Thursday, December 13, 2012

December Ad Hoc Technology Plan Team Meeting

The KCTCS Technology Plan Ad Hoc Team met Thursday, December 13.  The agenda, which also contains some of Ben's notes, is linked below.

December Peer Team Meeting

The KCTCS Distance Learning Peer Team met on Tuesday, December 11.  The agenda is linked below.  Key talking points were the Bb SP 10 roll out, which is proceeding as planned.  More info in the agenda.  Ask Ben if you have questions.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Incomplete Grades

Issuing an incomplete grade for online students does present a few challenges.  Key points about are listed in this link:


After the end of each term, all official student enrollments for that term will be made unavailable. This will make the courses disappear from the students’ course list. If there is a student with an incomplete grade in a class after the end of the term, you will need to make that student’s enrollment available again to continue to allow them access to the Blackboard course (Control Panel> Users and Groups >Users. Click the “Properties” button next to the student who needs access to the course and set the availability to “Yes”). 


The incomplete grade should only be given if. . . 
  • There is a reasonable expectation that the student can complete the missing assignments.
  • The student has completed at least 50% of the coursework (preferably more).
  • The instructor, student and an academic dean sign a form lists the assignments the student must complete and the due dates for those assignments.

For example, an incomplete might be given to a student who, because of hospitalization is unable to complete a final course assignment.  

Instructors should check that the student has all the resources available to him or her in order to complete the remaining assignment(s) and that the student fully understands what work is due and when.  E.g. you might require that a student submit a document via KCTCS email on a certain date.  If an exam is involved, you could contact the Distance Learning Office to schedule that exam.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Master Course Shells

Bluegrass is starting an initiative to place commonly used courseshells in Blackboard such that can be shared with instructors who wish to use them.  Some of the details of this initiative:

  • Courses will be placed in Bb as development courses.
  • Common naming template:  bl_8888_dev_eng_101_master
  • Distance Learning will keep an inventory of these courseshells
  • Connie R. and my office will assist with course copy into instructors' shells
  • There is potential for on ground use as well.  E.g. An area might want to have commonly used links, files, and other information uploaded into all shells for a specific area.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


It's not just a movie snack . . .

When you’ve got 5 minutes, take a look at this Ted Talks presenting a linkfree web tool (Popcorn Maker) that allows you to add dynamic and interactive web content directly to your video…giving you a dynamic interactive video.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Troubleshooting Access to Student Evaluation of Instruction

Some students have reported problems accessing the student evaluations of instruction.  The likely cause is on the of the following:

  • Students are not using their UserName; this is the most common problem.  E.g. a UserName is jdoe0012; this is different from the 9 digit student ID number.
  • Students are entering their UserName and pressing the Enter Key.  They need to click the Continue Key after entering their UserName.
  • The course is not being evaluated.  Not all courses are being evaluated and this is confusing to students and some faculty.  Examples include Fall I classes.
  • URL students are using to access the evaluation is corrupt so they need to use this one:

Campus IT Accessibility Webinar

     Due to increased enforcement activity from the US federal government, many colleges and universities are now evaluating how to improve the accessibility of their campus information technology for students, faculty and staff with best serve all students and protect the institution.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

KCTCS Student Support Challenge

Linked below is an online quiz you can give your students to make them aware of the content in the Student Support Tab in Blackboard.  The Student Support tab provides helpful information about how to use Blackboard and how to be a successful online student.  The quiz is set up so that students may correct any wrong answers.  When finished (and when a 70% pass rate is earned), students may elect to print or save a copy of a certificate which can be emailed to instructors.

This is a great first week of the semester assignment for online classes.

Here's the link:

Tech Tips

The next Tech Tips is scheduled for Thursday, December 6 from 12-1.

Join by Phone:
(859)246-6485.  The conference ID is 5786122.

Please email if you have questions or problems using the tutorials or webinar links. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Recording Last Date of Attendance

Please remember to record last date of attendance for the students in your classes.  This can be checked easily in Blackboard.

For purposes of online classes, we define last date of attendance as the last day students entered your course shell.  In Blackboard, you can check this by checking the Performance Dashboard:

Full directions on doing this are provided here:

Note: be sure to click that checkbox labeled "The Last Date of Attendance has been recorded and the roster is complete":

Friday, November 16, 2012

Blackboard Service Pack 10 is planned for installation on December 12. Expect more announcements as the middle of December approaches.

Bb SP10 will look very much like SP8. There are a number of fixes. The biggest change is a new text editor that will allow better cutting and pasting from MS Word.

The upgrade will not affect any content you have already created; you may continue building your Spring 2013 classes prior to the upgrade.

You can view SP10 now in the test site linked below:

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Bb Service Pack 10

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


KOLTs, the system online training site, is now officially live. . .

We, along with the rest of the KCTCS Online team would like to welcome you to our blog and the new KCTCS Online Learning & Teaching (KOLTS) resource site. We’ve put a lot of time into gathering and organizing some of the best resources we could find for you and put them all in one place. We hope that you find this a valuable resource and will give us feedback for improvements and/or just let us what you think of the overall site.

If you have feedback about the site, consider posting it in a reply to this blog thread. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

USDLA Free Webinars on Distance Learning

Below is the URL to the USDLA Free Webinars on Distance Learning, as well as, information about National Distance Learning week taking place this week.  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


The system office initiative at providing Blackboard and eLearning training has begun its "soft opening:

If you have suggestions for changes, send them to Lisa Jackson.

Friday, October 5, 2012

October Distance Learning Peer Team Meeting

The KCTCS Distance Learning Peer Team met today in Versailles. My notes and the agenda below:

Meeting Agenda:

Ben's Notes:

*Bb SP 10 Information:

*Bb SP10 is proprietary information that won't become publicly available until the official release, which is scheduled for later this month.  This information may not be shared outside the KCTCS community and requires authentication with KCTCS active dircectory to access.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Interesting Article on Online Cheating

A company that purports to pay tutors to take an online class for scofflaw students.  Read the fine print though. . . it's not clear how much is a hoax and how much is real. . .

Interesting . . .

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Authentic Assessment Seminar

I attended an Authentic Assessment seminar at KCTCS today along with Clovis Perry, Gil Wheeler, and Connie Rine. My notes from the seminar are attached below. I see a lot of benefit here for both face-to-face as well as online classes. The basic premise: let's think of ways of assessing student performance in our classes that allows them to create products that mirror real world scenarios. Subtext: let's think of alternatives to the multiple choice test.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, September 20, 2012

2012-2013 Distance Learning Advisory Committee

Ben Worth, Chair
Clovis Perry
Jim Matchuny
Mike Adkins
Cindy Baker
Don Halcomb
Lori Houghton
Steve Stone
Will Bradley
Kevin Dunn
Rebecca McCane
Peggy Rinehart
Dixie Hayes
Robin Davis
Maureen Cropper
Connie Rine 
Veronica Miller

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Wimba Voice Authoring Tool

You may noticed that the Wimba Voice Authoring Tool has disappeared from the Mashup tool menu.  It has been replaced with Blackboard Collaborate.  To turn on Bb Collaborate, go to Customization / Tool Availability:

Monday, September 10, 2012


Advising Evaluation Link:

Instruction Evaluation Info:

Student Evaluations of Instruction are completed online; the link is posted on the college Web site when evaluations are active.  The strategies outlined below will help improve return rates. 

·        Announce evaluations of instruction to your class and share with students the evaluation link.  When you stress the importance of evaluations to students, students respond.
·        Share the evaluation links with students via email.  Either PeopleSoft or Blackboard can be used to send group email to your students.
·        Post the link in your Blackboard Course shells.  Placing the link inside Blackboard is easy—plus this gives students a place they can go to see the evaluation link. 
·        In Blackboard, track the students who have clicked the course evaluation link or, via adaptive release, make completion of a course assignments conditional upon clicking the link to the evaluation. While we cannot force students to complete the evaluation, Bb tracking features allow you to know which of your students have visited the evaluation.  
·        Set aside class time to complete evaluations via tablets, smart phone or laptops or send students to open computer labs to complete the evaluation.  Any Internet enabled device can access the student evaluation.  Open computer labs are provided for student use on every BCTC campus. 

You are not in this alone.  The administration will also take the following steps:

  • Post prominent reminders on the college Web sit
  • Email the evaluation link to students.
  • Place the evaluation link in the BCTC Student Information Module in Blackboard.
  • Send students a telephone reminder (automated message with location of link on College Web site)

HOW TO. . .

·        Open Blackboard from the college Web site.
·        Enter your course shell and click “tools” then “send email”.
·        Select “all student users”.

·        Log into Student Self Service from the college homepage.
·        Scroll down to the Faculty Center and click the class roster icon : 
·        Click “select all” and then “notify all students”.

·        In a Blackboard Content Area, click Build Content / Web Link.
·        Cut and paste the evaluation link into the link window.

·        Hover over a link you have created and click the down arrow.
·        Select “Statistics Tracking (On/Off)”.
·        Choose “On” then click submit.
·        To view statistics, click Evaluation / Performance Dashboard.
·        Click the number under “Review Status” by each user.

·        Hover over an assignment you wish to restrict and click the down arrow.
·        Choose “Adaptive Release”.
·        Under Item 4, “Review Status”, click Browse.
·        Select the link to the student evaluation.  Students must now click that link before they may submit the assignment, test, etc.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Anti-cheating Tips

Great article couresy of Kevin Dunn:

KEY POINTS (taken from the article):
  • Technology can help fight cheating that is itself based on technology, especially with tweaking of assignments and assessments in a way that makes it difficult to cheat.
  • Students should be made aware of resources such as university writing centers and tools such as Endnote.
  • Training about copyright, plagiarism, and time management can help students succeed without feeling that they have to cut corners.
  • Relevant codes and policies should be clearly stated in communications such as orientation materials, student handbooks, and course syllabi to establish expectations and reduce confrontations between instructors and students.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Blackboard Mobile

A major upgrade to the Blackboard Mobile App (IOS, Android) is due out in mid-September.  I will post additional information about that app here.  Feel free to use the the comment feature to post your insights.

Information on Bb's Web site

Email from System Admin (9/4)

the app is now available in the iTunes Store 

A fee IS required for use.  Verdict on the app so far. . . it is doing a better job of letting students access Bb content.  It is not handling multimedia well and should not be used to take tests and/or quizzes.  There is much less functionality for instructors.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Edmodo is a free educational resource that combines CMS features with a Facebook-like interface.  This might be a great option for those of use who want an Bb or Facebook experience that does not involve authentication with KCTCS userIDs or connections to personal FB accounts.  Think of guest lectures, group projects with students in other classes, colleges, etc.

More at

Friday, August 24, 2012

New MyLab Options

Linked below is information about a new MyLab initiative sponsored by the System Office. It will allow students to pay for MyLab a part of their tuition for your class thus giving them instant access to MyLab at the start of the semester.

Additional questions have surfaced about how this fee structure will work.  Answers are linked below.  I will update that link as new information becomes available:

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Fall 2012 Blackboard Training

The sessions linked below are offered online out of the System Office in Versailles.  There are some great sessions. . . 

The Fall 2012 Training Schedule is now available. We are offering 25 sessions scheduled throughout the semester; everything from browsers to apps to course design and maintenance. Check out the schedule here or find it on the Blackboard portal. You do not need to register for the trainings, simply click the "Join" link on the schedule at the appropriate time. You will also be able to add the sessions to your Outlook calendar by clicking the Outlook icon on the schedule.

All sessions will run 30-60 minutes and held through Bb Collaborate. Sessions will be archived for those who cannot attend live.

New to Bb Collaborate? You can check your system requirements here and you can go through an online orientation for BbCollaborate here.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Blackboard Rubrics

For those of you who missed the training on using rubrics in Blackboard Gradebooks, see the video and PDF file below: