EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative Annual Conference Virtual Meeting

Center for Innovation In Teaching and Learning (CITL) and Campus Information Technologies and Educational Services (CITES) invite our colleagues to attend the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative Annual Conference Virtual Meeting:

EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative Annual Conference Virtual Meeting

DATE: February 9-11, 2015

LOCATION: Illini Union, Room 406

Designing our Thinking: Crafting New Directions for Digital Engagement  is the theme of the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative Annual Meeting 2015 in Anaheim, California, and online. ELI’s annual meeting is the premier event for those committed to the advancement of learning through the innovative application of technology. This year will be no different as ELI will feature Ted-Style presentations, Learnshops, preconference seminars, and top-notch general session speakers, along with numerous opportunities to network and discuss current trends and issues within higher education teaching and learning. The overall program will result in a diverse array of presenters, perspectives, different levels of experience, and a variety of institutional types.

The following sessions will be streamed for your participation at the aforementioned location:

Monday, February 9, 2015            

2:00 PM               Working with Learning Analytics

3:00 PM               Online Learning: Shaping the Future of Higher Education On and Off Campus

Tuesday, February 10, 2015        

10:00 AM            Designed to Engage

11:15 AM            Enhancing the Value of the FLEXspace System with Peer Review

12:45 PM            Evidence of Impact through the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

1:45 PM              Searching for “Free and Better”: Evaluating the Efficacy of Open Educational Resources

3:30 PM              National Distance Education and Technological Advancement (DETA) Research Center Information Session

4:15 PM              Instructional Integration and Competency-Based Learning

Wednesday, February 11, 2015 

10:30 AM            The Case for E-Collaboration: Engaging, Empowering, and Experiential

11:30 AM            Advancing a New Era for Learning: Creating Pathways to Success Using Analytics-Driven  Approaches


Refreshments will be served Monday and Wednesday and lunch on Tuesday, please register for this event at

ELI Virtual Annual Meeting 2015 Agenda

Sponsored by

Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning (CITL)

Campus Information Technologies and Educational Services (CITES)

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Teaching Wirelessly with Tablets

Jamie Nelson, CITES Academic Technology Services

Spring 2015

Michael Koerner: “Teaching wirelessly with a tablet is for me!”


Technology in the classroom is nothing new. A good #2 pencil and a decent notebook always have been, and remain, excellent technologies. Chalkboards to this day remain a favorite of math professors and old school economists. In the 1950s film and transparency projectors saw widespread adoption as the newest technologies for the classroom. Following a flirtation with television and cable access as educational mediums, the rise of the personal computer and World Wide Web remain the most significant technological transformations of our era. Most recently, tablets, with their reduced size, cost, and ease-of-use, have joined with enhanced wireless and audio visual technologies to allow millions of consumers to wirelessly project media in their homes. While various technologies such as Apple TV, Google Chromecast, and Roku are easily utilized in the home environment, the complex network and classroom technology infrastructure of a major campus requires greater security and robustness than consumer-based technologies currently provide. In the last few years Illinois campus faculty have been piloting and testing wireless tablets in the classroom, with early results indicating a strong interest on the part of instructors for the pedagogical usefulness of these approaches, as well as some remaining technical challenges hindering widespread classroom deployment.

CITES Academic Technology Services and CITES Wireless Networking have been working to bring wireless technology to campus since the introduction of the iPad 2 in 2011, which first introduced a feature called AirPlay. Using AirPlay an instructor could wirelessly display anything on the iPad through the classroom projector if it was connected to Apple TV, a small, $99 device. The problem that the University of Illinois and others were having was that secure enterprise wireless networks would not allow this traffic and, thus, it would work at home, but not in the classroom. Upgrades to the campus wireless network have thankfully alleviated these issues and a campus solution, poised to work with most future protocols, has been put into place. But as teaching wirelessly with tablets became more popular, largely via the iPad, it also became clear that we needed to search for cost effective, enterprise-ready solutions that could support Windows and Android devices. In the past two years, manufacturers and software developers have been coming out with solutions (often less than perfect, but with some interesting unique features) for Windows and Android tablets. There are currently a variety of solutions, each with a variety of pros and cons. The search for one robust and economical platform that can support Apple, Windows, and Android tablets in classrooms is an on-going, national search that appears close to resolution.

Faculty Embrace Teaching Wirelessly:

Michael Koerner on Teaching Wirelessly with a Tablet

Many faculty have been involved in teaching wirelessly with a tablet over the years, and we’ve attempted to give credit to those we have identified as early adopters. At this point, the ability to teach wirelessly is catching the attention of departments and the campus as a whole. The College of Education, who have been investigating this technology since the start, have embraced it and have installed Apple TVs in a majority of their departmental classrooms and conference rooms. Further, CITES Classroom and Conference Media Engineering (CCME) has begun a pilot in several general assignment classrooms on campus to gauge interest and test wireless presentation equipment. Below are several narratives about faculty that have embraced teaching wirelessly in the classroom.

Cinda Heeren, Computer Science

Cinda Heeren on the Origins of SLICE

Computer Science at the University of Illinois has been pioneering wireless presentation in a teaching and learning context since 2007, when they created and deployed their own system: SLICE Framework by Sam Kamin and Wade Fagan. This tool, originally designed as a simple-to-use annotation/collaboration tool, did not originally have a wireless component. Cinda Heeren, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science, was involved in the project early on and is the one who asked for the ability to teach wirelessly in the classroom. She has been using SLICE in her classes since those early days. She finds great value in the ability to be wireless, helping her be more interactive as a presenter and feel more engaged with her students. She also likes the digital inking features, which allow her to mark up content in real time, letting her teach and illustrate programming concepts in a practical, hands-on, real-time manner. SLICE has, unfortunately, been phased-out, in part due to the fact that the market seems poised to provide a good, economical solution. Having recently lost the wireless freedom of SLICE, Cinda has deepened her appreciation of the freedom to engage students in various parts of the classroom. While waiting for a new solution, Cinda continues to “work the room” and get out from behind the podium, but finds herself having to run back to the podium to switch slides or to annotate a lesson, a waste of valuable class time and an interruption to her preferred teaching style. Cinda would like to gain back her ability to teach wirelessly and is investigating alternative wireless technologies.

Model: Instructor Windows tablet mirrors SLICE content to another Windows tablet connected to the projector in the classroom.

Cinda Heeren enjoys freedom of movement in class

Cinda Heeren on the Organic, Flexible Nature of the Tablet

Cinda Heeren on Engaging Students with a Tablet

Robert Brunner, Astronomy

Robert Brunner, Associate Professor in Astronomy, and instructor for Astronomy 330 – Extraterrestrial Life, has embraced teaching wirelessly in the classroom. He has been piloting wireless presentation via an iPad since Spring semester 2013, and with assistance from CITES Academic Technology services. He enjoys being able to work the classroom, to make a large class of over one hundred students feel more like an intimate group of twenty. Robert also utilizes Twitter in his classroom to promote student interaction. He will pose a question to the students in class, give them a few minutes to ponder the question, look up evidence on their mobile devices, and have the students tweet their answers to a Twitter app displaying responses on his tablet, all while continuing to teach amidst the students in the middle of the classroom. The best student tweets are selected and shared wirelessly for all to see on the classroom projection screen.

Model: iPad mirrors all content to an AppleTV connected to the projector in the classroom.

Robert Brunner engaging students wirelessly in the classroom

Michael Koerner, Chemistry

Michael Koerner, Lecturer in Chemistry, says teaching wirelessly is for him. He stresses the value in being amongst the students, joking that he is similar to Jane Goodall, who did her famous field work by joining the chimpanzee troops in the wild. He indicates that teaching wirelessly enhances engagement with the students and that is what they want – more of a collaborative learning environment than a sage on the stage reciting content for the students to transcribe and memorize. With a tablet Michael is able to frame learning around concepts in a variety of settings. When talking about Valium, for example, he can display the molecule structure, an image of the pill itself, and provide cultural references via videos, images, and songs such as “Mother’s Little Helper” by the Rolling Stones. He will even use the tablet as a hand-held document camera, enabling students to better see demonstrations at the front of the room. Helping Michael achieve his educational goals while teaching wirelessly in the classroom is Doug Mills, Director of Instructional Technology at Chemistry, who has actively supported educational technology adoption in Chemistry over the years.

Model: iPad mirrors all content to an AppleTV connected to the projector in the classroom.

Michael Koerner in the classroom

Michael Koerner on Tablet Content

Michel Bellini and David Rivier, Cellular and Developmental Biology

Michel Bellini, Associate Professor of Cellular and Developmental Biology and Director of the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CITL), and David Rivier, Associate Professor of Cellular and Developmental Biology, co-taught MCB 252 in Spring 2014 and wanted to better engage students in the large lecture classroom. The class, taught in Lincoln Hall Theater, consisted of 300+ students. Since they were co-teaching it was thought that the best tool for teaching wirelessly, considering the options available at the time, was an app and companion laptop program called Doceri. Michel and David were able to engage students in the lecture hall and allow them to share their knowledge with the rest of the class, without leaving their seat, by applying digital ink to pre-existing problems on the presentation slide. Students were handed the iPad displaying a problem or diagram and asked to annotate the slide so that the rest of the class could see. This worked well in that the student working the problem was not at the front of the class at the podium, but was amongst his fellow students, which lessened the stress. Other students were encouraged to help the student with the iPad. This worked well, focusing student attention, emphasizing working out problems together as a group of peers – seeing the steps that a student might take to solve a problem – not just having the lecturer do it for them.

Model: iPad controls (and allows digital inking) on a laptop connected to the projector in the classroom.

The Future of Wireless Presentation Devices:

With the success of Apple’s iPad and its ability to connect wirelessly to a $99 Apple TV, other platforms followed to get into the game of wireless projection. But for greater adoption, the solution would have to be more cost effective, easier to use, and more robust than past solutions. What would be the perfect device that could be used in any classroom on campus? What are the key features in a wireless receiver device?

Mirroring: One of the key features in wireless presentation is mirroring of content. That is to display everything that is on the tablet to the big screen. Whether an instructor is presenting in PowerPoint, switching to a video on YouTube, using Google Maps, or annotating over a PDF, they need it all to project. In the recent search for the holy grail of wireless presentation technology, this has been something that has been elusive across the platforms with many solutions mirroring one particular platform, but leaving interactivity with the others as an afterthought. These often indicate compatibility with all platforms, but only provide rudimentary sharing of pictures, video, PDF, and a very basic web browser.

Cross Platform: A solution for a large campus such as ours needs to enable the user to gain a similar experience across the primary platforms, in this case Windows, Apple, iOS, and Android. While a handful of solutions exist to accommodate the major platforms, these are often very expensive and often make some sacrifices in an effort to be one ring to rule them all. As of this writing, it seems as though the best solution may be a combination of two (or more) wireless presentation technologies to meet the need better and more economically.

As wireless display technology improves and more faculty, researchers, and students get a taste of its benefits, one can only presume that this will catch on even more. Is it perfect yet? Will one device do it all? Sadly, no. At least not yet. We are at the leading edge of this wireless technology. Judging by the improvements and interest in this technology that we have seen over the past several years, good things are definitely around the corner.

Interested in Learning More?

If teaching wirelessly with a tablet is something you are interested in, please visit to take a part in an ongoing campus tablet initiative or contact CITES Academic Technologies at Further, if you have any questions about use, pedagogy, best practices, etc., the faculty and other groups involved in this article would be happy to share their experiences further. Just click on their name to find their contact information.

Did we miss you? Have you been teaching wirelessly with tablets? Would you like to share your experiences? Please feel free to contact us.

For an interesting exploration and reminder that pencil and paper are forms of technology see University of Illinois English Professor Dennis Baron’s “From Pencils to Pixels: The Stages of Literacy Technologies.”

Posted in Active Learning, ATS News, Blogs, Collaborative Learning, eLearning, Faculty Profile, Illinois Emerging Tech Report, interactive tools, Presentations & Lectures, Tablet, Teaching with technology | Comments Off on Teaching Wirelessly with Tablets

Announcing the Illinois Emerging Tech Report


Introducing the Illinois Emerging Tech Report

Inspired by the annual Horizon Report published by the New Media Consortium and EDUCAUSE, the Illinois Emerging Tech Report collects examples of emerging technologies in use on the Champaign-Urbana campus, with an emphasis on teaching and learning technologies.

While Illinois has long been an innovator in learning technology, from Plato to i>clicker, and units, departments and colleges have celebrated their local successes, this Illinois Report is the first to focus exclusively on the University of Illinois, identifying and sharing our emerging teaching and learning technologies, practices and trends.

Get your copy!

The Illinois Emerging Technology Report is now available in eText format. It’s a free download to all University of Illinois Faculty, Staff, and Students!

To get yours, go to:

Upon successful transaction (again, it’s free), your access to the Illinois Emerging Technology Report will automatically activate and you can check it out at

Our emphasis is on local, campus examples.

The report focuses on local emerging technologies, especially those with teaching and learning applications. Illinois is already a leader in many emerging technologies such as 3D printing (Maker Lab), MOOC’s, gameful learning, and others.

One of the strengths of Illinois is its size and scope, and its endlessly surprising range of talented and creative approaches to teaching and research.  Given the breadth of our campus, we do not claim that our Illinois Report is comprehensive or exhaustive.  However, the initial five technologies and trends chosen for the 2015 report (MOOCs; Maker Movement; Teaching Wirelessly With Tablets; Learning Analytics; and the Physics IOLab Kit), all reflect a significant level of campus activity, expertise, creativity, and promise.  Indeed, we believe each of these emerging technologies and trends will see increased adoption and influence at Illinois in the coming years.  We hope you enjoy these stories and the innovators we’ve profiled.

Send us your tips.

Each semester we will be adding new stories to the Illinois Report, and we would like to hear from units and faculty who are innovating in their classrooms.  Please contact us at:


We would like to thank CITES and CITL leadership for supporting this effort.  Thanks especially to the very busy faculty and staff who gave their time and shared their experiences for our face-to-face and video interviews.

Thanks also to our dedicated Illinois Emerging Tech Report team of editors, authors, interviewers, and co-conspirators:   Robert Baird; Kate LaBore; Jamie Nelson; Amy Hovious; Jason Mock; Jim Witte; Naj Shaik; Ava Wolf; Jim Wentworth; Doug Mills; Alex Ibarra; and Andrew Wadsworth.

The outstanding video vignettes used for the Report are recorded, edited, and wonderfully enhanced by the CITES ATS Digital Media Team:  Drew MacGregor; Ed Glaser; Neil Feuerhelm; Susan Muirhead; Rick Langlois; and Brandon Jordan.

The eText version of our report, itself a technology of note on our campus, has been developed by eText founders and team:  Milind Basole; Yury Borukhovich; and Scott Durand.

Emerging Technology Information Sources:

All Things Digital:
Chronicle of Higher Education:
Education Dive
Mobile Tech Review:
New Media Consortium:
New York Times:
Wall Street Journal:

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign || CITES Academic Technology Services
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Illinois Emerging Technology Report – Sample

The Illinois Emerging Technology Report is now available in eText format. It’s a free download to all University of Illinois Faculty, Staff, and Students!

To get yours, go to:

Upon successful transaction (again, it’s free), your access to the Illinois Emerging Technology Report will automatically activate and you can check it out at

So, what’s it like? Check out a sample of the one of the chapters about the Maker Movement at Illinois, below.

The Maker Movement at Illinois

Jamie Nelson, CITES Academic Technology Services

Fall 2014

We are all makers (logo)

The Maker Movement

We are on the cusp of a renaissance in the invention movement. A movement which encourages others to build upon the knowledge of the existing open community. Some describe this as the next chapter in the industrial revolution, but with a focus on the individual (or community) as designer, inventor, entrepreneur, and even manufacturer. Never before have we had such access to shared resources, low cost tools, computing, open source applications, and an open global community of people eager to help each other. The resulting nexus of this is the Maker Movement.

Makerspace in One Sentence

A makerspace is a workspace with a variety of tools, materials, and resources available in which a community of people gather to design, prototype, create, experiment, socialize, and collaborate on an endless array of projects.

Makerspace panel at Faculty Summer Institute 2014

Maker Movement on Campus

The University of Illinois and surrounding community have embraced, and is at the forefront of, the Maker Movement. Making is not new at the university. Engineering and Architecture have had prototyping labs and design studios, respectively, for years. What is new and unique to this campus is the variety and openness of new makerspace resources that have emerged over the past couple of years. Each of these makerspaces, while having many commonalities, have their own specializations that distinguish them from the others, resulting in a complementary and dynamic makerspace community. Below are three of the makerspaces open to all, two at the University of Illinois and one in the community:

The Illinois MakerLab

The Illinois MakerLab is unique in that it is a 3D printing lab housed in the College of Business. This lab contains the highest number of 3D printers available in one place on campus and is open to the university and community alike during scheduled open hours, typically 30 hours a week. The lab is staffed by student workers known as “Gurus” to keep the machines running and help patrons with any projects that they have. Illinois MakerLab also hosts a variety of workshops throughout the semester from soldering circuits to Raspberry Pi programming to 3D scanning. They were so ahead of the game, especially for a Business school, that a 3D printer from the Illinois MakerLab was featured on the cover of the 2013 New Media Consortium’s Horizon Report: Higher Education Edition.

Aric Rindfleisch on the Illinois MakerLab

The Illinois MakerLab hosted it’s first Making Things Class in Spring 2014. The class headed by Aric Rindfleisch, Executive Director of the Illinois MakerLab and Professor of Business Administration, focused on designing, prototyping, producing and bringing a product to market. Part of the experience was working in an interdisciplinary team bringing together Business, Art and Design, and Engineering students to work on one project.

Loop and Boost are two student products from the Making Things class.

Aric Rindfleisch on the Making Things Course

Aric Rindfleisch on Illinois MakerLab’s Outreach Mission

Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab


Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab

The Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab is part of an international network of similar spaces. It supports both the campus and the community with educational and outreach missions. The Fab Lab contains a variety of equipment and open access computers. One unique feature of the Fab Lab is its dedication to outreach programs, including the Teen Open Lab hours at the Urbana Free Library. This collaboration utilizes a set of deployable maker carts, each containing the tools, materials, and instructions for a certain set of tasks, such as media production or 3D fabrication. Through a variety of grants the Fab Lab plans to extend this outreach model into other underserved areas throughout Illinois.

Jeff Ginger on Fab Labs

Jeff Ginger on Learning in a Makerspace

A unique feature of the Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab is its strong support of project-based learning. Each summer and throughout the year the Fab Lab hosts low cost workshops for people of all ages, resulting in a variety of sharable project-based curricula. This fall, the Fab Lab will host its first university course, co-taught by Tyler Denmead, Assistant Professor in Art Education and Jeff Ginger, Operation Manager for the Fab Lab and Graduate School of Library and Information Sciences Ph.D. candidate.

Jeff Ginger on Outreach

Jeff Ginger on Art Education in the Fab Lab

Makerspace Urbana

Makerspace Urbana, like the most maker spaces, contains a variety of tools and resources available for use by anyone in the community. And while it’s not directly affiliated with the university, many of the people that frequent the space have some tie to campus. Makerspace Urbana’s community connections are deep, hosting an annual maker faire and engaging in outreach projects throughout the year, such as outreach booths at the Urbana’s Market at the Square. Most notably, Makerspace Urbana represents a social community of likeminded makers that collaborate together and generally have fun sharing their experience with others. As a part of that they have a very active Facebook group.

3D printed squirrel photobombs Makerspace Urbana

Makers into Entrepreneurs

With the great success of financial backing sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, makers can pitch an idea and get financial backing for their products. This opens the door for independent innovators seeking to get their product from concept into production. Previous models revolved around the backing of companies to decide whether or not a product is profitable enough to produce or in a few cases letting the patent expire and putting it into production later without any benefit to the original inventor. Not only have the floodgates opened for new ideas to hit the market, they are hitting it quite rapidly. One such example is Electroninks, a company from the Research Park at the University of Illinois, who wanted to make a pen whose conductive ink could be used to draw actual electrical circuits. Another local startup Oso Technologies created PlantLink, a set of various sensors and a base intended to monitor plant conditions wirelessly via a mobile device or computer. Lastly, Illinois Art and Design Professor, Deke Weaver, used Kickstarter to fund a production of WOLF as a part of his Unreliable Bestiary Series.

Other Resources/Articles

Alaska FABLAB: Dr. Alan Craig, I-CHASS Associate Director of for Human Computer Interaction, and Dr. Scott Poole, I-CHASS Director, in collaboration with Alaska Federation of Natives, the Traditional Council of Togiak, and the University of Alaska Fairbanks-Bristol Bay Campus have received an NSF grant to study the impact of a new Fab Lab in a rural Alaska Native village.

MechSE Rapid Prototyping Lab: The rapid prototyping lab in Mechanical Science and Engineering is available to provide professional 3D printing services to the whole campus at a subsidized rate.

Prototyped objects organized by the machines that created them.

We Are Makers: In Summer of 2013, a group from Abilene Christian University released a short film detailing the story of the maker movement entitled “We Are Makers”. In this film, they detail how the maker movement started, what it is, why its happening now, and revealing that we are all, indeed, makers.

Final Thought

Mats Selen, Professor in Physics and “Maker at Heart”, leaves us a final thought on the Maker Movement. He is also featured in another chapter of the Illinois Emerging Technology Report entitled Physics ‘Lab in a Box’ at Illinois, so be sure to check that out.

Mats Selen on Making

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How Students Review Test Questions and Feedback in Compass 2g

Often times students have difficulty locating where they can view the feedback you left them on an online test, or seeing the correct answers and the questions to study from. This is because it’s not immediately apparant how to see the test feedback especially if the link to the test is no longer available for the students to click on.

In order to view the test responses, feedback, and view the questions a student has to first click on My Grades then click on the Test. After they click on the test they’ll see the Assessment Details page. The student then needs to click on their numeric score:


This is confusing because it’s not apparent to students that the score is a link that can be clicked on. After clicking the score they’ll be brought to the page where they can see the Test results and feedback.

If you want to review and edit what feedback the students can see and when that feedback is available, you need to go to where the test is deployed, click the action arrow to the right and select Edit the Test Options. Scroll down and look for the section called Show Test Results and Feedback to Students:


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Reviewing Student Submissions from the Compass 2g Grade Center

You can check to see if there is a submission for a student by accessing the individual submission in the Full Grade Center. You can also follow these steps if you would like to check and see the comments you left for a student when you graded their work.

Once at the Full Grade Center, you have to find the cell by alligning the student’s name with the column that’s associated with the Assignment. One tip is to hide all the other rows so that the cell easy to find, click the action arrow next to the student’s name and select Hide Other Rows:


You may need to use the horizontal scroll bar to find the column.

Once you locate the column, a student’s attempt that is not graded will be indicated with a yellow icon: click the Action Arrow then click the attempt. The student’s attempt is indicated in the dropdown menu by the date it was submitted:


After clicking the attempt, you can then proceed to grade the paper or if there is already a score logged, you can review the students work and the comments you left.

How to Clear an Attempt or Allow Additional Submissions

If you only allowed one attempt and the student would like to re-submit, click the View Grade Details option in the dropdown pictured above, then click the Clear Attempt button to remove the previous submission, or you can click the Allow Additional Attempt button:



When you see two dashes in the cell it indicates that there is no paper to grade and that nothing was submitted:


Need further help locating a lost submission or past work you graded? Contact us through the CITES Help Desk and we’ll investigate.

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Bb Grader App Now Available

CITES Academic Technology Services announces the release of a Grader App for Illinois Compass 2g. The “Bb (Blackboard) Grader App” provides instructors and those with grader privileges with a mobile solution for reviewing, providing feedback, and grading students’ Illinois Compass 2g Assignments.

The Grader App is available for iPad, iPad2+, and iPad mini running on iOS 7 or above and can be downloaded for free in the App Store. At this time, the app is available only for iOS devices.

You can perform the following actions in the Grader App:

  • View and grade student submissions in PDF, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Powerpoint, PNG images, or JPEG image format. For unsupported file types, you may download the file, view the file, and still provide grade information via the app
  • Provide text, audio, and video-based feedback
  • Write comments to the student
  • Leave private notes to share between graders
  • Grade anonymously
  • Grade with rubrics
  • Leave comments within rubrics

The following features are currently unavailable: Delegated Grading, SafeAssign

For more about the Grader App, visit Blackboard’s Official Help Site for additional articles and information.

For tips on how to grade using the Grader App, visit the Blackboard Apply Grades web page.

For a video overview of the Grader App, watch the Blackboard Learn Quick Hit Video: Bb Grader.

We recommend that you review and follow the guidelines on mobile device security by visiting the following page:

If you have questions about the Bb Grader App, contact us at or 244-7000.

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EDUCAUSE Learning Institute (ELI) Fall 2014 Focus Session

Re-Imagining Learning Spaces: Design, Technology, and Assessment

When: October 28 and 29, 11 AM – 2:30 PM (Central Time)
Where: 2405 Siebel Center
Please RSVP by visiting:

We plan to offer light refreshments.

Join us to exchange ideas and collaborate interactively with the teaching and learning community. Learning spaces remain foundational to successful learning, and their design and outfitting provide a mixture of affordances and constraints—the key is getting it right. Successful integration of Information technology and innovative designs have brought unique capabilities to learning spaces, which enable greater interaction through the use of collaborative and mobile tools, team-based course models, videoconferencing with remote experts, makerspaces, and new instructional designs like flipped learning, to name but a few. Join us as we discuss the landscape of today’s learning spaces on the following themes:

•    Determining the effectiveness and impact of new model learning spaces on student learning, engagement, and effective instruction
•    Exploring how innovative space designs can facilitate and support new learning approaches, like the flipped classroom
•    Reviewing faculty development programs that support optimal use of learning space through the application of active or collaborative pedagogies
•    Understanding classroom technologies that support or enhance teaching and learning in model learning spaces

Additional Details

Sponsored by
Campus Information Technologies and Educational Services (CITES)
Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CITL)
University Library

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Using a Wiki to make Group Work Easier (New, Improved “No Markup” Edition)

I have some exceptionally good news: the CITES Wiki service received a major upgrade this semester (Fall 2014). One big change was that Wiki Markup has been done away with.

* This old posting has been updated, to show how to do things without markup. *

When you think “wiki” do you automatically think “Wikipedia”? It wouldn’t be surprising, but the wiki technology has many uses besides the free online encyclopedia. Wikis can assist with collaborative work in the classroom in a number of ways. This post describes one simple use of a wiki in the classroom.

A wiki (like the Wikipedia) is a Webpage that anyone can edit (at least anyone given access), right there, on the Web. U of I faculty can request spaces on the campus Wiki service and have their students given automatic access to the space, just as they can in Illinois Compass.

I’m teaching a course this semester and I’m committed to collaborative learning, so I’m relying heavily on group work, where students are divided into small groups, given a task to complete together, and asked to report their work to the whole class. The wiki is a great tool to take care of the mechanics of group work.

Formatting text is simple, and so is creating child pages. Just put the name of the new page in brackets.

* There are now three ways to create links in the new Wiki service:
Select text and hit the link button. This gives you a dialog box with five tabs:
The Web Link and Advanced tabs allow you to make a link to a page in your Wiki that doesn’t exist yet—and create the new page at the same time. This is the best way to create child pages in your wiki. This way, users will be able to find your content, without sifting through the pile of all the pages you’ve created.
You can also type a square bracket and you’ll get a dropdown menu. Choose Insert Link and you’ll get the same dialog box as above. Or you can also use Control-K or Apple-K. *

editing a page on the wiki, with dates in brackets: 29 August, 5 September, etc.


As you can see in this screenshot, all I had to do was create one page (I called it “dailies” in my wiki) for each class day we use have a group task. (Notice the cheat-sheet along the right, showing the most common tags.)

The hardest thing about working in a wiki is file management, finding the pages you create and making sure you’re not editing someone else’s page. So, the first thing I do after the groups have formed is ask each group to come up with a name. This tends to be more fun than you’d expect. But the basic idea is I don’t want the group pages to be called One, two, and three because it’s so easy to forget what page each group should editing.

editing a page on the wiki, with names of groups in brackets: sloth, group 43, low expectations, tom petty and the.

I’m fortunate to be teaching in a classroom with a computer and projector. Now all I need to do is go the wiki page for today’s date, have the students call out their group names, and type them inside square brackets to create links.

When they’re ready, the students click on the links to their respective groups. This takes them to their own page, and they can start typing.

When it’s time to hear the group’s reports, I open all the wiki pages for the groups, and put each up on the screen as they talk about their results. This way the record of their work is available during class, but also recorded for future uses (ideas for papers or projects, review for exams, etc.)

* You can still create a bunch of links at once with Wiki markup. (But wait! There is no more wiki markup in Confluence 5! Well, sort of.) Click on the Plus-sign button the ruler, and choose Wiki Markup from the menu. In this window you can enter all the old wiki markup, and to make a link, all you need to do is put the name of each new page in square brackets.
So to create a page for each of five student groups, all you’d need to do is type the names, and put brackets around them. *The Plus menu, showing Other Macros is the last item.

As I said, wikis are really simple to learn and to use. The first day we did a group project, I took around five minutes to walk students through entering, editing and formatting on the wiki, and they were off and running. By the second time we used the wiki, after I displayed the first group’s page and took their report, the second group asked me to “refresh.” There was some laughter in the room. Why? Because the students realized that the second group had been rewriting their page as they listened to the first group. I took this as very positive, as it meant that the technology was already transparent, and the students were looking past it at the content.

A variation some of my students discovered: each group member can type individual text in comments at the bottom of their wiki page (there’s a link to “Add Comment” on every page), and then one member can combine these together.

Group tasks in the classroom are a long-standing component of active learning, with plenty of research to support their instructional value. Wikis can help solve some practical difficulties that can potentially limit the power of this technique. It’s win-win for technology and teaching.

You can request a wiki space today!

-Alan Bilansky

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Blackboard Mobile App for Illinois Compass 2g

ScreenshotMobileAppWe would like to take the opportunity to remind you of the availability of the Blackboard Mobile Learn app. This app is a free download for faculty, students, and staff for use with Illinois Compass 2g.  All users of the Illinois Compass 2g service can download the app at the following locations by searching for “Blackboard Mobile Learn”:

After you’ve downloaded and launched the app, search for “University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign” and log in using your NetID and Active Directory.


The Blackboard Mobile Learn app can be used to engage and interact with your students in discussion boards, blogs, and journals. It allows your students to check their grades, take mobile-specific assessments, and read announcements. The Blackboard Mobile Learn app allows for the classroom interactivity and engagement you expect from Illinois Compass 2g in a mobile accessible format.

More Information

For more information on the Blackboard Mobile Learn app, please visit Blackboard’s Mobile Learn page.

Please contact us if you have any questions about using the new mobile app.

Posted in App Reviews, ATS News, Compass 2g, Cool Tools | Comments Off on Blackboard Mobile App for Illinois Compass 2g