Wednesday, December 15, 2010

December 17, 2010

Good morning instructors,

This will be my last Online Instructional blog post for the quarter. With next week being the last week of the quarter, I wanted to share some last minute tips on using the grade center to assist in the calculation/reporting of final grades and Learner Outcome Assessment scores. I've shared this information before, but I've received a few emails this week with questions so thought I'd send the information to everyone as a refresher.

Calculating Learner Outcome Assessment (LOA) Percentages:
  • All LOA associated assignments should already be set up for you in the grade center to reflect two numbers in the appropriate grade center column. The first score is the actual point score of the assignment; the second score in parentheses is the calculated percentage score (this is the score you will be entering into the faculty portal).
  • IF you are finding that your grade center column is not displaying two scores, you can quickly and easily make this modification by completing the following steps:
  1. Click on the appropriate grade center column's down arrow;
  2. Scroll down to and select Modify Column;
  3. Click on the drop down arrow for the Secondary Display option;
  4. Select Percentages;
  5. Click Submit
Calculating Final Course Grade Totals/Percentages for Final Course Grade Reporting:

Blackboard is set up to do all final grade calculations/percentages for you as long as you follow a few simple steps.
  1. Within the grade center, click on the down arrow for the Total column;
  2. Scroll down to and select the Modify Column option;
  3. Select the Primary Display down arrow to show the Points;
  4. Select the Secondary Display down arrow to show the Percentage (this will give two scores just as in the above LOA description);
  5. Select "Yes" for a running total;
  6. Click submit;
  7. Enter a zero into any empty grade slot for any student;
  8. Use the percentage score in parentheses to identify the appropriate corresponding letter grade that you will now enter into the faculty portal.
If you have any questions on any of these steps, please let me know.

Thanks and have a safe and happy holiday season! I'll be blogging again in winter :)

Heather Thomton-Stockman
Online Instructional Specialist

Thursday, December 9, 2010

December 9, 2010

Good Afternoon Instructors,

Today's post is an extension of last week's topic: finding new ways to interact more personally with students. Last week I introduced Eyejot, a free online video messaging system. Today I'd like to talk about VoiceThread. Brian James, Network Director of Instructional Technology, introduced this resource to me, and it seems pretty cool with a lot of great opportunities for instructor to student and student-to-student interaction.

Click here to learn about VoiceThread and then click here to view 25 examples of ways to use VoiceThread in the classroom. I encourage you to check these out and let me know what you think.

Thanks and have a great rest of the week!
Heather Thomton-Stockman
Online Instructional Specialist

Friday, December 3, 2010

December 3, 2010

Good Afternoon Instructors,

It is hard to believe it is already December and we have only 3 weeks left in the quarter! As you are looking at ways to freshen up your courses and end on a really strong note, I encourage you to consider connecting "face-to-face" with your students, at least in a virtual fashion :) There is a great tool called "Eyejot" that can allow you to do just this.

Eyejot is a free online video messaging platform that does not require any software download. You simply need a webcam and to have registered on their truly is as simple as that. Unfortunately Eyejot video messages are housed within your Eyejot account so are not directly connected to your school email account or to Blackboard, but I still believe it could be a very beneficial tool as another way to connect with your students or for your students to connect with one another, especially if they are working on a group project.

The intent of Eyejot is to leave messages with one another much like voice mail messages, but it adds in the visual component voice mail doesn't allow. The addition of nonverbal communication can now help to clarify any confusion that may be experienced through a simple email or voice mail message. (It is important to note: Senders and recipients all need to have their own Eyejot account to log into to send and receive messages.)

I can see many Eyejot opportunities within the online classroom:
  • Offer feedback to students individually on large projects in a way that you can truly emphasize certain points you want to get across that may otherwise be lost in written feedback;
  • Deepen weekly discussion boards through shared Eyejot messages to really simulate an actual verbal discussion;
  • Offer another medium for students to connect and work together on group projects;
  • And the list can go on.
I encourage you to check Eyejot out by clicking here and watching some of the sample videos and even setting up an account for yourself. If this is something you find you'd like to try in your own classes and would like some assistance creating tutorials to share with your students on how to use Eyejot, please just let me know. I'd be happy to work with you on this!

And as with any enhancement, if you do give this a try, please let me know what you think and what your students think of it!

Have a great weekend!

Heather Thomton-Stockman
Online Instructional Specialist