Using Wimba Live Classroom and Voice Tools
In some courses, your instructor may use Wimba tools to deliver and record lecture material for certain lecture topics or class periods, to connect to you remotely for virtual office hours, moderate study groups, or as the basis for delivering a fully online course.
The tutorials below provide information on ensuring you are properly set up to use Wimba and directions on how to contribute to courses that use this environment.
Setting up your computer
Contributing audio and video content in Wimba Live Classroom
Posting to a Wimba Voice Board
Using Voice Direct
Please Note: If your course uses the Collaborate system, please click here for more information.
In an effort to establish a well supported, cost-effective use of clickers ("classroom interactive response systems"), and to assist with their integration across campus, UAB has selected i>Clicker as the standard UAB Response System. The i>Clicker2 system was chosen for its ease of use, compatibility with UAB computing environment and technical support.
Purchasing the i>clicker2
Student i>clicker2 units are available through the Barnes & Noble UAB bookstore and Snoozy's. The current retail price is $45 per unit; there are no annual license fees. To register the unit, please review the instructions provided in your course. The unit can be used in multiple classes.
Swap out your existing Clicker
Students who have already purchased an eps or Turning point clicker through the UAB bookstore will be able to exchange that unit for the i>clicker2 unit at no additional charge. The exchange dates for Summer and Fall 2013 terms will be posted to this page.
Please Note: i>Clicker will exhcange eps and turnign Technologies clickers only; they will not exchange previousversions of the i>clicker.
To register your i>clicker:
1. Your instructor will create a link to the i>clicker registration page in your course:
2. Click on this link to access the following page, then enter your clicker remote ID in the box shown below:
Self-paced Polling User Guide
Blackboard Connect for Learn
Blackboard Connect for Learn is a tool that you and your instructors can use to ensure you get up-to-date course information.
When you opt-in to receive notifications through the Connect for Learn system, you can receive automated alerts for a variety of course changes including assignment due dates and grade posts by voice, text, or email.
Your instructors can also send messages via SMS or Text-to-voice to ensure that you get up-to-the-minute information related to your courses.
How to sign up for Notifications
Go to the UAB e-notify page:
NOTE: It could take several hours for this update to propogate to the Blackboard system.
Next, log in to Blackboard and select My Places:
If you have not provided a number for Bb Connect for Learn to use through the e-notify page, or that number has not yet been imported into the Blackboard LMS, you will not be able to select these options, and the following message (yellow boxes) will display:
Blackboard Learn Student Tutorial
|Click on the image for a walk-through on logging in, navigating your course, assessments, and communication tools.
You can also find additional video tutorial help here.
This tutorial walks you through accessing the Blackboard system, navigating your courses, and working with tools, assignments and tests. You'll also learn the major communication features available. Although your courses could look considerably different depending on how your instructor intends to use the system, the basics will be the same, so this tutorial will help orient you in any course.
You can help avoid problems by ensuring that you are using a supported browser and you follow a standard naming convention when uploading files. Also, if you run into problems related to how your browser displays, try clearing your cache, as this can help clear up temporary rendering problems.
To help ensure a smooth ride through the system, you should also keep the following in mind:
- BBLearn uses browser windows to deliver requested content. Some pop-up blockers interpret these windows as pop-ups and block them. If you have installed a pop-up blocker, turn it off while using the Learning System.
- If you are prompted to accept a Java Security Certificate., you must click Yes or Always to ensure that BBLearn functionality using Java will work properly in your browser.
- Avoid using a wireless network connection when taking tests. Wireless connections can be interrupted by interference from other devices or because the public wireless access point where you are is saturated.
- If you experience problems with the chat tool, uploading files, or opening the text editor, verify or update the Java Certificate on your computer.
And if you run into trouble, the AskIT help desk is always there to support you.
iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad
A consistent naming scheme will help to ensure that you can locate your files and that your students can open and view those files in Blackboard. You name a file when you go to Save, Save As, or if you rename a document manually.
The best approach to naming your files is not very flexible, but it is very easy to remember:
Use letters, numbers, and an underscore and nothing else
This will go a long way toward ensuring that different browser versions and types can read and render your document appropriately.
These rules just restate that last paragraph in a more long-winded manner:
- Use only letters, numbers and underscores (_) in file names.
- Don’t use spaces, commas, the pound sign (#), question marks, equal signs, dashes, at signs (@), or other special characters in your filenames.
- Don’t use periods in the file name unless it’s used before the file extension – i.e. .txt, .ppt, .xls, .doc, etc.
- File names are case sensitive. We recommend that you use all lowercase letters in file names.
- It’s worth repeating: Use only letters, numbers and underscores (_) in file names:
- Appropriate file name:
- coursemodule1 OR
- Problematic file name:
- Course module #1
Some additional tips on good file names
These you can take or leave, but they are generally recognized as sound practice, and can also help you organize content prior to uploading to Blackboard:
- Use lower case - Some operating systems read file titles in a case-sensitive manner
- Make your title Descriptive BUT
- Try to keep you title short
- conflicting advice, right?
- This applies mostly to efficient design for the web, but for blackboard it also helps student navigation. Try to use key words from the document to name your file so that students can quickly identify what's in there (and so you can quickly identify it when you're building your course).
Checking Your Version of Java
What is Java?
Java is a programming language and is critical for running a number of web-based programs and utilities. The java run time environment (which is commonly shortened to JRE, or Java) allows java-based applets to run in your browser.
Why do I need Java
A number of Blackboard tools require java to run: the text editor, collaboration tools such as the chat window and whiteboard, and other tools such as the Wimba live classroom, all run using Java applets. A lot of web-based content that you can link to from your course will also require Java to run.
How to Check your Version of Java
You can check the supported Java version on the same page that identifies Blackboard's supported browsers.
To check the version you have on your computer:
- Click on the Start menu (lower left corner of your screen)
- Click Control panel
- Double-click Java; then click About in the Java control panel.
- Click Close.
How to clear Java Cache
- Close all browser windows.
- Go to Start, then choose the Control Panel.
- Click on the icon named Java. On the General Tab, under the section labeled Temporary Internet Files click the button Delete Files.
- Then choose to delete all the types offered.
- Close the control panel by clicking OK and restart your web browser.
- In Finder search for Java Preferences.
- Open Java Preferences and click on the Network tab.
- Click the Delete Files button.
About Browser History and Caching
A cache is a temporary storage area where frequently accessed data can be retained for rapid loading. A web browser cache holds copies of pages that pass through it - all items you have accessed or downloaded from the Internet, including images, sounds, Web pages, and cookies. These items are stored on your computer, usually in the Temporary Internet Files folder.
Why clear your cache?
You may occasionally encounter an error message, a "Page Not Found" display, a "Momentarily Unavailable Message" etc. This could be due to a problem with the system, maintenance, or a number of other reasons. If you decide to go back to this url later, you may see this same message even though the problem is corrected because your browser has pulled the page from your cache.
How to clear your cache:
- In Internet Explorer:
- Click on the Tools menu, click Internet Options. The Internet Options box should open to the General tab.
- On the General tab, in the Browsing the Internet section, click the Delete button. This will delete all the files that are currently stored in your cache.
- In Firefox:
- Click on Tools, Options, then select the Advanced panel. In the Offline Storage section, click Clear Now.
- In Safari (Mac OS X):
- Click on the Safari menu, select Reset Safari. Select the items that you want to reset, then click Reset.
You can set your browser to automatically clear cache, and you can re-size your cache storage to maintain more cached files to speed up performance; this, however, increases the likelihood that you will access stale content.
How to set your browser to automatically clear cache:
- Click on the Tools menu, click Internet Options. The Internet Options box should open to the General tab.
Checking Your Browser
Browsers change, web content changes, and frequently pages don’t render exactly the way a developer wants them to in different browsers or browser versions.
Blackboard maintains a list of browsers that are supported, compatible and certified.
Here’s how to check your browser version:
1. Open your browser:
2. Click on the following:
- Click Help, then About Internet Explorer, the version number that you are using (e.g. Internet Explorer8) appears in the dialog box
- Click Help, then About Mozilla Firefox, the version number that you are using (e.g. Firefox version 3.6.13) appears in the dialog box.
- Click on Safari in the Safari menu
- Select About Safari from the drop-down menu, the version number (e.g. Safari 5.0.3) appears in the dialog box.
Known Issues and Solutions in Blackboard Learn
There are some as yet unresolved technical issues with the Blackboard Learn 9.1 system. This page will be updated as additional tests are completed. If you find an issue with the system, please let us know.
Blackboard's list of supported browsers includes Internet Explorer 8 and Firefox 3.6.
Although not listed among them, Chrome also seems to work satisfactorily, and some higher education institutions explicitly recommend it. If you encounter issues using a specific browser, you may switch to an alternate browser and check performance (different operating systems, java versions, and other system configurations can all result in different issues on disparate systems).
For committed users of Explorer, you may want to access Blackboard in compatibility mode to clear up potential issues:
In the horizontal tool bar at the top of the browser, click Tools, select Compatibility View Settings, Check Display all websites in Compatibility View at the bottom of the dialog box and then hit Close.
You will need to close IE8 and reopen the browser before this change takes effect.
|System Area||Issue||Solution or Workaround|
|Adaptive Release||The What's New module provides students access to blogs and discussions for students not in that group||TBD|
|Collaboration||A User's virtual classroom Window freezes if another user enters the session||We recommend not using the collaboration tool until this issue is corrected by Blackboard in an upcoming service pack|
|Content: Course Files||Internet Explorer may interpret the request to open and download a Microsoft Word file as a security threat, and serves a dialog box asking for login and password information.||Close the dialog box asking for login and password information and the word file will open; upload content as .pdf files where possible|
|Early Warning System||The notifications tool can does not send emails for assignments built within a learning module; emails can contain garbled messages||We recommend not using notifications until this issue is corrected by Blackboard|
|Early Warning System||The due date rule may send a notification that an assignment is past due even if the student has submitted the assignment||We recommend not using notifications until this issue is corrected by Blackboard|
|Early Warning System||The notifications History filter will not filter based on notification, rule name, or user||We recommend not using notifications history until this issue is corrected by Blackboard|