December 17, 2010
Just a brief post to say that, as previously mentioned, the Palomar Blackboard system for Spring 2011 and onwards is now running version 9.1 Service Pack 3. The install went smoothly, which bodes well for all future upgrades whenever they arrive, too.
December 16, 2010
Like many folks, I have plans for this New Year’s Eve. Unlike many, my plans are to stay awake past midnight (staying sober, for obvious reasons) then remotely access the systems and make some changes to the way Palomar’s Blackboard systems run. (For your sakes, I hope your plans are more festive.)
As of January 1st, here is the state of Palomar’s Blackboard systems:
The Blackboard link at the top of the college home page will take users to our Blackboard 9.1 system which hosts courses for the Spring 2011 term and onwards.
If users need to get back to the old Blackboard 8 system which hosts courses for the Fall 2010 term and prior, they may follow a link on the Bb9.1 gateway page to get back to the old system. Of course, by January 1st, most students will have lost access to their old course sites already, so this link will mostly be of use to faculty who need to access past semester content.
If you still need to pull your content from an older course and import it into a new Spring 2011 course, you can find instructions on that process in the ATRC News blog post on the subject.
So, should you be a party-goer, have fun, stay safe, and rest assured that by the time you wake on January 1st, 2011, there will be no problems finding the new Blackboard system here at Palomar.
December 3, 2010
So, hopefully by now my Palomar faculty have noted that we have moved to a new (and very different) version of Blackboard starting with the Spring 2011 courses. (If that comes as a shock, try visiting the Academic Technology web site once in a while, for both our sakes!) For those who have already gone through training on that new version… there is an update to Blackboard with some improvements that weren’t around for the previous training sessions.
Looking through the “New Features and Enhancements” list for Blackboard 9.1 Service Pack 3, here’s what I consider the good stuff:
- Announcements – New Announcements now appear directly below a repositionable bar. Priority Announcements can be moved above the bar so they always appear first in the list. Students do not see the bar.
- Assessments – Instructors now have the ability to view question numbers while building and editing assessments. Questions can be referenced by number throughout the assessment and can be used to sequence questions in an assessment.
- Needs Grading Page – Instructors can access assignment and test attempts that need grading from a new Needs Grading page accessed in the Grade Center section of the Control Panel. On the Needs Grading page, instructors can view how many attempts are ready for grading and sort and filter the items. Attempts are placed in a queue for easy navigation among items when grading or reviewing. Once an attempt is graded, it no longer appears on the Needs Grading page.
There are other entries on the list, but they mostly either do not matter to us or are what I’d consider to be “fixes” rather than enhancements. But given that I’ve had requests from faculty in the last two months for all three of the things I listed above, these seemed worthy of note. (See, Blackboard does listen to user requests. Amazing, isn’t it?)
The system with Spring 2011 courses on it is not updated to this new version as of post date (although a new post will certainly go up on this blog when the update has occurred), but I thought it important to let faculty know what should be changed by the time courses go live in January.