- How do I add staff to my course?
- Folder VS Learning Module
- How can I set-up Journals?
- How can I set-up Blogs?
- How do I move items around?
- Can I have a merged course area?
- How can I add descriptions to content items?
- Which tools should I be using to communicate with my students?
- How can I use the Messages tool?
- How can I send messages only to students, or to students within a face-to-face tutorial group?
- How can I send message before my course is 'open'?
- How can I tell if I have new messages?
- What are Accommodation and Exceptions?
- Turnitin vs SafeAssign
- When do students see Turnitin grades within the Gradebook?
- Where can I download Panopto from?
- How can I edit my videos on Panopto?
- How can I share Panopto videos in my Ultra course?
- How can I embed a Panopto video within my Ultra course documents?
- What do I need to do before using Blackboard Collaborate (for moderator/presenter roles)?
- How do I add Blackboard Collaborate to Original courses?
- What are basic interactivity tools available within Blackboard Collaborate?
- Do you have some basic troubleshooting advice for resolving audio issues within Blackboard Collaborate?
Staff can be added by clicking on the Class Register within the Details & Actions panel, then on the '+' icon in the upper right-hand corner.
PLEASE NOTE, some users cannot see the username or staff ID when searching for someone by name, which can cause confusion as to whether the correct person has been enrolled. When adding staff to courses, please search for staff by username, not by name, to avoid any confusion.
Available on MyAberdeen, Folders and Learning Modules are similar but have distinct purposes and functions.
The table below highlights these differences to help you decide which to use:
The Journal tool does not currently exist within the Ultra Course View. It is under development, and Blackboard expect to have it available for users sometime in 2020.
In the meantime, there are other tools that can be used to replicate the experience of using a Journal. The best alternative currently available within MyAberdeen is the Portfolio tool.
Portfolios are created individually by students, then snapshots can be shared with specific staff members. More advice on using these can be found in the Personal Portfolios and Artefacts quick guide.
Unfortunately there is no upcoming date mentioned (if at all) for blogs to be released to Ultra Course View (UCV).
Therefore, the best option is to look at alternatives to the blog by making use of other tools and functionality already present in UCV. Discussions are the best tool to allow students to post their own thoughts and comments, similar to the blog functionality. The Discussions tool will still allow your students to write personal reflections, comments, post videos, etc, whilst still allowing for the other students to respond to these posts, thus enabling peer learning and feedback.
How Discussions can be used as replacements for Blogs:
- they can be organised in folders per student (which may help the identification/ordering of the blogs)
- each individual starts their own discussion, following an agreed naming convention, which relates to the specific topic
- each discussion will allow the students to post regular updates, share with others and allow them to comment
- when typing in a discussion area the word count is also displayed
- the student will have the option to save the text as draft, which they can then go back and edit
- once a student posts something they still have the option to go back and edit or delete
- other students have the option to reply (to provide feedback)
- discussions can also be graded, for which more formal formative feedback can be provided
- if the posts need to be private then discussion areas can be created using individual groups made up of one student, so other students cannot see the postings
Advice on setting up Discussions can be found on the Blackboard help pages.
There are two ways to reorder content in an Ultra course:
Drag and drop
Hover over the item you want to move and you will see an arrow icon come up towards the right side. You can click and hold this icon, then drag the item to its new location.
The drag and drop functionality can be a bit fiddly, so you can also move items using keyboard shortcuts.
Press the Tab key until you reach the item you are wanting to move. Tab to item's move icon (the arrow icon shown above) and press Enter to activate move mode. Use the arrow keys to choose a location and press Enter to drop the item in the new location.
Merged courses areas are not recommended due to problems caused with managing the assessment workflow.
If you have a use case for wanting areas merged, please get in touch with the eLearning team and we can look at each case on a one-to-one basis.
You can add descriptions to most content in Ultra, including folders, assessments, learning modules and Blackboard documents.
The description text box has a limit of 250 characters. We do recommend you enter a description, but try and make this a short and succinct one, so that users are alerted to the content without actually having to akways open it. Then the item itself should contain the more detailed information.
PLEASE NOTE: students using a mobile app DO NOT see the description text, so key information should be displayed within the actual items. The description is a nice to have, but should not be the only place essential information is displayed.
The University's Student Communication Policy lists MyAberdeen as one of five primary communication channels, to be used when communicating to and with students.
MyAberdeen can be used both for Teaching and Learning Communication (e.g. coursework, feedback, advice, etc.), as well as for Operational Communications (e.g. deadlines, room changes, cancelled lectures, etc.).
There are a variety of tools available within MyAberdeen, suitable for use in any of the above communication types.
The Announcement tool can be used when wanting to communicate scheduled, non-urgent information.
Be aware that whether or not students receive an email notification of an announcement being posted is dependant on how each student has set up their Stream and Email notification settings.
Information on creating Announcements can be found in other sections of this FAQ.
Messages can be used for all types of communication, although they work particularly well when urgent communication has to be sent out (e.g.room change, cancelled lecture, etc.). They are also useful when wanting to communicate with specific students or groups within a cohort, without the entire class being privy to the message.
PLEASE NOTE: Unfortunately, it is currently not possible to send messages just to 'All Students' within a course area. An improvement request has been put forward for Blackboard to work on this, and enable a feature which allows staff members to send a messages only to the student cohort, without having to send it to the rest of the teaching team. There is a workaround that can be enabled, which allows for messages to be sent to students only. This can be done by using course-level groups, as detailed below.
Messages are private and secure text-based communication that occurs within a course, amongst course members. This can be either staff to staff, staff to individual students, staff to whole cohort, students to staff, to other students or to the entire class.
How to check for and access new messages
There are two main ways to check for new messages, access and read them:
- from the Base Navigation
- via the course area, from the upper right-hand corner
All read messages will remain in the Messages tab within the course area.
Sending a Message
There are two areas messages can be sent from:
- Messages tab: messages can be created by clicking the '+' icon
- Class Register: messages can be sent to individuals by clicking their profile icon and then the envelope icon
You can send messages to All course members (including teaching staff) or you can select specific users (can select multiple from the user list to send the same message to).
Adding a Title to a Message
There is currently no title box that can be populated when sending a message. If you would like a title added to a message, type it in at the top of the message body and make use of the Title heading style to format and highlight it accordingly.
Tips and Advice
- Messages are written within a rich text editor, which means you can use heading styles, typefaces such as bold and italics, lists, as well as upload or link to any other relevant content. The same rich text editor is found within the Messages tab and the Class Register page.
- If you want students to instantly receive a copy of the message body within an email, then you must select the Send an email copy to recipients option.
- If you want students to be able to reply to your message, select Allow replies to this message.
- Replies will have to be done from the Message tab within the course area. Students cannot reply to the email copy, as said email gets sent from a 'do-not-reply' email address.
When sending a message from the Message tab in the course you have the option to either send to All course members (including staff) or you can manually select only students from the list, one by one.
In order to be able to quickly send a message to students only, you have to make use of the Course Group functionality.
Steps to set up group for messaging all students
- In the Details & Actions panel on the left-hand menu of the course page click on Course Groups
- Click on the button in the upper-right hand corner to create New Group Set
- Name the group set (e.g. Students Only Messages)
- Under the Group Students header below the title select Randomly assign
- Under the Number of Groups heading there is unfortunately not currently an option to automatically add all students to the same group. To make it quicker to do this, select the option that is highest on the drop-down list (normally will create 2 big groups splitting the students in half).
- Choose one of the groups created to be your single group for use with messages and name it accordingly (can reuse same name used for group set)
- Move all the students from the other group into this single group by clicking the ellipses to the right of their name and select this group from the drop-down list
- Click the ellipses to the right of the empty group and select Delete
Steps to set up group set for messaging tutorial groups
To set up a group set in order to message individual tutorial groups, follow the same steps as above but instead of allocating all students to one single group, spilt them up into the corresponding tutorial groups.
PLEASE NOTE: The eLearning Team have requested that tutorial groups, which are created in MyTimetable, are pulled through to MyAberdeen. This is a work in progress and should hopefully be available at the beginning of next term (January 2020). These groups will then be automatically created under the Details & Actions menu, within Course Groups.
Sending messages to students only or to specific tutorial group
- In the Details & Actions panel on the left-hand menu of the course page, under Course Groups select Create and manage groups
- Click on the group set you created above
- Click the ellipses to the right of the single group left in the set and select Message group
- A New Message tab will open, with all the students in the group automatically added to the Recipients list
- Compose your message as you normally would
You can only message participants if the course is available and open. If the course is unavailable, private or closed there is no option to send a message to your students in order to provide them with prior information before the course is available.
Courses become automatically available according to term dates:
- Summer Term – 1st June to 31st August;
- Winter Term – 1st August to 31st December;
- Spring Term – 1st January to 31st May;
- Academic Year is 1st August to 31st July;
You can manually make courses available before this date, if you wish to send messages to your students prior to the official start date. Courses can only be made available by Course Coordinators, by going into the course area and within the Details & Actions panel selecting the option near the padlock icon:
Alternatively, as a one-off you could email your students with any required information before the course is due to start.
Depending on how you have customised your notification settings, you will receive an overview of new messages either in your ‘Daily Notification’ email or as soon as someone has sent you a message (if you have this option enabled and the sender has selected 'Send an email copy to recipients' when sending their message, you might receive two email notifications, one of which will contain the body of the messages itself).
Another way to check if you have new messages is by clicking the Messages tab on the left hand menu of the Ultra Base Navigation (landing page when you log into MyAberdeen), which will give you a summary of recent activity within messages.More info wa provided in the What are messages FAQ above.
Should any special circumstances ever arise, individual students can be granted either accommodations or exceptions for their submitted work.
Such special circumstances can include disability-related provisions, internet issues, technology or language differences, etc. To find more about disability-related provisions in particular, please visit the University' Disability Services website.
- Accommodations are granted at course level, in which case they automatically apply to all marked items within that course, such as tests, assignments, discussions, etc.
- To set an accommodation, click on the Class Register, then the ellipses to the right of a student's profile and select Accommodations
- Accommodations can be set for time limits (more time is given during timed assignments) or due dates (work is never marked as late)
- Students with accommodations appear within the roster with a purple icon next to their name
- Exceptions are granted on specific marked items only
- To set an exception, go to the Gradebook, making sure you are on the List View, then click on the required marked item. This will open up the submissions list
- Find the student requiring the exception, click in the ellipses to the right of their name and select Edit settings
- The Edit Submission Settings panel will open up, which refers to the exceptions for this particular marked item for the student in question
- Exceptions are not allowed for due dates and time limits, but they can be used for allowing additional attempts or extended access to a submission area
- If a student has a disability-related provision that requires them to always have extra time on a test, then it would be best to grant them an accommodation
- If a students has requested extra time to submit their essay as a one-off, then setting exceptions at assignment level would be the best option
- Adding a time-limit accommodation will update the time-limit for all previously submitted work
- If anonymous grading is selected for a marked item, no indication of students with accommodations is shown
- If one student within a group has an accommodation set, then said accommodation is inherited by the entire group
- If a student has a time limit accommodation and extra time is also given to the entire class from the assignment settings, the times are combined
Available via MyAberdeen, Turnitin and Blackboard Assignment (using SafeAssign) both provide similar functionality. It is important to note that these systems do not detect plagiarism – they are simply tools that highlight text matching to the marker. It is up to staff to decide if the match is plagiarism or not.
For the purpose of originality checking, you could use both systems since they have separate databases to check against. To do this, have the students submit to an Assignment using SafeAssign. Following that, a member of staff can zip up the submissions and submit to Turnitin for checking as a batch. Please note, students should be informed of this upfront.
The tables below highlight some of the differences between the two systems:
Table 1: Submission of papers
Table 2: Originality Report
Table 3: Marking functionality
*SafeAssign allows students to volunteer papers to the Global Reference Database.
†These languages can be submitted to SafeAssign, but not officially supported.
The visibility of Turnitin grades and feedback by students is influenced by two factors:
- The Post marks button in the Gradebook
- The Feedback Release Date setting within Turnitin
Once Turnitin submission have been marked and feedback has been provided, you can release the GRADES ONLY to students by clicking the Post marks button within the Gradebook.
This will make grades visible only within the Gradebook, not within the Turnitin Assignment Dashboard.
PLEASE NOTE, we recommend posting grades only after the Feedback Release Date setting within Turnitin has passed
If students wish to see the feedback provided, they need to click on their submission title, which will then take them to the Turnitin Assignment Dashboard, the same place they submitted to before.
Once the previously set Feedback Release Date has passed, grades and feedback within Turnitin will become visible to students, NOT before. This is the case even if grades have been posted in the Gradebook.
If using a University machine, Panopto can be downloaded from the Software Centre. Watch our short video to find out how to do this.
You can perform basic cuts on videos recorded with Panopto. Watch our short video to find out how to do this.
Watch our short video to find out how to share Panopto videos in the Ultra Course View.
Watch our short video to find out how to embed Panopto videos in Blackboard documents within the Ultra Course View.
Watch our short video to find out what you should do before using Blackboard Collaborate.
Navigate to the relevant course area where you want to use the Blackboard Collaborate room and follow the instructions in our short video.
Watch our short video to get a glimpse of some of the interactive tools available for use within the Blackboard Collaborate tool.
Do you have some basic troubleshooting advice for resolving audio issues within Blackboard Collaborate?
What can I do when can't hear others in Collaborate?
- Are you using Google Chrome? If not, close the session and join again in Google Chrome
- When joining a Collaborate session, make sure to allow your browser access to your microphone, even if you are not planning to speak
- Check that the speaker or headphone volume is not on mute or low on your computer
- Check that the speaker volume is not down within My Settings in Collaborate
- Try playing a YouTube video, if you can hear, then the issue is not with your speakers or headphones. Try exiting the Collaborate session and joining again
What can I do when others can't hear me in Collaborate?
- Are you using Google Chrome? If not, close the session and join again in Google Chrome
- When joining a Collaborate session, make sure to allow your browser access to your microphone
- Have you turned on your microphone? A line through the microphone icon at the bottom of the Collaborate screen means that the microphone is off
- You can run through the audio and video set up again from My Settings. Check that you have the correct microphone selected