Center for Educational Resources and Technology at DSU

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D2L Brightspace is Here!

By Eric Hagan, August 10, 2023

Unless you are brand new to DeSales or have been living under a rock, you are aware that DeSales decided last academic year to transition learning management systems. Blackboard is out, Brightspace is in. Thank you for your commitment to making this transition a success to the benefit of our students. 

Many courses have successfully run on Brightspace this summer. Beginning with our fall terms all courses will be taught using Brightspace. I taught an Adult Studies online course in Brightspace at the beginning of the summer. The students in the course were either returning Adult Studies students or day students taking a summer course – in other words, they were all used to Blackboard and new to Brightspace. The students barely mentioned the change, and if they did, it was a positive comment. So the good news is that the transition to Brightspace will not be a big change for students. To them, it’s just another website to navigate. If your instructions are clear, the students will be fine.  

The transition to Brightspace is more significant for the faculty. Many of us take satisfaction in setting up our course in the learning management system just the way we want it. Although all the basic content and some of the structure can be copied over from Blackboard, Brightspace has differences and new capabilities so give yourself plenty of time to set things up the way you like.  

CERT offers plenty of support to the faculty through live training sessions (https://www.desales.edu/workshops), online resource courses in Brightspace – look for the Faculty Orientation and Faculty Resources courses in Brightspace, and one-on-one staff support. D2L also offers a plethora of training videos and support documentation.  

Once you get over the hump of getting your courses up and running in Brightspace, you’ll have a chance to explore Brightspace’s benefits and enhanced functionality including: 

  • Clean, modern interface 
  • Great experience on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets 
  • Deep commitment to accessibility for students with learning challenges 
  • Useful retention support / analytics tools 
  • Integrated high-end content creation tools that make it easy to present content in a highly professional manner 
  • Ubiquitous on-the-fly video integration so you can provide quick on-the-fly video messages to student 
  • Superior integration of our 3rd party tools 
  • 24/7 support from D2L via text and business hours support through the DSU Helpdesk 

Transition from Collaborate to Zoom

DeSales University recently executed a multi-year agreement with Zoom Communications, Inc. to provide web conferencing services to the university community. We are phasing out use of our other web conferencing platform, Blackboard Collaborate, between now and June 2019.

Collaborate-to-Zoom Transition Table
ProgramMAY use Collaborate through the end ofMUST switch to Zoom by the beginning of
Traditional DaySpring Semester 2019Fall Semester 2019
ACCESSACCESS Session 4ACCESS Session 5
DPT, M.Ed, MFA, MSPASSpring Term 2019Summer Term 2019
DNP, MACJ, MBA, MSIS, MSNWinter Term 2019Spring Term 2019

 What you need to know:

  • Both Collaborate and Zoom are available for use through June 15. However, DEIT encourages switching to Zoom as soon as possible since Zoom is our platform moving forward. The table above describes when your program needs to be completely cut over to Zoom.
  • Collaborate recordings will NOT be available in Collaborate after June 15. If you need to save a recorded Collaborate session, download it as an mp4 file and save it elsewhere. (The steps to locate and download recordings are available online – https://help.blackboard.com/Collaborate/Ultra/Moderator/Get_Started/Record_Sessions) Recommended locations to store downloaded mp4 files include the DeSales media server or Panopto. Storing media files in Blackboard is not recommended. Contact DEIT for assistance.
  • Zoom is great! Try it. You can use Zoom both in and outside of Blackboard. Instructors can create a Zoom account by clicking the Zoom menu in a Blackboard course. Anyone in the university community (faculty, staff, students) can create a Zoom account by visiting http://desales.zoom.us. You may use Zoom for both university-related and private communications, subject to the university’s Computing Use and Internet Policy.
  • Documentation for Zoom can be found at http://support.zoom.us or, for instructors, within the DEIT Faculty Community in Blackboard.
  • Group and one-on-one Zoom training is available from DEIT.

Questions? Contact DEIT at 610-282-1100 x2290 or deit@desales.edu.

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.

November 5th-9th: National Distance Learning Week!

NDLW Banner

The United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) will be holding 10 virtual sessions throughout the week highlighting the best practices within the digital/distance learning community.

Many of the sessions are going to be showing in the DEIT office in Dooling 40-1. Feel free to stop by and join the conversation. You can also register for sessions and watch from your office/home. Information and registration options are available on this page – https://www.usdla.org/2018-ndlw-2018/.

A printable version of the session list is also available: https://content.usdla.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/ndlw2018_program.pdf.

The topics this year are:

Monday, November 5th – Engagement

Tuesday, November 6th – Feedback and Support

Wednesday, November 7th – Credentials and Efficiencies

Thursday, November 8th – Quality of Learning and Accessibility

Friday, November 9th – Content and Feedback

Guest Post: How to Deepen Online Dialog (Rebecca Zambrano, Faculty Focus)

Many faculty members express concern that discussion in their online courses is shallow or sparse. What is it that makes meaningful dialogue so elusive in online courses? Some practices in online course design and discussion facilitation can actually encourage superficial dialogue. Faculty grading and feedback that require too much formality of language can scare students into virtual silence, sticking to exactly what the text says or saying what they think the professor wants to hear. Focusing on lower-level writing issues, such as grammar, APA style, or academic language, takes students away from content issues toward format issues. Although faculty might expect students to use formal academic language in their essays and research papers, it is not ideal for discussion. (Summary from UPCEA blog).

Read the full post here. 

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

 

Online Courses Best for Introverts? Guest Post

In this guest post that appeared in Inside Higher Ed, Karen Costa explains why online education might be the best bet for introverted students. See the full post here.

2016 Online Learning Landscape – Infographic

DeSales University is a member of the Online Learning Consortium (OLC), a non-profit dedicated to promoting quality online higher education. The OLC is just out with this infographic summarizing the scope of online higher education and the context in which it exists.

Among the highlights:

  • 5.8 million students are enrolled in online courses, a 263% increase over the past 12 years
  • 75% of undergrads are age 25 or older
  • 90% of students think online learning is the same or better than the traditional classroom experience (71% of academic leaders say the same thing)

If you are looking to do something new with technology in your course or program, let’s have a conversation!

Eric Hagan, Director, DEIT

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

Chronicle Vitae Article: Commentary on Online Teaching

reflectioniconOnline learning is a great way to conveniently fit furthering your education into a busy schedule with its more flexible hours and course format. However, distance learning still faces a common misconception that because the course is hosted online, it is less personal than a traditional classroom course.

In an article titled “Online Teaching, It Turns Out, Isn’t Impersonal” featured on Chronicle Vitae’s website, the post’s author Gregory Semenza has found the exact opposite of this impersonal misconception. When Semenza was tasked with teaching his first online, intensive course, he found that the online format actually led to an interactive and engaging course. Semenza credits the success of online courses to two key factors:

  • All students participate in the class, rather than a select few in the classroom setting
  • All submissions and assignments were written, which allowed Semenza to better gauge the students’ understanding and provide better feedback

These two facts about online courses, combined with good instructional design and engaging material, prove that distance learning can be just as, if not more, personal and interactive between the three main players in any course: the students, the instructor, and the material.

To read the full article, click the following link: Online Teaching, It Turns Out, Isn’t Impersonal.

Special thanks to Kim Karpinski for sharing this article with DEIT!

– DEIT

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