Blackboard-New Semester Course Preparation

August 26, 2014

Blackboard small logoBefore each semester begins, you will need to prepare your Blackboard course shell.  Below is an outline of what you will need to do to prepare your course.  For detailed information and instructions, please see the links located below the outline.  

  • Make sure you are updating the correct course shell.  Check the course id before entering the course.  The course id begins with the term.
  • If using course content from a previous semester, you will need to copy the content into the new terms course shell.  
  • You must make your course available to your students so they can have access on the course start date.
  • If you have cross listed courses or multiple course sections you want combined, you will need to submit a request.
  • Update your course with the new 24/7 Blackboard Support information. Remove the Blackboard Support email address.
  • For Full Online courses, remove all reference to completing a course survey within the Blackboard course.  Students now receive access to the course survey via their SJC email.
  • Hide or remove all old course announcements.
  • Update all dates within your course.

Links to detailed information and instructions: 

Copying Course Content into an Existing Course
Course Availability and Duration
Combining Course Enrollments for Multiple Course Sections or Cross Listed Courses
24/7 Technical Support


Microsoft Office 2013 General New Features

May 13, 2015

General New/Updated Features in Office 2013:: Apply to all programs

While Office 2013 looks and performs much like Office 2010, there are some changes in the latest version. The most immediate differences is the new Metro appearance and the updated File menu.  We’ve outlined some of the more significant features of Office that apply to all programs.  

Metro Style

The new interface, called Metro Style, is designed to work seamlessly on all types of devices.  On tablets, the start screens will have a limited number of commands displayed to simplify the experience.  The Office Ribbon tabs are now grey and when selected they will turn blue.  The Metro Style also senses the screen size of the device and will adjust accordingly.  On a tablet, Office will be placed into full screen mode automatically to maximize screen real estate.  You will have the ability to turn on the ribbon as needed.  

More Choices for Getting Started

There are more choices to get started with file creation instead of just a blank screen.  When starting one of the Office applications, you now have the choice of selecting a template instead of the Blank document.  There is also a Recent file pane displayed on the left side of the screen.  This makes it easy to find the latest documents you were viewing/working on.  If you need to open a document that is not listed in the recent pane, just select the Open Other option on the lower left side of the screen.  (click on the image to enlarge)

Opening Office 2013 Screen

Sample of MS Word 2013 opening screen.


File Drop Down Menu

The former File drop down menu is now an entire screen that Microsoft refers to as the “backstage.”  When selecting the Open option, you will have the option to select from Recent Documents or from the Computer.  When selecting the Computer option, a list of recently accessed folders will display along with an option to browse.  (click on the image to enlarge)

Open menu in Office 2013

Open option selected within the Office 2013 File menu. The Computer option is selected in this image.

When selecting the Save As option, a list of recently accessed folders will display along with an option to browse.  (click on the image to enlarge)

Save As menu option in Office 2013

Save As option selected within the Office 2013 File menu.

Ribbon Display Options

The Ribbon Display Options allow you to control the tab and ribbon navigation.  The ribbon can be toggled between three different states.  The Ribbon Display Options icon is located in the upper right hand corner of the Office 2013 application.  The Auto Hide option places the screen into full screen mode, hiding the ribbon.  The Show Tabs option collapses the ribbon and only displays the ribbon tabs.  In the Show Tabs and Commands option, the full ribbon is displayed.  See image below (click on the image to enlarge).

Office 2013 Ribbon Options

Office 2013 Ribbon Options



Blackboard: Issues with VideoEverywhere and YouTube May 2015 (Resolved 7/22/15)

May 12, 2015

Update as of 7/22/15 :  The YouTube and VideoEverywhere Issues we had been experiencing within Blackboard have now been resolved.  You can use the YouTube Mashup and VideoEverywhere Tools without issue.


YouTube has recently made changes to their API coding which is causing an issue with the Blackboard YouTube Mashup tool and VideoEverywhere tool.  Until Blackboard releases a fix to address those changes, please see the workaround below for embedding videos.   Any videos you have embedded using the Mashup tool prior to this change will continue to work.  

If you attempt to use the YouTube Mashup or add a video created with VideoEverywhere, you will receive the following error:


The workaround to this problem is to go to the YouTube site and grab the embed code to embed the video into your Blackboard course.  There are detailed instructions on how to do this located here:  Blackboard: How to Embed YouTube Videos.  


2015 Technology, Learning, and Collaboration Conference

April 27, 2015

The information below is for faculty and staff of St. Joseph’s College. This conference is not open to students or the public.


TUESDAY MAY 19, 2015   9:15am – 4:00pm
Conference begins in the McGann Conference Room

The Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning and the Office of the Provost are happy to announce that this year’s Technology, Learning, and Collaboration Conference (formerly the Tech-in-Ed Conference) will be held on May 19, 2015 on the Patchogue campus.  Transportation will be provided from Brooklyn.

This year, we are very pleased to welcome Whitney R. Bischoff as our opening keynote speaker. Dr. Bischoff has been a registered nurse for over 30 years and has been a faculty member for a total of 15 years at three different nursing schools in Texas. In 1993, she graduated with a doctorate of public health degree from the University of Hawaii where she wrote her dissertation on Transactional Distance and Interactive Television in the Distance Education of Health Professionals. Dr. Bischoff has won numerous teaching awards for her innovation and leadership in the area of distance education. In 2008, she was Texas A&M International University’s Distance Educator of the Year. That same year she received the Texas Organization of Baccalaureate and Graduate Nurse Educators, Innovations in Teaching award for her project “Adding the Personal Touch to an Online Course.”  Just this spring she was awarded the Outstanding Commitment to Excellence & Innovation in Distance Education award from the Texas Distance Learning Association. She is a Master Reviewer for Quality Matters, an advocate for Turnitin’s originality checker as a teaching and learning tool, and teaches writing intensive courses across the nursing curriculum in large and small classes.

Her opening keynote session is titled: Harnessing the Power of Technology for Active Learning.

In addition to our invited guest, faculty from across the campus will be presenting how they incorporate technology into their own classrooms.


The complete conference schedule, with detailed session descriptions, is now available on the conference web site. Please click the links below to view the site pages (login to the MySJC portal is required).

Conference Registration :: Opening and Closing Sessions :: Conference Schedule :: Session Descriptions

While there is open seating in the demonstration/lecture sessions, the hands-on sessions have limited seating and require pre-registration. When you register for the conference you can choose to register for these pre-registration sessions.

The Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning
Office of the Provost
Information Technology Services


Tracking Student Performance

March 31, 2015

Blackboard LogoTracking  student’s performance within a course provides information for the instructor to help struggling students, show if students’ are grasping materials, and if the design of the course is effective.  (See Best Practice: Analyze Course Effectiveness). Blackboard provides several tools to assist instructors in this area. 

Performance Dashboard

The Performance Dashboard provides the instructor with a quick glance on all student activity within the course.  Instructors are able to view when a student last accessed the course, has reviewed documents uploaded to the course (when set for review status), viewed course grades, and received early warning notifications.  

The Performance Dashboard is accessible in the Evaluation section of a course’s Control Panel.

Performance Dashboard

Click here for more information or view the video below.

The Retention Center

The Retention Center replaces the Early Warning System.  The Retention Center helps identify at-risk students in the course.  Tailoring rules or using Blackboard’s default rules enable instructors to gain an early insight on struggling students, communicate with these students via emails directly from the Retention Center, and monitor their progress.

The Retention Center is automatically on and immediately visible in your My Blackboard menu and also accessible in the Evaluation section of a course’s Control Panel. The information in the Retention Center is for instructors only and is not seen by students.

The main table displays which students are at risk in one or more categories according to your rules.

Retention Center- image from Blackboardhelp.com

Click here for additional information or view video

Statistics Tracking on Content Item 

Would you like to see a student’s activity in a forum or participation within a group?  Who and how many times a student has viewed an item or when they last accessed the course?  Blackboard Statistics Tracking provides detailed information about course content. It displays daily and monthly statistics by student or a course activity.  Accessing charts within the report shows which area of the course received the most traffic as well as when and who accessed it.  The data can be printed or exported for further research. Statistics tracking can be enabled at any time.  Click the dropdown arrow next to the content item and select Statistics Tracking.

Run a Course Report to view statistics on a content item.  Click the drop-down arrow next to the content item and select View Statistics Report.  Select from several types of reports to run.

Click here for more information or view the video below.

Item Statistics Tracking

Item Analysis

You have deployed a test and it seems most of your students have not answered a particular question correctly.  Using Item Analysis you are able to obtain statistics on the performance on a particular question or the total performance of the test.  This will enable you to recognize questions that might be poor performance indicators.  Access to Item Analysis is available by clicking the drop-down arrow next to  a test deployed in a content area, via deployed test listed on the tests page, or Grade Center column.

  • Item analysis

    Locating Item Analysis on the Test page

The Item Statistics page will display several statistics about your test. The Test Summary provides data on a test as a whole.  A Question Statistics table provides statistics on each question of the test with indicators that might need your attention as to the difficulty of the question or possible revision.

Click here for more information about Item Analysis or view the video below.

Images Courtesy of help.Blackboard.com


Blackboard: Upgrade to October 2014 Release

March 24, 2015

Blackboard Logo

On April 6, 2015,  Blackboard will be upgraded from Version 9.1 April 2014 Release to Version 9.1 October 2014 Release.  This upgrade contains mainly bug fixes and 2 feature enhancements to note.  

Calendar Enhancements

  • Individual users now have more choice about how their calendars are formatted both in the Calendar tool and when making date selections. They can alter the first day of the week that starts the calendar view in month and week views.
  • Users can also now choose the Hijri Islamic lunar calendar.
  • A course list filter is now available in the calendar.

For additional information about the Calendar, please visit Calendar on Blackboard’s Help website.

Content Editor Enhancement

The Content Editor spell check option is now ON by default.

For additional information about the Content Editor, please visit Content Editor on Blackboard’s Help website.


Weathering the Storm: Utilizing Blackboard, Panopto and Video Everywhere

January 26, 2015
Note: This post is written very specifically for current St. Joseph’s College, NY faculty. Several of the links below require sign-in to the MySJC portal site.
Blackboard along with the use of Panopto Lecture Capture and/or Video Everywhere are great ways to make up missed instructional days.

Panopto can be used to capture in-class audio and video or create recordings at home/office.  Faculty have the option of recording video, audio, PowerPoint presentations and anything they can show on their computer screen.  All you need is a computer with a microphone (for audio) and/or webcam (for video).  The completed recording is posted as a link within your Blackboard course.  Please see the Panopto instructions located on the MySJC Portal.

Video Everywhere provides the ability for faculty and students to record video on the fly and have it embedded in course materials, interactions and feedback.  Videos of up to 15 minutes in length may be uploaded to YouTube.  You will need to register your SJC Google Apps account with YouTube to use this feature.  For additional information about Video Everywhere and how to use it, please see the Video Everywhere document located on the MySJC Portal.

If using Blackboard and/or any of these options, you must also make your Blackboard course available for students to access.  Please see the Blackboard Course Availability instructions located on the MySJC portal.

Faculty Quotes on the use of Panopto:

“It’s a great tool to use to make up snow days. Last year I recorded two lectures from home during two snow days, and I was able to cover the material in one face-to-face class, because the students viewed the recorded lectures before attending the class.  The students feel the use of lecture capture improves their understanding of course material, and would like it to be used in more of their courses. Our lecture capture system is very easy to use, both in the classroom and when recording lectures from home.”

Bill McAllister, Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science

“I have found Panopto extremely easy to use and very convenient.  I have used Panopto when creating videos from my home computer.  No formality needed.  Just a few steps and you have a video to use either as a course supplement or as a way of flipping your classroom by videoing lecture-like material on Panopto thereby leaving more time for in-depth discussion and application during face-to-face time.”

Esther Berkowitz, Associate Professor, Director of the Literacy and Cognition Program, Department of Child Study

“Panopto is a nice way to introduce yourself, and integrate your voice in a Powerpoint presentation, highlighting the main themes and slides you  would like the student to focus upon – makes an online course more personal.”

Barbara Morell, Professor and Chair, Department of Criminal Justice


Technology Education Update: Spring 2015

January 21, 2015


 Integrating Technology into your Courses and General Training

Have you been thinking about integrating a new technology tool into your course, but don’t know where to begin? With a dizzying array of choices that include: the iPad, SMART Boards, Web 2.0 technologies that promote creativity, communication and collaboration, Blackboard, Panopto, audio and video, and the MS Office Applications, figuring out what to use is a challenge. Request a consultation with one of the Technology Education Trainers and we will gladly assist you in the research and/or integration of technology into your spring courses. We offer a large variety of technology workshops and are familiar with many different tools.  Please take a look at the list of possible topics hereIf you do not see what you are looking for, please ask.
All sessions and topics will be held through individual, department, or group appointments only.  

Contact the ITS Help Desk at  techhelp@sjcny.edu or call TECH (x8324) or 718-940-8324, to schedule a training or consultation with one of the Technology Education Trainers.

Blackboard Logo 

Blackboard Course Preparation

Blackboard is an easy to use e-Learning system which consists of web-based tools for creating and managing educational content, encouraging student interaction and knowledge sharing, and creation and deployment of tests, quizzes and assignments. Blackboard is a web based system that can be accessed at any time from any web browser or from a mobile device using the BB Learn Mobile App. Every course receives a corresponding Blackboard course shell for faculty to populate with content and make available to their students.

Have you prepared your Blackboard course for the spring semester?  Did you know you can copy course materials from one semester to another?  Have you made the course available so the students can access it?  Click on the blue links to access instructions for these items.

SJC Tech Times Blog

The Tech Times Blog contains relevant articles and discussions surrounding the uses of campus technology.  Have you checked out the latest posts on the Tech Times blog?

Google Apps: New Look for Google Drive
– Blackboard: BB Grader App for iOS 7 and Higher
– Google App: New Themes for Google Forms
– Blackboard: Upgrade to 9.1 April 2014 Release
– Google Apps: New Features and Enhancements

Subscribe to the blog so you receive the latest updates via email.  Just enter your email address in the Email Subscriptions area of the blog located in the upper right side of the page.

Looking forward to seeing you, and working with you, in the spring semester.

The Technology Education Department Training Staff
Maureen Williams, Brian Wasson, Yvette Findlayter, and Diane Casalotti


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