Instructor FAQs

 

Blackboard Questions

Getting started with Blackboard is quite easy, however there are some things new instructors will have to do to get set up. The first thing you will need to do is obtain a OneTech ID. Usually an instructor gets the OneTech ID by filling out the general computer access paperwork during orientation; however, if you have missed orientation, you must contact Human Resources to fill out the appropriate paperwork. After the paperwork has been filled out, it generally takes 2-4 days to receive your new information. This information will be sent to your supervisor via email, and an email is subsequently sent to the Campus Support Center. An account is set up for you on Blackboard.

IMPORTANT: Your User ID is the same on OneTech as it is on Blackboard. Your password is the same also.

Once you have obtained your OneTech User ID you can get your course shells created. To create a course shell, send an email to bbsystem@atu.edu and put your email in the following format. Course Name: Introduction to MyCourse Course ID : Spring-2007-CRN#-MyCourse-1003-01 Instructor ID: jdoeIt is very important you follow the format EXACTLY as above. It will reduce the amount of time it requires to get your course up and running. Otherwise, you may list your courses are as follows.For courses with multiple consecutive section numbers the 'Course ID' portion may be as follows; Course ID: Spring-2007-CRN#-MyCourse-1003-01 thru 13For courses with multiple non-consecutive section numbers can be requested as follows: Course ID: Spring-2007-CRN#-MyCourse-1003-01, 03, 05 thru 10Cross listed courses can be requested as follows: Course ID: Spring-2007-CRN#-MyCourse-YourCourse-1003-01, 03, 05 thru 10Other special cross-listed courses may be as follows Course ID: Spring-2007-CRN#-MyCourse-YourCourse-1003-2003-01, 03, 05 thru 10

As of Spring 2008 semester, all course shells created will be set up with self-enrollment turned on for students. It is the responsibility of the instructor to give his or her students the enrollment pin. If an instructor elects to turn off self-enrollment, it will be his or her responsibility to enroll the students. Once you have your course shell created and your content added you are ready to start having your students access your information. Many instructors like to add their students by hand, especially for web courses because it allows them to become familiar with the people enrolled in their course.

To enroll the students by hand:

Locate the course on the Course Search screen. Click the Modify button over to the far right of the page. Click Enrollments. Click the Add Enrollment icon at the top. Put in the students OneTech ID. If the OneTech ID is unknown, click the Browse button to search by username. Choose the Student role for students. Click Submit to save it.

There are a couple of answers to this question. The answers are placed in order from 'most-likely' to 'least likely'.

  1. Search Errors. Search errors are when an instructor searches for a student incorrectly. The ONLY effective way to search for a student is by their OneTech ID. DO NOT search for a student by their last name, their old STU#, or any other parameter except their OneTech ID. At times last names change, first names change, many things will change; however, the OneTech ID is the ONLY thing we can rely on, and it is 98% accurate. If you cannot find a student's OneTech ID, you can look them up at this One Tech Find User page. If you are still having difficulties finding a student, please contact the Campus Support Center.
  2. The student is already in your course. When you navigate to the enrollment section in the Control Panel of your course shell, and type in the OneTech User ID of the student you would like to add, at times you will get 'no results'. This happens because all the students are placed into a pool of 'available enrollees'. When a student is placed in your course shell, they are taken out of this pool. Blackboard is 'smart' and looks at your course shell, if they are in your shell then Blackboard takes them out of this applicant pool. Blackboard knows you cannot enroll the same person twice. If you find you cannot find a certain student, double check to see if they are in your shell.
  3. The Student Doesn't Exist: At times students enroll a bit late, and it will take some time to get them set up on Banner and OneTech. Recommended action is to just be patient. Once a student has enrolled it should take about 3-4 days to get them processed completely. If it has been longer, you will want to contact the Campus Support Center at (479)968-0646 or via email at tech.support@atu.edu.
Solving problems with Blackboard has never been easier. Email us at the Campus Support Center bbsystem@atu.edu. We can usually solve most problems in just a few minutes. If we have not sent a return email to you in 2-5 hours indicating we have 1. Solved your problem, 2. Are working on your problem, then you will want to send a follow-up email to be sure we received your request for assistance. If you haven't heard from us in 2-5 hours after your follow-up email, contact us at (479)968-0646.
A course cartridge is a special bit of programming a publisher puts together in order to encourage instructors to adopt certain textbooks. Some course cartridges are free, where others may require a financial investment on the part of the instructor and/or students. Some course cartridges are really good, others are not as good. When requesting a course cartridge from your book publisher you will want to be sure the cartridge is at minimum Blackboard 7.0 compliant. When you make this request, the publisher will generally email the Blackboard instructor the 'key' to allow Blackboard to download and install the cartridge. Once the key has been placed into the system you will want to allow 2-4 hours for the course cartridge to load fully.
This is a common situation instructors find themselves in. The latest version of Blackboard has a bit of a glitch in the way it handles emails. When you send out an email to students using the Blackboard system, you may get back an error receipt stating something like 'Email Could Not Be Sent'. What generally happens is there may be one or two emails that are incorrect, if so Blackboard sends you an error report. Now all of the emails actually did go through, with the exception of one or two, so what you will want to do is double check the students' emails to be sure they are all correct.

At times instructors and students have trouble uploading files into Blackboard. This is not a Blackboard error but rather one involving the use of creating meaningful, but legal filenames. In fact MOST systems have trouble with special characters or symbols in the filename, or exceptionally long filenames. Examples of illegal file names are as follows:

  • periods.do.not.work.well.at.all.in.a.filename.doc
  • This-doesNot-work_well-either.doc
  • Some Systems Have trouble with spaces.doc
  • Adding-creative-dates1-12-2007.doc

The best way to create a workable filename is to use this naming convention:

  • MyWork.doc
  • HomeworkI.xls
  • QuizAnswersI.doc

The *.doc is a file extension, in this particular case *.doc is a Microsoft Word document, where *.xls is a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, *.ppt is a MS Powerpoint, etc, etc.

Most likely what is happening here is the test has not been made available to the students. The steps to test/assessment creation are roughly:

  1. Navigate to the control panel in your course shell, and on the right hand side click on 'Test Manager'. Here you can create a test.
  2. Once your test is created, you need to distribute the test. Go to a 'content' area such as 'Documents' or 'Assignments' and click the 'add test' button toward the top. A page will load containing the tests you have available to distribute. NOTE: If you already have the test in distribution in the content area Blackboard will not give you that particular assessment as a viable option.
  3. Once your test is placed in a content area you will need to go into the 'Modify Test Options' and make the test available. There are some other options in there as well.
Occasionally, since dial-up connections are so unstable, you may from time-to-time have a student who may get 'timed out' of an exam. What this means is Blackboard 'thinks' the student is no longer interacting with the system, and will close down the connection stream. This can happen in the middle of an exam for a student. The way to fix this is to go into the 'gradebook', search for the students exam attempt, it will normally be shown as a 'lock', click on the lock and on the right hand side, click 'remove attempt'. This will enable the student to access the exam and start over. Students MUST contact their instructors to have their exams reset, we will not do this in our offices.

 

Turnitin

Turnitin is an application we have plugged into Blackboard. It is a special mechanism allowing you, the instructor, to check a students written assignments, such as essays, against millions of other written works all across the globe. Turnitin compares the written work, and will give you back a report gauging the probability of plagarism and is one of the most effective tools in determining academic dishonesty.
You will need to send an email to tech.support@atu.edu using your valid OneTech email to ensure security, and we will send you the proper 'join' structure to get you started with Turnitin.
Once you have an account you can create Turnitin assignments within your Blackboard shell. All you have to do is go to 'Control Panel' of any of your course shells. Then click on any content area, such as 'Assignments', 'Course Documents', etc. When you are in the content area, over to the far right of the web-page is a drop-down menu. Click on the downward pointing arrow, and select 'Turnitin Assignment', then click the 'go' button to the right of the field. You will then be directed to a series of dialogues enabling you to create an assignment that will be evaluated by Turnitin to ensure it is an original work.

 

VTC: CBT-Computer Based Training

CBT is a general acronym for 'Computer Based Training'. VTC is the Virtual Training Company, who hosts Arkansas Tech University's computer-based training. Computer- based training gives the user a specific skill set necessary to utilize several computer programs and applications. You can get computer-based training in just about anything from the Adobe suite, to Microsoft Excel.
We highly recommend VTC's CBT as a introductory training mechanism. If a person, for instance, is getting ready to take a course in 'Linux', it is extremely helpful to start viewing these introductory videos to start prepping for class time. In addition they make fantastic reference sources!