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I've written before about guest access to Original courses in Ultra Navigation.  This post is about self-registration in Ultra Navigation.  The expected behavior in the system is:

 

1. Enable self-registration in the specific course in Administrator Panel

2. Share a link to the course with students who are not enrolled in the course

3. When students access the link, and Enroll button is visible in bottom left

 

enroll

 

As long as students are already logged in, authenticated, the system works as expected.  However, this is only one scenario for using self-registration.  Another scenario is to include a link to the self-registration course on a public website or in an invitation email, so students can click on the link, login, self-register, and participate in the course.

 

This scenario in Saas systems with Ultra Navigation breaks down.  After students click on the link, they are asked to login, and then they are forwarded to the Institutional Page ( Home page ).  This means that they have to click again on the invitation link to see the enrollment option.

 

In the past a solution was to enable guest access on a single course item, such as the Welcome content area in the course, and have students be logged in as guest, upon clicking Enroll, they would be asked to login as themselves and participate in the course.  This produces an error message.

 

So, to the workaround/solution. 

 

The invitation link has to be crafted to use the default login page and skip custom login page with appropriate new_loc parameter.  It may sound complicated, but the basics are here:

 

1. Destination URL to the self-registration course:

https://uic.blackboard.com/webapps/blackboard/content/listContentEditable.jsp?content_id=_5297212_1&course_id=_119729_1&mode=reset 

 

You would find this URL by right-clicking on the content area in the destination course.

 

2. Encode the destination URL in a new URL with new_loc parameter:

https://uic.blackboard.com/webapps/?action=default_login&new_loc=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fcontent%2FlistContentEditable.jsp%3Fcontent_id%3D_5297212_1%26course_id%3D_119729_1%26mode%3Dreset 

 

3. Create a short URL, easy to remember:

http://bit.ly/uiccareerready3

 

If step 2 seems a bit challenging, I'm sure the nerd-readers know what's going on, you can use our Guest Link tool to generate the URL.  All you need is the destination URL from step 1, then paste it in the Guest Link tool.  Simply, generate the guest URL, then modify one element:

 

action=guest_login

to

action=default_login

 

The resulting URL will present the default login page (utilize ldap, shib, or local auth), then lead the student to the course with Enroll link.  After clicking Enroll the student will be able to participate in the course.

Ultra Navigation is a wonderful feature, which is a modern gateway to online learning with Blackboard.  Would you like to add more resources in the Tools area or grant to those resources access to students or faculty by role?  You can do this with a flexible LTI links and the Institutional Page Helpful Links.

 

This may facilitate an easy transition from the Blackboard Community System Portal to Ultra Navigation, and become a better experience for faculty and students.

 

Do faculty have difficulty finding their courses in the term-based display?  Do you have a Viking spirit to raid the features of Ultra Navigation?

 

You can now use the LTI Tool Generation app to connect regular URLs or special tools to Ultra Navigation or Ultra course tools section.  The Wizard itself is an LTI tool and takes 3 steps to configure. 

 

1. Register the LTI tool domain and approve on your system

2. Follow the steps to create LTI placement URLs

 

Some examples of resources, which can be turned into Ultra tools:

1. Your web pages with documentation and existing resources (ex: help.blackboard.com)

2. Building Blocks without LTI functionality available (ex: My Courses Plus)

3. Community System tools (ex: tabs)

4. Instructor tools from My Blackboard (ex: Retention Center for multiple courses)

 

1. Community System in Ultra Navigation:

Community System in Ultra Navigation

 

 

 

 

2. Link to documentation or introductory resources:

Documentation link to Blackboard Collaborate

 

 

 

 

 

3. Embed Building Block content or modules to use in Ultra Navigation or Ultra courses under Books & Tools (ex: My Courses Plus):

My Blackboard Plus building block

 

 

 

 

ex: Qwickly for instructors:

Qwickly for instructors

 

 

 

ex: Qwickly for students:

qwickly for students

 

 

 

 

4. Link to tools from various Blackboard areas such as the multi-course view of the Retention Center from My Blackboard:

Retention Center in Ultra

 

SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS OR COOL THINGS THAT MAY OR MAY NOT WORK ON YOUR SYSTEM

 

This prospectus contains forward-looking statements that involve substantial risks and uncertainties. You can identify these statements by forward-looking words such as “anticipate”, “believe”, “could”, “estimate”, “expect”, “intend”, “may”, “plan”, “potential”, “should”, “will” and “would” or similar words. You should read statements that contain these words carefully because they discuss our future expectations, contain projections of our future results of operations or of our financial position or state other forward-looking information.

 

In other words, any elements discussed above can be discontinued by any of the vendors at any time.

 

Setup demos:

 

gifretention

 

 

icon

LTI Tool app

How important is guest access to your school?

 

After our Saas migration a strange thing has appeared.  Our system no longer allows guest access.  It appears, with Ultra navigation, this is by design to Original or Ultra courses.  The guest URLs now redirect to the login page instead of starting a guest session.  As a result, guests are unable to view guest allowed content.

 

This may be a bug related to article 000043671 or another issue, but for now we are given a workaround to modify guest URLs.  An example of a URL that should work as guest:

 

https://uic.blackboard.com/webapps/blackboard/content/listContentEditable.jsp?content_id=_5297212_1&course_id=_119729_1 

 

The workaround calls for encoding the original url and adding it as new_loc in a new URL.

https://uic.blackboard.com/webapps/?action=guest_login&new_loc=/webapps/blackboard/content/listContentEditable.jsp%3Fcon… 

 

Notice action=guest_login and new_loc=...

 

Hopefully this will be resolved soon as most instructors expect guest content to be available via the same URL as logged in users.  However, for now we have a URL generator that will take your old URL and encode the URL to create a working link.

 

link

Guest Link App 

A feature in Blackboard called Goals allows faculty and departments to collect information for accreditation or other purposes as to how programs and curriculum aligns with course goals.

 

Faculty can align course content and assessments (eg. discussion forums and threads, blogs, journals, tests and individual questions, assignments, and Grade Center columns) to one or multiple goals.

Reports can then be run that display how students are performing in alignment with the associated course or department goals.

 

Many reasons cause departments to seek continuous quality improvement in program and course curricula. In the School of Computing and Information Systems at GVSU, there is a need to effectively support accreditation requirements as well as to focus on the improvement of the student experience. To this end, the department designed an assessment plan that involves all faculty around the following claims:

  1. We know what we do
  2. We do it well
  3. We can prove it

 

A number of assessment tools can be used in collecting data and evidence in the improvement program such as:

  • Senior exit survey
  • Focus Groups
  • Internship supervisor survey
  • Comprehensive exit exam (standardized or local)
  • Student portfolios evaluated by committee
  • Faculty self-reflection about each course
  • External evaluators of student performance
  • Performance criteria within each course

 

As part of the program faculty collect samples of student work. This may include making copies of each assignment and exam with representation for student high, average, and low performance. The criteria for student performance should be measurable, defined by observable behavior, and identifying a specific standard (or minimum standard).

The Blackboard Goals feature allows instructors to mark assessments or content in Blackboard Learn courses as performance criteria to reach a curriculum goal. While the curriculum goal does not have to be the same as a course learning objective, they often overlap. In turn, Blackboard Learn collects student scores and compares them to set target performance level and average range. This helps in identifying students who meet expectations or are outside of them.

 

The resulting Blackboard course performance report summarizes how students met the expected performance criteria against one or more set goals. The course itself can be archived or copied to retain assessment artifacts and assignment samples. The report is granular enough to provide a breakdown of academic performance per student on each assessment and curriculum goal. The following sample reports come from Introduction to Computing, CIS 150.

 

courseoverviewgoals.jpg

studentgoalreport.jpg

 

Overall, the Goals feature in Blackboard Learn is a very useful tool for collecting academic data and including it in a larger, final report submitted for each course, which includes faculty reflections, student evaluation samples, assessment of previous adjustments, and proposed changes for the future.

 

Thanks to Eric Kunnen for his ongoing support of key instructional projects.

 

How to Run a Goals Report - YouTube

Original post at GVSU

 

Thanks Chris Bray for the Blackboard Learn Goals XML Generator!

 

http://ftc1.uark.edu/~cbray/goals2/

 

Here are the details:

Generates XML files that can be imported into Blackboard Learn for use with Goals, based on the documentation at help.blackboard.com

 

Notes:

Example Files:

We're happy to announce a new feature in BbStats: Latent Class Analysis with Annual adoption report.

Some time ago we reported about a new study at the University of Illinois at Chicago about Patterns in Faculty Learning Management System Use . This research was featured at the DevCon in 2017 and in Top 7 findings in the new study on Blackboard usage .

 

Running your own Latent Class Analysis study may be of interest to you, but likely many priorities are competing for your time. By the way, Latent Class Analysis is a statistical method for identifying unmeasured class membership among subjects using categorical and/or continuous observed variables. So, while we can't run a custom study for you, it is now possible to identify latent groups already documented. BbStats will graph out how many of your courses belong to each latent group. It doesn't do that by running the model itself, you would do that in order to discover new latent groups or groups unique to your organization. So, as long as you accept the findings of the UIC study, BbStats will identify three documented groups in your data.

 

Latent group analysis is a process of grouping data to discover new patterns. In a way, the data itself speaks to you through the emerging patterns. Extracting the course design data from Blackboard with BbStats and running the statistical model at UIC identified the following groups: Holistic, Complementary, and Content Repository.

 

Course data was extracted from 2562 courses with 98,381 student enrollments during the Fall of 2016. A latent class analysis was conducted to identify the patterns of LMS tool use based on the presence of grade center columns, announcements, assignments, discussion boards, and assessments within each course. Three latent classes of courses were identified and characterized as Holistic tool use (28% of the courses), Complementary tool use (51%), and Content repository (21%).

 

Following is the process to replicate the study report in your Blackboard Learn system:

 

1. Count all courses with an active grade center. According to the study, this includes Holistic and Complementary courses, but excludes Content Repository courses.

2. Count all courses with an active grade center, announcements, and discussion forums, which identify the Holistic group, with very close approximation.

3. Identify all courses accessed by students, which indicate courses that were active at some point in history.

 

With the above three groups identified, the system makes the following calculations:

 

Holistic courses = All courses with an active grade center, announcements, and discussion forums.

Complementary courses = All courses with an active grade center minus Holistic courses

Content Repository = All courses accessed by students minus all courses with an active grade center

 

This figure, taken from the UIC study, shows the basis for the above calculations:

Screen Shot 2018-09-08 at 5.12.11 PM.png

There are two ways of running the Latent Class Analysis report in BbStats.

 

1. You can specify a pattern for the course_id to investigate course groups or departments. This may be different for your school (Figure 2). Examples:

 

Show latent groups for the Fall 2018 courses for the Computer Information Systems department:

2018.fall.cis.%

 

Show latent groups for calendar year 2016:

2016.%

 

Identify latent group for a specific course:

2017.fall.cis.101.12345

 

2. The second way of using the new report is to run the Annual Latent Class Analysis. This will show academic year breakdown based on course creation date from March 1, 2013 to March 1, 2018. The assumption is that courses are created prior to the Spring/Summer term after March 1. This report does not require any course_id patterns (Figure 3).

 

Figure 2.

Screen Shot 2018-11-01 at 7.18.05 PM.png

 

Figure 3.

Screen Shot 2018-11-01 at 7.17.36 PM.png

 

Try it in your staging system. OCELOT: BbStats.

Download the Springer journal article: https://rdcu.be/54Lg

 

Note:

The system expects that courses are created inactive and instructors enable courses for students to see. This means that if students access courses, these courses are active. Also, any new gradebook column counts as usage of the gradebook. So, if all new courses are pre-populated with gradebook columns, the complementary category will be very high. However, if faculty create their own gradebook columns by copying courses and if inactive courses are not available to students, the graphs should be accurate.

The top findings from the Patterns in Faculty Learning Management System Use | SpringerLink research study at University of Illinois at Chicago.Screen Shot 2018-09-23 at 3.04.16 PM.png

 

1. On-line courses at UIC focus on holistic use of LMS tools.  68.3% of hybrid/elearning courses, as opposed to in-person courses, were in this latent analysis group and used five key tools: content items, grade center, announcements, discussions, and digital assessments.  Only 22.5% of in-person courses were found in this group.  3% of hybrid/elearning courses were in content repository group.

 

2. 53.7% of in-person courses at UIC were in complimentary usage group.  This means they used three main tools: grade center, announcements, and assignments.   In-person courses split 22.5% as holistic and 23.7% as content repository courses.  Content repository courses used content items and announcements (without the use of the grade center, assignments, or digital assessments).

 

3. Holistic group of courses had courses of larger class sizes and greater likelihood of on-line delivery.

 

4. Comparing the student use of time in digital content of courses and faculty design intentions, there is clearly a gap.  Perhaps time spent on course items by students reflects their best judgment on what will make them successful in the course. Faculty may be designing opportunities for students, which are not well communicated and utilized. Further research is needed to bridge this gap and match student digital behavior with faculty expectations and their design for learning.

 

5. The aggregate profiles of courses by school or college often reflect a general nature of the programs and curricular approach.  The adoption of specific tools in the digital portion of a course should not be correlated to academic quality of the program or effectiveness of instruction.  This approach reports only on the selection of tools in Blackboard Learn portion of the course design. However, this presentation of the results may suggest resources that may be needed by specific colleges, such as assigned instructional designers or instructor training sessions in specific Blackboard tool use. Finally, as the body of knowledge about the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) continues to increase, exploring the tool use in the local learning management system may help to distribute SoTL findings to instructors and colleges according to the digital evidence of their course design (Englund, Olofsson, & Price, 2017; Openo et al, 2017).

 

6. The findings in this study need to be related to the patterns, which were identified previously by measuring the student use of courses across a large data set (Whitmer et al., 2016). That study did not report on the faculty intent, in terms of the design of the course, but on the time students spent consuming content. The present study adds that while students may be spending a large amount of time in the content of the course, at least 28% of courses at UIC were created with well-rounded opportunities for students to engage in assessments, discussions, announcements, assignments, and reviewing grade postings.  This affects approximately 31,417 student course enrollments (706 courses with 44.5 enrollments on average out of the total of 2,562 courses with an average of 38.4 student course enrollments). The definition of the Complementary group in the study by Whitmer (2016) included content with announcements and the use of gradebook.  Our study identifies a different course design profile as Complementary tool use.  It includes digital assignments for roughly half of the courses.  Perhaps the time required to complete the assignments cannot be recorded in the student activity data; however, there is a clear intention on the side of faculty for students to submit their assignments through the LMS.  Along with the Holistic tool use profile of courses, they make up 79% of courses at UIC.

 

7. The use of the Blackboard Learn system as a “Content repository” makes up only 21% of the system, 3% of hybrid/elearning courses.  This latent class profile, content repository, may represent initial phases of a faculty member digitizing a course experience.  It may represent the view of the role of technology in teaching as faculty-to-student communication and content-to-student communication.  Certainly, this intent by faculty does not tap into student-to-student communication, digital collaboration between either faculty and students (assignments) or student-to-student collaboration (groups, discussions), or digital assessment (quizzes or exams) in the  system.  It may be that these teaching and learning dimensions are facilitated in the classroom or in other systems.

 

Screen Shot 2018-09-08 at 5.12.23 PM.png

Screen Shot 2018-09-08 at 5.12.11 PM.png

 

 

More:

Patterns in Faculty Learning Management System Use

ResearchGate: Patterns in Faculty Learning Management System Use

Springer Nature Reader

 

References:

Machajewski, S., Steffen, A., Romero Fuerte, E., & Rivera, E. (2018). Patterns in Faculty Learning Management System Use. TechTrends. http://doi.org/10.1007/s11528-018-0327-0

All right, so you implemented the Open Photo Roster to show campus photo ids to instructors.  This helps with learning student names, managing new faculty anxiety about teaching, and allows proctors validate identities before the exam.  However, a question sometimes comes up: What about the pictures of freshmen, now that they are seniors, who don't look anything like their pictures!

 

You are in luck.  We implemented image manipulation to age the freshmen photos and simulate how they will look in just 4 years.

 

illustration.png

 

Ok, maybe not exactly ... we're not there yet.  What we added are two additional rosters, which may help faculty see more current photos.  The two rosters are Blackboard Avatars and Gravatars.

 

Many schools are allowing students to upload avatars to the My Institution cloud interface.  These photos can be useful, and now you can see them in the photo roster.  On the other hand, the Gravatar system is very popular in WordPress and other social media.  It allows students to associate pictures with their school email address.  Instructors can specifically encourage the upload of photos to Bb Avatars or Gravatars to make sure their rosters are complete.

 

The new B2 has two versions: Open Photo Roster, and Open Photo Roster Plus.  The Open Photo Roster displays Bb Avatars and Gravatars.  The Plus requires custom setup arranged by support@dataii.com.  The B2s were tested on local installation, Managed Hosting, and Saas.  They work with Original and Ultra courses (Ultra menu setup arranged by support@dataii.com).

 

As our LMS becomes more cloud based, we are dependent on external services.  Blackboard Collaborate, Saas, Ally, SafeAssign, behind Blackboard, or Connect are some examples.  You can check their status at: Blackboard Services Status (status.blackboard.com both Americas and Global tags). However, what if you prefer an email, phone call or a text message when the service changes status?

 

This can be done with IFTTT triggered by the RSS sources on status.blackboard.com.

 

Here are the steps to setup email notification on a change of SafeAssign:

 

1. Setup IFTTT account

2. Determine URL to the specific RSS feed of the service.  For SafeAssign navigate to status.blackboard.com and click on Global tab.  From here an orange RSS icon contains the URL.  The URL is: http://status.blackboard.com/rss?services=safeassign

Screen Shot 2018-08-13 at 10.05.53 AM.png

 

3. Create a new applet on IFTTT that uses THIS as RSS trigger and THAT as email (options: SMS, phone, etc).  This steps may require that you first setup your email.

Screen Shot 2018-08-13 at 10.07.08 AM.png

Screen Shot 2018-08-13 at 10.07.22 AM.png

Screen Shot 2018-08-13 at 10.07.47 AM.png

 

The end result should be that when status is added to the SafeAssign listing, your IFTTT recipe is triggered and you get an email.  For a more advanced approach see this IFTTT action that generates a phone call:

Blackboard Button - IoT and IFTTT with Amazon Comprehend - YouTube

 

Let us know in the comments how you are using IFTTT already or if this recipe may work for you!

Digital communication in a course, and in a professional team, can be tricky. Email can quickly overwhelm a group with repeated message, irrelevant reply-all, and a significant overhead in busy-work. Native Blackboard Learn discussion forums can also make it difficult to share files, snippets of code, and breaking out into private discussions. In the last few years, Slack has been conquering the field of professional team communication. It has also been used in online courses. A few more examples: political science course, digital history. There are many reasons why Slack is being adopted, but I will list the top 7 reasons.

 

  1. Slack discussions happen in one place and can be divided into Channels for specific topics. Users can be assigned to as many (or as few) channels as needed. A balance is kept between clarity and complexity. The discussion maintains transparency and users can effectively identify relevant messages.
  2. Slack integrates with important systems like GitHub, Trello, and many others. Full list is available at https://slack.com/integrations
  3. All content can be searched through one search control.
  4. Files can be easily shared.
  5. Code snippets render well and are easy to share (very important in computer classes).
  6. Team discussions can be quickly switched to private discussions.
  7. Slack is fun on any device.

 

Learn about Slack on Lynda.com

 

You can now place a link to your Slack workspace in Blackboard Learn as well as invite your class through this REST API integration. In addition, you'll know which students in your class have already joined Slack and who needs a reminder.

 

System administrator instructions:

 

Optional:

(please note that you can specify your own REST Application ID, if you want to have multiple levels of access. This allows you to have the instructor create a dev account, give you an App ID, then you link that instructor Blackboard ID to the REST Application ID. This means you don't have to grant any permissions or configure our REST Application ID)

REST Application ID: cc908933-00d0-4143-87be-47aee29ed984

 

Required:

LTI domain: apps.dataii.com

LTI URL: https://apps.dataii.com/bb/slack/

 

The icon: http://apps.dataii.com/bb/slack/slack1.png

 

Minimum Bb version: 3000.1.0

Ultra Courses & Original in Saas with REST API/LTI apps

More: Did someone try to integrate Slack as forum in Blackboard ?

 

Ultra course:

 

Screen Shot 2018-07-04 at 12.28.24 PM.png

 

Original course:

Screen Shot 2018-07-04 at 12.29.22 PM.png

 

Instructor Control Panel:

Screen Shot 2018-07-04 at 5.07.24 PM.png

 

Slack analytics in a Winter 2018 course:

Screen Shot 2018-06-27 at 11.01.50 PM.png

Screen Shot 2018-06-27 at 11.01.20 PM.png

 

For computer courses sample code snippet formatting in Slack:

004-slack-code-snippets-700x330.jpg

 

 

What can you integrate in Slack?

002-slack-integrations-list-700x664.png

 

more about Slack

 

To use a custom system role for the REST API user you'll need 3 privileges:

Administrator Panel (Organizations) > Organizations > Edit > Enrollments

Administrator Panel (Courses) > Courses > Edit > Enrollments

Administrator Panel (Users) > Users Administrator Panel (Users) > Users

NOTE:

If one of your students is in the course, you'll see a 404 error for this user. That's because system users cannot be looked at with api. That's sort of bug/functionality.