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


Accessibility: Creating an Accessible Word Document Part 1

November 12, 2015

When creating documents you plan to share electronically, it is very important to make them accessible to users with disabilities.  Equal access should be provided to all users.  Users with disabilities may use assistive technology such as screen readers or screen magnifiers.  These technologies require documents to be formatted in certain ways for easy reading.  

Below are a few simple steps to get you started in the right direction for creating an accessible Word document. 

Use a Sans-Serif Font

Sans-Serif fonts are recommended due to their readability.  Some examples of sans serif fonts are:

  • Arial
  • Verdana
  • Helvetia
  • Calibri

Alternative Text (Alt Text)

Alternative text is required for images, charts, graphs and tables.  Users with visual impairments should have access to information these visuals provide.  The descriptive text should be kept to 120 characters or less.  If the visual is more complex, you should include a brief summary of what the visual is showing within the document.  If the visual is just for decorative purposes, do not supply alternative text.  See below for instructions on how to add alternative text.


  • Right-click the image and select Format Picture
  • Select the Layouts & Properties icon and select Alt Text
  • Enter the alt text into the Description field only (leave the Title field blank)

Image of adding alt text to an image in MS Word 2013


  • Right click on the table and select Table Properties

Image of adding alt text to a table in MS Word 2013

  • Select the Alt Text tab and enter the alt text into the Description field

Table Properties Alt Text


  • Right click on the chart and select Format Chart Area
  • In Word 2010, select the Alt Text option from the Format chart Area dialog box.  
Alt text box for charts in Word 2010

Word 2010 alt text dialog box.

  • In Word 2013 select the Layout and Properties icon from the Format Chart Area dialog box.  
Alt Text Box for Charts

Word 2013 alt text dialog box.

  • Enter the alt text into the Description field

SJCNY Network Maintenance November 7, 2015

November 5, 2015

Network maintenance will be taking place on Saturday November 7th, from 11:00 pm to 1:00 am.  The following services may be unavailable during this time:

  • MySJC Portal (you will still be able to access your e-mail with your mobile device)
  • WebAdvisor
  • Password Reset Services
  • bears.sjcny.edu
  • eagles.sjcny.edu
  • Video Conferencing Services
  • HelpDesk Ticketing System
  • Library E-Reserves System
  • Online Admissions Application System
  • Payment Systems

For Blackboard Learn access during the maintenance window, please utilize the following temporary link:  SJC Blackboard Learn

For Canvas access during the maintenance window, please utilize the following temporary link: Canvas

Should you have any questions or concerns please send an e-mail to techhelp@sjcny.edu or call TECH (8324).


Canvas: New User Interface December 23, 2015

November 2, 2015

Canvas Logo  On December 23, 2015 a new user interface for Canvas will be released.  The new Canvas User Interface (UI) has improved the user experience by restructuring the Dashboard and Global Navigation Menu.  The Course Navigation menu also collapses on smaller screens, allowing for a more content-focused and responsive layout.

The updated user interface provides many added benefits to the platform, including:

Updated look and feel. The platform has been re-energized with a cleaner, more modern user interface to enhance the user experience for students, teachers and administrators.
Improved navigation. The primary navigation menu has been re-conceived to maximize screen space on modern devices, especially on tablets.
New paths to engage. The new dashboard uses dynamic course cards to provide an additional way to access important updates within the course.

Take a look at the new user interface in the video below or see the What is the New Canvas User Interface documentation.



Google Apps: Google Drive Sync

October 27, 2015

Sync your Google Drive to easily access your SJC files from your computer.

Google Drive Image

Keep Google Drive files on your desktop by downloading Google Drive for your Mac or PC.  Files will sync between your desktop and the web. Any changes made to files on your Mac or PC will be automatically reflected on Drive.

Install Google Drive on your Mac/PC



Free Webinars on Accessibility in Course Content Hosted by 3Play Media

October 8, 2015

Join colleagues from around the country to learn about accessibility in course content, closed captioning, and more in these complimentary webinars hosted by 3Play Media.

Select the webinar title to register.

10 Tips for Creating Accessible Online Course Content
October 8, 2015 at 2pm – 3pm ET

With recent lawsuits in higher education and updates to Section 508 on the horizon, it is more important than ever that online learning content be made accessible to students with disabilities. In this webinar, Janet Sylvia, Web Accessibility Group Leader and Web Accessibility Trainer, will provide you with 10 tips for making your online course material accessible.

Understanding Closed Captioning Standards and Guidelines

In this webinar, Jason Stark from the Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP) and Cindy Camp from Pepnet 2 will go over DCMP’s captioning guidelines and preferred techniques that will help you produce captions that are accurate, consistent, clear, readable, and equal.

Implementing Universal and Inclusive Design for Online Learning Accessibility

This webinar will discuss how the principles of universal and inclusive design can be applied to the online learning environment, with a particular focus on the accessibility of course content and materials hosted by 3Play Media.  

Select the title of the webinar to register.

How to Implement Accessible Lecture Capture

In this webinar, Christopher Soran, the Interim eLearning Director at Tacoma Community College, along with Ari Bixhorn from Panopto and Lily Bond from 3Play Media, will discuss how you can implement accessible lecture capture at your university. Looking at Tacoma’s workflow, they will walk you through an efficient, cost-effective way to manage closed captioning for lecture capture at a university level.

Quick Start to Captioning

Watch this webinar to learn the basics of how to add closed captions to online video to make it fully accessible, searchable, and SEO-friendly. This webinar covers Section 508 and ADA accessibility compliance, creation of closed captions, explanation of caption formats and video player compatibility, as well as an overview of automated workflows and integration with lecture capture and video platforms.

3Play Media provides premium closed captioning, transcription, and subtitling to more than 1,000 customers in higher ed, enterprise, broadcast, and media & entertainment.

Source: 3Play Media Read the rest of this entry »


Speed Dial for SJC Telephones

October 2, 2015

The SJC phone system allows users to program their display keys as speed dial buttons for frequently used phone numbers. You can program the display keys with both internal or external numbers. Follow the steps listed below to personalize your  speed dial display keys. Please note that each option has a display key associated with it to the left or right.Phone Display Image 2

Program a Key:

  • Press and hold the display key to be programmed on your phone.
  • Select the Speed Dial option using the associated display key.
  • Enter the phone number using the numeric keypad as you would normally. Don’t forget the “9” for an outside line and the “1” for a different area code other than the campus area code of (631) or (718).
  • Use the Navigation dial (arrow facing up/down) to switch between the Number and Mnemonic areas. Enter the speed dial name into the Mnemonic area using the alphabetic keypad on the phone.
  • Select the Apply option to program the key.

The speed dial name will appear on the display screen of the phone. Simply press the display key next to the name and the programmed number will be dialed on the phone.

Modify or Delete an Existing Speed Dial:

  • Use the Navigation dial (arrow facing left) on the phone,  to move left to display the Menu options.
  • Press the display key to the left of the Settings option.
  • Select the Set option, then Key program. You will be asked to program a key on your extension.
  • Choose the Main page option and select the existing speed dial display key to be changed.
  • The options to delete and modify will appear.
  • Select Modify to make changes to the number or mnemonic , then select Apply to save.
  • Select Delete to delete the programmed key.
  • Press the End button to exit.

Original image from Superhotmobile.com (see here)


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



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