Monday, November 9, 2009

Blackboard Blackberry App

I mentioned D2L last week, so it is only fair to talk about Blackboard this week. Blackboard just released the Blackberry Blackboard App, which provides similar functionality to the iPhone app that was released earlier in the year.

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Intelligent Agents in D2L

I have been teaching a class in Desire2Learn (MKT 595: Internet Marketing) as part of long-term study and comparison of Learning Management Systems (teaching in Blackboard, D2L and Moodle to explore the respective advantages and disadvantages of each system). My colleagues in SNL, SoE and SPS are doing the same. I had not posted about my experiments here, but have decided that I should.

This week I decided to see how well Intelligent Agents could be put to use. Intelligent Agents are scriptable events that send out e-mails based upon a set of criteria. You could use them to send a gentle nudge to students who had not logged into the course for several days, or who had not completed an assignment before the deadline.

This is a great feature, but I did not want to send students automated e-mails until I had tested things for myself. What I did instead was to create an intelligent agent that sent me e-mail as each of students completed milestone tasks. This highlighted some issues that I would have to work through:

  1. I received some spurious messages with this text:

    {term not found: IntelligentAgents.Shared.emailConfirmationBody}

    I am assuming that this is a mis-configuration on my part. I will investigate further…..
  2. My spam/junk filter quarantined some of the e-mail messages. This happened at two stages; externally from our Postini service, internally from Entourage/Outlook. I had to manually recover the messages.

Based upon this information, I would use this procedure with Intelligent Agents:

  1. Create agents from a tested template.
  2. Ask students to add the Intelligent Agent e-mail address to their whitelist or address book (so that the e-mails would not be stopped by spam filtering).
  3. CC myself on the student e-mail.

Overall, I am impressed with the feature. I just need to experiment with it more.

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Technology Tuesday: Blackboard Makeover

On Tuesday I gave a short presentation on how to spruce up your Blackboard site with a simple makeover.

A video and PDF handout is now available. You can watch the video in a streaming format, or download to iPods, iPhones and iTunes and watch at your leisure. The video is about 25 minutes long. The PDF handout has some quick Blackboard tips and suggestions.

Feel free to share with your colleagues.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

LMS Show and Tell

Today has been a highly-productive day, in which we have looked at the new features of Blackboard (9) and Desire2Learn. Tomorrow we get to look at Moodle and Angel.

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Blackboard 9

The University of Southern California has posted a fantastic video that outlines the new features of Blackboard 9 (they are upgrading from 7 to 9). Thanks to Jason Rhode for sharing this. Quick takeaways:
  • Grade Center loads faster (allegedly)
  • Grade Center records history of changed grades
  • Peer Assessment
  • Dropbox is dead
  • Groups are improved (random enrollment, create multiple groups at one time)
  • Blogs and journal tools

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Learning Management Systems

My colleagues here at DePaul circulated this rather interesting article from the Chronicle of Higher Education. This comes as we are looking at the future of Blackboard, and alternatives to Blackboard.

 

On  April 17th we will hold a “Kick The Tires” event in which there will be the opportunity to look at the major learning management systems.

 

A week later there will be a two-day event in which vendors from Desire2Learn, Blackboard, Angel and Moodle will demonstrate the features and functionality of their systems – focusing on Learning Management, Content Management and ePorfolio solutions.

 

If you work at DePaul please sign up for these great events!

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Blackboard 8 Upgrade

A week ago DePaul upgraded our Blackboard Learning Management System to version 8. Much hard work in the background resulted in a largely uneventful migration – thanks go out to ITD and IS here.

Jeanne Kim of IDD has assembled a list of resources for staff and faculty who are interested in digging into the capabilities of the new system:

Internal

  • DePaul ITD (Instructional Technology Development) - A comprehensive series of FAQs and worksheets to download.

External

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Blackboard 8 Upgrade

DePaul’s Learning Management System (Blackboard) will be upgraded to version 8 on the weekend of November 29/30. The new version of Blackboard has significant improvements. The notable features are:

  • Wimba integration. Each Blackboard course has a corresponding Wimba room.
  • Improved discussion board
  • Enhanced Gradebook
  • New quiz and assessment methods
  • SafeAssign integration (plagiarism prevention tool – similar to Turn-it-In)

 ITD is providing training for all these new features. I highly recommend that you sign up.

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