CERTified Fresh!

Center for Educational Resources and Technology at DSU

Setting the password for the LockDown Browser

The CERT team has confirmed a bug with the use of passwords on the Blackboard test options screen. The bug in Blackboard also affects the use of Respondus LockDown Browser for Blackboard tests since Respondus uses a Blackboard password as part of the security it adds. Students are getting prompts for a password or being told that the configuration is incorrect even though the LockDown Browser is being used and is configured correctly. Blackboard has confirmed the presence of the issue and has provided a temporary workaround when using the LockDown Browser.

To avoid the issue, set a password on the exam when requiring the LockDown Browser. There is a field in the LockDown Browser settings area for Password to access exam (optional).

Figure 1

If you have already added the LockDown Browser, go back to the Respondus LockDown Browser dashboard by going to your course and click on Course Tools…Respondus LockDown Browser. Click on the chevron in front of the test and choose Settings.

Once the password has been set – please provide it to the students. Note: this is not the string of letters/numbers set by Respondus when looking at the Test Options screen.

Figure 2

Your students will still need to use the LockDown Browser. When students take the test, they will be prompted for the password you put in the Respondus settings (Figure 1)

The login screen should look like one of the following

Figure 3
Figure 4

If the students get a screen with a password prompt that also includes a warning message there is either an issue with the exam settings, or more commonly, the student is not using the LockDown Browser. Please confirm with the student that the LockDown Browser has been downloaded and is being used. The warning screen looks like this

Figure 5

Please contact the DeSales Help Desk with any questions. An additional notification will be sent out once the problem is resolved.

Thank you,
The DeSales CERT team

Teaching: Making Hybrid Teaching Work for You

By Beth McMurtrie, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 7/30/2020

Check out the article below by Beth McMurtrie to have experts answer your questions on effective hybrid teaching!


New Panopto mobile app released

On June 29th Panopto released a new version of their mobile app for iOS and Android devices. While the earlier app will continue to function, the CERT team recommends that the new app also be installed since it will be receiving all development updates.

Panopto describes the new mobile app as:

a modern, fast, and intuitive way to discover and watch relevant content from their organization’s video library right on their mobile devices. The new app supports offline videos, personalized home screen, a comprehensive search experience, and ability to upload or record new videos using their phone’s camera.

Information on the new app is available on Panopto’s support site- https://support.panopto.com/s/article/How-to-Use-the-Panopto-Mobile-App.

An introductory video is also available – https://howtovideos.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=7fa344e8-c9f1-4e1c-8889-abdf016d8f0c&start=5.182244.

Webinar: Tips for Designing “Remote-Ready” Syllabi for an Uncertain Future

Recording, slides, and resources shared on the webinar
Recording here: https://youtu.be/jrS7-4kK5E4
Slides here.

In this webinar you’ll learn:
– How to design courses that are “remote resilient” and well suited to online delivery.
– How to identify the ‘essential objectives’ of a course and determine what components of a face-to-face course can be adapted to an online course.
– How to build community and maintain student engagement and motivation throughout the term, whether in face-to-face or an online environment.

About the Panelists:

Adam Fein, Ph.D. is VP for Digital Strategy and Innovation at the University of North Texas and an industry leader in online and innovative education with nearly 20 years of experience. He oversees digital strategy and innovation at the University of North Texas as it seeks to become a global leader in online learning experiences and educational technology. He leads the university’s key initiatives in educational technology, online, and blended learning.

Jose J. Vazquez, Ph.D. is a Clinical Professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where teaches three sections of one of the largest Economics courses in the country (925 students). In addition to his role as an instructor, Dr. Vazquez is also Director of the Teaching Academy for the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences and a leader in the use and study of technology in higher education; in particular multimedia design. Recently, his research has been in the area of mental attention and student motivation, particularly the role of curiosity as a way to incentivize students. He has published his work in several academic journals and has presented at numerous academic conferences.


Identifying essential course objectives and selection of digital-first exercises

Mastery Learning approaches and the 2-Sigma Problemshared by Dr. Jose Vazquez in reference to focusing on the key objectives that a student should master during the scope of a course, and creating flexible structures for students to try, fail, and retry until mastery is achieved.

Summary of Dr. Adam Fein’s research on how digital intervention methods can support improved course outcomes.
University of North Texas’ research on the impact of AI-based discussion, shared by Dr. Adam Fein in today’s webinar.

Effective communication in digital-first/remote-friendly courses

Robert Mayer’s study on reducing cognitive load in communication, recommended by Dr.  Adam Fein on today’s webinar as being particularly relevant to communication in digital environments.
Mayer’s book, “Multimedia Learning”, recommended by Dr. Jose Vazquez on today’s webinar as being one of the most impactful books that shaped his teaching style.

Building a digital-first community around the course for student engagement

Stanford CEPA study showing that students exposed to (and nominated in the discussion by) highly engaged peers in online discussion perform better in class.

Garrison’s Practical Inquiry Model, outlining the cognitive processes engaged when a learner forms their own open-ended inquiries.

The Community of Inquiry Model for optimizing interaction design in an online discussion community to lead to the best metacognitive and engagement outcomes for students.

Other resources shared

Alternative assessment approaches for online environments, shared by Dr. Adam Fein

Dr. Fein, Dr. Vazquez, and Ms. Tenuta offered to be available for contact for any of today’s attendees for any questions about effective ‘resilient’ courses. Please reach out via LinkedIn to any panelist with questions.  

Introducing Blackboard Annotate!

Bb Annotate was released on June 3rd. Bb Annotate offers a more robust feature set to provide customizable feedback to students. Features include a sidebar summary view, freehand drawing tools, various color selections, and much more.

Printable guide

Bb Annotate instructor view

From either the Needs Grading page or the Grade Center within the course, access the student’s submission to provide inline grading feedback using Bb Annotate.  

Supported File Types

On the Grade Assignment page, supported file types open automatically in the browser.

You can view and annotate these document types in the browser:

  • Microsoft® Word (DOC, DOCX)
  • Microsoft® PowerPoint®(PPT, PPTX)
  • Microsoft® Excel®(XLS, XLSM, XLSX)
  • OpenOffice® Documents (ODS, ODT, ODP)
  • Digital Images (JPEG, JPG, PNG, TIF, TIFF, BMP, TGA)
  • Medical Images (DICOM, DICM, DCM)
  • PDF
  • PSD
  • RTF
  • TXT
  • WPD

Original formatting and embedded images are preserved. If a student has uploaded an unsupported file, you’re prompted to download it.  Additionally, assignment submissions created through the editor aren’t compatible with inline grading.

Supported Browsers

Bb Annotate is supported on current versions of Firefox, Chrome, and Safari.

Bb Annotate Menu

There is a wide array of features to select from in the menu.

Sidebar View

The left Sidebar view allows you to see a thumbnail view of the submission, an outline, list of all annotations and bookmarks. You can show or hide the sidebar as well as resize it.

Document View Settings

From the view settings, it is easy to jump to a specific page, zoom in and out of the submission or adjust the view to fit the page, fit the width or select the best fit. 


  • Drawing, Brush and Eraser – The drawing and brush tools allow you to freehand draw on the document using various colors, thickness, and opacity.  You’ll have the option to either erase pieces of the freehand drawing or delete fully using the trash icon.
  • Image or Stamp – An image or stamp can be added to the document.  There are a set of pre-loaded stamps or create your own customized stamp.
  • Comment – Comments can be added to the document to provide feedback and will appear to the right of the submission. You and other graders can add additional replies to a comment. Note: to save comments click on the Reply button. The comment will receive a date & time stamp and will show the grader’s name unless anonymous grading has been selected as an assignment option.
  • Text – You can add text directly on the page.  There are additional options to move, edit and change the appearance of the text, including font, size, alignment and color.  
  • Shapes – There are 6 options for adding shapes: Line, Arrow, Rectangle, Ellipse, Polygon and Polyline.  Each option has its own customization settings to change the color, width, opacity, and more.

Print or Download

You can either Print or Download the document with annotations.  When downloading, it is recommended to view annotated PDF’s in a native PDF viewer such as Adobe Acrobat.


You can quickly search through the document to find specific text.

Content Library

The content library allows you to keep a bank of re-usable comments.  You can easily add, edit, delete, or search through comments in the library.  A comment can be added directly to the page as well through the context menu. 


When directly highlighting text on a submission, an additional menu will open to allow you to highlight, strikethrough, underline, or comment.  

Student View

After you have provided a grade, students can access the annotated files but won’t be able to add annotations in their submissions. 

Mobile devices

As part of the responsive design, the menu will appear differently based on the screen size.  On medium and small screens, the Document View settings will change to display the page number being viewed, and annotation tools will be visible under the View Annotation Tools icon.  On small screens, the Content Library will be hidden.

Watch a video about Bb Annotate

Coping with Coronavirus – a collection of articles from The Chronicle

There are good suggestions here to help you – and the faculty, staff, and students you support- cope with this crisis. For those of you that are not full-time in higher ed, The Chronicle of Higher Education is the newspaper of the higher education community.


This is your brain on stress

Blog post from Michelle Pacansky-Block. Michelle is an online education expert with a particular emphasis on how to humanizing online education (very Salesian!). Here is the beginning of her most recent post:

I am a person who prides myself on being responsive and reliable. This requires being organized and on-task. But this week, I am tired. I am stressed. I am not myself. I have made mistakes that have made me shake my head. Here is just a sample of some of the things I’ve done this…

Free Virtual Conference on VR, XR, Immersive Learning

iLRN 2020: 6th International Conference of the Immersive Learning Research Network

Organized in conjunction with Educators in VR Technically co-sponsored by the IEEE Education Society

June 21-25, 2020, Now Fully Online and in Virtual Reality!!!

Conference theme: “Vision 20/20: Hindsight, Insight, and Foresight in XR and Immersive Learning”

Conference website: http://immersivelrn.org/ilrn2020


*** FREE registration for non-presenter EDU attendees until April 19th ***

The 6th International Conference of the Immersive Learning Research Network (iLRN 2020) will be an innovative and interactive gathering for a burgeoning global network of researchers and practitioners collaborating to develop the scientific, technical, and applied potential of immersive learning. It is the premier scholarly event focusing on advances in the use of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), and other extended reality (XR) technologies to support learners and learning.

iLRN 2020 will now be held ***fully online using VR*** and other collaboration platforms, in partnership with Educators in VR, organizers of the highly successful Educators in VR International Summit in February 2020 that included over 170 speakers and attracted over 6,000 event participants from around the globe.

Scholars and professionals operating in formal education settings as well as those representing diverse industry sectors are invited to participate in the conference, where they will be able to share their research findings, experiences, and insights; network and establish partnerships to envision and shape the future of XR and immersive technologies for learning; and contribute to the emerging scholarly knowledge base on how these technologies can be used to create experiences that educate, engage, and excite learners.

Good webcam view

Look and Sound Good Online

With the rise in virtual meetings via Zoom, Skype, and other platforms, looking and sounding professional while online has become increasingly important.  Those of us who’ve been at this for a while, CERT for example, know how to accomplish this to the best of our abilities.  But for those of you who might be new to the game, so to speak, this might be an unfamiliar concept.  The negative impact of looking and sounding terrible during your Zoom meetings and classes really shouldn’t be understated.  It can be distracting, annoying, and at its worst it can shut things down completely. 

So, how can you look good on a webcam and sound good too?  Obviously, you can throw money at it and purchase the best webcams, microphones, headsets, and more, but you don’t necessarily have to.  That will only get you so far anyway.  Plus, some of those items might be tough to get right now due to shortages thanks to current demand. 

There’s good news though!  There are quite a few ways in which you can make the most with what you’ve got.  I highly recommend checking out Ultimate webcam tips: How to look and sound great online from Brian Cooley and CNET.  Brian does an extraordinary job explaining many of the concepts involved in making one look and sound their best during virtual meetings.  Concepts discussed include eye level, eye line, quality sound, monitor light, avoiding silhouettes, checking your background, and more (bonus points at the end).  His article is an easy read, but if you’re more of a visual learner like me, he also includes a highly entertaining and educational video.  You can find it in the article or check it out at this link – You Have to Look Good on a Webcam Today!  Watch, learn, enjoy and stay safe! 

For copy/paste links to the article and video, check the references below.  I’ve also included a link to the best webcams available in 2020 provided by Lifewire, in case any of you are in the market for a new one.  I realize many of these have gone up in price or are currently out of stock, but at least you can familiarize yourself with what’s out there. 





Brief Blackboard Outage

Hello Everyone, 

We will be experiencing a brief Blackboard outage from 3:30am to 4am on Sunday, February 16th 2020 as updates will be run to improve functionality of the system. Please do not attempt to access Blackboard during this timeframe as you will be kicked out of the system. 

Instructors: Please instruct your students not to submit assignments or take quizzes or tests during this time period. 

Students: Please do not attempt to submit assignments or takes quizzes or tests during this time period. 

If you have any questions, Please contact the Helpdesk at helpdesk@desales.edu or x4357. 

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