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Instructional Design Blog

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  • What to Include on Your “Getting Started” Page

    Helping your students get off to the right start so that they can be successful in your course has always been important, but new challenges that come with teaching in the middle of a pandemic make it even more critical. If you’re grappling ...


  • A lab class in the Vincent Building sits waiting for the fall semester.

    Let’s Talk Attendance

    Finding an efficient tool for taking attendance has been a continual challenge in recent years, and the pressure has increased this fall because of the COVID pandemic. As most of you are probably aware, the university is asking all faculty to ...


  • Using Explanation in Assessments

    As I’m sure you’ve all experienced this spring, sometimes there isn’t a perfect online equivalent for all of the things you were doing in the classroom. This can be especially challenging with STEM courses, where we rely on labs and othe...


  • Ideas for Helping Students with Technology Limitations

    One of the toughest parts of transitioning to remote instruction is trying to help students maintain access to all of your course content and assessments. With most students back home right now, many don’t have reliable Internet access. Or m...


  • Strategies to Deter Online Cheating on Exams

    Under normal circumstances, if a faculty member told me they were concerned about cheating during an online exam, the first thing I would do is mention two tools available to us: Respondus Lockdown Browser and Respondus Monitor. But these are ...


  • Blackboard Test Basics

    Now that everyone has a few weeks of online instruction under their belt, it might be time to post an online quiz or test. If you’ve never given an online quiz or test, it may seem a little daunting. And trust me, there really are tons of se...


  • Adding poll questions to your presentation slides helps save time during Collaborate sessions.

    Tips to Help You Use Collaborate Like a Pro

    Now that everyone is teaching remotely, you might be using, or at least considering, Blackboard Collaborate Ultra to continue live synchronous class sessions. But as you may be experiencing, there’s a bit of a learning curve before you’re real...


  • 8 Values That Make Your Course Content Engaging

    Walk down any faculty hallway on campus and you’ll hear echoes of the same questions: Why don’t students get engaged in courses that feature topics that certainly have engaged us as teachers? And how do you catch the interest of your s...


  • Student groups competed this past fall to be the first to complete the Black Box Challenge test review in Dr. Anthony Battistini’s civil engineering structural analysis course.

    A Fun Twist on Test Reviews

    When Dr. Anthony Battistini, assistant professor of engineering, was selected as a CREEME faculty fellow last year, he was tasked with redesigning one of his courses to add an element of cultural responsiveness and cultural relevancy. 31959200...


  • How to Add Users in Blackboard

    Sometimes it may be helpful to grant access to your Blackboard courses to users who aren’t enrolled. A few examples include student employees who are grading assessments and colleagues who want to observe your class. The great thing is t...


  • Try some of these shortcuts to more quickly get your course ready for the semester.

    Shortcuts When Updating From a Template

    Preparing a Blackboard course for a new semester can be a monstrous undertaking, so reusing content from a previous semester or a course template can save a lot of time. The only trouble is, you may need to make several updates before the cour...


  • You can use Blackboard tests to create other non-test activities for your classes.

    Alternate Uses for Blackboard Tests

    I think we’re all aware of the capability to create and deploy tests in Blackboard, but have you ever thought about using the test builder for items that aren’t tests? Here are a few ideas you may want to incorporate into your own courses. ...


  • Students discuss the instructional text on an assignment.

    The Importance of Instructional Text

    Does this conversation sound familiar? Student: I saw the materials for class, but I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do. Instructor: Well, I posted it all in Blackboard. I’m not sure what the problem is. If your students are tel...


  • A student listens to an audio recording of course content.

    Evaluating Publisher Content for Accessibility

    As an institution of higher education, we are required by law to ensure that our course content is accessible to all of our students. This includes everything from the textbooks and publisher tools to handouts and exams. Unfortunately, publish...


  • ASU students work together on a think-pair-share activity.

    4 Active Learning Strategies to Try Today

    Time to breathe easy. We’ve reached that point in the semester where everyone knows the routine and hopefully has a good sense of student and faculty expectations. But you know what else? We’ve also hit a lull. Do your students have that g...


  • Screenshot of Qwickly how-to video

    Use Qwickly to Post Content Across Multiple Courses [Video]

    Do you find yourself spending time duplicating emails and announcements to send to several of your courses? I have a solution for you. We’ve added a tool called Qwickly in Blackboard that allows you to send emails and post announcements acro...


  • Calendar screenshot from Blackboard.

    Consider Adding a Calendar Tool

    A few years back, I used to have several student workers who reported to me, and without fail, at the beginning of each semester, they would tell me with this great sense of accomplishment that they had entered all their major deadlines and exams ...


  • Students gather around a computer to read feedback from a professor.

    Assess Yourself with a Communication Audit

    I have a confession: I love things like communication audits. I know it sounds about as much fun as a trip to the dentist, but hear me out. So much of your students’ success and your success as an instructor is dependent on communication...


  • Screenshot from Quick Tips presentation

    Quick Tips Follow Up for Accessible CV and Syllabus [Video]

    To follow up on all the great work this spring from faculty in our college, I put together this short video presentation with a few quick tips that are especially relevant to CV and syllabuses. There are so many things to remember regarding ta...


  • Students access course content in Blackboard.

    Answers About Blackboard at ASU

    As you are gearing up for the fall semester, it may be helpful to you to understand a little about how we use Blackboard at Angelo State. I’m not talking about a how-to or tutorial for anything, but just a little info about how Blackboard is str...


  • Intro videos don’t have to be scary (but you might have fun trying to make them that way).

    Create a Welcome Video for Online Courses

    Anytime I’m meeting with a faculty member to discuss a new online course, I almost always end our first conversation the same way: “Oh, and we’ll want to create an intro video for the course, and I think you should be on camera.” M...


  • A checklist helps with course preparation.

    Use a Course Prep Checklist

    Sometimes course copy in Blackboard can be a lifesaver. If you or a colleague have taught a course before, copying over content from a previous semester gives you a great foundation to start from. But the tricky thing can be remembering all th...


  • Dr. Saravanan Ramasamy talks about how he prepares for chemistry lectures.

    Preparing Lectures with Doceri [Videos]

    When Dr. Saravanan Ramasamy, assistant professor in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department, invited me to observe one of his organic chemistry lectures, I was interested in seeing his classroom technology in action. What I observed was so m...


  • Students complete Blackboard quizzes that use calculated formulas.

    Q&A: Creating Blackboard Tests Using Calculated Formulas

    33976200250 Because ASU now offers a minor in astronomy, Assistant Professor Dr. Kenneth Carrell knew it was time to bump up the requirements. He added some mathematical equations to his introductory course, PHYS 1303 Fundamentals of Astro...


  • ASU students complete a chemistry lab exercise.

    Improve Lab Report Submissions

    Lab reports. Across our college, faculty collect a lot of lab reports that take on many shapes and sizes. 35138150188 Dr. Gregory Smith, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, is trying some cool new stuff wit...


  • A student participates in an online discussion board.

    Facilitate Better Online Discussions

    Discussion boards can be a great tool to add depth to your course and allow students to learn from each other. So why do discussion boards turn into a grading nightmare and a chore to read for so many faculty? Because it’s easy for discussio...


  • Watch these videos to learn more about how screen readers work.

    Understanding How Screen Readers Work [Video]

    If you’ve been reading through the Accessible PDF series, you might be feeling a little exasperated with some of the extra steps required to create a PDF. To keep you from throwing up your hands and saying “Really, Jayna? Isn’t this a bit mu...


  • Watch this video to learn about how to use the Accessibility Report in Adobe Acrobat.

    Creating an Accessible Syllabus and CV, Part 2 [Video]

    All right, so if you’ve made it this far, you should have a Word document that has been prepped for PDF conversion. I will briefly outline a few tips for exporting your document, but then we’ll go over how to interpret your accessibility repor...


  • Watch this video to learn about how you can prep your Microsoft Word document to convert to PDF.

    Creating an Accessible Syllabus and CV, Part 1 [Video]

    Think of all the bazillions of different things you can do in a Word document. The options are limitless. But because we have that freedom, we don’t have an option for easily converting all documents to accessible formats. It’s important t...


  • Dr. Connie Heimann discusses how she uses Top Hat in the classroom.

    Using Top Hat For Student Engagement [Video]

    A growing number of faculty in our college have adopted a product called Top Hat for use in the classroom. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Top Hat, the product allows students to use their cell phones as classroom clickers to answe...


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