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Educational Technology and Curricular Innovation
Hello, BlackBoard users -

As most of you know, we migrated from BlackBoard 8 to BlackBoard 9.1 (now renamed to BBLearn) over the summer. This email is intended to answer some of the questions I've been getting and also to alert you to some upcoming changes.  I'm pretty excited about the many new features that BBLearn has, some of which are still yet to come. There are a lot of them! 
BlackBoard 8 should no longer be used and our license expires completely in December. Eventually, the BlackBoard 8 server will be taken down. In order to help everyone make the transition smoothly, We've been developing a set of new how-to documents and other support materials: 
http://blackboardnine. wikispaces.com/
By now you have also seen the list of workshops I sent out, many of which focus on BBLearn. As always, I'm happy to help you any way I can to make the transition, so if you would like to meet individually to get up to speed please just let me know. 

1. Courses that you have developed in BlackBoard 8 are not automatically migrated to BBLearn, but there are three methods you can choose from in order to migrate your courses:

1. The course copy method (we find that not all tools function with this method)
2. The zipped file method - works best for Windows users
3. The WebDAV method - allows users to zip files from 8 and then move them easily into BBLearn

All three of these methods (and lots of others) are detailed in our new BBLearn wiki:

http://blackboardnine. wikispaces.com/

2. Mac courses will continue to be automatically populated up to add/drop. 

3. Mac faculty will still need to release their courses before students can see them. Here's how:

http://blackboardnine. wikispaces.com/How+I+make+my+ course+available%3F

4. Updates and patches are still being implemented. Service Pack 6 has been released and Brett Hardee is testing it on the BBLearn test server. Once it is installed, we will see a host of new features, including gradable rubrics. Here's a list of what we've been told to expect:

http://blackboardnine.wikispaces.com/BBLearn+Service+Pack+6+new+features

5. Those of you who used Wimba Pronto for voice chat will find that it has been rebranded to BlackBoard IM. Functionality is still very much the same, but you and your students will be prompted to download a new client. 

6. Many users create content using the text editor tool. Until the new text editor tool is available (hopefully before fall 2011 semester), users should use the Mashup tool in the text editor to copy and past Word content. This prevents problematic Word code from being copied inadvertently into your file and will help with some formatting problems. Soon it will be possible to copy Word content without losing your Word formatting.

7. Browser recommendations: If you love using the Chrome browser, fear not, BBLearn Service Pack 6 will support it. Brett recommends Chrome. I recommend Firefox for Windows and Safari for Macs until Service Pack 6 is released, and then I'll recommend Chrome. BlackBoard officially recommends Firefox browser for both Mac and Windows users. If you find a tool doesn't work in your current browser, often it will work fine in some other browser.

8. Those new features I mentioned: 
  • NBC Learn - a repository of videos on a variety of topics from MSNBC that you can use in your courses.
  • Turnitin - Turnitin is now available directly from within BBLearn, and assignments can be graded in the BBLearn grade book. Notice that SafeAssign is available in BBLearn as well, though it is not as robust.
  • NOOKStudy - NookStudy is a new study aid designed to help students get organized. Faculty can link directly to assignments within NookStudy from BBLearn, and can add PDF and other content for students to use in NOOKStudy.
  • Linfield owns a copy of Respondus 4 (found in the FDL), which makes test/quiz/survey management much easier in BBLearn. Faculty can easily download, revise, upload and copy using this tool.
  • SoftChalk 7 has been released, which still develops content very easily that can be used with BBLearn and which now also allows users to create content for ereaders and mobile devices. If you have content in Word documents that you'd like to convert to nice web pages with navigation, interactivity, etc. this is a great tool.
  • BB Mobile Learn 2 is now available for cell phones and tablets. Features are continually being added and include the ability to upload assignments, participate in discussions, and check grades.  Sprint/Android users can use Mobile Learn for free. iPhone, iPad and iTouch users can access Mobile Learn through wireless only for free, or for a fee of cellular service. Palm and BlackBerry are offered only for a fee.
Please don't hesitate to ask if you have other questions. 

Thanks!
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Jo Meyertons, MPA, EdD
Director of Educational Technology
Linfield College - Nicholson Library
900 SE Baker St
McMinnville, OR 97128
Skype: jo.meyertons