Distance Education http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance Tue, 27 Sep 2016 17:13:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5 D2L CD update 10.6.5 for September 2016 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2016/09/d2l-cd-update-10-6-5-for-september-2016/ http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2016/09/d2l-cd-update-10-6-5-for-september-2016/#respond Mon, 19 Sep 2016 19:22:32 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/?p=6952 icon continuous deliveryThe next Continuous Delivery update is this Friday, September 23rd. Who does an update on the Friday before the start of the academic year? Well, we do now because of the Continuous Delivery’s schedule. Fortunately, there’s nothing major happening this time.

Sadly, the best update from this release was delayed. We were supposed to get Discussion notifications in the Pulse mobile app, but that was delayed until October. I am really excited about that one.

September is another mostly quiet month. There are some useful features added for data-heads, like the ability to export Quiz and Survey results directly to Excel. This functionality appears in the results area, the statistics, and more. You can export the results from quizzes to identify problematic questions and more now without relying on the built in charts. (btw, Melany has a great post on working with quizzes).

export to excel buttons are now everywhere

We’re also enabling Audio Note 2.0 and Video Note 2.0, which actually came out in a previous release. Our team wanted to evaluate the implications for support and usability before enabling these features. It looks like they are both an improvement over the older audio feedback tool.

Audio Note 2.0

If you used the audio recorder in the past, you probably noticed how finicky the Flash tool was. And you probably  noticed how the recording was a WAV audio file that you and your students had to download to play (assuming you had an application to play it with). This update is a step forward, but not a complete improvement over the old tool.

  1. It now uses an HTML5-based recorder and player to record up to 3 minutes of audio.
  2. The audio is saved as a compressed mp3 file rather than a plain old uncompressed WAV file.
    html5 audio recorder
  3. Playback now occurs, albeit awkwardly, in an HTML page attachment rather than requiring a download.

This tool is available in discussion under the Attachment area (like before) and in the Assignment feedback area. Both are great places to leave human-seeming feedback for your students. Audio feedback on assignments is a WKBP, or a Well Known Best Practice.

Video Note 2.0

Video Note, like Audio Note 2.0, allows you to leave video comments and feedback using a webcam. It is also HTML5-based, and so far seems more stable than the older webcam feature. Unfortunately, the player is still in its infancy, and it lacks important feature like the ability to add captions. We aren’t recommending this tool yet except in more personal feedback, or disposable (i.e. fleeting) media.

A preview of the Video Note 2.0 tool

The upside of this tool is that it can be used either in the Discussion attachments area like the Audio Note 2.0, or using the Insert Stuff option almost any place you can use the HTML editor.

As usual, there are a litany of bug fixes, but the are mostly boring. If you want to read more, check out the latest release info in the Brightspace Community.

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D2L Tool name changes for fall http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2016/09/d2l-tool-name-changes-for-fall/ Sun, 04 Sep 2016 20:32:18 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/?p=6950 This fall, some common tools in D2L will see a name change. The vendor has made the changes based on extensive user testing with new students. If you have been using D2L in the past, you may notice some changes to the following tools:

  • News will become Announcements
  • Dropbox will become Assignments (students and instructors often confuse the D2L Dropbox with the file storage system Dropbox)
  • Pager will be called Instant Messenger (but almost no-one uses it)

For the most part, these name changes don’t really matter much. However, there may be a short transition time where instructors need to update references to instructions in their courses to match the new tools. So if you see instructions in your class that reference the “Dropbox,” the tool is now called “Assignments.”

These changes will all take place on September 7th, 2016.

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D2L CD update 10.6.4 for August 2016 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2016/08/d2l-cd-update-10-6-4-for-august-2016/ http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2016/08/d2l-cd-update-10-6-4-for-august-2016/#respond Tue, 23 Aug 2016 18:32:13 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/?p=6914 This month’s Continuous Delivery update has a number of improvements that we won’t be enabling until Winter term at the soonest because they are major visual updates. But this release does have a couple nifty additions. The updates should appear this Friday, August 26th.

Let me start with my favorite update.

  • Practice Run: This feature lets you try out an Intelligent Agent in your course without sending out any  notifications just to see how many people will be contacted in the real run. I always get nervous about creating an intelligent agent because I don’t know if it’s going to send a message to the wrong students. This will hopefully take some of the fear out of using this awesome tool.

    The Practice Run option has been added to the Intelligent Agent tool

    The agent list now has a lot more useful info.

  • You can now view the history and the results of the last time an individual agent has run. This is useful in seeing who might have received a message and when messages were last sent. There’s a fine balance between communicating with students and over-communicating.
  • MIME Type flexibility: This update gives instructors some flexibility when dealing with non-standard file types. Now you can attach those unique file types in content and not have the browser freak out (that’s the technical term) when the student tries to download that file. This will be a popular update for anyone teaching programming courses where you share source files.
  • If you add files from the Shared area (that’s where those Intro to Online Learning files are from), and you want to modify the file, it will let you save a copy in your course.

There are a number of other fixes,  including allowing videos to expand to full screen, instead of just full frame. We’re really excited about the visual updates and will be working on updating our template, and the whole interface, and will be sharing that with you as we learn more.

Coming this Fall (September 7th)

This update also includes some changes to tool language, but we are going to delay the implementation of these language changes until after Summer term. This will give everyone enough time to update any custom instructions you may have developed for your course, as well as all the documentation we maintain. As a preview, the following tools may be changing.

  • News will become Announcements
  • Dropbox will become Assignments (students and instructors often confuse the D2L Dropbox with the file storage system Dropbox)
  • Edit Course will become Course Admin
  • Pager will be called Instant Messenger
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Video Camp Fall 2016 Apps due by August 22nd http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2016/08/video-camp-fall-2016-apps-due-by-august-22nd/ http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2016/08/video-camp-fall-2016-apps-due-by-august-22nd/#respond Mon, 15 Aug 2016 18:47:44 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/?p=6906 This is a friendly reminder that if you are interested in participating in Video Camp, we now have an open application process that can collect your request to participate throughout the year. We review applications during week ten of each term so that if yours is approved, you will be notified during week eleven and have the entirety of the following term to work with the Video Production Unit team on your project.

You can find the open application for Video Camp here. If you are interested in participating Fall 2016,  be sure to get your application in to us by Monday, August 22nd at 8 a.m.

Questions? Check out our F.A.Q. Additional assistance? Contact Monica Marlo

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“Yes, but I hate the way my voice sounds.” http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2016/08/yes-but-i-hate-the-way-my-voice-sounds/ http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2016/08/yes-but-i-hate-the-way-my-voice-sounds/#respond Mon, 15 Aug 2016 16:53:47 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/?p=6900 A sketching of an ear with some sound waves

Copyright: robodread / 123RF Stock Photo

 

“Yes, but I hate the way my voice sounds.”

Itʻs a common objection I hear when suggesting recorded audio tools as a possible treatment to instructional problems. Creating recordings to give feedback, guide reflection, present overviews or commentary – any one of these practices can help course quality and instructor presence in support of improved student engagement and completion. But even knowing the positive benefits are within reach of everyone teaching in D2L who has access to speakers and a microphone, it can be a daunting thing to listen to our own recorded voice

Hereʻs some good news: generally, what you hear when you play the recording and listen to your voice is what we hear out here outside of your head anyway! Weʻre winding down for a summer break to prep for Fall 2016, so Iʻll keep it brief and present this video that explains why things sound differently from inside our own heads. Itʻs very common for us to hate the sound of our own recorded voice, but now you know your students wonʻt be judging the way you sound by the same metrics as you do.

I also wonder- do you use audio in your online course? If so, what do you do, and what benefit makes it worth the bother? If you donʻt use audio, is it for reasons other than not liking the sound of your own voice?

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Accessibility Study Experience http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2016/08/accessibility-study-experience/ http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2016/08/accessibility-study-experience/#respond Mon, 08 Aug 2016 17:00:31 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/?p=6883 11075985 - word accessibility made of asphalt with painted disabled sign

For this blog post I was approached to offer my experience in participating with the Communication and Journalism Accessibility Study. For this post I was asked two questions which I have provided responses below.

What did the Communication and Journalism SAC do that you found useful?

First of all, we teach many courses that cover media studies and dimensions of verbal and nonverbal communication. Most of our instructors in Communication Studies and Journalism use film, television, images, print, etc., as teaching tools, illustrations, and case studies. The major aspect that I found useful was to develop our courses that meet the needs of all students to enhance not only the quality and accessibility of our online courses, but also the face-to-face classes. One primary goal that we achieved was to develop a procedure for using descriptive details about images or auditory components central to course content that mitigate inference, so students may make their own interpretations using course material. We found this useful for all student learners rather than a segment of our student population.

Was the experience of participating in the study useful to you as an educator? If yes, how?

The Communication and Journalism Subject Area Accessibility Study was one of the most beneficial professional development projects I have been a part of. The reason I say this is that it allowed us to analyze our courses through a different lens. We prepare our courses as content experts with guidelines from the SAC, Disability Services, etc. What we were able to do in this study was to look at our courses through the lens of accessibility and make necessary suggestions and revisions to the way we teach.

One important take away from this study is in our course design. Many times, when receiving an accommodation request from PCC Disability Services, an instructor may feel they have to scramble at the last minute to try and develop an assignment or multiple assignments for the student. We can now take more of a holistic approach to our teaching to accommodate all student learners rather than waiting for an accommodation request. Instead of a reactive approach to accommodations, we can be proactive in developing and revising our courses so that we meet the outcomes of the assignment, course, and PCC’s core outcomes. If we can revise assignments and teaching strategies, then we have tools in place that will assist in our teaching and meeting the needs of all our students.

Final Thoughts

My hope is that other instructors take advantage of this opportunity as this not only provided tools to improve our courses, but also improved my teaching to meet the needs of all my students. I am very excited to share our findings from this study with our SAC this fall and know that our faculty will benefit from the tools and suggestions provided.

Best,

Chris Kernion

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2016 Service Award Recipients http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2016/08/2016-service-award-recipients/ http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2016/08/2016-service-award-recipients/#respond Tue, 02 Aug 2016 23:50:38 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/?p=6890 Every year, the College acknowledges staff who are celebrating five-year work anniversaries. This year, our department had six staff celebrating one of these service milestones.

6 staff celebrating a work anniversary

Loraine Schmitt – 5 years (plus 12 before)
Peter Seaman – 10 years
Supada Amornchat – 10 years
Dennis Hitchcox – 15 years
Melany Budiman – 15 years
Andy Freed – 15 years

Wow! That’s 82 years of service to the College! Congratulations and keep up the good work.

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Correcting scores after quiz has ended http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2016/08/regrading-quiz-attempt-and-correcting-score-after-quiz-ended/ http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2016/08/regrading-quiz-attempt-and-correcting-score-after-quiz-ended/#respond Mon, 01 Aug 2016 17:00:26 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/?p=6863 I have been asked a few times about this question that normally doesn’t come up quite often: How do I correct a quiz that students have already taken? I need to give credit to the students for the “bad question” or I found out that another answer in the choices is correct too. It is actually not that hard to fix it since the quiz has already ended, just follow the directions below. However, if you’re trying to regrade a quiz after changing a question, then you’d better follow this direction.

Step I: Giving credit to all students for bad question

The Update All Attempts option is useful for when you want to award points for a specific question to either all participants, or all participants who answered the question a certain way.

  1. From the main navigation bar, choose Quizzes
  2. Click the action menu next to the title of the quiz you want to work with and select Grade.
    Click on action menu next to quiz name and choose Grade
  3. You will arrive on the Users tab of the Grade quiz page. To grade by question click the Questions tab.
    Click on Questions tab
  4. Place your bullet next to the Update all Attempts option.
    Choose Update all attempts option
  5. Click the question title link of the question you want to work with to open that question
  6. You will arrive on the Update All Attempts page. Next, determine the Grading type you want to use.

Step II. Grading type

Option 1. Give points to all students regardless of the answer

Choose this option if you want to give points to all students for a specific question, regardless of how they answered the question.

  1. Under Grading Type, make sure choose the option next to Give to all attempts ____ points, then type the number of points you would like to give to all students for this question.
    Tip: If you are unsure of the point value to assign to the question refer to the Question Worth section to view the original point value assigned to the question.
    Give to all attempts regardless of answer
  2. You can write a comment explaining how you graded this question in the Comment box.
    Note: Students can only see question comments if the Submission View settings are configured to allow them to show all questions with user responses.
  3. Click Save when you have finished grading this question.
  4. Click Yes on the confirmation window to save the grade modifications made to this question.
  5. If you would like to grade additional questions click the Go Back to Questions button to return to the list of questions and repeat the same process.
Option 2. Give points to all students based on a specific answer

Choose this option if you want to give points to all students that answered a question with a specific answer. I will only cover the directions for True/False and Multiple Choice questions, but the process will be similar for other question types (multi-select, long answer, short answer,  multi-short answer, fill in the blanks, etc.)

Option A: For True/False Question
  1. Under Grading Type, make sure choose the option next to the Give to attempts with answer ____  ____ points option.
  2. From the drop down menu, select the answer you would like to give points to (True or False).
  3. Enter the number of points you would like to provide for this answer in the text field to the left of the word points.
    Tip: If you are unsure of the point value to assign to the question refer to the Question Worth section to view the original point value assigned to the question.
  4. You can write a comment explaining how you graded this question in the Comment box.
    Note: Students can only see question comments if the Submission View settings are configured to allow them to show all questions with user responses.
  5. Click Save when you have finished grading this question.
  6. Click Yes on the confirmation window to save the grade modifications made to this question.
  7. If you would like to grade additional questions click the Go Back to Questions button to return to the list of questions.
Option B:  For Multiple Choice Question
  1. Under Grading Type, make sure choose the option next to the Give to attempts with answer ____  ____ points option.
    Give to attempt for multiple choice question
  2. From the drop down menu, select the answer you would like to give points to (1, 2, 3, or -4).
  3. Enter the number of points you would like to provide for this answer in the text field to the left of the word points.
    Tip: If you are unsure of the point value to assign to the question refer to the Question Worth section to view the original point value assigned to the question.
  4. You can write a comment explaining how you graded this question in the Comment box.
    Note: Students can only see question comments if the Submission View settings are configured to allow them to show all questions with user responses.
  5. Click Save when you have finished grading this question.
  6. Click Yes on the confirmation window to save the grade modifications made to this question.
  7. If you would like to grade additional questions click the Go Back to Questions button to return to the list of questions.
Still have questions?

Don’t worry, if you still have any questions or need more guidance, the Online Faculty Help Desk (971-722-8227) will be there to help you every step of the way. Good luck!

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D2L CD update 10.6.3 for July 2016 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2016/07/d2l-cd-update-10-6-3-for-july-2016/ http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2016/07/d2l-cd-update-10-6-3-for-july-2016/#respond Wed, 27 Jul 2016 20:48:26 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/?p=6855 icon continuous deliveryThe July release (10.6.3) includes a few new features/functions that may interest faculty. We’ll go over the most notable updates and then remind you about the tool name changes coming in September. The July update will arrive on our production environment this Friday, July 29th. Sorry for the delay, we were at the D2L Fusion user conference and were soaking up stuff. (some of our conferences notes are in Spaces.)

Copy replies when copying threads

If you routinely move discussion threads between topics or categories, you’ll be happy to know that you can now choose to also copy/move the replies to those threads. Why might you do this? Let’s say a student posted an introduction post in the General Q&A topic instead of the Introduction topic and students have already responded to it. No Sweat! Click on the action menu next to the thread and select Copy Thread. Then check Copy Replies (and choose to delete after copying if you just want to move it).

Include replies when copying discussion threads

Displaying Discussion Forum descriptions in Topic descriptions

This might get a little convoluted. In the Discussion tool, the Forum is the big container and the Topic is the smaller container. The posts, or threads, and replies, go within a Topic. If you have multiple Topics under a Forum (say, for group discussions), you can save having to repeat yourself by changing the Forum settings so that it copies the Forum description to each of the child Topics. So if the Forum is specifically for Week 3 posts and there are group topics  under it, you can write the instructions at the Forum description level, check Display forum description in topics, and it automatically appends that info to each of the topics.

display forum description in topics option

It came from a user request. I guess it’s a cool update? Let us know what you think.

A few bug fixes

There are actually pages and pages of bug fixes, but here are a few that might be of interest:

  • Videos can now be expanded to full screen. Previously, they only expanded to the extent of the DIV they were contained within.
  • There was a bug with final calculated grades that didn’t affect PCC, but it’s been fixed so it won’t later. That’s good, right?
Daylight experience

The new Daylight interface update is available to us on the test server now to start working with so we can prepare for a visual update of our whole learning environment. We’ll start to show you previews as time allows, but they won’t arrive for everyone until next year at the soonest. The updates will create a responsive interface so that you can use Brightspace on computers, tablets, and phones and have a very comparable experience. We’re excited to start tinkering.

Coming this Fall (September 7th)

This update also includes some changes to tool language, but we are going to delay the implementation of these language changes until after Summer term. This will give everyone enough time to update any custom instructions you may have developed for your course, as well as all the documentation we maintain. As a preview, the following tools may be changing.

  • News will become Announcements
  • Dropbox will become Assignments (students and instructors often confuse the D2L Dropbox with the file storage system Dropbox)
  • Edit Course will become Course Admin
  • Pager will be called Instant Messenger

These changes were proposed after extensive user testing with new, first-time D2L users. Again, we do not intend to update these items until between summer and fall term so that we can update our help documentation and you can make any changes you need to your instructions.

A BB Collaborate Ultra update

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra also releases features under a continuous delivery model, and the July release includes the addition of a polling feature. I’m not sure how widely used that feature is, but if you do use it for spur of the moment (or planned) feedback, you’ll be happy to see the addition to the latest version. Here are the release notes for Collaborate Ultra July 2016. If you haven’t looked at the new Collaborate Ultra tool yet, check out my recent post on it. It’s great, even if the post is lame.

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Mining quiz logs for suspicious behavior http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2016/07/mining-quiz-log-for-suspicious-behavior/ http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2016/07/mining-quiz-log-for-suspicious-behavior/#comments Mon, 25 Jul 2016 18:40:58 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/?p=6848 Let me preface this post by saying that this is not a post for the faint hearted. And it’s really a stretch calling this one a “Best Practice,” but I wanted to use this platform to see if there were any wicked Excel macros writers or statisticians out there who are keen on using quiz log data to sniff out academic malfeasance.

Again, because this post is about using tools to identify suspicious quiz behavior, I’m simply going to give an overview of some techniques but not post the video I created as to keep the practices somewhat of a secret. If you would like to see the video, please feel free to email me.

Exporting quiz resultsExport the quiz log from the Grade area

In a recent Continuous Delivery release, D2L added a Quiz Event Export option that allows you to spit out a log of quiz activity in to a Comma Separated Value (CSV) file that you can work with in Excel. The benefit of doing this is that you an use Excel’s vast library of formulas, formatting options and more to make sense of the large files.

When you open the file in Excel, try exploring the Filter tool, Remove Duplicates, and other basic functions to make the file more useful. I’m going to suggest a couple ways to parse the info and you can do what you’d like. If you have some ideas, please, please, please share them either in the comments of by emailing me.

Filter results to view Quiz Entry and Quiz Completion

You can learn quite a bit by looking at just the quiz entry and completion information in the log. I filter the complete list to just show “Quiz Entry” and Quiz Completion” in the Event column, and it shows me the start and end times for the quiz attempts as well as the IP from with the attempt was taken. This can be a quick way to find students who are taking quizzes from the same IP at the same time, or give you a histogram showing the normal curve for time it takes to complete a quiz.

Filter shows quiz completion and quiz entry dates and times

While it might not indicate any wrongdoing, looking at the time to complete distribution can give you a better sense of how long the quiz should take, and may draw a critical eye to submissions that are several standard deviations away from the mean completion time.

histogram of quiz completion time frequencies

Histogram shows the almost normal curve of quiz completion times. Notice the outliers on the “very long” completion time, and the few in the 10 minute range as well.

There are probably a lot of other things you can do with Excel to explore the events log and the quiz results log, but that’s enough for one post. Again, if you’re an Excel Macros ninja, please let me know! I’d love to collaborate.

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