A person's hand is rested on a Dell computer next to a Mac computer

Making Text Look Normal in Blackboard

Have you ever pasted text into Blackboard and found that it just doesn’t look right? It might be that the font has changed, weird symbols have replaced some letters, background colors have suddenly appeared, or your spacing and lists are all wrong. It can be maddening when all you want to do is paste a simple string of text, but…

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April 5, 2018 |

Blackboard Features

New Blackboard features for 2018

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Every December, the UNE IT department updates Blackboard, giving the gift of handy new features to students and instructors. Here are three of those goodies that the Instructional Design team is anxiously anticipating. Drag-and-Drop Files Whenever you need to add a file to Blackboard, it can be a hassle to search the…

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December 13, 2017 |

Webinar Series

Tools for Office Hours - Blackboard Collaborate

Last week we covered Appear.in as a tool for conducting online conferences. This week we’re going to go over the same steps for creating persistent and scheduled online conferencing spaces, but with Blackboard Collaborate. The differences between Collaborate and Appear.in make them both useful, we think, for different applications. Appear.in is very simple and easy to use, but has limits…

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November 10, 2017 |

Webinar Series

Webinar: Tools for Online Office Hours - Appear.in

Two weeks ago we conducted a webinar in which we presented two conferencing tools as excellent options for holding synchronous office hours for an online class—appear.in and Blackboard Collaborate. We chose these tools, specifically, because we feel that they can be used in conjunction to respond to different needs. Blackboard Collaborate is robust, feature rich, and built into Blackboard directly,…

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November 2, 2017 |

Creating a Timeline with Timeline JS

Creating a Timeline with Timeline JS

Recently, I found myself testing different timeline creation tools to see how well they worked and how hard they were to work with. Technical challenge is an important consideration for course activities, as any difficulties I face in testing will be magnified by the number of registered students. Even small problems hinder scalability. In some cases there may be a…

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October 12, 2017 |

Webinar Series

Webinar: Using RefWorks for Online Learning

We are happy to present a webinar, developed and delivered by Cadence Atchinson, our Online Research and Teaching Librarian, on how to use RefWorks for learning and scholarship. This webinar was designed specifically for faculty and staff working with online learners, but it should be useful for just about anyone. Enjoy.

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August 11, 2017 |

Diagramming Tools

Diagramming Tools

Diagramming can be useful no matter your profession, but we have several health-related programs at CGPS, and in healthcare diagramming is very nearly an essential skill. We’ve had the opportunity, then, to try several different web-based diagram authoring tools, and want to suggest two to anyone out there with needs similar to our own. We chose these two based on…

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June 30, 2017 |

Connecting Online Students

Connecting People in Online Classrooms

We all dream of some sort of seamless integration of a myriad of tools (or a myriad of features) that allow us to connect and perform certain tasks. Text, voice, video, real-time and recorded, presentation mode, all-platform, aesthetically pleasing, easy to set up and use, free of course, and with on-demand tech support are primarily the requirements for any type…

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June 2, 2017 |

Reference Management

A Qiqqa Way to Reference Management

Whether you are a student, faculty member, researcher, or instructional designer, there comes a point when you realize there must be a better way to manage and organize your PDF collection.  I reached my tipping point when my PDF collection topped 100 half-way into my second, research-heavy online course.  As a technology neophyte, I had no idea how many tools…

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May 23, 2017 |

Google Drive Productivity tools

Tools for Google Drive Productivity

We use Google Drive quite a bit in our course and curriculum development. It is a favorite tool for collaborating with stakeholders and subject matter experts from all over the world. Meetings are difficult to schedule when design partners belong to four separate time zones, but Drive allows us to keep track of who is doing what, when, and where we are in…

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March 30, 2017 |

Resource Articles

Tips for Improving Paragraph Integrity

People often talk about personal integrity, but what about paragraph integrity? An essential part of clear prose, paragraph integrity means each sentence within a paragraph follows from the one that came before. Oftentimes a piece of writing is unclear because it lacks paragraph integrity. Happily, clear paragraphs follow certain rules that are easily discerned. In Style: Toward Clarity and Grace…

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March 17, 2017 |

macbook pro laptop

How to stop your computer from ruining your sleep

As phones and computers become more integrated into our daily lives, we’re spending more time staring into the harsh light of our screens. A while back, my colleague Corey Butler wrote for this blog about computer vision syndrome, a kind of eye strain that often accompanies frequent computer use. Well, it turns out that there’s another eye-related problem with routine…

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September 30, 2016 |

Web Annotation

Web Annotation Tools

I’ve called attention to web annotation tools in the past, the reason being that I am among those internet weirdos who thinks there are conversations to be had across domains that, right now, are difficult to maintain because commenting functionality is largely restricted to the domain in which any particular resource is published. Aggregators like Reddit and Imzy show the need for…

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September 8, 2016 |

Beeline Reader

Easier Reading with Beeline Reader

One of the most exciting aspects of online education is how the environment, with its quickly evolving technologies, is making content easier to consume. Some of these developments are more exciting than others, and many are more well-intentioned than they are actually helpful, but I thought I would take the opportunity to show you one that I’ve heard a little bit…

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August 19, 2016 |

Webinar Series

Webinar - The Blackboard Grade Center

We’ve received several requests to dive more purposefully into the nitty gritty of using Blackboard, and so today we conducted the first in a series of webinars on it, focusing on the Grade Center. As we found ourselves jumping rather quickly from tool to tool, we think the video may be less valuable as a recording than a textual breakdown,…

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July 14, 2016 |

Choosing Rubrics

For the Love of Rubrics

In past posts, we have discussed how to create rubrics, why we use rubrics at UNE, and how to use rubrics in Blackboard. This particular post will focus on the different types of rubrics one may encounter and what they look like. There are three main types of rubrics: holistic, analytic, and a love child of the two that we’ll…

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May 11, 2016 |

Rich Internet Applications

Rich Internet Applications - Conversations and Mashup

CLEAR’s RIAs Michigan State’s Center for Language Education And Research (CLEAR) has created a number of Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) that can be used across a variety of disciplines. Because CLEAR is funded by a US Department of Education grant, the applications are free to use. Furthermore, they do not include annoying advertisements. As a world language instructor, I have used a…

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April 28, 2016 |

Finding Articles with Summon

It's Easy to Find Articles with Summon

In your courses, you are often required to locate an assigned reading using the UNE Library website. For advanced searches, it’s recommended that you use the Full Text Journals page. However, this tool, Summon, which is embedded right on the main Library page, has saved me a ton of time! Not only does it make it easy to plug in…

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April 11, 2016 |

Blackboard MacGyver

Macgyvering Blackboard

While I won’t pretend that I am among the generation that watched and enjoyed MacGyver during the mid 80s and early 90’s, the concept of “MacGyvering” is one that I feel transcends generations. It reflects the ability to take whatever you have on hand, however impractical it may be, and accomplish what needs to be done. Secret agents like Angus…

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March 31, 2016 |

Project Naptha

Grab Text from Images with Project Naptha

Images are powerful tools for communication, and we try to use them in our courses wherever we can. A picture can speak a thousand words, as they say. More practically, a quiz asking students to identify the bones of the human skeleton makes more sense visually than as text. At the same time, however, images can be extremely frustrating if…

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March 17, 2016 |

Audio Lectures with Audacity

Polish Your Lecture Audio with Audacity

Have you ever listened to an audio file that just didn’t sound right? It might have been a podcast, a radio interview, or even an online lecture. Maybe it was plagued by a constant hissing noise in the background. Perhaps the speaker’s voice was clear and loud at the beginning, but muffled and soft towards the end. Or, you might…

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February 4, 2016 |

Wiki Tutorial

Blackboard Wiki Tutorial

We’ve received a few questions over the years about just how the Blackboard Wiki works. Mostly, these questions are filtered our way via facilitators, who initially received the question from students who are looking at the tool for the first time. Concerned as we are that teachers understand the tools that their students are assigned to use, this is as…

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January 22, 2016 |

Speech to Text


One of the great qualities of language is that it allows people to connect across seemingly unbridgeable gaps. Above and beyond the everyday miracle of two distinct persons being able to share their feelings across a cup of coffee, language is flexible enough to be jump multiple mediums, and translate through several languages, without the conveyed content transforming too much.…

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January 19, 2016 |

YouTube Recording

YouTube Recording Directions

Record on your device, then upload to YouTube As many of you already know, YouTube has basically discontinued supporting web cam capture. Instead, you are now expected to record a video in a different manner (you may still use your computer and the web cam, just not on the YouTube site), and then upload the ready-made movie to your channel.…

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January 7, 2016 |