SacCT TIPS and TRICKS
Below are shortcuts to the various Tips and Tricks we found that can help you better utilize the SacCT 9.1 system. If you find additional tips, please send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Campus and Technical Resources
- Duplicate Columns in Grade Center
- Group Blogs and Wikis
- Hidden Tools
- Learning Modules
- Links Not Evident
- PDF File Display for Mac
- Preserving Student Information from SacCT
- Re-Grading Multiple Choice Questions
- Tests: Do NOT Use Force Completion
- External SacCT Calendar Syncing Isn’t Recommended
Below are two Web Links you can add to any course for campus and technical resources for your students. You can view these pages, and then copy the Web address (URL) and create Web Links in your SacCT 9.1 course(s).
If you use the Work Offline feature to add/edit Grade Center information in Excel (XLS, CSV) on your computer and then upload that information to SacCT 9.1, be sure to follow the advice for Formatting External Files for Uploading (PDF) to insure duplicate columns are not added.
The upload file MUST include the unique identifier for each existing column. The unique identifier is a numeric value for the column in the Grade Center and is only seen when you export (download) the Grade Center from the Work Offline > Download screen. YOU MUST keep these unique identifiers in the exported file so the import process knows to match the columns with existing columns. Otherwise, the system creates new columns in the Grade Center.
If you are using the group feature for Blogs and Wikis, then be aware that all users can see them if the Blogs and Wikis tools are available to the class via the left navigation or as links elsewhere in the course. Group Blogs and Group Wikis are not limited to just group members if the tools are available. This is different than Group Journals and Group Discussions, which do limit access to those group activities to only group members.
You can still use Group Blogs and Group Wikis, just remove the links to Blogs and Wikis from your left navigation (or elsewhere, such as Tools, if that is available to students) and only give students access to group activities via the Groups tool in your left navigation.
If you hide certain left navigation tools, such as Learning Modules or Assessments, then students will not be able to access ANY items in that module, even if you place a link to those items elsewhere in your course. If you used this technique in the old SacCT system, you will need to move the items in SacCT 9.1 to another location (Content Area or Folder) so students can view that content.
For example, if you hid the Learning Modules tool and want students to view the Week 1 module, create a folder in a Content Area for Week 1 Activities, and then move the Week 1 learning module to the new Week 1 Activities folder.
Hidden Tools (under "Additional Tools")
If you hide a tool link on the "Additional Tools" page, be aware that students will not be able to access that hidden tool from anywhere in the course. As an instructor/designer, this is NOT evident from your perspective (you can see and even use it as an instructor, with "Edit Mode" turned "off"). For example, let's say that you've created a Group Sign-Up sheet; you've placed the link to the sign-up sheet on a page that you've created in the course. However, you decided to HIDE the link to "Groups" on the "Additional Tools" page, because you don't want students accessing the tool from the Additional Tools page. Now, when a student goes to use your sign-up sheet, they will get an message that states the Group is not available (see screenshot below - student has clicked on Group Sign Up Sheet... message is cryptic). With most of these tools, students do not get a very friendly (understandable) error message (if they get anything at all!), if the tool has been hidden under "Additional Tools".
If, on SacCT-- our old version-- your learning modules mainly contained links to other types of files (PDFs, Powerpoints, Word docs, etc), you might consider switching over to a "folder" approach, OR re-formatting your learning module by creating "items" instead [within the items you'd link to your files]. If you include mainly file links in SacCT 9.1, learning module navigation seems to be even more "clunkier" than if you were to use a folder approach. If you are going to use learning modules, it is best if most of your pages are links to "items" [within each item, you can include most types of multimedia and file links].
Keep in mind... when linking to "tools" within a learning module (tests, assignments, discussion forums, blogs, wikis, journals, etc).... In our old version, if you linked to a tool -- let's say a discussion forum in this case -- that forum would be "embedded" right within the learning module. It remained "self-contained". However, in SacCT 9.1, links to tools (like a discussion forum) will actually take you out of that learning module and into the area where that item actually "lives". For a discussion forum, since discussions have to "live" in the Discussions area, it will take you to the discussion area.
Links Not Evident when Linking to Content Folders, Learning Modules, Tests, Assignments, Discussions
If you add an item to a page, and that item is something that students would click on to access, it is not evident that the item is a link that the students would need to click on to access (especially if you've added a description). See the example below -- it's an assignment link. The assignment link also displays the assignment instructions. Since the instructions are listed, naturally students would look for a submit button. However, to actually access the submission area for the assignment, students need to click "into" the assignment -- meaning, click on the assignment title:
To help students navigate the system, it is suggested that if you add anything that is "clickable", try to make it evident to students that it is a link! Like so...
In the example above, the assignment title color was changed to BLUE, and verbiage was added. These extra steps will also help students as we transition to the new system. Remember - this is new for most of them as well!!
Each individual has the option to customize the notifications settings in My Places to receive an email days ahead when a tasks, assignment or test is due. Please see the screenshot below with the instructions in how to receive an email reminder. Thus both instructors and students can choose their notification settings.
If you want to ensure students receive notifications regarding assignments, announcements, and other items, you will need to express that to the students, although on some items you may override the students’ settings. Please see the instructions below.
To edit notifications through My Places E-mail---If you have enabled email notifications, emails will be sent to all involved in a SacCT 9.1 course (instructor's, students, teaching assistants, etc.) regarding the specific items (such as assignments, announcements, tests, etc) that have been added in the course.
- Sign in to SacCT 9.1.
- Click My Places.
- Click Edit Notification Settings, which is the second option under the image placement.
- Click Edit General Settings
- Check Yes for Send Email Reminders, which is under "2. General Settings: Organizations Send Due Date Reminders."
- Type a number for the days you want an email before due date.
There are instances that you may override the students’ notifications. To override user set notifications on some content items, you will be able to override settings for Blackboard users. If such a setting is available, you will see a Override User Notification Settings check box. Click to select this option when creating or editing a content item.
Depending on their computer's configuration (OS version, browser and/or browser version), some of your students may not be able to properly access PDF files that you have included in your course -- UNLESS you have selected the option for your PDF files to open in a new window. In the screenshot below, look for the option, toward the bottom, to "Open in New Window".
Hence, as a rule of thumb, always set PDFs to open in a new window.
When a course is migrated from SacCT to SacCT 9.1 the student information IS NOT migrated. If you want to preserve student information from an old SacCT course (e.g. assignments and assessments submitted, email messages, discussion posts), please follow the steps at this link: Preserving Student Information from SacCT.
Do you need to change the answers to a multiple choice question on a test after students have taken the test? If so, you need to change a setting for the test and question to mark more than one answer as correct. Here are the steps:
- From the Content Area or Learning Module that contains the link to the test for students, click the down-arrow and select Edit the Test.
- In the Test Canvas page, click the down-arrow next to the multiple choice question you want to change and select Edit.
- In the second area, Options, click the box next to Allow Partial Credit. If you do not see the box for "Allow Partial Credit," you need to follow these additional steps to turn that option on for the test.
- Click Cancel to return to the Test Canvas.
- Click the Edit Settings button in the upper right.
- In section 4, Scoring, check the box next to Specify partial credit options for answers.
- Click Submit.
- Now return to edit the question you first selected above in Step 2.
- Scroll down the page to area 3, Answers, and enter a value in the Partial Credit % box for each answer you want to give credit to students that selected that answer. For example, if you want to mark an additional answer as correct, type 100 in the box for that answer. You can put 100 in multiple answer boxes to give credit for multiple answers.
- Click Submit and Update Attempts when you are finished editing the question. The question is saved, all associated attempts in all tests that had this question are re-graded, and the Grade Center is updated with the new values.
Due to the confusion and frustration caused by the setting “Force Completion” in tests, ATCS strongly recommends that instructors do not use “force completion”. If a student accidentally closes a test browser with force completion enabled, the test is automatically forced closed and the student will be prevented from reopening the test. How to verify you are not using the force completion:
- With the Edit mode On, move your mouse cursor over the link to the test, click the down-arrow to the right of the title of the test and select ‘Edit the Test Options.’
- In section 2 (Test Availability), uncheck the box next to Force Completion.
- Click Submit to save your change.
Although the SacCT calendar has a new feature to “Get External Calendar Link,” it is not recommended for use. Syncing the calendar with another service like Google Mail, Outlook, or iCal may not update all the events as shown within SacCT. Therefore, it’s best to use the SacCT course calendars within SacCT itself.
Last updated: July 19, 2013
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