August 2018 update to Respondus Monitor

Instructors, if you’ve ever used Respondus Monitor to help secure a test such as a midterm or final you may have been a bit confused by the video review portion. Previously, the video review had a row simply titled “flags” that may or may not have been a cause for concern. As of July 31, 2018, a new dashboard has been released.

The new dashboard includes a “Review Priority” scoring system (Low, Medium, High) that provides instructors an easy way to identify exam sessions that require deeper scrutiny. It accounts for both the quality of the student video and suspicious events that indicate exam violations may have occurred. The “Review Priority” is also color coded from green (Low) to red (High).Respondus dashboard screen shot

The review screen has also been updated. Time codes of flagged activity, as well as test milestones for when questions were saved, are available. The playback features have also been enhanced with the addition of a color-coded playback bar.

Respondus video review screenshot


Additional information is available in the short video:

Please contact the DEIT department with any questions surrounding this change.

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August 2018 Workshops

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Six Things That Make College Teachers Successful (Guest Post from Mary Clement via Faculty Focus)

Check out this brief article for foundational ideas to help you and your students to be more successful. #6 is Keep the Passion!

Link to online article here. 

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Zoom and Flex: What’s What?!?

Zoom – a tool; Flex – a class format

You may have heard the terms “Zoom” and “Flex” bandied about DeSales recently. If you’d like some clarity about what Zoom and Flex are and how they are different, read on!

In brief, Zoom is a web conferencing service (like Blackboard Collaborate) whereas Flex is an innovative, flexible class delivery format that uses Zoom as a tool to support the class.


Zoom Video Communications, Inc. markets a web conferencing service called, you guessed it, “Zoom.” Zoom is used to hold live video-based online class sessions and other online meetings. It is an alternative to Blackboard Collaborate, Skype, Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting, and others.

Due to high customer satisfaction rates, Zoom has gained market share over its competitors, especially in higher education. All of our sister institutions in the LVAIC consortium use Zoom.

Although Blackboard Collaborate is currently DeSales’ primary web conferencing service, DEIT has been using Zoom for selected applications with excellent results. If all continues to go well with Zoom, DEIT plans to entirely replace Blackboard Collaborate with Zoom for the 2019-2020 academic year. If you don’t want to wait, Zoom is available to DeSales instructors now as an alternative to Blackboard Collaborate (contact DEIT to make the switch).


Whereas Zoom is a specific company’s web conferencing service, Flex is an innovative class format that has a web conferencing component. We are using Zoom as our web conferencing tool to help deliver Flex classes, but any web conferencing service could have been used.

Pioneered by the ACCESS program and being evaluated by our graduate programs, a Flex class has a live component and an asynchronous online component. In the ACCESS case, 24 hours of instruction are delivered live and 21 hours are delivered through asynchronous online coursework. Where the flexibility comes in is that students can choose to experience the live portion of a Flex class either in a traditional classroom or live online via Zoom. The remote live students appear in the classroom via a 2nd large video monitor and are expected to participate in the live class just like the students in the classroom.

Below is a 2-minute video on the Flex class format.

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Blackboard SaaS FAQ

In an earlier blog post, we mentioned an upcoming switch to SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) We’d like to provide answers to some frequently asked questions.

#1.  What is the SaaS deployment for Blackboard Learn?

SaaS deployment for Blackboard Learn is the same Blackboard Learn you already know, delivered on a modern cloud computing technology stack.

#2. Is the user experience changing when we move to SaaS?

Blackboard Learn in a SaaS environment looks ALMOST EXACTLY the same as the Blackboard Learn 9.1 user experience we have today.  SaaS is a deployment option, not a different LMS.

#3. What are the benefits of SaaS deployment for Blackboard Learn?

Zero impact to faculty and students during updates: With a cloud-computing environment, we’ll benefit from continuous updates (new features, enhancements, fixes, etc.) with zero or minimal downtime.

Higher quality: A SaaS model allows Blackboard to deliver maintenance, updates, and fixes to production faster, and the cloud platform easily scales during periods of high usage.

Fast access to new features: A SaaS model allows Blackboard to deliver enhancements and new features faster, so we’ll have the latest and greatest features.

#4. What are the new features coming with SaaS?

The transition does include some new features since it is an updated version of Blackboard. The specific changes are documented here: SaaS Transition Changes.

#5. How do I find out more?

The DEIT staff is holding workshops in July to provide information on the transition. Faculty members can also request access to a test server that contains copies of older content. Contact DEIT ( or 610-282-1100 x2290) for information on a test server account.

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DEIT July 2018 Workshops

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Two-Thirds of Students Use Mobile Devices for Coursework

DEIT’s Jim Holton shares an article from Campus Technology, “Two-Thirds of Online Students Do Some Coursework on a Mobile Device.”

DEIT will be working with faculty in the coming year to optimize courses for mobile devices, especially via Blackboard’s mobile applications.

If you have best practices for leveraging the power of Blackboard’s mobile apps, we’d love to hear from you at 610-282-1100 x2290 or

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Cognitive Psychology Ideas to Help Students Learn (Guest Post from K. Yee and D. Boyd via Faculty Focus)

While cognitive science literature on learning is exciting, it lacks a unifying structure to enhance practitioners’ recall and application of the findings. To assist time-strapped instructional faculty and staff, the authors of this article from Magna Publications Faculty Focus offer a consolidated summary of key cognitive science principles, in the form of an easy-to-remember acronym: ANSWER.

  • Attention
  • Novelty
  • Spacing
  • Why
  • Emotions
  • Repetition

Read the complete article How Can We Amplify Student Learning? The ANSWER from Cognitive Psychology at this link.

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Small Teaching – Small Adjustments to Your Instruction That Can Yield Big Results

DEIT recommends a recent EDUCAUSE online session given by James Lang of Assumption College. The webinar introduced three core learning principles that can help us make powerful, positive changes to the ways in which we design and teach college courses: the power of retrieval practice to promote the mastery of core skills and content; the benefit of helping learners connect new learning to their existing knowledge; and the important role that curiosity plays in motivating student learning.

To view the webinar you will need to set up an EDUCAUSE profile (free to the DeSales community). Contact DEIT if you need assistance. EDUCAUSE has many great teaching and learning resources in addition to this webinar.

Here’s the link to the EDUCAUSE webinar site (includes the PowerPoint and a recording of the session):

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Intro to the Flex Class Format

Check out this 2:25 video on the Flex class format.

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