Posts Tagged ‘Blackboard’

Help! Something is Missing!

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

The UMW IT department and Instructure tech support have migrated all the fall 2010, spring 2011, and summer 2011 (after summer is complete) Blackboard courses onto the new Canvas system for you! Yeah!

But what happens if you log into your old course (now in Canvas) and find something is missing!

Two alternatives:

  1. If you do this before July 28, 2011, Blackboard will still be available to you and you can log into Blackboard and download the missing item.
  2. If you do this after July 28, then Blackboard will not be available.  In that case, here is what you do:

After July 28, to find a missing image or Word document or PowerPoint that somehow did not get transferred into Canvas during the course migration process, ask UMW IT to give you a copy of your old Blackboard course in Blackboard “export” format.

I am missing this image:

Ask UMW IT for your course in “Export” format:

The export will be a zip file. Unzip it!

Look inside the unzipped folder:

You may need to look into several folders, but your image will be here somewhere:

Once you find the missing image, you can upload it into Canvas and place it where it belongs.

Blackboard Going Away!

Monday, June 6th, 2011

Blackboard is going away. In fact the server will be taken offline on July 28, 2011. On that date, no one at UMW will have access to the Blackboard server. Not even the IT folks will have access – no one will have access on July 28 and thereafter.

The good news is UMW has licensed a new and very exciting courses management system to use beginning fall semester, 2011. The new system is called Canvas (made by a company called Instructure).

For full training schedule and tutorials visit: http://canvas.umwblogs.org

So what does this mean to faculty members?

Consequences of Blackboard Going Away

  • Faculty should download, save, and/or print any materials in Blackboard before July 28, 2011. There will be NO ACCESS to Blackboard on July 28, 2011 and thereafter.
  • Faculty should be especially careful to document any student grades for summer 2011 as the server will not be available to look up and answer questions from students about their grades.
  • Starfish is not currently supported in Canvas. (Starfish may be used as a stand alone product.)
  • SafeAssign is not supported in Canvas.
  • iTunes U access method will change.
  • Eho360 is not supported in Canvas.
  • Blackboard courses can be converted for use in Canvas but most users find it easier to re-create the class rather than convert.

Blackboard – Canvas (non-trivial) Differences

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

Blackboard (version 8 ) and Canvas are similar in function but different in method of execution. Many actions happen pretty much the same way in both systems. The list presented here are just those differences that would be unexpected or unusual.

Blackboard (version 8 )
Canvas (as of June 1, 2011)
Instructor can make a course active (available to students) in the Control Panel. This setting can be toggled on or off at any time. Instructor can make a course active (available to students) by visiting the Course Setup Checklist. Once published the course CANNOT be made unavailable again. See related tutorial.
Neither instructors not students had access to a tree-like directory structure of folders and files. Canvas provides a tree-like directory structure (for individuals, for groups, for courses). The course level directory structure is readable by students (unless instructor specifically locks a file or folder).
In Blackboard the instructor could add herself to a group and fully participate in group activities. In Canvas the instructor has access to every group sub-site but does not function as a group member. The instructor is NOT able to upload files into the group file space.
Announcements are announcement. Discussions are discussions. Canvas allows the instructor to designate any announcement also as a discussion. Announcements can be discussions.
Blackboard allowed the instructor to keep an archival copy or export of her own course. Canvas now permits the instructor to “export” the course. Go to Settings and look on the right side for a button labeled “Export this course”.
Assignments in Blackboard usually referred to a graded activity for which the instructor expected the student to submit a file. Canvas does have an assignment similar to Blackboard assignments. However, the term Assignments is also used as a tool name, that is, an area for listing any graded activity with a due date like a graded discussion or a quiz.
Blackboard allowed the instructor to manually create extra grade book columns. Canvas does NOT permit manually added grade book columns. A work around is to create an assignment with submission type = “no submission”.
Blackboard allowed the user to search discussions by keyword. Canvas does NOT have a keyword search facility for discussions.
Blackboard allowed the instructor to re-title menu items on the left side navigation bar. Canvas does NOT allow renaming navigational menu items. They can be reordered or hidden, but not re-named.
The instructor could add a decorative banner image to the top of the course home page. Canvas does NOT allow adding a course home page banner image. It does allow the instructor to create a “Front Page” which can contain images and stylized text.
Instructors could add images and/or html to questions AND question answers/distractors in Blackboard. As of June 1, 2011, Canvas does NOT allow images or html in question answers/distractors. Question answers (the a, b, c of multiple choice questions) can contain only plain text.
Blackboard allowed instructors to copy a quiz question and make it the basis for a new (slightly revised) question. Canvas does NOT facilitate copying a question to make it a basis for a new question.
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If anyone notices an inaccuracy, please contact online@umw.edu.

Making your Canvas Course Available to Students

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

In Blackboard, instructors had the ability to make their course available to students by going to the Control Panel >> Settings >> Course Availability and selecting the Make Course Available = Yes radio button.

NOTE: In Blackboard, this selection could be made at any time throughout the semester, so that a instructor could take the course off-line temporarily to make some changes while students were not in the course.

Instructors can make a course available in Canvas by clicking the Publish button. The Publish button appears when the instructor goes to the Course Setup Checklist and clicks the link to Publish Course.

NOTE: This is a one-time setting. Once published the course cannot be un-published. This is a major difference between Canvas and Blackboard.

If your Course Setup Checklist is not visible, you can bring it back by going to the course Home and clicking on the Course Setup Checklist button.

Blackboard to Canvas Migrations – Modules Area

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

So what does a Blackboard course look like after it has been auto-migrated from Blackboard? Is it usable as is? Can it be re-worked with small effort and then used as a basis for a future Canvas course?

CAUTION: You are strongly advised to re-develop your
course materials in Canvas starting with a blank course shell rather than attempting to re-work a migrated course. This is especially true if you made non-trivial use of Blackboard with the migrated course.

If your previous Blackboard course made only token use of the Blackboard tool set for a limited purpose, say to distribute files for example, then it might make sense to re-work a past semester Blackboard course and copy that into a blank Canvas course shell to use in a later semester.

This page shows you what to expect in the Canvas “Modules” area.

The example course shown here migrated exceptionally well.  However, notice that the modules are out of order. Modules can be re-ordered easily by simply dragging from one pace and dropping in another. The only tip here is that to grab a module, one must hover over that line and grab the move icon that appears to the left of the line.

Note: In the case that a line in one module really belongs in another, that line can be dragged from one module and dropped into another in a similar manner. Also notice the pencil icon. Click that to edit the module name or the item name inside a module.

In this example you will notice that the due dates are all from fall 2010. Each activity will need to have the dates changed. Click directly on the item itself to edit the edit (rather than just the name of the item).

Blackboard to Canvas Migrations – Files Area

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

So what does a Blackboard course look like after it has been auto-migrated from Blackboard? Is it usable as is? Can it be re-worked with small effort and then used as a basis for a future Canvas course?

CAUTION: You are strongly advised to re-develop your
course materials in Canvas starting with a blank course shell rather than attempting to re-work a migrated course. This is especially true if you made non-trivial use of Blackboard with the migrated course.

If your previous Blackboard course made only token use of the Blackboard tool set for a limited purpose, say to distribute files for example, then it might make sense to re-work a past semester Blackboard course and copy that into a blank Canvas course shell to use in a later semester.

This page shows you what to expect in the Canvas “Files” area.

Blackboard did not give instructors or students access to the underlying folder structure – but Canvas does (which is a good thing). So, when a course that contains lots of files is migrated to Blackboard, many folders are created in Canvas to hold these files. The folders have serialized, non-meaninigful names like “res00043” and “res00179”.

This is confusing to both you and your students. Remember, students can see the course “Files” area and look inside folders (unless the instructor specifically locks them).  So  you may want to consider creating just a few folders with meaningful names and move all the files into these new folders. Then you can delete the old folders with the serialized names.

This screen shot shows an actual course migrated from Blackboard to Canvas. Notice it has 91 folders (only some show). The example shows three new folders created, “Lecture Notes”, “Powerpoints”, and “Quiz Solutions”.  A file is shown being dragged from folder res000145 into folder “Quiz Solutions”.