Online Teaching & Technology Blog

Center for Online Learning, Research and Service @ Illinois Springfield

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Employability in Higher Education: A Review of Practice and Strategies Around the World

Employability in Higher Education: A review of practice and strategies around the world is a literature review associated with the practice, ecosystems and strategies in place around the world that are used to improve the employability levels of students and graduates and ensure that their skills and knowledge are fit-for-purpose for the graduate labor market upon leaving Higher Education (HE).  The publication is divided into five sections:

  1. How are higher education institutions developing coherent employability programs’?
  2. Best practice methods of embedding employability skills into the curriculum, and the importance of pedagogy.
  3. What graduate employability skills to employers value?
  4. How can higher education institutions and employers build closer working relationships?
  5. How is impact measured?
  6. Directions.
Image of an employability skills wheel published in the UKCES 2009 report, figure 3.  the Employability wheel center circle begins with employability skills surrounded by criical factors, then key features, and lastly, the out circle consisting of areas that impact on the learner, employer and provider.

Figure 3. Employability Skills Wheel (UKCES, 2009, p.17)

Learn How Universities are Augmenting their Curriculum with Real-world, Career-specific Teachings

In a McGraw-Hill Education 2015 Workforce Readiness Survey, thirty-five percent of college students said college was effective in preparing them for a job while  61% wanted classes designed to help build career skills.  Additionally, in an IBM Institute Report, Pursuit of Relevance: How Higher Education Remains Viable in Today’s Dynamic World, only 43% across industry and academia believe higher education prepares students with necessary workforce skills.   If you’re seeking ideas for curriculum improvement, learn how other universities are augmenting their curriculum with real-world, career-specific teachings.

  • Learning to Work Working to Learn – a publication that showcases promising examples of business-higher education partnerships that embed career development throughout a student’s college experience and treat both students and employers as customers.

Employability Skills Rubrics

If you’ve been trying to identify employability skills’ rubrics, check out the resources below.

  • Association of American Colleges and Universities  VALUE Rubrics  – Consists of the following sixteen rubrics:
    • Intellectual and Practical Skills:  inquiry and analysis, critical thinking, creative thinking, written communication, oral communication, reading, quantitative literacy, information literacy, teamwork, and problem-solving
    • Personal and Social Responsibility:  civic engagement, intercultural knowledge and competence, ethical reasoning, foundations and skills for lifelong learning, global learning
    • Integrative and Applied Learning: integrative learning
  • Emerging EdTech 21st Century Assessments Rubric -By creating assignments that earn high scores on this rubric, you can provide opportunities for students to develop and master the skills that are increasingly necessary to excel in today’s increasingly digital world while demonstrating acquisition of the required outcomes in many different types of courses.  Criteria categories include:
    • choice, flexibility, writing required, inquiry-based learning, real-world connection, collaboration, digital literacy, entrepreneurial skills, and mastery learning.
  • ConnectEd Studios Rubrics Bank – You’ll need to establish a free account to access the rubrics bank.  Sample rubrics you might be interested in include teamwork, group skills, and digital communication to name a few.

Video Lessons, Lesson Plans, Articles, Media and Web Resources

Study.com has over 22,000 video lessons searchable by grade level, subject, and keyword with 50,000+ additional articles relative to making college and career decisions.  Preview lesson content by previewing the partial transcript to explore potential employability skills topics complementary to your courses.  Tip: Use the keyword search feature to explore content and review disciplines other than yours for complementary content (e.g.  Effective Communication in the Workplace; Philosophy – Ethics in America etc.).

If you’re wanting to identify resources by industry sector, ConnectEd is your go-to resource providing a wealth of curriculum resources including lesson plans, student handouts, and media and web resources.

Promoting Learner Professionalism

The Leadership Development Center at York College conducted a national professionalism study, which identified key professionalism components spanning across industries and occupations.  In the 2015 report, respondents ranked seven responsible parties according to how responsible they felt each should be in developing professionalism in college graduates.  Students themselves were ranked number one and were followed by faculty ranking number two.  The report also describes the qualities of professionalism and unprofessionalism.   This list of qualities could be used for developing learner expectations for your course and allow various opportunities for practice in adopting professional attitudes and behaviors prior to graduation.  Adapt ideas from this learning activity to help your learners improve in professionalism behavior and attitudes.

Image of a bar graph ranking responsible parties for developing professionalism in college. The ranking for most responsible is students themselves, faculty, Career Development office, Parents, Employers, Other College Offices, Alumni.

Leadership Development Center, 2015 National Professionalism Study

Greater Expectations: A New Vision for Learning as a Nation Goes to College

The report, Greater Expectations: A New Vision for Learning as a Nation Goes to College, details findings and recommendations that promote the kind of learning students need to meet emerging challenges in the workplace, in a diverse democracy, and in an interconnected world. The report also proposes a series of specific actions and collaborations to substantially raise the quality of student learning in college.

Image of  the Greater Expectations Report's table titled: Organizing Educational Principles from Present to the New Academy. the table is divided into three columns titled former or present, modified, present or future located in Chapter located in Chapter 5.

AAC&U Greater Expectations Report: Organizing Educational Principles from Present to the New Academy

Guidelines For Practice: Integrating Practice-based Experiences

The practice guidelines for integrating practice-based experiences were developed by Professor Stephen Billett, Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC), National Teaching Fellow.  The guidelines are intended to assist higher education faculty to make decisions about organizing and integrating student experiences in practice settings to support student development, so they will make smooth transitions to their selected occupations upon graduation. The guidelines focus on:

  1. purposes for organizing and integrating experiences;
  2. key learning outcomes;
  3. key considerations for providing practice-based experiences;
  4. different ways of providing practice experiences for students;
  5. sets of principles and practice associated with organizing those experiences within the curriculum;
  6. enriching pedagogic practices.
The report identifies and appraises curriculum and pedagogic principles and practices for integrating higher education students’ experiences across practice and university settings through three phases of activities:
  • sponsored and engaged 20 projects from a wide range of disciplines across six universities to identify principles and practices;
  • appraised the 20 projects’ principles for practice, processes and outcomes in terms of educational worth for developing the kinds of knowledge graduates need to smoothly transition into their selected occupations;
  • attempted to align particular kinds of curriculum and pedagogic practices that are associated with specific kinds of learning.

The Dialogue Forum for the ALTC National Teaching Fellowship booklet contains information pertaining to the fellowship program, project details and findings.

CCTC Programs of Study and Industry-Based Standards

The Common Career Technical Core (CCTC), Programs of Study and Industry-Based Standards were developed as a multi-step process incorporating input from approximately 3,500 individuals representing K-12 education, business and industry, and higher education from across the nation.  The standards are built upon The National Career Clusters Framework.  The standards white paper is helpful if you’re trying to identify which industries are aligned with specific programs of study and the extent to which they are aligned.

The National Career Clusters Framework

The National Career Clusters Framework consists of 16 Career Clusters, represents more than 79 Career Pathways, and includes knowledge and skills statements.  Use the framework as an organizing tool for comprehensive understanding and to guide curriculum design with the purpose of bridging secondary and postsecondary curriculum.  A new proposed sustainability/green category is also available with Green/Sustainability Knowledge and Skill Statements and tools and references to aid in the instruction of the Green and Sustainability Standards.   As a reminder, Career Ready Practices should be applied throughout the continuum of learning.

The Illinois Career Clusters, Pathways and Programs of Study complements The National Career Clusters Framework and serves as a resource in understanding Illinois’ adoption of the National Career Cluster Framework.

Image of the Illinois Career Clusters Framework outlining the five CTE secondary areas, 16 career clusters and 79 career pathways.

Illinois Career Clusters Framework

ACT WorkKeys Competencies

Explore the ACT WorkKeys Assessment information developed to measure foundational hard and soft skills relevant to any occupation, at any level, and across industries.  Each assessment has characteristics and skills divided into seven levels of difficulty.  Use the information to explore ideas for developing or enhancing learning activities.

Relevant Categories:

  • Graphic Literacy – Use charts, graphs and diagrams for identifying what information is being presented and understanding how to use it.
  • Workplace Documents – Be creative and incorporate readings that reflect real workplace documents.  Learners can gather information from the documents to make job-related decisions and solve problems. Sample documents can include messages, emails, letters, directions, signs, bulletins, policies, websites, contracts, and regulations.
  • Business Writing – Assess learning activities in the context of workplace writing needs.  Content needs to be clear and free of distractions such as poor grammar, misspellings, and extraneous information. Explain to learners how careless errors may lead the reader (e.g. customer, supervisor etc.) to believe other errors may exist in terms of facts, resulting in the writer (or employee) losing credibility and trustworthiness.
  • Workplace Observation – Provide opportunities for learners to observe, follow, understand, and evaluate processes, demonstrations, and other workplace procedures.
  • Fit – Help learners identify interests and values compatible with a work environment conducive for job success.  
  • Talent – Develop activities to increase awareness of a student’s attitude or behavior, that if demonstrated in the workplace, could lead to disciplinary action or termination.  Provide opportunities for growth and feedback.

A strong rule

In Word 2016, for Mac or PC, when using bold or italics for emphasis in a document, consider using the style “strong”.  It is in the styles group along with normal, heading 1, heading 2….  A screen reader does not add emphasis to bold or italics, but will if you use strong.  In appearance, strong is set to a default bold.  However, you can modify the styles to whatever you would like.  To learn how to modify your styles go to this page, scroll down to “to modify a link” and use the instructions to set the styles to your preferences.

As a general rule, if you add color, bold, italics, or underline for emphasis in a document, consider selecting just one method of conveying emphasis.  Around 5% of the population is color blind, and around 2.3% of the population has a visual disability.  The color can be problematic for a color blind individual, and none of those methods of emphasis are conveyed through a screen reader.

Skillsoft Books (UIS Brookens Library)

Skillsoft Books  is a new database resource provided by UIS Brookens Library. Access the complete, unabridged content of more than 20,000+ online books and 40,000+ streaming videos in a fully searchable database.

TIP:  For relevant information pertaining to employability skills and industry, search the Business Skills and Government Categories.  Select current trending workplace articles that can be used to demonstrate real-world application and connects  course concepts with skills.  Login now to explore Skillsoft Books (requires UIS Netid and password).

Competency Model Clearinghouse

 

The Competency Model Clearinghouse initiative was developed in partnership between the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration and industry partners.  The goal of the initiative is to promote an understanding of the skill sets and competencies that are essential to educate and train a globally competitive workforce.  Currently, 26 diverse industry models exist including fundamentals of health care, cybersecurity, financial services and renewable energy.

Supplemental resources for educators, businesses, and workforce professionals include:

Image of a pryamid that identifies the five tiers of the model.

Generic Building Blocks Competency Model, CareerOneStop

 

Using tools and checkers in Adobe Acrobat Pro to make PDFs accessible

PDFs can be tricky to make accessible.  Regardless of whether you are using a Mac or PC, check out the instructions on the Adobe site for making a PDF accessible by running the action wizard and full check.  An all text Pdf should be relatively easy following the instructions in the first two sections at the Adobe site.  If after running the accessibility full check as outlined in the second section there are no issues identified, then the document is accessible.
(It is possible on an all-text document that Logical Reading Order and Color Contrast will have a white question mark in a blue circle.  It is ok to “pass” the Logical Reading Order.  And if it is a white document with black text it is ok to “pass” Color Contrast.)

If there are images, charts, tables, or maps these steps become more problematic, but the instructions in the remaining sections at the Adobe site should help with issues like alternative text and tagging issues.

Contextual Teaching and Learning Theory

Contextual teaching and learning theory emphasizes the relationship of course content to real-life situations by teaching abstract subject matter within the context of how it’s applied in the workplace and everyday life.  Consider use this teaching approach that incorporates the five essential strategies of REACT:

  • Relating: Learn in the context of life experience.
  • Experiencing: Learn in the context of exploration, discovery, and invention.
  • Applying: Apply concepts and information in a useful context such as projects related to a possible career, or in an unfamiliar location such as the workplace.
  • Cooperating: Cooperate in the context of sharing, responding and communicating with other learners.
  • Transferring: Learn in the context of existing knowledge, or transferring uses and builds upon what the learner already knows.

Are you teaching contextually?  Take the Center for Occupational Research and Development’s self-test to find out.  Additional supplemental resources for contextual teaching include the toolkit which includes lesson design elements and templates, and a table comparison between a traditional and contextual course environment.

Degree Qualifications Profile

The Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP) outlines a set of reference points for what students should know and be able to do upon completion of an associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees – in any field of study. The are five broad, interrelated categories of proficiencies which provide a profile of what degrees mean in terms of specific learning outcomes.

The DQP’s five categories of learning:

Image of the Degree Qualifications Profile outlining the Associate Bachelor's and Master's degree levels and the caregories of learning including specialized knowledge, broad and integrative knowledge, intellectual skills, applied and collaborative learning and civic and global learning.

  1. Specialized Knowledge
  2. Broad and Integrative Knowledge
  3. Intellectual Skills (analytic inquiry, use of information resources, engaging diverse perspectives, ethical reasoning, quantitative fluency and communicative fluency)
  4. Applied and Collaborative Learning
  5. Civic and Global Learning
Supplemental Resources:
  • Resource Kit (e.g. integrated learning frameworks, course-embedded assignments, assessment, rubrics, capstone portfolios etc.)
  • Assignment Library (browse and adapt assignments to your needs)
  • Implementation Resources
    • Tuning Impact Study: Developing Faculty Consensus to Strengthen Student Learning
    • Roadmap to Enhanced Student Learning, Implementing the DQP and Tuning
    • Tuning: A Guide for Creating Discipline Specific Frameworks to Foster Meaningful Change
    • DQP Impact Study: Framing and Connecting Initiatives to Strengthen Student Learning
    • Using the Degree Qualifications Profile
    • And more

 

P21 – 21st Century Student Outcomes

The 21st century student outcomes are the skills, knowledge and expertise students should master to succeed in work and life in the 21st century.  The P21’s Framework for 21st Century Learning was developed with input from teachers, education experts, and business leaders to define and illustrate the skills and knowledge students need to succeed in work, life and citizenship, as well as the support systems necessary for 21st century learning outcomes.

The theme and skill categories below have corresponding  Student Outcomes.   Determine which outcomes you have already included in your courses, or use as a reference to consider adding to your course.

21st Century Interdisciplinary Themes:

  • Global awareness
  • Financial, economic, business and entrepreneurial literacy
  • Civic literacy
  • Health literacy
  • Environmental literacy

 Learning and Innovation Skills:

  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
  • Communication
  • Collaboration

Information, Media and Technology Skills:

  • Information Literacy
  • Media Literacy
  • ICT Literacy

Life and Career Skills:

  • Flexibility & Adaptability
  • Initiative & Self Direction
  • Social & Cross-Cultural Skills
  • Productivity & Accountability
  • Leadership & Responsibility

OpenLearn

OpenLearn provides educational resources that can be filtered by skills, subjects, and free courses. Resource type includes articles, activities, courses, eBooks, Audios, Videos, TV & Radio and Posters & Booklets.

Skills for Work Categories:

  • Money and Finance
  • Project Planning
  • Digital
  • Communication
  • Career
  • Leadership and Management

Skills for Study Categories:

  • Reading and Finding Information
  • Writing and English
  • Maths and Data
  • Digital and Online
  • Organizational Skills
  • Critical and Analytical

Skills Commons

Explore the Skills Commons free and open digital library of workforce training resources and browse resources by industry, credentials and material type.  Examples of material type categories include:

  • online course
  • online course module
  • hybrid/blended course
  • open textbook
  • simulation

Use the Interactive Industry Wheel (accessible version) to locate materials that are:

  • developed in partnership with local industries
  • reviewed by subject matter experts
  • focused on skills businesses need today
Image of Interactive Industry Wheel for locating resources that are free and open to use.

Interactive Industry Wheel, Skills Commons

 

NC-NET Employability Skills Resource Toolkit

The North Carolina Network for Excellence in Teaching developed an Employability Skills Resource Toolkit comprised of eight modules for faculty to use for integrating employability skills across the curriculum.  Use the modules to introduce a topic or adapt for course-specific content. Each module contains instructional materials with course lessons and learning objectives, questions for reflection and discussion, student handouts, assessment rubrics, facilitator notes and annotated presentation slides.

Module Topics:

  1. Interpersonal Skills and Teamwork
  2. Communications
  3. Integrity and Professionalism
  4. Problem Solving and Decision Making
  5. Initiative and Dependability
  6. Information Processing
  7. Adaptability and Lifelong Learning
  8. Entrepreneurship

The Rigor Relevance Framework

The Rigor Relevance Framework was developed by the International Center for Leadership in Education to examine curriculum, instruction, and assessment along the two dimensions of higher standards and student achievement.  The tool can be used for both instruction and assessment.

  • The Knowledge Taxonomy (y-axis) based on Bloom’s Taxonomy
    • Six level – thinking continuum
  • Application Model  (x-axis), developed by Bill Daggett
    • Five level –  knowledge continuum
    • Includes using knowledge to solve complex, real-world problems and create projects, designs, and other works for use in real-world situations.
  • Supplemental Resource: Handbook with Instructional Activities Checklist
Image of the Rigor Relevance Framework with y-axis prepresenting the Knowledge Taxonomy based on Bloom's Taxonomy and the x-axis representing Bill Daggett's Application Model.

The Rigor Relevance Framework, International Center for Leadership in Education

Employability Skills Framework

The U.S. Department of Education’s Employability Skills Framework is comprised of nine key skills, organized in three broad categories: Applied Knowledge, Effective Relationships, and Workplace Skills.  The framework has supplemental information resources and tools to assist with informing the instruction and assessment of employability skills.

 

Image of U.S. Department of Education, Employability Skills Framework.

U.S. Department of Education, Employability Skills Framework

The Future of Work: The Augmented Workforce

Keeping abreast of current and future workforce trends provide insight and ideas for new and enhanced skill development options when updating or creating new academic course content.  According to Deloitte Insight’s, The  Future of Work article and video, the paradigm-shifting forces such as cognitive technologies and the open talent economy are reshaping the future workforce, driving many organizations to reconsider how they design jobs, organize work, and plan for future growth.  Review the figure below for a quick comparison of changing  workforce rules that need to be adopted for leading, organizing, motivating, managing, and engaging the 21st-century workforce.

Image of a two column chart that provides a comparison of old rules versus new rules as it relates to the future of work.

Quick tool for checking accessibility of PDFs with a PC

Determining whether a Pdf is accessible or not can be confusing.  You can run the built in accessibility checker in Adobe Acrobat Pro to see all the errors, but that doesn’t give a straightforward answer.  However, a European non-profit has a free piece of software , for Windows machines, which can help.  If you goto the Access for all website and fill out your name and email address you can download the software.   With a simple drag and drop the software can give you a green, yellow, or red to let you know very quickly if the document is accessible, needs some work, or needs lots of work to make it accessible.

Alt text for images in test questions

We had a faculty member ask about using alt text to describe some images in an online test.  There was an underlying concern that the alt text they provided, in conjunction with the picture might unfairly assist students who did not need the alternative text.  In our setting there are two ways we felt a student could view alt text.  With slow internet speeds in some areas a slow loading page might load the alt text before the image, or a student could inspect the page to view the alt text.  We came up with two possible solutions to this issue.

  • Add alt-text to each image which might have a specific nomenclature such as q1image1, q1image2, q1image3…. Then create a word file which links the q1image1 to the alternative text.  This file could be added to the online class and hidden.  A statement in the syllabus could reflect that students who need alternative text can contact the instructor and the instructor can share that file with the students prior to the test.
  • Create a second copy of the test with alt text added to the pictures, and hide the test.  Provide a similar statement to the syllabus and make that test available for students who need the test.  Currently our institution uses Blackboard and this option would create some gradebook issues when used.

Use headings in Word, and modify them to fit your style

When creating Word documents use the built in styles such as heading 1, heading 2, heading 3…to layout your document.  This makes a document more navigable for people using a screen reader.  And while Microsoft has odd font and color choices for their default heading styles, you can modify the styles to whatever you would like.  To learn how to modify your styles goto this page ,scroll down to “to modify a link” and use the instructions to set the styles to whatever you would prefer.

Download Adobe Acrobat Pro to edit Pdfs

In preparation for the spring semester, make sure you’re able to edit your PDFs with Adobe Acrobat Pro.  You can download it for your personal use at the webstore.  By having Acrobat Pro, you can edit PDFs, run the built in accessibility checker, and make your PDFs more accessible.

Update your version of Word

In preparation for the spring semester, make sure that your version of Word is up to date, Word 2016.  You can download it for your personal use at the webstore.  By having the most recent version of Word you can update all old Word files to the most recent version, and use the built in accessibility checker to make your Word documents more accessible.

Teaching Tips from UIS Faculty

Experienced UIS Faculty shared their teaching experiences as part of the 2017 Faculty Teaching & Learning Academy at UIS.  This program was administered by the Provost’s Office at UIS.

 

4 Strategies for Using Video More Effectively

On the Learn, Lead, Grow blog, Matt Bergman shared 4 Tips for Using Video More Effectively. These tips are easy to integrate!

Do Captions Help Students Learn?

The WCET Frontiers Blog featured Dr. Katie Linder, Oregon State University Ecampus, who discussed a national research project on student use of closed captions and transcriptions. The Oregon State University Ecampus Research unit and 3Play Media worked together to conduct a national study on student uses and perceptions of closed captions and transcriptions.

The important results show that while these resources are not yet widely available, many students, even those who may not need these resources as an accommodation, are able to use transcriptions and captions to increase their success.

Tips to Reduce & Detect Violations of Academic Integrity

Design with Integrity in Mind

  • Include academic integrity statement in course syllabus
  • Alternate assessments from term to term or class to class
  • Set up discussion board to prevent viewing of classmates’ posts before posting
  • Write test questions and activities for unique responses
  • Test settings (randomize, question pools, time limits, display questions one at a time, limit question feedback)
  • Create scaffolded assignments
  • Require presentations as part of an assignment

Plagiarism: Not citing sources, not using quotation marks

  • Turnitin can be used 
  • Use is not limited to papers – Can be used for discussion boards, essay exam questions, etc.

Reusing: Submitting the same work for more than one course

  • As more faculty at UIS use Turnitin, this can be more easily detected
  • Turnitin identifies course and semester, access to paper can be requested by original instructor

Cheating During Remote Exams

  • Respondus LockDown Browser can help, but can be easily circumvented!
  • Proctoring centers can be used, but are all of your online students getting equal testing environments?
    • Not all proctors treat proctoring equally!
  • Examity can be used to strengthen test integrity

Authenticity: Having another student take your exam for you

  • How are we ensuring that the student is the one completing the exam?
  • How are we authenticating our online students?
  • Examity can be used to provide two-factor authentication
  • Ask students to agree to an academic integrity statement before beginning a test or submitting an assignment:

“I verify I am the only one taking the exam and that no one is helping me physically or electronically. I won’t copy the exam in whole or in part. I will refrain from discussing this exam with anyone until after the due date. I will adhere to the academic integrity policy.”

Academic Integrity at UIS

Turnitin Feedback Studio Instructor Guide

In August of 2017, Turnitin will be moving to an updated user interface called “Feedback Studio.”

Turnitin Feedback Studio is designed around empowering you and your students by giving you the information and the tools needed for an efficient submission and marking process. Turnitin has made improvements to accessibility, responsiveness, and navigation, all designed to help instructors build better writers, with an emphasis on integrity.

This Instructor Guide offers video tutorials as well as written guidance for using Feedback Studio.

Creating Video Lectures

Narrated lectures, when properly structured and brief, can be a good tool to deliver course content to your students.

Chunk Your Content

We recommend that you “chunk” your lectures into smaller manageable pieces no longer than 5-7 minutes. Chunking accomplishes three things for you. First, by breaking the lectures into brief topics, the likelihood of being able reuse a lecture in another course increases. Second, it is easier to update or re-record a single short video than a longer video. Third, it is easier for your students to find time to sit and concentrate for less than 10 minutes.

Write a Script

Remember to write a script for your lectures. It will help keep you from using verbal fillers and keep your videos brief, but more importantly, the script gives an alternative content piece to present to students who cannot hear your lecture and for visually impaired students. It is also very easy to create captions for your lecture by using the YouTube caption editor.

Use Images & Visual Explanations

Narrated PowerPoint lectures give you the opportunity to present your materials in a visual way, and can help you reach students who are visual learners. Try to include images that enhance your lecture. Replace text descriptions with visual representations of your topic — flow charts, graphs, diagrams, photographs, artwork, maps. Visuals will add value to your lecture and help to keep you from reading every word on your slide — something that students could easily do for themselves.

Creating video lectures using PowerPoint

Voice Training

Aerobics for your voice: Tips for sounding better on-air (NPR Article)

Last Access Date in Blackboard Not Accurate

As of January 2017, the “Last Access” Column in Blackboard’s Grade Center and Performance Dashboard is not accurately reflecting student activity.

In the example below, all the students have posted to the discussion board and two have submitted quizzes, yet only two of the students have a date in the “Last Access column in the Grade Center or Performance Dashboard.

Screen capture of Grade Center with inaccurate "last access" dates.

ITS cannot install the update to fix this issue until after the Spring 2017 semester ends. Thus, for reporting the date of last attendance for students earning a grade of F, faculty will need to run a report to get accurate dates for last student access.

Retrieving Accurate Student Course Access Data

You can retrieve accurate data on your students’ course access by running the Course Activity Overview report.

In your course, go to Control Panel and click on Evaluation > Course Reports. Select the report you wish to run:

  • Course Activity Overview – gives you 2 graphs. One shows the hours of aggregated user activity by day. The second shows the number of hours each student has spent in the course; if you click on the bar for any student, it will show you the hours the student spends in the course each day and the time spent in the activities in the course.
  • Overall Summary of User Activity – gives you charts with summary data for all students on areas of access and time of day access, plus a table with the individual number of times students accessed the course each day.

View specific instructions on running course reports.

Converting Articulate Lectures to Kaltura Videos

If you have your original PowerPoint and Audio files, you can convert them to videos that can be uploaded to Kaltura.

  1. First, convert the PowerPoint and audio files to an .mp4 video using PowerPoint. If you do not have audio files outside of the PowerPoint/Articulate proprietary format, the audio files can be exported for this process.
  2. After the video file has been uploaded to Kaltura, you may add chapters to the video to mimic the table of contents feature in Articulate.
  3. The final step in any video creation for use at UIS is to be sure a transcript

How the iPad Pro with Apple Pencil could change the way we use iPads

For a while now, we’ve seen tablet/stylus combinations that are clumsy and difficult to use, and whose usefulness in an education setting is not always immediately clear. Apple, however, is attempting to change that with the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil.

The Apple Pencil uses much more advanced technology than a traditional stylus, that allows apps to go beyond basic stylus circling and selecting, and actually do precise document editing and advanced inking, drawing, shading, and calligraphy. Developers who integrate their apps with Apple Pencil, such as Autodesk, Abode, and Microsoft, have the ability to implement a vast array of possibilities that have, until now, been inaccessible to many educators.

For example, integration with the Microsoft Office suite for iPad allows for easier and more precise highlighting of text, adding side notes, and drawing rough polygons that snap into sharp shapes. Explain Everything has recently incorporated use of the Apple Pencil, as well, and is useful in creating visual, animated and voice-narrated presentations for demonstrations and explanations.

One particularly interesting app that may be of interest to architecture, design, and art students is Color Splash: The app basically strips out all the color from any photographs that you import into the app, and then, using the Apple Pencil, you can restore the color to particular objects or people in the photos for dramatic effect. The app even allows for easy correction with the Apple Pencil if you accidentally color outside the lines.

Biology, anatomy, and nursing students might be interested 3D4Medical, an app that allows users the ability to produce digital anatomical markups and cut flesh virtually, using the Apple Pencil.

Users of the Apple Pencil say that it feels “extremely natural, whether sketching or shading as a pencil held at an angle, laying down wet ink with a brush, or using a digital ruler to sketch a precisely measured straight line or to mask the ink of a wide marker. Even when used as an eraser, it changes its destruction size depending on how hard you’re pressing.”

The iPad Pro with Apple Pencil is one of the technologies used by some of our Faculty Fellows! For more information about this program, including the application procedure and applicable deadlines, please visit our homepage.

Grading with Rubrics

How to Grade With Rubrics

Before grading with a rubric, you need to associate it with one of the following gradable items:

  • Assignments
  • Essay, Short Answer, and File Response test questions
  • Blogs and journals
  • Wikis
  • Discussion board forums and threads

Watch a Tutorial

Double-click the video to enlarge the viewing area.

Use the following steps to grade using rubrics:

The Raw Total displays the score rounded to two decimal places.

  1. Access the gradable item in the Grade Center, on the Needs Grading page, or from the tool.
  2. Click View Rubric to review or begin grading with the associated rubric.
  3. In Grid View, click a cell to apply that point value to the grade. If a rubric with point ranges is used, select the appropriate value from the drop-down list. To change the selection, click another cell in the same row. Optionally, type Feedback to the student in the text box that appears when a cell is selected.
  4. Optionally, click List View to switch displays and select an option for each criterion to apply that point value to the grade. Optionally, select the check boxes toShow Descriptions for criteria and to Show Feedback text boxes.
  5. A running Raw Total score appears as you make point selections. Optionally, type a score in the Change the number of points box to override the selected score, and type overall Feedback to the student using the full features of the content editor.
  6. When grading is complete, click Exit to leave the rubric without saving your selections, or click Save to save the score and feedback and return to the attempt. Click Save and Next to use another associated rubric for evaluation.

Blackboard Test Feedback and Results Options

In the Show Results and Feedback to Students section, you can set which results and feedback are available to students after they complete a test or survey. You can set one or two rules using the drop-down lists. You cannot choose some rules in combination. After you select a rule in the first drop-down list, some may not appear in the second drop-down list.

If conflicts in rules occur, the most permissive settings for that user or group of users is granted. For example, students will receive the greatest number of attempts and longest availability time.

The following image shows the two default options applied to tests: After Submission and Score per Question. If you make no changes in this section, students see their overall test scores and the scores earned for each individual question after they submit their tests. Select more options to determine what else they see, such as the correct answers or your feedback.

Students can always see their overall test scores. You cannot change that option from this page. If you do not want them to see their scores yet, access the Grade Center column’s contextual menu and hide the column from students. However, when you hide a test column from students, they see nothing about the test in My Grades. When they access the test in the content area, they receive a message stating when they submitted the test. No scores appear.

The following table provides descriptions of the test and survey feedback options. Click the images to enlarge them in your browser. Use your browser’s back function to return to the topic.

Option Description
When You must make a selection. Set when appropriate test results and feedback are shown to students:

  • After Submission: This is the default option.
  • One-time View: After students submit their tests or surveys, the selected results and feedback options are in effect for students to view ONCE. However, students can always view the scores they earned unless you hide the Grade Center column from students. Immediately after a student navigates away from the test or survey, any other results and feedback are restricted. You can change the setting -OR- add another rule for a second viewing. A second rule is not combined with the one-time view rule, but is applied separately. To learn more, see One-time View for Results and Feedback.
  • On Specific Date: View results and feedback after the selected date and time.
  • After Due Date
  • After Availability and End Date
  • After Attempts are graded: After all students submit the test or survey, and all attempts are graded, results and feedback are made available to students. If one or more students do not submit an attempt, you must assign a grade of 0 so that all students can view the chosen results and feedback.
Score per Question Show the score earned for each test question. This is a default option for tests only. Clear the check box if you do not want to show scores for individual questions.
Answers You can allow students to see information about their answers:

  • All Answers: Show all answer options.
  • Correct: Show the correct answers—tests only.
  • Submitted: Show all of a student’s submitted answers.

Example 1: Show more feedback

When students access their tests, they see their overall scores, each question’s score, and all answer options. They see their submitted answers marked as correct or incorrect, and any feedback provided.

Example 2: Show less feedback to discourage cheating

If students are taking a test at different times, you can make a limited amount of feedback available until all students submit the test.

For the first rule, select After Submission in the first drop-down list and clear the check box forScore per Question. Make no other selections. After submitting their tests, students can only see their overall test scores.

For the second rule, select After Due Date, and select options to show more results and feedback. You can create an announcement to notify students that additional feedback is available to view.

Feedback Show instructor-generated feedback for each question. This option appears only for tests.
Show Incorrect Questions Show the questions a student answered incorrectly or partially incorrectly. This option appears only for tests. You might consider only showing incorrect questions when allowing multiple attempts so that students can focus their studying on those areas.

One-time View for Results and Feedback

In the Show Test Results and Feedback to Students section, you can select One-time View. After students submit their tests, the results and feedback options you selected are in effect for students to view ONCE. However, students can always view the overall test scores they earned. Immediately after a student navigates away from the test, any other options you chose are restricted. You can apply a second rule to allow students to view newly selected options at a later time. The second rule is not combined with the one-time view rule, but is applied separately.

The ability to select different options for each rule allows you to show some test results and feedback initially, and then more later.

Rule #1: Select One-time View and Show Incorrect Questions. Select no other options so that while other students are still allowed to take the test, no one can share the correct answers.

Rule #2: Select all of the following options:

  • After Due Date
  • Score per Question
  • All Answers
  • Correct
  • Submitted
  • Feedback

After the due date, students see their scores along with all answer options. They also see their submitted answers marked as correct or incorrect and any instructor feedback.

About Unavailable Tests and Surveys

You manage availability to students when a test or survey is deployed on in a content area of your course (e.g., Course Materials or Assignments), by click on the “item options” button Blackboard editi item button on the Test Options or Survey Options page.

Unavailable and deleted tests and surveys differ in the following ways:

  • Unavailable tests and surveys deployed in a content area do not appear to students. When Edit Mode is ON, instructors and course builders can see unavailable tests.
    • You can limit test and survey availability to a specific time period with the Display After and Display Until dates and times. If the link to a test or survey is available, but neither date is set, it is immediately and always available.
  • If you delete a test or survey from a content area in your course, it is removed from that location. You can deploy it again as needed. You can deploy each test and survey in one location only.
  • If you delete a test or survey from the tests or surveys tool pages, it is permanently deleted from your course. This is irreversible. You can access the tests and surveys tools in the Course Tools section of the Control Panel.

Box Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard Shortcuts Overview

  • Box Keyboard shortcuts are case-insensitive.
  • Modifiers such as shift are explicitly indicated for applicable shortcuts.
  • When a shortcut contains more than one key, we indicate the sequence as follows:
    • key then key — Issue the keys in sequence.
    • key and key — Hold down the first key when you enter the second key.

Box Web Application Shortcuts

Box provides keyboard alternatives to quickly navigate our web application. For actions related to an item, select the item before pressing the shortcut.

Keyboard    Shortcut

Description

Explicitly check the small white box on the right side of each item to use these shortcuts. Use x to select an item.
c Activate the Copy File pop-up for the selected file.
d Download the selected item.
m Activate the Move File pop-up for the selected file.
s Send a shared link for the item.
t Activate the Edit Tags pop-up for the selected file.
Use these shortcuts without selecting any item.
b Activate the New Bookmark pop-up.
j Move selection up.
k Move selection down.
n Activate the Create New Folder pop-up.
o Open the folder or file to preview.
x Select an item.
shift and ? View the shortcut menu.
shift and v Toggle the display to thumbnail view of list view.
* then a Select all items in the current folder.
* then n Do not select any item in the current folder.
g then a Go to the Box Application Services page.
then c Go to your Box Collaborators page.
then f Go to your Box All Files page.
g then p Go to your Box Profile page.
g then s Go to your Box Account Settings page.
then u Go to your Box Updates page.
] Go to the next page (obvious only when you have a folder with more than one page of items)
[ Go to the previous page (obvious only when you have a folder with more than one page of items)
/ Use the search field (cursor is placed in the Search field when you type this shortcut.

Box Preview Shortcuts

The following shortcuts are supported when previewing files:

Keyboard      Shortcut
Description
d Download the file being previewed.
u Upload new file version.
e Edit the file being previewed using Box Edit.
j Preview the previous file.
k Preview the next file.
s Get a shared link for the file being previewed.
p Print the file being previewed if it is a .pdf, .doc, .xls, .ppt, .docx, .xlsx, or .pptx document.
space Toggle play/pause for media files.
shift and + Zoom into the file being previewed.
shift and Zoom out of the file being previewed.
shift and enter Preview in full screen mode.
shift and ? View the shortcut menu.
] Next page.
[ Previous page.

Box Notes Shortcuts

To open a list of available keyboard shortcuts in Box Notes: 

On a Mac, press Command and ?
On a PC, press Control and ?

Accessibility when using Box

At present, the most accessible way to use Box is via the a.box.com website. This site contains many key Box features, and works well on mobile devices. It also contains a link to the standard Box site.

What are the available features for a.box.com?

a.Box.com supports the primary features of Box, and provides access to all features available in the m.Box.com website. Some of the primary features include preview and download access to files and folders, sharing and configuring links to files and folders, adding and managing collaborators, viewing and making comments, and managing files and folders.

a.Box addresses accessibility as a core requirement for each feature.

What are the supported browsers for Box applications? How does a.Box deal with browsers without JavaScript or CSS?  

Box recommends using the most current version of web browsers (see the list of officially supported browsers at Box). The a.Box.com site degrades depending on your browser’s support for JavaScript and CSS, but continues to display the basic information required to view files and folders.

Does a.Box support screen readers?

a.Box is intended to work with the leading screen reading technology providers, including VoiceOver. Screen readers attempt to identify and interpret what is being displayed on the screen and convey that information via text-to-speech to users who are visually impaired.

Does a.box.com provide keyboard access?

a.Box.com provides keyboard accessibility, which enables you to use your keyboard exclusively (with no mouse) for improved interactions with the Box UI.

a.Box.com helps enable keyboard accessibility through the following additional features:

  • Removal of all menu items that are enabled via mouse ‘hovering’.
  • Re-ordering of all menu structures to maintain a logical reading order.
  • Enabling of visible focus, which helps people with visual or other print-related disabilities have a clear indicator of where they are on a page.
  • Providing a short-cut that enables a user to immediately ‘skip to content’ they are trying to view, letting them bypass repeated menu elements.

Does a.Box provide low vision color contrast?

a.Box.com is designed with low vision and color-blind user needs in mind. a.Box.com allows for text resizing, with up to 200% magnification. The site has also been tested for color contrast, with contrast ratios set at a minimum of 4.5:1.

How can I get more information about accessibility at Box?

Contact Box User Services to receive additional information or to provide feedback.

Content provided by Box.

Excel Accessibility Cheat Sheet

MS Excel: Accessibility Best Practices

Tables: Use Tables Titles and Avoid Blank Rows and Columns

  1. One very common mistake is leaving column A blank (because it makes it look like a margin).
  2. Place table titles in the first column (A) so screen readers can find them easily.
  3. If the table does not display the full text, merge cells and center them by selecting the Home tab, then clicking on Merge & Center. Be sure to keep the original text in the first column.
  4. It’s OK to have merged cells in titles, but do not merge cells in the data part of the table.
  5. Resize your rows and columns to provide spacing that makes the table readable (rather than using

blanks to create your spacing).

  1. If you have two or more tables on the same worksheet, leave a single blank row between each

table. You can resize the blank row to create a space that is visually appealing.

  1. Add an “End of Table” message in the row after the last row of a data table row. The text can be in white against a white background.

Table Cell Range and Header Cells: Define the Regions

  1. You can use the Names feature to name a range of cells so that screen readers voice the names of header cells along with the value of each cell.
  2. Select the top-left cell in your table. Don’t count the titles, but do count all row and column headers as part of your table.
  3. Go to the Formulas tab in the Ribbon, and choose Name Manager in the Defined Names Choose New in the top left corner.
  4. A new dialog box opens. In the Name field, type TitleRegion then put a 1 if this is the first table on your worksheet, then a period, then the range of cells in your table from top left to bottom right (with a period in between), then another period, then the worksheet number. For example, your Title code might look like this:

TitleRegion1.a2.g7.2

  1. Click OK and Close.

Images: Use Alt Text for Informative Images

  1. Insert the image, then right-click and choose Size and Properties.
  2. In the Size and Properties dialog box, choose the Alt Text Type in a brief description with

enough detail to explain the picture, then Close the dialog box.

Charts: Use Alt Text Descriptions

1.       Right-click on the chart, select Format Chart, then Alt Text.

  1. Complete the Description field (not the Title field).

Resources

http://go.illinois.edu/excel_resources

See also: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Section 508 Accessibility checklist

HTML Accessibility Cheat Sheet

HTML: Accessibility Best Practices

Headings: Use Properly Formatted Headings to Structure Page Content

Rationale: Headings help to organize content, making it easier for everyone to read. Headings are also a primary way for people using screen reading software to navigate a page of text.

Lists: Use Ordered/Unordered Lists to Group Related Items

Rationale: Logical organization of content is conveyed to all users, along with other useful information for assistive technology users about the number of items listed. Mobile users also benefit as information is presented as it is meant to be presented.

Tables: Use Tables for Tabular Data and Provide Column and/or Row Headers

Rationale: Screen readers linearize content and read tables from left to right, top to bottom, one cell at a time. If cells are split or merged, it can throw the reading order off and make the table difficult to comprehend by users who are blind and using a screen reader to navigate.

Images: Use Alt Text for Informative Images

Rationale: Alt text is read by a screen reader. It should adequately describe what is displayed and its purpose. This allows screen reader users to benefit from information conveyed by the image, even if they cannot see it.

Links: Use Meaningful Text for Links

Rationale: Headings help to organize content, making it easier for everyone to read. Headings are also a primary way for people using screen reading software to navigate a page of text.

Keyboard: Check Keyboard Access

Rationale: Users with visual and mobility impairments rely on the keyboard, rather than a mouse, to access and navigate online content. If content is not keyboard accessible, it restricts who can learn from that content.

Color: Use Sufficient Color Contrast

Rationale: Without sufficient color contrast between font and background, people who are color blind and low vision may not perceive the content. Additionally, using color alone to convey meaning (e.g., items in red indicate a deficit) excludes color blind or blind users. To check color contrast, use the Paciello Group’s Color Contrast Analyzer:  https://www.paciellogroup.com/resources/contrastanalyser/

Video/Audio: Provide Captioning for Video and Text Transcripts for Audio

Rationale: Captions are essential for those who are deaf and hard of hearing, but they also benefit non-native speakers, those unfamiliar with the vocabulary, and viewers with some learning disabilities or in a noisy environment. Audio transcripts are essential for those who are deaf or hard of hearing, but also assist others who can easily read or search the transcripts.

Math: Write Math and Science Equations Accessibly

Rationale: For web pages, use an equation editor that outputs MathML, a markup language that allows equations to be stored as structured text that is compatible with many assistive technologies. With screen readers, for example, blind users can navigate and review parts of an equation, such as the top portion of a complex fraction. For more information on MathML, see the W3C Math guide: https://www.w3.org/Math/.

Resources

http://webaim.org/intro/#principles

See also: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Section 508 Accessibility checklist

PowerPoint Accessibility Cheat Sheet

MS PowerPoint: Accessibility Best Practices

Use Default Slide Layouts

  1. From the Home tab, choose the New Slide dropdown menu.
  2. Select a slide template (do not use Blank slide template).
  3. Avoid using Text Boxes to create or arrange slide content (screen readers will always read Text Boxes last).

Keep Slide Content Clear, Concise, and Readable

  • Use concise, non-figurative, and accurate language.
  • Slides should appear clean and uncluttered with adequate foreground-background color contrast.
  • Use standard fonts. For readability, sans-serif fonts, such as Arial, Verdana, and Helvetica are preferable.

Use Unique Slide Titles

  1. Create slide titles with the Title placeholder visible in default slide layouts. Do not use text boxes for titles.
  2. Use a unique slide title for each slide. If you have multiple slides that continue a topic, you can label them in the following way: “[TITLE OF SLIDE], 1 of 4,” “[TITLE OF SLIDE], 2 of 4,” etc.
  3. Check titles and document structure: from the View tab, select Presentation Views and click Outline View.

Insert Charts and Graphs with Data Tables

  1. Go Insert and select Chart. The PowerPoint datasheet view appears for you to enter your table data.
  2. Add values to the PowerPoint datasheet by selecting a cell and typing in the value. Remember to add labels for the rows and columns. Close the datasheet window by selecting ESC from your keyboard.
  3. Display the corresponding data table. For Office 2010, select the chart, select Layout from the chart tools menu, and choose Show data table from the Data Table For Office 2016, use the Add Chart Element from the Design tab to choose a layout that displays the data table with the chart (e.g., Data Table > With Legend Keys).

Keep Lists Readable

  • Avoid presenting more than six points per slide at default font size.
  • Use one line of text, ideally, and no more than two per point.

Use Alt Text for Informative Images

  1. Right click on the image, and select Format Picture, then Alt Text.
  2. Fill in the Description field (not the Title field).

Use Meaningful Text for Links

  1. Type out text that describes the link’s destination (e.g., “CITL Summer Intensive”). Avoid text like “Click here.”
  2. Select the text, right click on it, and choose Hyperlink from the menu.
  3. In the Insert Hyperlink window, enter a URL address in the Address field.
  4. Click the OK button to save the link.

Document Properties: Identify the Title and Author

  1. In Windows, click File, then expand the pull down menu for Properties to select the Summary On a Mac, click File, then select Properties, and then select the Summary tab.
  2. From the Summary tab of the Properties dialog, add or change the Title and the Author.

Resources

http://go.illinois.edu/ppt_resources

See also: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Section 508 Accessibility checklist

MS Word Accessibility Cheat Sheet

MS Word: Accessibility Best Practices

Headings: Use Styles to Provide Logical Heading Structure

  1. Select the text that you want to make into a heading.
  2. From the Home tab, choose the appropriate heading level from the Styles

Lists: Use Ordered/Unordered Lists to Group Related Items

  1. Select the text you want to make into a list.
  2. From the Home tab, in the Paragraph group, select the Bullets or Numbering

Tables: Use Tables for Tabular Data and Provide Column Headers

  1. Place the cursor in the top row of your data table and click on the Design tab under Table Tools.
  2. In the Table Style Options group, select the Header Row check box.
  3. Under Table Tools, click the Layout
  4. In the Data group (Word 2016 – Table Design > Layout tab), click the Repeat Header Row

Images: Use Alt Text for Informative Images

  1. Right click on the image, and select Format Picture, then Alt Text.
  2. Fill in the Description field (not the Title field).

Links: Use Meaningful Text for Links

  1. Type out text that clearly describes the link’s destination (e.g., “CITL Best Practices for Creating Accessible Word Documents”). Avoid text like “Click here” or “Visit.”
  2. Select the text, right click on it, and choose Hyperlink from the menu.
  3. In the Insert Hyperlink window, enter a URL address in the Address field.
  4. Click the OK button to save the link.

Document Properties: Identify the Title and Author

  1. In Windows, click File, then expand the pull down menu for Properties to select the Summary On a Mac, click File, then select Properties, and then select the Summary tab.
  2. From the Summary tab of the Properties dialog, add or change the Title and the Author.

Color: Use Sufficient Color Contrast

  1. Download the Paciello Group’s Color Contrast Analyzer from the following URL: https://www.paciellogroup.com/resources/contrastanalyser/
  2. Open the Color Contrast Analyzer application.
  3. Click the Foreground eye dropper tool. Hover over and click your foreground color to select it.
  4. Click the Background eye dropper tool. Hover over and click your background color.
  5. If you are testing a 12-pixel or smaller font, you must get a Pass (AA). If your font is larger than 12 pixels, you must get a Pass (AA) in the Large Text field.
  6. AA standards pass is sufficient.
  7. Do not use color alone to convey information (e.g., items in red indicate a deficit).

Resources

http://go.illinois.edu/word_resources

See also: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Section 508 Accessibility checklist

PDF Accessibility Cheat Sheat

PDF: Accessibility Best Practices

Method 1: Convert MS Word to PDF

  1. Start with a well-structured Word document.
  2. In Word, click the File tab and select Save as. In the Save as type field, select PDF (*.pdf.).
  3. Enter a file name in the File name field.
  4. Click on the Options button and make sure the Document structure tags for accessibility is checked.
  5. Click OK and Save.

This will tag the document so that headings and lists are correctly interpreted by screen readers. Additional remediation using Adobe Acrobat Pro/DC may be needed to adjust reading order.

Method 2: Run Optical Character Recognition (OCR) on Scanned Document

Using Acrobat XI for OCR

  1. Open the scanned PDF file in Adobe Acrobat XI.
  2. Open the Tools panel (click Tools in top right) and click Text Recognition.
  3. Click In This File and the Recognize Text window will open.
  4. Click the Edit button to adjust OCR settings. Select English (US) for Primary OCR Language, Searchable Image for PDF Output Style and 600 dpi for Downsample To.
  5. Click OK when done.

Using Acrobat DC for OCR

  1. Open the scanned PDF file in Adobe Acrobat DC.
  2. In the Tools panel, click the Action Wizard and select Optimize Scanned Document.
  3. Use the Enhance tools to Add Document Description.
  4. Use the Enhance tools to Optimize Scanned Pages.
  5. Use the Enhance tools to Save As.

Method 3: Run Adobe Acrobat Built-in Accessibility Checker

Using the Acrobat XI Accessibility Checker

  1. Click the Tools tab to open the Accessibility panel on the right hand side. If you don’t see it, click the View menu and select Tools > Accessibility.
  2. Under Accessibility, select the Full Check The Accessibility Checker window will open.
  3. Under the Report Options, check the Create Accessibility Report
  4. Click the Start Checking
  5. The Accessibility Checker Report will display on the left pane.

Using the Acrobat DC Accessibility Checker

  1. In the Tools panel, click Accessibility to bring up the Accessibility tools.
  2. From the Accessibility tools, select the Full Check The Accessibility Checker window will open.
  3. Under the Report Options, check the Create Accessibility Report
  4. Click the Start Checking
  5. The Accessibility Checker Report will display on the left pane.

Resources

http://go.illinois.edu/pdf_resources

See also: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Section 508 Accessibility checklist

How to convert scanned PDFs and photos to text

Sometimes it can be difficult to avoid sharing a scanned PDF or photo with your students. For instance, you might want them to read an out-of-print manuscript that’s not available in any other format. The unfortunate down side, however, is that these types of files are not accessible to students who rely on screen readers or other technology to assist them when completing assigned readings.

Luckily, as UIS faculty, you have access to free tools that allow you to quickly and accurately convert PDFs and photo files to text, which is essential in making your course content accessible to all students. This can be accomplished through optical character recognition in Google Drive. (All UIS staff, faculty, and students have access to Google products with their existing UIS NetID and password through our educational license with Google; for more information, visit go.uis.edu/google.)

To get started, follow these steps:

  1. Go to drive.google.com.
  2. Sign in with your UIS NetID and password.
  3. Upload your PDF or image file. (instructions)
  4. Hover over the file in Google Drive, right-click, and select Open with > Google Docs.

The image file will then be converted to a Google Doc, and any text that was recognized in the image will appear below the original image within the Google Doc. (For multi-page PDFs, each page will appear as a separate image, with the text underneath.)

Once doing this, it is important to scan the new text for accuracy, and correct any errors that you find. Most of the time, formatting (bold, italics, etc.) will be retained.

Please also keep this in mind:

  • Only these file types are currently supported: JPEG, PNG, GIF, and PDF
  • Text should be right-side up. If your image or PDF is facing the wrong way, you must rotate it before uploading it to Google Drive.
  • The maximum file size supported by Google at this time for optical character recognition is 2MB. This means that larger, multi-page PDFs may need to be separated into several different files before starting.
  • Tables, columns, footnotes, etc. are not likely to be detected.
  • For the best accuracy:
    • Text should be at least 10 pixels in height.
    • Common fonts like Arial or Times New Roman work best.
    • Try to avoid uneven lighting or blurry photos.

Adding captions to videos hosted on YouTube

In a previous post, we explained two options supported by the university for hosting video content in your online courses: Kaltura and YouTube. Today, we will explain how to make sure your YouTube videos are fully accessible using YouTube’s built-in closed captioning feature.

To get started, you’ll need to upload a video using a computer, Android device, iPhone, or iPad. Next, select the option below that fits your situation:

Option 1: I already have a transcript.

By far the quickest and easiest way to make sure your videos are accessible is to prepare a script in advance before you record. In addition to assuring that you will not forget to cover any critical material, a script will also ensure that you stay on track and avoid tangents while recording. Once you’ve prepared your script and uploaded your video, follow these steps:

  1. Save your script as a plain text file (.txt). If you are using Microsoft Word, a settings pop-up will appear with file conversion options; be sure to select the option to “Allow character substitution.” You may leave all other settings at their default value. (If you do not select character substitution, YouTube may read common punctuation incorrectly, such as apostrophes or quotation marks.)Plain Text file
  2. When you are signed in to your YouTube account, navigate to your video and click the CC button directly underneath the video player.YouTube video options
  3. Click the blue button, Add new subtitles or CC, and select your language (usually English).
  4. Select the option to Upload a file.
  5. For file type, select transcript.
  6. Click Choose File, and find the plain text file that you created in step 1. Click Upload.
  7. Your transcript should then appear in the text box. You may watch your video once more and double-check your transcript for accuracy, or if you are confident with what you have uploaded, simply click the blue Set timings button.
  8. That’s it! YouTube will automatically scan your video and text, and create accurate, correctly-timed closed captions.

Option 2: I need to create a transcript for an existing recording.

Depending on the length and complexity of your video and the content, creating transcripts can be a time-consuming process. YouTube does have several powerful features to make it a bit easier, though:

  • YouTube auto-captions
    YouTube’s auto-captioning feature is surely not perfect, but it is getting more accurate as time goes on and Google is able to harvest more and more voice data. Auto-captions are created automatically after you upload a video, usually within several hours after uploading. (Sometimes, it may take up to one day before auto-captions will appear. Unfortunately, there is no way to speed this process up; all you can do is keep checking after you’ve uploaded a video to see if they are ready.)To check if auto-captions are ready for your video, go to your video’s closed-captioning settings using the directions in step 2 above. Once they have been created, they will appear like this:YouTube auto captionsClick on the captions, usually titled “English (Automatic)“, and then click the blue Edit button.Editing YouTube auto captionsYou can then play the video and jump from caption to caption to edit for accuracy. Once you are finished, simply click the blue Publish edits button.
  • Create a transcript from scratch
    This option is the most time and labor intensive option, but usually produces the best results (if you didn’t use a script).To use YouTube’s built-in transcription feature, simply follow steps 2 and 3 above (go to your video’s closed caption settings, and select the option to “Add new subtitles or CC.”) However, instead of uploading a file, you’ll select the option to Transcribe and auto-sync.On the following page, you may play your video and begin typing what is spoken into the text box. YouTube will pause the video while you are typing automatically, making it easier to type what you hear, as you hear it, without falling too far behind. When you have finished typing what is spoken in your video, click the blue Set timings button. After several minutes, YouTube will have automatically timed the text to the video, creating accurately timed closed captions.Transcribe and auto sync

This is overwhelming. HELP!

We get it – you are busy, and it takes time to make sure your content is accessible. The technology behind accessibility can also feel overwhelming at times. We’re here to help you, though!

Any of the professionals at COLRS are available for one-on-one tutorials or departmental workshops in which we can teach you, face to face, how to use this technology and ensure your content is accessible to all students. To set something up, or if you just need some help along the way as you try this yourself, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Creating accessible videos for online courses

UIS offers instructors two options for posting accessible videos with captioning in online courses: Kaltura and YouTube. In this post, we’ll explain the differences between both options, and when it’s better to use one over the other.

Kaltura

Kaltura is a premium video service supported by ITS that provides instructors with several advantages:

Kaltura also has several disadvantages:

  • Increasing storage costs for the university as video uploads increase

YouTube

All faculty, staff, and students at UIS have access to individual YouTube accounts through our Google Apps for Education license. This means that practically anyone affiliated with the university has access to most Google products, including YouTube, with their existing UIS NetID and password.

Many instructors are moving from Kaltura to YouTube to host accessible videos with captioning. Some advantages of YouTube include:

  • Unlimited individual video storage and video retention
  • Better mobile support
  • An increasingly-accurate auto-captioning service that automatically creates captions for any video that you upload, in dozens of different languages
  • A user-friendly integrated transcription feature
  • The ability to upload closed-captions (.srt files) and pre-existing plain-text transcripts
  • An auto-timing feature that easily converts transcriptions to closed-captions

Disadvantages of YouTube include:

  • Privacy concerns: While individuals have full control over whether their videos may appear in public searches, anyone with a link to a video that is not “private” will be able to watch it or embed it on other websites
  • Advertising: Because YouTube is an ad-supported service, students may be subjected to ads that you do not control, unless they pay for a premium YouTube subscription
  • More limited analytics that are restricted to video views

Accessibility for Videos

 

Regardless of the video platform you choose to use, you should ensure that your content is accessible, and that you have proper copyright permissions if you use anything that you did not produce yourself. Learn how to use YouTube to make closed-captions. Please feel free to contact COLRS anytime to further discuss Kaltura, YouTube, captioning, and accessibility.

Using JAWS Screen Reader with Blackboard

Blackboard has developed the following resources to aid users of JAWS screen readers in using Blackboard:

Navigate Blackboard Learn with JAWS

Best Practice: Using Tests with JAWS

Best Practice: Grading with JAWS

If you are a JAWS user and need additional assistance, please contact the UIS Office of Disability Services.

Blackboard for All and Course Site Organization

Every course at UIS — on campus, blended, and online — is assigned a Blackboard course site.

Faculty who teach face-to-face may choose whether to use the site. An announcement is posted in each course site to let the students know that its use if the instructor’s prerogative.

Blackboard tutorials are available on the searchable COLRS Online Teaching and Technology Blog (the blog you are on right now). It is updated frequently.

Blackboard Course Site Overview

Blackboard is a web-based learning management system that UIS instructors use to organize course content.

Log in from UIS Homepage under Quick Links or go directly to the UIS Blackboard login page.

The general course environment

In Blackboard, you can easily navigate, provide content, edit items, and change options that affect how users interact with your course.

  1. Course menu: The access point for all course content.
  2. Control Panel: The area after the course menu is your access point for course management functions, such as course style, course tools, and users. Students don’t see the Control Panel.
  3. Student preview: You can review course content and validate course behaviors from a student’s perspective. You’re logged in with a student account—the preview user account—and enrolled in the current course.
  4. Edit Mode: When Edit Mode is ON, all the instructor functions appear, such as Build Content or the appearance of menus. When Edit Mode is OFF, all instructor functions are hidden. The Edit Mode function appears to users with a role of instructor and teaching assistant.
  5. Action bar: Rows at the top of the page that contain page-level actions such as Build Content, Search, Delete, and Upload. The functions on the action bar change based on where you are in your course. The action bar can contain multiple rows of functions such as on the main Grade Center page.
  6. Menus: An Options Menu icon appears for components with menus, such as content items, course menu links, or Grade Center columns. The options in the menu vary based on the component.

Some content from Blackboard.

Excelsior Online Writing Lab (OWL)

Excelsior Online Writing Lab (OWL)

http://owl.excelsior.edu

About

The Excelsior Online Writing Lab (OWL) is a highly-interactive, publicly-available and media-rich online writing lab designed to help students make the transition to college-level writing. In 2014, the Excelsior OWL – ESL Writing Online Workshop (WOW) won the 2013 Distance Education Award by the National University Technology Network (NUTN).

The Excelsior OWL offers videos, interactive PDFs, video games, quizzes, Prezis

Home Page and Learning Areas

From the Excelsior OWL Home Page you can access all of the learning areas, as well as “Additional Resources” found in the header, and “Acknowledgements”, found in the footer.

Each learning area has its own landing page, with access to the content, as well as the “How to Use OWL” and “Additional Resources” pages. Depending on the learning area, there may be additional options available on the landing page.

Page Navigation – How to Use the OWL

Once inside a learning area, you will see the online writing lab menu on the left side of the screen. The active learning area is highlighted, at which point all of the topics for that learning area are displayed below it.  Some of the topics have multiple sections.

Quizzes

The built-in quizzes allow students to check their understanding of a particular section of the OWL. Examples include – paraphrasing quiz, punctuation, and digital writing.

ESL-WOW

For ESL students using the ESL-WOW area of the OWL, they will learn to:

  • Generate Ideas
  • Develop a Thesis
  • Map Ideas
  • Revise, Cite
  • Edit and Polish

Ideas for using the Excelsior OWL for online or blended classes

  1. Send students to individual links within the OWL

For example, if students are to provide an annotated bibliography, provide a link to the Annotated Bibliography page.  Another example, the Literature review section, which includes a prezi.

  1. Refer students back to the OWL in your feedback

For example, if the student has provided a weak thesis statement, you may provide a link to the Thesis section, or a specific section (such as Stating your Thesis) within the Thesis section.

  1. Support student understanding of plagiarism

The Avoiding Plagiarism section of the OWL provides a thorough overview of the topic of plagiarism.  With audio, video, and supporting documentation, students will develop a keen understanding of what constitutes plagiarism and how to avoid it.  The pre-test and post-test provide a method for students to track their progress.

Blackboard Test and Survey Availability Options

When you deploy a test or survey to a content area, you set the availability and feedback options. To make changes to the options, access its contextual menu and click Edit the Test Options or Edit the Survey Options.

The following table provides descriptions of the test and survey availability options. Click the images to enlarge them in your browser. Use your browser’s back function to return to the topic.

Option Description
Make the Link Available You can set this to available, and then use the Display After and Display Until fields to limit the amount of time the link appears.
Add a New Announcement for this Test/Survey You can create an announcement for a test or survey. The announcement includes the date and states, “An assessment has been made available in [Course area that includes the link to the assessment].”If an announcement was previously posted using this feature, the date and time of the most recent announcement appears.
Multiple Attempts You can allow students to take a test or survey multiple times. The status of multiple attempts appears to students at the top of the test or survey. Select Allow Unlimited Attempts to allow students to take it as many times as they want. Select Number of Attempts and provide the amount of attempts.With multiple attempts for a test, you can also select which attempt’s score to use in the Grade Center from the Score attempts using drop-down list.

Image illustrating associated text

Force Completion If you select Force Completion, students must complete the test or survey when they launch it.Students may only access the test or survey ONE TIME. The Save function is available for students to save the questions as they work through them, but they may not exit and reenter the test or survey. In the instructions, Force Completion is noted and explained to students. If you do not enable Force Completion, students may save their progress, navigate away, and return to complete the test or survey.If students accidentally close their browsers, leave the test or survey page, or lose power or their internet connections, they cannot continue. They must contact you to allow them to start over with a new attempt.

You may want to reserve the Force Completion option for when students are on campus taking a proctored test and connected to an Ethernet cable instead of Wi-Fi. If issues occur, an instructor can be available to reset the test.

Alternatively, use the Set Timer options to reduce receiving emails from panicked students who accidentally left a test or survey with Force Completion enabled.

Set Timer Set a time limit for finishing a test or survey. Type the amount of time in the hours and minutes boxes. During a timed test, the time elapsed is displayed to students. As students approach the time limit, a one-minute warning appears.When an attempt is complete, student completion time is available in the Test Informationsection.

If a student saves and exits the test, the timer continues. For example, if he begins the test on Tuesday, saves and exits it, then completes it on Thursday, his completion time will be 48 hours.

If you set the timer, turn on Auto-Submit to automatically save and submit a test or survey when time expires. Without enabling auto-submit, students have the option to continue after time expires. Tests and surveys are flagged as submitted after the timer expired. You have the option to adjust the grade based on the time.

You may find it advantageous to use the Set Timer options and not the Force Completion option. For example, if a student loses his internet connection for 10 minutes on a timed test, at least he can access the test again and continue. If you enabled the Forced Completion option, he cannot access the test again and must contact you to reset the test.

Display After Optionally, select the date and time when the test or survey will become available to students. You can control availability through the Make the Link Available option without setting specific dates.
Display Until Optionally, select the date and time the test or survey will be made unavailable to students.
Password You can require and type a password for students to use to access a test or survey. Passwords have a limit of 15 characters and are case sensitive.
Restrict Location You can require students to take the test or survey in a specific location. Students outside of this location are not able to take the test or survey.

This is based on a range of IP addresses created by your institution. If your institution has not created this range, this option does not appear.

To learn more, see Restrict Tests by Location.

Test Availability Exceptions For existing availability settings, you can make exceptions for individual students or groups. Use exceptions to provide an accommodation to a student who is disabled, or for technology and language differences.

For a test with one attempt, you can allow more attempts for a student who is blind and using screen reader technology for the first time.

Image illustrating associated text

If the settings exist for a test or survey, you can create the following exceptions:

  • Number of attempts
  • Timer
  • Availability
  • Force completion
  • Restrict location
Due Date If you use grading periods in the Grade Center, set a due date to easily include that test or survey in a grading period and on the calendar in the My Blackboard menu.

Image illustrating associated text

 

Due Date and Late Submissions

To prevent late submissions, you can select the check box for Do not allow students to start the Test/Survey if the due date has passed. Students receive a message after the due date, notifying them that the test or survey can no longer be completed.

When you allow late submissions, they are clearly marked on the following pages:

  • Needs Grading
  • View All Attempts
  • Review Test Submission
  • Grade Details

Content from Blackboard

Option Description
Include this Test in Grade Center Score Calculations You can include this test in Grade Center calculations. If the test is not included, the score does not affect any Grade Center calculations.
Hide Results for this Test Completely from Instructor and the Grade Center You can hide this test score from you and exclude it from Grade Center calculations. The display in the Grade Center will read Complete/Incomplete and N/A or zero appears on the Grade Details page. You cannot see students’ answers to questions. Students are able to view their own scores.Selecting this option makes Include this Column in Other Grade Center Calculations and Show Statistics (average and median) for this Column to Students in My Grades unavailable when editing column information in the Grade Center.

New York Public Library Makes 180,000 High-Res Images Available Online

The New York Public Library’s digital collections are vast. In early January 2016, they added more than 180,000 of its public-domain holdings to the digital collection. Visitors will find maps, posters, manuscripts, sheet music, drawings, photographs, letters, ancient texts, all available as high-resolution downloads. “These changes are intended to facilitate sharing, research and reuse by scholars, artists, educators, technologists, publishers, and Internet users of all kinds,” the library says in a statement.

Documents range from literary manuscripts and sheet music to maps, atlases, and stereoscopic views. The library also notes that the documents include Farm Security Administration photographs, papers from Founding Fathers, WPA-era art by African-American artists, the 16th-century Handscrolls of the Tales of Genji, and illuminated manuscripts from the Medieval Ages and the Renaissance.

The materials can be viewed and downloaded at the Digital Collections site.

Having trouble imagining what 180,000 images might look like? The NYPL also created a visualization of all the materials, sorted by date, genre, collection or even color.

Other cool projects that the NYPL has created — to fuel inspiration for others to use their open API of the collection:

  • a game based on public-domain mansion floor plans
  • a comparison of 1911 street photos with 2015 Google Street View images
  • a trip planner based on a guide to where black visitors would be welcomed in the 1930s-1960s

A sampling of the newly-available high-res images from the NYPL:

A lithograph of New Orleans, by the artist Henry Lewis and the lithographer Arnz and Co., is among the more than 180,000 public domain items now available for high-resolution download from the New York Public Library.

A lithograph of New Orleans, by the artist Henry Lewis and the lithographer Arnz and Co., is among the more than 180,000 public domain items now available for high-resolution download from the New York Public Library.

The public domain release includes more than 40,000 stereoscopic views — like this one of female prospectors in 1898.

The public domain release includes more than 40,000 stereoscopic views — like this one of female prospectors in 1898. B.W. Kilburn/New York Public Library

"Muhammad and Abu Bakr are feted by Umm Ma'badah's tribe," from a 16th-century illuminated manuscript depicting the life of the prophet Muhammad.

“Muhammad and Abu Bakr are feted by Umm Ma’badah’s tribe,” from a 16th-century illuminated manuscript depicting the life of the prophet Muhammad.

An early-20th century photo by Edwin Levick, "Uncle Sam, host. Immigrants being served a free meal at Ellis Island," is part of the NYPL's photography collection.

An early-20th century photo by Edwin Levick, “Uncle Sam, host. Immigrants being served a free meal at Ellis Island,” is part of the NYPL’s photography collection.

The NYPL's digital holdings include the papers of notable Americans: letters from Walt Whitman, journals by Nathaniel Hawthorne, receipts from Alexander Hamilton --€” and George Washington's recipe for "small beer." (http://exhibitions.nypl.org/treasures/items/show/130

The NYPL’s digital holdings include the papers of notable Americans: letters from Walt Whitman, journals by Nathaniel Hawthorne, receipts from Alexander Hamilton –€” and George Washington’s recipe for “small beer.”

(A transcription of Washington’s recipe is available here.) 

The NYPL's digital collections include a number of maps in the public domain, like this 1672 world map by Pieter Goos.

The NYPL’s digital collections include a number of maps in the public domain, like this 1672 world map by Pieter Goos.

Copy Blackboard Course Content

Though Blackboard course shells will be created with an empty template, you may wish to copy materials from your other Blackboard course sites.  Copying your Blackboard site is a multi-step process: (1) copy your Blackboard course materials, (2) clean up discussion boards, if needed, and (3) delete any empty or duplicated content areas or links, and (4) update your course content.

To Copy Content from an older course into an empty course at the start of each semester:

  1. Go to your course that contains the content you wish to copy (from a previous semester or your Gold course).
  2. Go to the Control Panel, select “Packages and Utilities” > “Course Copy”
  3. Under “Select Copy Options,” click “Browse” to display a list of all courses in which you are an instructor.
  4. Select the empty course into which you wish to copy your content (circle to the left of the course name). Click Submit.
  5. Check the boxes next to the items you wish to copy. Please consider the following:
    • Do NOT check Announcements. Copying Announcements can be confusing for students unless you intend to hide all old announcements from your new students.
    • Always check “Settings” to retain the menu colors and any banner images you use in your course.
    • If you use GRADED assignments or tests, be sure to check ALL “Content Areas,” “Grade Center Columns and Settings,” and “Tests, Surveys and Pools.”
    • If you use GRADED discussion forums, be sure to check “Discussion Board” and “Grade Center Columns and Settings.”
    • For Discussion Board, you have a choice:
      “Include starter posts for each thread in each forum (anonymized)”  – This option copies all the initial posts in the forum. When you access the new Blackboard site’s discussion board, it will let you select any user or “anonymous” for the person who posted the threads.
      OR
      “Include only the forums, with no starter posts.”  – This option means you do not need to clean up student posts inside your discussion forums.
  6. Under “File Attachments,” ALWAYS select the default “Copy links and copies of the content.” The other two options may cause broken links in your course.
  7. For “Enrollments” NEVER check “Include Enrollments in the Copy.” Copying enrollments will mix your current and former students in your new Blackboard site.
  8. Click “Submit.”
  9. You will receive an email when the copy process is complete. At times the email will arrive a few minutes before the materials are visible in your course. You may need to log out of Blackboard and log back in to see the copied content.

Clean up Copied Discussion Boards
If you copied your discussion board starter threads from an old course to your new course, be sure to click on Discussions. When you do, you’ll be prompted to select anonymous or any user in the course as the author of all copied discussion threads.

If you copied discussion threads you did not wish to keep, be sure to delete them. To delete posts quickly:

  1. Go to your course Discussion Board.
  2. Click on the name of a forum to view any threads posted to the forum.
  3. To quickly select all postings, click on the top checkbox in the gray bar.
  4. Uncheck any posts you wish to reuse. For example, some instructors post questions inside the discussion forums to which students respond.
  5. Click on the “Delete” button to remove any posts with checkmarks.
  6. Repeat with remaining discussion forums.

Known issues and workarounds while using TurnItIn

TurnItIn is a great tool that can assist instructors in grading, leaving feedback, and detecting plagiarism, but unfortunately we are aware of several bugs affecting users of TurnItIn.

Please note that in many cases, most bugs within TurnItIn are caused due to errors that occur during the course copy process in Blackboard. For this reason, COLRS recommends that instructors recreate new TurnItIn assignments each semester.

Issue: Students receive error messages when attempting to submit assignments.

We have determined that this usually occurs when an instructor has created a student preview user and has subsequently accessed the assignment. To fix the error, delete the preview user by following these directions (option 2).

Issue: Instructor is unable to delete a column in the Grade Center that is linked to an old TurnItIn assignment.

This issue occurs when copying course content, including TurnItIn assignments, from an old course to a new course shell in Blackboard. As a workaround, you will need to complete three steps:

  1. Click the chevron button next to the column name, and navigate to Edit Column Information.
  2. Under Options, select Include this Column in Grade Center Calculations No and Show this Column to StudentsNo, and then click Submit.
  3. Click the chevron button next to the column name, and select Hide from Instructor View.

Issue: Grades are not syncing between TurnItIn and the Grade Center.

In most cases, numerical grades you enter in TurnItIn should sync to the Grade Center, and vice versa. If this does not occur, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to Course ToolsTurnItIn Assignments.
  2. Click Sync Grades next to the affected assignment.

Issue: Inline comments (using Crocodoc) made by the instructor are not saved.

This issue has affected a very small number of instructors who provide feedback to students using the inline grading feature that is integrated into TurnItIn. This is usually restricted to those using Firefox or Safari web browsers, who keep a document open longer than fifteen minutes. In most cases, switching browsers will fix the issue (we’ve recommend using Chrome if you are experiencing this issue).

Maximizing Learning, Creativity & Innovation for All: Teaching and Technology Day 2015

Jessica Phillips, MAEd, MAPsy, Instructional Designer &Universal Design and Accessibility Coordinator, Ohio State University

 

In “Maximizing Learning, Creativity and Innovation for All”, Jessica presents tips for providing learning experiences that will be meaningful to students of a wide variety of abilities,disabilities, experiences, learning preferences, and motivation through principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL).

 

What is the TEACH Act?

The Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization Act (TEACH Act) of 2002 is an amendment to the Copyright Act of 1976 that addresses online education. It is sometimes referred to as Section 110(2) of the copyright law.

TEACH Act resources:

What is fair use?

Fair use is the right of the public to reproduce portions of a copyrighted work without permission for purposes such as scholarly criticism, parody, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

Fair use resources:

  • Section 107 of the Copyright Act – lists the four factors that courts use when determining whether a use of a copyrighted work is fair use
  • An explanation of fair use and a checklist by Columbia University Libraries/Information Services

What is the public domain?

Public domain works have expired copyrights or were never protected by copyright law. You do not need permission to use or copy public domain works. Examples include U.S. government works, laws, and work published in the U.S. prior to 1923.

Public domain resources:

What is Creative Commons?

Creative Commons (CC) licenses help creators of content retain copyright while allowing others to copy, distribute, and make some uses of their work. Creative Commons licensing works with copyright, not in place of it, when you want to grant certain rights in your copyrighted work. All CC licenses require users to attribute the original creator of a work.

Creative Commons resources:

  • Watch a video to learn more about CC licenses
  • See creativecommons.org to learn more, use a license-choosing tool for your own work, or search for creative commons work

Content provided by Blackboard.

What is Copyright?

The United States government states “Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works.” Source: Copyright in General by www.copyright.gov.

Copyright law resources:

Content provided by Blackboard.

10 Tips for Creating Accessible Online Course Content

In our media-centric society, the desire and need for online learning is at an all-time high. However, as more academic content goes online, the industry is running into a stumbling block as they struggle to make their online courses accessible. With recent lawsuits in higher education and updates to Section 508 on the horizon, it is more important than ever that online learning content be made accessible to students with disabilities.

In this webinar, Janet Sylvia, Web Accessibility Group Leader and Web Accessibility Trainer, will provide you with 10 tips for making your online course material accessible.

Janet will cover:

  • The challenges of making online course content accessible
  • The legal landscape for online learning and accessibility
  • Challenges and solutions for instructors and administrators
  • Developing an accessibility statement and accessibility policies
  • 10 tips for creating accessible course content

Presenters

Janet Sylvia
Web Accessibility Trainer

Sponsored by: 3 Play Media

Download 10 Tips Handout (PDF)

Doing the Right Thing: A Focus on Accessibility in Online Programs

In today’s world of online learning, high quality course development and delivery are key components for successful online programs. Institutions follow a myriad of instructional design strategies, faculty development techniques, and student engagement activities. But in the midst of these important elements, there is one thing that is sometimes overlooked – or completely left out: Accessibility. Title 5 (which defines distance education) of the ADA makes it clear that online classes must fulfill the requirements of the Americans with Disability Act and section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

As leaders in online education, accessible design is an important component of your online program strategy and execution. Join this webinar as we discuss techniques to drive consistent compliance with Title 5 as you build out new and update existing online programs.

Presenters:

  • Darcy Hardy, Associate Vice President, Enterprise Consulting, Blackboard
  • Scott Ready, Director for Customer Relations, Enterprise Consulting, Blackboard

Online Video and the ADA: How a Landmark Case Changed the Legal Landscape of Closed Captioning

 

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law in 1990, before the Internet was an integral part of society. While it originally dictated accessibility requirements for physical structures and businesses, several recent legal cases have expanded the reach of the ADA to include places of online accommodation. MIT, Harvard, and Netflix (among others) have all been sued for not providing closed captioning for their online video content.

This webinar will be presented by Arlene B. Mayerson, the Directing Attorney of the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF). Ms. Mayerson led the legal team that secured a historic settlement regarding application of the ADA to online commerce in National Association of the Deaf (NAD), et al. v. Netflix, which ensures 100% closed captions in Netflix’s On-Demand Streaming Content. In this webinar, she will discuss how she and the NAD brought Netflix under the ADA, as well as how the ruling has impacted the legal landscape of web accessibility and closed captioning.

This webinar will cover:

  • What constitutes a place of public accommodation under the ADA
  • How Netflix was originally brought under the ADA
  • How the scope of the ADA has changed since the Netflix ruling
  • The current legal landscape of closed captioning and web accessibility
  • How the Netflix ruling impacts online education and other industries using streaming video
  • Given recent lawsuits, who is implicated by the ADA?

About Arlene B. Mayerson
Arlene B. Mayerson is one of the nation’s leading experts in disability rights law. She has been a key advisor to both Congress and the disability community on the major disability rights legislation for the past two decades. At the request of members of Congress, Ms. Mayerson supplied expert testimony before several committees of Congress when they were debating the ADA. She filed comments on the ADA regulations for more than 500 disability rights organizations. Ms. Mayerson has devoted her career exclusively to disability rights practice, representing clients in a wide array of issues. She has provided representation, consultation to counsel, and coordination of amicus briefs on key disability rights cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. She was appointed by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education to the Civil Rights Reviewing Authority, responsible for reviewing civil rights decisions of the Department.

Ms. Mayerson is also a John and Elizabeth Boalt Lecturer in disability law at Berkeley Law, University of California, Berkeley (Boalt Hall). She has published many articles on disability rights and is the author of a comprehensive three-volume treatise on the ADA: Americans with Disabilities Act Annotated-Legislative History, Regulations & Commentary (Clark Boardman Callaghan, 1994), which sets forth the legislative history and regulations for each provision of the ADA.

Presenters

Arlene B. Mayerson
Directing Attorney | Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund

Lily Bond (Moderator)
Marketing Manager | 3Play Media

Sponsored by 3 Play Media

UIS Disability Statement for Syllabus

As of Fall 2015, the following disability statement should be used on UIS syllabi:

If you are a student with a documented temporary or ongoing disability in need of academic accommodations, please contact the Office of Disability Services at 217-206-6666.

Disabilities may include, but are not limited to: Psychological, Health, Learning, Sensory, Mobility, ADHD, TBI and Asperger’s syndrome.  In some cases, accommodations are also available for shorter term disabling conditions such as severe medical situations.  Accommodations are based upon underlying medical and cognitive conditions and may include, but are not limited to: extended time for tests and quizzes, distraction free environment for tests and quizzes, a note taker, interpreter and FM devices.

Students who have made a request for an academic accommodation that has been reviewed and approved by the ODS will receive an accommodation letter which should be provided by the student to the instructor as soon as possible, preferably in the first week of class.

For assistance in seeking academic accommodations, please contact the UIS Office of Disability Services (ODS) in the Human Resources Building, Room 80, phone number 217-206-6666.

UIS Blackboard Archive Policy

As an ongoing effort to ensure that Blackboard runs as quickly and as efficiently as possible, a Blackboard Archival Policy will go into effect July 1, 2015.

The Blackboard subcommittee (comprised of representatives from ITS, COLRS, and online coordinators) researched practices of other universities, consulted with the Registrar, and proposed a recommendation to the Academic Technology Committee as well as the Campus Senate. Both groups endorsed the policy.

Courses will be retained on Blackboard for 3 years, on a single server (http://bb.uis.edu), after which they will be purged. As of Fall 2015, the courses available in Blackboard will be Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Summer 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Summer 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, and Summer 2015. All older courses will be purged.

Moving forward, each semester the oldest courses will be deleted from Blackboard, keeping the course load at 3 years. Faculty will receive a reminder prior to the deletion.

Please be aware that there are options for retaining course content longer than three years. Instructions for each option are linked below.

  • Use Blackboard’s built-in tool for archiving courses
    • The Export/Archive Course tool creates a zip file that contains all the content for the course.
    • Save the .zip file to your UIS Box.com or Google Drive storage space
    • The zip file can be then be re-imported into Blackboard at a later time, if needed
  • Request a GOLD course from COLRS
    • Many faculty already take advantage of GOLD courses, which serve as a template. GOLD courses are not taught from; they are merely a course shell where faculty can keep updated content that can easily be copied to live course as needed.

Read the policy approved by the Academic Technology Committee and the Campus Senate. If you have any questions, please contact COLRS at colrs@uis.edu or Kara McElwrath at kmcel2@uis.edu.

Quickly access this post with http://go.uis.edu/bbarchive

How to create a Google Site for your online class, a presentation, an e-portfolio, and more

Because ITS subscribes to Google Apps, we have a plethora of free Google tools at our disposal that we can use to enhance online education and research. The best part is that everyone with a UIS NetID has access to all that Google has to offer, without having to register for a new account! One of these tools is Google Sites.

There are a variety of ways that you can use Google Sites right now in your online classes, or for professional development or research purposes: You can use Google Sites to create an e-portfolio, to showcase your CV, or even as a more accessible alternative to PowerPoint.

To get started, just sign in to Google Apps for Education:

Click Login.

  • Sign in with your regular NetID and password.
  • Next, click the Apps button at the top of your screen, to the left of your email address. Select Sites.

Click the Apps button, and then select Sites.

  • Click Create.

Click Create.

 

  • You will now be directed to a page where you will be able to choose different details about your site. First, you may choose a template for your site based on its purpose. To view more templates, choose “Browse the gallery for more,” which will give you the option to choose the best template for your site.
    Note: For faculty completing online professional development through COLRS, search for “Online Faculty Development ePortfolio.” Select this as your template.

    Or choose “Blank template” to start a site from scratch.
  • After selecting a template, you will name your site and complete the URL at which your site will be located.
  • There are also two optional menus that can be expanded: Click on “Select a theme” to choose a color scheme for your site, and click on “More options” to enter site categories and a short description of your site. Most people do not change anything here and leave them blank.
  • Once you are done choosing your template, naming your site, and typing a short URL, click Create at the top of the page.

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  •  You will now be at the homepage of your site!

What to do next

You are now ready to begin adding content, including additional pages, images, documents, videos, and more!

Google provides quite a bit of documentation on how to manage your site. Please explore the links below for the most up to date information on how to accomplish various tasks within Google Sites:

We are always available to assist you in brainstorming ideas on how you might implement Google Sites in your courses, or to help you set up a Google Site before a big presentation at a conference. We can also provide guidance with the Online Faculty Development ePortfolio template.

If you need additional tech support, contact ITS at 206-6000, or techsupport@uis.edu.

How to create narrated video lectures in PowerPoint

  • First, open your PowerPoint presentation.
  • Make sure the presentation is saved as a Macro-Enabled PowerPoint Presentation (.pptm)
  • For each slide you wish to narrate:
    1. Go to the slide.
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    2. Click ‘Insert’ -> ‘Media’ -> ‘Audio’ -> ’Record Audio’.
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    3. To begin recording, click the record button. It has a red circle.
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    4. Read the content for that slide. Make sure to speak into your microphone. 
    5. To stop recording, click the stop button. It has a blue square.
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    6. Optional: To test that your recording sounds acceptable, click the play button. It has a green triangle.
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    7. Click ‘OK’ when finished to complete the recording for the slide.
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    8. Repeat these steps for each slide you wish to narrate.
  • Finally, you can export to video when audio recording has been completed.
    1. Click ‘File’ -> ‘Export’ -> ‘Create a Video’.
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    2. For the video quality, select ‘Computer & HD Displays’ to ensure the highest quality.
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    3. For timings and narrations, select ‘Use Recorded Timings and Narrations’ to ensure your recordings are included in the video.
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    4. Optional: If you have slides without narration, you can adjust the default duration of 5 seconds for these slides.
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    5. Click ‘Create Video’. You can name your video and select where to save it.
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Now that you’ve created your video, follow these instructions to upload the video to Kalutra through Blackboard.

Emerging Technologies for Education

On February 17, the COLRS Staff offered a presentation titled “Emerging Technologies for Education” through the UIS Faculty Development Office. The following is a list of technologies presented along with others that are among the new favorites for online educators.

ACCESSIBILITY

YouTube Auto-Captioning

Even if you haven’t added captions to your video, YouTube may use speech recognition technology to automatically make captions available.
Since these are automatically generated, the quality of the captions may vary from video to video. As the video owner, you can always edit the captions to improve accuracy, or remove them from your video if you do not want them to be available for your viewers.
If your video does not have automatic captions, it could be due to one or more of the following reasons:
• The language in the video is not yet supported by automatic captions
• The video is too long
• The video has poor sound quality or contains speech that YouTube doesn’t recognize
• There is a long period of silence at the beginning of the video
• There are multiple speakers whose speech overlap

Fangs Screen-Reader Emulator

Fangs renders a text version of a web page similar to how a screen reader would read it. The ambition is to help developers understand how an assistive device would present a website and thereby increase chances of finding accessibility issues early.

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jd3qfZGGM88

VIDEO/PRESENTATION TECHNOLOGY

Presentme-Edu

Present.me is the fastest and easiest way to add video or audio to your document or presentation, so that who ever is viewing gets the whole story – as if you were in the room with them!

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6HAw1VsvMs

Vialogues

Vialogues (which derives from “video dialogues”) is an award-winning discussion platform that proves that videos are both powerful teaching resources and the ultimate conversation starters. Vialogues provides a space for users to hold meaningful and dynamic time-stamped discussions about videos.

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAKRcmZFcW0

ShowMe

The ShowMe iPad app lets you create lessons using a whiteboard. The app is free and there is no limit what you can teach! Our community has created millions of ShowMes, from chemistry to history to football strategy – and more knowledge is being shared everyday.

Watch: https://vimeo.com/38003641

Swivl

Swivl was founded in 2010 by Brian Lamb and Vladimir Tetelbaum, with the idea of making video a more useful tool with robotics. They launched the first concept to market through crowdfunding on IndieGoGo, and have been engaging with users and improving solutions ever since.  This culminated with the launch of the second generation Swivl and Swivl Cloud in April 2014.

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfQFNfnGWU0

 TOUCH TECHNOLOGY

Leap Motion

The Leap Motion Controller senses how you naturally move your hands and lets you use your computer in a whole new way. Point, wave, reach, grab. Pick something up and move it. Do things you never dreamed possible.

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gby6hGZb3ww

PRODUCTIVITY

TodaysMeet

Expand your classroom:  Students can join from home or even from other schools to make the classroom community even bigger.

Embrace the backchannel: The backchannel improves meetings, presentations, Socratic seminars and fishbowls, movies and silent activities, reviews and snow days, and more.

Empower learners:  TodaysMeet gives everyone the floor and lets even the quietest students express themselves.

WorkFlowy

A simple, easy-to-use, cross-platform tool that helps you organize your life.

Watch:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSmbnaPZVHE

BibMe

BibMe is an automatic citation creator that supports MLA, APA, Chicago, and Turabian formatting. BibMe leverages external databases to quickly fill citation information for you. BibMe will then format the citation information and compile a bibliography according to the guidelines of the style manuals.

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LikOn0xgb0

MOBILE

Flipboard

Flipboard is a social-network aggregation, magazine-format mobile app localized in more than 20 languages. The software collects content from social media and other websites, presents it in magazine format, and allows users to “flip” through their social-networking feeds and feeds from websites that have partnered with the company.

Flipboard is produced by Flipboard, Inc., a United-States-based software company founded in 2010 by Mike McCue and Evan Doll and headquartered in Palo Alto, California.

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CgdU8UvwfB4

WhatsApp

WhatsApp Messenger is an instant messaging app for smartphones that operates under a subscription business model. The proprietary, cross-platform app enables users of select feature phones to use the Internet to communicate. In addition to text messaging, WhatsApp can be used to send images, video, and audio media messages. WhatsApp has also started rolling out the much awaited voice calling feature.  Locations can also be shared through the use of integrated mapping features.

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhnFh1MGx4w

Anydo

s a suite of integrated mobile productivity apps. The company’s first product, the Any.do task management app, was launched on Android in November 2011 and later for iPhone and Chrome on June 3, 2012.  

Any.do’s namesake to-do list app was released on November 10, 2011 on the Android platform and TechCrunch reported it to have 500,000 downloads in its first 30 days after launch. It was later released on iOS in June 2012 and reached another milestone with 100,000 iPhone downloads in its first day on the platform.  Any.do includes numerous planning and task management functions:

  • Unlimited, customizable task folders
  • Task sharing and delegation
  • Built-in microphone can be used for voice entry of tasks
  • Auto-suggest feature with predictive text
  • Time- and location-based reminders
  • Cloud sync across all of a user’s devices

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPpHp4Yfs_M

Remind

Remind (formerly Remind101) is a private mobile messaging platform that enables teachers to send Reminders to students and parents via text and email.The platform has over 10 million users and sends over 65 million messages per month. As of February 2014, 15% of the K-12 teacher population in the U.S used Remind101.

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-aJNeyHvHZA

File Storage Options at UIS

Where’s the best place to store your class files, research projects, and other important documents?  You have many file storage options, including Box, Google Drive, OneDrive, and Kaltura.  ITS has created a useful matrix comparing the benefits and limits of each data storage service available at UIS.

Additional information can be found on their website.

 

2014 Innovating Pedagogy Report

The annual Innovating Pedagogy report explores new forms of teaching, learning and assessment for an interactive world, to guide teachers and policy makers in productive innovation.

Produced by the Institute of Educational Technology at The Open University, the report identifies ten educational terms, theories and practices that have the potential to provoke major shifts in educational practice in the near future.

Featured in 2014’s annual report:

  1. Massive open social learning
  2. Learning design informed by analytics
  3. Flipped classrooms
  4. Bring your own devices
  5. Learning to learn
  6. Dynamic assessment
  7. Event-based learning
  8. Learning through storytelling
  9. Threshold concepts
  10. Bricolage

The report can be downloaded at: http://www.openuniversity.edu/sites/www.openuniversity.edu/files/The_Open_University_Innovating_Pedagogy_2014_0.pdf

Students Who Are Parents

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research completes research “conducts rigorous research and disseminates its findings to address the needs of women, promote public dialog, and strengthen families, communities, and societies” (source).

In November 2014, IWPR published a fact sheet on college students who are also parents, and over a quart of them are. Read the students who are parents fact sheet

Open Educational Resources – Cable Green

Cable Green, Director of Global Learning at Creative Commons, led a discussion of “eTextbooks and Open Educational Resources” to help University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) student leaders understand the local and global education opportunities when digital content, the internet and open licensing are combined. View the recording of Cable Green’s lecture.Movie Fifty Shades Darker (2017)

Students Checking Discussion Board Grades, Rubric Scores, and Comments

Online students should regularly check their discussion grades with the rubric scores (if the Blackboard rubric tool is used) and comments. For those students who may not know how to do this, here is a brief review:

The student should Go to “My Grades” and find the week’s discussion. For every graded item in Blackboard, the student will see that the title of the graded item is a hyperlink. The student may click on the hyperlink which will open a page showing all his/her contributions to the week’s discussion, plus any comments left by the instructor. The student will also see an icon to the left of the number grade that looks like this:

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If he/she clicks on that grid, a pop up window will open showing the Rubric Detail.

Alternately, the student may go to My Grades, find the week’s discussion and look for the words “View Rubric” –

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Clicking there will also open the Rubric Detail page.

When the instructor has written comments in the “Feedback to Students” panel, the student will see a word bubble icon next to his/her grade –

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The student may click on the bubble to view the instructor’s comments.

Request Electronic Library Reserves

E-Reserves are a way of placing documents on hold and linking them in your course for your students to observe for a short period of time. These items can supplement your online instruction and can offer your students a plethera of information that can enhance their online learning experience.

Reserve resources and review the Library policies for E-Reserves

Ideas for including E-Reserves in your course include:

  • Streaming media to offer examples of concepts
  • Journal articles used for example and research
  • Case studies for course application and assessment

Submit Final Grades

Both on-campus and online courses have the same deadlines for reporting student grades.

To Enter Grades in the Enterprise system:

  1. Go to the Enterprise Self-Service system.
  2. Click on UIS.
  3. Login with your UIS NetID and Password. This is the same information that you use to log into UIS Webmail.
  4. Click on the Faculty & Advisor Services tab across the top of the page.
  5. Then click on the Faculty Services link.
  6. Click on Final Grade Entry.
  7. Select the desired semester and class.
  8. Enter your grades.
  9. Click Submit to complete the process.

SoftChalk at UIS

SoftChalk is a tool to help enhance text-based lectures. It allows instructors to “chunk” their content into smaller pages, add images, flashcards, graded or self-test quizzes, and more. Learn more about SoftChalk.

Instructors may access SoftChalk using Citrix Virtual Desktop. View instructions for installing and using the Virtual Desktop app.

Import Test Questions to Blackboard with Respondus

Respondus allows instructors to import questions from a text file and upload them to Blackboard courses.

To import questions from a text document to Respondus, instructors must format the text file in a specific (and simple) manner. Learn about the Respondus Question Import Format.

Once the text document is formatted, upload the questions following these instructions.

Kaltura Media Overview

Kaltura Media is the video management solution at UIS. Faculty and students may upload video from other sources (MS Lync, camcorders or phones) or record web cam and/or screen capture videos through Kaltura Personal Capture. A fantastic feature of Kaltura is the statistics for video use. It will tell you the percentage of your video that each student watch, how many times it was access, and the average view time. Across UIS, the average view time for a video is 7 minutes and 35 seconds, which is on the longer side of the recommended 5-7 minute length for video lectures.

For detailed videos on how to use Kaltura, please see the Kaltura Company’s training videos on Kaltura and Personal Capture.

UIS Kaltura Resources

Access and Upload Videos to Kaltura Media

Faculty and students access Kaltura Media through Canvas.

  1. Go to UIS Canvas.
  2. Go to a Canvas Course and click on “My Media.”
  3. Click on “Add New” and then select “Media Upload.”
  4. Click “Choose a file to upload” and select your file.
  5. Your video will upload automatically. Depending on the size, this may take a while.
  6. After your video uploads, edit the name, description, tags (key words), and privacy settings.
  7. Click “Save”  to complete the upload process.
  8. Follow the steps in this post to add your video a Canvas course.

Video Lectures

Beginning in Fall 2014, faculty may reserve time in the COLRS Faculty Video Recording Studio to record lectures or interviews. The room is equipped with a high quality video camera, lighting, microphone, green screen, and a computer for editing videos with Camtasia Studio.

Please contact COLRS to discuss your project.

Using Turnitin as a Student

Turnitin is plagiarism detection software available to faculty at UIS. To learn more about using Turnitin as a student, including helpful videos, please see http://www.uis.edu/colrs/students/turnitin/.

You may also find the Turnitin Manual for Students (pdf) a helpful resource.

 

Submit a Turnitin Assignment for a Student

Whether it is to spot check for suspected plagiarism or submit an assignment for a student with computer problems, instructors may submit a student file to a Turnitin Assignment they have created in their Blackboard course site.

  1. Go to the Blackboard course that contains the Turnitin Assignment.
  2. Go to Control Panel > Course Tools > Turnitin Assignment.
  3. Click on the assignment name.
  4. Select the student’s name from the “Author” drop down list.
  5. Enter a title for the paper.
  6. Click on “Choose from this computer” button to upload the file, and the find and select the student’s paper.
  7. Click the “Upload” button.
  8. Next, you’ll see a preview of the file you submitted. If this is the correct document, click “Submit.”
  9. Once the paper has been submitted, you will see the Turnitin Digital Receipt.
  10. Click on “go to inbox” to see the listing of papers submitted for this Turnitin Assignment.

Watch a video on how to submit a student paper to a Turnitin Assignment in Blackboard.

Educause Quarterly issue on Online Student Retention includes UIS strategies

Sustaining Students: Retention Strategies in an Online Program

by Emily Boles, Barbara Cass, Carrie Levin, Raymond E. Schroeder, and Sharon McCurdy Smith

Published on Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Key Takeaways

  • With students spread across 47 states and a dozen countries, the University of Illinois at Springfield faces a significant challenge in promoting student persistence.
  • Program coordinators who know each student majoring in their online degree program keep in close touch with those students to assure that their learning and academic planning needs are met.
  • Online student peer mentors who model best student practices and serve as a liaison between students and faculty members provide effective support in selected classes.
  • These and other approaches have resulted in an online course completion rate that hovers just two to three percent below the on-campus completion rate, and the degree-completion rate among online students is equally strong.

Read the complete article at: http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/sustaining-students-retention-strategies-online-program

Examity Quick-Guide for Faculty

Download the UIS Examity Quick Guide for Faculty.

1. Using Examity® with Blackboard

You will access Examity® through Blackboard. All of the data relevant to your exams will be imported automatically daily into Examity®, and Examity® will not change anything about the way you currently use Blackboard.

To use Examity in your class, you must first turn the tool on your course.  To turn the tool on, click on Customization in the Control Panel and select Tool Availability.

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On the Tool Available page, you will need to put a checkmark in the box for ExamityUISSSO.

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You can then add a link to Examity in your course.  In the content area in which you want the link to appear, click on Tools –> More Tools –> ExamityUISSSO.  Click submit.

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This will add a link to the Examity dashboard inside your course. 

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To get to your Examity® Dashboard, click on the Examity® link. You will see a screen that says “click here to login”—by clicking that button, you log into Examity® with your Blackboard user infor­mation.examity2

Once you click it, you will be taken directly to your Examity® Instructor Dashboard. You may be prompted to login as an Exam Instructor or Student.  Select Exam Instructor.

Please note: there may be a one-day delay in seeing your dashboard after enabling the Examity tool for your class, as the data link between Blackboard and Examity refreshes once per day.

2. Viewing the Examity® Dashboard

You can get to all four areas of Examity® from your dashboard by clicking on either the links at the top of the navigation bar or the icons you see when you log in.

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Clicking on the EXAM STATUS button will enable you to see the status of your students’ exams (scheduled, pending at auditor, approved/rejected by auditor, or cancelled/incomplete). This is the button to click if you want to review videos once they have been approved by our auditing team.

Clicking on STUDENT enables you to search for individual students.  If a student needs special accommodations for an exam, such as double time for the exam, that information may be entered here.

Clicking on the REPORTS button displays all the exams that are associated with you. You can filter by class, or student name, and download Excel and PDF versions of these reports to help you keep track of your students.

Clicking on COURSES/EXAMS takes you to a list of all your classes. You can edit courses here.

Please Note: The first time you visit Examity, you will need to set up your profile.  It is important for you to set up your correct time zone so that Examity knows from what time zone you are teaching.

3. Setting Up an Exam & Adding Customized Rules

The first step in setting up an exam with Examity is to make sure the exam is set to available in Blackboard. The exam should also have a password. Exams that are made available will be directly imported into our system.

Once an exam has been imported, you can enter the Examity dashboard and edit the settings of each course and exam by clicking the pencil icon under the “Action” tab. Click the arrow left of the course name to find and edit each exam for that course.

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The first part of the box asks you to fill in several items:

  • Exam Name: Midterm, Quiz 1, etc.
  • FairExam Level: this is the desired level of proctoring service required. Examity offers four levels of service.  As the instructor, you can select which level of service you want for your exam.
    • Level 0 – authenticate & record all tests
    • Level 1 – authenticate & record all tests, review a random sample of tests
    • Level 2 – authenticate & record all tests, review all tests
    • Level 3 – authenticate & record all tests, live proctor monitors & reviews all tests
  • Duration of the Exam: the length of time students get to complete the exam (1 hour)
  • Link to Access the Exam: In most cases, this will be bb.uis.edu
  • Exam Start Date: the first day in which the student can take the exam
  • Exam End Date: the last day in which the student can take the exam
  • Upload a File: If you need to provide your students with a document for their exam, such as a supplemental case study or a formula sheet, you may upload it here
  • Exam Password: If your Blackboard exam has a password, you may share the password with the proctor here.  He/she will enter the password for the student on Blackboard.
  • Extended Time/Special Accommodations: If you have a student who needs special accommodations for the exam, select Yes.  Please note: after setting up your exam, you will need to select the student(s) who needs special accommodations in the Student section of the Dashboard and enter the details of the student’s accommodation.
  • Student Upload File: If your students need to upload a file when they finish their exam, select yes.

The second part of the box establishes the rules for the exam environment. You can add special instructions here.

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Examity provides standard rules, as listed above.  To insert customized rules, such as the test is open book or that students are permitted to use a calculator, you may add them here by clicking the checkbox. Additional rules and special instructions may be inserted in the text box (click save after entering).  Click Save Exam to finalize the exam’s arrangements with Examity.

Once you have added an exam, you can see the arrangements and make changes by clicking on the arrow next to the course in your Courses/Exam section of your Examity Dashboard.

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Once an exam has been arranged with Examity, students may begin scheduling their exams directly with Examity.  A sample letter for faculty to send to students about the scheduling their exam with Examity can be found on the COLRS’ website at go.uis.edu/examityemail .

**Please note: Exams will be pulled in automatically within 24 hours once the “Make the Link Available” link in Blackboard is marked to yes.  To prevent students from seeing the exam before the exam date, set the Display After and Display Until dates for the testing period.

4. Tracking Exam Status

The Exam Status section of the Examity Dashboard allows instructors to view whether students have scheduled their exams and when those exams will take place.  If a student has completed an exam, the status of the exam will indicate what stage the exam is currently in (in progress, pending at auditor, approved by auditor).

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If the exam has been approved by the auditor, you will see at least two alert flags.

  • Green flags indicate no violations.  If a student is authenticated and completes the exam with no violations, he/she will have two green alert flags.
  • Yellow flags indicate possible violations.  These suggest that a violation of the rules has occurred, but the student was likely not cheating.  For example, if the students’ young child runs into the room during the exam session, the auditor will flag the violation with a yellow flag.
  • Red flags indicate violation. A violation of the exam rules has occurred. When a student receives a red flag violation, the instructor will also receive an e-mail about the incident.

Instructors can view details of the alerts and watch the exam video by clicking on the View link next to the students’ flag alerts.  Videos will remain available for 30 days, after which it is deleted from the Examity system.

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5. Reaching Examity Support

Support is available 24 hours a day.

Call: 1-(855)-392-6489 or 1-(855)-EXAMITY

Email: support@examity.com

Live Chat: Click the tab on the bottom of your screen

Examity Online Video Proctoring – Quick Guide for Students

Download the UIS Examity Quick Guide for Students.

1. Accessing Examity

You can access Examity® through your course on Blackboard. Click on the ExamityUISSSO link within the course.

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Click to login to Examity.

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This will take you to your Examity dashboard.

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From here you can edit your profile, schedule exams, and make changes if you need to cancel or change a test time. Most importantly, this is where you’ll go to start your exams.

2. Getting Started

Setting Up Your Profile: To get started, update your Examity® profile by clicking in the My Profile section of the Dashboard. You will need to upload a picture of your UIS Student ID or a government issued photo ID, select your time zone, and set your security questions.

Please note the importance of selecting the correct time zone.  This will be used in scheduling your test with the proctoring center.  You can confirm your selected time zone by looking at the time in the upper right hand corner.

Once you have set up your profile, you can bypass this step for future exams.

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Scheduling Your Exam: When you are ready to schedule an exam, click “Schedule Exam” on your dashboard or on the top navigation bar.

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You will see a calendar. If you are scheduling your test more than 24 hours in advance, you can just select the date and time you want. If you are scheduling it less than 24 hours in advance, make sure the on-demand scheduling option is enabled in the top right-hand side of the screen.

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Paying for Exam Proctoring:  You will pay for your exam proctoring session at the time you schedule the exam.  Rates for the proctoring session vary based on the length of the exam and the level of proctoring service selected by the instructor.  Additional fees apply if you use on-demand scheduling (exam occurs within 24 hours). 

Rescheduling or Canceling Your Exam: If you need to change or cancel your test appointment, click Reschedule/Cancel, and select the exam you want to change from the menu that appears.

3. Taking Your Exam

To take your exam, make sure you have your webcam and microphone set-up on your computer.  Sign into Blackboard, then your class.  Return to the Examity® Dashboard by clicking on the ExamityUISSSO sign-on link within your class.

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Click to login to Examity.

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This will take you to your Examity dashboard.

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Once on the Examity dashboard, click “Begin Scheduled Exam”, and select your exam. You will then be connected to your proctor. Note: MAKE SURE YOUR POP-UP BLOCKER IS DISABLED otherwise you will not be able to connect with your proctor!

Your proctor will walk you through the test authentication process, which will include verifying your identity, going over the exam rules, scanning your work area and desk, answering your security questions, and agreeing to the User Agreement.

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Once you have finished the authentication process, you will see a screen that says “Begin Exam”, and your exam will open. If your test is password protected, your proctor will tell you the password when the prompt to enter it appears.

4.  Reaching Examity Support. 

Support is available 24 hours a day.

  • Call: 1 (855) EXAMITY or 1 (855) 392-6489
  • Email: support@examity.com
  • Live Chat: Click the tab on the bottom of your screen

Two Examples of Blackboard Rubrics

3 Point Blackboard Discussion Rubric (click on thumbnail to enlarge)

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20 Point  Blackboard Rubric (click on thumbnail to enlarge)

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Adding TEC-VARIETY — Book by Curt Bonk and Elaine Khoo

Adding TEC-VARIETY is the latest book by Curt Bonk of Indiana University, written in collaboration with Elaine Khoo, from the University of Waikato in New Zealand.

It is an OPEN book, which means it is freely available online. Download your copy at http://tec-variety.com/

Endorsement:

What a grand book! This is going to be a highly valuable resource for countless instructors and designers in online learning. “Adding TEC-VARIETY” is unique in that it combines the theoretical and pedagogical foundations of effective learning with 100 easy-to-implement activities that promote the engagement of online students in deep learning. These strategies can instantly breathe life into courses that fail to tap the enthusiasm and imagination of students. TEC-VARIETY has become a handbook for my design of engagement in online classes.

Ray Schroeder, Associate Vice Chancellor for Online Learning and Founding Director of the Center for Online Learning, Research and Service (COLRS), University of Illinois Springfield

How to Give Select Students Extra Time on a Blackboard Exam

  1. Build your test as usual and deploy in a content area.
  2. Click the drop down arrow next to the deployed test and select Edit the Test Options. The test options allow the instructor to set the testing criteria for the entire class.

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  1. Part 3 of the Test Options screen is Test Availability Exceptions. Students receiving test exceptions will receive testing criteria that varies from the rest of the class.

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  1. In Part 3, Click Add User or Group to bring up a pop-up screen. Select the user or group with the exception and click Submit.

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  1. Adjust the options as needed for that user or group.
    • Attempts may be Single Attempt, Multiple Attempt, or Unlimited Attempt.
    • Timer may be used to set the amount of time the user or group receives.
    • Availability may be used to set the time window for which the user or group may access the exam.
    • Force Completion requires the user or group to complete the exam in one sitting.

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  1. Submit the Test Options.

Adding Kaltura Media Videos to Canvas Courses

Kaltura Media is a media management tool built into Canvas. Recordings made with Capture are automatically published to Kaltura. You may also upload videos you’ve created with other tools to Kaltura. Learn More about Kaltura and Personal Capture.

Embed in any Canvas Rich Content Editor (Page, Quiz, Discussion, Assignment)

  1. Log in to Canvas.
  2. Go to your Canvas course.
  3. Create or edit any page, quiz, discussion topic, or assignment — any area in which there is access to the Rich Content Editor.
  4. Click on the Apps button (looks like an electrical plug) on the far right side. You may need to click on the “More” button to see it.
    Canvas Rich Content Editor, click on Apps to embed a Canvas video
  5.  On the Select App screen, choose Embed Kaltura
    Select App in Canvas. Choose Embed Kaltura Video
  6.  Click on “Add New” to upload or create a video
    OR click “Select” next to the video you want to add.
  7. The video will be embedded in the content editor.
  8. Click “Save” or “Save and Publish” when you are done editing your content.

Course Availability for Students with Incompletes

A few weeks after the semester ends, a course will automatically become unavailable to all students.  If you have a student with an incomplete who needs access to a course after this occurs, the course can be made available to just that student. This is a two part process.  First, you would need to mark the course as unavailable to the other students who were enrolled in the class.  Then, you will make the course available (open) again.  Although this will open up the course again, only the student marked as available will have access. To make the course unavailable to the other students in the class:

  1. In the Control Panel, go to Users & Groups and Users.
  2. The right-most column shows the Availability of the course for each student, when the course is made available.  If the course is available, students having ‘Yes’ in that column will have access.  If the course is not available, all students will not have access.  
  3. To change a student’s availability from ‘Yes’ to ‘No’,  hover on the username for a student to make the drop-down arrow appear.  Click on the drop-down arrow and menu  and select Change User’s Availability in the Course.
  4. Change the drop-down option for Available (this course only) to be No and click Submit.
  5. Repeat steps 3 & 4 for all students who need to be made unavailable.
  6. Once completed for all students except for the student with the Incomplete, confirm that only the student with the Incomplete has ‘Yes’ in the Availability column.

To make the course available again:

  1. In the Control Panel, go to Customization and Properties.
  2. Under step 3, change the Make Course Available to Yes and click Submit.

UIS Blackboard Guest Accounts

At times, UIS faculty and staff may need to request guest users for Blackboard. Examples of uses for Blackboard guest accounts are:

  • Community members participating in band or chorus activities
  • Off-site supervisors for internships
  • Guest lecturers/presenters for courses

Blackboard accounts may be requested by completing this form: http://go.uis.edu/bbguest

Important information about UIS Blackboard guest accounts:

  • UIS faculty or staff must request Blackboard guest accounts.
  • The UIS employee who requests the guest account is responsible for enrolling the guest in the appropriate Blackboard site.
  • Blackboard guest accounts are deleted each year on August 1st to ensure security of our learning management system. If guest needs to have access again, a new guest account must be requested.

 

View Blackboard Assignment Feedback from Your Instructor

To view Feedback on Individual or Group Assignments in Blackboard

This contains instructions for viewing feedback on Blackboard Assignments for which you uploaded a file to an assignment with this icon beside it:

bbassignmenticon

  1. In your course, click on My Grades in the course menu.
  2. You will see a list of all the assignments in your class.
  3. Locate the assignment you wish to see feedback on.
  4. If your instructor has given you a grade, click on the title of the assignment to view feedback.
  5. If you submitted a Word document (.doc or .docx), PowerPoint (.ppt or. pptx) or PDF (.pdf), the feedback screen will look like this:
    instructor feedback croc doc(click on the image to enlarge it)
  6. If your instructor left feedback on the paper itself, scroll through the document to read it. To download a copy of feedback of this feedback, click on the download bb assignment feedbackdownload button above the document on the screen.
  7. If your instructor attached feedback in a file, click on the name of the file to view or save it.

My Grades Item Status

The following table describes the symbols appearing on the My Grades page.

 
Symbol Description
Item has not yet been completed. No information is available.
Item has been submitted. This item is waiting to be reviewed by your instructor.-OR-Item has been submitted. Your instructor may review this item but may not be provided a grade (for items such as surveys).
Grade Item has been graded. Click the grade or assignment title to view detailed feedback.
Attempt is in progress. This item has not been submitted. To submit the item, see Submitting a Draft Assignment.
Grade is exempted for this user. If you do not complete this assignment, it will not affect your grade.
Error has occurred. Contact your instructor.

Copying Tests, Quizzes, Surveys and Pools

Blackboard allows you to copy tests, quizzes, surveys and pools of questions from one course to another.  Here are the instructions:

1. Begin in the course that contains the test, survey or pools you would like to copy.  Go to Control Panel > Course Tools > Tests, Surveys and Pools > Choose Tests, Surveys or Pools.

2. Hover just to the right of the name of the test, survey or pool you wish to copy, and you’ll find a chevron.  Click on the chevron and choose “Export” from the drop down menu.

3. A zip file will be downloaded to your computer.

4. Next, go to the course into which you would like to copy the test.  Go to Control Panel > Packages and Utilities > Import Pack/View Logs > Import Package.

5. Click on “Browse My Computer” and select the .zip file from your downloads.  Check the box for Test, Surveys and Pools and click “submit”.

6. Once the test, survey or pool has been copied, you’ll need to deploy it in your Blackboard.  See:  http://blogs.uis.edu/colrs/2013/04/09/posting-deploying-a-test-for-students/

Mobile Learning

SlideShare Presentation: Online and on the move 

BLACKBOARD

MOBILE POLLING SITES

TWITTER IN THE CLASSROOM

ELECTRONIC TEXTBOOKS

INFOGRAPHICS
LECTURE CAPTURING
EMBEDDING DOCUMENTS
SYNCHRONOUS COLLABORATION

Turnitin Manual for Instructors

Turnitin

Click on the image above for the Turnitin Instructor Manual

 

 

Strategies for Increasing Course Evaluation Response Rates

The Timing – A barrier for course evaluation completion is timing the evaluation close to finals (Cottreau & Hatfield 2001).  At UIS, course evaluations become available three weeks prior to the end of the semester.  Thus, begin asking for feedback earlier in the semester!

You might be concerned that that timing may be too early to get accurate feedback from students, as not all activities and assignments have yet been completed.  Research has shown, however, that the results of course evaluations completed earlier in a course are highly correlated with results of course evaluations completed finals week or after (McNulty et al. 2010).  Not only do you increase the likelihood of having a higher response rate, students completing evaluations earlier provided more qualitative feedback than students completing evaluations later (McNulty et al. 2010).  At UIS, these additional (write-in) comments are provided only to the instructor and are not added to the instructor’s faculty file.

The Frequency – For online course evaluations, post announcements as many times and in as many places as you can:

  • Post the link in your syllabus.
  • Create a specific announcement about the evaluation.

Sample Announcement – Course evaluations are open online. These are very important in improving the quality of classes at UIS. They also are an important instrument used in the promotion and tenure process for faculty members. Please take a few moments to fill out the evaluations for this class and any others you may be taking that have online evaluations: https://uisapp-s.uis.edu/courseevals/login.aspx. These evaluations are available only through Saturday, May 4.Faculty members do not see the results of course evaluations until after final grades are submitted for the term. Thanks for taking the time to fill them out!

  • Include the link to the evaluation in emails and announcements until the end date (And remember the course evaluation is available at x until x date).
  • Add as an item to the course calendar

Tell Students Why It’s Important – Remind students why course evalutions are important at UIS and remind them that you cannot see the feedback until after final grades are due and that it will not impact their grade in any way.  Students are more likely to respond if they knew how their evaluations will be used and what decisions their responses will influence (Kidd & Latif 2003, Anderson et al. 2005; Cottreau & Hatfield 2001; Hatfield & Coyle 2013).  The largest factor for not completing evaluations is that students believe the evaluations will not result in change or would not benefit them (Hatfield & Coyle 2013).

The Method – For on-campus classes at UIS, faculty have the choice of having online or in-class evaluations.  Research is mixed on whether online or paper evaluations result in higher response rate, as shown below:  

  • Compared with paper surveys, online evaluations have been associated with increased response rates (Barnett & Matthews 2009; Anderson et al. 2005; Thorpe 2002; Hatfield & Coyle 2013).  
  • Online ratings produce a lower response rate than in-class ratings (Avery, Bryant, Mathios, Kang, & Bell, 2006; Benton, Webster, Gross, & Pallett, 2010 ; IDEA, 2011; Nulti, 2008).

Your class’s typical attendance rate should be considered when deciding whether the in-class or online evaluation will be more effective. 

Why are Course Evaluations Important at UIS?

Goal #1 of the UIS Strategic Plan states that “UIS will achieve academic excellence through excellence in teaching and learning and excellence in scholarship.”  Action Step #4 of the UIS Strategic Plan states that UIS will “Improve the assessment of learning outcomes and of teaching; use aggregated information from course evaluations to inform faculty development programming:  a) Establish and fund a program to support improvements in the assessment of learning outcomes and program review.  b) Adopt a new course evaluation instrument.  c) Implement a multidimensional approach to teaching evaluation.  d) Use the data from the improved teaching evaluation approach as the basis for issues addressed in faculty development programs.”

Presently, course evaluations are used for retention and promotion decisions and for course improvement.  Completion of student course evaluations is imperative in evaluating curricular trends and teaching effectiveness, particularly if no other assessment methods are performed (Hatfield & Coyle 2013).

Research suggestions that student ratings of courses and faculty are a reliable and useful method of evaluating teaching and course effectiveness (Kidd & Latif 2003).  In fact, student evaluations are as reliable as peer evaluations, provided that response rates are good (Paulsen 2002).  However, course evaluations should be used in conjunction with other evaluation tools, such as the peer evaluation and a teaching portfolio, when evaluating the effectiveness of an instructor.  Research has found that faculty members receiving the best evaluations are not always the most effective teachers according to students (Surratt & Desselle 2007).  The Dr. Fox Effect, as seen in the following video, suggests that a highly expressive presenter can earn high evaluations even when the content presented is nonsensical.

UIS Online Supplemental Evaluation Tool

The UIS online supplemental evaluation system allows faculty to administer anonymous surveys to their students. Faculty choose up to ten questions from a bank of 64 questions. Students log into the supplemental evaluation site with their UIS NetID and take the survey. If the survey is administered prior to the last two weeks of the semester, instructors see the anonymous student feedback immediately. If the survey is administered during the final two weeks of the semester, faculty may see the feedback after grades are posted. View the full description of the supplemental evaluation system.

FACULTY Online Supplemental Evaluation System

STUDENT Online Supplemental Evaluation System

Create an Evaluation 

  1. Log in to the Faculty side of the Online Supplemental Evaluation System.
  2. Click on “Create/Modify Evaluation Form” in the left menu.
  3. Click on the “Create New Evaluation Form” link.
  4. Enter the name of your evaluation in the “Version Description” field.
  5. Check the box next to the questions you would like to include. You may select up to ten.
  6. Click “Submit” to save your evaluation.

Schedule Your Evaluation

  1. Log in to the Faculty side of the Online Supplemental Evaluation System.
  2. Click on “Schedule Evaluation” in the left menu. 
  3. Click on the “Create New Schedule Entry” link.
  4. Fill out the scheduling form.
    1. Choose your course for
    2. Select the version (name of your evaluation).
    3. Choose the begin and end date.
    4. Enter any comments (notes for the instructor).
    5. Click “Submit.”
  5. Send or post the following link for your students to complete the evaluation:
    https://uisapp-s.uis.edu/ose/

Retrieve Evaluation Results

If your evaluation ends prior to the last two weeks of the semester, you may log in to see results immediately. If your evaluation ends during the last two weeks of the semester, you will be able to access the results after final grades are posted.

  1.  Log in to the Faculty side of the Online Supplemental Evaluation System.
  2. Click on the “Evaluation Results” link in the left menu. 
  3. Click on the link in the “Course” column to view the results of your evaluation.

Accessing Moodle at UIS

UIS maintains an instance of Moodle for faculty and staff use at https://uistraining1.uis.edu/login/index.php

If you have a UIS NetID, you may access the Moodle site by click on the “Continue” button on the right side of the Moodle home page.

If you are a guest user of the Moodle system, your UIS contact will send you instructions for accessing the site.

What is Respondus LockDown Browser?

Respondus LockDown Browser is a customized browser that increases the security and integrity of online testing in Blackboard.  More information on Respondus LockDown Browser can be found at the link below:

http://www.uis.edu/informationtechnologyservices/iss/respondus.html#lockdown

Horizon Report

Each year the New Media Consortium (NMC) and Educause Learning Initiative (ELI) publish the Horizon Report, a look ahead at technologies that will impact education in the next one, three, and five years.

The report “charts the landscape of emerging technologies for teaching, learning and creative expression” based on interactions with “technology professionals, campus technologists, faculty leaders from colleges and universities, and representatives of leading corporations” (from Horizon Project).

More Information

Time Management in the Online Classroom

Laurel Newman, Te-Wei Wang and Marcel Yoder led an excellent discussion about time management in online teaching. Watch the recorded Blackboard Collaborate session to learn their strategies.

Best Practices for Synchronous Sessions

Carefully Organize Your Synchronous Session

  • Make sure to create an outline for your session.
  • What topics do you want to cover?
  • What materials will you need to share?
  • What questions will you ask?

Connecting to Your Synchronous Session

  • Make sure you are using a high speed Internet connection. Audio and video sharing requires a stable, higher-bandwidth connection that some wireless networks aren’t capable of supplying.
  • Join the live session before the scheduled start time.
  • Conduct an audio check.

Synchronous Session Best Practices

  • Offer Students Options – Consider making the synchronous sessions optional or offering several sessions from which your students may choose.  Requiring synchronous sessions reduces the flexibility that appeals to, and is often necessary for the schedules of, many online students. They will appreciate your extra efforts in schedule accommodations.
  • Inform Your Students – Send an email or post information in Blackboard for your students explaining the technology and how they will use it.
  • Schedule a Trial Run – Test your web conferencing tool first, if possible, with someone who can log in from a different location as a “test audience.”  Then you can run through your materials early, checking that everything loads properly.
  • Use the Moderator Override Functions – Learn how to use moderator override functions, such as turning students’ mics down.
  • Mention Student Names – Use students’ names as frequently as possible. It grabs their attention and makes the online environment feel more personal.
  • Use Emoticons – Learn to use emoticons to substitute for facial expressions, and learn to interpret your students’ virtual facial expressions.
  • Get Comfortable with Instant Messaging – Learn to monitor the instant messaging feature while you, a guest speaker, or other students are using microphones. This ensures participants without microphones can fully participate.
  • Record Sessions – Recording your sessions allows students who could not attend to listen to the recorded session presentation.
  • Solicit Feedback – Ask for feedback from your students to help you improve content and delivery for your next course by using the polling feature

What is Synchronous Learning?

Synchronous learning employs a software that provides a way for a groups to meet online, at the same time, and verbally communicate with each other. It allows for real-time learning and collaboration. Not only can participants communicate with each other, but they can also push content to the rest of the audience, such as a presentation or a web page. Additionally, class meetings should be recorded for students unable to attend the meeting or for future use.

Ideas

  • Group Discussions
  • Debates
  • Instructor Lectures
  • Faculty and Student Presentations
  • Virtual Advising
  • Guest Speakers

Synchronous Learning Tools @ UIS

Microsoft Lync

Google+ Hangouts through the UIS Google Apps for Education

Blackboard Mobile Learn

Information about Blackboard Mobile Learn can be found at:

http://www.uis.edu/informationtechnologyservices/iss/blackboard.html

 

Testing in Blackboard: Clearing a Student’s Attempt

To clear a student’s attempt:

  1. Go the the course Control Panel
  2. Under the Assessment area, Click on Gradebook link
  3. Locate the student who you wish to reset, and click on the padlock “In Progress” icon, or the exclamation mark (!) “Completed” icon.
  4. Click on the View button to access the students’ quiz attempt page.
  5. Clear the assessment attempt by clicking on the Clear Attempt button.

Posting & Deploying a Test for Students

To deploy a test:

  1. Go to the content area where you want to deploy the test (i.e. Assignments, Course Materials, etc.)
  2. Click on the Assessments button and select Test.
  3. Click on the name of the test you wish to deploy and click OK.
  4. On the “Test Options” page that appears, you will select how and when your students will view the test.
    • Under “1. Test Information,” you will see the information you entered while creating the test. The description will appear beneath the link to the test in your content area.
    • Under “2. Test Availability,” choose from these options:
      • Make the Link Available. Select “Yes.” You can limit the availability of the test using the Display After/Until tool below. If you choose “No” students will not be able to view the exam.
      • Add a New Announcement for this Test. Select “Yes” to have Blackboard post an announcement that the test is available.
      • Multiple Attempts. If you would like students to have more than one attempt at the test, check the box for multiple attempts. Select either “Unlimited Attepmts” or “Numbers of Attempts.” If you choose “Number of attempts,” enter the specific number of times you would like your students to be able to attempt the test.
      • Force Completion. If you would like to force students to complete the test the first time they launch (click on) the test, select this option.
      • Set Timer. The timer in Blackboard does not close the exam if a student exceeds the time limit. It simply sets an expected completion time and records the length of time each student spends in the exam. Instructors can view this information in the Grade Center column for the test. To set the timer, check the “Set Timer” checkbox and enter the time in hours and minutes.
      • Display After. Check the box and enter the date and time that the test should become available to students. If the box is not checked, the dates and times will not be saved.
      • Display Until. Check the box and enter the date and time that the test should no longer be available to students. If the box is not checked, the dates and times will not be saved.
      • Password. If you wish to have students enter a password to access the exam, check the box and enter the case-sensitive password. This tool is especially useful when proctoring exams or giving make-up exams for specific students.
    • Under “3. Self-assessment Options,” instructors choose how the test results are recorded.
      • Include this Test in the Grade Center Score Calculations. This option is turned on by default. If you do not wish for the test to count toward student total grades, uncheck the box.
      • Hide Results for this Test Completely from Instructor in Grade Center. If checked, this option hides all student scores from instructors. This information cannot be recovered by instructors, ITS or COLRS. Please do NOT check this option.
    • Under “4. Test Feedback,” select the feedback you wish students to see after they complete the test: Score, Submitted Answers, Correct Answers, and/or Feedback. Unchecking all boxes until the testing period ends is a common practice. Instructors may edit the feedback option after students are finished taking the test or grading is complete.
    • Under “5. Test Presentation,” instructors choose how a test is displayed to students.
      • All at Once. All questions are displayed on a single screen. This is a good option if your test includes fewer than 20 twenty multiple choice or true/false questions. If your test includes more questions or any essay questions, please consider presenting your test with the “one at a time” option.
      • One at a Time. If your test contains more than 20 questions or any essay questions, please select the “one at a time” option. This option forces students to click a “next” button to submit their work as they move through the exam. It can help prevent browser timeout issues. When “one at a time” questions presentation is selected, instructors can choose to Prohibit Backtracking, which that students see each question only once. Students cannot access questions they have previously submitted or change their answers.
      • Randomize Questions. Students will see questions in a different order each time they attempt a test.
  5. Click Submit.

Creating a Test in Blackboard

To create a test:

  1. Go to the Control Panel.
  2. Click on Course Tools > Tests, Surveys, and Pools > Tests
  3. Click on Build Test
  4. On the next screen, enter a Name for the test.
    If you like you may also add a Description (appears below the name of the test in your content area in Blackboard), and Instructions (appears above the test questions while students take the test).
  5. Click Submit.
  6. To add a new question:
    • Click on Create Question and select the type of question you would like to add (True/False, Multiple Choice, Essay, etc.).
    • Fill out the information for that question type.
    • Click OK.
  7. To reuse one or more questions from another test or pool:
    • Click on Reuse Question and select “Find from Pool or Test.”
    • Under “1. Pools and Tests to Search,” select the Pool or Test that contains the questions you would like to copy to your new test.
    • Under “2. Criteria,” check “All” to see all the questions contained in your pool or test. Check specfic type(s) of questions to limit the questions displayed.
    • Under “3. Assign Points,” you may choose to use the points currently assigned to the questions or assign a new point value.
    • Click Search to view the questions.
    • Check the box for each question you would like to copy into your new test.
    • Click on the blue “Add Selected” button to copy the questions into your test.
  8. To include a random block of questions from a pool (for example, to randomly select 10 questions from a pool of 30):
    • Click on Reuse Question and select “Create Random Block.”
    • Under “1. Search the Pools below,” select the Pool from which you would like to draw questions.
    • Under “2. Criteria,” check “All” to include all types of questions in your randome block. Or, if you’d like to limit your random block to specific types of questions (only multiple choice or true/false), check the specfic type(s) of questions to include.
    • Also under “2. Criteria,” enter the number of questions to include and the number of points each question should be worth.
    • Click Import.
  9. When your test is complete, click OK to leave the test.
  10. To post/deploy the test for students, please see “Posting & Deploying a Test for Students.”

Supplemental Video:

http://webcast2.uis.edu/multimedia/COLRSweb/CreateTest/CreateTest.htm

View and Grade Turnitin Assignments

To view and grade Turnitin Assignments:

Watch a video on how to access the Turnitin Assignment Inbox.

  1. Go to the Blackboard course that contains the Turnitin Assignment.
  2. Go to Control Panel > Course Tools > Turnitin Assignment
  3. Click on the Turnitin Assignment you wish to view or grade to go to the inbox for that assignment.
    Hint: Here you’ll see a listing of your students. If you don’t see all your students, click on “Roster Sync.”
  4. Now you have several options:
    • To view the originality report (sources that match your student’s paper), click on the colored bar in the Similarity column.
    • To grade the assignment click on the bubble icon in the Grade column.
  5. For more information on originality reports and grading options in Turnitin, please consult the Turnitin Manual for Instructors found here: http://pages.turnitin.com/rs/iparadigms/images/Blackboard_9_Integration_Instructor_Manual.pdf

Grading a Discussion Board Forum in Blackboard

*If you have set up your forum as a Graded Forum 
To grade a forum:

  1. Click on Discussions in your Course Content Menu or go to the Control Panel > Course Tools > Discussion Board
  2. Click on the Forum you want to grade
  3. Click on the “Grade Forum” button 
  4. Click on the chevron next to the Username of the student
  5. Click on Grade
  6. Enter Grade at the top of the page
  7. Scroll down to the bottom of the page, click OK
Supplemental Video:

Creating a Turnitin Assignment in Blackboard

To create a Turnitin Assignment:

Watch a video on how to create a Turnitin Assignment.

  1. In a content area (i.e. assignments) hover over the “Assessments” button 
  2. Click on “Turnitin Assignment”
  3. Choose type (most are just paper assignments)
  4. Click on the “Next Step” button
  5. Add Assignment Title and point value 
  6. Select the start date (date of when students can start turning in their submissions) 
  7. Select due date (the last day you will allow submissions) 
  8. Post date (the date that the grades you assign will appear to your students) 
  9. Click on “more options” to change other settings (see explanation below).
  10. Click the “Submit” button.

 Assignment – Optional Assignment Settings

When creating a paper assignment, the Instructor may select to view and change any of the advanced assignment options. The advanced assignment options are viewed by clicking on Optional settings at the bottom of the assignment creation or assignment update page.

Advanced assignment options are listed and described below. When an advanced
assignment option is changed the Instructor may also select whether or not this change should be the future default for any new assignments created. This allows the Instructor to automatically create all new assignments with their preference of advanced options rather than manually selecting the advanced options for every new assignment.

Late Submission

An instructor can enable submissions after the due date and time. To enable late
submissions, use the drop down menu next to “Allow submissions after the due date?” and select yes. The default setting is no. When enabled, students will be able to submit papers after the due date and time has passed as long as that student has not already submitted a paper to the assignment.

Student submissions after the due date and time will be marked with red text in the date column of the submission in the assignment inbox. A student cannot overwrite a submission past the assignment due date and time, even if the late submission option is enabled.

Generate Originality Reports for student submissions

  • immediately (first report is final) – Originality Reports for all submissions will be generated immediately.Students cannot resubmit papers. Submissions must be deleted by the instructor to enable resubmission.
  • immediately (can overwrite reports until due date) – Originality Reports for the initial submission by each student user to this assignment will be generated immediately. Students may resubmit as often as the student wishes until the assignment due date. Originality Reports for the second or subsequent submission will require a 24 hour delay before the Originality Report begins processing. Only the latest submission is available to the instructor or student. Previous versions are removed. Originality Reports will regenerate within an hour of the due date and time to allow student submissions to compare against one another within the assignment. A change in the Originality Report similarity index may result from the regeneration of the reports. This option is typically used when students are self-reviewing and revising their submissions and able to view the Originality Report. No resubmissions are allowed after the due date and time of the assignment.
  • on due date – Originality Reports will not be generated for any submission until the due date and time of the assignment. Students may resubmit as many timesas needed until the due date and time without receiving reports. Resubmissionsmay not be made after the due date and time of the assignment.

Exclude bibliographic material from Similarity Index for all papers in this assignment?

This feature of assignment creation provides instructors with the ability to control the option whether bibliographic material will automatically be excluded from Originality Reports. The default is no. Bibliographic materials can also be included and excluded when viewing the Originality Report. This setting cannot be modified after the first paper has been submitted.

Exclude quoted material from Similarity Index for all papers in this
assignment?

This feature of assignment creation provides instructors with the ability to control the option whether quoted material will automatically be excluded from Originality Reports. The default is no. Quoted materials can also be included and excluded when viewing the Originality Report. This setting cannot be modified after the first paper has been submitted.

Exclude small matches?

This feature of assignment creation provides instructors with the ability to
automatically exclude small matches from all Originality Reports generated within this assignment. To exclude small matches click yes.

Once yes has been clicked the Exclude matches by: option window will open. Enter into either the Word Count: or Percentage: fields the numerical value for small matches that will be excluded from Originality Reports in this assignment.

Instructors can adjust the exclude small matches assignment setting at any time by clicking on the edit icon to the right of the assignment name. The excluding small matches feature can be adjusted within each Originality Report as well. With this feature instructors have greater control on sifting out smaller matches, allowing them to focus on larger, more problematic and suspect matches within Originality Reports.

Allow Students to see Originality Reports?

This feature of assignment creation provides instructors with the ability to control the option to allow students to see Originality Reports within each created assignment. This option gives instructors more flexibility and control when creating assignments. Select yes to allow students to see the Originality Report for the assignment. The default setting is no.

Repository options

The instructor may choose from 2 options in the “Submit papers to:” pull-down menu. Instructors will be able to set the Submit papers to assignment option to store student papers in the standard paper repository, in the institution paper repository,

Repository Sources for Similarity Reports

The instructor is able to select the available repository sources to compare
submissions in the assignment against. This allows an instructor to disregard a source type if the comparison against this type of source is not needed.

The available search targets are listed under Search options. The targets with a check mark are those that will be searched. To remove a search target repository, click on the check box to remove the check mark. Clicking on an empty selection box next to the repository will re-add the repository as a search target. This selection will not alter any currently generated Originality Reports or Overall Similarity Index scores.

Currently available search targets are:

  • student paper repository – works previously submitted in classes and assignments on Turnitin
  • institution paper repository – a repository of student papers for the institution
  • current and archived internet – a repository of archived and live publicly available internet pages containing billions of pages of existing content and tens of thousands of new pages added daily
  • periodicals, journals, & publications – third party periodical, journal, and publication content including many major professional journals, periodicals, and business publications

Attach a rubric to the assignment

If you would like to use a rubric to grade the papers submitted to the assignment you may use the rubric list drop down menu to select a previously created or imported rubric or you can launch the rubric manager by clicking on the Launch Rubric Manager link and create a new rubric to attach to the assignment.

Enable e-rater® grammar check?

This feature is not enabled by default and may not be available for all accounts.
This feature of assignment creation provides instructors with the option to enable the e-rater® grammar and spelling check for all submissions to the assignment. When enabled student submissions receive detailed grammar feedback in GradeMark automatically through the e-rater® technology. Select yes to enable the e-rater® engine for the assignment. If this assignment option is not available then the e-rater® grammar check is disabled for the account. Contact the Turnitin account administrator to enable the e-rater® grammar check for the account.

(Optional) Select the ETS handbook level from the drop down menu. The ETS
handbooks provide students with in depth information about the grammar errors the e-rater® technology finds in their paper.

Select the dictionary used for the spelling check.

The Categories enabled by default option allows instructors to choose which
categories of feedback are enabled when viewing assignment submissions in
GradeMark. The default is to show the feedback for every category.

Changing Advanced Assignment Option Defaults

If any changes have been made to the advanced assignment options, an additional option will be available at the bottom of the options panel. The instructor is asked Would you like to save these options as your defaults for future assignments? Select yes to have all future assignment creations use the advanced assignment options that have been selected as the default setting. Select no to continue with the previous default advanced assignment option settings.

The default settings can be changed at any time when creating a new assignment or updating an existing assignment.

Archiving and Exporting a Course in Blackboard

We spend a lot of time developing materials and courses in Blackboard. ITS performs a daily backup for “gold” and current semester courses, but it is a good idea to backup a course for yourself after major updates to content or grades. You can use the Export or Archive tool to create a backup that can be restored by COLRS should the need arise.

What’s the difference between archiving and exporting a course?

When exporting a course package you select the items from the course that you want to include. Archiving includes all of the user material and data submitted in that course. Each process generates a .zip file that can be imported into Blackboard to restore content. Contact COLRS to have your content restored.

To Archive a Course:

  1. Go to the Control Panel
  2. Click on the chevron next to “Packages and Utilities” to expand menu
  3. Click on “Export/Archive Course”
  4. Click the “Archive” button
  5. Choose option to include gradebook, click Submit

To Export a Course:

  1. Follow steps 1-3 above
  2. Click the “Export” button
  3. Choose items to include in Export package
  4. Wait a few moments, then refresh page
  5. Right click on Export File, Save As, Click OK

 

When the .zip is saved to your computer, it is a good idea to save it in Box.com or Google Drive services from UIS.

Determining Blackboard WebApp Server

To find the WebApp Server within Blackboard:

  1. Go to the Control Panel
  2. Left click on Course Tools
  3. Click on “Which WebApp Server” 
  4. Record the number for reference

Supplemental Video:

http://webcast2.uis.edu/multimedia/COLRSweb/WhichWebAppServer/WhichWebAppServer.html

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