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Weekly QuickTips

Your friends at the UC Faculty Development Center would like to share a quick tip with you that might make life just a tiny bit smoother. Try this!

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Blackboard Mobile - November 14, 2017

Do your students use mobile devices? Do they keep asking you for their grades? Wouldn't it be nice if your students were automatically alerted every time you graded an assignment? They can receive these alerts in the Blackboard Mobile App!
 

Send these instructions to your students. 

Blackboard Mobile

  1. The Blackboard Mobile app is available on most mobile devices and can be downloaded in the App Store, Google Play, or Microsoft Store.
     
  2. Download and open the App.
     
  3. Search for University of Maine System.
     
  4. Use your regular Blackboard username and password in the Web Login.
     
  5. Enable Notifications for this app.
By default, you will receive a notification for each of the following:
  • Announcement available
  • New content available
  • Item graded
  • Test available
  • Test due
  • Test overdue
These defaults can be customized in Blackboard in the web browser in the Settings section under the global menu.

Visually Differentiated Text - November 6, 2017

Do you read online the same way you read print material? Do you think your students do? Do you find yourself skimming pages with text and then going back to read something important? Did you skim this email before you started reading this paragraph?
 

How We See Text

 

 Essay text, traditional

 

 Visually differentiated text

Which one of these is easier to "digest" at a glance? The text on the right has been formatted to highlight parts of the content, and chunked for easier reading. This is from Jason Ohler's book, Digital Storytelling in the Classroom. Below is an excerpt.

The Seven B's of Visually Differentiated Text

  1. breaks – add white space between lines and paragraphs by adjusting line and paragraph spacing
  2. banners – my word for paragraph titles; introduce paragraphs now and again so that your writing is scannable
  3. bullets – using the bullet command in Word, blog editors, etc.
  4. boldface – boldfacing titles, etc.
  5. beginnings – providing the first paragraph of a longer piece and a link to the entire piece
  6. beyond monochromatic text – use text of a different color, but use it sparingly; avoid being “cartoony”
  7. boxes – easy to do in Word, but usually requires a little programming to do for web page development

VDT is very much the text approach used by many web writers, and should be seen as a direct response to information overload. When readers encounter a wall of text on the web, it seems unscalable. VDT gives them visual toe holds and hand grips.


Change Playback Speed - October 31, 2017

Does your mind every wander when you are watching an instructional video? Do you want to watch a webinar and just can't find the time? Why not bend time to your advantage? You can with playback speed! 
 

Playback Speed

Many video players let you choose playback speed in the video controls. Both of the video tools supported by the University of Maine System, YouTube and Kaltura, feature this option. You can speed up a video to save time, or make a slow talker more engaging. You can also slow down the speed of a video if you are having difficulty understanding the speaker or if they are moving too fast. This does not distort the speech and is great for English Language Learners!

Here's how:

YouTube

 

  1. Move your mouse over the video to see the video controls.
     
  2. Click the Settings wheel icon.
     
  3. Click Speed.
     
  4. Choose a playback speed.
Kaltura
  1. ​Move your mouse over the video to see the video controls.
     
  2. Click the 1x button.
     
  3. Choose a playback speed.

​Now, what are you going to do with all that free time??

Remind Students About Missing Assignments - October 23, 2017

Wouldn't it be great if there was a quick way to notify students about a missing assignment? There is!
 

Send Reminder

In the Full Grade Center, there is an option called Send Reminder in the column menu for each Assignment or Test. Clicking this will send an email to students who do not have a grade or submission reminding them of their missing assignment. 

Here's how to do it:

 

  1. Go to the Full Grade Center and locate the column with the missing work.
     
  2. Click the drop down menu button next to the title of the column.
    Inline image 1

     
  3. Select Send Reminder in the pop up menu.
    Inline image 5
     
  4. A message will pop up asking if you want to send a reminder. Click OK.Inline image 3

     
  5. You will see a success notification at the top of the screen.
    Inline image 4

     
  6. These students will get this message:
    Inline image 6

 


Switch Windows with your Keyboard - October 16, 2017

How much time do you spend minimizing windows, dragging them out of the way, clicking through the Task Bar or Dock, looking for that other window you want? Wouldn't it be great if there was a quick way to do this? There is! Here's how to use your keyboard to switch windows. 
 

For Windows Computers

 + 
To switch from one window to another, hold down the Alt key on your keyboard and then tap the Tab key. This will bring up a series of thumbnails of the windows that are currently open. You can keep hitting Tab to move through these windows, then let go of the Alt key when you get to the one you want.

You can also use your keyboard to move between open tabs in a browser. Hold down the ctrl key and press Tab. This will take you to the next open Tab. CTRL + SHIFT + TAB will take you to the previous tab.

For Mac Computers

 + TAB
To switch from one application to another, hold down the command key on your keyboard and then tap the Tab key. This will bring up a series of thumbnails of the applications that are currently open. You can keep hitting Tab to move through these applications, then let go of the command key when you get to the one you want. You will need to add the ~ tilde key to switch between windows in one application.


How to Submit a Kaltura Help Desk Ticket - October 10, 2017

Sometimes things go wrong with technology. I'm sure you're not completely surprised! What should you do if you have trouble recording or uploading a video in Kaltura? Follow these steps to get the help you need.
 

If something goes wrong with your Kaltura videos, there is help available to you! The more information that you provide to the Help Desk, the better they will be able to troubleshoot your problem. Here's how to submit a ticket to the Held Desk when you run into trouble:

  1. Open Kaltura CaptureSpace Desktop Recorder.
     
  2. Click on the Help tab.
    Help tab
     
  3. Click the Collect Logs button.
    Collect Logs
     
  4. In the window that pops up, copy all of the log data. Click the Copy to clipboard button.
    Copy to clipboard
     
  5. Go to GMail and create a new message to techsupport@maine.edu.
     
  6. Indentify your issue in the subject line.
     
  7. Add details about your issue in the message body.
     
  8. Paste in the contents of the Log File from the clipboard into the body of the message and Send.

 

Help is on the way!

Like this tip? Share this with a friend and ask them to subscribe to our Weekly Quick Tips.See more great resources on the UC Faculty Portal at http://learn.maine.edu/faculty


Manage Dates in Blackboard - October 2, 2017

Manage Dates in Blackboard


How many hours have you spent changing dates when you copy a course in Blackboard? Want to get that time back? Try Date Management!

calendar

When you copy a course over in Blackboard to a new semester, all of your old dates for assignments and tests are copied, too. Wouldn't it be great if you could just press a button and all those dates updated on their own? There is a button for that, and it's called Date Management.

Here's how to do it:
  1. Go to the Control Panel in your course, click Customization, and Tool Availability.
     
  2. Scroll through the list until you find Date Management. Make sure this is checked and click Submit.
     
  3. Go to Course Tools in your course and click Date Management.
     
  4. On the first screen, you will choose how you want to shift the dates: (a) by assigning a new start date for the course, or (b) adjusting all dates by a specific number of days.
     
  5. On the next screen, you will see all of the items in your course that have due dates or availability dates. You can edit individual ones by clicking the pencil icon. 
     
If you have due dates in the text of your items, you will still need to change this manually.

Like this tip? Share this with a friend and ask them to subscribe to our Weekly Quick Tips.See more great resources on the UC Faculty Portal at http://learn.maine.edu/faculty 


Collect Threads - September 25, 2017

Collect Threads


Got click fatigue?

Keeping up with a class discussion can generate a lot of extraneous cognitive load. Which threads have I already read? Who is the student replying to? Do I click the Back button or OK? It can be hard to keep all of the threads in your mind when you have to click in and out of so many screens. Wouldn't it be nice to just focus on the conversation?

Have you heard about Collect Threads?
Inline image 2
  • Open a Discussion Forum.
  • Select all of the Threads in the Discussion by clicking the check box at the top of the column.
  • Click the Collect button.
  • All of the threads and posts will open on one screen.
  • Sort by Thread Order Descending to read like a conversation.

Like this tip? Share this with a friend and ask them to subscribe to our Weekly Quick Tips. See more great resources on the UC Faculty Portal at http://learn.maine.edu/faculty


Peek into the Past with Revision History - September 18, 2017

Screenshot of Revision History

Did you know?

Every edit made to a google doc by each user is saved in Revision History (access it under the File menu). Each collaborator is assigned a color in the Version history pane, and edits are highlighted in the document with corresponding time stamps.

So, what does this mean for you?

  • You can revert back to past versions of a document you've been editing.
  • You can see how much each student contributed to a shared document.
  • You can see how a student has incorporated your suggestions into later drafts.
  • You can name older versions to create a copy of those edits.
  • and so much more!

Like this tip? Share this with a friend and ask them to subscribe to our Weekly Quick Tips. See more great resources on the UC Faculty Portal at http://learn.maine.edu/faculty 


Error-Free Announcements - September 11, 2017

POP QUIZ
Which of the following can your students open in their email from a course announcement?

a. a Kaltura video
b. an attachment
c. a web link
d. a course link

If you've never received emails from students saying they can't open your links in your emailed announcements, then you might not know that the correct answer is c. Here is a brief explanation of each:

a: Kaltura videos can only be opened inside Blackboard. At this time, they cannot be shared outside of Blackboard, so if your students try to open a video from an email, they will get an error message. You can still embed your Kaltura videos in your Announcements, but be sure to tell your students that they must go to Blackboard to click on the video.

b: Attachments cannot be viewed outside of Blackboard. If you attach a file to an announcement, your students will receive a log in box when they click on it, but will not be able to execute this. If you wish to send your students an attachment, you should upload the file to Blackboard, then send an announcement with instructions on where to find the file. To make it easy to find the file once the student is logged in, use a course link.

c: Links to the world wide web can easily be opened from an announcement. Feel free to include these any time.

d: Course links can be very helpful for pointing students directly to course content, but since links to Blackboard content (like attachments and Kaltura videos, as discussed above) cannot be viewed outside of Blackboard, the course link does not appear in the email version of the announcement. 

 

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Re-Order Items in Blackboard - September 5, 2017

Have you tried clicking and dragging items on the screen to re-order them in Blackboard, only to find that you're stuck and you can't drag it any further up or down the screen? Rather than clicking and dragging to move items around the screen, try this quick tip.




 
  1. At the top of each screen with content (including the menu) look for the up and down arrows. Click this button.
     
  2. Click the item in the list that you want to move.
     
  3. Click the up or down arrows below the list to move it to the correct location.
     
  4. Click the Submit button.
     
Your items will be re-ordered without clicking and dragging!

 

Like this tip? Share this with a friend and ask them to subscribe to our Weekly Quick Tips. See more great resources on the UC Faculty Portal at http://learn.maine.edu/faculty