Do you have a policy in place for your online students in case there are technical issues with Blackboard? If a student is having trouble submitting an assignment in Blackboard, do they have a way to get their assignment to you on time? Following is a policy used by one UCA faculty: “If you have trouble submitting the assignment in Blackboard then e-mail me a copy of the assignment BEFORE THE DEADLINE. You must then come to my office on Monday so that I can help you turn the assignment in officially in Blackboard. If you do not show up on Monday then the clock begins and you lose a letter grade per day.” This policy does not work for every class or every faculty member across the board. However, I challenge you to create a policy of your own that fits your class needs to allow students another submission method.
When sending out text documents to students, be certain students are able to access them. If you want to send say a Word document (.doc), create it and then convert it to a PDF document. To do this, go to “Save As” and change the document type to PDF. All .pdf documents can be read using the free Adobe Reader software. Doing this will ensure that all of your students can see the document and that the document can’t easily be changed.
When using an Interactive Pen Display on a Smart Sympodium, remember to ALWAYS put the tethered “pen” back in the holder when it is not in use. The tip of this “pen” is sensitive and can be damaged unintentionally if left out of its holder. The holder for the pen is typically located at the top, rear of the Interactive Pen Display (screen/monitor). To see an Interactive Pen Display, check out this link: http://bit.ly/bIwEY3.
Make online groupwork effective by ensuring it is meaningful to the students and manageable. Is the assignment truly collaborative? For more information about effective online groupwork, see the article How to Design Effective Online Groupwork Activities at http://www.facultyfocus.com?p=15280.