Blog Description

This blog is aimed to be South West TAFE's first point of reference for e-learning help and computer based tutorials, how-to's and other information. The screencasts featured here are inspired by questions from the South West TAFE teaching staff and students.
It is my aim that each week, one screencast will be added to this blog. If you have an I.T. question, and would like it answered in a screencast. Please email your question to with the words screencast question in the subject line.

The Author

Monday, March 21, 2011

Getting started in Blackboard

This video is for Teachers getting started in Blackboard, or what we call the TAFE VC here at SWTAFE.

-Picking your tools
-uploading a file
-Creating a folder to share your files

It is important to note that there are two places in which your files live. There is the file manager where the file is physically stored. And then there is the Course Content page where the file is linked to.
The difference is that students will only see what files you have linked on the course content page, effectively hiding any other files you have stored in the file manager. Which is good, as this means you don't have to be perfectly tidy and organised in the file manager.

Now I have also been requested to provide a text alternative to these videos. So under each new video I create, will also be a brief set of written instructions. I will also try to add pictures to help illustrate the instructions as well but time will dictate just how many pictures I can add. It should also be noted that the video will go hand-in-hand with the written instructions so I recommend watching the video first to get a general idea about the topic and what's involved. So without any further ado:

The Written Instructions.

-The situation (What has to have been done prior to these instructions)

You have requested some units to be created in Blackboard (TAFE VC) and have received an email saying that your units have been created.
You have just logged into Blackboard.

1. Select your unit in the course list.
Click on one of your new Units from the Course list

2. Select what tools you wish to use in your course.
The common tools are:
-Calendar (For entering in important dates of interest in your course)
-Announcements (For sending out last minute information to your students. Example "Class cancelled" or "Don't forget the excursion this Friday")
-Discussions (A place to discuss course and social issues. Requires being set up correctly to work well)
-Assignments (Delivering and grading Assignments online for students. Requires being set up correctly to work well)
-Assessments (Online Tests. Can be graded automatically. Requires being set up correctly to work well)
-Weblinks (Links to other websites)
-Who's Online (Can see who else in the Unit is online)
-My Grades (Student Tool)

Click save once you have checked the boxes next to the tools you intend to use.

Note: Now it is important to note that not all of these tools will be used in a unit. So teachers should only pick what they intend to use (You can always come back and re-select a tool should you choose to use it later on) to avoid cluttering your tools and to reduce confusion with your students.

3. Upload a file.
To upload a file make sure you are in the Build View (There are three views available to teachers, located in the blue header.) and select File Manager from the build tools menu.
Click on "Add File" and browse for a file you wish to upload and press ok on the box.

4. Link to the File we just uploaded into the file manager.
Click on Course Content to return to the front page. Then click add file and then browse for files. Check the box next to the file you wish to link, and press ok.

And that's it. :)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Placing the SWTAFE OHS Toolbox into Blackboard

We now have the Blackboard equivalent for uploading the OHS Toolbox. This video is a little simpler and also includes where to find the OHS Toolbox on our SWTAFE intranet.

Blackboard Error Message
While watching the video, you will notice that when we uploaded the OHS Toolbox that we got an error. This to the best of my knowledge happened because Blackboard is so strict when dealing with files from other places. In this case it is safe to ignore the error as the Toolbox still functions well.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Placing the OHS Toolbox onto Moodle 1.9

This video instructs teachers how to add the OHS Toolbox to the Moodle learning environment.

Scroll Down to OHS Toolbox and save the zipfile.

The Toolbox has been updated to now work with the versions of Moodle and Blackboard that we use here at South West TAFE. Previously the Toolbox only worked with OnCourse.
Teachers should note, the way the Toolbox is used now has changed. In OnCourse the Toolbox allowed students to print a certificate of completion once the student had successfully answered all questions. And this certificate was used as evidence of participation for the unit.
The new Toolbox however, does not print the certificate of completion. However! Don't panic! The Toolbox now ties directly in with the grading features of both Blackboard and Moodle. This means the teacher can now electronically check the progress of their students through the Toolbox.
The Leanring Management Systems (LMS) also both track the activities of students and teachers that work within them. So teachers can now present this tracking as their evidence of participation for their students.

Also for those Teachers who would still like to use the Certificate feature. Moodle provides a way for teachers to allow students to print out a certificate of completion on any graded activity in Moodle. I mention this in the video above, however I will devote an entire video on how to use this feature.

My personal reflection on this video:
I feel that I was speaking too fast, and I just felt as though I had rushed through the video. Please if you can spare a couple of minutes. Write a short reflection on what you think I did wrong and what I can improve on.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Blackboard - How to Submit an Assignment

Well here is my third video. This one covering tips for your students if they are having troubles submitting an assignment. The video looks at tracking the progress of your assignment. Reading the assignment instructions, submitting your assignment and why we here at South West TAFE choose to use Microsoft Word or any other text based program over the Blackboard submission window.

In this video there are a couple of spelling mistakes. The course is name TAVE VC instead of TAFE VC and I also spell tomorrow as tommorrow.

Overall I am quite happy with this video. Feedback so far has been my spelling and how many times I say um and ah. So I will use this as points to improve in the future :)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

I.T. Tips - Change your youtube resolution.

My second video here. It's still a bit sloppy, but its already feeling better and easier to record.
This screencast was inspired by some feedback that I received. This particular person had simply said that the "Back-up your course on TAFE VC" was blurry when made full screen and simply hadn't noticed the resolution button. So with this video I hope to correct that .
for any one else who would have the same query.

This video was done in one take, and with very little preparation beforehand. Roughly it took about 10mins to quickly write down what I wanted to cover and also record the screencast, which is a massive improvement on the 1-2 hours it took for my first screencast. I still use Camtasia for my recording, however those of you using Jing would be impressed to know that you can have a finished resource for your students in 10minutes!

The post editing with this video took about 30mins to add the music and title clips. I also recorded little things that I would like to make consistant in my next few screencasts. Things like how long the titleclip stays on screen for, The volume level of the music in the background and what font and fontsize were used in the title clips. Hopefully this will make the process even faster for my next go.

If you would like a screencast done. Simply send an e-Mail to asking what you would like to have covered, and I'll be in contact with you. :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Blackboard - Backup your course.

This video is the first of many to come. It shows you how to back-up your course in Blackboard on the TAFE VC (Note we here at tafe call Blackboard TAFE VC. This will change now with the introduction of Moodle into the TAFE VC envirnment.)

The Importance of backing up your course remains an AQTF (I can spell it, just cant say it!) compliance issue. Its an issue because you need to keep the "Evidence of Participation" or "Tracking" data for a great length of time. As outlined in the video, this could be 7 years.
Why don't we just leave it on the Blackboard system? We currently need to clean up our old units and courses in Blackbaord to make way for the new courses in 2011. This means deletion and deletion means its gone if you happen to be audited some 5 years from now about your course. So it needs to be saved, and saved somewhere where its guaranteed its lifetime of whatever that concludes in the discussion. At the moment that is expected to somewhere around the 7 year mark, although this is expected to change. Be it more or less, really can't be said at the point of writing this. Hence why we save it to South West TAFE's W drive.

I hope the video comes across as useful. It was done in one tafe so there are errors, hence my poor stuttering of the acronym AQTF (seriously, whoever can say that 10 times super fast needs a medal!) :)
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