Academic Technology @ Palomar College

Blackboard Upgrade on August 11, 2014

Blackboard Upgrade on August 11, 2014
On Monday, August 11, 2014, Palomar’s Blackboard system will be upgraded to release version 9.1.201404.160205, known as the April 2014 release. This process is set to begin August 11, 2014 at 12:30 AM Pacific time and is expected to take around 12 to 16 hours to complete, but as always we will get the system available to users again as soon as possible. Should there be anything worthy of note that crops up during the actual upgrade, I’ll be sure to post something on the PalomarATRC Twitter feed, so look there for updates. The major instructor-focused changes in this new version are:...
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A Blackboard Year in Review

A Blackboard Year in Review
In July of 2013 I had the opportunity to attend the Blackboard World conference, and it was intense. Next week I’ll be able to attend the 2014 Blackboard World conference, and before that happens I wanted to reflect on the past year’s experiences with Blackboard here at Palomar. Last July I challenged faculty to work with me to review their course workflow and layout; sadly only a couple faculty took me up on that. But the offer remains open, to have a one-on-one meeting (or more, if desired) to have someone completely ignorant of your content (that’s ME, of course) offer an...
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Tech Toolbox: MyScript MathPad

Tech Toolbox: MyScript MathPad
Over two years ago I blogged about an iPad app useful for recording called Educreations. That app, and the accompanying website, are still going strong. However I was never happy about using Educreations for recording my finger-writing of mathematical equations. So if you’re the type who has need of equations in your course documents, listen up! There are a pair of “mathy” apps from the company MyScript which can assist in neatening up the finger-paint input of equations. The first, which I won’t dwell on, is called the MyScript Calculator. This calculator app allows written...
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SafeAssign Outage and Improvements

SafeAssign Outage and Improvements
This next Saturday, April 26, from 7 AM until 9 AM Pacific Time, the SafeAssign service (the plagiarism detection tool within Blackboard) will not be working. Until 7:30 AM SafeAssignments will not accept new submissions, and anything submitted between 7:30 and 9 AM will not immediately have reports generated. Instead submissions during that time period will be put in a queue and originality reports will be generated later. It would be a good idea for students to avoid submitting papers to the SafeAssign tool Saturday morning, and any instructors who set deadlines on SafeAssignments may want to modify...
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Moving Faculty Content Into the New Blackboard System

Moving Faculty Content Into the New Blackboard System
As you may have heard, starting with this Summer term Palomar College is changing our Blackboard environment from one hosted on the San Marcos campus to one hosted by Blackboard Managed Hosting. In an earlier post I tried to address faculty questions about this change, but the largest impact to faculty will be when trying to move course content from an older course into a course on the new Blackboard environment. Anyone around back in Fall 2009 may recall the big move from Bb version 8 to 9; that was a similar shift between one environment and another, although then both environments were hosted here...
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Faculty Blackboard Managed Hosting Questions

Faculty Blackboard Managed Hosting Questions
This is an an effort to anticipate some questions faculty may have about the upcoming changes to Palomar’s Blackboard environment; should you have additional questions, feel free to pose them in the comments here, or contact us separately in Palomar Blackboard support. However, one question I am unable to answer at this time is “when are the Summer 2014 courses going to be available to faculty?” As soon as there is an answer I can share, rest assured I will post about the details.   What is this Managed Hosting for Blackboard thing I keep hearing about? Palomar’s Blackboard...
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Develop Your Own Blackboard Course

Develop Your Own Blackboard Course
Faculty, you can prepare for new classes, even before Palomar provides your course shells! The “early worm” professors are already starting to ask about when the Summer 2014 course shells will be ready; the short answer is “not yet.” However there is no reason to wait – strike while you feel inspired! There’s this thing called Coursesites.com, you see. A fully featured Blackboard Learn environment which anyone can take advantage of; in fact it’s got all the bells and whistles turned on, some of which Palomar doesn’t even have. But don’t worry, the...
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Blackboard Tests and ADA time extensions

Blackboard Tests and ADA time extensions
Do you use timed tests in your Blackboard course? Do you ever need to give students extended time on tests to meet legal requirements? Do you like to set things up once, rather than wasting time doing the same thing multiple times? If you answered yes to all of those, this post is for you! Before diving into the minutia of how to manage extended test times best, let’s define how students at Palomar end up entitled to additional time. As I’m quite ignorant on this topic, I consulted with an expert. Sherry Goldsmith of the Disability Resource Center (DRC) had this to say: “Here is how...
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Starting the Semester with Blackboard

Starting the Semester with Blackboard
Starting out another semester, and it’s time for a reminder about a few Blackboard tasks that might have slipped your busy minds: Faculty log into Blackboard using their “email name” as the username; typically this is your first initial and last name. Using the nine-digit number will only allow student access to your courses. Students will not be able to access your course sites until you make them available. The easiest way to make multiple courses available is using the Instructor Quick Tools. If you want to copy materials from an older course into your Spring 2014 course site,...
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Why I should care about mixed security modes in my Blackboard course

Why I should care about mixed security modes in my Blackboard course
Normally I try to keep the tech-speak down to a minimum in my posts, but this topic, sadly, requires a good bit. Here’s the situation: You’ve provided a web link within your Blackboard course, perhaps to a page on your own Palomar-hosted WordPress site, perhaps to one of the many videos in Palomar’s streaming video catalog. When some (but likely not all) of your students click the link… nothing. They still have the top red area of Blackboard, and the breadcrumb trail, but everything below that is blank. What is going on? Likely you are a victim of security. Not “something...
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