Using the Grading Schema Tool in Blackboard

In the joint college meeting last Thursday, there was a lengthy discussion of some of the implementation questions surrounding Grand View’s new plus-minus grading system that will go into effect this Fall. During the discussion, a couple folks had questions about how Blackboard’s gradebook could be tweaked to reflect the new plus-minus scales that we implement in our classes. As promised, here is a quick overview of how you can use the “Grading Schema” feature of Blackboard’s gradebook to create a custom scale for students to see the letter grade equivalents for their percentages that you enter in the gradebook columns. Continue reading “Using the Grading Schema Tool in Blackboard”

A Full Slate of CETL Programming for the Spring

Happy new year from the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning! We hope that everyone’s semester is off to an excellent start. In this week’s post, we want to update you on the numerous opportunities for pedagogical and professional development that CETL will be offering this semester. Tiffany Morlan, our Blackboard administrator and Instructional Technologist, will be offering a wide range of Blackboard and classroom technology sessions. Kevin Gannon, CETL Director, will be facilitating several workshops on a variety of topics relating to teaching and/or technology.  Continue reading “A Full Slate of CETL Programming for the Spring”

Smart Board Tips and Tricks

One of the perks that comes with teaching at Grand View is that almost every classroom on our campus is equipped with an interactive Smart Board. It’s a really versatile tool, but in the hustle and bustle of the semester, it’s easy to forget it can do a bunch of stuff. So we default to using it like we would a regular old whiteboard (though don’t use the dry-erase markers on it–PLEASE!).  If you’ve ever wondered, though, if there are additionally capabilities with the Smart Board that could help you and your students, here are a few tips and tricks you might be interested in: Continue reading “Smart Board Tips and Tricks”

Do We Use Email, or Does Email Use Us?

Email. It was supposed to save us time–a quick email instead of “snail mail” will be SO MUCH FASTER–but has instead taken more of that precious commodity than we could have ever anticipated. That’s the paradox of technology: sometimes innovations that were intended to be time-savers end up being time-suckers instead. Email is the perfect example of this. It’s not just easy, it’s too easy. Have a textbook for sale? Send an email. Don’t feel like walking down the hall to engage in actual human conversation? Send an email. Want to rant and rave, but find it hard to gather an audience? Send an email! Before you know it, our Outlook inboxes are groaning under the weight of everyone’s electronic id in message form. And that’s not even counting all of the messages generated by a reply-all message chain where everyone is telling everyone else to stop using reply-all. Continue reading “Do We Use Email, or Does Email Use Us?”

Universal Design for All Our Students

It’s easy to forget sometimes, when we’re so focused on our own enrollment numbers semester by semester, that here are more students enrolled in US colleges and universities today than at any previous point in the history of US higher education. As enrollments have increased, so too has the diversity within the college student population. Grand View’s growth has mirrored this larger phenomenon. As our enrollment has grown, our student body has become more diverse. A quick perusal of our class profiles confirms that we have significantly more geographic, racial, ethnic, religious, cultural, and academic diversity than was the case even just a decade ago. So, too, has our curriculum diversified. We’ve developed a new core, new programs, and new modes of instruction to more fully meet the needs and interests of our changing population of students. Continue reading “Universal Design for All Our Students”

Social Media Has Its Academic Uses, Too

I was going to start this post with the declaration that “our students seem to always be on social media,” but then I realized that it’s not just our students. Social media-Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, the whole lot-is a ubiquitous feature of our interconnected daily routines. All too often, though, it seems as if social media is a distraction from more important matters at hand; any of us who have noted students updating Facebook or scrolling their Twitter feeds during class certainly realize this more often than we’d like. Continue reading “Social Media Has Its Academic Uses, Too”