Spring 2015 is seeing some new and very important updates to the CUNY Blackboard environment.

Student Preview

The Student Preview is one of the most useful additions  to the Blackboard toolkit to come along in a long time.   The new Student Preview button allows you to see the course as the student is seeing it at that moment.  It is the best way to verify which folders and items are available and how they appear in the content areas.  Also,  you can try out assessments like assignments and tests that you post and get your own grade report in the Grade Center and in “My Grades”, which previously was not possible.  Besides making it possible to verify what you are posting to your students, it makes it less confusing for both you and your students when you demonstrate your course and how to access the assets you post on it.

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ePortfolio and Group Assignment Submission

When you create an assignment, in the Create Assignment page you are given submission options under Submission Details. One option is for the type of assignment – individual, group or portfolio.  Individual submissions are the standard assignment which  has been used in Blackboard for years. With Group submissions groups that have already been created are selected for the particular assignment.

EPortfolios in Blackboard is something completely new to Hostos and CUNY Blackboard users.  Blackboard has its own ePortfolio system, which is separate and distinct from the one Hostos uses in its ePortfolio Initiative.  That ePortfolio system is hosted by Digication.  There is no functional connection between Blackboard and Digication ePortfolios, so that ePortfolios created in Blackboard cannot be easily imported into Digication and vice versa. However, it might be desirable for some faculty for students to submit assignments in a portfolio format.  Blackboard portfolios are a topic that really can’t be covered sufficiently in this article.  If you have any questions or are interested in using Blackboard portfolios please contact us at the EdTech office.

SafeAssign now accessed through the Assignment tool link

Another option that can be chosen in Assignment Submissions is whether you want to submit the assignment as a SafeAssignment.”  Previously when you wanted to post a SafeAssignment you navigated to the SafeAssigment link under the Assessments Action Link button in the bar at the top of the content area.  Now you create a SafeAssignment by  going to the Assignment link, like a standard assignment.  In the Create Assignment page you then, under Submission Details, select “check submission for plagiarism using SafeAssign.”  Thus SafeAssignment is now treated as a standard  assignment with the SafeAssign plagiarism check applied to it.

Also in this area you can set to Exclude submissions from the Institutional and Global References Database.  This is useful when multiple attempts are selected for submission.

Anonymous and Delegated Grading of Assignments

In the Create Assignment page under Grading Options, you can choose to Enable Anonymous Grading.  Faculty may find this useful if they are concerned about bias in grading.  Another option is to allow for Delegated Grading by different course users.  For the graders, you can choose to have them grade all submissions or a random set, and if random set is chosen, the number of submissions in the set.

Please contact us at EdTech if you have any questions about these new features or any questions concerning Blackboard or anything related to technology appllications inteaching and learning.

Setting Significant Figures in Calculated Formula questions

When adding a calculated formula  question, you have the options to define the variables, set minimum and maximum values for the variables, and determine number of decimal places.  A new option allows you to set the number of  significant figures that the answer is calculted to.


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