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Owau - Other BB Features

There are three additional features available in Blackboard you may want to explore. Two of them we'll discuss here and the third, Groups, Cassie and I do with you during our meeting.

Blackboard Scholar is a social networked URL keeper - much like Delicious.
The building block is free and has been activated by our System Administrator. A tab then appears alongside the Homeroom tab. The student chooses whether it's a course Scholar page or a global Scholar page available from any of the student's courses. Here is how it works:

Evaluation: It's integrated with Blackboard and a good way to share web search results because students can invite other students to their page. They can create a "stream" which feeds sites that have the designated keywords. I tried a few and the results weren't worth looking at. A robust service like Delicious can offer the same.

Safe Assign is a built-in plagiarism checking service in Blackboard. Instead of choosing "Create Assignment" in the Evaluate tab, you choose "Create SafeAssignment". It will show you passages it thinks are plagiarized based on a scan of multiple databases of papers and web sources.

You can choose to allow....

Draft - this submits the paper for feedback, but without affecting the grade. Caution - make sure students do this if it is indeed a draft. The reason is once they submit the paper it becomes part of the global database, and will come up as plagiarism (of his or her own paper) the next time.
Urgent Checking moves your paper ahead of others for checking and gets it back to you in an hour. If you overuse this service they will stop doing it for you. Blackboard controls this function. Checks are normally done in minutes to hours depending on traffic. Use this only if you have to.
Student Viewable: lets the student see your comments and the plagiarism report. Recommended.

Here is a tutorial on how it works.

Evaluation: Checking for plagiarism is definitely a good thing to do. However, it requires instructor judgment. A score of 15% or lower is recommended by BB as ok. 40% or higher requires serious examination. However, there are many false positives such as article and book titles. It also ignores quotation marks and blockquotes so you need to decide which you are going to ignore. Here is a very good post on the caveats of SafeAssign.

For the Groups feature, here is a quick tutorial on how to create Groups.


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