Tip of the Week! Sharing Grades with Students Confidentially!

This trick is for those of you using the Blackboard Grade Center.

As the semester is winding down we are constantly getting the question “What are my grades” or “How am I doing”.  In the Blackboard Grade Center the faculty view is showing all students grades making it hard to sit down with a student and go over their grades.

Blackboard has a quick feature that you can use to hide all rows except one.  To do this go the Bb Grade Center, point to the students last name and an arrow will appear to the right of their name.  Click the arrow and select “hide other rows”. This will show only the one students data. To display all the rows again go back to the student’s last name click the arrow and select “Show All Rows”.

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Effective Online Teaching – Principle #1

This academic year the eLearning department at NCCC is focusing on providing training and workshops to support our new Online Course Observation/Effective Online Teaching Behaviors self-evaluation guide. Each month we will focus on one of the Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education with a specific focus on Online Teaching. We will start this series off this October by providing resources, tools and strategies to support Principle #1 which is to “encourages contact between students and faculty.”

In the guide you will see evidence  that can show you meet this principle.  Examples are detailed and frequent announcements,  timely responses to messages and email,  a great narrated screen cast that welcomes students to your online course and that provides an overview of the course and the student learning outcomes.  The students should be able to see a picture of you or (use a web cam) and hear your voice.  In addition, you could communicate with students through email, free text services like remind, and provide online office hours through web conferencing tools like Zoom.  We will also send out tips of the week through the Blackboard eLearning faculty group to help you enhance your teaching skills with Principle #1.

During October the NCCC eLearning department invites you to join in to listen to our lunch time webinars, register for our campus workshops, and view the additional resources in Magna and Atomic Leaning to help you enhance your online teaching skills for Principle #1.

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Ensuring online courses meet the same “time per credit hour” as grounded courses

So how can you ensure that online course requirements meet the same “time per credit hour” requirements as grounded courses?  Courses delivered online are still required to meet the same “time per credit hour” standards as in the classroom as per the MSCHE Credit Hour Policy and SUNY credit/contact policy and definitions.  In the following resource you will learn how “time” in online courses is calculated.  Since online courses don’t have “seat time” like grounded courses, it’s important that you and your students understand how much “time” it will take to complete the course.

Students at NCCC can estimate how much time a course should take them through the use of our eLearning Time Management Estimator. 

Faculty should review the following resources from R.I.T. to learn how “time” in online courses work. The resources will provide information on how you can ensure your online courses  require the same amount of  learning and should equal the same amount of time per week as grounded courses.

Time on Task  overview from the Learning Institute at R.I.T.

Time on Task expanded version PDF file from the Learning Institute at R.I.T.

Lisa Dubuc, Coordinator of Electronic Learning

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Campus-Wide Atomic Learning License at NCCC – Learn More…

NCCC now as a full campus-wide site license for Atomic Learning – Join us for an Atomic Learning Overview

Wednesday October 21, 1:30pm – 2:30 pm in FRCAE or  register to watch it online Presenter – Leah Klocker, Atomic Learning

The office of Electronic Learning is pleased to announce that we now have a full campus-wide license for Atomic Learning.   Since Atomic Learning has resources to support  the entire campus,  I would like to offer you an opportunity to learn more about Atomic Learning by registering and remotely attending the webinar. Leah Klocker from Atomic Learning will be providing the training.

Leah will provide a site overview of the resources available, and provide information on how to insert content into Blackboard.  The online training library has over 60,000 short, video training tutorials on over 250 of the most commonly-used technology devices and software applications and is available to you and your students 24/7.  There are also workshops and tutorials on plagiarism, citation, how to be a successful college student, how to be a successful online learner,  ADA, career success, campus safety, and more.

This resource can also help you eliminate the cost of some expensive computer technology text books.   There are full workshops with assessment attached that can be integrated into Blackboard and results added directly to your grade book.  I hope you can register and listen in to learn more about this new campus-wide resource.

Here is a link that maps out an overview of the campus-wide learning solution.   This short video will provide you an overview of Atomic Learning for Higher Ed. You can access Atomic Learning now by going to the link from the institution page in Blackboard. Once logged into Blackboard, no further authentication is needed.

Note:  the eLearning department will be scheduling workshops and opportunities for consultations so you can make the best use of this resource.  This session is designed to provide an overview of Atomic Learning.

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Do Online Discussions Have a Place in On Campus Classes?

As a tip of the week I would like to share an article by the University of Oregon and their Teaching Effectiveness Program.  I decided to send this out to all faculty because of the success that has been seen in student engagement in online discussions. After reading this article you may decide to incorporate online discussions for assessment in your on campus classes.

Online discussions open the door for those student that never raise their hand in class or don’t want to open their mouths in class.  You might find that one of these students has a lot to offer in an online discussion! They might just surprise you if they have time to think about what they want to say or have time to research their ideas.


Donna Simiele
Niagara County Community College
eLearning Technology Support Coordinator

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Online Assessment

“OATS” Online Assessment Techniques

There are a lot of resources to help you with strategies to assess student learning outcomes called “SLO’s” in online and blended courses.  We are currently working on our “OATS” initiative to help you with strategies and techniques to effectively assess your outcomes in eLearning courses at NCCC.  We are offering training, workshops and times for 1-1 mentoring for the fall 2015 semester.

The Open SUNY Center for Online Teaching Excellence “COTE” created an excellent community resource on assessment and you should view the resources in our NCCC Faculty Assessment Resource Guide.

COTE Assessment Resources

NCCC Faculty Assessment Resource Guide

If you have any questions, please contact Donna or Lisa in eLearning.

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Remind: Communicating through text safely with students

remind logo This communication tool provides a safe way for you to text message students and stay in contact with parents. The tool is simple to use and 1 in 5 teachers in the United States are already using it.  So, if you’re not one of them, please join me to see how easy it is to get started.  

What is it?  Remind is a tool to help educators communicate with students and parents

How to get started? Get started and learn about teacher-tested resources and best classroom practices

New Feature: Hold online office hours via the new “chat” feature

Get Help: Remind help and faq’s or YouTube support channel

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Sharing PowerPoint Presentations after MyBrainShark is Discontinued

Since MyBrainShark is discontinuing their free service I would like to offer a few alternatives to sharing PowerPoint Presentations. Each one of the options below offers different services from transcripts (based on slide content), embed links, and video transfer just to name a few.

If you are using Microsoft PowerPoint 2013 I would recommend using the video feature built into the software for sharing narrated PowerPoints. This feature converts the narrated PowerPoint into an MP4 file format that can be uploaded to YouTube. YouTube provides the ability to close caption the video making it ADA compliant.


SlideBoom is a valuable tool for educators because it enables voice-overs, is interactive, and free!

Features of SlideBoom:

  • Free version available
  • Automatic transcripts to PowerPoint presentations.
  • Allows editing to accent areas of your presentation using a pencil or highlighter.
  • Embed presentation in blogs and LMS
  • Narration/audio available when created in 2003-2007 versions
  • Using iSpring you can create voice over and narrations – there is a free version of this software – this is required to embed YouTube Videos in presentation
  • Features that are not available; embedded video/links only, only supports version 2010 or lower, when saving a 2013 version to the old file format you lose narrations, Limited private sharing for free version
  • Free vs Pro Specifications
  • http://www.slideboom.com/


AuthorSTREAM is a powerful online presentation sharing engine that not only allows you to upload your PowerPoint presentations online for free, but also assists you to share them with your friends, students or co-workers located across the globe.

Features of AuthorSTREAM:

  • Free version available
  • Automatic transcripts to PowerPoint presentations.
  • Converts to video (only allows one presentation conversion for free)
  • Embed presentation in blogs and LMS – Private presentations cannot be embedded
  • Limited private sharing for free version
  • Features that are not available; No analytics for free version, minimal private settings
  • Free vs Premium Specifications
  • http://www.authorstream.com/


AuthorSTREAM is a powerful online presentation sharing engine that not only allows you to upload your PowerPoint presentations online for free, but also assists you to share them with your friends, students or co-workers located across the globe.

Features of SlideBoom:

  • Free version available
  • Analytic reports
  • Allows for embedding YouTube Videos from within the presentation
  • Allows for re-upload and keeps analytic reports
  • Converts to video (only allows one presentation conversion for free)
  • Share and Embed presentation in blogs and LMS – Private presentations cannot be embedded
  • Slideshare is linked to LinkedIn connecting both accounts
  • Features that are not available; narration/audio
  • Free vs Premium Specifications
  • https://www.slideshare.net/

PowerPoint to Video Feature

This feature creates a MP4 file format that can be loaded to YouTube. This feature allows you to keep narration and timings for your presentation.

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Using myBrainshark to share content such as PowerPoint presentations


If you are using PowerPoints in your course I recommend using a service such as myBrainshark to host your presentations. This free service offers many features (listed below) that can be used for instructional materials. One tool within Brainshark allows you to track number of views. Another tool in Brainshark allows you to place a poll or survey at the end of the presentation or podcast. Also built into this tool is the ability to upload content directly to YouTube.

“MyBrainshark is an online service that enables you to easily create, share and track on-demand multi-media presentations.  All you need is an email address to register for an account on my.Brainshark.com. There’s no charge. You’ll be creating and sharing on-demand presentations in minutes. Simply upload a PowerPoint presentation or other document; add your voice by phone, microphone or MP3; and enhance your content with video clips, photos, surveys, polls, attachments and more. With myBrainshark, you can also analyze the impact of your online presentations by tracking when, how often, and from where your presentation is being viewed via visual dashboards.”


My.Brainshark.com website
“Quick Tour” Demo of myBrainshark
How to upload and narrate a PowerPoint Presentation on myBrainshark
Creating Podcasts using myBrainshark
Example of a Podcast using myBrainshark:

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Is Your Blackboard Grade Center Too Large To Handle? Learn How To Use Smart Views

Smart Views

Smart Views in the Blackboard Grade Center allow you to customize your view based on categories, grades, specific items, by student, and many other options. Smart Views is also a tool that can be setup to view assignments/assessments based on Student Learning Outcomes. Once a view is setup for each outcome it can be downloaded and analyzed. The downloaded report goes to an Excel spreadsheet that allows for analysis of each SLO.

How to create a Smart View for a specific set of columns in your grade center (E.g. Student Learning Outcomes):

  1. Go into the Full Grade Center under the Grade Center area of the course menu.
  2. Point to the Mange tab at the top of the Grade Center and select Smart Views.
  3. Click Create Smart View tab.
  4. Give the Smart View a name (e.g. SLO A)
  5. Type of Description if needed.
  6. Under Type turn on the Add as Favorite if you wish to see this view in your course menu under the Grade Center list.
  7. Type of View turn on User View individual users.
  8. Under Select Criteria select “All Users”.
  9. Under Filter Results select “Selected Columns Only”. This will display all the column names from your grade center.
    1. To select certain columns click on the first name you want from the list and hold down the CTRL key and select each additional column you want in this smart view.
  10. Click Submit when done.
    (Videos Below)

To View the new Smart view:

  1. If you turned on the Add to Favorites you will see the new name listed in the course menu under Grade Center.
  2. If you did not add it to Favorites go to the Smart Views menu and you will see a list of all Smart Views available in the course. Just click on the name of the item you want to see.


Blackboard Help on Smart Views

Blackboard Learn Grade Center – Smart Views

Donna Simiele (3)    By Donna Simiele

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