University Learning Management System Update

The University Learning Management System (LMS) Blackboard was updated on January the 17th 2015. The update introduced new tools and enhancements to existing features. The following list of new features provides brief descriptions with links to further information and demonstration videos.

Calendar

Individual users now have more choice about how their calendars are formatted both in the Calendar tool and when making date selections.

Users can now:

  • Alter the first day of the week starting monthly and weekly calendar views
  • Display modes now include the Hijri Islamic lunar calendar
  • Filter dates and events by course

To learn more see: Calendar

Content editor

The content editor spell check option is now ON by default.

To learn more see: Content editor

Notifications

Accessed through the global navigation menu, the Updates page shows all notifications for each unit of study and eCommunity web site that the user is enrolled in or teaches (see notifications).

Posts remain in My Blackboard for seven days. Student grades stay in My Blackboard for as long as they have access to their courses. Updates can also be dismissed after viewing.

To learn more see: Updates

Date management tool

Instructors can use the date management tool to easily adjust all content and tool dates in their courses. Accessed from the Control Panel in the Course Tools section, dates can be adjusted automatically or individually from one convenient location.

All items with date settings are supported by date management, including:

  • Content such as items, files and audio
  • Assessments such as tests, surveys and assignments
  • Tools such as discussions, blogs, journals and announcements
  • Manual grade columns
  • Course and organisation tasks

Note: Turnitin assignments will have to have their dates adjusted manually.

To learn more see: Date management

Grade centre improvements

Anonymous grading

Enabling anonymous grading during the assignment creation stage allows instructors to grade without identifying the student who has submitted the assignment. Student names will be hidden from submission attempts, but instructors must also tell students not to include any identifying information in the assignment.

To learn more see: Anonymous grading

Delegated grading

Instructors can delegate grading to specific users in their course. Using grades and feedback from more than one grader can help to promote reliability. For large classes the grading task can be divided among teaching assistants and other graders. Delegated graders follow the same grading steps as instructors, however the group of assignment attempts that they see are based on the options set by the instructor.

To learn more see:
Delegated grading
Delegated grading - best practice

Improvements to online tests

Calculated Formula is a new question type available for selection when creating online tests. Students are presented with a question that requires them to make a calculation and respond with a numeric answer. The numbers in the question change with each user and are pulled from a range that is set by the instructor. The correct answer can be a specific value or a range of values and instructors may grant partial credit for answers falling within a range. Calculated formula questions are graded automatically.

To learn more see: Calculated formula questions

Student preview

The student preview tool has been updated with new features.

Instructors can view their course exactly as a student does by using the system-generated student account.

In student preview mode:

  • Each instructor will now have their own 'student preview' user
  • The preview student user can appear in the grade centre
  • Instructors have the option to keep or delete the student data
  • Multiple 'preview' users make it easier for multiple instructors to test activities as students

To access the student preview mode, click the Student Preview function at the top-right corner of the course page. This function creates a student account, called the preview user, logs you into the LMS as that student and enrols you in the current course. When you enter this mode the 'Student Preview mode is ON' bar appears at the top of every page and has Settings and Exit preview functions.

To learn more see: Student preview

Library eReadings link

The Build Content function now contains an option to create a link to your online course readings. The link directs students to the library eReadings page specific to your unit of study or otherwise specified in the link options.