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What it Takes to be a Wiki Ninja

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

A lot of people don’t know about the Experts site, and it makes me a little sad. Not just because it’s what I spend 80% of my time on, but because I think that a lot of people would find it incredibly helpful if they did know about it. This week I’ve been focused on documentation for the future. With every roll-out of a new version of Blackboard, we have to make new documentation or update the current documentation (depending on if it’s a new feature or a modification of an old one.) For the last service pack, we updated Blackboard at the end of the summer, but we started creating documentation for the new features at the beginning of the summer. I currently don’t know when we will update our service pack, but I’m already writing the documentation for the new features. If we happen to skip SP14 and just wait for SP15—a strategy we’ve used in the past—we will still need to know how to use these features, so it isn’t a wasted effort by any means.

I also spend a lot of time reviewing the formatting of new documentation going into Experts. Because Experts is a wiki, it’s a living document that is constantly being updated and changed as technology is being updated and changed. However, we need to keep things looking clean, professional, and easy for the user of the wiki to read. Consistency is key to this, which takes a good eye for details and a mild obsession with matching. I’ve said before that it makes me sad how much of the Experts Style guide lives in my head, and it’s true, but that’s what makes me the right person to look things over. There are a lot of times when I can’t guarantee the veracity of the information, (so many people in this world are so much smarter than me!) but I can at least make sure the information is formatted correctly. And so I walk a lonely road with perfectly aligned lists and pictures all with a border and less than 500 pixels wide.

–Renée Dunn, Computer Services Training and Documentation GA and “Wiki Ninja”

Mediasite Video Issue Fixed

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

The Enterprise Systems group has resolved the Mediasite issue, and students can now access Mediasite videos in Blackboard from the Residence Halls.

Blackboard Open Lab held every Friday 1:30 – 5:00 pm

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

We have a great way to get your Blackboard questions answered and curiosity  quenched! The Blackboard Open Lab is open every Friday from 1:30- 5:00 PM. You’ll find our Technical Trainer, Ryan Spilken, hanging out in Library 205 on Friday afternoons to help students and faculty with their varied Blackboard issues. Come to get help with a specific problem, or just to add a few useful tips to your Blackboard arsenal.

Blackboard Open Lab
Meyer Library 205 Technology Training Center1:30 – 5:00 pm

Blackboard Feature Spotlight: My Posts

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

By now you’ve probably seen the My Blackboard navigation system of our Blackboard, but have you ever clicked on My Posts? My posts is a running list of all conversations going in your Blackboard courses. This includes posts from discussion boards, journals, wikis, and blogs as well as the comments and replies to those posts. You can filter the posts to all, those that mention you or you wrote, or a particular course, and you can also comment on posts directly from this page. My Posts is an all-in-one stop for your posting needs!

Check out this video from Blackboard about My Posts!

http://youtu.be/ExA3jOEkaBM

And don’t forget about all the opportunities for Blackboard training at http://helpdesk.missouristate.edu/blackboard, and learn how you can become a Blackboard Black Belt while you’re there!

Blackboard Feature Spotlight: New Discussion Board

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

Blackboard has completely revamped the Discussion Board!

First you will notice that contributor’s profile pictures will show up next to their posts and comments, making the conversation much easier to follow. Also you can now see all the threads in one continuous chain or, if that’s overwhelming, pair it down to just what you want to see at a time.

Many instructors will be excited about the new “post first” feature as well. This requires students to post a thread before being able to see and comment on other’s posts. Useful if you want to see what that particular student thinks before they are influenced by the thoughts of their peers.

Take a look at this video from Blackboard about the New Discussion Board!

Check out all the opportunities for Blackboard training and learn how you can become a Blackboard Black Belt at http://helpdesk.missouristate.edu/blackboard.

Blackboard Feature Spotlight: Profiles

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

What’s this?! Pictures, at long last! Profiles are a great new feature of Blackboard which make the online learning experience more person-oriented. It’s long been understood that learning students’ names improves their dedication and effort in the classroom, and now profiles have enabled images to be associated with individuals, which means that you can learn who your students names much more quickly and efficiently. Profiles allow you to share academic information about yourself and enable you to learn about others in your classes. You can also link your information to your facebook and twitter accounts if you so desire. You can set your privacy settings to the entire university, just those people in your classes, or to only yourself. The best thing is that it allows you to upload a profile pic that will displayed in numerous places, including discussion boards and the “People” page of My Blackboard. You also have an “About Me” description in which you can give some general information about yourself or you can treat more like a facebook status. As a teacher or student it will be a way to help memorize names in a seated classroom more quickly and for an online class it will help make that name you see all the time into an actual human being in your brain.

Check out this video from Blackboard about Profiles!

And don’t forget about all the opportunities for Blackboard training at http://helpdesk.missouristate.edu/blackboard , and learn how you can become a Blackboard Black Belt while you’re there!

Blackboard Feature Spotlight: Video Everywhere

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

Video Everywhere is basically what the name implies! You can record, embed, and reuse videos anywhere there is a content editor. Students or faculty can provide responses and feedback on wiki entries, discussion boards, assignments and other places. In addition to simply allowing you to record specific new responses, it also allows you to embed any of the youtube videos on your channel so if you have a previously made library of videos you can now put those anywhere you need them to be.

Check out this video from Blackboard about Video Everywhere:

And don’t forget about all the opportunities for Blackboard training at http://helpdesk.missouristate.edu/blackboard , and learn how you can become a Blackboard Black Belt while you’re there!

Blackboard Feature Spotlight: The New Content Editor

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

The Content Editor in Blackboard is better than ever! Have you ever struggled to copy and paste a paragraph from a word document to a Blackboard page? It’s been fixed! Yes, you can now copy and paste from Word without it appearing as though it’s been possessed by evil computer ghosts. The new content editor reads, writes and renders modern HTML – so the content you created in Microsoft Word and the course pages you designed so carefully in Dreamweaver will transfer accurately into Blackboard Learn. All sorts of improvements have been made to the content editor in Blackboard. You can now edit in a full screen, giving you a lot more real estate to build rich content, and you have the choice of a basic view of the editor or an advanced view depending on your needs.

The content editor still contains all the basic tools in the interface including cut, copy, and paste if you don’t like to use keyboard shortcuts. You can also create tables, resize images, and embed video with the new editor.  Using the mash-up tool you can still easily add rich content by searching for content from YouTube, Flickr, Slideshare, and more rather than just creating a link. Even record and share a video from your webcam straight into the editor with the Video Everywhere button!

Check out this video from Blackboard about the New Content Editor:

To find out more about all the opportunities for Blackboard training and learn how you can become a Blackboard Black Belt visit us at http://helpdesk.missouristate.edu/blackboard.