Happy Blackboard Day!
Wednesday, September 25th was Blackboard Day at Georgetown University. Representatives from Blackboard were here to talk about Blackboard’s new features for building content, analyzing student performance, and encouraging student engagement. Workshops ran throughout the day to introduce faculty to these new and improved tools and to provide some insider tips as to how they might best be applied.
Don’t worry if you couldn’t be there — we have the highlights for you below.
What’s New (and available at GU)
● Professors can now create “Post First” discussion boards. This means that students will be required to submit their own post before being able to read posts by their classmates.
● Improvements to the inline assignment grading system allow instructors to view and annotate student-submitted assignments within the web browser.
● The new Calendar allows instructors to filter their calendar by course and syncs due dates entered within the course to the dates in calendar.
● Content Editing additions include full-frame editing and improved copy-and-paste capabilities from word-processing applications.
● Video Everywhere, another new feature in the content editor, lets users record and embed video easily within Blackboard. Since the videos are stored and managed through YouTube, they do not count against Blackboard course quota.
● Test item analysis allows instructors to create a statistical report on overall test performance and individual test questions, which helps to measure the effectiveness of test questions.
● The enhanced fill-in-the-blank test question with pattern match logic enables more flexibility. Instructors can set up correct answers to match exactly, contain part of the correct answer, or match a specific pattern (chosen by them).
● Students and instructors can both use the Social Learning features from Blackboard to create online study groups, work on group projects, and send messages to others in their class. Social Learning Spaces, which continue after a course has ended, provide students with a “lightweight” way of engaging with others students in their courses or with similar interests.
These upcoming features are still in development. They are not currently available and may change significantly before they are released.
● Improved Date Management will make adjusting individual dates easier and also allow the instructor to change many dates at once (as in the case of a cancelled class which changes the entire semester’s schedule).
● A better Student Preview will let instructors see Blackboard the way their students do.
● Further improvements to Student Data for tests and quizzes are in the works. Instructors will be able to access more detailed information about student activity and performance.
● Group Management changes will make it easier to see if a student is in a group or which groups a student is in.
● Drag and Drop will make content creation easier.
● Attendance Tracking will allow instructors to easily maintain class attendance and in a later release the option of allowing students to “check-in” on their mobile device will be implemented.
● Changes to Achievement and Badge Earning can make evidence of learning portable. Instructors will be able to set up an achievement award for completing certain course tasks, which can then be displayed within Blackboard or linked to on electronic portfolios.
● The new Grading system will include a new gradebook with continuous scroll, auto fill for the search bar, improved point management, and a mobile grading app.
Throughout the day, Blackboard reps welcomed Georgetown faculty feedback regarding their product and encourage more Georgetown faculty involvement in shaping future product enhancements.
For additional resources and support in using Blackboard, please visit the Blackboard Support site.