Seen the latest enhancements to Blackboard?

Seen the latest enhancements to Blackboard?

From Information Resources and Technologies

Last spring, IRT's upgrade to Blackboard (My UST) brought the St. Thomas community some much-sought-after enhancements for student assessment, feedback and reporting, and collaborative group projects.

Grade Center
The Blackboard Grade Center replaces the Gradebook in both courses and organizations and includes the ability to edit and save grades directly through the Grade Center spreadsheet. Layout and organization features in the spreadsheet include the ability to drag and drop columns, freeze or hide columns, and create "Smart Views" of the spreadsheet based on performance criteria for Blackboard assessments or assignments.

Some of the many enhancements to the Grade Center include:

  • A redesigned toolbar, called the "Action Bar," through which multiple functions are possible
  • Options to create and print reports, such as final grades, to hand out to students or advisers
  • Grade History: records all of the changes that are made to grades in the Grade Center
  • Exempt Grade: exempt students from any grade item in the Grade Center
  • Calculations for average grade and minimum or maximum grade

To learn more, watch the video overview of the Grade Center and, for tutorials and Grade Center helpsheets, visit the IRT Web site.

Self and peer assessment
Class assignments, projects or group work requiring students to assess their own or their classmates' work can be facilitated through the new Self & Peer Assessment tool. Although there are a variety of ways in which a self or peer assessment can be set up and used, the basic components of an assessment are a list of questions or statements and criterion-based items that students use in evaluating their own or their classmates' work.

Assessments are based on two phases: the Submission phase in which students respond to the questions or statements, and the Evaluation phase in which students use criteria to evaluate their peer's responses. Reporting tools enable faculty to monitor students' responses and evaluations. Results of self and peer assessments can be sent to the Grade Center for automatic grading. For more information, view the overview and FAQ.

Collaboration workflows
The Workflow tool in the Blackboard Content System includes new features for defining the tasks and order of execution of a specific process, including which documents and individuals are involved. Workflow collaborators can receive e-mail notifications about the workflows in which they participate, such as when tasks are assigned to them or when the workflow progresses from one milestone to the next. Watch a video overview of the Content System.

For more information on Blackboard and other tools, visit the IRT Web site, contact your academic technology consultant or CORE Team member, or the IRT Tech Desk at (651) 962-6230.