Category Archives: Professional Development

Creating Categories and Weighed Columns on Blackboard

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TESOL 2013 Handouts

2013-03-25_0942TESOL 2013

It was wonderful  to meet so many interesting and engaged teachers in Dallas. I was amazed at how well attended our sessions were. For those of you who couldn’t come or who couldn’t get a handout, the handout are available through TESOL. I provided the links below.


Making it Meaningful      If you would like a copy of the macros, please email me. The file type cannot be easily uploaded and shared.

Again, it was such a great experience, and I can’t wait to see everyone next year at TESOL 2014 in my home state of Oregon. Until then, feel free to contact me.

More Blackboard tips and tricks

Using the Test Student

Users and Groups > Users > Down chevron Change User’s Password > type your new password and confirm.

The username for this student is represented by bb_xyy_nnnnn.

  • x is either f(fall), w(winter), s(spring) or u(summer) term.
  • yy is the last two digits of the calendar year.
  • nnnnn is the course CRN.
  • Example: bb_f01_14771 is the test student id for the course MTH_111_010_F2001.

Log in to see the student’s view of your Bb site.

Setting up Weighted Columns in Grade Center

You will first need to create categories that you will select for weighting your total column.  For example, Presentations, reading assignments, tests etc.

Grade Center > Full Grade Center > Manage Categories > Create category > Fill in name and Description and then click Submit.

To make a weighted total column (or running total), use the categories outlined in your syllabus.

Grade Center > Full Grade Center > Create Calculated Column Weighted Column.

Fill in the column details and select the categories that you wish to include on the left and move these to the right hand side by clicking the “>”  in the center.

Add the percentage in the * box on the right hand side.  Click on the blue circle to weight the contents proportionally rather than equally.

You can decide if you want students to view this column or not and whether to include it in the grade calculations (obviously not for a running total column).

Click the blue Submit button.

Get the link to the tutorial here and the video link here.

Making an Attendance Sheet

Grade Center > Full Grade Center > Work Offline  Download > Full Grade Center > Download

This will generate an Excel Spreadsheet that you can use to cut and paste names.

You can also see a list of names by choosing Tools > Roster  Not Blank

The latter is not as easy to manipulate as cutting and pasting results in two very wide columns (you will need to go to Table > Convert > Convert table to text).

There is a huge amount of information and tutorials on making wikis, tests etc. to be found at this site.


TESOL 2014

logoDid you know that the 2014 TESOL Convention is going to be in Portland, Oregon? I couldn’t be more excited. It’s going to be a great convention. Here are some numbers we learned at the preparation meeting this week:

  • 6,500 attendees
  • 700 education sessions
  • 150 exhibitors
  • 300 volunteers

That last number is actually a little frightening. 300 volunteers. Luckily, we live in a great state, and I know so many people will be willing to help. If you’re one of those people, keep your eyes out for emails from ORTESOL about volunteering before and during the convention.

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Twitter as a Professional Development Tool

I have to admit: I’m not an avid Twitter user. In fact, my twitter account will show you that I have posted 57 tweets in the last year. About one per week. However, a recent article on the NYT blog inspired me to rethink Twitter for professional development and increase my involvement. The article featured 33 educators and each presented ways in which they have created their personal learning networks.  Surprisingly,  15 of the educators mentioned twitter as a key component to their professional development. People follow certain hash-tagged conversations, like #engchat #edchat #edtech. They also connect with people from around the world to discuss and share ideas. There certainly is a lot out there. I guess, Twitter really can be helpful. As a little bit of proof here are three interesting tweets from people I follow:

Do you use Twitter for professional development? Who do you follow?

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Beyond the ‘wow’ factor

Do you think the Starboards are only good for a few “wows”? Our next TIG will discuss an article from Beauchamp and Parkinson (2005) which outlines going “beyond the ‘wow’ factor”. You can access the article here. Please read the 6-page article before the meeting and come prepared to discuss:

  • Your favorite idea from the text.
  • How could you apply the tools listed on page 98 to your classes?
  • Review the skills on page 102. What skills are you missing?

Also, if you would like one-on-one help with Starboard, don’t hesitate to email me.

1-2 pm on
Wednesday, August 22nd in ILLC 253
Thursday, August 23rd in ILLC 255

Also, feel free to contact me for one-on-one Starboard help.


Beauchamp, G and Parkinson, J. (2005). Beyond the wow factor: developing interactivity with the interactive whiteboard. School Science Review, 86(316), 97–103.

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I have to admit that I am excited for fall when everyone will be using Outlook at INTO OSU. This will make things so much easier; right now it can be frustrating and time-consuming to schedule a meeting. I’ll never have to read or write a string of emails like this again:

Me: “John, Joe, and Jim, When do you have time to meet?”

John: “2-3pm works for me?”

Joe: “Sorry that won’t work. I’m in class. What about 3-4?”

Jim: “That doesn’t work for me. Ugh. 4-5?”




And it continues until finally, years later, a meeting is scheduled.

With Outlook, instructors enter reoccurring appointments for their classes. Then, when someone goes to schedule a meetings, they can see when people are available. Say good-bye to those annoying strings of emails.The links in the sentences above will walk you through the step-by-step process of using outlook for meetings and appointments. Here is a 50 minute webinar recording from CN. Also, this Wednesday at 3-3:45pm in room 243 and this Thursday from 1:30-2:15 in 255, I will be answering Outlook questions.

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SEP Mexico: Technology Class

ImageWe have a wonderful group of Mexican teachers at INTO OSU this month. They are taking courses in ESL trends, methods and technology, along with sharing information about their country and culture. Teaching their technology course is certainly a highlight of my summer. In the last two weeks, we have discussed audio recordings, text analysis tools, collaborative writing, and using videos. I have been posting all of the materials from the class online, so if you want to check out what we have done so far, please visit the class website. And meet the teachers this week at the public library where they will be giving a presentation.

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There are many sites online for recording and posting materials. These are two that I would recommend; both are free:

I would recommend using Audioboo. Students do not have to create accounts to use Audioboo and can post the link on an assignment page in blackboard.

The first is called Voxopop and is similar to VoiceThread. It allows for “Talk Groups” where members can each post recordings. Here is a fun example.

Full directions and information on these tools and using YouTube for student videos are available here: tech_for_listening_speaking

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Training Opportunities around Campus

Are you taking advantage of all that OSU has to offer? There are so many opportunities for professional development. Below I put together a list of a few of the options. Start taking advantage!

Training from the OSU Library

NEW! Free Electronic Notetaking/Annotating Workshop: On May 7 from 4-5 p.m. as part of the OSU Libraries Graduate Student and Faculty Spring Workshop series. Interested in transitioning to a more electronic reading and annotating workflow? Tools discussed will include desktop and mobile options, such as Evernote, iAnnotate, Mendeley, Microsoft OneNote, Note Taker HD, Zotero and EndNote.

Training from Technology Across the Curriculum:

Online Testing: How to Use Standard CMS Tools to Reduce Cheating
Time & Date: 10:00 am – 11:00 am PDT, Tuesday, May 29, 2012
In this session, Brian Morgan will highlight a variety of features found in most course management systems that can be effectively utilized to reduce cheating in an online testing environment.  Attend this session to be certain that you are taking advantage of the tools you have at your fingertips for ensuring the academic integrity of your online tests.
Presenter: Brian Morgan, Marshall University

Workshop – Blackboard Grade Center. with Jon Dorbolo and Lynn Greenough (TAC).  Thursday May 31, 12:00-1:00pm. Kidder 274. This session covers the Blackboard grade center in depth for instructors who want to make use of Blackboard features to refine their grading strategies. We’ll work with organizing the grade center; smart views; uploading and downloading grades; reports; grading schemas and grade weighting. We’ll also show you options for managing large groups of students. Please register for this workshop here.

What is my Role in the Online Classroom?  Ways to Engage and Interact with Your Online Students
Time & Date: 10:00 am – 11:00 am PDT, Monday, June 25, 2012
As an instructor, one of the biggest challenges in the online classroom is to keep your students engaged and motivated. This session will focus on your role as the instructor and the teaching techniques that will stimulate a student’s curiosity and encourage active learning. In addition, there will be discussion surrounding the methods on how to encourage active participation and peer-to-peer learning, which can further impact the overall learning experience and generate successful outcomes.

Presenter: Katherine Dowdell, Des Moines Area Community College

Why and How to Best Use Rubrics in Blackboard Learn 9.1
Time & Date: 10:00 am – 11:00 am PDT, Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Learn the benefits of using Blackboard Learn’s interactive Rubrics. This presentation will explore the pros and cons of using Rubrics, how Rubrics employ Chickering and Gamson’s Seven Principles of Good Teaching Practice, and how the use of Rubrics will benefit your students. In addition, you will learn how to create, edit and apply a Rubric and how to grade with a Rubric. The audience will take away a firm grasp of how and why Rubrics are an effective teaching tool – and an enthusiasm for using Rubrics in their classes. In addition, they will be given a handout that covers in more detail how to create, copy and edit a Rubric, how to use Rubrics with Assignments, Tests, Discussion Boards (Forums and Threads), Journals, Wikis, Blogs and Grade Center Columns as well as how to grade all of these activities using a Rubric. The audience will also take away knowledge of how students use and can benefit from the use of the Rubrics tool. The pros and cons of using Rubrics will be explored as well as how the use of Rubrics encourages contact between students and faculty.
Presenter: Katherine C. Riley, BS, Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes
Jewish College