Required Move to Ultra Courses Delayed
As our loyal readers know, Wichita State's plan has long been that we would move fully to the Ultra Course Format no later than December 31, 2022. But our experience with our pilot program plus Blackboard’s ongoing commitment to improving the Ultra Course Format has led us to make a change in that decision. In consultation with the Accessibility and Technology subcommittee of the Faculty Senate, we have decided to suspend the deadline to move to Ultra Course Format, at least for now. We are committed to supporting instructors in both formats through at least the end of the 2022-23 AY. That means that we will not be moving into Ultra Course Format fully before the end of May, 2023, and it could be after.
The Office of Instructional Resources will continue to support instructors, staff, and students in both formats, and we continue to encourage instructors to move to the Ultra Course Format over time. Ultimately, the Classic Blackboard Course Format will sunset on our campus, but we want to make sure that the Ultra Course Format will do all we need it to do before we take that step.
If you would like to start your move to the Ultra Course Format, now is a good time. We have a new webpage designed to help instructors of all ranks know their options and choose a personalized path to Ultra Course Format. As always, if you have any questions, please reach out to us at OIR@wichita.edu, or make a plan to drop in to our online lab times.
Ultra or "Classic" ("old") Bb? How to Choose
Instructors now have two choices for their content delivery in Blackboard. For courses that require a large suite of tools, OIR recommends instructors choose Blackboard Classic or "old" Course Format. For instructors who want a more streamlined experience and updated look, we recommend the Ultra Course Format.
The Blackboard Ultra Course Format is currently in active development. That means that instructors who choose it can participate in its future development by giving feedback directly to Blackboard or thorough the Office of Instructional Resources. Because Ultra is a moving target, any comparison between it and the Original experience become dated almost immediately, but a rough difference is that Original Blackboard is more customizable, has more tools, and has a familiar interface for many instructors, and Ultra has a more modern design, more powerful data and analytics, and allows for more instructor-student interaction at a variety of levels. Ultra Courses also have a very different grading and gradebook interface, and it takes time for most instructors to become comfortable with it, so OIR recommends that instructors transition a single course first so they can get used to it before jumping in with both feet.
Most instructors who have taught with Blackboard courses in the past now have an Ultra Course Format version of those classes already available. You can locate your Ultra Courses by logging in to Blackboard, clicking the "Courses" link, and going to the Development/Sandbox Course Shell area. All courses that end with -U are Ultra versions for instructors to use or disregard, as they see fit. If you would like help with Ultra, please consider coming to one of the Ultra ARC sessions this January the 13th.
Examity for Proctoring
As of December 31, 2021, Wichita State will be moving from ProctorU to Examity for high-stakes, paid proctoring. If you require a paid proctoring option in your courses, please check your syllabus for any mentions of ProctorU and replace them with Examity. You can find pricing information here under the heading, "Proctoring Options With Costs to Students." Examity is integrated into Blackboard, and you will find that it is an especially easy tool to use.
The technical aspects of the Examity integration are now complete, but customized, WSU-specific training is not yet complete. If you need Examity for a pre-session course, please let OIR know by sending an email to OIR@wichita.edu. For those of you who will be using it in the regular Spring term, the only step you need to take care of now is to make sure your syllabus is up-to-date. Watch WSU Today for updates about when training is available.
January ARC Events 10th-13th
- Monday, January 10 (Zoom Events):
- 9:00-9:50am: Proctoring with Examity
- 10:00-10:50: Building Assignments that Work
- 11:00-11:50: Keys to Successful Courses: Leading Good Discussions
- Tuesday, January 11 (Zoom Events):
- 9:00-9:50: What's New with LinkedIn Learning
- 10:00-10:50: Accessibility Update (Satisfies the AY 2021-22 mandatory accessibility training for instructors.)
- 11:00-11:50: Keys to Successful Courses: Aligning Outcomes and Assignments at the Course Level
- Wednesday, January 12 (Zoom Events):
- Wednesday, January 12 (GTA Events. Held in the Santa Fe Room in the RSC):
- 9:00-9:30: Introduction by the Graduate School; 9:40-10:10: Introduction to Classroom Management; 10:20-10:50: Introduction to Blackboard; 11:00-11:30: Accessibility and Accommodations; 1:00-1:30: Getting Ready for Your New Appointment; 1:40-2:10: Inclusive Teaching; 2:20-2:50: President Muma Addresses GTAs; 3:00-3:30: Interim Provost Lefever holds a listening session with GTAs
- Thursday, January 13 (Zoom Events)
- 9:00-9:50: Keys to Successful Courses: Organization in Blackboard
- 10:00-10:50: Get Creative with Academic Creative Services
- 11:00-11:50: What do Great Classes Have in Common (Discussion)
Moving to Ultra Courses? Bring your Panopto Videos!
WSU has had Panopto for several years, and in that time the way Panopto "talks" to Blackboard has changed. We see this very clearly with Ultra Courses, which have a whole new "integration" with Panopto. What that means for you is that while you will be able to use your "legacy" Panopto videos in your Ultra Courses, you may need a little help in the setup. If you are standing up an Ultra Course format course for Spring, 2022 and you find you are having problems with Panopto videos not playing or coming over correctly, let us know and we'll make it right. You can email us at OIR@wichita.edu, or better yet, come to our come-and-go lab times in Zoom.
Dates to Know and How to Remember Them
Blackboard course shells for Spring, 2022 were generated on Friday, December 3. If you would like to start putting together spring classes, everything is ready for you. Grades will be due by 10:00pm on Tuesday, December 14. Did you know that these dates follow rules? Once you know the rules, you'll be able to work the dates out for any term:
- ITS and OIR work together to create Blackboard shells for all courses. We create the shells 30 days before the first day of presession. If that day falls on a weekend, we create them the last weekday before 30 days before presession.
- For Fall and Spring terms, grades are always due at 10:00pm on the Tuesday after the last day of finals. For Summer term, grades are due at 10:00pm on the Tuesday after the last day of classes because there is no finals period.
FN? FF? What Code Do I Need for Grades?
FF = attended/participated all term, earned F
FN = never attended/participated in the class
FQ = stopped attending/participating at some point; only the Q failing grade will require the last date of attendance or educationally-related activity (LDA)
Have a Wonderful Break
All of us in the Office of Instructional Resources want to wish you a joyful and restful Winter Break. OIR is proud to support Wichita State instructors. Each of you has gone above and beyond to keep everything going over the last two years, and we hope this year's longer shutdown provides you the time you need for your own wellbeing and happiness.