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Introduction to Flipgrid

Welcome back! August has finally come around again. That means it's time to dust off that syllabus, log in to Blackboard, and start prepping for the Fall semester.

We want to share an exciting change from over the Summer with one of our favorite web tools, Flipgrid. In June, Microsoft purchased the Flipgrid platform as an inroads into the education market. Most importantly, they have made it free for all educators. That means you.
You can read about the acquisition, but we want to highlight the good stuff: what Flipgrid can do for your classroom.

Flipgrid is an asychronouns video discussion tool meaning that, just like the Blackboard Discussion Board, you can pose questions to your class in distinct forums to answer by a set time or date. Instead of typing their answers, however, students respond with a short video recorded on their computer or mobile device. These responses can be set to allot anywhere between 15 seconds and five minutes for each response. Then, students can resp…
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Winthrop Online Teaching Certification Courses

As part of The Winthrop Online Teaching Certification (WOTC), the Winthrop Office of Online Learning (WOOL) administers training through two levels which are taught in two online training courses: WOTC 101: Online Course Design and Development Basic, and WOTC 102: Online Course Facilitation and Management.

WOTC 101: Online Course Design and Development Basics is the first of two courses offered in the Winthrop Online Teaching Certification. This course introduces participants to the theories behind online learning. Participants will learn the basics of how to design and develop an online course using the Blackboard learning management system.
WOTC 102: Online Course Facilitation and Management is the second of two courses offered in the Winthrop Online Teaching Certification. This course teaches the technical and procedural skills integral to facilitating and managing an online course. Participants will master skills learned in the WOTC 101 course in order to design and deliver exempl…

Recent Blackboard Upgrade Features and Fixes

Winthrop University's instance of Blackboard Learn has been upgraded to version 9.1 Q4 2017.  Listed below are some of the additional features and fixes addressed along with this upgrade: Course Icons The course icons have been updated, giving them a more modern look. Course Availability Switch Instructors will now see a padlock at the top of their course pages that will allow them to easily check whether their course is available to students.Instructors can click the padlock to make their courses available or unavailable. Chemistry Notation Support for chemistry notation has been added to the math editor, including an embedded periodic table of elements. Student Email Settings Instructors now have more options to limit availability of the Email tool to students.For example, instructors may limit the ability for students to use the email tool to send messages to student users and groups. Group Collaborate Ultra Sessions Instructors may now add Collaborate Ultra sessions to Groups page…

Embedding HTML Content in Blackboard

It is that time of year again: a semester is coming to an end and....Summer sessions are quickly approaching. As your exams and grading come to a close, you may want to review the instructions for archiving or exporting your Blackboard courses or gradebooks for safekeeping. Once you have closed the book on Spring 2018, take a look at the rest of the post below. In this blog post, we will cover embedding HTML content in Blackboard.

You may have a variety of ways you present content to students; videos, interactive study materials, and presentations are all important pieces of the online course experience. Sometimes, simply providing students with a link  is the best way to share this material with students. However, often times this content can be directly embedded within a Blackboard content area or learning module.

In the picture above, note how the video is displayed and loads directly within Blackboard - just as any other page in the module. Embedding content in this way allows stu…

Voice Typing and Student Feedback

The following is a guest post by Dr. Marshall Jones. Dr. Jones is Professor and Senior Director of Learning Technologies and Graduate Studies in the Richard W. Riley College of Education at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC USA. Dr. Jones teaches graduate courses in Learning Design and Technology and undergraduate courses in technology integration. His research interests and consulting experience include project evaluation, instructional design, mobile learning, elearning, the design and development of constructivist learning environments, emerging technologies, learning analytics and new media. 

For me, one of the most difficult things about teaching online is all of the typing that has to be done. Discussion boards, emails, feedback on assignments, EVERYTHING has to be typed. And even if you're a very fast typist and accurate typist (I’m neither), it will take you a long time. Recently, I've been using voice typing in Google Docs as a way to cut down on typing time. Voice…

Quick PSA: Office Mix End of Service

If you have been an Office Mix user at any point in the last few years, you should have received the email down below.

Microsoft has begun to move the core features of Office Mix Preview into an upcoming version of Powerpont and, in the process, will be discontinuing support for the Office Mix website.

Depending on the nature in which you have used Office Mix, you may or may not need to take some additional steps to migrate your Mix content to a new platform.

If you only used Office Mix to record audio and video in Powerpoint, simply make sure you know where you have your presentations saved. Presentations saved as regular Powerpoint presentations (.pptx) will not be affected.

If you uploaded your presentation to the Office Mix website or used embedded quiz questions, please contact us here in the Office of Online Learning at We can assist in migrating your content to an appropriate platform to preserve this functionality.

Color Coding in Blackboard Grade Center

You have probably spent plenty of time in the Blackboard Grade Center. Sometimes, the Grade Center can feel a bit overwhelming and difficult to navigate. One way to make navigating the Grade Center easier is to color code your cells. Setting up color coordinated cells can help you easily identify high grades, low grades, and patterns in student work.

In this entry, we will show you how to set up color codes in your Grade Center.

In the Grade Center, navigate to the manage tab and select "Grading Color Codes."

Color coding is disabled by default, so make sure to check the box at the top of the page to enable the display of colors.

You will find two sets of options for customizing Grading Color Codes
Grading Status allows you to alter the background color for empty cells. This applies to cells in Needs Grading, In Progress, or Exempt status. In the example below, the chosen background colors emphasize the colors used in each status icon.

Here is what these background colors loo…