Technology at UMBC

The Division of Information Technology (DoIT) is responsible for administering all technology functions at UMBC, including support for use of Instructional Technology. Please refer to the following Instructional Technology resources for answers to questions about classroom technology, Blackboard, clickers, and multi-media production services:

Additionally, through the Technology Support Center, DoIT provides help in the form of help desk and drop-in sessions (online and in-person).

myUMBC | Classroom Technology | Student Administration | BlackBoard | Scantron

myUMBC

myUMBC is the University’s centralized site for access to resources such as your UMBC email, calendar, Blackboard course shell, Google Drive, and groups. Once you are in the UMBC system, you will need to setup your myUMBC account using the instructions here. You will need your campus ID, which you can request from your department administrator.

Classroom Technology

UMBC classrooms are equipped with technology to support you in your teaching. However, not all classrooms have the same technology. Please see this list of DoIT FAQs to determine what technology is available to you in the particular room in which you will be teaching. If you need help or would like to request additional technology for your classroom, contact the A/V Services Office located in Engineering 020 at 410-455-2461 or submit an RT ticket directly to A/V services.

Mac Users: Make sure to bring an adapter to use your computer for sharing presentations, videos, music, etc.

Student Administration (SA)

SA is the software that UMBC uses to register students for classes and track their progress. Please visit the SA website for “how to” documentation. If you have a myUMBC account but do not have access to your class roster, please click on the “records and registration” form on the SA access forms page. See the Teach a Class Wiki for guides on how to view a class roster, understand waitlists and class permissions, and submit grades at the end of the semester.

A word of caution: The How-To’s include topics such as “Granting Permission” and “Granting Exceptions.” These topics are useful if you need to over-enroll a student or allow a student to enroll without prerequisites. It is strongly recommended that you check with your department for departmental policies before over-enrolling or enrolling a student without a prerequisite.

Blackboard

Blackboard is UMBC’s learning management system (LMS), a software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting and delivery of course content and materials. Please see these frequently asked questions about Blackboard:

I’ve never used Blackboard before. Where do I start to get my course set up? How can I get further training?

The Instructional Technology team offers support and resources on Blackboard including training webinars and programs and individual consultations. They have an extensive FAQ page for Blackboard for both faculty and students that has helpful articles (browse the menu on the left), including articles in the “Getting Started in Blackboard” section. If you have a specific question or would like to request a consultation, please submit a RT ticket and someone will reach out to you. Please note that UMBC is currently transitioning to Blackboard Ultra, so there may be two versions of instructions going around. We suggest setting your course up in Ultra since the previous version of Blackboard will eventually be phased out.

Why do I not see my course shell in Blackboard?

If your name (not generic STAFF) is not associated with the course you are teaching in the Schedule of Classes (SOC), please see your Departmental Scheduling Coordinator to resolve the issue. If your course was recently assigned to you in the SOC, please allow up to 48 hours to see the Blackboard shell. If you and your Department Scheduling Coordinator believe you are correctly assigned as the instructor of record in the SOC, submit a RT ticket via my.umbc.edu/help. If you need a Blackboard shell for a research or independent study course, please submit a new course request.

Why do I have only one Blackboard shell if I am teaching two different sections of students?

A Blackboard shell is automatically created for every course at UMBC. However, only one shell is created per course per instructor. In other words, if you are teaching two classes of the same course (for example, one that meets at 8am and another that meets at 10:30am) or a combined/cross-listed course, then all students will be enrolled in the same Blackboard shell (both 8am students and 10:30am students).

DoIT does it this way by default because often instructors are delivering the same content to both classes. Two separate shells would mean that an instructor would have to maintain two sites – essentially doubling the instructor’s workload.

Instructors can request via RT that these sections be split into separate shells. To ensure your split request is processed before the first day of class, please submit your RT at least one week before the semester starts. However, if what you want to be able to do is to view the students who are in each class, grade the two classes separately and communicate with them separately, the better solution is to create Groups and Smart Views.

Do I have to use Blackboard?

Of course, instructors are not required to use Blackboard, but you might find that there are some good reasons for using it, such as:

  • Blackboard is supported by DoIT.
  • It is easier for students if they only have to visit one site for all their courses.
  • Using a site on the internet-at-large tempts students to go wandering around to other sites (email, facebook, Twitter, etc.).
  • Blackboard tracks activity so students can see how they compare with peers in terms of how much they are engaging with materials online.
  • Blackboard offers a grade book so that students can see how they are doing in class.
  • Blackboard has many tools available with a good amount of flexibility. Chances are, Blackboard can help you do what you want it to do.

In fact, Blackboard offers so many choices that sometimes it can seem overwhelming. It may be easier, then, to start with the question, What do I want students to do? Once you know the answer to that, then consider if Blackboard might have a way to make it easier, faster, or simply better.

If you would like help thinking through a teaching issue or a teaching with technology issue, contact the Faculty Development Center.

Scantron

Instructors can have objective tests scored using the Scantron system (aka Bubble Sheets). This service can be particularly useful for faculty who are teaching large classes. DoIT handles a large volume of Scantron exams for faculty across the university, especially during midterms and finals. In order for this process to run smoothly and quickly, instructors are required to follow the procedure outlined by DoIT.

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