A New Method to Request and End Instructor or Course Observer Access

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In an earlier announcement, we mentioned starting a pilot to test if the course copy process could be self-supported where faculty could complete them on their own. Ultimately, this would eliminate the need for the course request form; however, we are well aware that certain circumstances may require us to support the process on a case-by-case basis. We have not set a due date yet for when the course request form would expire, but one important part of the form includes requesting instructor access or course observer access.

Why Do I Need Instructor or Course Observer Access

A person would ask for instructor access if more than one instructor is assigned to a single course, such as in a team-teaching scenario. A person would request course observer access if they are supervisory faculty and need it for evaluation or emergency reasons.

New Process

In order to keep the integrity of instructor access and the course observer role, we are now transitioning to email requests for this process. To request instructor access or course observer access, email us at ctlsupport@forsythtech.edu and put instructor access or course observer access in the subject line. We need accurate course section information for this request to be successful.

Removing Course Observer Access

If you would like for us to remove course observer access for a specific course(s), you must send another email and state this in the message. It is EXTREMELY important that you ask us to remove course observer access when you are finished. This will help rectify an ongoing issue with Blackboard courses not appearing in the My Courses list for faculty due to being enrolled in over 100+ courses. As we remove access to the courses that you do not need in your My Course list, other courses that were not visible will begin to show.

If you have any questions about this process, please contact James Cook or Helen Dollyhite.

Clarifcation: We are Still Accepting Blackboard Course Requests

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Blackboard, General Information

Yesterday, I posted an TechLink announcement and sent an email through the academic deans in regards to submitting Blackboard course requests as early as possible. Based on this terminology, “course request,” I feel there is some confusion…especially since empty course shells appear in Blackboard by default.

What I was referring to is the course copy process, the process of copying course content from a previous semester to the current semester (Fall 2017). This is what we are often bombarded with two-to-three days before a new semester begins. To prevent this, we are asking that you submit those requests sooner.

This post/email also brought some other interesting questions to the forefront. For example, some asked “Will there ever come a day when we don’t have to request the course shells?” Yes, that day is now. Technically, you do not have to submit a request to get content copied from one course to the other. Also, since course shells appear by default, you can work on your blank course now. Since this has been a repeated request, the time has come to begin working on ways to promote how to accurately do this process on your own without error. We will try a soft launch for the Spring 2018 semester. If you are interested in piloting the process this fall for preparation of the spring semester, please let us know. We need 10 people to support this pilot that will begin in October.

If you have any questions or need further clarification about this post/email, please let me know. Thank you for your patience and forwardness to ask for clarification. It is appreciated.

Getting Started with Blackboard for F2F Classes: Five Basic Functions to Be Successful

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Blackboard, Critical Announcements, Teaching with Technology

The Center for Transformative Learning developed a course to assist you on how to create a companion site for your face-to-face class:

  1. Navigate the Blackboard course menu;
  2. Update your instructor information;
  3. Upload a syllabus;
  4. Create an assignment; and
  5. Set up the Grade Center.

To access this online training, faculty need to self-enroll in the Blackboard course by following the directions in How to Self-Enroll in Blackboard Training or by watching the video below:

If you have any questions with How to Self-Enroll in Blackboard Training, the Basic Blackboard Course Requirements training course, or the face-to-face training opportunities, please contact Learning Technologies via email: learningtech@forsythtech.edu.

Get to Know Me: Making an Announcement that Welcomes and Informs

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Blackboard, Effective Teaching Strategies

Authored by: Amy Archambault

Online courses pose both opportunities and challenges for student retention. Some of the challenges in retaining online students is to keep them engaged and connected with the different learning environment experience. Studies show that “student’s dropout because of:

  • Feelings of isolation, frustration and disconnection;
  • Failure to make contact with faculty;
  • Inadequate contact with students by faculty; and
  • Lack of clarity in instructional direction or expectations” (Lehman & Conceicao, 2014)

To better support students, The Center for Transformative Learning recommends that instructors create a welcome announcement prior to the start of each semester. Not only will this allow students to know that they are in the correct course and semester, but also, it will provide a way for the student to be introduced to their instructor and learn expectations.

We recommend the follow components be included in the announcement:

  • Current course name and semester. For example, “Welcome to Intro to Business, Fall 2016”
  • Brief instructor introduction
  • Provide simple orientation to the course; briefly explain what they will find under each menu item
  • Provide a link to the course entry assignment and some description of what they are to do. The video (see below) explains how to create an announcement, which includes using the Course Link Feature

By including these items in a welcoming announcement to each course, instructors will be engaging with their students from the very beginning of the semester. It would be the hope that by making this connection, students will feel more engaged and motivated to stay in their online courses.

Works Cited

Lehman, R. M., & Conceicao, S. C. (2014). Motivating and Retaining Online Students. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Creating a Course Entry Assignment

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Blackboard, Critical Announcements

In the fall semester of the 2013-2014 academic year, a standardized course entry assignment was introduced to satisfy auditing of attendance in online classes. The assignment was also placed in hybrid classes in case students accessed the online portion of the course first. The Learning Technologies Committee, which consists of faculty and staff, was charged to update parameters for the assignment in a way that provides flexibility for faculty. This post explains the purpose of the course entry assignment and its importance for audit tracking.The Learning Technologies Committee re-evaluated the course entry assignment during the Fall 2015 semester. After extensive work with committee members and faculty feedback, we are happy to introduce updated parameters regarding the assignment.

Process Summary

  1. The course entry assignment for each Blackboard online and hybrid section (Sections 800-949) must be ready and available for students on the first day of class.
  2. You may use the discussion board icebreaker, which is the default course entry assignment, or any assignment in your course as long as it is due on or before the census date (your course’s 10% point). To learn more about the Course Entry Assignment parameters, view this PDF.
  3. For efficiency, it is highly recommended you use features in Blackboard that requires students to submit something such as a test, graded discussion, document upload, etc.).
  4. You must change the grade center column name to Course Entry Assignment. For a tutorial on how to do this, view this PDF.
  5. To verify student enrollment, assignments must be submitted prior to the census date. This does not mean graded, which can be done later. Please adhere to your respective division policies if there are different requirements.
  6. Use Blackboard as your guide for marking No Shows and enrollment (E) dates in Web Attendance. Due dates for marking these are dispersed by your respective divisions. To find submission dates in Blackboard, view this PDF. To learn how to mark No Shows and E’s in Web Attendance, view this PDF.
  7. Students marked as No Shows will not change in Blackboard until the Record’s Office and Snapshot runs their respective processes. For more information about Snapshot, please view the information on this page.

What is a Census Date?

  • The census date, also known as a course’s 10% point, is the last day students must verify enrollment (E) in their course. Failure to do so will result in a No Show (NS). The census date can be found using the Class Roster in Web Advisor for Faculty on Techlink.
  • Enrollments and No Shows must be accurately reflected in Web Attendance.
  • When a student submits the Course Entry Assignment, the date of their submission is the enrollment date and must be entered in Web Attendance with an “E” to show the first date of course attendance.
  • If a student does not complete any course work by the end of the census date, you must mark this student as a No Show by placing a check in the appropriate box in Web Attendance.
  • Enrollments and No Shows must be marked by the due date, often shared by the division’s administrative staff, because a process is ran by the Record’s Office to capture notations in Web Attendance.
  • Once the Record’s Office completes the above-mentioned process, students who were marked as No Shows are removed from your Blackboard course.

Tutorials Regarding the Course Entry Assignment