CTL Resource Sharepoint
A Microsoft Office 365 SharePoint site has been developed to support faculty with the implementation of educational technologies at Red Deer Polytechnic.
This site features guiding instructions for using technologies such as:
- Blackboard Collaborate Ultra
- Respondus 4.0
- Lockdown Browser and Monitor
- and more!
Tech Tools at RDP
Blackboard is the Learning Management System (LMS) used at Red Deer College to deliver online courses.
Blackboard Apps allow both students and instructors to efficiently interact and collaborate in a more flexible way.
Camtasia is a video editing and screen capturing program for creating video presentations, tutorials, and lessons in your course.
Collaborate Ultra is a real-time online conferencing tool that allows you to share audio, video, files, and applications with all participants.
Office 365 is a cloud-based, online collaboration platform with Office apps like Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote.
IPEVO Camera & Software
IPEVO is a portable camera that is used in conjunction with the Instructor station to display and capture a variety of subjects.
Lockdown Browser & Monitor
When utilized within an online course, the Lockdown Browser and Respondus Monitor create a secure environment for students to write tests online.
Google Classroom is a free web service developed by Google for schools that aims to simplify creating, distributing and grading assignments in a paperless way.
Read & Write
Read & Write offers a range of powerful support tools to help students gain confidence with reading, writing, studying, and research.
Respondus 4.0 Exam Builder
Using Respondus 4.0 can help you create and manage exams that can be published directly to Blackboard.
Course Creation & Deletion
Courses are created at the beginning of March for the next academic year. The course creation process is as follows:
- Once the RDP Timetable is finalized, courses are created in Blackboard.
- Students and instructors are loaded into Blackboard, from Banner. Information is updated until the add/drop deadline for each term. There may be a slight delay between this transfer of information.
Courses are flagged for deletion two years after the course end date. Course deletions begin in July each year. This will be communicated by the CTL in June. However, master courses are not deleted this way- an email must be sent to I.T. Services to delete a master course.
Course Use and Maintenance
Courses offered in Blackboard at Red Deer Polytechnic (RDP) typically fall into three categories:
Typical Course Life Cycle Process
This is the most common course life cycle at RDP.
- The instructor performs a course copy from the previous term course into the course shell for the new term.
- The instructor delivers the course.
- At the end of the term, the course now becomes the previously offered course, starting the cycle again.
Some Schools at RDP choose to use master courses instead of the course copy model outlined in the typical course life cycle.
Master Course Life Cycle Process
- The instructor performs a course copy from the master course into the course shell for that term.
- The instructor delivers the course.
- Changes made to the course content throughout delivery are reflected in the master course, if needed. The process varies depending on the changes made:
- If significant changes were made, the course is copied back into the master course.
- If minor changes were made, the instructor needs to manually make those changes to the master course.
Note: Online course developers often utilize master courses to ensure a current version of the course is always available, especially when one instructor develops the course and a different instructor delivers it. Decisions about using a course master should be made in consultation with your Associate Dean and/or program faculty to ensure awareness of the course and its life cycle. Master courses are not deleted on the two-year cycle.
Multiple Courses Life Cycle Process
Certain Schools at RDP deliver the same course, simultaneously through different course offerings.
- The instructor(s) perform a course copy from the master course into each of the course shells for that term.
- The instructor(s) deliver each of the course offerings.
- If minor changes were made within each of the courses throughout delivery (and should be reflected in the master course), the instructor needs to manually make those changes to the master course.
Analyze your course to discover more about your students
The following course reports are available in all Blackboard courses. Explore what they can offer you to illustrate how engaged your students are in your course.
How to Access Course Reports:
- Within your Blackboard course, navigate to “Course Management” section of the menu on the left.
- Click on the “Evaluation” link.
- From this sub-menu, you can find “Course Reports” and “Retention Center.” Both of these areas provide course analytics report options. Each are described in the table below.
|1: All User Activity inside Content Areas|
|2: Course Activity Overview|
|3: Course Coverage Report|
|4: Course Performance|
|5: Overall Summary of User Activity|
|6: Student Overview for Single Course|
|7: User Activity in Forums|
|8: User Activity in Groups|
|9: Blackboard Retention Centre|
When adding content into your Blackboard course, be mindful of the size of the content being included.
Content Management Strategies
Use the following strategies to manage the amount of content in your Blackboard course. When possible:
- Hyperlink to articles, documents, etc. rather than uploading files to your course
- View the Library’s Faculty Support at RDP page for information on copyright and how to permalink to library databases
- Embed and/or hyperlink to videos – do not upload video files to your course
- Prior to uploading documents to your course, search through the Content Collection (the repository in your course that stores all uploaded files) to ensure multiple versions of the same document are not being uploaded
- Before uploading files to your course, convert them from their Office file type (e.g. Word, PowerPoint, etc.) into PDF for two reasons.
- Students don’t need to download PDF documents to view them – they open in Blackboard or in a new browser tab.
- Students would need to download the Word documents to view them and they may not have Word installed on their computer, making it difficult to access the documents
- Hint: View the resource, How do I save a PowerPoint file as a 3-slides-per-page PDF file? to find out how to access the options to save a PPT into a PDF with multiple slides per page
- In your Content Collection, look for large file sizes and unused files and folders that can be deleted
Blackboard and textbook publishers have partnered together to help institutions meet the demands of the next generation of learners. This means instructors now have the option to use a variety of resources, assignments and tests directly from textbook publishers and link it inside of their Blackboard course. Once the Blackboard course is paired with the textbook, all gradable content the student completes through the publisher’s website is recorded automatically inside the instructor’s Blackboard grade centre.
List of Textbook Publishers
The following list of textbook publishers can be integrated within Blackboard at RDP:
- Cengage Learning MindLinks
- McGraw-Hill Higher Education
- Pearson (MyLab & Mastering)
For support with integrating the textbook publisher materials within Blackboard, please visit the publisher websites directly. The following websites may help to get you started:
Integrating a Publisher Not on the List
If you would like to integrate a publisher that is not included in the list above, please contact IT Services (403.342.3580 | ServiceDesk@rdpolytech.ca).
Please note: The integration of a publisher into Blackboard is not instantaneous. IT Services can provide you with a time frame for completion once the request has been approved.
The prevalence of online courses is quickly growing so having a secure platform for online exam authoring is beneficial for both instructors and students. Instructors have the comfort knowing students are writing their exams in a secure environment while students can write exams from the comfort of their home without needing a proctor. At RDP, we have two tools that assist with online exam authoring:
- Lockdown Browser
LockDown Browser is a custom browser that locks down the exam environment within Blackboard. When LockDown Browser is used during an online exam, students are unable to go to other URLs, switch applications, take screenshots, copy questions or print.
- Lockdown Browser
- Respondus Monitor
Respondus Monitor is a companion application for Lockdown Browser that utilizes the student’s computer camera to monitor the student during their exam. Instructors are alerted of student behaviours that may indicate possible misconduct. Respondus Monitor is ideal for non-proctored testing environments.
Get Started with These Tools
Visit the LockDown Browser and Monitor page on the CTL Resources SharePoint site to get started.
Please note: You will be prompted to login to your RDP Office 365 account to view the page.
Creating instructor videos is a great way to welcome students to a course, introduce course content, or conclude course content. These types of videos can enhance material by creating powerful and impactful learning experiences for students. Utilize the following tools to help you get started with video development.
Screencast-o-matic allows you to easily and quickly record videos of your screen, of yourself, or both!
It is a free software that features:
- Screen Recording
- Webcam Recording
- 15 minutes record length
- Publishing Options (ie. YouTube, Screencast-o-matic, save as a file)
This video will provide you with a basic understanding of how Screencast-o-matic works or visit the Screencast-o-matic website for more information.
Camtasia is a great tool for video production and editing. It is a paid software but is available for use in the CTL sound room.
It offers features such as:
- Screen Recording
- Webcam Recording
- Annotations (features that draw attention to content such as arrows, blurring, highlighting, spotlighting)
- Zoom and pan
- Cursor effects (highlight, magnify, spotlight)
- Text effects (animate text as it comes onto the screen)
The Camtasia website has many great tutorials and short courses to get you started with video development.