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CIRT Newsletter Podcast

Charlotte Mabrey and Cara Tasher, Department of Music

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Many faculty members have experienced the challenge of trying to deliver a brilliant lecture or facilitate an exciting learning activity in the classroom, only to have student attention divided between the activity in the classroom and the activity on their cellphones. The same phenomenon occurs during live performances (and perhaps at your dinner table if you have a teenager), so instead of competing with text messaging and social media, Professor Mabrey and Dr. Tasher decided to embrace the power of the mobile device in their October Re-Connect concert. REconnect

The Re-Connect event provided a delightful evening of music on October 18th featuring the UNF Chorale, Chamber Singers, and Percussion Ensemble enhanced by audience interaction via social media. Mabrey and Tasher, who pulled together support from across campus to realize their vision, carefully orchestrated the success of the event.

CIRT’s involvement began in August, when we were invited to consult with Mabrey and Tasher about their ideas for the event and translate those ideas into tools and strategies. That discussion resulted in a long list of ideas for using social media and video to enhance the performance, not only during that evening, but also leading up to and afterwards. Many of the ideas were implemented for this year's concert. Others ideas that could not be realized for this performance are being held onto for next year.

The hashtag, #reconnect13unf was established for the event, and the Music Department started advertising on their Facebook page to encourage people to invite others to the event. Photos of rehearsals and planning were posted to the Facebook page in order to build interest. Advertising on social media was done alongside the typical paper posters and advertisements placed around campus.  During the concert itself, performers and audience members were encouraged to participate with tweets and images using #reconnect13unf. These tweets were aggregated and displayed as a live feed during the performance using Tagboard, a social media aggregator.

        Sample of Tweets

            I hope y'all are ready for this last piece!!! #reconnect13unf Go UNF Chorale!!!

            The Stacy Gibbs was my favorite :) #reconnect13unf

            Layers of beautiful voices and amazing instrumental #reconnect13unf

Mabrey remarked, “one thing that really struck me was that during the times people were engaged with their phones or the person next to them, there was the pleasant hum of human-ness coming from the audience to the stage as we set for the next piece. Then when we started to perform, there was dead silence. It was magical!" The UNF Music Flagship program Facebook page contains additional participant comments about this unique event.  

Information Technology Services placed additional wireless access points in Lazzara Theater to support the mobile device activity during the event. Colleen Sharp, Technical Director of the Fine Arts Center, organized a mixer to alternate the projected images between the Tagboard wall, a video of the performance and the audience, and images selected for each piece. Emcee Mike Buresh posed questions and encouraged the audience to make requests during the evening. The collected video and tweets will also be used to promote next year’s event.

CIRT provided support through consultation, tool suggestions, graphic design services, and audio-visual equipment checkout, but the ultimate success of this event had its genesis in the innovative ideas from music faculty, and the collaboration of several units across campus that brought the pieces together.

If you are interested in discussing support for your project, or exploring alternate uses for student cell phones during class time, please stop by to see us.  
Deb Miller, Director deb.miller@unf.edu
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We’ve probably all heard about the ‘Flipping Your Classroom’ craze, but it wasn’t until I attended the Annual Educause conference last month that the power of this pedagogical model really connected for me. I attended several sessions at the Annual Educause Conference in which faculty and support staff shared their stories about flipping their own classrooms. In listening to these faculty members, I realized how many tools we already have available at UNF to support this model. The underlying theoretical framework is extremely powerful and supported by information processing theory, peer instruction, ARCs motivation theory, and Bloom’s taxonomy of learning objectives. I am excited about helping UNF faculty get started with this strategy, so look for workshops later this fall and in the spring focused on how the flipped strategy works and how to get started.

FlippedSimply put, flipping your classroom means shifting the activities you have traditionally done during class time, particularly content delivery, to outside class in order to free up class time for experiential activities—swapping instruction for homework. Because the instructor is freed from delivering content during class time, s/he can spend that time enabling engagement with course concepts, whether answering individual questions or facilitating group work. If we consider Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives, the lower-level cognitive activities remembering and understanding information take place before class, and activities focused on promoting higher-level cognitive acquisition, applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating take place in class with instructor as facilitator. Instructors can focus in-class activities on concepts typically more difficult to master, or areas in which assessment measures indicate students are struggling. Instructional technologies and active learning strategies are key components of the flipped model, serving as enablers of the strategy.

Educause (2012) provides this description:

Short video lectures are viewed by students at home before the class session, while in-class time is devoted to exercises, projects, or discussions. The video lecture is often seen as the key ingredient in the flipped approach, such lectures being either created by the instructor and posted online or selected from an online repository. While a prerecorded lecture could certainly be a podcast or other audio format, the ease with which video can be accessed and viewed today has made it so ubiquitous that the flipped model has come to be identified with it. The notion of a flipped classroom draws on such concepts as active learning, student engagement, hybrid course design, and course podcasting. The value of a flipped class is in the repurposing of class time into a workshop where students can inquire about lecture content, test their skills in applying knowledge, and interact with one another in hands-on activities. During class sessions, instructors function as coaches or advisors, encouraging students in individual inquiry and collaborative effort.

Brame (n.d.) identifies four key elements of a Flipped Classroom:

  1. Give students an opportunity to gain exposure to content before class.
    This can take the form of textbook readings, screencasts, self-recorded lectures, or readily available online videos. The goal is to have students understand and remember the underlying knowledgebase so they are ready to refine their understanding and apply that knowledge when they arrive in class.
  2. Give students an incentive to prepare for class.
    For college students, incentive often equals points. Accomplish this with online quizzes, worksheets, or short writing assignments. The goal is practice and mastery of the background factual knowledge. This provides both motivation and the opportunity to rehearse/practice the new knowledge. Questions can be multiple-choice or open-ended, and effort rather than accuracy should earn points.
  3. Design a mechanism for assessing student understanding and providing feedback.
    This happens before and during class time. The pre-class activities provide information for the instructor about students’ grasp of the underlying knowledge base and when using online quizzing, students can get instant feedback and practice to mastery. Clicker assessments in the classroom provide another useful tool for formative assessment and feedback.
  4. Develop and facilitate in-class activities that focus on high-level cognitive skills.
    This could take the forms of experiments, group learning activities, practice of clinical methods, discussion of clicker questions, or student debate, depending upon your discipline. The goal is to promote a deeper understanding of the material and increase skill at higher-level applications of the material. It also provides the instructor with more opportunity to communicate how new material connects to other course content and overarching course objectives.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this piece, one of the things that excited me about this model, beyond the pedagogical benefits, is that we already have a number of tools available at UNF to support this strategy. The tools include our Sharestream media platform, Blackboard’s online testing tools, and the Clicker system. If you’re interested in starting to flip your classroom, I’d love to talk with you about it and help you get started. We will be holding a workshop on December4th at 9 a.m. as well. See our Events page to sign up.

References and Resources

Bergmann, J., Overmyer, J., & Wilie, B. (2013). The flipped class: Myths vs. reality. Retrieved from http://www.thedailyriff.com/articles/the-flipped-class-conversation-689.php

Brame, C. (n.d.). Flipping the classroom. Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching. Retrieved from http://cft.vanderbilt.edu/teaching-guides/teaching-activities/flipping-the-classroom/

Bruff, D. (2012). The flipped classroom FAQ. Retrieved from http://www.cirtl.net/node/7788

Hill, C. (2013, August 26). The benefits of flipping your classroom. Faculty Focus. Retrieved from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/instructional-design/the-benefits-of-flipping-your-classroom/

Mangan, K. (2013, September 30). Inside the Flipped Classroom. The Chronicle. Retrieved from https://chronicle.com/article/Inside-the-Flipped-Classroom/141891/  

7 things you should know about flipped classrooms. (2012). Retrieved from http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/eli7081.pdf



Introduction to Sharestream for Blackboard
Date: Friday, November 15, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm 
Location:  Building 51 Room 1202
ShareStream is the university’s new Digital Asset Management system. It is an easy to use tool that allows instructors to upload and deliver audio and video to their students through Blackboard with a YouTube style interface. In this online session faculty will learn how to setup ShareStream and use it to deliver media to student in a number of different ways. Faculty will also learn how use ShareStream to collect and grade student media.
RSVP to cirtevents@unf.edu to receive session link

Advanced Sharestream Tools for Blackboard
: Friday, November 22, 1:00 pm - 2:00pm 
Location:  Building 51 Room 1202
ShareStream is the university’s new Digital Asset Management system. It is an easy to use tool that allows instructors to upload and deliver audio and video to their students through Blackboard with a YouTube style interface.  In this online session faculty will learn how to use the ShareStream MediaManager tool to manage the media in their Blackboard course. This includes creating folder in Pick-N-Play, changing the order media is displayed in a course, and creating podcast feeds.  We will also cover ShareStream MediaMigrator to process batches of videos.
RSVP to cirtevents@unf.edu to receive session link

Blackboard Upgrade- Learn More About What's Better (online demo)
: Tuesday, November 26, 1:00 pm - 2:00pm 
Location: Online
In this online session, participants will learn about the new features available in Blackboard SP 13 after December 19th. The demonstration will include an overview of new test options, survey options, content editor for math formulas, and new discussion board options. 
RSVP to cirtevents@unf.edu to receive session link  

Using the Bb Retention Center to Increase Student Engagement
: Tuesday, December 3, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Location:  Online
The Blackboard Retention Center offers tools that assist instructors with monitoring and engaging students who fall below performance criteria (course log in, grades, activity level, due dates) in a course. This is especially useful in online courses. Instructors set these criteria and the Retention Center identifies students and allows the instructor to communicate via email to alert students and offer support resources. In this online workshop we discuss best practices for use and demonstrate tool functionality.
RSVP to cirtevents@unf.edu to receive session link 

3 Easy Ways to Start Flipping your Class
: Wednesday, December 4, 9:00 am - 10:30 am
Location:  Building 57, Room TBD
The Flipped Classroom model shifts instructional activities to outside the classroom and focuses classroom time on more active strategies such as discussion,  group activities, and peer instruction. In this workshop we discuss the underlying theoretical base, simple strategies for getting started, and existing tools at UNF to support those efforts.
RSVP to cirtevents@unf.edu 

Teaching Online Tool Essentials (TOL4100)
This course is appropriate for all instructors utilizing the Blackboard Learning Management System (LMS) at UNF. The six modules cover the LMS and incorporate best practices for tool use

CIRT recently launched a new version of TOL4100: Teaching Online Tool Essentials, which covers use of the Blackboard Toolset and Best Practices. The redesigned course contains several new features: a new course design, updated learning module content, tutorials, practice activities, a portfolio project and a TOL4100 badge that may be earned upon course completion. The new version of the course is self-paced and the expected completion time is 6-8 hours. There are two main sections of the new course:

The Portfolio section of the course details the instructions for the Blackboard development (DEV) course you will create and use to demonstrate your mastery of the tools in Blackboard.

The Learning Modules consist of tutorials and practice activities that will help you complete the portfolio assignments.

  • Blackboard Introduction
  • Adding Content
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Assessment Tools
  • Grade Center

Request enrollment in the new version of the course by sending an email to cirtlab@unf.edu

Dave Wilson, Assistant Director, david.wilson@unf.edu
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For this issue of Digital Thinking, I am going to write about my experience at the EDUCAUSE conference this year. Technically, that’s not very ‘Digital’ although most of the conference deals with digital things. I should start by explaining what the EDUCAUSE conference is actually comprised of. EDUCAUSE defines itself as “the foremost community of higher education IT leaders and professionals” and their annual conference is their premiere event, with over 4,000 participants and 250 vendors. What I’m trying to say is that it’s big, stuffed with people, and all about technology in Higher Education. While, the biggest focus is on enterprise information technology, the conference is so large that there are plenty of sessions for an academic technologist like me. All of the sessions I attended were about the use of digital technologies, and I’m going to focus on two of that set, which is ‘digital’ in a different way. Dave

In the area of academic technology, there were two big topics this year: flipping the classroom and lecture capture. In CIRT, we have been actively working on both topics.

In general terms, when a classroom is ‘flipped’ or ‘inverted’ the way in which class time is spent changes. In a flipped class, instead of instructors spending class time lecturing and requiring students to practice on their own time, instructors spend class time allowing students to practice with feedback and guidance; students are asked to cover necessary material outside of class, on their own time. Technology has made this technique effective in new disciplines, especially the sciences, by allowing faculty to record lectures and demonstrations and deliver them through the Internet. In one session I attended, ‘Flipping the Introductory Physics Classroom: Clickers are Primary, Lectures are Secondary,’ the professor discussed how he used both online video and clickers to increase student engagement and satisfaction in a course. In his model, students spent time outside of class watching lecture videos. In class, he used clickers to create a collaborative discussion so as to teach complex concepts.

Classroom lecture capture was the second popular topic at the conference. Like flipped classrooms, lecture capture isn’t a new idea. The difference is that we are finally at a place where the technology is mature enough to be dependable, the production and delivery processes are not too expensive in terms of time or money, and the average speed of Internet access is fast enough for delivery. Today, classroom lecture capture is feasible for universities of any size. At CIRT, we are able to assist with lecture capture and are happy to work with instructors interested in recording their lectures. Lecture capture is on our radar and we are looking at ways to make it possible at UNF.

The annual EDUCAUSE conference is a great event. The vendor hall alone was worth the trip. I feel grateful that I was able to attend. I’ve come back with several new ideas, and look forward to using some of them in CIRT. If you’d like to discuss anything from this article, feel free to drop by, call, or email me.



The University of North Florida has more students than ever before in its distance learning programs. With this trend increasing each semester, UNF faculty have been looking for a way to ensure exam integrity. CIRT reviewed online proctoring options, identified a solution, and worked with faculty to pilot. This solution, Remote Proctor Now, is available for use in Distance Learning courses starting Spring 2014. Remote Proctor Now delivers secure online examinations, using a standard webcam and Internet connection. Proctoring

Remote Proctor Now authenticates the identity of the test taker and records the entire exam session, both via webcam and with screen recording software. The recordings are reviewed by a trained proctor, and violations of the testing rules set by faculty are flagged. Instructors receive an email report of any violations and can easily view the recording and take appropriate action.

The current cost for this service is $10 per exam, which students pay at the time the exam is taken. The interface for students is simple to use and technical support is available. Instructors interested in using Remote Proctor Now this spring should contact CIRT to discuss the process and plan to include information about technical requirements and cost in their syllabus.

For more information, visit  http://www.unf.edu/cirt/TOL/Proctoring_Options_for_UNF_Distance_Learning_Courses.aspx

ISQBeginning this fall, the university is moving to an online ISQ system and no paper scantron forms will be used. An online system provides many advantages over a paper system, including improved data reliability, increased student participation, cost savings, environmental friendliness, and the digital preservation and dissemination of student comments. Over the past few years UNF has  enhanced the online ISQ process with specific strategies identified as “best practices” for increasing response rates.  With the addition of these strategies, we are now able to reach response rates that are equivalent to the traditional paper response rates. Last spring, we piloted the the new online ISQ system and achieved an overall response rate of 71% (v. 68% for paper). Students will access the course evaluation in myWings and will receive email and pop-up reminders to complete the instrument. Faculty can monitor completion via myWings during the evaluation period. The evaluation period for the Fall term is November 23–December 6 and you can find complete information about the overall process, specific information for students, and other FAQ's on the  Course Evaluations (ISQ) website.


The Value of Florida LambdaRail
If you have used the campus Internet services, you have benefited from Florida LambdaRail (FLR). FLR was formed by Florida higher education institutions to advance research and education efforts. FLR is a next-generation network, supporting large-scale research, education outreach, public/private partnerships as well as enhancing economic development. FLR

UNF is an equity owner of FLR with 11 other state (both public and private) universities. FLR connects UNF to Internet2 and National LambdaRail. These are nationwide networks bringing together more than 300 universities. This is a game changer in terms of where UNF’s education and research efforts can go. FLR gives faculty network bandwidth capacity on a par with researchers at top flight institutions in the United States.

FLR has many peering arrangements—where networks exchange traffic with each other to achieve faster speeds. Some of these peers include Google, Microsoft, Netflix, Facebook, Amazon, and Yahoo. Two thirds of the traffic in and out of UNF goes through these peering arrangements. Additionally, FLR services 40 affiliates, or customers, such as Florida State College of Jacksonville, the Florida Department of Education, Shands Medical Center University of Florida, and the City of Jacksonville.

As faculty members expand their teaching, research, and service initiatives, FLR strives to meet their needs with the greatest possible Internet access.

Student Email Upgrade
During the week of Nov. 11, Ospreys Email will be upgraded. Students will see an improved look and feel and a number of new features. After the upgrade, students will have SkyDrive Pro included in their Ospreys Email account. SkyDrive Pro will provide them with 25 GBs of space in the cloud to store and organize documents. Additionally, students will be able to create Microsoft Web Apps such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint and share them with others. Students will maintain access to their email account throughout the upgrade, but may be prompted to log out and log back in. Visit http://www.unf.edu/its/e-mail/Studentemail/New_Features_in_Ospreys_Email.aspx to learn more about the new features coming soon to Ospreys Email.

Software in ITS Classrooms, GP Lab, and Computer Lab Classroom for Spring 2014
The  (ITS) general purpose computer lab (15/2102), computer lab classroom (15/1104), and technology equipped classrooms and auditoriums managed by ITS will run Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2010 for the spring 2014 term.  Please review the list of planned software and if there is a  software program not recorded that you need installed in the general purpose computer lab (15/2102), computer lab classroom (15/1104), or technology equipped classrooms and auditoriums managed by ITS, please complete the following steps by Friday, November 22.    

  • Submit an ITS-Request.  
  • In the ITS-Request, please give the title of the software, version, vendor, number of licenses purchased, operating system/platform (Windows or MacOS X), and the course name(s) for which the software will be used.  

If you plan to use the university's adopted eInstruction clickers in your classroom next term, please follow these directions by November 22 to request adoption and set up. The steps must be completed by new and current users.  Contact CIRT, cirtlab@unf.edu,  for more information.  

 Questions may be directed to the ITS Help Desk at (904) 620-4357 (HELP) or  helpdesk@unf.edu.

Instructional Design Team
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Before: Preparing, Planning and Designing Your Online Course

  1. Participate in professional development: UNF faculty who wish to teach online should take advantage of the Teaching Online Faculty Development Model offered by CIRT. This professional development model consists of courses on best practices for online tool use (TOL4100), best practices for online course delivery (TOL5100), and best practices for online course development and delivery (TOL6100). All faculty participating in the Teaching Online Faculty Development Model will take the course on best practices for online tool use (TOL4100). Faculty who will deliver an existing online course will benefit from the TOL5100 course and faculty who need to both develop and deliver an online course will benefit from the TOL6100 course.cycle
  2. Reflect on the transition from face-to-face to online: Before beginning the delivery of an online course, faculty should spend some time reflecting on their transition from face-to-face (F2F) to online instruction. The fundamental elements of both online and F2F courses are the same: learning objectives, learning activities, and assessment activities. However, the techniques you use to deliver your course will be very different in the online environment than in the F2F environment. The social interactions and community building must be much more purposeful in an online course than in a F2F course; social interactions will not automatically occur and must be planned in advance utilizing tools such as the Discussion Board, Groups, Collaborate, and Chat. In addition, instructor presence in an online course takes more effort than presence in a F2F course.  Students will only know that you are present if you interact with them by posting Announcements, providing timely feedback on assignments and assessments, and responding to their posts in the Discussion Board.
  3. Course development and consultations: As you are developing your online courses, remember that the Instructional Design Team is available for consultations with UNF faculty. It is important to note that before an online course begins, all course content and activities should be fully developed. It is not realistic to expect to be able to “work ahead” of your students to develop course content and activities as you proceed through the semester. Instead, faculty should focus on interacting with students, providing meaningful feedback to students on assignments and assessments and gathering feedback on the course experience from students during course delivery.

During: Course Delivery

  1. Course delivery: As you are facilitating your online course, it is important to consistently monitor your students’ participation in the learning activities to be proactive in identifying any students’ difficulties with the activities or their loss of engagement. For example, if the students’ participation in a group discussion isn’t meeting your expectations or the students are not engaged, contact one of the CIRT instructional designers before changing or abandoning this activity. By your reviewing this activity with an instructional designer, an enhancement such as adding additional learning resources or breaking down the activity into smaller tasks may be the scaffolding needed for the students to become more engaged. Also, contact an instructional designer if you feel your schedule is being consumed with grading a particular assignment or assessment. There are grading tactics that you can employ to minimize the amount of evaluation feedback that you provide to your students. After you complete the grading for each learning module, document in an online notes program, such as Evernote, “what course content and learning activities worked, which ones did not work, and what you would like to change” so that you will have a reference for making changes before teaching the course again.
  2. Interact with your students: To interact with your students, you can provide feedback either individually or to groups of students. For example, you can provide feedback through the grade center to each student as you grade her/his assignments or discussions and you can provide feedback to a group of students by either submitting a blog post to the group’s discussion forum or sending them a link to a podcast that you’ve created. To interact with all students, you can submit succinct Announcement posts highlighting the learning outcomes of the previous module and relating these to the learning objectives of the next module.   
  3. Gather feedback on course experience from students: To gather feedback from your students about their learning experiences, have them complete both midterm and end of term course evaluation surveys or have them submit a private journal post that only you will review. Include a rubric with this course evaluation assignment, so that the students will include in their journal posts information that will be valuable to you when improving your course.

After: Reflecting and Course Redesign

  1. Reflect on your online teaching experience: Often when we reach the end of a semester, our memory of what took place during the course is selective and we cannot remember both the highs and the lows of the instruction. It is a good idea to take time to look back over all of your course materials (i.e., assignments, quizzes, discussions, announcements, etc.) as well to thoroughly review and analyze the students’ course evaluations in order to honestly assess quality and usefulness. For example, if students misinterpreted the instructions for an assignment, you might consider revisiting the instructions to provide greater clarity, or you might even consider working with an instructional designer to change the assignment to something else. The main purpose in reflecting is to look back, analyze, and review your course with improvement as the primary goal.

  2. Review feedback and survey results: While email and discussion threads are a good place to gather student feedback about your online course, a student survey is likely to garner more useful student input. The reason is that one or two students complaining could be representative of the whole class, or these students might only be an anomaly. Of course, using a survey to gather student feedback is only as useful as you are willing to implement changes in the course. If students universally deride a particular assignment that you enjoy, you will need to make a decision about keeping it or switching it for something else.

  3. Revise course based on reflection and review: One thing to keep in mind when revising your online course is to go back and take a look at the suggestions from the course review completed before the course was taught. Consider whether the suggestions made in this document were implemented correctly and whether other suggestions that were made might be worth adding to the course. Second, when making significant revisions, consider having another set of eyes take a look at the course. For example, have a colleague or instructional designer look through the instructions and assignments to be certain they are intuitive. The process of reflecting on, and redesigning, your online course does not begin at the end, but at the beginning. You should be thinking about reflection and redesign before you ever even begin teaching the course. In the same way, revising the course should not be a one time thing, but an integral part of the ongoing reflect, review, and revise process.



Ross Bell, Coordinator of DL Support
Justin Lerman, Coordinator of DL Training


During the December 17th–19th maintenance window, Blackboard will be upgraded with several features improvements and some long-awaited fixes, as described below.

Also, a reminder that we are discontinuing licensing of the Campus Pack Blogs, Wikis, and Podcasts toolset and replacing those with the Blackboard Blog, Journal and Wiki tools, and with the Sharestream media publishing (no file size limits!) tool for video files and podcasts.

Maintenance Window Changes


  • Improved question creation process in Test and Pools
  • Fix for exporting tests from question pools
  • Greatly improved test taking experience for students
  • Addition of Test Exceptions, which allows for different settings for select students or a group
  • Improved Test deployment options

Grade Center:

  • The inline grading tool has been improved
    • The grading menu can be collapsed
    • Improved rubric grading
  • Improved Mac user experience when working with the Grade Center using Chrome or Safari
  • Graders can provide feedback on graded items without having to enter a grade

Blackboard Collaborate:

  • Blackboard Collaborate recordings can now be copied between courses
  • Complete redesign of the Blackboard Collaborate Scheduling Manager
  • Improved Blackboard Collaborate grade integration (attendance based)

Selected Resolved Issues:

  • When course copying Discussion Boards you are given an option to copy only the forums or the forums with the threads
  • IE8 users can now access Blackboard Collaborate sessions
  • No more security message when trying to open a Web Link in Blackboard
  • Resolves replies are empty in Discussion Board threads
  • Announcement emails no longer display markup from Outlook copied content

To view a comprehensive list of new features in Blackboard Learn SP14, visit Blackboard New Features: Fall 2013 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.

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

Apple released its new operating system for devices in September—iOS 7. The changes include an all new design and new features that take a little time to get used to. There is a bright, bold new color palette with redesigned icons on the home screen, and overall the system has changed from static to dynamic, from tapping to swiping.

iOSOne of the new features that is extremely useful is the Control Center, which gives easy access  to commonly-used settings with a simple swipe. From here you can access Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth toggles, Do Not Disturb, Rotation Lock, Brightness, Volume, Air Drop, Flashlight, Timer, Calculator, and Camera.

The Notification Center is another new feature, and gives you quick access to your day including weather conditions, messages, upcoming calendar events, reminders, and a preview of the next day's events.

Siri also has many improved features including new and improved voices, more resources for gathering data including Bing, Wikipedia and Twitter. Siri is more of a personal assistant now, and can playback voicemail and return calls, along with many other additions.

Many of the default apps have improvements. The system's default browser, Safari, has some major changes in look and functionality. IOS 7's camera introduces a new 'square' format option along with live filters that you can set before filming, or adjust after. The Calendar, Notes, and Reminders all have a simpler, more elegant typographic style that are easier to read and navigate.

Overall, there are a lot of new gestures. Swipe up from the bottom for the Control Center. Swipe down from the top for the Notification Center. Swipe down from the middle of the home screen to get to the Search field. Swipe left to move backwards in an app. Double tap the home button to access the apps you have open in the background, and swipe upward on the app to close it (you can close two at a time by using two fingers).

For more information on the new features and improvements in iOS 7, visit http://www.apple.com/ios/


UNF’s first Academic Technology Innovation Symposium, held on October 2nd, was a huge success with great turnout and dynamic presentations. The symposium was designed to showcase innovative academic technologies currently in use by UNF and to open a dialogue about the potential enhancement and facilitation of online learning through technology.

The morning started with six presentations spotlighting interesting and/or innovative work being done currently by UNF faculty. Titles of presentations included:

symposiumJim Groom, the Keynote speaker and Director of the Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies at the University of Mary Washington shared his personal experience titled, “ds106: This Course Could Be Your Life.” The presentation described how his small, in-person course evolved into an online teaching experiment that ultimately grew into a global learning community. Jim recently had some kind words for the event in his blog post “UNF Could Be Your Life”.

After the keynote and lunch, break-out sessions provided the opportunity for further discussion of the topics covered in the day’s presentations, as well as 3D Printing,  Badging, Digital Repositories as a Tool for Research and Teaching, and Social Media in the Classroom.

Finally, the symposium harnessed the power of technology by encouraging attendees to contribute content and ideas prior to, and during the event, by tweeting and instagramming with the hashtag #UNFIS. The hashtag was active throughout the event with tweets and pictures providing a real time, interactive experience which was broadcast on several monitors using the webapp tagboard.

If you missed us this year, you can check out our speakers’ presentations on the Spotlights page, under each presenter’s bio. Video will soon be added to the site, and be sure to check out the Photo Album on Facebook.



makerbot3D printing, or additive manufacturing, is an amazing new facet of rapid manufacturing technology that allows real-life, physical objects to be created from 3D models designed on the computer. However, small-scale 3D printers are still in their early stages, and the design process takes some time to get the hang of and the actual process of printing requires a some background knowledge to be successful. Regardless, there are many applications for 3D printing in higher education: engineering prototypes, molecular models, re-creation of lost fragments of pottery & clay tablets, bone structure & anatomical studies, microscope accessories, or fashion design—the sky’s the limit.

At CIRT, we have added Makerbot Replicator 2 3D printer to our lab space. The Makerbot Replicator 2 is an additive 3D printer. Which basically means that it adds filament (PLA plastic) layer by layer on a build plate until an object is formed. Before printing, the 3D model is ‘sliced’ into a stack of pieces by Makerware and the printer takes it from there. The object is divided into hundreds, if not thousands, of pieces (similar to a very complexly portioned bread loaf) and the printer tackles them one by one in succession until the object is formed. If you can imagine a highly sophisticated, automated glue gun, that is basically what we have here. Instead of only printing on the X & Y axes (as your typical home printer does), it adds a Z axis to create height and depth, lifting the object out of its 2D slumber. Check out our MakerBot Replicator photo gallery on Facebook!

There are several types of filament available for an additive 3D printing.  ABS, (acrylonitrile butadiene), PLA (a corn-based, biodegradable, & strong plastic), Flexible filament, and Dissolvable filament (dissolves in limolene). CIRT uses PLA to build objects due to its strength, even melt temperature, and reduced environmental impact.

CIRT’s 3D printer is currently available for faculty use. If you have any questions or comments, we would be happy to consult with you about your project ideas or answer any inquiries that you may have.




CIRT joined Facebook over our summer vacation. Visit and Like us for more frequent updates and to see our awesome photo albums.



A new tool will be available at the end of this semester to assist instructors in moving final grades from Blackboard to myWings. The tool will allow instructors to send any grade of a D or higher that is recorded in the Total Column to the final grade entry page in myWings. This will work for both single and multi-section courses. Instructors will still be required to review and submit the grades in myWings, and to enter the appropriate information there for F’s and Incompletes. Look for more information and instructions in a December email.



Women at Crossroads: Literacy, Leadership, Power and Technology
February 21 & 22, 2014, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida. Morgridge International Reading Center. The conference invites dialogues surrounding Women’s Issues about the areas of information and knowledge: power and leadership; education and policy; technology and infrastructure that affect women in the intersections of race, social class, gender and sexuality on intellectual and institutional perspectives, local and global forums, public and intimate spaces. All disciplines and levels of professional and graduate scholarship are welcome. This conference will foster the discussion of global issues affecting women directly or indirectly through education, the use of technology and the transformation of leadership skills.

To learn more or submit an abstract, please visit http://womensstudies.cah.ucf.edu/wic/abstracts.php


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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