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BEST Institute

BEST Institute:
Faculty & Instructor Training
USC Columbia Campus
August 18 - 20, 2014

Beginning with the Spring 2014 semester, the University began using Blackboard Learn 9.1, SP13. This is a major upgrade from the SP9.

Join us for learning and renewing helpful teaching and technology skills. Be prepared to learn how to take your classroom instruction to a different level. Sessions go from 8:30 until 5:00 throughout USC Columbia campus.

Sponsored by University Technology Services and the Center for Teaching Excellence, the BEST Institute is available for all faculty and instructors. Registration is required. Download a printable schedule (use your USC Network Username/password when prompted).

Schedule & Listing

0-60 Tech Tools
Learn about 10 Web 2.0 tools that will engage your students but also increase your online presence as an instructor. Learn to make your course fun, engaging and more relevant by the using free (or nearly free) digital resources that are easy to use and incorporate into your classes whether they are F2F, hybrid or totally online.

Adobe Connect
Use Adobe Connect to create PowerPoint presentations with audio for delivery on the Web. Connect also allows for live Webcasts and archiving of lectures, including slides, desktop sharing, chat and more. Get introduced to Adobe Connect Professional and why it may be helpful to you whether you are teaching online, or in a traditional classroom and providing some information online.

Adobe Presenter & Presenter Tests
Use Adobe Presenter to form interactive lectures which are graded in Blackboard. You will learn to import lectures, create gradable criteria, and link to the grade center. Students can earn a grade for watching content, all without you raising a finger! See how long each student watches the lecture, plus see individual answers from in-lecture quizzes in Blackboard.

Beginning Online Teaching (Design & Development)
Are you teaching online for the first time or do you want to learn some new tips for teaching online? This session provides basic tips for setting up your online course (based on the Quality Matters guidelines) to include organizational tips, design strategies and activities. Best practices will be discussed and examples shown.

Blackboard: Assignments / Safe Assigns
Assign Learn how to post assignments, load files, receive student input and files, organize information, and grade assignments using the Assignment Manager. Discover how to check for plagiarism using Safe Assign.

Blackboard Basics
This workshop is a thorough overview of Blackboard's capabilities. Learn how to log-in, add course content, create announcements and send email. Explore online course design, the discussion board, see how to set up groups and use the Grade Center.

Blackboard: Grade Center (Advanced)
Participants will learn how to use the Grade Center to their advantage and manage grades more efficiently. Categories, weighting grades, dropping grades, downloading grades, Smart Views are some of the topics to be covered.

Blackboard: Grade Center (Basics)
The Grade Center is more than just a way to record students' grades. It is a dynamic and interactive tool, allowing instructors to record data, calculate grades, and monitor student progress. In the Grade Center, instructors can provide and manage students' grades for a variety of assessments, including assignments, tests, discussion board posts, journals, blogs, and wikis. Faculty can also create grade columns for any activities or requirements that require grading but do not require submission through Blackboard, such as special projects, presentation, participation, or attendance.

Blackboard Personal Portfolios
Come learn how to use personal portfolios in Blackboard. Portfolios allow students to create individual space on Blackboard that is similar to a website. The final product can be shared with individuals, a class, or be made public.

Blackboard Rubrics for Grading Assessments
Do you use rubrics in your teaching? Would you like to find out how to create and re-use rubrics? This session will cover the new Blackboard rubric tool. You’ll learn how to attach a rubric to an assignment or to a grade center column and how to use Blackboard rubrics for grading.

Blackboard: What's Coming
What's coming in Blackboard Learn. In this session, you can find out the latest information on new features and updates.

Blackboard: What's in it for me?
Have you ever asked yourself the following questions? Do you feel overwhelmed with all of your commitments of teaching, research and community service? Are you having problems “reaching” your large classes? Do you want students to have a portfolio of their work? Blackboard can assist faculty in time and classroom management, reach students with 21st century tools and thereby increase participation, and can promote more active engagement in your academic content. Come learn about some of the basic ways Blackboard can assist you in being a more productive and innovative professor.

Build Your Couse Using a Blackboard Template
Blackboard 9.1 course templates have been developed to serve as models for best practices in online courses or for using the Blackboard CMS to support classroom and blended instruction. The purpose of these templates are not to constrict faculty, but rather to provide a clear starting point for their course development and also provide consistent experiences for our students. Each template is set up into learning modules, units, or folders which can be used in a fully online, blended, or web-enhanced course.

Controlled Release of Content, Tests, & Assignments
Did you know you could display content or a test based on a grade made on a previous test or assignment? Did you know you could require students to mark an item as reviewed before they can take a test or view another item? Do you have a need to release an item or test to an individual student or group? Have you ever thought about requiring your students to complete a syllabus quiz before granting them access to the rest of your course? You can do all that and more with the Adaptive Release feature in Blackboard.

Copyright 101
You'll feel more comfortable using copyrighted material when you know what you can do-and what you can't do. Come explore how to use copyrighted materials in instruction, including posting copyrighted materials to Blackboard. We will also discuss the practical application of "Fair Use" and examine the relevant court cases that could affect your teaching, as well as cover the USC IP Policy as it relates to copyright.

Digital Natives: Connecting with your students
So, you have heard about the Millennial or Gen Y students. But, who is coming to USC now? The Digital Natives or the Generation "Z" student. This is the first generation to be born with complete technology. This session will go over some of the needs and expectations, tendencies, and learning preferences of those students born after 1994. You will leave with a better understanding of the students as well as some helpful teaching hints.

Enhanced Wikis, Blogs, and Discussion Boards
Did you know you can put a blog or a wiki in your Blackboard site? Campus Pack tools are packages created by Learning Objects, Inc. that work with Blackboard. Learn how to add Campus Wikis and Blogs and Blackboard Discussion Boards to your course site as well as some interesting ways to use Wikis, Blogs and discussion Boards.

Mobile Device Security
In today’s world we are always on the move. That means our data is mobile as well. But, what are you doing to protect the data on your mobile device? Join Tom Webb to learn the basics that all users need to know to keep the information on their phone secure. This class will cover security software and settings for Android and iOS mobile devices.

My Blackboard and Social Learning Tools
Discover, communicate, and collaborate! With Blackboard Learn’s new social learning tools, instructors and students can create an online identity, find and connect with other users, and engage in group and peer collaboration.

Self & Peer Assessment in Blackboard
Explore how to allow students to grade themselves and one another, using Self and Peer Assessment. The Self and Peer Assessment Building Block is a tool designed to enhance the reflective learning skills of students.

Smart and Enhanced Classroom Technology
This session is designed to demonstrate how you can get the most out of your class by utilizing equipment provided in the university’s enhanced classrooms. You will have the opportunity to experience the technology before you step foot into your class. How do I hook up my laptop? Who do I call with problems? How do I best use the document camera? These are just a few of the questions we will address during this hands on session.

Technology Petting Zoo with Jason Broughton (SC State Library)
This drop-in event offers the attendees the ability to experience firsthand the different types of e-readers, iPads, Microsoft Surface tablet, Amazon Kindle, Kindle Fire, Barnes and Noble Nook Color and Google’s Chromebook. There will also be information about pricing, features, and reviews. Attendees will also learn how to download from the State Library’s free OverDriveebook collection, with books on governance, technology, business, education and South Carolina-related topics.

Tests, Surveys & Pools Plus Respondus Lock Down Browser
Learn how to create tests and surveys. Test can be used in place of paper/pencil exams, to measure student knowledge or gauge student progress, or to prepare students for in class discussions or exams. Surveys can be used to gather information from students. You can create tests and surveys and then deploy them in a course area. Pools are collections and groups of questions that you can include in tests and surveys. Respondus LockDown Browser™ is a custom browser that locks down the testing environment within Blackboard.

Video Copyright
The Educational Film Library has several new film streaming databases! Come find out about what resources we have available, and learn how to create clips and link to these resources in Blackboard.

Create rich, dynamic, asynchronous communication around all of your media. Discuss and share documents, presentations, images, videos and more all in one easy-to-use application. VoiceThread allows you to be present in a conversation even when you can't be in the room.

Web 2.0 Technologies
Be a part of this demonstration and discussion session dealing with Web 2.0 technologies. These technologies include applications like Twitter, Facebook, del.icio.us, etc. used for organizing information and social networking. Bring your ideas.

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BEST Institute


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