From the Director’s Desk – Spring 2014

Franklin_2013_squareMarch roars in like a lion.  At least here on the Plainview campus, we’ve already had several days of bitter cold and biting wind with at least one 80 degree day mixed in.  You can never fully know what to expect next.  It kind of reminds me of teaching online.  I love the excitement of a new term with new students and new opportunities and, of course, new challenges.

If you’re anything like me, you’re always tweaking.  I’m never comfortable with the status quo and am always striving to make changes to improve the way I teach my classes, whether it’s trying a new discussion board topic, grading strategy, or brand new technology.  Thanks to rapid advances in technology there’s no shortage of new “things” to try.  Of course, we all know it’s not about technology for technology’s sake, but how we can improve the learning environment within our courses.

In this newsletter, I hope you’ll explore some of the newest features that are available to you, including a tool (Kaltura) that will let you not only upload and embed your videos into Blackboard, but also let you record your own screen (e.g. Powerpoints) with voiceover directly through Blackboard. Another tool, recently installed on our Blackboard server, is called Qwickly with which you can post an announcement in multiple classes or email students from multiple classes all at once.  You can read more about these in this quarter’s newsletter.

Also, in the coming weeks, we’ll be starting another round of Spring Training for Blackboard.  Just like last spring, we’ll be hosting weekly online webinars on different features of Blackboard for the newbie all the way to our most advanced users.  Stay tuned for more on these opportunities.

As always, when you run into trouble or need help, be sure to let us know.  We’re standing by to assist you at vcsupport@wbu.edu.

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