Designing Your Course to Achieve Alignment

This video discusses the need to align the key components of your instruction: learning objectives, teaching strategies, learning activities, and assessments. It explains what instructional alignment is, provides examples, and explains why it is important.

Beyond the Headlines: A Decision-Making Rubric for the Next Phase of Online Program Growth

As the number of online degrees have proliferated in recent years, it is even more important for institutions to take a more thoughtful approach to program selection. Often, a university must consider key issues like course offerings and schedules, degree specialization, and admissions requirements in order to offer a competitive online degree.

In this webinar offered 11/12/2014, academic leaders from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Ohio University discussed the key market forces that are present today, and how universities can best position their prospective degrees in the market. Panelists provided practical insights and recommendations on how to handle the change management for a university to offer competitive degree programs.

The participants in this webinar learned about:

  • How to effectively plan for the online marketplace, validate program expansion, and reduce risk
  • How to influence change across the institution to prepare to take degrees online
  • Key considerations when evaluating online program management services

More details and a copy of the webinar slides, are available here.

NIU’s Customizations and Building Block for Blackboard Enterprise Surveys and Course Evaluations

Since the open discussion at BbWorld where NIU shared that we’ve been working on some system tweaks as well as a custom building block for providing an alternative reporting format for Bb enterprise surveys and course evaluations, we’ve conducted a very small pilot of the tool this summer and continued efforts on an initial draft of a building block that provides an alternate report format.

For those interested in learning more about our efforts, I recorded this screencast demo of the functionality at this point that I can share with those who would like to see the building block deployed within our dev environment. I tried to avoid as much technical-specifics as possible and rather just show the workflows and functionality tweaks that we’ve envisioned.

A decision still hasn’t been made institutionally whether we will continue to pursue a wider pilot of the tool with additional building block enhancements to be requested, or look at other 3rd party tools.

For follow-up on any additional technical details about the tweaks and building block depicted, please contact Ruperto Herrera (rherrera@niu.edu) and Matt Kacskos (mkacskos1@niu.edu) who have done all the technical development work.

Coming Soon…Bb Grader for iOS

Blackboard has been working on an iOS iPad app for instructors to use for grading submitted assignments in Blackboard. The app was briefly demo’d at BbWorld in July and Blackboard recently posted an archive of an online webinar offered this past week where more information about the app and a more extensive demonstration was offered by Trey Buck, Product Manager at Blackboard.

The presentation with an overview of the app, technical specifics, etc. begins at the 3:21 mark (see link below) with the demonstration beginning at about the 9:40 mark in the video.

Near the end of the presentation, Blackboard shared that they are in the final stages of QA testing and will be submitting the app to Apple to review in the next several days for App Store approval. It could be released as soon as a few weeks and Blackboard mentioned that the availability of this new app will be widely publicized once available. This new mobile grading functionality that is coming soon will certainly be welcomed by many instructors. I myself look forward to giving the app a try!

#BbWorld14 Keynote: The New Blackboard User Experience

In case you missed it, see how Blackboard is working to radically enhance the user experience with the user at the core.