NIU to Conduct Review of Classroom Response Systems

posted in: News, Newsletter | 7

clickersFive years ago, at the request of faculty and teaching staff, the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center facilitated a search for classroom response (“clicker”) systems, in order to standardize their use at Northern Illinois University. At the time, some students had been required to buy and use multiple systems as part of their class materials, which faculty and instructors found untenable. At the end of that search, faculty chose Turning Technologies as the officially-recognized clicker system vendor at NIU.

Because of faculty and staff feedback, rapidly changing technology in this sector, as well as the recent adoption of competing clicker systems on campus once again, we surveyed faculty and instructors who have experience using clickers. Of those who responded, the majority (63%) have three of more years of experience with clickers. Check out the infographic below for interesting results that came out of that survey.

Some key findings:

  • Physical Devices: dedicated response devices – clickers – were once the primary tool used for classroom response systems. However, 71% of faculty reported that they currently allow students to use laptops or mobile devices instead of a physical clicker, and 100% reported that they would allow students to do so if it would decrease costs to students.
  • Blackboard Integration: Blackboard integration was considered very important. Currently, 53% of respondents report using the integration, and 74% indicated it is Critical or Important.
  • Multiple Polling Options: Respondents also indicated that they appreciate having multiple options for polling. 74% use polling embedded in PowerPoint, 58% use polling over other applications, and they were both among the top 5 critical features identified in the survey.

NIU clicker use stats 2016

The responses also indicated a strong desire among the faculty to conduct a fresh review of systems, to ensure that NIU uses the system that best suits their and students’ needs, and the Faculty Development Advisory Committee, comprised of faculty representatives from each college, agreed. During March and April, the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center will be facilitating a new round of product demonstrations and reviews from multiple response system providers. Following the reviews, we will also facilitate group discussions among faculty to determine which product to adopt as the centrally-supported clicker system. The faculty who attend the demonstrations will make a formal recommendation to be presented to the Faculty Development Advisory Committee in April, and implementation would begin in fall 2016.

Product demonstrations will take place from March 22, through April 7. The following vendors will present their products from noon to 1pm on each of the following days. The process is open to faculty, instructors, teaching assistants, or staff members at NIU, and your feedback will be important for guiding the future direction of clicker usage and support at NIU moving forward.

March 22 – Poll Everywhere

March 30 – NIUResponse.com by Chuck Downing

March 31 – Turning Technologies

April 5 – Top Hat

April 7 – i>clicker

If you plan to attend, you may register for one or more of the sessions in our registration system, so that we will have an estimate of how many people will attend, and so that you will receive reminders about the upcoming sessions. However, walk-ins are welcome.

Blackboard Open Labs, August 24-28

posted in: News, workshops | 2

Blackboard Open LabEvery day next week, from 11am-1pm, August 24 – 28, 2015, the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center will host a Blackboard Open Lab. This is an excellent opportunity for NIU faculty, staff, and TAs to ask specific questions about how to set up their courses in Blackboard. Whether you want to know how to communicative effectively with students to increase retention, add videos that stream flawlessly, set up your weighted grading formula in the Grade Center, or establish Groups to simplify collaboration, the staff from Faculty Development will be on hand to answer your questions individually.

The Open Lab is available Monday, August 24 through Friday, August 28, from 11 am to 1 pm every day in Adams Hall, Room 323. Feel free to drop in – no registration required! Unfortunately, we cannot provide a general overview of Blackboard at this session, but we will be happy to answer specific questions about using Blackboard.

If you can’t attend an Open Lab session, please complete the Ask a Question form at http://facdev.niu.edu/bbq, and one of our staff will respond within 2 working days (though we strive to respond the same day).

Blackboard Learn Upgrade: Memorial Day Weekend 2015

posted in: News, Technology Trends | 0

See What's BetterA significant upgrade is scheduled to be performed to the Blackboard Learn System over Memorial Day weekend. The upgrade will begin at 5:00 AM on Saturday, May 23, 2015, and will complete by 5:00 AM on Sunday, May 24, 2015. The Blackboard Learn system (https://webcourses.niu.edu) will be unavailable during this time.

The latest version of Blackboard Learn, April 2014 Release, will introduce several new and exciting features, including:

  • Portfolios
    A rebuilt Portfolio system aimed at assessing student learning.
  • Anonymous and Delegated Grading
    Grade Assignment submissions anonymously and share grading responsibilities with one or more graders.
  • Student Preview
    The new Student Preview feature provides faculty with the ability to easily see the course exactly how a student would see it.
  • Assignment and SafeAssignment Integration
    SafeAssign is now integrated with the Assignment tool, making it easy to check student submissions for plagiarism by clicking a checkbox when creating an Assignment.
  • New Look and Feel
    New flat color schemes and navigation banner.

To learn more about the upcoming features, please visit http://www.niu.edu/blackboard/upgrade.

The Faculty Development & Instructional Design Center will be holding workshops and hands-on sessions to preview the new features. To sign up for a workshop please visit http://www.niu.edu/blackboard/upgrade/workshops.shtml

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the DoIT Helpdesk at 815-753-8100 or helpdesk@niu.edu.

Upgrade Details for TurningPoint Cloud

turningpoint_cloud_logo_200wThis is the second of two announcements about the upgrade the TurningPoint, which is currently planned for the Memorial Day weekend.
Registering a Turning Technologies Account
Once the upgrade occurs, everyone—faculty/staff and students—will need to register an account with Turning Technologies: https://account.turningtechnologies.com/account/user/validateEmail

For faculty and staff who teach with TurningPoint, the account will be necessary for logging into the TurningPoint Cloud desktop software.

For students, the account will be where they enter their physical clicker and/or ResponseWare license information. (It is up to the faculty or staff member teaching the course to decide if the ResponseWare app is an acceptable polling option.) Additionally, they will still need to access the Turning Technologies tool within Blackboard; doing so is what will allow your TurningPoint software to tie their polling grades to the Blackboard Grade Center.

Upgrading TurningPoint Software
By the start of the summer semester, all centrally-managed Smart Classrooms will be updated to TurningPoint Cloud. For those who are used to running TurningPoint off your USB drive or Turning Technologies clicker receiver, you will want to replace it with the new software. For those with older receivers, we have a number of new ones on hand that we can swap for your old one, if you wish; please come see Peter Gowen or Cameron Wills on the third floor of Adams Hall.

If you have registered a Turning Account, you can find the software in the Downloads section on your account page. You can also find the latest software (the version that’s installed in the Smart Classrooms), within the “Download TurningPoint Software” folder in the “TurningPoint Info” section of this Blackboard Community.

**TIP** Back up your session data before the upgrade. As with other student data, it’s always a good idea to make sure you keep a backup of your clicker session data, especially for any of it that wasn’t sent to the Blackboard Grade Center, in case of student appeals.

Requesting Clickers from the Bookstore
If you will be teaching with clickers, please remember to tell the Bookstore. They need to know roughly how many students will be buying clickers, in order to keep enough on hand for sale. Last semester, several classes weren’t listed, and there was a shortage; students had to wait for Turning Technologies to send them their clickers, which may have been disruptive for those faculty/staff who planned on using clickers during the first week of classes.

QT Clicker (1-Year Turning Account) 978-1-934931-52-3 $53.35
QT Clicker (4-Year Turning Account) 978-1-934931-75-2 $73.35
Turning Account (1-Year) 978-1-934931-71-4 $18.80
Turning Account (4-Year) 978-1-934931-73-8 $32.90

Preparing for the First Day of Class
Turning Technologies has a number of resources for the TurningPoint Cloud software, including helpful sample slides that you may want to incorporate in your lectures during the first week of classes: http://www.turningtechnologies.com/best-practices-higher-education/getting-started/turningpoint-cloud

More documentation and tutorials can be found here: https://www.turningtechnologies.com/training-documents/turningpoint-cloud
https://www.turningtechnologies.com/tutorials/turningpoint-cloud

Lastly, Turning Technologies runs weekly online trainings for all aspects of their software: https://www.turningtechnologies.com/online-classes

For further information on the upgrade, please contact Benjamin West from Turning Technologies (bwest@turningtechnologies.com), or get in touch with Peter Gowen (pgowen@niu.edu) or Cameron Wills (cwills@niu.edu) at the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center.

FAQs

  • Q: Will my Turning Account work across institutions I attend (if I’m a student) or teach at (if I’m a professor)?
  • A: Turning Accounts will work across multiple institutions, and students will only pay to register a new Turning Account once (though they will have to pay the yearly renewal fee, for any year after the first).
  • Q: When TurningPoint is updated, will I be able to use the older software from my USB drive? Will I still be able to upload to Blackboard?
  • A: After the upgrade, the Blackboard integration will no longer be available for older versions of the software. All users on campus will need to install TurningPoint Cloud in order to upload grades to the Blackboard Grade Center and download student class lists to the TurningPoint desktop software.
  • Q: Will my students’ older devices still work with TurningPoint? Will they need to re-license them each year? How?
  • A: Yes. Come Summer 2015, once TurningPoint has been upgraded to the new “cloud” version, new devices (the ones with the single year Turning Account license “bundle”), will be sold to NIU. Any devices that students had previously bought (whether in Spring ’15 or earlier) will need to be registered with a Turning Account, which they can do for a one time fee of $20.
  • Q: After the upgrade, will students be able to sell each other their devices, if those devices are tied to a Turning Account?
  • A: Yes. The receiving student will be able to re-register it, but will have to pay the $20 registration fee to tie it to a new account.
  • Q: Will my current PowerPoint slides I built with TurningPoint still work?
  • A: Yes, you should still be able to open and edit them with the PowerPoint Polling features in TurningPoint Cloud.
  • Q: What happened to the “E-mail unregistered students” link in the Turning Technologies Tool?
  • A: The new module in Blackboard does not include this function any longer. Instead, the new TurningPoint software will display a list of unregistered students after you use the Integration to pull down a Participant List. If there are only a handful of students, you could look up their email addresses within Blackboard or within the NIU Directory, and email them directly. Otherwise, we would recommend informing your class about the necessity of registering their device, either in your face-to-face class, or through a Blackboard Announcement: students receive no credit for their submitted answers (though their data is saved for later) until they register their device.

Learn the Basics of Using Blackboard, At Your Own Pace

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Blackboard I: Introduction to BlackboardThe Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center is proud to announce the release of a new online format for the Blackboard I: Introduction to Blackboard workshop. This new self-paced version makes it easier than ever to get started with Blackboard at NIU.

Through a series of video tutorials, you will get an overview of Blackboard’s course layout and navigation, be exposed to various course tools, discover communication and assessment features, and see how to request your own Blackboard courses. By the end, you will be able to:

  • Request a course/shell and make it available to students and other participants
  • Use the features of the Blackboard Control Panel
  • Add, revise, and control availability of content in an online course
  • Structure a course by using folders, customizing the course menu, and adding events to the course calendar
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