General Questions

1.     Disappearing students – My student has stopped participating, or has never participated, but remains on my list of students enrolled in the class.

2.     Sharing old student papers – What permission is needed before old student papers can be posted to Bb as examples for new students?

3.     Inappropriate discussion posts – What can I do about inappropriate discussion posts?

4.     Adding a student – My class is full, but I have a student interested in enrolling that I would like to add. How do I do that?

5.     Class evaluations – Why is it important for my students to complete a class evaluation?

6.     Teaching text – How do I get a teacher’s copy of the texts?

7.     Facebook – My student has ‘friended’ me on Facebook. How do I respond?

Blackboard – tests, assignments, grading

8.    Making exams available – How do I turn on my exam? My exam was not available to the students when it was supposed to be.

9.    Making the exam available early – How do I turn on the exam early for one or two students who need to take it early?

10.  Time zones and Bb – My students are in different time zones. When I set a time for tests, assignments, etc. to be open how does that work in these different time zones?

11.   Bb clock does not pause – How does the clock track time when a student is allowed to pause and resume a test?

12.   Changing due dates – A student pointed out to me that the due date for the first paper listed on the Discussion Board page has not been updated since last term. Do I need approval to change content on Bb? How would I go about doing that?

13.   Adding extra credit –How do I create a submission site for a new extra credit assignment?

14.   Discussion board statistics –A student asked the instructor, "I noticed that I could see statistics about my discussion board posts from the link on my grade for Week 1. Is there a way to see my current statistics for week 2 so I can keep track of how many posts i've made?"

15.   Hiding grade column –How do I hide the final grade column until after students have completed their class evaluations?

16.   Missing grades report –How do I access the “missing grades report” after entering the letter grades in the Bb gradebook and then uploading the grades?

17.   Incompletes –How do I enter an incomplete for a student’s grade?

18.   Posting Grades –How do I post final grades?

19.   Changing a grade –How do I change a grade in a previous term?

20.   Sample/Test student –How do I create a sample/test student?

 GENERAL QUESTIONS

1. Disappearing students– My student has stopped participating, or has never participated, but remains on my list of students enrolled in the class.

Check in with the student at least once, by email. In the e-mail it's important to reach out to the student (and express concern that he/she might be falling behind), while at the same time using language that sets the standard for your expectations. For example, at some point, instructors have to be able to put in "zeros" for assignments as they go by. You can do this by giving the student a deadline or by saying something like:

"I am happy to help you get caught up with the course; however, if I don't hear from you, I'll have to begin entering zeros for missed assignments."

Mention that the student could withdraw if he/she is not planning on continuing with the course so he/she might be able to get a tuition refund. In the past some students have not realized they were enrolled in the class!

2.  What permission is needed before old student papers can be posted to Bb as examples for new students?

If at all possible, get permission from the student before posting their paper. This is in addition to wiping all identification from the paper. Most students will be flattered you asked and be happy to grant permission.

 3.  What can I do about inappropriate discussion posts?

A. There are several ways of dealing with this problem. Here are some suggestions:

  • PREVENTION - Some students are more strongly inclined toward behaving badly, but those with milder inclinations can usually be prevented from being a problem by your being very explicit about behavioral expectations up front. Look to see if your syllabus has any discussion of this issue, and if it does point it out to the students in your first communication with them. Additionally, provide a substantial note on forum etiquette in the course’s “General Discussion” forum, where you can describe (hopefully with some humor) the problem of forum "flame wars" and drama, phenomena with which almost everyone who has spent any amount of time online is familiar. From there, provide the dos and don'ts for the class in bullet-list format, and assure them that inappropriate forum behavior is going to result in undesirable consequences, ranging from not receiving points, to posts getting pulled (and not receiving points), depending on the severity of the problem. After laying out the rules, it's just a matter of sticking to your guns.
  • PREVENTION - Some instructors have their first assignment for students be a discussion of what is appropriate for the class Discussion Board. In this way students immediately have to think about what the Discussion Board space is and how it is to be treated.
  • IN RESPONSE – For posts that are the result of an ill-informed opinion or an unsubstantiated rumor stated as fact you can use this as a learning moment, reminding students that they are in a space that is their classroom and that such communication is not effective or appropriate. Remind all students about your expectations for appropriate communication on the Discussion Board.
  • IN RESPONSE - In addition to the above, email the student directly, letting them know not only that this is not appropriate, but why it isn’t. Make the student aware that future posts of this nature will not receive credit. This provides a warning for the student, rather than immediate punitive action such as a zero grade.
  • IN RESPONSE – When someone’s post is due to something other than ill-formed opinion or unsubstantiated rumor, pull it and copy the text in an email to the student with an explanation of the reasons for the pull. Then invite the student to rephrase and repost for possible points. You will rarely have to go to this extreme, but if you do and the individual is generally a reasonable person who just got momentarily hot and bothered; the opportunity to repost tends to be taken. If the student is generally a hot-head who engages in flames and online drama as a form of entertainment, he or she is less likely to take the repost opportunity. Trying to bicker with you about the pull or the topic of the offending post can happen, but the best response to that is a quiet recommendation for the student to review the guidelines (in the syllabus and on the general discussion forum), ending the discussion on that note.

B. Troubled vs. Troubling student behavior

The Student Conduct Office’s guidelines are the appropriate baseline in this situation. They seem a little more focused on 'troubled' student behavior as opposed to 'troubling' behavior (signs that a student may be in emotional/mental trouble, as opposed to a student just acting like a jerk), but SCO staff have pointed out that the latter may sometimes be an indication of the former. True that. Keeping an even tone, conveying to the student that despite the correction or the pull, you are giving him or her the benefit of the doubt, is usually a better option than being snippy. Not that being somewhat tart if the situation calls for it is a bad thing, but if you sense some distress at the root of the problem, you should tend to lean heavily toward gentleness. If serious distress is indicated, giving the SCO a call is the way to go. It's generally a good idea to give the SCO a heads-up if a student is repeatedly disruptive and has had more than a couple of posts pulled, whether particular distress is suspected or not. Also let your department contact know about a potential problem student at the start of a term, just to avoid surprises for everyone.

4.  My class is full, but I have a student interested in enrolling that I would like to add. How do I do that?

A. The student will need an override, since the class is full. Here are the steps for the first week of classes:

1)  Email the student. Be sure to include:

    • A statement from you that you give the student permission to enroll
    • the course number, title, CRN, section, and term
    • the student’s name and ID number
    • instruction for the student to contact Joan Oakes in Ecampus (joan.oakes@oregonstate.edu) by forwarding your email.

2)  Joan will email the student directly (usually cc’ing you) with directions on how to register for the course.

B. If the add is for the second week of classes follow the steps above, except send the first email with all of the student and class information to your departmental contact (Anth would be Brenda Kellar Brenda.kellar@oregonstate.edu). She will then send it back to you with her stated approval or disproval. The most common reason this request might NOT be approved is that the location of the student would make it impossible for them to get the texts quickly enough to catch-up with class requirements.

 5.  Why is it important for my students to complete a class evaluation?

A. Evaluations are not meant to vilify or catch-out an instructor. Instead, they are meant to be learning tools for the instructor, class developer, and department. . You have been giving them constructive feedback all term and this is their only chance to return the favor. Here are some tips to help make evaluations a positive experience:

1)  Look for general trends – the most complimentary and harshest comments are probably not going to be helpful. Issues commonly found within a significant percentage of the class will highlight your teaching strengths and weaknesses, or the strengths and weaknesses of the class structure.

2)  Separate issues you have control over (i.e., response time/quality, effectiveness of communications, etc.) from issues you do NOT have control over (i.e., poor connections, blackboard, etc.).

3)  Were the goals for the class (listed on the syllabus) met? If not, what can you do to re-orient the class toward those goals?

4)  Give yourself some distance, a few days or weeks, before sitting down and summarizing changes you need to make in your presentation or in the class structure, and try not to dwell on the extremely negative or extremely positive evaluations. If you can do this, you will find evaluations to be a valuable resource for improving your effectiveness as an instructor.

B. SLCS strongly encourages instructors to remind students about the evaluation process. This reminder can be posted in Bb and should let the students know that you and SLCS take the evaluations seriously, using them to continually improve online classes. Tell students to be specific when possible about what they found helpful or what could be more helpful in the future.

 6.  How do I get a teacher’s copy of the texts?

You need to contact Moina McMath-Walton in Ecampus, moina.mcmath-walton@oregonstate.edu, and let her know what texts you need.

7.  My student has ‘friended’ me on Facebook. How do I respond?

Facebook is a very public format, and it is important to remember that anything you post in this space is accessible to most people – including students, potential employers, and your mother. While there is no OSU policy on personal interactions between instructors and students on Facebook, it is important to remember you have an audience that might include a past, current, or future student.

With that in mind, when a student requests you to friend them, we urge you to use your judgment to determine whether or not it would be appropriate to accept the invitation. We are trusting you to act responsibly in all situations involving students – in a classroom, online setting, or social setting.

BLACKBOARD – TESTS, ASSIGNMENTS, GRADING

8. How do I turn on my exam? My exam was not available to the students when it was supposed to be.

If exams are set up so that they are available only at certain times and/or dates, then those settings will remain in place when the class is rolled over for the new term. To see if exams are set to open and close at the times listed in the current syllabus, go in to the exam settings and click on the downward arrows to the right of the Exam (the link where the Exam is posted in Blackboard). Then click on Edit Test Options. Scroll down and make sure the dates and times are set properly. You’ll have to do this manually. If you need, this is where you would change the times and/or dates. If you have problems or questions about this process contact Mandy Misner in Ecampus, 541 737 9341.

9.  How do I turn on the exam early for one or two students who need to take it early?

What you can do is click on the test exam option (in test set-up) that allows you to issue a password. You can give the student(s) the password, and only she/they can take the exam. You can also limit the time the exam is open (and issue the password), so the exam will close again.

10.  My students are in different time zones. When I set a time for tests, assignments, etc. to be open how does that work in these different time zones?

All times set in Bb are based on the Pacific Time Zone, as that is where the Bb server is located. Students in other time zones will need to determine what the time is based on their time zone.

11.  How does the clock track time when a student is allowed to pause and resume a test?

The clock will start when a student first accesses the test and will not stop running until the student completes the test. The time tracked will be the cumulative time between those two points. If a student begins the test, then pauses and saves their work and returns to the test 4 hours later, the clock will count those 4 hours as part of the time the student spent on the test.

Never use Force Completion as a solution to this problem, as that can cause even more problems if a student gets kicked out of an exam.

Set the timer option to 2 hours (or whatever is appropriate). The student will receive a reminder before the end of the allotted time. In the directions for the exam, write a statement telling the students they have 2 hours to complete the exam and a sentence telling the students the exam is timed so, you, the instructor will know how long the students each took. Recommend the students save their work as they go along, so they don’t lose their answers.

12.  A student pointed out to me that the due date for the first paper listed on the Discussion Board page has not been updated since last term.  Do I need approval to change content on Bb? How would I go about doing that?

When you create an assignment in Blackboard, there is a way to set the due date. The advantage of setting the due date is that students see it. The disadvantage is that the date rolls to the next class. As part of your preparation for instructing/TAing a class make sure you go through all assignments/exams and update any due dates.

You do not need approval to change the due dates in Bb - if they reflect your current syllabus. To make the change:

1)  Make sure you're in Edit Mode. That's normally the default.

2)  Go in to your assignments (the tab where you have the assignment for students to access).

3)  You'll see the assignment listed with what appears to be a pencil, a ruler and a piece of paper on the left side. On the right, you should see a double downward arrow (or chevron I think they call it).

4)  Click on the chevron, then select "Edit."

5)  Scroll down until you see the choice "Due date".

6)  Delete the due date and either leave it blank or put in a new one.

13.  How do I create a submission site for a new extra credit assignment?

A. You need to create an assignment, not an item, in the weekly folder. This will automatically create a column in Grade Center for the assignment. Because this is extra credit, the points should not be tallied in the total points and there is an option for that in the Grade Center, under ‘edit the assignment’. You will then add the extra credit points to the final grade.

  1. To create the assignment:

1)  Go to the folder where you want the assignment.

2)  Instead of clicking on the tab (at the top) marked "Build Content," click on the tab "Create Assessment." Click on "Assignment" in the drop-down menu.

3)  Scroll down and add the assignment title, description (if necessary) and points possible. I would advise you not to change anything else, unless you want to limit the assignment availability.

4)  Once you click on "Submit" the assignment should be available to the students in the folder AND you should find a column in the Grade Center.

5)  You can then click on the chevron (downward arrows/drop-down menu) next to the Assignment title (in Grade Center) and modify the assignment so that the points are not calculated with the other points. Click on the third choice down: Edit Column information.

 14.  A student asked the instructor, "I noticed that I could see statistics about my discussion board posts from the link on my grade for Week 1. Is there a way to see my current statistics for week 2 so I can keep track of how many posts i've made?"

Statistics for Bb 9.1 is a new feature. Both students and instructors should be able to view them if the posts are graded. Each week should automatically appear – if it is graded. When a student clicks on their grade in the grade center screen, a screen will open showing the student’s posts for that forum and the student’s personal forum statistics in the upper right corner.

15.  How do I hide the final grade column until after students have completed their class evaluations?

You can find instructions for this at:  https://my.oregonstate.edu/webapps/osu-faq-bb_bb60/view.jsp?id=994

16.  How do I access the “missing grades report” after entering the letter grades in the Bb gradebook and then uploading the grades?

A. The ‘missing grade’ report is available through your onid account. Click ‘Faculty & Advisors’, then ‘Final Grades Menu/Final Grades-Keyed Entry.’ Click the link to’ View Missing Final Grades.’ If you see that the grades have NOT been entered, click on the course number (blue link). Then, you can enter them manually.

17.  How do I enter an incomplete for a student’s grade?

A. In order for the student to get an incomplete they at least need to have completed 50% or more of the work:  http://catalog.oregonstate.edu/ChapterDetail.aspx?key=75#Section2885

    1. When a student cannot complete the work required by the course, the instructor has the option of giving her the grade earned up to that moment (whether that is a B, an F, or anything in between) or of giving her an incomplete. If you chose to give the student an incomplete, you MUST inform them that they have one year to complete the coursework or they will be given the grade assigned to their incomplete (I/B would be a B) if they don’t complete the outstanding work. Make sure you are comfortable the student will be able to complete the class and that there is a legitimate reason for giving this student more time than the other students have been given. Students should only be given an incomplete for extremely exceptional reasons.  Please double-checkwith your unit coordinator before granting an incomplete.
    2. When entering grades, click on the drop down menu and select the “I/” grade that applies. To select the correct “I/” grade, calculate your student’s grade at this moment in time. For example, if your student would have a C with the work she's submitted up until this point, then select I/C. If she would have an F if she didn't finish any more work, then select I/F.

18.  How do I post final grades?

1) Go to the OSU website and click on “Faculty and Staff” on the right-hand side.

2) To the left of that menu, under “Technical Resources” click on “Employee Online Services”.

3) Enter your ONID account information to enter.

4) From the menu there, click on “Faculty & Advisors”.

5) Click on “Final Grades Menu”.

6) Click on “Final Grades – Keyed Entry”.

7) Select the Term and then the Class from the drop-down menus.

8) Click “Submit”.

9) Enter your grades with the drop-down menus.

10) Make sure to scroll down and click “Submit.” The grades won’t “roll” right away, but they have been entered at this point.

11) To check if they have indeed been entered, you can go back to the “Final Grades Menu” and click on Missing Grade Report. Then, you’ll see the grades that haven’t been entered.

19.  How do I change a grade in a previous term?

You will enter the change of grade in onid/Employee Online Services - almost exactly like you enter grades normally. Here are the steps:

1)  Go in to Employee Online Services/onid.

2)  Click "Faculty and Advisors."

3)  Click "Final Grades Menu."

4)  Click the last bullet: "Final Grades - Change Posted Grades"

5)  Using the drop-down menus, select the term and class.

6)  The list of student names will appear with the grades to the right of the names. If the grade is changeable, and most are, then there is a drop-down menu, and all you need to do is select the new grade and click submit at the bottom of the page. The grade change should take effect in the system within a day or two.

20.  How do I create a Sample/Test student?

By creating a sample, or test, student in your class you can view Bb as your students will see it. Here are the steps for how to do that:

1) In Bb, on the left-hand side of the course page (under Course Management): Click on Users & Groups / Users.

2) At the very bottom of the list, you'll see the "test student" - with a username beginning with bb_

3) Click on the down "chevron" to the right of this username (for the drop-down menu). Select "Change User's Password."

4) Submit the new password (making it an easy password for you and the student to remember).

5) E-mail BOTH the username (beginning with bb_) and the password to the student.

6) To access the course, the student will use this username and password to access the course - not his/her own login information.