Teaching and Learning Supports for North Island College Instructors
Faculty Update: Q+A on Learning Technologies

Faculty Update: Q+A on Learning Technologies

Sent to faculty April 22. Copy of the email here.

I’ve received questions about Blackboard Learn, BlueJeans and Kaltura – inquiring as to the status of these teaching and learning platforms for the upcoming year. Let me share the answers with you along with a few other tips and suggestions. Send me any other questions you have!


> Is Blackboard Learn still our digital learning platform this year?

  • YES. Blackboard will continue to be our digital learning platform for one more year.
  • In the Fall we will notify you about our plans to move to a new platform starting in 2022. We’ll engage you in conversations, demos, and timeline details so you know what is happening.
  • A new platform means all your courses will be ‘migrated’ (digitally moved over by the company) to the new platform. Most things will look the same but there will be new features and functions to learn. More info in the Fall.


> Will there be any outages or times Blackboard Learn will be inaccessible this Spring and Summer?

  • YES. Right now IT is doing some server movements to update all of our systems.
  • Once we have those complete, we hope to do some other upgrades and enhancements which will involve outages. I will share when I know more.
  • Every month we always need to have an outage for a few hours to do Windows Security updates. This is normal.


> When will I see my Fall 2020 Blackboard Learn shells so I can start designing my courses?

  • May 18: All your Fall 2021, Winter 2022 and Spring/Summer/Intersession 2022 Blackboard Learn shells will appear in Blackboard Learn as of May 18.
  • The delay is due to the delay in the course timetable. Typically all shells would be provisioned in early April to align with the release of the timetable but this year we have had to push that date. Course shells can’t be created until the timetable is done.
  • In the meantime, copy your past courses into a “dev” (development/manual) course shell and work on your course there while you wait for your Fall courses to appear. Details on copying and backing up courses is found on Teach Anywhere Blackboard Learn Instructor DIY page.


> Will the blank Blackboard Learn shell we get (on May 18) look any different?

  • YES. It will be cleaner and updated. The current shell was many years old, contained outdated info etc.
  • Updated shell will have NO content in it for you to delete – no explanatory content or logos. All gone. Just clean and blank.
  • Updated shell will default to ‘content’ for the first page instead of ‘dashboard’ (but dashboard will still be there)
  • The linked Grade Scale (now called ‘NIC Letter 2020’) will be the latest Grade Scale 1 (active as of August 2020) loaded and working.
  • Updated shell will have enhanced student supports, links to tech support, student services and supports, library and learning commons etc. – so you don’t have to include that info and so students know where to go for help without bothering you as much. These added student supports will be new links/pages at the bottom of the menu we hope you don’t delete – but you don’t have to create or link to anything now!


> When I copy a previous course into the new Blackboard Learn shell – does it copy over the OLD Grade Scale?

  • YES. Any course from this past year or previous years will always have the OLD Grade Scale attached to it (unless you edited the grade scale to match the August 2020 version). Anytime you copy “ALL COURSE CONTENTS” you bring over that scale and sometimes when you just copy assignments or quizzes the old grade scale may come too.
  • TIP: ALWAYS go in to your Grade Centre and choose “NIC Letter 2020” (grade scale 1) when you start your course to JUST BE SURE even if you don’t think you want to use the letters (and just use percentages).


> Should I back up my Blackboard Learn Courses from this past year?


> Will BlueJeans continue to be our video conferencing solution for teaching and learning?

  • YES. BlueJeans continues for at least another year as NIC’s base teaching and learning video conferencing platform.
  • More enhancements coming such as pre-creating breakout groups, and some other security and engagement features.
  • Every NIC account has “closed captioning” enabled on it (a feature we’ve had since September 2020) so students will be able to turn on closed captions if they wish or need to.
  • Every NIC account has “smart meeting highlights and transcription” enabled on it (a feature we’ve had since Sept 2020) so when you turn on recordings students can add ‘video bookmarks/smart highlights’ and there is also a transcript of all audio in the course available for access via the recording.
  • Don’t have an account? Submit a helpdesk@nic.bc.ca ticket.
  • Schedule meetings and access your recordings via https://bcnet.bluejeans.com  – no need to upload anything to Kaltura – all BlueJeans video recordings live on a Montreal server indefinitely. BUT suggest you go in and clean out any old BlueJeans recordings not needed anymore. Less to manage!
  • More info: https://teachanywhere.opened.ca/learning-technologies/bluejeans/


> Will Kaltura continue to be our video streaming and storage solution for teaching and learning?

  • YES. Kaltura will continue to be our video hosting and streaming solution. You can use it within Blackboard Learn (via My Media tab and also sharing video with students via Media Gallery) and you can also access it through https://video.nic.bc.ca (called NIC MediaSpace) – like a YouTube front-end
  • This summer we are going to be moving all 9000 of our NIC videos off of the UBC servers to Kaltura’s servers for improved support and service.
  • This will involve a week or so of NO access to the videos for everyone. We’ll also get an upgrade to Kaltura’s latest version.
  • I will share more when I know more.
  • Tip: Go in and clean out any videos not required. Makes the management of your videos easier going forward and less for us to move!
  • More Info: https://teachanywhere.opened.ca/learning-technologies/kaltura/


> Do we still have access to WordPress as a BC-hosted blogging and web site platform?


> Will there be workshops or training sessions on any of these platforms?


> Are Teach Anywhere and Learn Anywhere still our websites for faculty and student supports?

  • YES. https://teachanywhere.opened.ca/Teach Anywhere is your faculty website for all things teaching and learning: it has 110 pages of resources, videos and helpful information.
  • YES. https://learnanywhere.opened.ca/Learn Anywhere is our student website for digital supports: it has 50 pages of resources, videos and helpful information.
  • Let me know if there is something missing you’d like included in either of these sites.
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