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CIRT Newsletter Podcast

Caroline Guardino, Department of Exceptional, Deaf, and Interpreter Education
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spotligihtDr. Guardino has been an active iPad user since the release of the iPad in 2010, using iPads for everything from data collection to class projects. In this faculty spotlight, we feature her use of iPads in a classroom video production project.

In the spring of 2012, Guardino attended the CIRT workshops Mobile Video Production: iMovie on the iPad, Parts 1 and 2. In these workshops, she learned how to use iMovie on the iPad to capture, edit, and publish short videos and trailers. A movie trailer in iMovie is simply a template that allows users to easily create a short video by selecting a genre, dropping in movie clips and photos, and entering captions. The software then helps trim the clips, creates transitions, titles, and special effects.

This creation process inspired her because of its potential to spark creativity via an open-ended format. She decided to incorporate activities into her classes in which groups of students would create  trailers as a vehicle for presenting information to the class. Creating video trailers allows both the instructor and students to present content in an interesting and self-inspired format, and provides a great alternative to the typical lecture, handout, and/or PowerPoint presentation content delivery methods. In addition, iMovie is easy to learn, allowing students to gain experience in video production.

Last semester, Guardino reviewed and discussed with the students in her Psychology and Sociology of the Exceptional Learner course the topic of children who are at-risk for school failure. During class, she assigned a group project of researching one factor that would place a child at-risk followed by the charge to create an iMovie video trailer. The goal of creating these trailers was to inspire teachers to see that every child, even those at-risk, have potential to succeed; and that teachers are often the means to this success. Guardino checked out the CIRT iPad kit for her students to use in class during the project.

Here is her outline of the project:

  1. Prior to executing this assignment, Guardino created a trailer on poverty to show the students as an example of what was expected to be accomplished for the assignment. This is important not just for the students, but also because it assured that she knew what was required and how long it would take to complete.
    (90 minutes instructor time)

    Presentations had to follow the requirements outlined in the assignment. Essentially, they had to use facts from their books or an internet resource, and 50% of the pictures had to be original and not from the Internet. Guardino brought a big bag of props from home including stuffed animals, plastic guns, a fake Mohawk, cars, etc.

  2. Grouped students into groups of 4-5 students (Borrowed iPad Kit from CIRT) (5 minutes class time)

  3. Explained and demonstrated the assignment (20 minutes class time):
    Many children could be qualified as at-risk by the following factors:  poverty, drug abuse—parental or their own, sexual or physical abuse, single parent home-life, homelessness, etc.  It was important to share with students a sample instructor-made trailer (based-on the trailer assignment they are expected to complete) AND a YouTube video on making iMovie trailers. These two items helped build confidence in the majority of the students who were totally unfamiliar with iMovie.

  4. Each group selected one of the factors that may place a child at-risk and made a trailer to persuade teachers that they can make a difference in the lives of students who are at-risk for school failure. The students researched their area and created a plan for their trailer. Guardino reminded her students that the most important aspect of the video is the titles. The titles are the message that ultimately convinces the viewers of the purpose of their trailer while the pictures and short videos inserted into the trailer support the message; without a unifying message, the trailer is ineffective. (120 minutes class time)

  5. Upon completion, the groups shared their trailers with the class. The trailers are approximately 1-2 minutes in length, making it feasible to watch all of the trailers in one class period. At times, a short discussion took place after viewing the video. (30 minutes class time)

  6. As students complete their trailers, Guardino collected the iPads and uploaded the trailers to her YouTube account, setting them to be private. These trailers will also serve as examples for future assignments of this type. (20 minutes instructor time)

The assignment took approximately three hours of class time and three hours of instructor time to design and prepare the assignment, deliver in class, and upload to Youtube.

Click the following links to see examples of completed assignments:

Guardino was happy with the assignment saying, “... it was a great activity, and the students really enjoyed it. I would certainly do it again and having these trailers as examples will help to get even better quality trailers in the future.”... “I’m a firm believer of integrating technology into classroom activities because it encourages students to think beyond the typical methods used to internalize and communicate knowledge.”

If you are interested in using iPads in a class project please stop by CIRT, email us at cirtlab@unf.edu, or call us at x3927.

Deb Miller, Director deb.miller@unf.edu
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2013 marks the tenth year of this annual survey and report on the state of online learning in U.S. higher education from the Sloan Consortium, supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The report is based on survey data from chief academic officers at more than 2,800 colleges and universities and meant to provide answers to fundamental questions about the nature and extent of online education in the U.S.Changing Course

The definition for "Online" used in the survey and report is the same as that used in the state of Florida and at UNF for Distance Learning (DL) courses:
A distance learning course is one in which at least 80 percent of the direct instruction of the course is delivered utilizing some form of technology where the student and faculty member are separated by time, space or both.

The 2013 report focuses on the seven topics listed below, some of which I’d like to highlight. The full report is available for download from the Sloan-C Website.

  1. MOOCs
  2. Is Online Learning Strategic?
  3. How Many Students are Learning Online?
  4. Does it Take More Faculty Time and Effort to Teach Online?
  5. Are Learning Outcomes in Online Comparable to Face-to-Face?
  6. Has Faculty Acceptance of Online Increased?
  7. Barriers to Widespread Adoption of Online Learning

Despite the large number of stories in higher education and general news media outlets about Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), only 2.6 percent of higher education institutions are currently offering these open courses, while another 9.4 percent are currently planning to offer MOOCs. The survey found that of those, just over half plan to work with an outside partner for the delivery of a MOOC. Institutions whose Carnegie classification is Doctoral/Research are much more likely to be offering or planning to offer MOOCs.

These findings are somewhat at odds with the views held by faculty teaching these MOOCs, as reported in The Chronicle’s The Professors Who Make the MOOCs survey. Those faculty largely reported that MOOCs will increase access to higher education and reduce the cost of a degree.  Interestingly, only 24% responded that eventually MOOCs could significantly reduce the cost of a degree at their institution, while 45% responded that MOOCs could significantly reduce the cost of college attainment in general. According to The Chronicle, the faculty teaching these courses typically have no prior experience with online courses and are tenured white males at top-ranked institutions. If these elite faculty and institutions suddenly embrace MOOCs, it could influence the impact of MOOCs on higher education.  The full results from The Chronicle survey are available here.

For another view of the MOOC phenomena and its potential as a change agent in higher education, see this recent CIRT blog post.

Faculty EffortDoes it Take More Faculty Time and Effort to Teach Online?
The percent of academic leaders who believe it takes more faculty time and effort to teach online increased from 41.4 percent in 2006 to 44.6 percentthis year. Another finding of the survey was that academic leaders with greater exposure to online teaching were more likely to report it takes more time and effort to teach online. That finding has remained relatively stable over the ten years of the survey, with the exception of academic leaders at private for-profit institutions. For that group, agreement with the statement that it takes more faculty time and effort to teach online was reported at 24.2 percent this year.

Barriers to Widespread Adoption of Online Learning
As with the previous topic, academic leaders at private for-profit institutions had markedly different viewpoints than those at public and private non-profit institutions. Academic leaders at Public and Private nonprofit institutions identified faculty acceptance, retention rates in online course, and the need for self-discipline in online learners as barriers to the growth of online education at much higher rates than those at Private for-profit institutions. Overall, the percentage of academic leaders who felt faculty acceptance was a barrier rose from 61.1 percent in 2007 to 66.8 percent in 2012.

Another trend in barriers to widespread adoption of online learning is concern about its appropriateness for all students. Academic leaders at Public and Private non-profit institutions have cited this as a very improtant concern in increasing numbers since 2007.


To read the full report and learn more about the survey methodology, use this link.

Allen, I., Seaman, J. (2013). Changing course: Ten years of tracking online education in the United States. San Francisco, CA: Babson Survey Research Group.



Online Assessments, Part III: Improve Student Learning with Summative Assessments
: Friday, March 29, 2:00 - 3:00pm
Location: Online
In this online workshop, participants learn about the pedagogical value of summative assessments, learn to identify different types of tools and methods for obtaining information about what students have learned, and see examples of effective feedback to improve student learning. Strategies for implementing this type of assessment in Blackboard are also discussed.
RSVP to cirtevents@unf.edu to receive session link.

Online Assessments, Part IV: Improve Student Learning with Authentic Assessments
Date: Friday, April 5, 2:00 - 3:00pm
Location: Online
In this online workshop, participants will learn about the pedagogical value of authentic assessments, learn about Blackboard tools to assist in the development of these assessments, and see examples of tools to measure student learning.
RSVP to cirtevents@unf.edu  to receive session link.

iOS Users Social
Date: Wednesday, April 10, 2:00 - 3:30pm
Location: Building 59, Room 2701
In this informal session, co-sponsored by CIRT & ITS, staff will lead discussion about the latest tablet hardware, including  the iPad mini, Google's Nexus 7, and the Surface Pro. We expect to have demo models on hand. App demos will include Script Calculator, Index Cards, and Doodlecast Pro. Time is reserved for participants to discuss the state of the iOS and share app favorites and strategies.
RSVP to cirtevents@unf.edu  

Blackboard Learn SP11- What's New?
Date: Friday, April 12, 1:00 - 2:30 pm
Location:  Building 2, Room 2002 or Online
During this session, participants learn about the new tools and interface coming in Blackboard's May upgrade to SP11.
Catch a preview at http://www.blackboard.com/Platforms/Learn/Products/Blackboard-Learn/Features.aspx 
RSVP to cirtevents@unf.edu. Please indicate whether you to attend in person or online. We will forward meeting information to online participants. 

Blackboard Upgrade- Learn More About What's Better (online demo)
Date: Monday, April 22, 12:00 - 1:00 pm
Location:  Online
In this online session, participants will learn about the new features available in Blackboard SP 10+ after May 5. The demonstration will include new navigation and social tools, additional options for course and content creation, and many new features for grading and monitoring student activity.
Session link will be posted on the CIRT Events page by April 15

Blackboard Upgrade- Learn More About What's Better (hands-on session)
Date: Tuesday, April 23, 11:00 am - 12:30 pm
Location:  Building 51, Room 1201
In this hands-on session, participants will delve deeper into the new features available in Blackboard SP 10+ after May 5. These include improvements to the course and content creation process, a new profile option, a modern calendar, mobile options for Blackboard Collaborate, and several enhancements to the Evaluation and Assessment tools. 
RSVP to cirtevents@unf.edu 

Blackboard Upgrade- Learn More About What's Better (online demo)
Date: Wednesday, May 1, 12:00 - 1:00 pm
Location:  Online
In this online session, participants will learn about the new features available in Blackboard SP 10+ after May 5. The demonstration will include new navigation and social tools, additional options for course and content creation, and many new features for grading and monitoring student activity.
Session link will be posted on the CIRT Events page by April 15

Blackboard Upgrade- Learn More About What's Better (hands-on session)
Date: Thursday, May 2, 11:00 am - 12:30 pm
Location:  Building 51, Room 1201
In this hands-on session, participants will delve deeper into the new features available in Blackboard SP 10+ after May 5. These include improvements to the course and content creation process, a new profile option, a modern calendar, mobile options for Blackboard Collaborate, and several enhancements to the Evaluation and Assessment tools. 
RSVP to cirtevents@unf.edu  

Blackboard Upgrade- Learn More About What's Better (hands-on session)
Date: Friday, May 3, 11:00 am - 12:30 pm
Location:  Building 51, Room 1201
In this hands-on session, participants will delve deeper into the new features available in Blackboard SP 10+ after May 5. These include improvements to the course and content creation process, a new profile option, a modern calendar, mobile options for Blackboard Collaborate, and several enhancements to the Evaluation and Assessment tools. 
RSVP to cirtevents@unf.edu  

Creating Quality Online Discussions
Date: Tuesday, May 21, 2:00 - 3:00 pm
Location:  Building 2, Room 2002
In this session, participants learn about the benefits of online discussion and will explore example discussions and grading rubrics. The major topics covered in the session include: development of discussion questions, defining expectations of participation, assessing discussion participation, and logistical issues such as grouping students and encouraging participation. 
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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The New Media Consortium and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative have released the NMC Horizon Report: 2013 Higher Education Edition. The report is a review of emerging technologies that are likely to make an impact in higher Education. The six technologies selected are categorized into three adoption horizons. The adoption horizon is the time it will take each of the technologies to make a significant impact in higher education (p. 3). This year the technologies selected for the near-term horizon, 12 months or less, are massively open online courses (MOOCs) and tablet computing. The technologies selected for the mid-term horizon, which is two to three years away, are games and gamification and learning analytics. Finally, the technologies for the far-term horizon, which is four to five years, are 3D printing and wearable technology.

The report defines MOOCs as:

a web course that people could take from anywhere across the world, with potentially thousands of participants. The basis of this concept is an expansive and diverse set of content, contributed by a variety of experts, educators, and instructors in a specific field, and aggregated into a central repository, such as a web site. What made this content set especially unique is that it could be “remixed” — the materials were not necessarily designed to go together but became associated with each other through the MOOC. (p.13)

The report has MOOCs on the 12 month or less horizon. At UNF, the Provost mentioned MOOCs in his special report during the February Faculty Association meeting and the Office of Faculty Enhancement recently hosted a Frankly Friday event on MOOCs. Students at UNF are also aware of MOOCs. While I was working in the Technical Assistance Center in the Library, I observed a computer programming student watching video lectures that were part of a MOOC. I took the same course in the late 90s and even though the professor that taught the course did an excellent job covering the material, I had a difficult time with some of it. I spent many hours finding and studying other sources. Having access to videos of other professors would have been tremendously helpful. I tell this story because it highlights one of the most useful roles of MOOCs, not as replacements for college courses, but as supplementary sources.

DTThe second technology on the near-term horizon, tablet computing, is also thriving at UNF. The spotlight of this edition of the Newsletter covers how a UNF faculty member used iPads in her class and CIRT will be co-hosting an iOS user’s social in April. The focus of the section in the report covers how tablets are being used in higher education. I encourage you to review them. The ones I found particularly interesting are the Vanderbilt University graduate student who is developing an Android app to assist visually impaired students learn math and the use of iPads to share live feeds from microscopes in Yale University.

The first set of technologies on the mid-term horizon is games and gamification. The basic idea of this is that a growing number of people are video game players and that games can be created as teaching tools, or use elements of gaming, such as the idea of leveling up, can be incorporated into university courses and real world activities. The report used Foursquare as an example, explaining it in this way, “...its reward system encourages people to check into locations and accumulate points. Ultimately the goal is to collect enough points to be recognized through badges like ‘Super User,’ ‘Local,’ and ‘Mayor,’ which are public-facing distinctions that can be posted on social networking sites, such as Facebook. Users of Foursquare also benefit from tangible rewards, including free goods and perks from frequented establishments.” In higher education, games can be used to help students develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. Another game element being tested in higher education is badges, also called achievements or trophies. The report defines badging as “a system of recognition that allows students to accumulate documentation of their skills, achievements, qualities, and interests in a visual public facing format.” I know that there has been some discussion of games and gamification at UNF, but I am not aware of any active uses. If you are working on this topic, or would like to discuss it, please let me know.

The second technology on the mid-term horizon is learning analytics, which the report defines as “an emergent field of research that aspires to use data analysis to inform decisions made on every tier of the educational system.” While learning analytics can be used at a number of different levels, the one I find most intriguing is where institutions use learning analytics to inform students, and make course and schedule recommendations. Like games and gamification, I know there has been discussion about learning analytics at UNF, and I look forward to seeing how we implement this technology here.

In the far-term horizon, the report has identified two technologies, 3D printing, and wearable technology. The report defines 3D printers as follows: “A 3D printer builds a tangible model or prototype from the electronic file, one layer at a time, using an inkjet-like process to spray a bonding agent onto a very thin layer of fixable powder, or an extrusion-like process using plastics and other flexible materials.” 3D printing has several applications in higher education in fields such as art, archaeology, biology, and engineering to name a few. Because of its relatively low cost, I would argue that this technology should be in the mid-term horizon. The final technology cover by the report is wearable technology. Wearable technology includes everything from Google’s “Project Glass” to wirelessly connected watches and clothing. The education applications covered in the report include data collection and input devices. Neither of these technologies are currently being used at UNF, or if they are, it is in a limited capacity.

In addition to the six technologies, the report also identifies several key trends and significant challenges related to technology in higher education. While I cannot cover all of the trends and challenges in this column, some should be addressed. The trend that resonated most strongly with me was #6 “Education paradigms are shifting to include online learning, hybrid learning, and collaborative models.” (p. 8) We have seen this trend at UNF with the Distance Learning Initiative and the steady increase of hybrid classes. The challenges are also on point and I was encouraged to see that the number one challenge is “Faculty training still does not acknowledge the fact that digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every discipline and profession.” It is important to remember that students do not inherently possess digital literacy skills to successfully use the new technologies and tools that are being incorporated into classes. Digital literacy skills must be taught to students and in most cases are more important than the technology. As technology advances, many tools are quickly replaced with better solutions, but digital literacy skills are universal and transferable into the new tools and technologies.

You can download a free PDF of the report here. It includes several examples and a reading list for each technology. As always, if you have questions, or would like to discuss anything in this column please feel free to contact me.

Johnson, L. Adams Becker, S., Cummins, M., Estrada, V., Freedman, A., and Ludgate, H. (2013). NMC Horizon Report: 2013 Higher Education Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

Kevin Hulen, Coordinator of Instructional Design
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onlineIn Blackboard, there’s a synchronous communication tool called ‘Blackboard Collaborate’ that among other things can be used to conduct effective online lectures. Other similar tools, such as, Skype, iChat, and Fuzebox, to name a few, could also be used with varying success, but at the end of the day all of those tools are still susceptible to the same technological misfortunes (unforeseen technology issues) that can impact any online technology. Therefore, if we want to deliver effective online lectures, we need to have some plan to deal with those issues, regardless of the tool being used. This article has two main areas of focus, pedagogical strategies for engaging students in online lectures, and organizational strategies for reducing the impact of technological misfortunes. Since ‘Blackboard Collaborate’ is already available in the courses we deliver at UNF, it will be used as the example tool for conducting online lectures.

Perhaps the most overlooked aspect and indeed the most substantial “driving force” of any online tool is the technology used to deliver it. After all, if the technology is not stable or lacks useful features, why would we use it? Fortunately for us, ‘ Blackboard Collaborate’ is remarkably stable and contains lots of useful features, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Lurking below the surface is a mass of technology that if not working properly could easily render the tool unusable. Consider that before you can even load the ‘Blackboard Collaborate’ tool the telecommunications, software, and hardware systems on campus must be in working order. Fortunately, this is a rarely an issue, but if for some reason the networks are down or Blackboard is not functioning properly you will need to reschedule your session. For this reason it’s useful to have some plan for informing the participants’ of the unexpected issues and when you anticipate being able to resume the session. If you just brush it aside as another “oh well!” incident, then you might expect your students to do the same next time they experience an issue with the system. A good way to keep the comfort level high in your online course is to keep your students informed of technological issues and the plans for overcoming them.

Furthermore, if you have participants that are off-campus or you are off-campus, each of you must also have working telecommunications, software, and hardware systems. This means everyone should have a reliable high-speed Internet connection, updated operating system with the required browser plugins, and access to Blackboard, and the ‘Blackboard Collaborate’ session needs to be configured properly. Then, in order to communicate effectively, everyone might need a functioning microphone headset and webcam (optional). The webcam is only necessary if participants want to see one another. Not only do all of those items need to be working when you start the session, they all need to keep working throughout the duration of the session. Finally, everyone also needs to have some knowledge about how to use the software. Posting links to online tutorials or user guides, creating custom video tutorials, or encouraging students to test drive the session on their own at some point prior to the online lecture could be very helpful to those unfamiliar with the tool. In fact, as a “best practice” you should require students to attend a practice session in ‘Blackboard Collaborate’ prior to the first official online lecture session.

Perhaps, the most problematic issues are the ones that occur at the most inconvenient times, such as, while you’re in the middle of a lecture or when students are interacting with the content. To put this in perspective, imagine the expressions on your student’s faces if while giving a lecture in the “real” classroom your voice all of the sudden goes mute, your face changes to an image outline of a head, and you don’t know it so you continue lecturing until a student finally raises their hand and informs you about your technological misfortune. Then, while you’re struggling to recover your voice, students start chatting and interacting with their mobile devices. Even worse, if your voice stays mute for too long the students might confer that this is all too weird and decide to leave the classroom. Sure, that’s a surreal scenario and not likely to occur in the “real” classroom, but in the “virtual” classroom that scenario or some adaptation of it is all too common. All of this might be sounding a bit pessimistic, but in reality there’s much more to be optimistic about.

There’s not much you can do to prevent a scenario like that from occurring, aside from running checks on the technology immediately before use, or verifying that none of the participants are trying to access the session from a Starbucks. The good news is there are some simple “best practices” that can be implemented to retain the integrity of the lecture should such a scenario occur.

To prepare for those unexpected intermittent technological misfortunes you should consider creating a timeline of events for the lecture that contain breakpoints (Table 1). A breakpoint could simply be a slide in your presentation with the word ”BREAK” and some information about what will happen next. In general, breakpoints are useful for:

  • Keeping students on track or guide students that are accessing the lecture at a later date as a result of personal or technical issues. The key to making this work is the ‘Collaborate’ session must be recorded, which is also a best practice when conducting lectures online.
  • Instructing students when or how to reflect on the material that was just presented. Another best practice that increases student engagement.
  • Indicating when the instructor plans to pause the lecture to show a video or animation, navigate to a website, or shift focus to the whiteboard space.



0-10 min

Recap on last weeks assignments/grading. Discuss current assignments and instructional materials, announcements, related news events, etc..


10-20 min

Photosynthesis - Part 1

20-25 min

- BREAK: Students use whitebaord to construct concept map of abiotic/biotic components

25-35 min

Photosynthesis - Part 2

35-40 min

- BREAK: Instructor uses whiteboard to illustrate Calvin Cycle

40-50 min

Photosynthesis - Part 3

50-60 min

- BREAK: Final questions.


Table 1. Summary of events for a 60-minute lecture conducted online using the ‘Collaborate’ tool in Blackboard. The term “BREAK” is used to identify points in the lecture where students are asked to pause for reflection or interact with materials.

Now that we’ve discussed some ways in which breakpoints can be used to add stability and visibility to your online lectures, let’s consider how they might also be used to communicate the learning objectives and activities students will engage with during the lecture sessions.

Let us imagine that throughout the semester you would like students to interact with the lecture materials in different ways depending on the nature of the lecture. For example, in the lecture described above (Table 1) students will be asked to use the ‘Whiteboard’ to construct a concept map of the abiotic/biotic components of photosynthesis. In this activity, students will need to communicate (audio/video) synchronously as they construct the concept map. This is a simple and effective activity that meets multiple learning objectives and one you might want to use for several lectures, but not necessarily for all lectures. Thus, as you decide how you will use the online lectures to meet the objectives you might want to construct some type of matrix to help yourself and your students visualize the ways in which they will interact with the content of the online lectures (Table 2).


Table 2. Summary of strategies used to engage students in online lectures delivered using the ‘Blackboard Collaborate’ tool. Lecture, display content using video/audio or PowerPoint; Poll, ask questions and display responses; Whiteboard, interact (type, draw, trace) with images.

Ultimately, if your goal in using some type of online synchronous communication tool is to conduct effective lectures that includes student-to-student communication or student interactions with the lecture materials, all while reducing the potential impact of unexpected intermittent technological misfortunes, then you should consider preparing and exhibiting to students some type of plan that summarizes the teaching strategies and events, and includes breakpoints to indicate start and stop positions. When your students are more informed of your plan for engaging them in online synchronous communication, they will feel more comfortable, will interact more, and be better prepared for unexpected intermittent technological misfortunes.




From May 1 - 5, Blackboard will be upgraded to the latest version, SP10+ which offers offers a more intuitive interface and several new features.

  • My Blackboard – A new tool that consolidates information from Blackboard courses, organizations, profiles, people and posts and presents it in a single, easy to navigate space. Learn more about My Blackboard here or check out the My Blackboard Tour here.
  • New Content Editor – The improved content editor makes it easier to enter text and copy from Microsoft Word in all areas of Blackboard. Learn more about the new content editor here.
  • Improved Calendar –The Blackboard Calendar has been modernized and faculty Learn Moreand students can now add personal events and export to third party calendars like Google Calendar and Outlook. Course Items created with due dates are automatically added to the calendar and items can be moved by dragging and dropping. The view of the calendar can be filtered by course and you can apply color and labels and view by day, week or month.
  • Assessment Item Analysis and Automatic Regrade – The item analysis feature in Blackboard Assessments offers improved functionality and gives instructors the option to automatically regrade tests exempting ineffective questions via the Automatic Regrade feature.
  • InLine Grading- Instructors can view, comment and grade student submitted assignment files inline without leaving the Grade Assignment page.

To see the complete list of new features in Blackboard Learn SP 10+ and for more information on the new features, visit http://www.unf.edu/cirt/bb/about/New_Features.aspx

If you would like to get a preview of the features and interface in Blackboard Service Pack 10+ you can register a free Blackboard CourseSites course at www.coursesites.com.  You may also want to visit the Guided Trial, which provides access to a pre-populated course in Blackboard Learn so that you can check out the latest features as well as tips and tricks for grading and student collaboration.

We also have a number of online and hands-on workshops coming up to cover the new features. Please see those listed in this newsletter and on our Events page.


New Video Platform: SharestreamSharestream
Also coming during the maintenance window is a new tool called ShareStream. The ShareStream video platform for education provides a media management tool that allows instructors to easily upload media to Blackboard and then deliver it to students in a number of different formats including a YouTube style player. ShareStream also has an assignment tool that allows instructors to collect media from students.


Mike Boyles, Coordinator of Graphic Design, mboyles@unf.edu

CloudONFaculty often ask for a solution to access Microsoft documents on their smart phones or tablets. A few apps allow you to do this, but CloudOn seems to be the best choice with the same functionality as Microsoft Office.

CloudOn brings Microsoft Office to your devices, while linking it to your Dropbox, Box, Google Drive and SkyDrive accounts to access your documents. The app includes the three core Office applications — Word, Powerpoint, and Excel — giving you the ability to edit or create new documents on your Apple or Android devices.

The user interface of the app is very straightforward and easy to use. It is almost identical to the desktop models of the applications, so you will find navigation between tabs and tools very similar. If you are familiar with Office 2010, you will find CloudOn quite simple to use.

As you work on your documents, they are autosaved by the app. Another helpful feature is the pinch zoom option for for closer views. You can also zoom in or out by using the View tab.

There are a few minor downfalls with the app. There is no way to save files locally, so the app can't be used if you do not have an internet connection. CloudOn also does not allow you to import images. You can place images in Word or Powerpoint documents from your desktop computer, and then access them with CloudOn, allowing you to have images in your presentations from your device.

CloudOn keeps you in touch with your documents when you're on-the-go, and great for annotating on-the-fly and keeping your office workflow moving forward.



Cost: Free 
Platforms: iOS and Android
Current Version: 4.0.0


Kivutoe-Academy has recently changed its name to Kivuto. UNF has an agreement with Microsoft's Work-at-Home program that allows faculty to purchase select software titles at a very low cost. Some of the software titles available for faculty purchase include Microsoft Office 2010 and 2013, Windows 7 and 8, Microsoft Visio 2010 and 2013, Minitab 15 and 16, IBM SPSS, and QuarkXPress 9. Visit http://www.unf.edu/anf/its/services/Kivuto.aspx for more information and directions for ordering the software.



We have more new faces in CIRT, so please stop by and say hi. Elizabeth McGee is a new CIRT Tech and will be assisting with equipment maintenance and checkout, scanning, and other general CIRT functions.

Christine Woodruff and Jasmine Abston are now part of our Distance Learning Assistants team and providing Blackboard support and assistance to faculty and supporting the instructional designers developing online courses.

Elizabeth McGee
Jasmine Abston
Christine Woodruff

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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