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CIRT Newsletter Podcast

T. J. Mullen, Department of Chemistry
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When Dr. Mullen began teaching at UNF last year, feedback from students in his General Chemistry I course indicated that they often didn’t understand where they went wrong in solving a particular question.  Students also frequently requested more practice on exam-like questions. In response, he developed a method for providing feedback using an app on his iPad in conjunction with a YouTube channel.  This feedback exposes Mullen's thought process behind the problem-solving aspects of a particular question and can be viewed repeatedly as students work to master the concepts. The availability of these video walk-throughs enables him to preserve precious instructional time in the classroom for tying together concepts, demonstrations, and case studies.  Office hours are also much more productive because instead of hearing from students, “I don’t know how to solve the question,” he more often hears comments like, “I didn’t understand why you did this at this point in the question.”Spotlight

Mullen uses Doodlecast Pro on his iPad to create video walkthroughs of the problems on his three midterm exams and for 12-15 Practice exam worksheets of 4-6 problems each. He records each walk-through on his iPad, showing students how to setup and how to approach a problem and the thought process employed in solving it. The question is loaded in as background image and he then uses the iPad as a whiteboard to describe his thought process as he solves it. This “thinkaloud” approach provides cognitive modeling for students. The videos are uploaded to his YouTube channel immediately after the exam or class session. He reports that it takes him about two hours to record the Exam walk-throughs, which total about 50 minutes of final product. Practice exam worksheets are shorter and tend to take 45 minutes for a 20 minute final video.  Mullen posts the YouTube video links in Blackboard, and students can also subscribe to the YouTube channel to be alerted when new videos are posted. He finds the time investment is worthwhile and also reports that the process of creating the videos often helps him catch mistakes in the exams before he gives them.

Student reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, and for his Summer 2012 course, there were nearly 2800 views of the videos, in a class of 116 students. He leaves all of the videos up at the end of the semester, which serves to build a library for future students and provide additional examples for solving problems.  These old exam problems are incorporated into a lecture packet available to his students at the UNF Bookstore as further exam practice.

If you are interested in creating similar instructional materials please stop by to talk with us.

Deb Miller, Director deb.miller@unf.edu
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I hope everyone's semester is off to a great start. We have so many new things going on in CIRT, I decided to make that my focus in this newsletter piece. I'll start with people.

newsWe've added two new instructional designers and three new student assistants in the past few months. Kevin Hulen and Syleste Hoskins are our new instructional designers. Kevin joins us from the University of Florida where he earned a M.Ed. in Science Education and spent many years developing online courses for faculty in the Department of Biology. Syleste will be a familiar face for some of you. She graduated from UNF with a BS in Journalism in 2004 and with an M.Ed. with a specialization in Instructional Technology in 2007. She worked with CIRT as an instructional design assistant for a year after completing her Masters degree, then taught middle school in the Duval County Public School system before returning to CIRT. With this growth, Erin Soles has been promoted to Lead Instructional Designer and will be managing the work of the Instructional Design team.

Ross Bell, Megan Curtis, and Alex Siwiecki are our new student assistants. Ross is a Computer Science major. He is new to the Jacksonville area coming from Memphis, Tennessee where he attended The University of Memphis and developed an appreciation for live music and good barbeque. Megan graduated from UNF with a BA in Psychology and is currently completing a Master of Art's in General Psychology at UNF. She is interested in pursuing research at the Mayo Clinic. Alex is a junior at UNF as an English major with a minor in Creative Writing and aspires to be a thoroughly published writer. 

To learn more about the people in CIRT and put faces with names, visit our People page.

We've also made some new equipment acquisitions. Our poster printer was replaced this summer and the new model is faster and uses more durable inks. See our poster printing page for more information about poster printing services and to view the poster gallery for easy-to-use templates. We also have a new color laser printer that makes printing tabloid-sized materials much faster and easier, and see Dave's article below for more information about our new video recording setup.

Several software packages were updated over the summer, including Adobe Creative Suite, MaxQDA, and NVIvo. Along those lines, the university is moving to Qualtrics for its online survey needs and you'll find more information in this newsletter on that. We have also recently selected Sharestream as our new media platform and more information will be coming soon on that project.

New checkout items include a Kindle Fire and a class set of 7 iPads. Both of these can be checked out for up to two weeks. The iPad set can be useful for group work in classes and we'd be happy to brainstorm with you about how these might be beneficial.

We look forward to working with you this year, and as always, we're here to help, so let us know we can be of assistance.



Blackboard Rubrics
Date: Monday, September 24, 2:00 - 3:00 pm
Location: Online
This hands-on workshop introduces the features available in Blackboard Rubrics. A Rubric lists evaluation criteria for an activity, assignment or assessment question and Instructors can use Rubrics to explain their evaluations to students. Blackboard Rubrics are created by an instructor and may be applied to Discussion Boards, Assignments, and Essay, File Response and Short Answer Assessment Questions. This workshop will explore creating Rubrics, editing existing Rubrics, associating Rubrics, grading with Rubrics and running a Rubric Evaluation Report.
RSVP to cirtevents@unf.edu to receive session link.

Build your Faculty Profile
: Friday, October 19, 2:00 - 3:30pm
Location: Building 51, Room1201
This hands-on session is designed to assist faculty in creating a faculty profile which includes their picture, contact information, areas of expertise, brief biography, and selected publications. The Faculty Bio website has been developed to achieve several goals, including the development of an expertise database, and will reach both internal and external community members.  In this session, faculty members who have not yet built a faculty profile will get a brief demonstration of the system and have CIRT staff available for support as they build their profile.
RSVP to cirtevents@unf.edu  

Blackboard Office Hours
Date: Second Friday of each month from 12:00 –1:00 pm
October 12
November 9
Location: Online
Join CIRT staff online at the link below and ask your Blackboard questions! 
https://sas.elluminate.com/m.jnlp?sid=2009157&password=M.E82A2DA3DB64A2750689C60C379D48 s

Effective Presentations with Prezi
: Friday, November 2, 2:00 - 4:00pm
Location: Building 51, Room 1201
Prezi is a free online tool for creating and showing presentations. It breaks from the bulleted-list approach of Microsoft PowerPoint and Apple Keynote. Unlike other presentation software that uses slides, Prezi presentations are more similar to concept maps or poster presentations. This two-part workshop begins with a demonstration and discussion of how Prezi is conceptually different from other presentation software. The second part of the workshop is hands-on. Participants use the ideas presented in the workshop to create their own Prezi.
RSVP to cirtevents@unf.edu 

Online Introduction to Blackboard (TOL4100)
Learn to use Blackboard on your own schedule! This online, asynchronous course is designed for instructors who will be teaching enhanced, hybrid, or distance term-based courses using Blackboard. The course will provide the basics of requesting and managing courses, setting up and customizing courses, creating and organizing content, assessments, and assignments, managing grades in the Grade Center and communicating with students using course tools such as e-mail and announcements.
To enroll in the Introduction to Blackboard course, e-mail cirtlab@unf.edu

Dave Wilson, Coordinator of Educational Media, david.wilson@unf.edu
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VideoOver the past year CIRT has seen an increase in the number of faculty recording videos of themselves to put online for their students to watch. These videos range from online course introductions and lectures to demonstrations of skills and techniques. We’ve come to understand that the key to creating video for use in instruction and research is being able to balance quality and the amount of time and effort the process takes. Ideally, a faculty member would be able to walk in, record the video, and walk out with a digital copy.  The Media Commons at Penn State created the One Button Studio to do just that. And, while we can’t offer a one button service yet, CIRT is using that idea, of no setup and a quick turnaround, as a model as we move forward and plan our services.

We recently acquired a small, portable studio setup that includes a camera, tripod, microphone, three LED lights, and a backdrop with black, white and green backgrounds.  This kit is flexible and easy to setup, allowing us to record high-quality video in a variety of situations. We will be able to use it to do things like record video of a faculty member in their office, properly lit, so the video has rich contrast and depth. The kit will also be useful for recording video for research or other projects where the lighting or environment needs to be controlled.

We will be scheduling blocks of studio time beginning in November during which we will have the kit set up so that faculty can walk in and quickly record. CIRT staff will then edit and publish the video so that it can easily be added to Blackboard, the CMS, or video services like YouTube and Vimeo.

Kevin Hulen, Coordinator of Instructional Design, kevin.hulen@unf.edu
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onlineMedia files, which include audio (mp3), video (mp4), images (jpeg), animations (flash, java, javascript), and Power Points (ppt) to name a few, are all important sources of content delivered in online courses and perhaps also even so in traditional face-to-face courses. In fact, one would be hard pressed to find a lesson in Blackboard (Bb) that could be completed without the use of media files. In a sense, courses in Bb are like “digital play areas” where instructors throw media files to students through online lessons and then students throw new media files they created for the lessons back to the instructor in the form of assignment submissions. Unfortunately, courses in Blackboard are especially prone to the same pitfalls as “real” play areas in that they tend to become increasingly disorganized if not routinely maintained. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to present some “best practices” for managing media files in Bb. In particular, methods for managing media files stored in the ‘Course Files’ area of Bb will be discussed. For more information on methods for organizing the ‘Course Files’ area in Bb please visit: http://www.unf.edu/cirt/bb/bbtools/Tools_-_Course_Files.aspx.

Being able to deliver media files from content areas is perhaps the most common process in Blackboard, and there are several ways to do this. For example, audio and video files could be used to create Podcasts in Blackboard, placed on the streaming server and linked from within Blackboard, or for small files (smaller than 50 MB), uploaded directly to Blackboard. For files uploaded directly to Blackboard, you can (1) attach files to content items, (2) display files from within content items, or (3) create custom links to course files from within content items. Regardless of the method you choose, Bb stores all the files in the ‘Course Files’ area. Few instructors know about the ‘Course Files’ area in Bb because it was only recently introduced to users in the latest release of Bb Learn 9.1. The purpose of the ‘Course Files’ area is clearly to manage the files in Bb; however, some of the functions are not so intuitive. For example, when files are uploaded to ‘Content Items’ in Bb they are literally just dumped into the top-level of the ‘Course Files’ area instead or organized into a hierarchy that matches that of the ‘Content Areas’ you created. For example, let’s say you created three nested content folders (Folder-2 inside of Folder-1 and Folder-3 inside of Folder-2) and uploaded one file to a ‘Content Item’ in each folder. Now when you check the ‘Course Files’ area you might expect to find the same nested folders (Folder-2 inside of Folder-1 and Folder-3 inside of Folder-2) with a single file inside each, but instead what you will find is all three files sitting in the top-level of the file directory. Furthermore, if you delete one of the ‘Content Items’, the file you attached to that ‘Content Item’ remains in the ‘Course Files’ area. Thus, it’s easy to imagine how quickly the ‘Course Files’ area will get disorganized as you create and delete lots of ‘Content Items’ in your course every semester. For more information about organizing files in the ‘Course Files’ area refer to the recently published Cirtlab Blog at: http://cirtblog.wordpress.com/2012/08/13/managing-files-in-blackboard/. In this blog, some “best practices” for organizing your files in Bb are discussed. However, this blog does not specifically discuss managing media files, so that will be discussed next.

In general, when planning to develop your course it’s best to first decide which files you’ll need in your course and organize those in the ‘Course Files’ area then move towards creating the ‘Content Areas.’ A good practice to follow would be to create some folders in the ‘Course Files’ area with names that coincide with the file types. For example, most Bb courses should at minimum contain the following folders in the ‘Course Files’ area: images, videos, audio, downloads, and modules. The first three folders are self-explanatory. Put image files in the ‘images’ folder, video files in the ‘video’ folder, and audio files in the ‘audio’ folder. The primary reason for this organization is to streamline the process for updating those files. For example, if an instructor wanted to change the font size of the text in your 15 module banners it would be easiest to just download the entire ‘images’ folder, modify the images, then update the files in the ‘Course Files’ area. Having to browse the entire ‘Course Files’ area for each file to download would consume a lot of time and then the files still need to be updated, which again involves browsing the entire ‘Course Files’ area again to find all the files. Audio files should also be organized the same way for the same good reasons. Once again, when you decide to record new audio files for all your lectures it be much easier if they were all located in the same place. Video files should also be organized the same way, and in some specific cases it would be imperative. For example, when narrated ppt’s are converted using a program called “Impatica” three files are produced, and these files cannot be separated or the “Impaticized” ppt will not work. Likewise, many FLASH animations and simulations use a collection of media files to display the content, but if the files in the collection are separated the media will not display.  Of course, one could imagine several scenarios for grouping files a certain way, but for the purpose of delivering online media, the process of grouping like files together is not only a “best practice”, but also a universal standard employed by web development professionals.

I hope you found this information useful. If you have questions about the information presented in this article please send me an email at kevin.hulen@unf.edu.


Erin Soles, Lead Instructional Designer, esoles@unf.edu
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News From BbWorld 2012

The BbWorld 2012 conference in New Orleans, Louisiana offered many exciting sessions and opportunities to meet with Blackboard employees and other Blackboard users. During the Corporate Keynote, Michael Chasen, President and CEO of Blackboard, stated that understanding and meeting the needs of the active learner drives Blackboard’s vision. Chasen announced several new partnerships with publishers including Pearson, WileyPlus, and Cengage Learning that allow integration of publisher content in Blackboard via Blackboard Building Blocks. We are currently investigating these blocks for potential release in Spring 2012.  One of the other really exciting announcements at BbWorld is the creation of xpLor, a cloud-based, cross-platform repository for sharable course content. This tool is currently in beta testing. Instructors will be able to use xpLor to create content and search for content shared by others, including content from providers such as Khan Academy.

Blackboard also announced the creation of Blackboard Social: a new interface that works like other social environments, such as Facebook. Students will be able to create a profile or upload a profile from Facebook, read announcements from multiple courses on one page, and create groups in the Spaces area. Students will be able to link with other students in their Blackboard courses, in their university’s Blackboard courses, or even globally using Blackboard Social . This feature is expected to be available in an upcoming release.

bb worldOther Announcements:

  • Blackboard Collaborate is going mobile and will include Grade Center integration. Check out Dr. Jonathan Pabalate’s reaction to the Collaborate announcement here. This version is expected to be available in UNF courses Spring 2013.
  • An improved Survey tool with detailed results and options for sending to non-Blackboard users. This feature is expected to be available in an upcoming release.
  • Improved calendar with recurring events, drag and drop of calendar items and iCal subscription options. This feature is expected to be available in an upcoming release.
  • SMS notifications to groups of students or individual students. This feature is expected to be available in an upcoming release.

DEV Course Deletes
Instructors may now request deletion of Development (DEV) courses using the BbCAR tab in Blackboard. Once a deletion of a DEV course is requested, an instructor will receive a Course Removal Confirmation email and should click the link to Confirm course delete. If the DEV course should not be deleted, an instructor may click the link to Cancel course delete. Complete instructions on deleting Development (DEV) courses are available on the CIRT website: http://www.unf.edu/cirt/bb/bbtools/Tools_-_BbCAR_Course_Delete.aspx

Bb Mobile Learn
Blackboard Mobile Learn is an application that gives students and instructors access to their Blackboard courses, content and organizations on a variety of devices including the Apple iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad aswell as Android, and BlackBerry smartphones. With Mobile Learn, students and instructors can access course announcements, grades and course content from their mobile devices.

New Features in the Latest Release of Mobile Learn:

Mobile Tests – The latest release of the Mobile Learn app includes a new test option – Mobile Compatible Tests. Instructors may now create tests in a mobile compatible format that may be taken by students within the Mobile Learn app.  Mobile Compatible Tests are a different content type than the traditional Blackboard Tests and include only the following question types: Multiple Choice, Hot Spot, Fill in the Blank, and True/False. Students are able to take regular Blackboard tests using Mobile Learn; however, they will open in a browser window rather than within the Mobile Learn application. In addition, instructors cannot make changes to a mobile compatible test after the test is deployed. Complete instructions on creating Mobile Tests in Blackboard are available on the CIRT website: http://www.unf.edu/cirt/bb/bbtools/Tools_-_Mobile_Tests.aspx

Push Notifications – Students can elect to receive automatic notifications for course activities including new announcements, new graded items and tests posted delivered to their mobile device.

Discussions – Students and instructors can read and contribute to Discussions and can even upload media as an attachment in a Discussion post.



New Online Survey Application
This fall, UNF is transitioning to a new online survey application. Qualtrics will be replacing Vovici, UNF’s current online application. Qualtrics was selected because it better supports student and faculty research, is more user friendly, and less expensive.  Qualtrics will become available on October 15, 2012 and the current Vovici service will become unavailable on December 31, 2012.

Vovici survey owners will need to export any survey questions, survey data or reports they wish to preserve from the current system prior to December 31. CIRT is available to assist with transferring survey question sets from the old system to the new. Several Qualtrics workshops have been scheduled as shown below. Please visit the CPDT registration page to sign up for the workshops and contact CIRT with questions about exporting survey data or transferring survey questions.

Transitioning to Qualtrics Research Suite (New Survey Tool)
The University has changed its online survey application to Qualtrics Research Suite.  This two-hour class introduces current users of Vovici to the new tool.  The class covers survey creation and distribution, downloading data, and reporting functions.
October 18, 2012, 2 pm – 4 pm
October 23, 2012, 1:30 – 3:30 pm
November 5, 2012, 9 am – 11 am

Creating and Managing Online Surveys – Level 1
This class introduces the basic functions of University's online survey application, Qualtrics.  Participants learn how to create, edit, format, publish, and share surveys.  Creation of several question types is covered, including matrix and conditional branching questions.  Participants learn how to export survey data and display reports.  This course is prerequisite to Creating and Managing Online Surveys, Level 2.
October 14, 2012; 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
October 29, 2012; 1:30 – 4:30 pm

Creating and Managing Online Surveys – Level 2
This class covers the advanced functions of the University's online survey application, Qualtrics.  Participants learn how to use the library feature to save surveys and questions for reuse and about survey distribution methods, including customized email links, panels, and inclusion in social media sites.  These methods provide more efficient communication to the survey participants.  Participants learn how to modify the available reports and export survey results into PowerPoint and MS Word. 
Creating and Managing Online Surveys, Level I is prerequisite to this class.
November 8, 2012; 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
November 19, 2012; 1:30 – 3:30 pm
December 3, 2012; 2:00 – 4:00 pm

Mike Boyles, Coordinator of Graphic Design, mboyles@unf.edu
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Connect via UNF Mobile

UNF MobileThe UNF Mobile app lets you to connect to your classes and students, stay up-to-date with UNF news, and connect with others when and where it is convenient for you, and you can do it all right from the palm of your hand.

The app is simple to install and easy to use. In just a few minutes, you’ll be able to browse the UNF website from a mobile platform and access all your favorite links. At the same time, you can read all the latest news about UNF from press releases, media hits, Osprey Update or the Alumni Journal.

You can also customize the layout of the modules icons in the app. Simply press and hold any icon until they all wiggle, then move any of the icons to a new position as desired, and touch the grid icon at the bottom of the page to return to the normal mode. If you use Blackboard Learn™ the most, you can move it to the top. It's all up to you.

The features in the app give you immediate access from wherever you are.

You can search the public directory for faculty members, staff members, administrators and departments. Place a call, find an office location on the UNF campus and save the contact information right to your phone’s address book. You can easily see which building someone's office is located in on the UNF map. To do this, first search for the person by name in the Directory. Once you've found them, click on the building/room listed next to "Location." This will open the UNF map and drop a pin on the building in which their office resides.

It also allows you to always know what events are happening at UNF. Browse academic as well as other types of events and quickly add them to your personal calendar — a great feature for finding those special events and organizing your busy life.

Use the maps to find out where you are or where you need to go. When you open the "Maps" part of the app, there is a search area at the top. You can type in the building name or the number (for example for UNF Hall, or "53"), and the map will zoom into the building location so you can find it easily.

You can also get the latest UNF news, including Alumni Journal, Osprey Update, press releases and UNF in the News media coverage. It's great for finding something you heard about, and want to learn more.

Access to emergency phone numbers (911, University Police Department, the Counseling Center, Victim Assistance or the main UNF switchboard) is at your fingertips.
There is also easy access to browse the UNF website to find information about academics, admissions, campus life and more.

The app gives you instant access to all of your Blackboard Learn™ courses on the go.

With some many students using mobile devices, this is definitely an app for today's campus.

UNF Mobile for IOS Devices

UNF Mobile for Android Devices

Cost: Free 
Platforms: Compatible with iOS and Android devices
Current Version: 1.0
Released: August, 2012



TACTechnology Assistance Center in Carpenter Library
The Carpenter Library, the Center for Instruction and Research Technology, and Information Technology Services have joined together to offer new enhanced services from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday in Building 12, Carpenter Library, at the second-floor desk. In addition to research help on databases and papers, several new services will be available this semester, including Blackboard help, account access, wireless connectivity, and media assistance.

This is a great place for students to get help from a variety of experts, so please help us spread the word!


This newsletter is a publication of the
Center for Instruction & Research Technology
at the University of North Florida.
Deb Miller, Editor

Please direct any comments or questions to cirtlab@unf.edu

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