New Next Week – Profile Pics aka “Avatars”

Next week, “Avatars” will be enabled in Blackboard.  “Avatars” are simply Blackboard’s fancy name for profile picture.  Students and faculty will be able to upload photos of themselves that will be seen on discussion forums.  Enabling this functionality within Blackboard can increase student engagement – shown to impact student success and academic achievement, which is what we’re all about!

On Monday, October 27, this functionality will be enabled.  It is entirely voluntary to use this feature.  You will find the below disclaimer in several locations, including on the Blackboard Tab.

You can now add a profile picture or “avatar”.   This profile picture will help your fellow students and instructors get to know you.

Profile pictures (or “avatars”) will be utilized by your instructor to identify you, ensure proper student enrollment, and to comply with the legal financial aid attendance guidelines. Any inappropriate picture uploaded/inserted will be removed. The use of inappropriate pictures is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct, and will be grounds for disciplinary action. Students and faculty can report inappropriate pictures to their respective campus’ Office of the Dean of Student Affairs.

Step-by-step directions will be made available when the functionality is released – it requires just a few clicks.  We are strongly recommending resizing pictures using these directions.

Questions?  Contact us or reply to this post! – Sasha

Inside Higher Ed logo

New Innovations in Higher Education – from Inside Higher Ed

The Future of Higher Education | Higher Ed Beta @insidehighered

Inside Higher Ed logoThis article is a great recap of some predictions that have been floating around recently and are likely to become reality (and ARE becoming reality) in the near future.  The entire article takes just a 10 minutes to read – I’ve done some highlighting if you only have 3 minutes in your day! – Sasha
“With a number of leading for-profits beset by legal and financial woes, enrollment in online education leveling off, and MOOCs off the front pages, one might reasonably conclude that the threats to higher ed posed by what was hailed as “disruptive innovation” have abated.
No so.
At this point, institutions are disrupting themselves from the inside out, not waiting for the sky to fall. True disruption occurs when existing institutions begin to embrace the forces of transformation.
With a number of leading for-profits beset by legal and financial woes, enrollment in online education leveling off, and MOOCs off the front pages, one might reasonably conclude that the threats to higher ed posed by what was hailed as “disruptive innovation” have abated.  Not so.
At this point, institutions are disrupting themselves from the inside out, not waiting for the sky to fall. True disruption occurs when existing institutions begin to embrace the forces of transformation.
The innovations taking place may not seem to be as dramatic as those that loomed in 2012, but the consequences are likely be even more far-reaching, challenging established business and staffing models.
Innovation 1:  Learning Analytics
Innovation 2:  Microcredentialing
Innovation 3:  Competency-Based Education

  • Especially attractive is competency-based education’s prospect of accelerating time to degree, since students can potentially receive credit for skills and knowledge acquired through life experience or alternative forms of education.
  • But with the U.S. Department of Education and accreditors increasingly willing to allow institutions to experiment with competency-based models and direct assessment, such programs are poised to take off. The trend is moving beyond just a few institutions like Western Governors University, as even Harvard Business School, for example, launched its HBX CORe program, a “boot camp” for liberal arts college students who want to understand the fundamentals of business.

Innovation 4:  Personalized Adaptive Learning

  • Personalization has been the hallmark of contemporary retailing and marketing, and now it’s coming to higher education
  • But recognition of the fact that all students do not learn best by following the same path at the same pace is beginning to influence instructional design even in traditional courses, which are beginning to offer students customized trajectories through course material.
Innovation 5:  Curricular Optimization
  • Convinced that a curricular smorgasbord of disconnected classes squanders faculty resources and allows too many students to graduate without a serious understanding of the sweep of human history, the diversity of human cultures, the major systems of belief and value, or great works of art, literature, and music, a growing number of institutions have sought to create a more coherent curriculum for at least a portion of their student body.
Innovation 6:  Open Educational Resources
  • companies like Learning Ace are creating new portals that allow faculty and students to easily search for content in e-books, subscription databases, and on the web.
Innovation 7:  Shared Services
  • By promoting system-wide or state-wide purchasing, institutions seek to take advantage of scale in procurement of software and other services.
  • large-scale data storage, and high bandwidth data access, enables researchers within 15 UT System institutions to collaborate with one another
Innovation 8:  Articulation Agreements
  • As more and more students enroll in community college to save money, a great challenge is to insure that courses at various institutions are truly equivalent, which will require genuine collaboration between faculty members on multiple campuses.
Innovation 9:  Flipped Classrooms
  • By inverting the classroom, off-loading direct instruction and maximizing the value of face-to-face time, the flipped classroom are supposed to help students understand course material  in greater depth.
  • Institutions like MIT, “Future of MIT Education” and Stanford, “Stanford2025,” aware of such tensions and risks, are taking both bottom-up and top-down approaches to ensure they get the best of the flipped classroom without sacrificing face-to-face interactions.

Innovation 10:  One-Stop Student Services

  • A growing number of institutions are launching a single contact point for student services, whether involving registration, billing, and financial aid, academic support, or career advising.  The most innovative, inspired by the example of the for-profits, make services available anytime. When it opens in Fall 2015, the new University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, which will serve an expansive 60-mile-wide region, will offer students a holistic student lifecycle management and CRM and support system accessible across the region.
  • Even as these ten innovations gradually become part of the higher education ecosystem, several new educational models are appearing, which potentially challenge business as usual.

Model 1:  New Pathways to a Bachelors Degree

  • Early college/dual enrollment programs that grant high school students college credit.  Expanded access to Advanced Placement courses. Bachelor degree-granting community colleges. Three-year bachelors degree programs. All of these efforts to accelerate time to degree are gaining traction. Particularly disruptive is the way students now consume higher education, acquiring credits in a variety of ways from various providers, face-to-face and online.

Model 2:  The Bare-bones University

  • The University of North Texas’s Dallas campus, designed with the assistance of Bain & Company, the corporate management consulting  firm, has served as a prototype for a lower-cost option, with an emphasis on teaching and mentoring, hybrid and online courses (to minimize facilities’ costs), and a limited number of majors tied to local workforce needs.

Model 3:  Experimental Models

  • Minerva Project, seek to reinvent the university experience by combining a low residency model, real-world work experience through internships, and significantly reduced degree costs through scaled online learning
  • the University of Phoenix, Kaplan, and other online-only institutions have created physical locations and even MOOC providers stress the importance of learner MeetUps and are focused on implementing hybrid courses on traditional campuses.

Model 4:  Corporate Universities

  • While some corporations partner with academic institutions (GM, for example, offers a MBA through Indiana University), the number of stand-alone corporate universities now exceeds 4,200
  • Although these corporate units do not offer degrees, they may well pose a threat to traditional universities in two ways.  First, by their very existence, the corporate universities infer that existing undergraduate institutions fail to prepare their graduates for the workplace. Second, these entities may well displace enrollment in existing graduate and continuing education programs.

Model 5: All of the Above

  • The irony may be that all the so-called disruption will actually bring higher education back to its core mission. In the words of the public intellectual du jour, William Deresiewicz, “My ultimate hope is that [college] becomes recognized as a right of citizenship, and that we make sure that that right is available to all.”
Video link for LMS Review update video

Update – LMS Review Progress (To Blackboard or Not To Blackboard)

Blackboard LogoAs you all know, we’re currently engaged in an LMS Review (that’s for “Learning Management System” Review).  It’s concerning our academic LMS – for faculty and students.

Notes from our September 5th Taskforce meeting are now available here:

Want the video review of the process?  Check out the video of progress to date that was shown at the Conference Days at each campus below.  This will open in a new window.

Video link for LMS Review update video

Note New Browser Checker Link

PLEASE NOTE:  The browser checker link has been updated!  It has been changed in the Bb tab resources as well, however if you have the old link in your syllabus it will show up as broken.  Find that new link here:  Shout out to Professor Catanese for the suggestion!

This link was provided in the 8/22/14 blog update for start of term.  It is also current on the Blackboard tab for students and faculty.

With thanks – Sasha

Chrome Problem and Fix on Administrative Computers

If you have been experiencing problems with PDFs displaying in Chrome (Google’s browser), Flash content and Shockwave, a solution has been pushed to administrative computers by ITS.  It should now be resolved.  If you are having problems with this still, you can contact the college’s helpdesk.  However, we are available to help with browser issues that impact Blackboard or other eLearning technologies.  You can email us at, or at (216) 987-4257.

A big shout out to George Kanieski for working on the resolution! – Sasha

Turn off Compatibility View to use Blackboard in Internet Explorer

If you are viewing Blackboard using Internet Explorer in Compatibility view  you may see the following error.
error image

Internet Explorer (IE) compatibility view causes display anomalies  and errors in Blackboard. Faculty and Students using IE to access Blackboard should turn compatibility view off while using Blackboard.

Steps to Turn Off Compatibility View

Select Tools on the Browser Menu Bar
tool menu

Click Compatibility View  to turn it off.

compat view check

The window will automatically refresh and you will be able to access content. We recommend turning on Compatibility View after you finish working in Blackboard as other college system may require it. Click on Compatibility View again to turn it back on. If you need assistance completing these steps please email and the eLi Support team will be happy to help you.


Welcome to the Fall 2014 Semester Start

Reminders to keep you moving:  

PLEASE NOTE:  The browser checker link has been updated!  It has been changed in the Bb tab resources as well, however if you have the old link in your syllabus it will show up as broke.  Find that new link here:  Shout out to Professor Cantonese for the suggestion!

You can find support resources for yourself at:, and resources for your students at: Remember, help documents come pre-loaded in your Blackboard site  under the “Tech Requirements and Computer Skills Needed” section of the “Start Here” button in your course site.

Here is a list of the Newest Blackboard Features.  Click on each link to get details on how the new feature works.

Here is a quick link to the Browser Checker just in case you want to repost it for your students.

Don’t forget that  Known Issues are posted on the eLi blog.  Click “Follow” now and get up-to-the-minute email updates on new postings or save the direct link to your browser favorites.

Have a great semester and as always you can reach eLi Support at (216) 987-4257 or by emailing!

cuyahoga community college


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