OFDIT Newsletter December 2023

Dear Faculty,

We hope the end of the semester is wrapping up smoothly! We wanted to present you with registration links for our upcoming Open and Active Video workshop (NTA hours available!) and Brightspace trainings happening in January, news about LMS and Screencast-O-Matic transitions, and some options for calculating final grades in your courses. It’s a gift to work with such committed faculty, and we hope the upcoming break is a good one for you all! 

Open & Active Video Workshop

Interested in boosting student engagement? Consider interactive videos!

The Open & Active Video Workshop (January 8-22, 2024) is a 2-week asynchronous online workshop on how to source and create openly-licensed content for an educational video, how to film and edit the video, how to add interactive components by incorporating questions right into the Panopto player or by embedding the video in a VoiceThread, and how to openly license and share the video. Faculty who complete the workshop are eligible for compensation of 7 NTA hours and are invited to produce a second video for an additional 4 NTA hours. Registration is open through January 2, 2024!

LMS Transition News

January is a time to explore Brightspace!

You may want to take advantage of the break between semesters to explore the following opportunities: 

Brightspace Demos for Faculty

Basic navigation, course navigation, the student experience, a look at a sample course and accessibility in Brightspace. Staff are welcome to attend.

You can register here to attend on January 10th, 18th, or 23rd

Explore Migrated Courses 

Access Brightspace using your CUNYlogin (Firstname.Lastname##@login.cuny.edu) and explore how your Summer 2023 and other past courses look in Brightspace.

Create a Practice Course 

Create a practice site using the widget found on the dashboard after logging in. There are two limitations: practice sites may not include SPS-specific tools like VoiceThread, Digication, and Panopto, and faculty cannot currently enroll students despite the default text in the widget. 

Upcoming Brightspace Essentials Workshop

Brightspace Essentials, a self-paced, asynchronous workshop organized in bite-sized chunks of micro-learning units, will be available to SPS faculty and staff by January. 

Keep an eye on the new training page of the SPS LMS Transition site for regularly updated resources and event details.

Migration of Dev Sites

The migration of SPS dev sites (also known as master sites or parent sites) will take part in two phases:

  • 3/4/7/10-week dev sites: migration begins January 15 and finishes by February 15
  • 15-week dev sites: migration begins March 15 and finishes by April 15 

CUNY Faculty will continue to have access to Blackboard and Blackboard content through the end of 2025.

Have other questions about the LMS transition? Please visit our Brightspace Transition site or reach out to us at brightspace@sps.cuny.edu.

Screencast-O-Matic is Now ScreenPal!

Screencast-O-Matic (SCOM), is available to SPS Faculty. The tool is a powerful video recorder with a robust editor that can be used to create video lectures, tutorials, demos, and more! 

ScreenPal can record and capture your entire screen or specific areas of your screen, as well as add audio and/or webcam video narration to the video. The software can be used with various operating systems, including Windows, Mac, or Chromebook.

Please contact FacultySupport@sps.cuny.edu for more information and access to ScreenPal.

Calculating Final Grades Using Total Points/Weighted Total

As you prepare to wrap up the Fall semester, a reminder that Blackboard allows you to use Total Points or Weighted Total to calculate your final grades.

The Total Points column is created by default in Blackboard. The Total Points column will calculate final grades by simply adding up all the points a student earned. If you have selected “Calculate as Running Total” and percentage as the Primary Display for the column, the total points the student has earned is divided by the total points possible for their graded work, displaying the student’s average grade on the work they have submitted. If a student has missed an assignment submission, this average won’t be affected unless you enter a manual grade for them in that column. 

The Weighted Total column calculates a final grade based on the respective percentages assigned to categories or individual columns. The final grade is calculated independently of the points assigned to each graded item. It is important to note that the Weighted Total column is created by default in Blackboard, but it is empty unless you set it up.

Please keep in mind that you can change the format in which grades are displayed in both the Total and Weighted Total columns. When you change the Primary Display, this is the format that appears in the Grade Center and My Grades area for students. When you change the Secondary Display, this is only visible to you as the instructor in the Grade Center; students do not see the secondary display. We recommend changing your Secondary Display to either SPS Undergrad Letter or SPS Grad Letter, whichever is appropriate, as this converts the final grade into the appropriate letter grade which you’ll have to enter into CUNYfirst.

Please visit our quick guides for further Grade Center help, or contact us for any questions!

As always, OFDIT is here to help! We are available for one-on-one support and are also happy to schedule a Zoom call to discuss any questions you may have. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us at FacultySupport@sps.cuny.edu. 

All the Best,
Your OFDIT Team

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