Category: New Features (Page 1 of 3)

New Course Merge Tool

 Information about merging and unmerging your Blackboard Courses.

Why Use It

Instructors may use the Course Merge Tool when they want to merge enrollments of two sections of the same course (same department and catalog number) or merging different types of courses (two different departments and catalog numbers).

Some instructors would rather manage class enrollments and content in a single Blackboard course rather than separate courses.

The Course Merge Tool copies the student enrollments from one or more “Child” Courses into a “Parent” Course.

After merging the courses, students will see the content from the Parent Course. Students will see the course name as the course they actually enrolled in. All student enrollments from the Child Courses will be added to the Parent Course.

What it Doesn’t Do

The Course Merge Tool does not copy any content from the Child Courses to the Parent Course.

Note: If you want to copy content from any of the Child Courses to the Parent Course you should do this prior to using the Course Merge Tool. After merging all content should be added to the Parent Course only.

Important!

In order to merge courses, the instructor must be enrolled in the Child and Parent Blackboard courses as “Instructor”.

The Child and Parent Blackboard courses must be listed in the same term in the Schedule of Classes.

The Child Courses will be made unavailable and instructors must not make the Child Courses available in the future.

Unmerging

If you need to unmerge your Blackboard courses you will need to contact Blackboard Support by calling 804-287-6860 or email blackboard@richmond.edu. A Blackboard Support staff person will contact you to coordinate unmerging your Blackboard courses.

How To Merge Blackboard Courses

To merge two or more Blackboard courses follow these steps:

First determine the Parent Course. This is the course where all your content must currently reside.

Open the Parent Course in Blackboard

In the Control Panel, click on the down arrowhead next to Course Tools (lower left); you will see a list of tools an instructor may use (these tools are not visible to students)

Click on the Course Merge tool and the Course Merge application will start

The first screen will show you the Parent Course (the course you are currently logged into).

Click on the link to select the Child Courses you want to merge into the Parent Course

On the Select Child Courses page check the box for one or more Child Courses

You should only see courses of the same term where you are enrolled as “Instructor”. The Parent Course should not be in the list of Child Courses you can select.

Click on the Confirm Merge Choices button

On the confirmation page – read over carefully which course will be the Parent and which course(s) will be the Child(ren)

Click on the Perform Merge Courses button

You should next see the Course Merge success page

Need Help?

If you encounter any problems with using the Course Merge tool please contact UR’s Blackboard support team at 804-287-6860 or email Blackboard@richmond.edu. More help information can be read by clicking on the Help Documentation button at the top of this page.

Inline Grading Change in Blackboard

After the maintenance down time on December 29th, the following change will be reflected in the inline grading feature in Blackboard.

Crocodoc transition to new “Box View”

Blackboard’s current service for the implementation of inline grading is through the Crocodoc tool, and Box Inc. (who owns it) has decided to discontinue it. The end-of-life date for Crocodoc is January 15, 2018.

As a result, Blackboard has updated their inline grading capability to leverage the Crocodoc replacement, “Box View”. Box View offers several improvements over Crocodoc, including improved rendering fidelity and expanded support for new file types. The University of Richmond will update our server on December 29th and move to the new Box View.

Transition timing

During this time between December 29, 2017 and January 15, 2018, the Crocodoc service and ability to view previously annotated documents within a browser won’t be available but the rest of Blackboard will function properly. The document viewing capabilities are the only feature affected during the transition.

After the transition, users won’t be able to change the existing annotations made in Crocodoc as all annotations are read-only in the new Box View. The Crocodoc annotations are “burned” into a PDF and users can’t remove or change the annotations. Users can add new annotations with the New Box View annotation tools, but they can’t interact with annotations created in Crocodoc.

What can users expect?

This table compares the two annotation services.

Functions and Details

Crocodoc

New Box View

File types for annotations

PDF, PPT, PPTX, XLS, XLSX, DOC, and DOCX

Over 100 different file types

File Types and FontsSupported in Box Content Preview

Videos and images displayed

No

Yes

Course areas

Original Assignments

Original Assignments

Annotation types

Text- and point-based comments, highlighting, and drawing

Point-based comments and highlighting

Download

Users download a copy of a student file with the option to download in the original format or in a PDF version that includes the annotations

Users can download a copy of a student file, but annotations won’t appear

Print function

No

Yes

Students

Can’t add annotations to documents

Can’t add annotations to documents

Working with annotations in new Box View

Instructors and roles with grading privileges…

  • …must assign grades, before students can view annotations.
  • …can’t edit or remove existing Crocodoc annotations in New Box View as the annotations are “burned” into a PDF during migration.
  • …can add or edit New Box View annotations after a grade is assigned. However, when delegated grading is enabled, only instructors can add or edit annotations in New Box View after grades are assigned.

Make the transition

We understand that may have come to rely on Crocodoc when they do inline grading in Blackboard. After we upgrade, the transition to the new Box View will be as seamless as possible. Crocodoc will not be available for a few minutes and then New Box View replaces Crocodoc in the affected course grading areas.

*Comparison view of Crocodoc and New Box View annotations on an assignment

Frequently Asked Questions

After the end-of-life date for Crocodoc, what will happen to data stored in Crocodoc if an older Blackboard assignment isn’t updated to use Box View?

While the Crocodoc service will technically reach end-of-life, the databases that contain student-submitted data and documents won’t be deleted or destroyed. Blackboard is working with Box to define a long-term strategy for the decommission of Crocodoc servers permanently. While we don’t have a timeline available yet, we have no expectation of a decommission of Crocodoc servers.

After the end-of-life date for Crocodoc and during the migration, what will instructors see in a course if Blackboard isn’t updated to use Box View?

After the end-of-life date and during the migration, the Crocodoc service will display a “Service Unavailable” message to users.

New Box View will completely replace the Crocodoc feature in Blackboard, with the same general user experience and interface elements. Users will see some slight differences, primarily more streamlined buttons and options.

You shouldn’t expect significant change management for your users. Some users may not notice the change at all due to the similar nature of the UI between the two services.

*Comparison view of Crocodoc and New Box View annotations on an assignment

Will the transition have any impact on the use of rubrics for grading? Will instructors be able to use the same rubrics for Box View as they currently do for Crocodoc?

The transition won’t impact Blackboard’s rubrics or rubric data. Instructors will be able to use the same rubrics within the inline grading interface alongside the new Box View service. Rubrics are a separate feature that doesn’t share code with the Crocodoc or new Box View service.

 

Group By Terms

Ever wanted your courses displayed by the term it was in? (like Fall 2014, Spring 2015, etc.) Well now you can! Follow the steps below to group your courses.

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Keeping on Track This Semester

Blackboard has a NEW Calendar feature to help you keep track of due dates in your courses. As professors add material and assignments to the course, along with due dates for those items, they will appear on your calendar color coordinated for the course. You also can add your personal entries to the calendar. If you would like, you can link the calendar to an outside calendar as well so that you do not miss any deadlines this semester. Check out the video below and the link to additional functionality of the calendar.

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Atomic Learning Building Block Now Available

If you are not familiar with Atomic Learning, it is the online video training services provider for the University of Richmond.  There are hundreds of applications in their inventory, often spanning multiple versions of the application and for both Windows and Mac users.  Applications include but are not limited to Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Acrobat, InDesign, etc.), Blackboard, iPod Touch, and Windows and Mac OS.  Tutorials are broken up into short (1-4 minute long) video tutorials that you can watch using Flash or QuickTime formats. Users can pause, rewind, or navigate easily between video clips.  You can access the system outside of Blackboard by going to http://is.richmond.edu/training/tutorials.html.

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