3 November 2009
26 June 2009
Several updates are coming to Turnitin this summer. I’ve highlighted some of them below:
Global exclusion Bibliographic material
Default setting for all new assignments will be to exclude bibliographic and quoted material from the Similiarity Index
Currently, within an individual originality report, instructors must choose to exclude bibliographic and quoted material. When this new feature launches, instructors will be able to indicate their preferences at the assignment level. The default for all newly created assignments will be for this content to be excluded. (Originality reports generated prior to the feature’s launch will remain unaffected; whatever exclusion preference was set for each individual original report pre-launch will remain post-launch). This assignment-level preference can be changed up until the first paper has been submitted. In all instances, as currently, an instructor can view an originality report and change the individual paper’s settings to include or exclude bibliographic and quoted material.
Optional Exclusion of Small Matches in the Originality Report
Instructors may choose to indicate that the similarity index for every originality report for an assignment should exclude matches equal to or less than a certain percent (1% – 100%). The default setting is that ALL matches are shown.
The size of matches that have been excluded (if any) is clearly indicated on each originality report. Instructors can adjust the size of matches to exclude while viewing each originality report and those adjustments are immediately reflected in the originality report.
Instructors may sometimes find limited value in seeing large numbers of small percentage matches for an assignment. Now instructors have the flexibility to choose what level matches should be included in the computation of the similarity index and highlighted in the originality report. This flexibility provides instructors with an additional degree of control in evaluating student assignments.
Improved Handling of Document Submissions and Multiple File Uploads
New productivity and usability enhancements for submissions that:
• Double the size limits for individual file submissions (from 10MB to 20MB) as well as zip file (batch) uploads (from 100MB to 200MB).
• Improve user notification for submissions that exceed the maximum sizes (and guidance to help fix the issue);
• Streamline the process for uploading zipped files of multiple documents.
Currently, instructors must repetitively select and tag each document (author name, email, paper title) for upload. Now instructors will select multiple files and conveniently enter document information into a table.
24 June 2009
Poster presented at HEA Annual Conference 30 June – 2 July 2009. This project was funded by TechDis as part of the HEAT3 scheme.
You can download a copy of the poster (A4) from scribd below. If you have come to this page via the QR code I gave out at the conference, I would be really interested to hear your thoughts on using the QR code as our use of QR codes is part of another JISC funded project.
15 June 2009
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
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
11 June 2009
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.
1 June 2009
ITS are pushing us to upgrade to Internet Explorer 7 – if you use IE for your web access and use Blackboard you MUST upgrade to use the new version of Blackboard coming over the summer for use in the next academic year.
7 reasons to change to Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) – upgrade now
It’s easy to upgrade from IE6 – find out about the new features in IE7 and how to install it
To find out which version you are using, open Internet Explorer and press F1 to open the help dialogue box. If the logo on the right displays an ‘e’ in a square box and doesn’t state the version number, then you are still using IE6.
There are plenty of reasons to change to Internet Explorer 7 and it’s easy to install:
1. Tabbed browsing
If you want to keep your current page open and browse for something else, just start a new tab. This means there’s only one copy of IE7 open (which uses less PC resources) and you can easily jump from one page to the next. You can open multiple tabs then close them individually or all in one go.
Even better than tabbed browsing – if you have a lot of pages open in tabs already you can view thumbnail previews of them to help you navigate to the correct one more quickly
2. Supports Blackboard 9
Blackboard 9 is being introduced in August 2009. Certain functions will not work with IE6, so why not upgrade now so that you’re ready for the changeover. IE6 will not be supported after October 2009.
3. Page zoom
You can quickly zoom in on a web page to make it easier to read. The whole layout including the navigation, pictures and text can now be magnified.
4. Improved printing
IE7 will automatically scale the page to fit when printing whereas if the page if it is too wide to fit the print area in IE6 then text will be lost.
5. Instant search box
The Google search box appears on the toolbar so you don’t need to navigate to your search engine first – just start a new tab, type in your search & go.
6. Newer and improved security
Improved security is available in IE7. Malicious coders look to exploit vulnerabilities in older browsers – you are more at risk from viruses, malware and hacking if you don’t have the latest supported version.
7. End of support
Support for IE6 will be phased out from the beginning of the new academic year 2009/10
7 May 2009
You will have seen that ITS have announced a major upgrade for Blackboard for the new academic year. Within the School of Biological Sciences I will be reviewing the impact of this upgrade on our practices. If you have any questions or concerns that you would like to raise, please do not hesitate to contact me.
The Blackboard virtual learning environment will be upgrade during the summer vacation (2009).
The planned upgrade date is MONDAY 3rd AUGUST and IT Services will be upgrading Blackboard to the latest version of the software – version 9.0.
Why: For technical reasons the Blackboard service was not upgrade for this academic year (2008-2009) and our current version (version 7.3) will become unsupported in October 2009. Blackboard Version 8 saw an upgrade to the grade book which now supports multitude of ways to customize the display of the Grade Centre, however, this version remains problematic so IT Services has decided to upgrade to Blackboard Version 9.
What does it Offer: Blackboard Version 9 is the latest release and features an expanded” Web 2.0” and “social learning” tools, such as blogs and journals and the new Blackboard Sync facility allows certain Blackboard content to be available to users of Facebook and the Apple iPhone.
What are the Changes: The major change for Blackboard users is the redesigned and customizable user interface. Although the student view basically remains the same as previous versions there are some significant changes in the user interface for course instructors – although the basic Blackboard functionality remains the same.
31 March 2009
The TurnitinUK plagiarism detection service has now released an anonymous marking option.
When you add a new Turnitin Assignment there is now a new screen with the usual options of setting the assignment’s title and start date etc. but at the bottom of the screen there is a “more options” link. Within “more options” is a new feature: “Enable anonymous marking?”. If this option is switched on then course instructors will not see any student names in the TurnitinUK system until after the post-date (which is set when the assignment is set-up).
25 March 2009
Wimba Create is an add-in to Microsoft Word which allows such documents to be converted into a Web friendly format for inclusion in the Blackboard VLE. Converted documents are a series of Web pages with their own self-contained navigation structure.
The University has a site licence for Wimba Create and it is fully functional in both Word 2003 and Word 2007.
update 25 March 2009
I tried this out last week and had some terrible problems using the system on cfs with Word 2007. I wouldn’t recommend using this until we get to the bottom of these problems!
19 March 2009
HEA Centre for Bioscience event at Leicester
Tuesday, 24 March 2009
Woodhouse Room, Charles Wilson Building, University of Leicester
The day will explore different methodologies and provide you with the opportunity to meet like-minded colleagues and promote pedagogy in the biosciences. This event is targeted at bioscientists with some experience of pedagogic evaluation and research. Registration form.
10.00 Registration and refreshments
10.20 Welcome and Introduction to the day Steve Maw, Centre for Bioscience
10.30 Social Science Research Methodologies: Bonnie Green, University of Leicester
11.15 Practitioner Perspectives: three scientists give the benefit of their experience in moving into education research with a “warts ‘n’ all” deconstruction of a piece of their own work.
- Teaching about bioethics through authoring of websites: Chris Willmott, University of Leicester
- Exploring peer and self assessment of oral presentations: opportunistically using residential field courses for Action Research: Mark Langan and Rod Cullen, Manchester Metropolitan University
- A farewell to controls? The problems with experiments in education: Mark Huxham, Napier University
Followed by general discussion
13.30 Afternoon Session: Facilitated by Paul Orsmond
Attendees will have the opportunity to join discussions on
- Evaluating Pedagogical Research led by Jon Scott,
- Feedback led by Paul Orsmond.
15.30 Feedback: Facilitated by Paul Orsmond
16.00 Reflections and Close