured web sites, such as our Blackboard system. The embedded YouTube video mashup calls the video using HTTP instead of HTTPS. That’s why the frame and Player Controls button only will appear in some browsers but no video will load. There are two workarounds for this problem:

  1. To use the embedded mashup tool, you’ll need to switch to HTML editing view and replace all HTTP references with HTTPS.
    1. Insert the Youtube mashup.
    2. Edit the content item.
    3. While editing, click the Toggle HTML Source Mode button, that looks like “< >”. You will see the HTML code.
    4. Press Ctrl+F on a PC or Command+F on a Mac to find the first instance of “HTTP” and add an S at the end. Repeat until they all have the S.
    5. Save and close your the content item. The video should work embedded now in all browsers.
  2. Instead of embedding the YouTube video on the page and going through the steps above, add a URL content item and point it to the full page for the video. Set it to open in a new window to ensure that Blackboard opens the whole page.
Why Electronic Submission?
  • Save Paper
  • Same Time
  • End debates over deadlines
  • Better Comments
  • Reduce Clutter
  • Avoid Germs
  • Facilitate Rewrites
  • Easy Access
  • Permanent Access
Create Assignments
  1. Click on the course that you would like to add an assignment for, make sure the edit mode (right side of the page below the red header) is turned on.
  2. You may create assignments in any content area, such as Readings Assignments found in the navigation menu, on the left side of the page under the course description.
  3. Once in a content area, three red buttons will appear in the yellow (gold) header in the middle of the page. Hover over the Create Assessment button and a drop down menu will appear. Then click Assignment on the drop down menu.
  4. On the Create Assignment page you must name the assignment and assign possible points. The assignment can either be typed out or you may upload it as a file. To upload a file go to section 2, labeled Assignment Files and click the Browse My Computer button to find the file you are looking for.
  5. You may adjust the due date, availability, and grading before the assignment is submitted. To submit the assignment and allow students access to it, click the submit button at the top or bottom of the page.

For more information, see the Blackboard Help page on Creating and Editing Assignments.

Creating Quizzes
  1. In Course Content select “Create Assessment” and then choose “Test”
  2. Select “Create a New Test”
  3. Provide Name and Description/Instructions
  4. Create Questions and select the type of question you wish to create.
  5. Enter the question content, points, type of feedback, etc.
  6. When test design is complete, add the test to the course content by clicking “submit”.
  7. Finally select your test options.
Creating Blog Assignments

Create Learning Teams

  1. Under “Groups” tab in the Content Areas select “Create Single Group”
  2. Select “Manual Enroll”
  3. Create group name
  4. Make sure “blog” is selected in Tool Availability
  5. Under Membership select users you want to be added into your group.
  6. Finally select “Submit” to add your group.

Create Blog Assignments

  1. In your created group select “Group Blog” under the Group Tools.
  2. Click on “Create Blog Entry”
  3. Enter your prompt and attach any documents you want.
  4. Finally, select “Post”
Importing VALUE Rubrics

Here is how you can import the AACU VALUE Rubrics into your own courses, in 10 easy steps. These rubrics contain the AACU descriptions and scores  in the Blackboard rubrics tool format. Thus they can be associated with assignments and used in grading submissions.

  1. While in your course, expand the course Tools section of the Control Panel, and click on the Rubrics.
  2. Click ” Import Rubric” in the menu bar.
  3. Click the Browse Course button. (This gets you access to more than just your course content, as you will see).
  4. In the Browse Content Collection window, hover over Browse, and select All Content at the bottom.
  5. Click on “Institution” in the Name list.
  6. Click on “VALUE Rubrics” in the Name list.
  7. Click the circle next to the rubric you’d like to import. (If you click the name of a rubric at this point, it’ll download the zip file to your computer. You might want to do that for the AACU VALUE Rubrics Introduction, as it’s a PDF, and won’t import as a rubric).
  8. Click the Submit button in the lower right in the Browse Content Collection window.
  9. Then click the Submit button in the lower right on the Import Rubric screen. It’ll take 5-10 seconds for it to import, (and it might look like Blackboard isn’t doing anything. Practice patience, as needed).
  10. You’ll see a Rubric Import Result screen, confirming the import. Click OK at bottom right.

The imported rubric will then appear in your Rubrics list. Click on the action button that appears when you hover over it,  select Open to view it or Edit to revise it.

Once the rubric is in your course, assignments can be associated with it. Instructions and videos on how to do that can be found on Blackboards Help site.

Using SafeAssign

To access SafeAssign in Blackboard Ultra: – Under the Course Management section, open the Control Panel, and open the Course Tools drop-down menu. SafeAssign should be available there. – Alternatively, click on Content in your class section. Expand the Create Assessment drop-down menu. SafeAssign should be one of the options.  To make SafeAssign visible in the Course Tools section of the Control Panel:

  1. In the course Control Panel, expand Customization.
  2. Select Tool Availability.
  3. Scroll down to SafeAssign and put a check mark in the first box (Available).
  4. Click the Submit button at the top or bottom of the screen.

In SafeAssign, the overall score is an indicator of what percentage of the submitted paper matches existing sources. This score is a warning indicator only and papers should be reviewed to see if the matches are properly attributed.

  • Scores below 15 percent: These papers typical include some quotes and few common phrases or blocks of text that match other documents. These papers typically do not require further analysis, as there is no evidence of the possibility of plagiarism in these papers.
  • Scores between 15 and 40 percent: These papers include extensive quoted or paraphrased material or they may include plagiarism. These papers should be reviewed to determine if the matching content is properly attributed.
  • Scores over 40 percent: There is a very high probability that text in this paper was copied from other sources. These papers include quoted or paraphrased text in excess and should be reviewed for plagiarism.
Using the Grade Center

Tips for Grading in the Blackboard Ultra Navigation can be found on their Help site.

Join IS Professional Development

Information Services Professional Development offers a Blackboard course for faculty and staff. This online Blackboard course is offered in an effort to enhance and augment in-person training opportunities. Here you’ll find training videos and links to additional resources, as well as surveys and discussion forums on workshop topics. It’s an example of blended learning, combining face-to-face (F2F) with online activity, sometimes referred to as hybrid teaching or ‘flipping’ the classroom.

To Self Enroll:

    1. Click ‘My Courses‘ at the top left
    2. Enter “Information Services” into the course search box on the left
    3. Click ‘GO
    4. Click enroll in the choices below the course ID “ISPROFDEV
      —Hover under ID and click arrow that appears for action options
    5. Enter “OWUISPROFDEV” in the Access Code box
    6. Click ‘Submit
    7. Click ‘OK
Test Availability Exceptions

You can create individual or group exceptions to the default test availability:

  1. Go into the course and into the area where you posted the test for the students to find it.
  2. Hover your mouse pointer over the test item and click the action button that appears.
  3. Select ‘Edit the Test Options’ from the pop-up menu.
  4. Scroll down to the TEST AVAILABILITY EXCEPTIONS section, and click the ‘Add User or Group’ button.
  5. Select the excepted users in the list of enrolled students and click the Submit button at the bottom.
  6. Make sure the number of Attempts shown for this excepted student is what you want.
  7. Click the calendar button under Availability, and set the availability of the test for him.
  8. Click the Save button in the pop-up window., then click the Submit button at top or bottom of the Test Options.

Note: Using Test Availability Exceptions in Blackboard (Test Options) hides the “Availability: Item is not available. It will be available after…” in the content area because it now has more than one availability setting. If you turn Edit Mode off, the test will disappear if it is outside the default availability timeframe.

Create a Personal Archive of Your Course

While Information Services has archived copies of historic courses that may be restored on request, you may create a personal archive copy of your course at any time.

  1. Go to your Course Control Panel > Packages and Utilities > Export/Archive Course.
  2. Select the option of your choice. “Export Course” creates a package of course content that can later be imported into the same course or a different course. “Archive Course” creates a permanent record of a course including all the content and user interactions available at the time the Archive is created.
  3. Select copy options and file attachment settings, and click the Submit button. You may calculate the package size before you do, and manage the package contents.
  4. A zip file will be downloaded to your computer.
Third Party Integrations

In original courses, these can be found in the Control Panel > Course Tools.

In ultra courses, these can be found under Details & Actions > Books & Tools > View course & institution tools.

Many of these services are publisher system integrations and require textbook adoption. Some offer free accounts. Examity, Google, OneNote, and Zoom are supported by OWU Information Services.

Learning More
  • Blackboard Ultra is designed to be fairly simple to use, and information as well as help is placed at convenient locations while you are using it.
  • Workshops on Blackboard are offered two or three times an academic year. An announcement about upcoming workshops is sent to all faculty members. The current workshop schedule is posted on the Information Services web site.
  • If you have additional questions, contact the Blackboard Administrator.
Comparison of Blackboard to Self-Service

More Information

Contacting the primary Blackboard Administrator David Soliday 740-368-3130 You may also contact the Help Desk for Blackboard requests and issues.

Blackboard for Students

Also see the main OWU Blackboard page.

Log Into Blackboard

Go to Enter your OWU username and password (the same ones you use for BishopApps).

Link to this section of the page.


Click on “Courses” in the left sidebar.  Students will now see all courses they’re enrolled in, but will only have access to the courses that instructors have made available to them.  Details about the course, such as its description, and contact info for the instructor, are readily available.  Hover over the course box and click on the “i” symbol for a course description or click on the envelope symbol to contact the instructor.

Link to this section of the page.


Some notifications about course activities are always on in the Ultra experience, and you can’t disable them. Plus, you will have the option to choose your notifications at the system level rather than the course level. These notification settings apply to both the Original and Ultra Course Views.

While you will have greater control over what shows up in your Activity Stream, what gets sent via email, and soon what gets pushed via SMS, there are some notices that can’t be opted out of. These can’t be turned off or removed from the Activity Stream or email notices:

  • Announcement available

These only appear as email notices, and can’t be removed:

  • Unread Blog Posts
  • Unread Discussion Board Messages
  • Unread Journal Entries

You can opt in or out of showing these activities in the Activity Stream:

  • New course calendar items
  • New messages
  • New content added
  • New grades added
  • New courses available

New discussion messages (this one has two options if it’s enabled):

  • Discussions for all of my courses
  • Only discussions I’m participating

Along with choosing whether to receive individual message or a daily digest, you can opt in or out of receiving email notices for these activities:

  • New grades available
  • New messages
  • New discussion messages
  • New content added
  • New and upcoming due dates
  • Overdue items
  • New courses available

Currently, Organization activities won’t trigger email notifications.

Notification Settings are accessible from the gear icon at top right on the Activity Stream, and also on your profile page, under System Settings.

Learn more about the Ultra Notification settings.

Link to this section of the page.

How to Submit an Assignment

On the Upload Assignment page, Students can add comments and specify files to attach.

Follow the steps below to submit an Assignment:

  1. Select the Content Area from the Course Menu that holds the Assignment. For example, the Assignments area.
  2. Click the name of the Assignment. The Upload Assignment page appears.
  3. Complete the Assignment Materials text box if necessary.
  4. Click Browse My Computer and select a file to attach.
  5. Enter a Link Title. If the field is left blank, then the file name becomes the link.
  6. Complete the Comments field if necessary.
  7. Click Submit when the page is complete.

Instructors may create Assignments where Students do not need to attach files to complete them; Students can submit an Assignment without attaching a file. If Submit is selected, and no files are listed to attach, the Assignment is submitted and is no longer available to the Student to complete.
Assignments can only be submitted once!

Link to this section of the page.

How to View Instructor Feedback on an Assignment

Follow these steps:


  1. Access your course. Click Tools from the Course Menu.
  2. Select the My Grades link.
  3. On the My Grades page, assignments and grades will be listed. If the assignment has been submitted and graded, the points will be displayed. Click the grade link to view your submission history along with instructor feedback.
  4. Click OK to return to the My Grades page.

Note: An exclamation point indicates that the assignment has been submitted successfully and is waiting to be graded by the instructor. A paper and pencil icon indicates that the assignment has not been submitted because it is saved as a draft.

Link to this section of the page.

Your Courses Online

Blackboard is where your instructors upload their syllabus, lecture notes and other course material. You can download this material online from on campus or at home. All courses taught at the university have a corresponding Blackboard course and all students and instructors are automatically enrolled. Please note that this does not, however, indicate whether your instructor is choosing to use Blackboard within their course. Check with your instructor to see if they have made any course content available to you online.

Link to this section of the page.

Food for thought and further conversation

Will the Digital Revolution finally transform higher education? That’s a topic of much speculation and enthusiastic debate. Adrian Sannier, in the latest Educause Review, asks “If not now, when?”

I like how he describes the industry of education improving faster and more dramatically than individual people are capable of, instead of individual teachers improving over the course of their careers at human scale. That’s exciting, especially given that we’re a part of making it happen.

His discussion of education moving beyond the LMS was especially pertinent, as OWU has just begun (and I will be coordinating) a discussion on that very matter.  And rather than starting with the question of what’s better and cheaper than Blackboard, we started (as Instructional Technologists are prone to do) by backing up and asking what educational objectives we are trying to enhance with technology. Taking this approach allows us to then ask whether another LMS–which some see as a behemoth of an ERP that strives to be all things to all users–or a best-of-class approach–utilizing different systems for different tasks–would be better for us.

We’re just wrapping up a multi-year ERP migration where we moved from a monolithic Jenzabar system to five new systems for different departments. Doing something different (than Blackboard) for edtech would fit right in with OWU 2.0.

…but we’ll have to see how the conversation proceeds…


Bandwidth is a technical term indicating the maximum amount of information (bits/second) that can be transmitted along a channel or data connection. The term is also used loosely to indicate how much workload a person can handle in their day-to-day duties.

I could say I haven’t had the bandwidth to blog lately due to time-consuming projects, such as the Blackboard upgrade and updating our classroom inventory. Yet blogging is an important medium for communication with my constituents, peer colleagues at other institutions, and the world. It’s simply a matter of making it a priority and making time for it.

This semester I’ve made it a priority to attend the Psychological Foundations of Education class. This has been a good exposure to a typical course here at OWU, and one that integrates a a fair amount of technology: PowerPoint is almost always used for presenting material, and the presentations often include video. The Blackboard course is available and is where course documents can be found. (I’ve accessed it via the Blackboard Mobile app on my iPad.)  The document projector is sometimes used. The course is taught in Phillips 210, where there is a SMART Board, but the interactive features of that are not used in this course.

It will be interesting to discuss with the instructor ways that she might utilize technology more in this class. However, it’s been eye-opening to simply observe her teach and interact with the students. It’s given me a deeper appreciation for the time it takes to prepare and present a lesson. I typically teach stand-alone workshops that last up to an hour and a half. She’s teaching 50-minute sessions three times a week for 16 weeks, and that’s just one of her classes.

It’s understandable if faculty don’t want to start something new in the midst of a semester. They may not have the bandwidth to give it the attention required with everything else they’re already doing. I’m here to support what they’re already doing, and to be available when they’re ready to learn something new.

My first workshop this semester is Thursday at noon, and will cover the new apps in BishopApps, including Blogger.