Instructors: New Features and Enhancements for Spring 2014

The UNI eLearning team installed Service Pack 14 on Saturday, December 28, 2013.


Below is an explanation of the new Instructor features and enhancements that are available after the installation of Service Pack 14. Please visit the "To learn more" links for more information, tutorials, or videos.


Enhancements/Changes:


Profile Updates: There is a new workflow that presents every user with individual terms of service to accept before they can access any of the Cloud Profiles and Social features. To learn more, see Profile Updates.


Grade Center Improvements: Blackboard has made several improvements to grading and Grade Center. Highlights include:

  • My Grades Ordering & Design Update: The page provides students with a new default option for the order in which grades are displayed.

  • Define “Score Attempts Using” setting from the “Options” page: This is a workflow improvement to ensure you know about and can easily find this setting for tools that support multiple attempts.

  • Test total points adjustment: This enhancement address several related needs, all revolving around the total points possible for tests, and needing to adjust the total points possible.

  • Grading Schemas greater than 100%: There is now an enhancement to allow for schema percentages to be greater than 100%.

To learn more, see Grade Center Improvements.


Inline Grading Updates: The following have been updated with Inline Grading:

  • Assignment, Blog, Journal, and Wiki instructions have been removed from the details panel and is now above the content for quick reference. By default the instructions are minimized in Assignments, but expanded in Blogs, Journals, and Wikis.

  • Full screen view: allows you to slide the sidebar out of the way and maximize.

  • Instructors can optionally choose to view students who have not submitted an assignment or posted an entry from the inline grading sidebar.

To learn more, see Grade Blogs, Grade Journals, Grade Wikis, and Grade Assignments.


Turnitin: Turnitin has added two enhancements:

  • Submit and Evaluate PowerPoint: Turnitin now supports student work submitted in PowerPoint presentation format. Turnitin instructors can check originality; provide feedback using QuickMark comments, voice comments, and rubrics; and include the submission in a peer review exercise. Turnitin converts the PowerPoint slide deck into a static PDF, leaving all text and images in their original format but leaving out dynamic touches like embedded video and animations.

  • Cloud Submit: Student papers residing as Google Drive™ or Dropbox files can now be submitted directly to Turnitin. Work stored in the Google Drive format will automatically convert to a PDF file as it's submitted to Turnitin. Files from Google Drive or Dropbox in the following formats will be accepted in the existing format: MS Word, WordPerfect, PostScript, PDF, HTML, RTF, OpenOffice (ODT), Hangul (HWP), PowerPoint (PPT), and plain text.

To learn more, see Turnitin What's New.

New Features/Tools:


Date Management: Date Management is a new utility that allows instructors to have the system automatically “shift” content and tool dates in a course in a highly efficient way. After the system makes this shift, the instructor is able to see all the dates in one place – due dates, adaptive release dates, test dates – they’re all pre-populated based on your previous course setup. And of course you’ll be able to validate and tweak dates using a single user interface. To learn more, see Date Management.


Course Message Notifications: Users can now receive notification that they have new messages from the "Updates" area in My Blackboard, in the "What's New" module on both institutional and course module pages, and from email.

To learn more, see Course Message Notifications and Course Messages.


Achievements: The Achievements tool allows instructors and course designers to designate criteria for issuing rewards to students in the form of both Badges and Certificates. To learn more, see Achievements.


Add Test Student: A building block built by the University of Saskatchewan that allows instructors to create a test student account and add or remove it from a course so that they can evaluate the course as a real student sees it.

To learn more, see University of Saskatchewan's "Add Test Student".