DE Critical Updates
IN THIS ISSUE:
- Avoid Census Date & Auditing Drama
- MUST READ! Getting Started and Auditing Guidelines
- Census Date for DE is THE Date
- Your Blackboard Login May Have Changed
- New Required Library Button or Link in Your Course Menu
- Updating Your Course: Something You Should Delete
- Three P’s for Review in Revised Distance Education Faculty
- Customizing Your Course List
- NEW! Blackboard Test-Taking Tips for Faculty and Students
- What's in a Name?: 24-Hour Support Gets Married
- Reporting Blackboard Bugs
- Credit Where Credit is Due: Using Varied Sources in Sites
- It’s the Law!: ADA Compliance & Your Blackboard Course
- New to the NCLOR
- Face-to-Face Training Session: DE Auditing & Best Practices Teaching Online
- Farewell, Lydia
- What Do You Think?
- 16 Week Semester Start: Aug. 17
- 16 Week Census Date: Aug. 25 (archive your course next day)
- 16 Week Semester End: Dec. 14
- 1st 8 Week Semester Start: Aug. 17
- 1st 8 Week Census Date: Aug. 22 (archive your course next day)
- 1st 8 Week Semester End: Oct. 12
- Career and College Promise (CCP) Distance Sections (LL1)
- CCP LL1 Semester Start: Aug. 27
- CCP LL1 Census Date: Sept. 6 (archive your course next day)
- CCP LL1 Semester End: Jan. 11, 2013
- 12 Week Semester Start: Sept. 17
- 12 Week Census Date: Sept. 23 (archive your course next day)
- 12 Week Semester End: Dec. 14
- 2nd 8 Week Semester Start: Oct. 15
- 2nd 8 Week Census Date: Oct. 18 (archive your course next day)
- 2nd 8 Week Semester End: Dec. 14
- Please note all distance education courses (online, hybrid, and web-assisted) must have a Blackboard site. These sites will be made available at 9 a.m. on Mon., Aug. 17*, the semester's start date.
*This date, of course, will be different for the CCP LL1 semester (Aug. 27), 12 week semester (Sept. 17), and 2nd 8 week semester (Oct. 15).
- At a minimum, all Blackboard sites should have an appropriate announcement, updated syllabus, and a course-specific orientation including the required orientation quiz launched by 9 a.m. on the start date.
- The College has prepared a template orientation quiz for faculty to use. There are online, hybrid, and web-assisted versions of the quiz that have been approved as appropriately "academic." While these ten questions must be used, faculty are free to add additional questions if desired. Visit the Cougar's Den or contact the DE staff for an export file of the appropriate quiz(zes) to be imported into your course site(s) and instructions for doing so.
- Even if you anticipate first seeing students face-to-face in a hybrid or web-assisted course, the announcement, syllabus, and orientation (including the quiz) must already be accessible in Blackboard to students at the semester start. This is required should the quiz be (or need to be) taken and counted as their initial contact/attendance for the census.
- Students who do not "attend" your course by coming to a physical class session or submitting the orientation quiz or some other appropriate academic work before the census date should be dropped as "NA" for never attended.
- For attendance after the census and throughout the semester, students must attend a physical class or complete academic work online. Per new federal regulations made effective in July 2011, students cannot just click in Blackboard to be considered active and participating in a course.
- Once your census rosters are distributed after the 10% point, you will be asked to submit the required documentation as before, meaning both your hard copy roster to Robin Walker and the supplemental documentation to the 2012 Fall DE Census Submission site in Blackboard. Instructions on these elements will be re-circulated closer to that time by Robin Walker.
Just as began in fall 2011, there is no longer a more stringent CCCC-determined "last day for initial contact" for students in distance courses. Previously this stricter deadline was two days before the actual census date. The census date is THE date for you to monitor in all your courses. Students have until 11:59 p.m. on the census date to physically attend a class, submit the orientation quiz, or in alternate cases, submit some sort of qualifying academic work.
This summer we completed our username conversion in Blackboard so that you will now login with the same username convention as your Datatel, Gmail, and computer logins. (Reminder: This is your first initial, first four letters of your last name, and last three digits of your Datatel ID number.)
To access Blackboard with your new login, please put in your username as mentioned above. For your password, type changeme. We are strongly recommending that everyone change their password after login to the same password you're currently using elsewhere for one less password to remember!
You can change your password after successfully logging in by clicking on Personal Information under the Tools section of your welcome screen. From there you will click on the Change Password link.
We have only reattached your new login to your 2012 course sites. If you need additional access to 2011 courses, please contact Sarah Hilliard, the DE department’s intern through mid-November, at email@example.com. She can assist you with this process. Otherwise, enjoy a much shorter "My Courses" list!
Your old login to Blackboard will be deactivated on Fri., Aug. 24. Other questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To better inform distance students in online, hybrid, and web-assisted courses of what the CCCC Library offers them, a new mandatory "Library" course menu button or link has been added to your Blackboard course sites by distance staff.
Within this button or link, students are directed to the newly-created Library Services and Resources for Distance Education Students webpage. There students are linked to a variety of information, services, and resources as well as a survey seeking their feedback on improving library services.
Please do not delete this button or link. It is critical not only because it addresses SACS requirements about appropriate library support for online learners but because it promotes student learning and success to connect students more seamlessly with the library.
Secondly, each course needs to have the CCCC library figure more prominently in the course orientation. It is now required that each course orientation have the following information added. While now part of DE's Orientation Template for brand-new courses under development, this addition has not been added for faculty with existing courses in Blackboard. Instead instructors should choose how best to integrate the info below into each course's orientation and add this material effective with your fall 2012 courses and beyond.
Distance staff will audit courses for compliance after the semester's start to ensure we have successfully implemented this new and required content. If you have questions or need any assistance, please do not hesitate to consult the DE staff at email@example.com. Suggestions for improving library services for distance students can be directed either to DE Director Bianka Stumpf or Library Director Tara Guthrie. Thanks in advance for your attention and action.
Add to your distance course orientations the following text and URL:
Library Services & Resources
The CCCC Libraries have a wide variety of information resources students need for completing course assignments as well as pursuing personal interests. Information online includes access to library resources (eBooks, articles, streaming videos, etc.), reference services, Research Guides, instructional tutorials on using research databases, and more. The Library Services and Resources page (http://www.cccc.edu/library/distanceeducation/) provides links to all library information and resources available for distance learning students. Look for the "Library" button or link located on the left navigation menu in all Blackboard courses.
Many of you built your courses using the Course Template provided by DE. Of course, we revise this template as necessary, but the changes we make do not happen automatically in your site. To this end, please delete the following now-inaccurate information out of your courses.
Under the Course Resources button or text in your navigation menu on the left and within the Online Learning Resources folder, there may be a link called “Blackboard Student Support.” It was a webpage the NC Conference of English Instructors created to help student Blackboard users. It was last updated in 2007, however, and only would confuse students now. If this link is found in your course as described above or elsewhere, please remove it.
The Distance Education Faculty Guide is a written resource for distance faculty. The guide gathers the three p’s (policies, procedures, and practices) for distance education into one place for easy reference. Need to know about the virtual hour requirements or class capacities? Want to know how long your courses are “live” in Blackboard or how course development is compensated? How does inclement weather affect distance courses? How does FERPA apply to distance education?
The College’s policies, procedures, and practices on these and other issues have been revised this summer. The newest version of the Distance Education Faculty Guide is available on the CCCC Intranet > Helpful Files by Department > Distance Education>DE Faculty Guide.
Is your course list on Blackboard too long, or do you wish you could reorder the courses seen in your list? By using the My Course Module Settings, you can customize your list while still retaining access to your courses.
Simply follow the steps blow:
- Log into your Blackboard account.
- On the CCCC tab, locate the My Courses module.
- Click the blue gear-shaped Manage My Course Module Settings button located in the top right-hand corner of the module.
- Under Edit Course List, uncheck the courses you no longer wish to view.
- Drag and drop the order of the remaining courses.
- Click Submit.
There are now updated versions of the Blackboard test-taking tips for faculty and students. Compromised testing online can frustrate faculty and students alike. Please review our technical tips on designing and facilitating tests to ensure you’re preventing issues for yourself and equipping students for success.
We recommend you share the student version with those in your classes by posting it in your course site and/or directing your students to this tip sheet. An ounce of prevention, right?
Since 2007, the College has utilized Presidium, a NCCCS-paid 24-hour technical help call-center for Blackboard users. This round-the-clock technical support was purchased recently by Blackboard, Inc. The old Presidium is now the new Blackboard Student Services. The call-in number is still the same. You and your students can get Blackboard help even when DE is out of the office by calling toll-free (866) 834-6894.
When you encounter technical issues or bugs in Blackboard, please report them promptly to the DE staff for troubleshooting and remedy. Oftentimes you’re not the only user experiencing a given issue, so by alerting us right away, we can offer more timely and targeted responses to minimize the number of users impacted and the severity. We’re here to help. Report your quirky experiences to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As faculty work to include a variety of sources and digital media to enhance Blackboard course sites, we're confronted with questions of legality and fair use. What is appropriate and legal to use in Blackboard course sites? How do I properly cite the use of others' work?
We want to point you to two important resources. First, check out the new Guide for Copyright Issues for DE Course Sites published by the system's Virtual Learning Community (VLC) posted in the Cougar's Den's DE Faculty Resources. Secondly, remember we offer a formal training course on the topic of the Teach Act & Fair Use. Sign up for this training opportunity (and others!) by visiting our Available Training page.
In March, Durham Tech hosted a conference entitled “Creating an Accessible Course” for distance learning administrators. Topics included Fundamentals of and Designing for Accessibility, Selecting Accessible Online Content, Creating Accessible Content with Office 2010, and Creating Accessible Videos and Podcasts.
A resounding message during this conference :
When you design a course to be accessible, to operating Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles beneficial to all students not just those with a disability.
After all, designing and building your course right the first time saves time in having to rebuild and update your course later on. So, how do you know if your online course is accessible? You can use accessibility testing tools to test resources and content. Some sites to check out are listed below.
Vischeck simulates color blind vision. This website allows you to check your own image files or to run Vischeck on a web page.
WebAIM’s Color Contrast Checker
WebAIM allows you to select a foreground and background color and immediately see if it will pass or fail being compliant. These are great for selecting the colors to use in your Blackboard course sites.
WAVE – Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool
WAVE is a free web accessibility evaluation tool provided by WebAIM. It shows the original web page with embedded icons and indicators that reveal the accessibility on that web page. You can enter a web address, upload a file, or even check HTML code. There is also a free Firefox toolbar available.
Microsoft Office 2010 Accessibility Checker
If you have Office 2010 installed on your computer, you can take advantage of using the built-in accessibility checker to ensure accessibility for Word documents and PowerPoint presentations.
ADA Compliance Course Review from DE Staff
You can also request a member of the DE staff review your course using the ADA Compliance Course Review Tool. This feedback is presented to you in a spreadsheet format and often provides recommendations for how to ensure a more accessible course. Email email@example.com to request.
Americans with Disabilities Act Compliance
The DE staff still offers an online and self-paced training in ADA Compliance described further and available by request on the DE Available Training page. We encourage you to sign up!
Adapted from Jonathan Sweetin of NCCCS
The NCLOR (the NC Learning Object Repository) is a digital library that collects documents, audio/video clips, simulations, learning modules, assessments, and other resources for educational use. This FREE resource lets teachers from around the state search the NCLOR, find resources appropriate to the subjects they are teaching, and use them in their classes. Teachers can become more productive and can save a lot of time. While many disciplines are represented, the NCLOR is currently strongest in the sciences, history, and allied health
To learn more, you can browse the NCLOR by Resource Series. CCCC’s DE department has developed a short training opportunity online that guides users through the NCLOR and how to seamlessly integrate it into Blackboard sites. If interested in this training, request a spot from the departmental training website.
As part of the Adjunct Training event held each fall, DE Coordinator Amanda Carter will be conducting a face-to-face session entitled “DE Auditing & Best Practices Teaching Online” from 7:30 p.m. to 8: 25 p.m. on Wed., Aug. 15. The session will be held in Sanford in Science 9207. Both rookie distance faculty and those seeking a refresher on auditing requirements and best practices in course design and facilitation are encouraged to attend this session.
Lydia Farmer has decided to resign from her position as the Vocational Technical Distance Education Coordinator effective August 23, 2012. She plans to continue working with the college as an adjunct instructor in the Medical Office Administration program, and she is looking forward to staying home with her children.
In the interim of this position being filled, please contact Amanda Carter for all questions regarding training. All other questions should be directed to the Distance Education phone line at (919) 718-7529 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Bianka, Amanda, and Jenn (along with a DE intern, Sarah Hilliard, through mid-November) will work to quickly and completely handle all requests for assistance.
Once a new Vocational Technical Distance Education Coordinator is on board, we will share that announcement with all stakeholders.