Coinciding with changes in staffing, Distance Learning @CFCC is undergoing some changes. These include redesigning our website, restructuring our Blackboard training, and revamping our processes. While we are in transition, you will continue to have access to all the current resources. Check back throughout the Fall semester to check our progress and see “what’s new.”
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A few people have had questions recently regarding how to hide items from students in the Grade Center, which differs from hiding them from your (instructor) view. Did you know that you can hide a column from yourself, while leaving it visible to students?
While we’re on the topic of hiding, I will be permanently “hiding” starting February 24. I will be leaving the state to pursue opportunities elsewhere. Please contact Larolyn Zylicz for distance learning questions and requests after that time.
In the meantime, I am here to help you.
Have you prepared your students?
Remember that if the server is down at CFCC, users can still reach the Blackboard server by using the alternate Web address: http://cfcc.blackboard.com
The phone number for closings and delays is (877)799-2322 .
Now that we’re almost through the second week of the semester, some of you have noticed a few glitches in the new Blackboard LMS. We are working closely with Blackboard to try and resolve these problems as quickly as possible.
We have documented “workarounds” for some issues, and a list can be found on our Blackboard Faculty FAQ page . On this page, you will also find other frequently asked questions and guidance related to Blackboard so you’re encouraged to check often for updates.
We’ll keep you posted on any news related to issues affecting your online courses.
Welcome back to the Fall semester at CFCC. As online instructors, you are likely busy adding finishing touches to your courses and getting to know your new students.
The Distance Learning Department wants to advise you of a few updates and tips:
- Please review our Faculty Blackboard FAQ list for some common questions and answers.
- The Distance Learning Website has been revised, but still contains the same information about procedures and guidelines, course devlopment, Blackboard resources, and additional information. We hope you find the new Website easier to navigate.
- Several tutorials have been included on the Teaching with Blackboard 9 page to assist you with content creation and to help resolve a few problems. For instance, there a number of tutorials addressing error messages and instances where students cannot view content.
- The Training Schedule has relocated to the revised Website. Please check back frequently for new workshop offerings.
- As always, refer to the Procedures and Guidelines section for information related to course copies, the contingency plan, and other distance learning information.
- The Course Development page includes information to help you create quality online courses.
Note: The Department of Distance Learning is revamping its Website, so some of these links will change. You can always navigate through http://cfcc.edu/dl to locate content.
It’s that time again, time to make sure your courses are ready for the Fall semester. If you teach Internet or Hybrid courses, your course shell is automatically created in Blackboard. You will then either 1) copy content from an existing course into the shell or 2) copy template information into the shell or 3) start from scratch. Information about copying content or uploading the template can be found on the DL Faculty Resource page.
You might end up with duplicate menu items. Items that link to tools will contain the same information and duplicates can be removed.
If you copied content from another semester, make sure to:
- Remove old discussion posts.
- Remove old announcements.
Check the following items before your course goes live:
- Make sure all links and dates are correct.
- Make sure the points stated in the syllabus, class schedule, etc. match what is in the Grade Center.
- Check your Grade Center to make sure you are using the correct grading schema, that all graded items are in the Grade Center with appropriate point values and are properly categorized if using weighting. Please refer to the Grade Center Check document (pdf).
- Correct display problems in the course. The Teaching with Blackboard 9 page has a number of resources listed, including Resolving Invalid HTML Errors and Bb Text Display Errors .
This also might be a good time to familiarize yourself with the CFCC Course Essentials, accepted standards for quality online courses. This document is a simple checklist; if you would like to learn how to implement these and other standards, instructions for self-enrolling in Best Practices for Online Teaching can be found in Module 4 : Using Blackboard for Instruction the Blackboard 101 course in which all online faculty are enrolled.
Please check the DL Training page for upcoming workshops and have a great semester!
I will be conducting an online training equivalent to our face-to-face workshop entitled “What’s New in Blackboard 9?”. This workshop will be conducted in DimDim, which is a fully web-based free conferencing program. It will be beneficial for you to have a microphone to ask questions, but this is not required; there is a text-based chat available, as well.
We are hoping to use more web-based tools for training and feel this is a good move since our instructors are teaching online. DimDim will allow you to see the screen and hear audio, just as you would in a training lab.
The online workshop will be held on Thursday, March 4 from 2:00-3:00 pm.
Prerequisites: Blackboard 101 and “Getting Started with Blackboard” workshop.
Important: Please send me an email to sign up for this (or any) workshops: firstname.lastname@example.org . I’ll send you the web address for the workshop at that time.
Don’t forget to check our training page on this blog for more training dates.
You might be asking, “What’s Blackboard 9?” CFCC will be upgrading its current Blackboard 7.3 software to the newest version, Blackboard 9. This upgrade will occur in between the spring and summer semesters and we hope it will be a seamless process, with only a day or two down time.
Please be aware that this new version looks considerably different from the current model, utilizing Web 2.0 features to provide a more flexible and robust course management system. Once you get beneath the surface, most of the tools look familiar so don’t worry that you’ll be learning an entire new system. The gradebook is now called the Grade Center and this tool has been most revised.
The Department of Distance Learning will be providing a number of workshops to get you acquainted with this upgraded platform. Please check the training page on this blog for dates and make sure to contact email@example.com to sign up for workshops.
As part of the SREB State Virtual Schools Alliance in partnership with the AT&T Foundation, a list of New Media/Web 2.0 Tools has been prepared especially for SREB and online teachers by Chris O’Neal, Faculty Associate for the George Lucas Educational Foundation. This list provides practical explanations and examples of numerous new media tools that have direct applicability for teachers.