To add a new menu button on Blackboard 9.0
- switch on Edit mode (top right)
- click on the grey + button on the top left of the menu
- add content item
- name the item (e.g. ‘exam’) and make available to users
You can copy content into the new ‘exam’ area using ‘copy’ on the item or folder of items.
Blackboard was upgraded in August 2010, we are now running version 9.0 SP3.
A quick help sheet is available
Dr Richard Badge has used a formative assignment with his MSc Bioinformatics students over the last two years. The aim of the exercise is to help the students improve their writing and use citation and referencing correctly. The course combines molecular biology and programming, so the students need to be adaptable and able to write well to succeed on the molecular biology section of the course. Many are from overseas and working in English as a second language. The students are taught face to face in a lab with networking and use laptops provided by the course for their work.
The students submit short answer questions in a single document through blackboard to Turnitin. These are scanned for non-original text. Once the deadline for the piece of work has passed, the students are given a mark scheme, with detailed answers and grades. They use this in conjunction with the PeerMark system to mark another student’s paper. The students make sure that the work they submit is anonymous (no names on the paper itself in headers/titles/ filenames) and the papers are allocated to each student anonymously by the system.
The students work through the piece of work they have to mark in class on their laptops. Dr Badge stated that the formative assessment using PeerMark allowed the students to work through the marking at their own pace, allowing them ask questions of each other and him as they went along. This promoted in depth questions that related to the content of the answers and their interpretation. In previous years, working through the same exercise on paper was much more stilted and didactic.
Overall the PeerMark system offered several advantages over the paper based system:
- work was anonymised and distributed automatically
- students could work at their own pace
- promoted questions about content, understanding and interpretation over technical issues
- allowed all the students to see all the papers submitted once the marking was complete
PeerMark appeared in the January roll out of a major Turnitin update in January 2010. For a change, this new feature works within the Blackboard integration, so I’ve been taking a look at it. Here is a quick video demonstrating one of the assignments I set up.
There is a full demo of the system available on Turnitin’s support website.
If you want to do anonymous or open peer marking with students, this is certainly a good way to do it. It was used on the Bioinformatics MSc last week, which has been written up as a separate case study.
I have some usability issues with the system – it is difficult to preview the assignment to know how exactly it will appear to students. Getting the dates for submission and posting sorted out can be challenging, there are a lot of dependent dates involved and again it isn’t intuitive to know what dates to pick. Overall if you want to do peer marking on work that can be submitted through Turnitin, this is a good option.
Whilst looking at the new features on Turnitin that were added this January, I took another look at Grademark. On the face of it, this online marking system within Turnitin is an ideal candidate for us to use for electronic marking. It does many of the things we would want:
- easy online mark up as text, highlights or symbols (tick/ cross/ speech bubble)
- pop up or sticky comments
- clipboard to keep comments for re-use
- sharable library of comments and quickmark grammar listing/ common errors
- rubric card, available in grade, criteria or percentage marks for marking to learning outcomes
- general overall comments
- timed release for return of the reports to students
- integration with the Blackboard gradebook
However, the main issue I still have with grademark is the lack of ability to download the grademark reports. Students can print off a copy, which is laid out in a useful format (general comments, a numbered comment list and highlights marked up on their text), but they cannot save the electronic version (as far as I can see). From the staff view, there is no bulk download facility of the marked reports for offline storage. This poses two problems for us, first, we do not work on a cohort system, so our students have access to their blackboard modules for the current year only. This means that they will not have access in the third year to work they did in the second year. Second, we cannot keep offline copies for quality assurance, back up or any other purpose. External examiners would not be able to view the reports without a dedicated blackboard account created for them.
So, whilst this may be used by some of our taught postgraduate courses, that last for 12 months only, I cannot see many of our staff making us of it on the undergraduate courses. It’s a shame, as it is a nice tool and I have a feeling that the students would like it and it would improve our feedback systems substantially.
Peermark is a system within Turnitin that enables you to distribute student submitted work back amongst the cohort for peer review. The students review work already submitted to an existing (or newly created) Turnitin assignment.
1. Allows anonymous peermarking using a set of questions set by the instructor. The questions can be rating (is this paper good/poor) on scale of 1-5, open text answers.
2. Good control over the distribution of the work amongst students. You can set how many scripts each student reviews. These can be randomly assigned by the system, chosen by the student. You can pre-assign students in pairs or exclude students from the process altogether.
3. Instructors can write a review of the student work themselves and comment on the reviews the students have undertaken.
4. Students can see reviews written by others on their work easily
5. Students can download reviews of their work.
1. As we re-use our courses year on year in the Biological Sciences undergraduate courses, the links to the peermark assignments will be lost at the end of each year
2. I can see no way to keep any of this work ‘offline’ after the fact (easily) for staff/ QA/ External examiners
If you would like to use Peermark please feel free to get in touch with me.
Demonstration of setting up peermark by Turnitin
The electronic voting system Turning Point, can be used to collate information from various groups in one audience.
There are two methods to do this:
1. Team assignment
Insert a ‘team assignment’ slide and change the teams to represent the ggroups you are working with (e.g. Medical genetics students/ Biol Sci students or school 1/ school 2 etc)
Have the participants register with their team using this slide as the opening voting slide. use the ‘team scoring reports’ to provide analysis on overal comparative data between teams on each question.
2. Create a participant list split into groups
More comlicated, but ensures that particular handsets are allocated to particular groups.
Use a barcode scanner to read the device IDs on the handsets into an excel spreadsheet. Allocate the device IDs to groups by typing/ pasting a group name next each entry. Save as /csv format (comma separated file).
Go to Turning point and create a participant list: ‘participants>participant list wizard’. Use the default settings to create a very simple template with only one field in which the group name can be entered. Create the number of groups required. Import the .csv file with the devide IDs and then manually add to the groups (check box). Save the participant list and re-use when voting with the groups.
Tip for session management: you can merge two sessions (i.e. voting on the same questions before and after an event) if they were saved separately.
If you can rely on your audience (!) you can se the first slide of your questions to be a Team Assignment slide.
On 1st August 2009 Blackboard will undergo a major upgrade (from version 7 to 9).
What action do I need to take now?
- Make sure that you are using Internet Explorer 7 to access Blackboard 9. If you have upgraded to Office 2007 this is part of the upgrade. If you need to access Blackboard from home or a non-cfs PC you will need to upgrade those machines. Office 2007 for home is available from ITS for £17. IE7 is available free to download from Microsoft
- IE 8, Firefox 3 and Safari 3 are also supported.
What will stay the same?
- Your courses will be automatically transferred to the new software
- Jo Badge will still recycle them ready for the new academic year (remove the 2008/9 students and enrol the 2009/10 cohort)
- You will still be able to use the TurnitinUK system for submitting work for plagiarism scanning. I strongly recommend that you create new TurnitinAssignment items for students to submit work rather than re-use previous links.
What will change?
- The major change is to the way that you add and edit information on course sites. This now predominantly occurs through in-context menus (i.e. click on an item to change it). The control panel is also accessible from the main course page .
- Interactive screenshots of an instructor view and edit mode in Blackboard 9
- Some things will disappear: electronic blackboard, digital drop box, signup list, student homepages.
- Some things will get better: the gradebook is much enhanced and requires far less clicking to operate
Interactive instructor view
Interactive instructor EDIT view
What support is available?
- ITS are providing quick overviews of the changes on: Tuesday 23rd June: 11am – 12pm and Monday 7th September: 2pm – 3pm (Book via email@example.com )
- Jo Badge will be running an overview of the changes that affect academic and support staff in the School in the week beginning 14 September 2009. Location and further details will be announced soon.
- A meeting with MSc convenors has already been arranged for 25 June to take account of the MSc’s earlier start in the academic year.
More information on the upgrade is available from ITS
Bb9.0 instructor view
The Blackboard version 9.0 test system can be accessed via: http://bbtest.le.ac.uk/
- The new service requires the use of Internet Explorer version 7. If you have upgraded to Office 2007 on a PC, you will automatically be running IE 7 .To install version 7 on a private CFS client log on to the CFS service and select start | All Programs | Install CFS Software and then select Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 – Upgrade. Next click on Run and the installation will begin.
- The new system sees the removal of: the Electric Blackboard; the Digital Drop Box and Student Home pages. We shall be communicating separately with the users of Electric Blackboard and we shall be informing students of the loss of their home pages but you may be aware of staff that are making use of the digital drop box. We shall say more about this in the communiqué to all Blackboard course instructors.
- We are not linking any course assignments on the test system to the TurnitinUK plagiarism detection service. This is to avoid the accidental deletion of any live data that is being held on the TurnitinUK service.
- The Sign-up List tool will not be available under Version 9.0 as it is replaced by a Blackboard built-in tool within the Group function. The contents of any existing sign-up list will be lost during the final upgrade. We have a Web site where Known Issues with Blackboard Version 9 can be found.
Finally, if you experience any problem with the test system please report then to the IT Services Help Desk (email firstname.lastname@example.org; tel 2253) but clearly state that the problem is with the Bbtest system.
Note: this test service is subject to disruption if it is required for investigation of issues or bug fixing.