Effective Practices in Hybrid Course Conversational Seminars

Due to an increasing need of hybrid courses on Woodbridge Campus, Instructional Support Services will collaborate with Extended Learning Institute (ELI) to offer four conversational seminars about effective practices in hybrid courses.

These seminars will be facilitated and shared by Dr. Hong Wang, Associate Director of Instructional Technology Training from ELI who is the lead facilitator for the Hybrid Certification online workshop; Dr. Bo Yang, Instructional Support Specialist from Learning & Technology Resources Division on Woodbridge Campus; and some faculty who have taught hybrid courses on Woodbridge Campus. The seminars are conversational format and we welcome your questions, experience and ideas.

These sessions are NOT a replacement of the Hybrid Certification training program and will only serve as peer sharing sessions to support effective practices in hybrid courses. All faculty who have taught hybrid courses and faculty who are interested or are going to teach hybrid courses are welcome to join us each month.

  • 12:30-1:30pm Feb. 22, Conversations on Effective Practices in Hybrid Courses: An Overview (WAS 230M)
  • Mar. 8, Conversations on Effective Practices in Hybrid Courses: Developing and Blending Content (TBD)
  • Mar. 22, Conversations on Effective Practices in Hybrid Courses: Developing and Blending Interaction/Collaboration (WAS 202)
  • April 26, Conversations on Effective Practices in Hybrid Courses: Developing and Blending Assignments/Assessment (WAS 202)

We’re looking forward to seeing you in these seminars! Refreshments are provided!

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Mobile Learning for Students, Faculty and Staff

With moving class to online or losing some class time, you might wonder how to engage students in different approach, saying outside the classroom. This email serves as information sharing and tutorials on Mobile Learning.

Mobile learning lets students benefit from interacting with their course content on the devices that they use to connect with every other aspect of their lives, nearly 24/7. The attached PDF file “Mobile Learning for Students” contains links to

  1. How to configure their college student email on their smartphone (iOS and Android );
  2. How to use Blackboard App for accessing announcement, participating In discussion, taking test, checking grades, joining Collaborate synchronous session in Blackboard.

 Mobile Learning for Students

Mobile learning is also beneficial for faculty, which gives instructors a quick and easy way to manage courses, interact with students, and view content. The attached PDF file “Mobile Teaching for Faculty” contains links to

  1. How to configure your college email on your smartphone (iOS and Android)
  2. How to use Blackboard Instructor app to manage your courses, preview content, create/reply to discussion, post announcement and host a Collaborate synchronous session;
  3. How to use Bb Grader to grade students work.

Mobile Teaching for Faculty

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Updates & Tutorials on Set up Grade Center in Bb (Campus Closing Support)

Dear Colleagues,

ISS has been relocated to Library WAS 230R and 230Q. There’re a couple of laptops here that you can use. Please feel free to stop by for the office space as needed.

Also, we have some iPads for faculty rolling into classroom use. Please contact me, if you need them for your teaching.

The library has a courtesy charging station for your laptop, please see the attached image. It’s located at the back of the library area. Please check with circulation desk staff for assistance.

This email also services as a tutorial for faculty to set up your Grade Center in Blackboard, so you can put all the grades online and students can track their progress. Please check out the attached PDF file for the step by step instruction.

Adding Columns to the Grade Center: There’re two ways to create columns to record the grades in Grade center: One is to use the “Create Column” option in the tool bar so you can manually enter the grades (such as exams or essays). another ways is certain types of assessments in Blackboard will automatically create their own columns in the Grade Center for you. These are: tests and quizzes created through the Test or Survey Manager; Discussion Board forums or threads (if you pick the Graded option); blogs, journals and wikis (if the grading option is selected); and Assignment or SafeAssign content types.

Weighted Total vs. Total: the two columns are created by default in every Blackboard shell. The Total column shows the number of points attained out of the total possible. The Weighted Total shows the current total as determined by the weighting scheme set in the Edit Column Informationpage. If you set up a Weighted Total, then it does not matter how many total points there are possible in the course assignments; there could be 100 points total, or 350, or 1175 for all the assignments. The final grade will be calculated proportionately according to the weighting scheme.

Calculate as Running Total: the default option is “Yes,” which means that the grade is determined based on items graded, not on all items possible. This gives a more accurate sense of where a student is at any point in the semester.

Setting up Weighted Total, you need to:

  1. Create categories;
  2. Based on your weighting scheme, set up weighted total with categories/columns; and
  3. Assign grade columns to the categories.

In this way, Blackboard system will automatically calculate the total and weighted total for you during the semester.  You can also use this approach to calculate the attendance and more.

Reference: https://www.hamilton.edu/documents/Weighting_Grades_in_Blackboard.pdf

Set up Weighted Total by Categories PDF file

Laptop Charging Station in Library
Laptop Charging Station in LIbrary

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Running a Collaborate Session (Campus Closing Support)

This post was created by Dr. Julie Quinn

Dear Faculty and Staff,

As we do not meet our classes tomorrow, consider trying out a Blackboard Collaborate Ultra session with your students. This is e-meeting software built right into Blackboard. You can use the software for office hours (as Dr. Bo Yang recently let you know about) or for synchronous meetings with your students. If you do plan on using the software, here are a few tips to make that process much smoother the first time around.


  1. Everyone (including you!) should use headsets; this helps eliminate echoes from hearing yourself on someone else’s speakers
  2. Mics work great in smaller class settings. For bigger classes, mute everyone unless they raise their hands. There is also a chat function built into Collaborate that allows students who are not on the mic to still post questions/responses.
  3. Ask that students enter the room early (default is 15 minutes) to practice with mic and headset settings.



  1. Don’t do too much that first class! For example, I have two 112s meeting tomorrow on collaborate. I plan on the first 10-15 minutes being a technology setup, then 10 minutes for Q&A/catch-up, then 15 minutes to review readings, then another 15 or so for lecture content. If it doesn’t roll that way, that’s ok!
  2. You can upload slides, but again, don’t do too much. To upload PPT slides, go to the “share content” option as you expand the pink arrows button on the bottom right side. Remember that uploaded slides become static images, so you lose animation and any built-in audio.
  3. Record that setting! Some students who miss the session can still benefit from hearing about it and can find it by going back into the Collaborate Ultra link and searching under the “filter by” and “All previous sessions” option.
  4. Offer a bit of extra credit for students who show up *and* participate? This is just an incentive to get a few more attendees to these sessions and to focus during the sessions.
  5. Balance your classes with Collaborate sessions for one meeting and a discussion board activity the next if necessary. Too many discussion boards can get quite fatiguing! It’s impossible to respond to 125 students in a few days, and it’s better to have opportunities for synchronous and asynchronous activities to balance out your workload and the students’. Try Collaborate Ultra!


Honestly, the best way to learn Collaborate Ultra is to just dive in.

To set up a session:

  1. Go to a content area (or create one!) and find the “tools” sub-menu. Choose “Blackboard Collaborate Ultra” from that sub-menu.
  2. You’ll then just create a link into Collaborate Ultra. (Note:this is not the OLD “Blackboard Collaborate” link that’s lower in the list. Please don’t use that one.)
  3. Once in there, set up your session. I called mine “January 29th Meeting” for clarity, for example.
  4. Remember to post an announcement telling students where to find this Collaborate link!


Check out my video below for a quick tutorial on how to set up a session. Dr. Bo Yang also has sent some fantastic emails about Continuity of Instruction that she sent last week. Those will help give you set up alternative course delivery ideas as well.

Reach out to either Bo or myself if you have any questions. Great luck to you this week!

Julie Quinn


Recorded with https://screencast-o-matic.com


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Using Blackboard Collaborate Ultra to Host Office Hour (Campus Closing Support)

You might wonder whether you could host a virtual office hour with your students as needed.  Here’re the tutorial on using Blackboard Collaborate Ultra  to conduct virtual Office Hours, Q&A session or advising session.

Be aware, this synchronous communication will require participants log into virtual room at the same time. You do need communicate well with your students about the meeting time and the link for virtual classroom. Also, some students might not be able to attend the virtual classroom due to limited resources. Instructor could offer it as optional communication approach, and record the session to share with students who couldn’t attend.


Using Blackboard Collaborate Ultra to Host Virtual Office Hours PDF file for instructor

Join Blackboard Collaborate Ultra Virtual Classroom PDF file for students on how to join the virtual classroom.

How to retrieve the recordings? 

Recordings are saved on the same page you joined your session from.

Have you created a link to the Ultra page? If yes, students can use that link to the page you started creating session, and on the left near top corner, there’s three lines icon, click it and you should be able to see a hidden menu with session and recordings title there. Click the recordings, the one your recorded should list there.

If you didn’t create a link at the beginning, you can go to the Ultra landing page and click that three lines icon to switch to recordings page. Once you see your recording, there’s three dots inside a circle icon for that recording, there’s a shared link that you can use.

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Moving Courses Online: Discussion Board Best Practices (Campus Closing Support)

This post is created by Dr. Julie Quinn

I’ve put together a small video on Discussion Board Best Practices, and this is for those faculty who haven’t used the space before or in a few years. Most of these tips you’re already aware of, so just think of it as a refresher.

Good luck over the next few days! Reach out to Bo or myself if you want one-on-one support in setting up a discussion board and brainstorming how to keep students involved.


Recorded with https://screencast-o-matic.com
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Continuity of Instruction at the Challenging Time (Campus Closing Support)

In responding to our campus emergency closing, here are some strategies to continue your teaching and communicate with your students, even without meeting them in person!

  1. Dr. Julie Quinn has sent a GREAT video tutorial for using Blackboard Announcement to communicate with your student! Please do check it out! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IS60iUNHGyA&feature=youtu.be&hd=1

    Recorded with https://screencast-o-matic.com
  2. Upload course content into Blackboard system so students could access your PPT slides, reading materials, videos or web content. Here’s the tutorial to check out: https://help.blackboard.com/Learn/Instructor/Course_Content/Create_Content/Create_Course_Materials/Types_of_Course_Content
  3. Use Discussion Board to replace the classroom discussion and Q&A session to engage students. This is asynchronous communication, so students could take time to ponder before they post their ideas. You may see more thoughtful conversations play out. Here’s the tutorial for using Discussion Board: https://help.blackboard.com/Learn/Student/Interact/Discussions
  4. Create Blackboard Assignment for students to submit their digital assignment. Here’s the tutorial you can check out: https://help.blackboard.com/Learn/Instructor/Assignments/Create_and_Edit_Assignments;
  5. You can send this tutorial to your students on how to Submit Assignment in Blackboard: https://help.blackboard.com/Learn/Student/Assignments/Submit_Assignments
    Where do I find my assignments? Doesn’t seem familiar? Jump to the “Ultra” help about accessing assignments. Your instructor can add assignments to different areas of …
  6. Dr. Julie Quinn’s video shows you how to Send Email to your whole class. Please do check that out for your convenience!
  7. Using Blackboard Collaborate Ultra or Google Hangouts to conduct virtual Office Hours, Q&A session or advising session. Be aware, this synchronous communication will require participants log into virtual room at the same time. Some students might not be able to do so, and instructor could offer as optional communication approach, and record the session to share with students who could attend, as needed.  Check out tutorial for moderator: https://help.blackboard.com/Collaborate/Ultra/Moderator
  8. You can share this tutorial for students to participate in the Blackboard Collaborate Ultra: https://help.blackboard.com/Collaborate/Ultra/Participant
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Adding Narration to Your Existing PowerPoint (Campus Closing Support)

For those faculty who prefer to using your existing PowerPoint slides and want to add some narration, this PDF file will show you how to do that quickly in PowerPoint.

Add Narration to Your Existing PowerPoint PDF file created by ISS

If you couldn’t find Record tab, you can create your own. Here’re steps:

  1. If yes, Open your PPT file, go to File > Option > Customize Ribbon. On the right column under Main Tab, choose one of item called “New Tab (Custom)” and rename it as “Record”.
  2. Select this tab and click “New Group” button at the bottom and give the name such as “Recording”.
  3. Look at the left column “Choose commands from” section, Change the “Popular Commands” to “All Commands” so you will be able to see some recording options: Record Audio, Record Slide Show, Start Recording from Beginning, Start Recording from Current Slides.
  4. Choose each of them click “Add>” button in the middle to move to the new group you just created in step 2.  You do need to select that group before you move the commands.
  5. by the end, you should be able to create your own Record tab with those commands.
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Using Blackboard to Contact Students (Campus Closing Support)

This post is created by Dr. Julie Quinn

Here’s a quick video that builds on Dr. Bo Yang’s great email about Screencast-o-Matic earlier today. I created this how-to video right in that software, and I hope you check it out. It’s a wonderful option for lecture capture as a replacement for in-class lecturing, especially when you cannot come to campus.

This video below is just a reminder of how to set up those Blackboard Announcements, how to hyperlink to web readings or attach files in the announcements, and how to map the announcement to another place in Blackboard, like a discussion board forum (which is a great substitute for in-class discussions in the short term). This early in the semester, it’s important to guide students (esp. if they’re 1st- or 2nd-semester freshmen) to where you want them to go online so everyone shows up in the right space while campus is closed.

Reach out to me if you need any help or support. You can call my cell tomorrow or Friday at 202-422-7667.


Recorded with https://screencast-o-matic.com
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Screencast-O-Matic: A user-friendly lecture capture tool for your missed class time (Campus Closing Support)

The campus is closed today due to water main break. You might want to catch up with your missed class time in some way.  Please see attached PDF for a very user-friendly lecture capture tool that you can easily record your lecture to share with students.

If you prefer the video tutorials, you can check out the following links:

http://help.screencast-o-matic.com/channels/cD6qqL3yt#navback Recorder Intros

http://help.screencast-o-matic.com/channels/cD6qq83yu#navback  Recorder Uploading %+& Saving to Video

Screencast-O-Matic Tutorial (PDF) tutorial created by ISS.

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