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About CS

A Message from Timothy O'Rourke,
Vice President, Computer and
Financial Services & CIO
Tim O'Rourke

August 26, 2013

Welcome, Temple faculty and students, to the 2013 fall semester.

Each year technology brings more options for teaching and learning as well as resources that make it easier to share ideas and collaborate. The choices can be a bit overwhelming and it’s not always easy to decide on which options to use.

To take a closer look, let’s explore a number of tools available in Blackboard for faculty teaching at Temple. These tools are supported by Computer Services and can be used to enhance traditional face-to-face, distance education, and blended classes.

Tools for Teaching and Learning in Any Class

Blackboard is a comprehensive course management system that offers numerous tools to assist instructors and students in the teaching and learning process. All students and instructors automatically have access to Blackboard via their AccessNet username and password. Instructors can use Blackboard to easily accomplish the following tasks.

  • Communicate (E-mail, Announcements, and Voice Tools)
    Blackboard provides several methods to streamline communication with students including e-mail distribution lists and general announcements. Students can opt to be notified when new content is added to a Blackboard course. Voice Tools (Announcements, E-mail, and Board) allows instructors and students to communicate via voice. Hearing voice feedback can be a powerful and more personal way to connect students and instructors.

  • Distribute materials (Content, Mashup Tool, Voice Tools, Podcast, etc.)
    Blackboard provides an easy method to upload and manage distribution of course content such as syllabi, handouts, video clips, pre-recorded lectures, podcasts, and other course materials.

  • Manage and distribute grades (Grade Center)
    The Grade Center allows instructors to record, calculate, and share student grades and feedback through Blackboard. It’s also a handy storage place for referencing grades when they are due in Banner at the end of the semester.

  • Publish, collect, and manage assignments (Assignment and SafeAssignment)
    The Assignment and SafeAssignment features allow students to submit papers and other electronic assignments through a secure drop-box interface. SafeAssignments are checked for originality, and instructors are sent a report for each submission. Assignments and SafeAssignments are tightly integrated with the Grade Center. Instructors can submit grades, provide feedback on assignments, and allow students multiple attempts to complete assignments. This gives instructors the ability to assess student progress, and students the ability to act upon faculty feedback.

  • Create and manage online tests and quizzes (Tests, Surveys, and Pools)
    The Tests and Pools features in Blackboard allow instructors to create, deploy, and grade online tests and quizzes through Blackboard courses. After students complete tests, they are automatically scored, and grades are entered into the Grade Center. Instructors have numerous options when setting up tests including selecting various question types, randomizing questions and answers, and setting a timer. There are also numerous options for providing students feedback. Surveys allow instructors to solicit anonymous, ungraded feedback. All tests, quizzes, surveys, and pools can be re-used from semester to semester.

  • Enable collaboration (Discussion Board, Blogs, Wikis, and Bboogle)
    Blackboard offers the following tools to encourage collaboration:

    • Discussion Board forums are used to create threaded conversations between instructors and students or peer-to-peer discussions. Instructors can use discussion board forums to discuss and debate course topics or create areas for student exploration.

    • Blogs are web-based journals that enable students and instructors to easily “post” on a topic of interest or personal experience. Posts can be text, images, and links to other web sites and can be created as personal, group, or course blogs. Blogs are excellent tools to engage students and sharpen writing skills. They can be assigned as reflective private journals, peer review and feedback, or critical or creative writing assignments.

    • Wikis allow groups to collaboratively create a web page or series of web pages, edit the pages, and add comments. Content in the form of text, images, and links to other web sites can be posted without programming experience. Wikis can be used to create and deliver group projects and presentations, establish peer review, encourage collaborative writing, or simply to provide access to course notes and bibliographies. By viewing a wiki’s history, instructors can track and monitor individual student and group progress.

New Resources

Recently, Computer Services introduced new resources to the university community:

  • OWLbox, Temple's new free resource for storing and sharing files and collaborating on projects. OWLbox offers students, faculty, and staff 50GB of storage space, convenient access to files, and sync capability with desktop files. For information on getting started videos and FAQs, see the Computer Services OWLbox site.

  • WebEx, a highly-rated, industry-leading product, provides the opportunity for faculty and staff to conduct classes, meetings, or events online. WebEx provides a live community environment through real-time video, voice, and chat and also offers a number of options for collaboration.

    For information about the equipment you will need as well as instructions, training tutorials, FAQs, and a link to the WebEx application, visit the WebEx website. WebEx is also available on TUportal under TUapplications.
  • eduroam ® (education roaming) offers Temple University faculty, students, and staff free and secure wireless service when visiting participating eduroam institutions, such as universities, research centers, and libraries, throughout the United States and in over 50 countries throughout the world.

    Information about this service is available at: For additional information, visit the Frequently Asked Questions page on the eduroam website.

Obtaining Help

Consultants in the Instructional Support Center are available to help faculty with these technology tools. To contact the ISC:

  • On Main Campus, call 215-204-0789 or visit the TECH Center, Room 110
  • On the Health Sciences Campus, call 215-707-7702 or visit Kresge Hall, Room 305
  • On the Ambler campus, call 267-468-8393 or visit the Ambler Learning Center, Room 111

All the best for a successful fall semester.



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