Blackboard has updated the Rich Content Editor and there is a very noticeable difference in the way the content editor used to look and the new enhanced look. Please take a moment to review the video and included guides to better understand the new features and changes. This release introduces big updates to the content editor in the Original Course View and the Original experience.
Numerous simplifications and improvements include:
A single menu to add content that automatically recognizes file types
Optimized experience for all devices and screen sizes
Better accessibility for both the editor and the content you create. Menus and icons have higher contrast, pop-ups are gone, and an accessibility checker lets you know about accessibility issues as you write
Paste content from Word, Excel, and websites with basic formatting and easily remove extra HTML
Paste a link in the editor and automatically embed videos and previews
You want to provide quality feedback to your students, but typing specific comments is both time consuming and exhausting. It would be so much easier to have a quick conversation with each student about their performance, but as impractical as that was before the pandemic, it’s even less so now.
Fortunately, there Blackboard does provide a solution. Rather than type your feedback, with the click of a few buttons you can make an audio (and video if you prefer) two-minute feedback message to your students right from the Grade Center.
Follow these easy steps and you’ll be able to give the quality feedback your students need without spending all your time at the keyboard.
Each session provides a space for attendees to ask specific questions about their courses and interact with members of the CFC. Find out about Assessment, Discussion boards, using Collaborate, Zoom or other synchronus tools to interact with your students, as well as how to approach teaching online and flexible face-to-face changes. Review the video Playlist before attending a session.
As many educators are looking to advance their confidence and effectiveness with the tools of remote instruction, Blackboard is continuing to offer both a series of free webinars and “ask the expert” open office hours. The sessions are all designed to help you get your questions answered and to quickly be up and running with teaching remotely and in a virtual classroom.
WCU uses Blackboard Learn Original with Collaborate Ultra. Here are a few recommended topics(click on a topic to learn more):
Click to view previously recorded webinar presentation providing an overview of inclusive classrooms and outline of the benefits and challenges faced in implementing them. ALLY is provided trough Blackboard at WCU to improve inclusively and best practice for all learners through their online and face to face classrooms and provides a practical framework to assess pedagogy, review existing content , and evaluate the institution’s technology. More information regarding ALLY can be found here>>
In preparation for the fall semester, the CFC is encouraging all instructors who are not familiar with Blackboard or who want to expand their use of it to take advantage of these online training sessions offered by Blackboard.
Due to increased demand for our services and our limited capacity, the CFC will not be conducting any Blackboard training sessions. We will be hosting a number of drop-in Q&A sessions but we are asking instructors to go through the training modules and/or attend the sessions provided by Blackboard before attending a drop-in session.
Blackboard is offering a full menu of webinar training sessions for all experience levels.
About the Webinar Series
Many of you had to quickly transition to remote teaching in response to growing concerns on the spread of the coronavirus. The journey to teaching remotely is a process, and we want to ensure you have the tools you need to be successful for both you and your students. Whether you are brand new to teaching online or looking to make some improvements to what you have started, we designed a set of webinars from basic topics to advanced. We added more topics to help you as you prepare for your next semester.
The Blackboard websiteprovides descriptions of each webinar, the dates being offered, and a link to REGISTER.
If you have been in your Blackboard courses in June, you may have noticed that there are additional icons that appear in the instructor view and in the student view. We’ve added a tool called “Ally” to Blackboard Learn. This tool gives two different sorts of assistance: one for students; and one for instructors. The instructors can also see and access the student tool. These new tools help us to meet our legal and moral obligations to our students with learning differences.
If you create items natively in Blackboard (with the exceptions of some specialized HTML coding) all of the content is compatible with national and international standards for accessibility and universal design for learning and compliant with the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act. If, however, you choose to add items like PowerPoint decks, Word documents, PDFs and videos, it is the responsibility of the instructor, in normal circumstances, to make the additional materials compliant.
We recognize that many of our courses have content that has evolved over time, and so this tool will give instructors the opportunity to review their course content with a new set of “eyes” and to review their current content by today’s accessibility standards. It will also allow students to have a digital assistant that can attempt to correct a number of issues without instructor intervention and in so doing, keep more students on track.
Students do not see the instructor indicators and do not have access to an accessibility report. They only get an indicator beside each item for which Ally can assist, that will give them access to a tool which may be able to help them move forward and have some level of access to the content. If the instructor has also made the recommendations the tool recommends, the student’s options will be significant. If the instructor hasn’t done anything, the tool may still be able to remediate the content to an accessible alternative.
Ally gives instructors tools to audit all added content except audio and video and to see to what degree the documents, presentations, and images in your course are considered compatible by current accessibility standards.
As an instructor, you can work on your course content in two ways, by using the indicators in the course content, and by running your full accessibility report from “Course Tools.”
The indicators give you a fairly intuitive workflow with scoring that is based not on how “bad the problem is” or even how fixable the issue may be but on how a screen reader or other assistive device will encounter, and importantly, navigate, what you’ve given the students.
If you are interested in seeing the status of your whole course you can go to the Course Tools and run an Instructor’s Accessibility Report. You may even take some delight in running the report both before and after you do the work to make it more accessible for more learners.
Three recommendations as a teaching colleague: 1) Don’t be too hard on yourself if you get the red gauge, in many cases it will be a case of a document that you haven’t “tagged” and the tool can assist you by doing the tagging directly from your Word or PowerPoint original; 2) Fix the easy things first; 3) Remember that this is an act of compassion and empathy in addition to helping us meet our legal requirements.
Together we can continue to work to design our Fall 2020 semester so that every learner can succeed in an environment that values equity and difference.