Are you Teaching to the 21st Century Student?

Education is embarking on major changes to students’ learning and knowledge acquisition. Technology has influenced and changed the way students solve problems, research information and learn.  21st century learning is becoming a disruption to traditional education as we know it. No longer are memorization, traditional testing and quizzing a true measure of our students’ knowledge?  Was it ever?

Today, facts and information are ubiquitous. Information is readily current and accessible through the internet. Knowledge sources continue to flood the internet with their expertise, their research studies and finding – It has become our main “go to” source for knowledge and information. With information so easily attainable, educational institutions and their faculty need to begin changing the way they teach students to be critical thinkers and problem solvers. These components haven’t changed. Critical thinking and problem solving, for example, have been components of human progress throughout history, however, the way in which we reach these goals today will be different.

So, what’s different, today we test students on their comprehension of facts and knowledge. In the 21st century, we will also need to test students on their competencies and skills as well. Does that mean we no longer need to teach the facts? Of course not. Both are equally important to critical thinking and problem solving. It will be how teachers balance these two.

So, what does the 21st century teacher look like? Advocates of 21st century skills favor student-centered methods—for example, problem-based learning and project-based learning—that allow students to collaborate, work on authentic problems, and engage with the community. These approaches are widely acclaimed and can be found in any pedagogical methods textbook.

According to Andrew J. Rotherham and Daniel Willingham, “to work, the 21st century skills movement will require keen attention to curriculum, teacher quality, and assessment.”

For more information:

New site

Blackboard Infohub Blog has joined with LIT’s Perspectives in Teaching and Learning. Visit us at our new location for information about Blackboard at Wentworth.

Update on Building Blocks

The and Atomic building blocks are now available and functioning properly.

Unfortunately, recent changes at YouTube have broken functionality of the YouTube Mashup. To add YouTube content to your course follow the attached instructions:

How to embed a YouTube Video in a content item in Blackboard

Building Block Updates

During the recent upgrade of Blackboard we discovered that two Building Blocks were broken, Atomic Learning and We have installed the new files to correct the problem and are scheduling a system restart with Blackboard to complete the fix. We anticipate that full restoration of these tools will be complete by week’s end.

In the meantime we have turned off both tools until we have the problem fully corrected.

UPDATE: Blackboard Upgrade – Testing Complete

Testing is complete on the upgraded Blackboard and most components look OK.  Wentworth is now running Blackboard Version 9.1 October 2014 Release.

We’ve tested across multiple browsers and operating systems and are confident that the system is operating correctly. Please report any errors or unexpected behaviors.

We did note a few problems with third party building blocks and LTIs. We have submitted support tickets with the vendors and will follow up with vendors next week. These were:

  • Lynda Learning – could not add videos to course
  • Atomic Learning (can not view video as instructor or student)
  • Turnitin does not work with student preview mode but will work with a real student account.

Please note: Student View has changed and the button to access it is not obvious. Check out the Blackboard Quick Hit Video for more details.

We are offering a “What’s new in Blackboard” session on Tuesday, May 5th during Opening Days to spread the word about changes. As always, don’t hesitate to contact any of the members of the Learning, Innovation and Technology team with questions and concerns.

“What’s New in Blackboard” – May 5, 2015, 9 – 10 AM in the Admissions Conference Room

Bb Learn_Email Header

UPDATE: Blackboard Upgrade

Blackboard has completed their work on upgrading our Blackboard system. Although users can now login to the system we suggest waiting until LIT has completed testing before making many changes on the system.

We anticipate our testing will be complete by 2 PM.

We’ll keep you posted…

Upgrade Tomorrow, May 2, 2015

Tomorrow’s the day we upgrade to the October 2014 release of Blackboard. 

Blackboard will be performing the upgrade for us starting at 12:30 AM EDT. Expect the system to be unavailable until 12:30 PM EDT. After Blackboard completes the upgrade LIT will perform some additional testing.

Why did we choose this time to upgrade Blackboard?
The weekend of May 2nd was selected for upgrading the system after consulting with the Learning Innovation & Technology Advisory Committee. Spring 2015 course grades were due by noon on Monday, April 27th, and a timeframe later in the week was considered. However, consideration was given for instances where grades would be submitted later and continued access to Blackboard might be necessary. The committee advised us that it would also like us to use a consistent day for upgrades.

On Tuesday, May 5th we’ll be highlighting some of the new features in a Wentworth Opening Week session, “What’s new in Blackboard?” at 9 AM in the Admissions Conference Room.

If you can’t attend the session here’s a video describing the new Student Preview feature that replaces the StudentView tool:

We’ll also be recording Monday’s session for those who may not be able to attend.

Blackboard Upgrade – May 2, 2015

On Saturday, May 2nd Blackboard will upgrade our system to the November 2014 version. Our Blackboard system will be down from 12:30 AM until the upgrade and automated testing by Blackboard Managed Hosting is complete. Plan for the system to be unavailable until 12:30 PM that day. Members of the LIT team will run some final tests to confirm that the system is functioning properly.

We’ll post progress reports on our blog and send out reminders via WIT announcements and the DTSatWIT and LIT_at_WIT twitter feeds.

Changes you will see after the upgrade:

Student View – StudentView is now called “Student Preview mode” and the button to activate it will change. While in Student Preview mode a banner will indicate that you are previewing the course.

New Student Preview mode Icon in Blackboard

New Student Preview button

In addition, when switching back to Teacher View instructors will be asked whether to delete student content generated while in student view. This option removes grades that might skew grade averages. Instructors can set default actions for removing preview student content to eliminate the pop-up each time they leave Student Preview mode.

Content Editor – Spell check is on by default. Earlier versions required that users turn spell check on each time they used it.

Assessments – Calculated formula questions – instructors can select the number of significant figures for the correct answer.

Grading – Instructors can delegate grading to a TA or other Instructor enrolled in the course.

My Grades – Student interface improvements to provide a better student experience.

SafeAssign – SafeAssign is now integrated into Assignments, it’s a option on all assignments. Originality reports have also been updated. Users of Turnitin will still use the option under “Assessments”.

Are you giving a final exam using Blackboard?

Do you plan to give a final exam in a face to face setting using Blackboard? We’d like to find out who is giving an exam using Blackboard and when so we can proactively monitor the system and send a member of our team to your classroom to check performance during the exam.

So if you are giving an exam using Blackboard, please provide us with the following information:

  1. Course Number and Name:
  2. Date and time the exam will start:
  3. Room where exam will be proctored:
  4. Number of students taking exam:

by filling out this form. (You will be required to login to Google Docs with your Wentworth credentials).

Blackboard Tests – What do students see after the test?

You’ve given a test in Blackboard. The test is graded.  Now students want to see their results. But how do students see the results and what do they see?

Students view test and assessment results through the My Grades tool and they only see their own grades. Students will see class averages and other class statistics only if you select the show statistics option when setting the grade column properties (by default, it is set to not show the class statistics). By clicking on the grade for the test, students can view the test results and feedback you select.

When giving tests using Blackboard what students can see after completing the test is determined by the settings you choose when you set the test options to deploy it. You can choose different settings for what appears immediately upon submission and what appears later. So for example, you can provide a score once the students submit but withhold the ability to view submitted and correct answers until after a specific date passes – the due date or last date students with testing exceptions can access the test.

See how you can set test options to restrict when and what test results students can see. Scroll down to the feedback options section to see how you can control what your students see immediately after submitting and later.

Remember, students will always be able to see their overall score unless you hide the Grade Center column from them.