Providing feedback in Blackboard two ways

Building a rubric can help you determine how–or if–an assignment aligns to your course objectives. Once built, you may use it to frame your feedback. Sharing the specifics with students prior to task assignment helps focus their efforts. Your students may not know about the wealth of information provided by clicking on the link, “View Rubric.’

Help students make connections in your class

Last year I spent two days in a cold hotel conference room in Dallas practicing how to build connections between group members. Connecting individuals increases their chances of building community. Building community helps with success.

Uncovering the right materials for your course

You instruct your students using various resources: textbooks, lectures, outside speaker videos, etc. You’ve switched texts and realized you need that item to round out a module or replace an outdated product. Searching the web may not meet your needs. This tip discusses resources available via the deep web.

How to put your lecture material online

Here’s a common scenario: You will be teaching a course online that you normally teach face-to-face. Since you’ve taught the course before, you have lecture notes and ideas for what you want to cover each week. What are the options and best practices for delivering your lecture in an asynchronous online format?

Delivering online office hours just got easier!

It’s important to establish a way for students to reach you when teaching an online course. If it is not easy–for you or the students–it isn’t likely to work. In this week’s Teaching Tip, we share a few instructors’ methods for connecting one-on-one with students.

Use video to capture students’ attention

Engage your students via voice over visuals. You can do it with tools you already have. Sure, you can make a video and incorporate it, but if you’re not quite ready, don’t despair. Put your voice into your course today. Use Keynote (or PowerPoint) and Quicktime to bring your materials to life.

OBTC 2015: The Organizational Behavior Teaching Conference

Dr. Nicole Cundiff and Janene McMahan travelled to the Organizational Behavior Teaching Conference 2015 in La Verne, California. The session, Building Collaborative Community Development Tools, was met with interest with one faculty member wanting Nicole to consider another target audience, non-profits and the boards of nonprofit organizations, for this app. The session description was: A collaborative application […]


Got a minute? That’s how long it takes to set up Screencastify if the Chrome web browser is installed on your computer. As an instructor, you are the content expert. Sometimes it is hard to explain a concept. If you could just show your students what you mean it would be so easy! Using Screencastify is one more way you can do that.

Free graphics

There are at least two great ways to search for images you can use in your course materials (or homework):
-Google Images search
-Website repositories of graphics labeled for commercial or non-commercial reuse

Verbal feedback?

If your students are using Google Docs for any portion of their assignments, you can teach them how to provide peer feedback verbally using the Google Docs Add-on Kaizena Mini. You can also use this product yourself to guide your student through changes you would like to see in their written work.

The care and feeding of progress

I’d advise everyone who uses Blackboard’s Grade Center to embed this tip–or a link to this WordPress post supporting it–in your “Getting Started’ folder. It’s perfect for the student to understand how to see your feedback.

Joanne Healy’s Grant Submission Adventure

Joanne Healy, while pursuing her CITE project goals, wrote two grant submissions in the last two months. She notes, “It’s important for new teachers to shift their pedagogy to a more collaborative approach based on continuous improvement of learning with 21st-century mobile devices.” Her proposal work parallels and supports recent SOE initiatives. While Joanne hopes […]

Data tracking

How do you know they are listening? You put an incredible amount of effort into your online or flipped course. If you’re curious to see how often–or, how long–people are listening, reports and data help. Blackboard, SoundCloud, and YouTube track user views.

Service learning

Use service learning in your course to help students gain perspective. As an instructor, you strive to encourage students to learn, strengthen their understanding by adding depth to their knowledge, and give them real world experience through service learning. Service learning is another facet of active learning. Ask students to apply what you teach.

Promote your course

Is your department counting on you to bring new students into the discipline? Are your class sizes smaller than you’d like? Often times being listed on the course schedule isn’t enough. Here are some ideas to increase enrollment and visibility of your class.


Using a student response system helps us gauge how well students are grasping the concepts being discussed in class. “Clickers” revolutionized this by providing real-time feedback, but unfortunately require students to purchase and register a device ahead of time. Now nearly all students have at least one electronic device with them in class, be it a smart phone, tablet, or laptop.

Gradebook running total

Whether you use a Weighted Total column and/or the Total column, take a look at how the use of the Running Total option affects your students’ perception of their grade.
To experiment without adjusting an actual student’s grade record, click on the “Go To Student View’ button located in the upper right corner under the tabs that say “My Blackboard’ and “Courses.’

Accidentally on purpose – community skill building

Do your students use Blackboard or WordPress? Are you concerned these tools get in the way of students learning course content? Seize the opportunity to facilitate learning through play. Help your students build a community of their peers while teaching them how to use the course-required tools with social assignments. Tackle the “I don’t know how’ issue head-on with a bit of fun, and cohort-building, on the side.

Open books

Learn more about Open Education Resources, specifically open textbooks, peer-reviewed materials and materials shared under a Creative Commons license. Your students (and you!) don’t have to spend money to obtain current, peer-reviewed data.


Whether you teach face-to-face or online, consider using a WordPress site for all or most of your course content. UAF eCampus supports a multisite WordPress installation at


Infographics are not just for the visual learner. Use one to engage your student where there is slightly dry material or to explain a particularly tricky concept.

Incremental change

Get ready for next semester now. This teaching tip helps you think about how to make the needed changes while enjoying the process. Whether face-to-face or online, all classes need routine care.

Extra credit

How you choose to use extra credit can enhance a student’s learning opportunities. Whether you’re for or against the use, a few simple rules will make it easier to deploy. Consider using optional quizzes over the reading material prior to the start of class to encourage students to be prepared for in-class discussion.

Survey says – ask your students…

Provide your students an avenue to communicate with you on how they are learning or what is working in your course. Use a Google form, a quick poll from Poll Everywhere, or a JotForm survey, etc.


Wikis are great for group work with your students. Wikis are web sites or web pages that multiple authors can edit without needing to know HTML code.

Conquer public speaking

A semester-based Communications class may help you improve your public speaking. If you have a pressing need or cannot commit to a full class, look to the Toastmaster clubs in your area.

Copyright and Fair Use

Be confident using copyrighted materials in your course. This tip highlights information on copyright, the fair use doctrine, public domain and Creative Commons.