Center for Educational Resources and Technology at DSU

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Internet Explorer and Blackboard, not so perfect together

Internet Explorer logo with no symbolA number of issues have been identified with Blackboard Learn when using the Internet Explorer browser. Recent issues include:

  • Problems with hyperlinks in Blackboard Portfolios
  • Intermittent issues with the inline grading tool
  • Images and fonts change in Modules when using the Back button
  • Problems uploading files to assignments

The DEIT team would like to remind everyone that Internet Explorer is not a supported browser when using Blackboard (support ended in Q4, 2018). Please use a different browser such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, or Microsoft Edge.

Additional information

Microsoft is no longer actively developing Internet Explorer and has recommended it not be your default web browser – https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Windows-IT-Pro-Blog/The-perils-of-using-Internet-Explorer-as-your-default-browser/ba-p/331732.

A security exploit was found in March 2019 with Internet Explorer that “allows hackers to spy on you and steal personal data from your PC” (https://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonevangelho/2019/04/15/warning-internet-explorer-just-became-a-silent-but-serious-threat-to-every-windows-user/#7c4c9cb886d8)

Unless needed for a specific site, it may be best to remove Internet Explorer from your computer. The steps outlined by Microsoft to remove Internet Explorer are below.

  • Press the Windows logo key+R to open the Run box.
  • Type appwiz.cpl, and then select OK.
  • In the the Programs and Features item, select Turn Window features on or off.
  • In the Windows Features dialog box, locate the entry for the installed version of Internet Explorer. For example, locate the Internet Explorer 11 entry. Then, clear the check box.
  • Select OK to commit the change.
  • Restart the computer.

The end of Flash as we know it…

Adobe Flash logoWhat we now know as Adobe Flash was previously a dominant platform for online multimedia content, however, it is slowly being abandoned as Adobe favors a transition to HTML5 due to inherent security flaws and the significant resources required to maintain the Flash platform. In fact, Adobe plans on ending their support of Flash at the end of 2020.

Apple has already restricted the use of Flash on its iOS devices, and major web browser companies are reacting to the announcement. Firefox (https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Plugins/Roadmap), Google (https://www.chromium.org/flash-roadmap), and Microsoft Edge (https://blogs.windows.com/msedgedev/2017/07/25/flash-on-windows-timeline/) indicate Flash will be disabled by default by the middle of 2019 (but there will be an option to enable it), and all support for Flash will end in 2020.

What does this mean for DeSales? The DEIT team has already reviewed most of the major educational platforms in use. Blackboard, Panopto, Blackboard Collaborate, Zoom, and the DeSales streaming media server do not require Adobe Flash to function. The remaining issues could be with other third-party content from textbook publishers, external websites, and any locally stored material.

The main recommendation coming from DEIT is to review the multimedia you use in courses. If you have local media files that end in either .FLV or .SWF you will need to find alternate means of showing the content once Flash is disabled. The DEIT team can help with the conversion of .FLV files.

The other step faculty should take in the near future is to see if a prompt to activate the Flash plugin is received when clicking on web links in Blackboard. (These prompts typically come up with video links or other interactive multimedia content)

Prompt message to activate Flash

Please contact DEIT with any questions or if you suspect some Flash content is in a course. DEIT can help determine if an alternate method of providing the material is available.

Blackboard assignments and Safari 11.1

Appple logoApple Inc released a security update to the Safari 11 browser on March 29, 2018 (https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208695). Safari 11.1 contains a number of improvements. However, the update appears to cause problems when trying to submit assignments to Blackboard.

Blackboard Inc has identified a known issue with Safari 11.1 when it comes to submitting assignments. Students attempting to use Safari 11.1 to upload files to assignments will receive an error message – Failed to submit Assignment. Please try again.

Blackboard is working on some fixes but it appears likely the issue will not be resolved at DeSales until the switch to SaaS this Summer (http://blogs.desales.edu/deit/2018/04/03/blackboard-down-for-upgrade-july-24-25-2018/). The workaround is to use a different browser – Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome, for example, to submit Blackboard assignments.

The DeSales DEIT team

Results of IHE Survey of Faculty Attitudes Toward Technology

The trade publication Inside Higher Ed recently published the results of its 2017 Survey of Faculty Attitudes on Technology.

Much of the survey focused on faculty attitudes toward online classes. In my view, like “regular” classes, online or hybrid classes can be taught poorly or well. Due to the increased use of technology, in my view, faculty members need to take more of a team approach and lean on support resources such as DEIT’s instructional designers.

Some highlights from the national faculty survey:

  • 62% agree with the statement “I fully support the increased use of educational technologies.” Only 8% disagree.
  • 42% of instructors reported having taught at least only one online class (but only 21% at private institutions).
  • An increasing minority of faculty (33%) agree that student outcomes are as good or better in an online class as an in-person class (roughly equal proportions either are neutral or disagree). But among faculty members that have taught online themselves, 45% agree.
  • Faculty concerns about online classes include lack of interaction during class (86%), reaching at-risk students (79%), rigorously engaging students in course material (60%), maintaining academic integrity (60%), and delivering necessary content to meet learning objectives (51%).
  • 70% of instructors that have taught online say the experience helped their teaching. Even more say teaching online helped them learn to use multimedia content and the learning management system. About 50% say they are more comfortable using active and project-based learning techniques and better at communicating with students outside of class as a result of teaching online.

If you have ideas for incorporating instructional technology in your classes, contact DEIT to either talk things out or to get help with implementation. DEIT is here to support the faculty.

Eric J. Hagan, Ed.D.
Director, Distance Education and Instructional Technology

 

Faculty Satisfaction Survey Results

Thank you to the 94 DeSales full-time and part-time faculty members that responded in October to the Distance Education and Instructional Technology Department’s 2017 Faculty Satisfaction Survey. DEIT conducted a similar survey in 2015, which provides a baseline for comparison.

Key findings:

  • Ninety-six percent (96%) of respondents expressed overall satisfaction with DEIT’s faculty support services (up from 90% in 2015).
  • Eighty-one percent (81%) of respondents rated DeSales’ level of instructional technology infrastructure and support as better than peer institutions (up from 65% in 2015).
  • Eighty-four percent (84%) of respondents reported that they had “a good understanding of the services DEIT offers and how these services relate to your teaching” (up from 78% in 2015).
  • Perception improved of the effectiveness of the Help Desk in handling instructional technology issues. Fifty-eight percent (58%) found the Help Desk “effective” or “very effective” while only 15% found it “ineffective” or “very ineffective” (26% were “neutral”). In 2015, more faculty found the Help Desk to be a negative than a positive.

You may access a PDF version of the survey results by clicking this link.

Please contact me if you have questions or feedback on the survey process.

Warm regards,
Eric J. Hagan, Ed.D.
Director, Distance Education and Instructional Technology

Panopto 5.3 update

Panopto5Logo_SmallIn mid-December, Panopto released version 5.3 of their platform. The update includes some new features, including:

  • Quizzing – questions can be added directly into Panopto recordings during the editing process. Instructors can see the results in Panopto, at both the individual student and class levels.
  • Captions – all sessions created after 12/17/16 will automatically have machine-generated captions added. The captions can then be changed during the editing process. Captions can also be manually requested for older recordings.
  • Enhanced editing – several functions previously only available in the advanced editor have been added to the standard web-based editor, including switching between multiple video feeds, adding new slides into a recording, and adding a custom image that appears prior to playing a recording.

Find more details on these new features by visiting the Faculty or Student orientations within Blackboard Learn (https://desales.blackboard.com), or watch a webinar from Panopto.

Spring 2016 DEIT Faculty Workshops and Special Events

To register for a workshop, click here: http://www.desales.edu/workshops

Workshops

Blackboard Fundamentals

  • Monday, May 2, 7 pm, online
  • Saturday, May 14, 10 am, Dooling Hall, Room 40 (lower level)
  • Monday, June 6, 7 pm, online
  • Saturday, June 25, 10 am, Dooling Hall, Room 40 (lower level)

Blackboard Collaborate (how to run live online class sessions)

  • Wednesday, May 11, 7 pm, online
  • Saturday, June 18, 10 am, online

Panopto (how to create high quality pre-recorded lectures)

  • Saturday, May 28, 10 am, Dooling Hall, Room 40 (lower level)
  • Wednesday, June 8, 7 pm, online

Distance Education Welcome Chat (DEIT/Library orientation for new instructors)

  • Thursday, June 2, 7 pm, online

To register for a workshop, click here: http://www.desales.edu/workshops

Special Events

Faculty Workshop Day (full-time faculty – registration info to be sent separately)

  • Tuesday, May 17, 1 pm, Gambet Center

LVAIC Serving Adult Learners Conference @ DeSales University

  • Thursday, May 26, all day starting at 8 am
  • $30. Includes continental breakfast, lunch, conference materials
  • More information and registration information at this link

Instructor Roundtable and Dinner

  • Wednesday, June 15, 6 pm, DeSales University Trexler Library. Register at this link.

Questions or to schedule a one-on-one appointment? Email deit@desales.edu or call 610-282-1100 x2290.

Blackboard UPGRADE DOWNTIME on 5/16/2016 @ 8 PM

Blackboard will be upgraded to the October 2014 Service Pack on 5/16/2016 at 8 PM until 8 AM on 5/17/2016.

BLACKBOARD WILL BE UNAVAILABLE DURING THIS ENTIRE MAINTENANCE WINDOW.

Normal service for Blackboard will resume after 8 AM on 5/17/ 2016.
Some new features coming to Blackboard with this upgrade include:
  • SafeAssign integrated as an option in regular Assignments
  • Student Preview mode allows instructors to view a course exactly as a student would see the course
  • Ability for instructors to delegate specific users in a course as graders

For more information about these new and updated features, click here: https://en-us.help.blackboard.com/Learn/9.1_2014_04/Instructor/010_Whats_New

Questions? Contact DEIT at deit@desales.edu.

Instructor Training Webinar from Respondus – Prevent Cheating during Online Exams

To register and find more information, click here: www.respondus.com/webinars

Are you worried about cheating during online exams in your course?

Respondus Lockdown Browser and Respondus Monitor are two academic dishonesty prevention tools licensed by DeSales and available to all instructors to use in their Blackboard courses. The Lockdown Browser prevents students from actions such as copying and pasting, viewing additional web pages, and having other programs open on their computer on Lockdown Browser-enabled exams. As a second layer of cheating prevention, adding Respondus Monitor to a Lockdown Browser-enabled exam will record students via webcam throughout the duration of the online exam to ensure there are no books, notes, or other outside help sources.

If you would like to learn more about these two academic integrity testing tools, instructors are invited to attend the LockDown Browser & Respondus Monitor: Prevent Cheating During Online Exams webinar sessions hosted by Respondus. These webinars will be held on Wednesday, 2/17 at 1 PM ET and Wednesday, 3/2 at 8 PM ET. Please note these webinars are open to instructors from all institution, since this session is hosted by the Respondus Training team and is not specific to DeSales University faculty – feel free to pass this opportunity along to colleagues at other universities!

The FREE, 45 minute webinar will include:

  • How Lockdown Browser and Monitor prevent cheating in proctored and non-proctored exams
  • Live demos of software
  • Helpful tips & tricks on getting started with both tools

To register for either session, click here: www.respondus.com/webinars

If you have additional questions on how to get started with Respondus Lockdown Browser or Respondus Monitor right away, please contact the DEIT Department (x2290 or deit@desales.edu), and we will be happy to walk you through enabling Respondus for your exam.

Questions? deit@desales.edu

DEIT Satisfaction Survey – Results

Thank you to the 145 DeSales faculty members that responded this past fall to the Distance Education and Instructional Technology Department’s Faculty Satisfaction Survey. The following are the key findings and planned actions from the survey’s results.


 

Key findings:

  • Ninety percent (90%) of respondents expressed overall satisfaction with DEIT’s faculty support services.

  • Sixty-five percent (65%) of respondents rated DeSales’ level of instructional technology infrastructure and support as better than peer institutions.

  • Eighty percent (80%) of respondents were “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with DEIT’s Instructional Design Consulting, Workshops, and Response to Routine Requests.

  • Faculty opinion was very mixed about the impact of the implementation of Help Desk as it relates to DEIT-related issues. 37% thought the addition of the Help Desk was positive, 45% thought it was a negative, and 18% thought it was about the same.

Planned actions:

  • To improve awareness of DEIT’s services, DEIT will send a service reminder message to faculty each semester.

  • Through collaboration with the Academic Technology Committee and the Information Services Department, DEIT is working to better understand faculty infrastructure and support needs so as to improve the perception of DeSales in these areas relative to peer institutions.

  • In response to comments regarding workshops, DEIT has launched a series on instructional design theory and practice.

  • In partnership with the Information Technology Department, DEIT is working to improve satisfaction with response to emergencies by improving procedures and communication related to the Help Desk “dispatcher” model. The university has already taken action to improve satisfaction with the Help Desk by switching to only US-based agents during peak service hours.

  • To support continuous improvement, DEIT will repeat the Faculty Satisfaction Survey annually, beginning in spring 2017.

You may access PDF versions of the complete survey results, a slightly more detailed analysis, and a copy of the survey questions by clicking this link or by cutting and pasting this URL into your favorite Web browser:

https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B4nIGMhnNLnmZFZBS3pGQmh2YlU&usp=sharing

Please contact DEIT  if you have any questions or any feedback on the survey process.


 

Warm regards,
Eric J. Hagan, Ed.D.
Director, Distance Education and Instructional Technology

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