Skip navigation
All Places > Teaching & Learning Community > Blog
1 2 3 Previous Next

Teaching & Learning Community

82 posts

I got a request from an instructor today, and it was so interesting that I thought I'd share about it in case anyone else ever came up with a similar scenario.  The instructor wanted to set up a short quiz at the end of each week as a formative assessment to ensure students were keeping up.  They are graded (so they can't be anonymous or use the survey tool), and for each question, the instructor wants all answers to be correct, except for one.


Multiple Choice won't work because there's no way to configure a question with more than one correct answer.

Multiple Answer won't work because students must select only one answer. 


Enter, the Opinion Scale/Likert question...


Here's how you do it.

  1. Create a test.
  2. Add Question > Opinion Scale / Likert
  3. Provide question title (optional) and text.
  4. Set "Answer Orientation" to "Vertical".
  5. Click checkbox for "Allow Partial Credit"
  6. By default 6 answer options will be created, so delete any unnecessary answer options.
  7. Enter a correct answer for Answer 1 and make sure "Correct" is selected.
  8. With the remaining correct answers, enter the text in the space provided, and set the Partial Credit % to 100.
  9. For the incorrect answer(s), set the Partial Credit % at 0.


When students take the assessment, any response other than the wrong answer is a correct response.

Weird? Yes.

But that's why I'm sharing it.


What Is The Practical Use??? 

It can be helpful for following up with students to see how well they comprehended the course material, getting them to self-report when they're struggling, and giving them a point for participation as long as they actually did the work.  For those who reported not doing the work, no points are awarded.    (This scenario obviously requires that students be honest in their self-reporting, but that's why we have an honor code.)


Here's an example of how it might work....


Q:  For the assignments in this unit:

  1. I found them simple and was able to them on my own without notes.
  2. I found them reasonably simple, but needed to reference the textbook or my notes.
  3. I struggled with the content and needed to ask for help from a classmate/tutor/TA.
  4. I didn't complete these assignments


1, 2, and 3 are each worth 1 point, and 4 is the wrong answer, worth nothing.


So there you go... One of those oddball scenarios that we encounter every once in a while....

I've recently taken on the role of the "Technology in Practice" Editor for the Community College Enterprise (CCE). The CCE is one of only two peer-reviewed journals focusing on community colleges in the United States and is published by my home institution, Schoolcraft College.


We are currently accepting submissions for the Spring 2019 issue, so I'm tapping into the largest (and coolest) professional learning community I know - the Blackboard Community!


If you're interested in contributing an article for consideration, please review the Technology in Practice Guidelines for more information. You should also feel free to reach out to me directly with any questions or for additional info (either through the Community or at


You don't necessarily have to be affiliated with a community college to contribute, as long as the topic you explore is applicable to community college students and faculty.


I look forward to hearing from you.



Why use a course gamification leaderboard?

  1. It encourages faculty to keep grades current.
  2. Students realize someone is paying attention to their progress and has a bigger picture perspective.
  3. Following the adage, "you cannot manage what you do not measure", students see evidence of the progress of others and see overall measurement of class progress.
  4. Intrinsic motivation is activated with some competitive feelings (the leaderboard does not sort by progress or assign placement, which mitigates discouragement of being at "the bottom of the board").
  5. Seeing "gamification" in the course menu helps to mitigate anxiety and undo some of the dysfunctional illusions of rigor in higher education.
  6. A course leaderboard helps to set a growth mindset on progress instead of treating grades as final


What's new?

A new option for the Blackboard course gamification leaderboard is now available. The course progress is displayed in total course points with the current viewer at the top of the board. Instructor users are hidden. The leaderboard works in Ultra and Original.


Screen Shot 2018-12-26 at 7.37.34 PM.png


When there are no students added to the class, randomized demo data is displayed.


Screen Shot 2018-12-26 at 7.37.54 PM.png


The tool can be added to LTI course tools or content area menu to add an item in the course:


Screen Shot 2018-12-26 at 7.51.49 PM.png

Screen Shot 2018-12-26 at 7.53.16 PM.png


The first version of the tool will continue to operate as expected. The first version displays progress based on X axis starting at the course average. It also provides some options for simulating data by students.

Course Gamification Tools for Blackboard Learn | Gamification and Play :: Experience Design for Learning


The installation of the LTI tool for version 2 is the same as version 1, with a new URL:


Instructors and students can use the application from Tools Area or insert it as a web link. If the administrator configures an LTI tool placement instructors can insert a link into any content area of the course.


Screen Shot 2018-12-26 at 7.57.45 PM.png



Icon for the LTI tool placement: board_50.png

Check out our latest blog which outlines the new enhancements for Blackboard Learn With the Original Experience.


New Enhancements for Blackboard Learn With the Original Experience - Blackboard Blog

With the End of Life of Blackboard Instant Messaging (Blackboard IM) coming on December 31, Blackboard has partnered with Pronto to provide an alternative solution for our customers. Developed by HitLabs, Pronto is a campus-wide, real-time communications platform that improves student retention by enabling everyday touchpoints with school administrators, faculty, advisors, and peers. Pronto is available on iOS, Android and on the Web via its integration with Blackboard Learn and Blackboard Open LMS.


Pronto provides a sleek, modern design and additional functionality that enables users to connect in new ways from their mobile devices or directly inside Blackboard’s LMS platforms. From instant chat with read-receipts and presence detection, to live video chat, to file sharing with unlimited storage, Pronto offers institutions a solution that enhances the way users communicate.


Is this a tool your institution could benefit from? Check out these resources to learn more:

When creating or revising an online course, there are many factors to consider. Not only should the course contain engaging content that will capture and hold the attention of students, but it should also be easy to access and navigate.


In this webinar recording, hear from Dr. Stephanie Richmond, Associate Professor at Norfolk State University, who shares her expertise in building online courses using Macmillan’s LaunchPad integrated with Blackboard Learn. Dr. Richmond’s best practices for creating a sticky and easy-to-use experience for students and instructors alike will give you the knowledge and confidence to develop your own successful online course.


I've seen different email strings and posts about CFP notifications, so I thought the Community Site could serve as a place to have one central place to house these dates. If you leave additional events in the comments section, I can update this blog post so it's easier to find. I can move the older events down so you can have them here for reference next year. I hope this helps!


(And feel free to tell me if there's a better way to share conference info!)




OLC Innovate 2019

April 3-5, 2019

Denver, CO

CFP Deadline - Sept 26, 2018




ELI Annual Meeting 2019

February 19–21, 2019

Anaheim, California

CFP Deadline - Sept 9, 2018

Hello, Instructional Designers!


As part of the Penn State/Educause ID2ID Program, we are researching approaches to developing distance education policies and processes at smaller institutions.  We are seeking input from Instructional Designers who are the sole Instructional Designer at their institution.  If you fit into this category, we would be grateful if you could fill out our survey. Your responses will be kept anonymous and will be used to report on general trends at similar institutions.


Thank you for your time and input!

Jennifer Rider, Ph.D.
Fort Lewis College, Durango, CO


Kaitlin Walsh, Ph.D.

University of Saint Joseph, West Hartford, CT


Back to School with Blackboard

Posted by jbanks Aug 29, 2018

As you start welcoming back students and instructors, make sure you’re up-to-date on the latest and greatest for Blackboard Learn, Collaborate, and Ally. Here’s your Blackboard back-to-school checklist.


Participate in upcoming Blackboard programs

  1. Join a Cohort Program
    Preparing for a Learn upgrade or considering a move to Learn Ultra? Our free cohort programs will provide you with valuable information and best practices to ensure your success. Sign up for the Learn 9.1 Upgrade Cohort here or the Learn Ultra Cohort here.
  2. Tune into our Roadmap Webinars
    Our product management leaders will give an update on the vision and roadmap for Learn (both the Original experience / 9.1 and the Ultra experience) and Collaborate. Find out more on the Community Site here about our September webinars.
  3. Help Shape Blackboard Products
    Help us improve the teaching and learning experience by participating in user research opportunities. Explore and test new features and designs, walk designers through a day in your life, share your teaching and learning expertise, and provide feedback, so we can ensure we’re building products that meet your needs. Sign up here.


Learn about the latest and greatest and spread the word to students and instructors


We’ve had a busy summer – here are just a few highlights.

  1. Take a Fresh Look at Learn Ultra with CourseSites
    If you haven’t looked at Learn with the Ultra experience in a while, it’s time to take another look. Find out why in our latest blog post and try it out using the new CourseSites (formerly Educator Preview).
  2. See what else is new in Blackboard Learn
    • New Box View update: The ability to download annotated PDFs is now available through a CU for self and managed hosting clients, and will be available for SaaS clients in our next release. Learn more here.
    • Ultra experience: Announcements on the Ultra login page, enhancements to the Discussion Analysis feature, the ability to add LTI links to the Institution Page, group creation and grading improvements, and more. View all the release notes.
    • Mobile apps: Assignment grading is now available in Blackboard Instructor for SaaS clients. Note: Please see this support bulletin for details on availability for self and managed hosting clients.
  3. Blackboard Collaborate
    This summer we released some big new features, providing a better experience for students and instructors, and improving accessibility.
    • Session timer: Moderators can now set a timer for everyone in the session or make it just visible to other moderators.
    • Recording Post-Captioning: To enhance accessibility, moderators can now upload a caption file after a recording has been created.
    • The Metric Report: Provides moderators with a detailed overview of usage.
    • Fast Mic: No more delays when you first turn on your mic, improving the experience for all participants.
  4. Blackboard Ally
    The latest Ally release adds the ability to check content created in the Learn WYSIWYG editor for accessibility issues and includes this in the institutional report. This allows Ally to review a significantly larger part of the Blackboard Learn content, and is a first step towards providing alternative formats and instructor feedback for this content.


For all the latest and greatest see our release notes for Learn self and managed hosting, Learn SaaS, the Blackboard and Blackboard Instructor apps, Collaborate, and Ally.  


8. Spread the Word with our Communication & Adoption Toolkits
As you welcome new and returning students and instructors, make sure they’re aware of the Blackboard tools available to help them succeed. Our communication toolkits help you generate awareness, excitement, and drive adoption. Check out the toolkits available for Blackboard Learn, Collaborate, and Ally.


Join the conversation

  1. BbWorld 2018 Announcements
    At BbWorld in July, we introduced Blackboard Data, a new unified, cross-portfolio data and reporting platform, and Blackboard Attendance, a scalable and flexible solution for tracking attendance that will free instructors’ time, reduce the administrative burden and make attendance data readily available across the institution. Learn more about Blackboard Data and Blackboard Attendance on our blog.
  2. Keep the Conversation Going with the Blackboard Community
    Join and engage with your peers and product experts on the Blackboard Community. The Community site is a great place to share best practices, ask questions, and learn about upcoming programs and events. Visit the Blackboard Community here.

We are excited to announce that the Collaborate Session Timer is now available! This highly requested feature reinforces our commitment to delivering the teaching and learning workflows that ultimately contribute to several of our product unifying themes including, academic effectiveness and learner engagement.


This means that you can now set a timer at the beginning of the session to give students a visible indication of how much time is remaining before the Instructor starts, giving everyone time to prepare for the start of class. Instructors will be able to name, pause, and restart the timer that is also available in breakout groups - you might want to break up the class into several breakout rooms, have them work on an activity for a fixed amount of time, and then bring them back into the main room. With the new session timer, you’ll be able to do that.



For more details on this update, please see the Collaborate Ultra release notes.

The Collaborate Ultra July Release (18.7) was pushed to production environments yesterday (July 25, 2018). This release includes new features that span across several of our unifying product themes: learner engagement and education insight. The new additions provide a more engaging experience for students, save instructors time, and improve the accessibility and inclusivity of educational content.


Recording Post-Captioning

For situations where there is no live captioner, but you still want to add captions after the fact, you can now upload captioning post-recording. This new feature provides you with an additional tool for creating educational content in accessible formats. In the future, we’re also planning to support automated speech-to-text so captions can be created programmatically or automatically.

The Metric Report

The new Metric report is designed to provide a detailed overview of your Collaborate Ultra usage. Information includes the frequency and scale of your institutional usage so you can make informed decisions about the service. The Metric report will be available as a CSV download and can be requested by your Collaborate administrator by creating a case on Behind the Blackboard. 


Fast Mic

We have removed the delay when you first turn on your mic, improving the experience for all participants.


For more details on the updates, please see the Collaborate Ultra release notes.


Timer Update

The timer capability is still in beta and not available in the Collaborate July update. We will keep you informed of a new release date and you can follow the support bulletin for additional updates.

We are a few days away from BbWorld 2018 and I'm excited to join everyone in Orlando for a variety of reasons.  One of the things I'm most excited about is the great set of sessions we have this year as part of the Fostering Inclusive Education track. 


If you have joined us the past few years at the conference, you know that there has been a growing conversation around accessibility and creating more inclusive learning environments for everyone.  The sessions next week in Orlando should be a great way to continue the discussion and provide a great chance to interface with others that have been leading the charge towards a more inclusive experience.  I wanted to take a moment to share a few highlights and opportunities for you to join in if you are able to attend next week.


Slow Your Roll: A System-wide Migration towards Inclusive Learning Environments (Tuesday 1 PM)


Case Study:  Our Path to Accessibility (Tuesday 2:10 PM)


Media Accessibility & the Promise of the Cloud (Wednesday 10:20 AM)


Blackboard Ally - Making Course Content Accessible (Wednesday 1:30 PM)


What’s in Your Inclusive Classroom Toolkit? (Wednesday 3:30 PM)


Creating an Accessible Campus Culture (Wednesday 4:40 PM)


Accessible Course Design for Faculty and Developers (Thursday 8:30 AM)


Improving Accessible Materials for the Success of Our Students (Thursday 11:30 AM)


Virtual Curb Cuts: Using Blackboard Learn Accessibility Features to Benefit Everyone (Thursday 1:30 PM)


Become a Blackboard Jedi:  Move Students with Only Your Mind and Universal Design for Learning (Thursday 3:30 PM)


SUNY Shoots, Ally Scores for 20+ SUNY Campuses (Thursday 3:30 PM)


Also, be sure to stop by the Ally Studio and meet the Ally team to check out some of the latest design work and provide your feedback.  The Ally team will be facilitating workshops and activities in the Ally Studio, located in the Community LIVE space, throughout the week.  Come by and say "Hi" or start a conversation and stay for some of the activities!


Don't forget to mark these sessions down in your app when you get to Orlando.  I look forward to seeing everyone next week! 


What Do Online Students Want?

Posted by kd36413 Jul 10, 2018

A recent survey of 1500 "past, present, and prospective fully online college students" revealed some interesting trends in what online students want. The report covered general information about the types of programs and services online students need, but the part that interested me was about teaching the online student. I blogged about it here:


Down the Rabbit Hole: Karen's Adventures in Learning Land

Over the past several weeks we have conducted our quarterly Collaborate Roadmap webinars to ensure that you are up to date on what’s new and what’s coming for Blackboard Collaborate. If you were unable to attend one of the live webinars, we have compiled the top takeaways below. You can also check out the full recording here.


If you are attending BbWorld 2018, you can attend the Collaborate Roadmap session LIVE on Wednesday, July 18th at 4:40PM!


What’s (Almost) New – Countdown Timer

Collaborate's July release will include one of our most requested features, the Countdown Timer. This means that you will soon be able to (late July!) set a timer at the beginning of the session to give participants a visible indication of how much time is remaining before the Instructor starts. Instructors will also be able to use the Countdown Timer in breakout groups - you might want to break up the class into several breakout rooms, have them work on an activity for a fixed amount of time, and then bring them back into the main room. With the new Countdown Timer, you’ll be able to do that.


What’s (Almost) New – Recording Post-Captioning

For situations where there is no live captioner, but the Instructor still wants to add captions after the fact, we will allow you to associate a caption file to the recording – you can use any captioning service you choose, get the caption files, and upload/associate them to your Collaborate Ultra recordings. We’re referring to this as recording post-captioning and it will be available in late July.


What’s New – Download Session Attendance Report

We recently added the ability to export the existing Session Attendance report to calculate key metrics, reducing administrative overhead for Instructors and providing invaluable educational insight.  This highly requested feature will allow you to import the Session Attendance report into a tool like Microsoft Excel and calculate key metrics such as total # of sessions, total duration of all sessions, average session duration, and largest session by # of attendees.


Roadmap – Netstats: Network Quality Indicator

Netstats, which will be released in the coming months, will provide attendees with insight into the network conditions of other participants in the room. The strength of a participant’s network connection, if their connection is excellent or poor, and their upload & download bandwidth will all be available upon quick glance in the session. Instructors can use this information to easily identify if a participant is having a unique network connectivity issue, without disrupting the rest of the group.


RoadmapPause & Resume Recordings

We're adding the ability for Instructors to pause and resume the recording of a session, providing greater control over what gets recorded, and what doesn’t.  For example, if an Instructor is teaching and recording a two hour session and decides to take a 10 minute break, they can pause the recording for those 10 minutes and then resume the recording after the break.


Roadmap – AWS Infrastructure Migration

We're also moving our infrastructure into AWS to leverage the scalability and reliability of Amazon Web Services. This will allow us to improve our session scalability and capacity and expand into additional International regions.



All timelines related to the Collaborate Roadmap are subject to change without notice.

Hi Everyone!


I wanted to reach out and provide information about SafeAssign activities going at BbWorld.  We've got several opportunities this year for you to learn about what we're doing with SafeAssign:


A lightning talk entitled "Creating Teachable Moments with SafeAssign" is scheduled for 3pm on Tuesday, July 17th.  This quick 20-minute session will be held in the Community Live! area and will feature myself and a surprise guest speaker from our client community talking through the role of technology in academic integrity and how schools can better equip teachers with tools to create teachable moments in today's online classroom environments.  Make sure to mark it down in your BbWorld app!


The Bb Design Team will be hosting usability testing throughout BbWorld in the UX Bar (next door to the Knowledge Bar) and the new SafeAssign Originality Report design will be available to play with and see for yourself!  This is a great opportunity to check out the latest SafeAssign user experience developments up close and personal before it becomes available as an option to your school.


I'll be also answering questions at the Knowledge Bar during the following times. If you have SafeAssign questions or feedback, please seek me out!

  • Wednesday, 1:30 – 3:30pm
  • Thursday, 12:30pm – 2:30pm


We look forward to seeing you at BbWorld 2018!