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August 17, 2008

Bb Version 8 Pilot Server to Help Prepare for January Upgrade

To help prepare for a January upgrade to version 8.0, the first installment of Blackboard’s “Next Generation” course management software, the Division of Information Technology (DoIT) has set up a pilot server and welcomes faculty interested in using it for Fall 2008.

The new version includes a completely redesigned grade book that allows instructors to drop the lowest of several grades, email students when they fall below a certain pre-determined standard, divide the grade book based on class sections if several are included in the same course shell, and other features that were requested by Blackboard users.

An online manual developed by Southwestern College can be found at http://www.umbc.edu/oit/newmedia/blackboard/help/version8/Grades80.pdf.

Additional features in version 8.0 include the ability for students to self and peer review assigned materials and the early warning system for notifying students when they fall below standards set by the instructor.

Instructors from several courses, including some sections of Science 100, English 100Y, MLL 406 and Psychology 100 will be participating in the initial pilot and will share feedback. If you would like to participate, contact Bob Armstrong at 410.455.3885 or rarmstro@umbc.edu.

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