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October 2010

I   Blackboard Migration Update
Spring course shells ready 11/15; "course copy" tutorial; WebCT content unavailable after 12/31!

II   Blackboard 9 Feature Focus: Calculated Grade Center Columns
Calculate students’ final grades in Blackboard

III   Preparation for University Teaching
Spring course opportunity for graduate students

IV   Technology Fellowship Applications
Mini-grant opportunity available in March 2011

V   Faculty Needed to Test iPad & iPhone App for Classroom AV Control
Experiment with new software in the classroom

VI   Technology Store Now Open in Krieger Hall
New, discounted hardware and software in stock

VII   Keeping Current with Research: Search Alerts and RSS Feeds
Use web technologies to streamline your research process

VIII   Grant Development Assistance from CER
Help is available for assessment, curriculum design, copy editing


I   Blackboard Migration Update

As spring semester approaches, here are some important Blackboard updates.
  • If you are teaching in the upcoming Intersession or Spring 2011 semester, Blackboard course shells will be available on or about November 15, 2010. There is no need to request a course site; each course will automatically have a Blackboard site that can be activated if the instructor chooses to use it.
  • If Intersession or Spring 2011 will be your first semester using Blackboard, please plan to attend one or more training sessions offered at the CER; upcoming training dates will be posted to the CER website shortly. In the meantime, this Getting Started Tip Sheet contains some important tips for new users to Blackboard. If you plan to transfer materials from a WebCT course to your Blackboard course shell, migration instructions have been posted here on the CER website. Please remember that WebCT will be unavailable after December 31, 2010 (see reminder below). You are welcome to set up an appointment with someone from our staff if you would like individual help in transferring your course materials out of WebCT.
  • If you are currently using Blackboard and would like to reuse your fall course material in a spring course site, it is possible to do this using the ‘Course Copy’ feature in Blackboard. ‘Course Copy’ allows instructors to choose which parts of a course they want to copy into another course. Please see the 'Course Copy' tutorial for additional assistance.
Reminder: WebCT will end on December 31, 2010. If you have course materials from any previous semesters that you would like to retrieve from WebCT, please do so as soon as possible. You will not be able to access WebCT after the turn-off date. Instructions for downloading WebCT content can be found on the CER website. The CER will also hold workshops in November designed to help with this process.

II   Blackboard 9 Feature Focus: Calculated Grade Center Columns

The Blackboard 9 grade book, known as the Grade Center, has several powerful features. One of them is the ability to create calculated columns to manage grades. Four types of calculated columns are available: average, minimum/maximum, total, and weighted columns.
  • Average column calculates and displays the average for a selected number of columns that exist in the Grade Center.
  • Minimum or maximum columns display either the minimum or maximum value for a selected number of columns.
  • Total column calculates the total points for a selected number of columns.
  • Weighted column calculates and displays a grade for a selected number of columns based upon each column's respective worth of the total grade.
Blackboard Grade Center Screenshot Calculated columns are relatively easy to set up in Blackboard. They can be created from any columns that exist in the grade center. There are no complicated formulas to create; you simply choose which columns you want to include in the calculated column and Blackboard does all of the calculations for you. In the case of a weighted column, you select the columns you want to include and also the percentage that each is worth. (It is also possible to drop the highest or lowest grades.) Here are some examples of how calculated columns can be used:
  • Create a maximum column to capture the students’ highest grade on a set of assignments.
  • Create a total column to add up the total points for all tests given during the semester. (This total column can then be used in a weighted column, to weight the tests as part of the final grade.)
  • Create a weighted column to determine students’ final grades – for example, Assignments 20%, Mid-term Exam 30%, Final Project 20%, Final Exam 30%.
Calculated columns in Blackboard can save instructors a lot of time in calculating final grades. Please feel free to stop by the Center for Educational Resources for assistance if you would like to learn how to take advantage of this feature.

III   Preparation for University TeachingBriefcase Clipart 

IV   Technology Fellowship Applications

The Technology Fellows Program is a mini-grant initiative that enables faculty to partner with technology-savvy students to develop resources to enhance pedagogy, increase or facilitate access to course content, encourage active learning, promote critical thinking, or support student collaboration. Full-time faculty and students are eligible to apply. Each faculty member receives $1,000 for project leadership and oversight; student fellows receive $4,000 for resource development and implementation. While faculty need not have specific technology expertise, they must understand how digital technologies could be employed to support their teaching objectives. Student applicants are encouraged to have programming or multimedia skills, or they must have a concrete (and feasible) plan for acquiring the skills required for their projects. Approximately 280 hours of work should be devoted to each project. Money Clipart The CER can help interested applicants to formulate project ideas and can help match faculty with student partners. Once fellowships are awarded, CER staff serve as liaisons to project teams, conducting update sessions, providing some technical consultation, and helping teams prepare for a year-end showcase in which project results are shared with the community. A committee of faculty and technical professionals from the Johns Hopkins community reviews all applications using the criteria listed in the application form found on our website at http://www.cer.jhu.edu/techfellows/. Applications will be accepted from March 1 – 31; awards will be announced in early April 2011. Funding will be available from May 2011 through April 2012; projects must be completed by April 15, 2012. For more information, contact Cheryl Wagner at 410-516-7181 or cwagner@jhu.edu.


V   Faculty Needed to Test iPad & iPhone App for Classroom AV Control

The Homewood IT@JH Classroom Support team is looking for several faculty members, instructors or TAs who are interested in testing a new option for controlling classroom AV systems. The app is designed to provide an additional method for controlling the AV equipment installed in the classrooms. Its functions include:

  • Turning the LCD projector on & off
  • Adjusting the volume
  • Switching between input sources (laptop, DVD, etc.)
  • Requesting technical assistance
  • Other miscellaneous functions, depending on room configuration and installed equipment

iPad iPhone Control App The app functionality is in the testing stages, so IT will request timely feedback on any problems encountered, as well as suggestions for changes and improvements. The traditional touch screen or push-button AV control panel functionality will still be available for use in all classrooms – the app simply provides another option for controlling the equipment. Participants should have an Apple iPhone OR iPad configured for access to the Hopkins wireless network and be assigned to teach in a Homewood General Pool classroom for Fall 2010, Intersession, or Spring 2011. Classroom Support staff will download the free app and configure access for the appropriate classroom(s), which should take 10-15 minutes per iPhone/iPad. For more information or to volunteer as a tester, please contact Graham Bouton, IT@JH Customer Services Manager, at graham@jhu.edu.


VI   Technology Store Now Open in Krieger Hall

Hopkins Tech Store Logo The Johns Hopkins Technology Store is now open in Krieger 160 and fully stocked with a large variety of Apple products, accessories, adapters, and a small number of Dell laptops. All Apple MacBooks, iMacs, Mac Minis and Mac Pros qualify for an additional 3% savings compared to regular academic pricing. Large orders may also qualify for additional discounts. The store also carries iPads, iPods and related accessories. The Technology Store is able to process both departmental orders (in-stock and custom orders) using SAP budget numbers and personal purchase sales with any major credit card or J-Card. Complementary on-campus delivery is available for departmental orders. Stop by and check out the store and meet our knowledgeable student sales staff. Since the store is an Authorized Apple Reseller, a portion of store revenue will be used to help fund faculty and student technology projects. Stay up to date on all Technology Store-related news and special promotions and sales at http://facebook.com/hopkinstechstore and at http://it.jhu.edu/store.


VII   Keeping Current with Research: Search Alerts and RSS Feeds

RSS Icon Join the RSS bandwagon! This popular online tool helps you stay current in what is being published in your area of interest through automatic updates from a variety of sources. Escape imprisonment from a lengthy bookmark list or unending reminders to check your favorite blogs. RSS readers do all the legwork for you, aggregating updates from your favorite designated sites into one place. Setting up an alert saves the time. Subscribe to everything from newspapers and journals to your favorite blogs and receive real-time updates. Check out Search Alerts and RSS guide for an overview of how to use RSS, search alerts, and saved searches to subscribe to information for research or pleasure. If you have any questions about particular databases or journals that the guide doesn’t answer, please Ask a Librarian.


VIII   Grant Development Assistance from CER

Grants Puzzle Image For research grants requiring sections on education or assessment, the Center for Educational Resources provides grant development services for proposal preparation and funded project implementation. CER can help you develop curriculum innovation concepts and ideas for assessment and evaluation strategies. In addition, CER can provide copy editing service to ensure multiple authors merge into one voice, as well as graphic support for tables, charts, logos, etc. These services are available without cost in the grant development phase. CER will work with principal investigators to define appropriate funding levels to be included in proposal budgets for any CER staff time that would be dedicated to the implementation phase of funded grants. Please contact Candice Dalrymple (cdalrymple@jhu.edu) for more information.