This section demonstrates how to build UBlearns course content for the online learning environment. There are multiple ways to design your course; these examples should help you get started.
This is the entry point of course-wide communication. The UBlearns specialist at the UB Center for Educational Innovation (CEI) recommends that you master the Announcements menu for class wide communication such as your introduction to the students at the start of the semester or for assignment information. After an announcement is made, an automated e-mail will be sent to the students.
To create an announcement:
To upload your syllabus:
For more information about syllabus making, please refer to Section V: “Online Resource for Course Design.”
The Learning Units menu item is where you can post the Panopto lecture video (for use of this function, go to “II. How to Stream Your Lecture”). You can also upload additional material such as YouTube videos and PDF reading assignments, as well as unit assignments in a single Content File.
In the example below, learning units are organized into three Content Folders. You can set a specific timeframe to release each lecture session to students on specific dates. Notice how it states: “it will be available after Jan 29, 2019 12:00 AM”:
You can upload a word file, PDF file, YouTube clip, Panopto lecture recording, essay, quiz, etc. into a single Content Folder. In the example shown below, assigned readings, a lecture video, and an assignment are included in the same Content Folder which has been named “Unit 2: Medicine and Science in the 18th C US.”
The test building menu offers a plethora of choice including Multiple choice, True/False, Essay, and more! You can mix and match various options, including essay writing, into one test. The completed test will appear in the Grade Center as Needs Grading. (Please see “g. Grading.”)
You can also build an essay assignment with the SafeAssign function. Safe Assign is a plagiarism detection software. You can compare students’ submitted essays with websites and academic papers to detect whether students copy & pasted their answers from somewhere else.
When you grade essays with the SafeAssign function, you will see whether the submitted essay has been copied from another student’s paper, specific website, etc.
You can divide your students into a few groups to carry out group assignments such as Blogs or Discussion Boards. In doing so, you need to create groups manually, but the good news is that you can reuse these groups for multiple activities.
A sample discussion thread would look like the following image:
Needless to say, there should be more than one participant. This is one lonely mock discussion board. Students can add their responses and leave replies here. If you want a lively discussion, a prompt should be more elaborate than the one included here!
A sample blog would look like the image below. By the way, never let students post a photograph only blog entry or a one-word comment like this sample! For your information, I took this picture from the Brooklyn Bridge Pier. Pretty, isn’t it?
…Or you might consider using following non-UBlearns services for group assignments:
A video discussion platform for the snapchat generation!
This Instagram feature lets students post photos and videos that are available for only 24 hours.
Google Apps via UBmail
Students can use Google Calendar, Docs, Drive, and Hangouts for their collaborative assignments.
A few words on Rubrics: When you are building assignments, you should create rubrics for every kinds of activities possible (i.e.: Essay Rubric, Discussion Board Rubric, Blog Rubric, etc.). Not only do these rubrics save time when grading, they are a useful tool to justify your grading to students, thus reducing the number of students inquiring about their grade!
When a submitted assignment shows up in the Grading Center as Needs Grading, you can grade the assignment by following your rubric guide. You can even leave feedback for the student. After the selecting appropriate scores for each criterion, the rubric function will calculate the student’s grade for you.
UB faculty members and students can use this web conference tool with video and audio connections for virtual office hours.