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July 21, 2008

DoIT Staff Present Reporting Project at Blackboard World Conference

bbworld08.pngLast week, staff from UMBC's Division of Information Technology (DoIT) presented "Showing How Good Students Use Blackboard" at the Blackboard Users World Conference in Las Vegas, NV.

John Fritz, asst. vp for instructional technology, and Jeffrey Berman, a former graduate assistant who is now a senior web applications developer at Drexel University, shared the latest development in UMBC's effort to better understand how and why students and faculty use Blackboard.

Specifically, they showed the new Check My Activity (CMA) tool that allows UMBC students to compare their own Blackboard activity against an anonymous summary of their course peers. Combined with a new tool that allows instructors to generate (and optionally publish) a Grade Distribution Report (GDR) for any assignment in the Bb gradebook, it is now possible for everyone in the UMBC community to see how good students are using Blackboard.

Reminder: DoIT does not believe or encourage that using Blackboard produces good students. Instead, the CMA is merely designed to give students another self-assessment tool they may use and act on as they see fit.

For the BbWorld08 presentation (attended by more than 60 people), Fritz and Berman were joined by Deborah Everhart, principal architect of Blackboard's product development team, which has shown interest in the UMBC reporting project.

Next steps will be to study if and how students use the Blackboard Check My Activity tool this fall.

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