Nov. Online Ed News You Can Use

Professional Learning Opportunities (got Flex?)

Spring Online Class Schedule

The MiraCosta online class schedule is a useful website where faculty provide students with important details to help them select and get started with online classes. Unfortunately, the database behind this site is undergoing maintenance, so at this time, it is not available for faculty to edit details about spring classes. As soon as it becomes available, I will notify all faculty teaching spring online and hybrid classes.

Course Management System Evaluation

MOE and the Online Education Plan task force have been discussing for over a year the importance of revisiting MiraCosta’s course management system selections. Engaging in this process periodically is important to raise awareness of the strategic value of the course management system in teaching and learning, as well as to assure that the approach MiraCosta takes with its CMS(s) is indeed the best fit for MiraCosta’s needs. Now that the Online Education Initiative has selected Canvas as the Common Course Management System (CCMS) for California Community Colleges, another option is available for MiraCosta to consider. Look for more information soon on the next steps in this process, which will be inclusive of all stakeholders.

Online Education Initiative Update

The OEI continues to develop resources and refine its timelines. As one of 24 pilot colleges, MiraCosta has two faculty currently offering OEI pilot classes which incorporate additional student readiness and tutoring resources, and, starting this spring, will be taught in Canvas. MiraCosta is part of the OEI Consortium which provides operational input on the functioning of the OEI Course Exchange, and according to current timelines, would begin participating in the Course Exchange in spring 2017. See the Online Education Initiative website and/or MOE’s OEI FAQ site to learn more. The OEI is making online tutoring available for free for all online classes at the 24 pilot colleges this spring; instructors teaching DE classes will hear more on this from me soon.

Jim Julius, Ed.D.
Faculty Director, Online Education

Oct. (already!) Online Ed News You Can Use

Opportunities to Earn Flex Credit

  • Oct. 8, 5:30-6:50 pm, Karen Korstad will run an online workshop on the Blackboard Discussion Board. Sign up via MyFlex.
  • Oct. 9, 8:30 am – 3:30 pm, San Diego CC District is hosting a Distance Learning Summit. See event page and program. The morning features a variety of instructor-led sessions; the afternoon includes a presentation of Canvas and a comparison of Blackboard and Canvas. Breakfast and lunch are included. If you would like to attend all or part of the day, please email me your interest ASAP as SDCCD wants attendee names in advance.
  • Two four-week (Oct. 19-Nov. 13) @One online classes (Designing Effective Online Assessments and Creating Accessible Online Documents) are being run regionally through Grossmont-Cuyamaca and they have invited our participation (at no cost). Please email me ASAP if you are interested.

Student Success Resources to Share with All Students

  • How to Get the Most Out of Studying video series – 6 videos, each about 7 minutes long
  • MiraCosta’s Library iQ Information Literacy tutorial
  • OEI’s interactive tutorials on student success – 11 interactive modules on a variety of topics, some specific to online learning and some more general. Each is under 15 minutes

And as midterms approach, please share MiraCosta’s free online tutoringonline writing support, and 24×7 Ask-A-Librarian (under Ask Us) services.

Blackboard notes

  • If you use percentage Weighted Total or Calculated Total in the Blackboard grade center, you may have noticed a lot (5) of decimal places being displayed. Rest assured that your students still see just 2 decimal places. Blackboard will fix this for the instructor view in an upcoming release.
  • Next summer, Blackboard is retiring its Voice Authoring tools, many of which have become unusable. In its place we will be looking at VoiceThread as a replacement – this is a much more modern tool for creating multimedia-rich online discussions, including easy student inclusion of their own video or audio. More info coming soon.
  • If you are experiencing difficulties using Google Chrome with Blackboard, you’re not alone. Most of Blackboard still works fine with Chrome, but if you’re having problems, try another browser.

Two Final Fall Student Orientation to Online Learning Sessions

… on Oct. 19 and 20. See TASC’s site for details.

Did you know you can review previous editions of Online Ed. News You Can Use?

Jim Julius, Ed.D.
Faculty Director, Online Education

Sept. Online Ed News You Can Use

Hope your semester is off to great start.

MOE Initiatives for 2015-16

At its first meeting, MiraCosta Online Educators (MOE) decided that it would lead two major efforts this year. Look for more information very soon on how to get involved in:

  • re-evaluation of MiraCosta’s course management system, and
  • creation of online class quality guidelines.

Student Orientation to Online Learning

Over 230 students have attended one of these one-hour sessions this fall, bringing the total to over 850 since we started in spring 2014. If you are incentivizing student participation and did not receive the email I sent on Friday, contact me and I’ll share the attendance list with you. Two more orientations remain this week, and two will be held when 8-week classes begin in October – see TASC’s site for details.

Support Services for ALL Students – Online

I find during the student orientation sessions that most students are not aware of (but get very excited about) MiraCosta’s free online tutoringonline writing support, and 24×7 Ask-A-Librarian (under Ask Us) services available to all students. Please direct your students to these great resources!

Professional Learning this Fall

You can get Flex credit for exploring technologies for teaching, reviewing online workshops, and participating in online professional development. Some examples:

  • Participate in a live webinar – from Turnitin (Sept 10); from WCET on accessibility in online teaching on Sept 20, 24, and 29.
  • View archived workshops from MiraCosta online ed; CCC Confer; @One; and the Program for Online Teaching.
  • Be a pilot of Zaption, a tool which enables creation of assessments within videos, and integrates with Blackboard to provide detailed analytics on video viewing and assessment results. We still have a few faculty spots for a pilot over the 2015-16 year. Please contact me if you are interested.
  • Sign up for an @One fall class. Several starting on 10/19 remain open.

Jim Julius, Ed.D.
Faculty Director, Online Education

Blackboard Updates



By now you hopefully are aware of the many updates made to our Blackboard system at the beginning of summer. The overall look is more modern, and there are a number of functional changes.

A secondary Blackboard update has just been completed. This means that Turnitin and YouTube integrations have been restored to operation. Please carefully review the following sections if you use those tools in Blackboard. Note also that we have rearranged the Blackboard landing (portal) page, with myCourses now on the left rather than the right.


As we described earlier this summer, you needed to wait until now to add Turnitin assignments in fall semester courses. Fall Turnitin assignments set up prior to this morning in Blackboard will not work correctly. And if you import old Turnitin assignments into a fall course (even with the new update), those also will not work. Please create new Turnitin assignments now for your fall courses. Also, please note that Turnitin will be conducting maintenance this weekend and expects the Turnitin service to be unavailable from 7-11:00 on Saturday morning.


Issues with YouTube/Blackboard integration began this spring, and finally are corrected with the just-completed update. The mashup tool for adding YouTube videos is working, as is the Video Everywhere tool for recording/adding your own videos directly within Blackboard. Note that the default video size when embedding videos via the Video Everywhere tool ( in the editing toolbar) is 120×90, unusably small, so be sure to change the default height and width to a larger size (e.g. 480×360) that your students will find useful.

Other Reminders

  • Text message and text-to-voice notifications from Blackboard are not working. This is a recent bug that Blackboard is working on. Students can still sign up for automated email notifications.
  • Students or faculty who have previously used Blackboard Mobile Learn will need to re-connect it.
  • Students who wish to change their first name displayed in Blackboard or Moodle can do it themselves within those systems. Students who wish to change their last name displayed in Blackboard or Moodle must request a preferred name change through the Admissions and Records Office.
  • Please review last week’s full Online Education News You Can Use if you have not done so!

– Jim

Jim Julius, Ed.D.

Faculty Director, Online Education

Back-to-School Online Ed News You Can Use

Hope everyone had a great summer! Lots has happened in the Online Ed realm – please see below and click links to learn more. Best wishes in your final preparations for fall classes!

Blackboard and Turnitin Updates – Very important

  • If you’ve been away for the summer, you may not yet have noticed the Blackboard system update, with new features and functions to learn about
  • This update means your procedure for copying content from previous courses to fall courses or helping students finish incompletes is different – your old courses are on a different server
  • The Blackboard system will receive minor updates on August 13 which will fix current YouTube and Turnitin integration issues in Blackboard.
  • DO NOT copy old Turnitin assignments to fall courses, and until August 13, don’t create new Turnitin assignments either. After August 13, you may create new Turnitin assignments (though please note that the Turnitin company is taking Turnitin down on Aug. 15 from 7-11 am for maintenance).
  • Voice Authoring is no longer working properly in Blackboard and is permanently removed. 
  • Opt-in Blackboard notifications via text messages are not working – we are still hoping to get this fixed. 
  • Finally, if you or your students use the Blackboard Mobile Learn application, it will need to be reconnected to MiraCosta’s Blackboard system.

Fall Flex – Reserve your spot now! 

Sign up now for August Flex workshops. You may also review the details of the Online Education workshops that Karen and I (and some additional faculty) are offering before entering MyFlex.

Online Academic Support Resources for ALL Students

As you finalize your syllabi and course resources, please make your students aware of online tutoringonline writing center, and the 24×7 online ask-a-librarian service (under “ASK US” at upper right). These services are open to all MiraCosta students in any class! Also, the OEI has made its set of student online learning readiness modules open and available to anyone – feel free to link to any that you like.

Fall Student Orientations to Online Learning 

I will offer eleven online learning orientation sessions this fall. Please share the schedule with your online/hybrid students and encourage their attendance. I will provide a report to online instructors of the students who have completed this orientation this fall or previously. 

Online Instructors: Please Update Online Class Schedule

For all those teaching an online or hybrid course this fall, please make sure your class description is up to date on the separate Online Class Schedule page. Students use this page to learn how to get started with your class, and you can provide other important information there to help students prepare for success.

Zaption Pilot

Zaption enables creation of assessments within videos, and integrates with Blackboard to provide detailed analytics on video viewing and assessment results. We still have a few faculty spots for a pilot over the 2015-16 year. Please contact me if you are interested.

Online Education Initiative (OEI)

Much has happened over the summer. The biggest news is that the OEI is making the selected common course management system, Canvas, available to all CCCs at no cost. It’s very likely that a faculty-led effort will take a close look at MiraCosta’s course management system selection this year. MiraCosta will continue to offer two pilot OEI courses this fall, and will continue to have opportunities for more faculty to offer pilot classes in upcoming semesters. To learn more about OEI, please see or feel free to contact me if you have questions.

Encouraging a Growth Mindset in Students

A wonderful online educator from the U. of Oklahoma, Laura Gibbs, is looking for collaborators on a project to help promote a growth mindset in students through fun and simple memes (pictures with sayings). Check out her resource site and invitation to collaborate:

Professional Learning this Fall

Looking to inspire and inform your (online) teaching? Explore these links:

Jim Julius, Ed.D.
Faculty Director, Online Education

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