DuqEdTech goes to Pitt!

-By Lauren Oczypok, Educational Technology Instructional Designer

Two weeks ago, the University of Pittsburgh’s CIDDE (Center for Instructional Development and Distance Education) hosted Blackboard Day!  Naturally, being just across the way in Oakland, our team was excited to visit and learn from our colleagues and Blackboard representatives.

Blackboard day started out strong with the Blackboard Roadmap session.  We were excited to see some new features that will be added to Blackboard.  Some highlights include:

  1.  Drag and Drop Content Builder.   Can we just say, Thank goodness! This will allow you to create  a folder on your desktop and just DRAG it right in to Blackboard.  Same is true for single PDF, Word, PPT files.
  2. SafeAssign Integration- This one is actually coming very soon!  You will not need to create a separate SafeAssignment, you will now only need to create an Assignment and check a button to send student documents to SafeAssign.
  3. iOS and Android App for Grading- Another very exciting feature that will be coming SOON!  Now instructors will be able to grade assignments on the go from their mobile device!

The next session of the day focused on Designing an Exemplary Course according to Blackboard’s Design Rubric.  Here are some points from that session.

The three elements of an exemplary course, according to Blackboard, are:

  1. Course Design
  2. Interaction and Collaboration
  3. Assessment and Evaluation

Some quick tips to use when designing your course are to chunk your content into small pieces for viewing ease, add your objectives so students know what they will be learning, and also add some content variation (a mixture of YouTube videos, khan academy videos, images, and text).

Some quick tips for interaction and collaboration include adding an orientation discussion for students to get to know one another, mix up the collaboration between students by creating a wiki, or create a course blog assignment in Blackboard so that all students can post about a similar topic in a public place.

Finally, some quick tips for using assessments and evaluations include to have students assess themselves throughout the learning process, create rubrics to clarify expectations, and encourage students to complete a course evaluation both during and after the course has finished.

We hope that you enjoyed this summary of our experiences!  We thank CIDDE at Pitt and truly feel that it was a great learning experience for us.

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