Firefox version 39 update

A message from Greg Freidline:

As you all are probably aware Firefox 39 doesn’t jive very well with our CAS server. Getting it to play nice isn’t very easy either however I want to share the steps with you all in case we need to help users force their browser to play nice.


Disable the insecure ciphers here:

(1) In a new tab, type or paste about:config in the address bar and press Enter. Click the button promising to be careful.

(2) In the search box above the list, type or paste ssl3 and pause while the list is filtered

(3) Double-click the security.ssl3.dhe_rsa_aes_128_sha preference to switch it from true to false (this usually would be the first item on the list)

(4) Double-click the security.ssl3.dhe_rsa_aes_256_sha preference to switch it from true to false (this usually would be the second item on the list)


We’re looking into what needs to change on the server to resolve the problem.

Faculty Evaluation Results

You can create one consolidated report of all your course evaluations. Here is how:

Login to any of your spring courses and click the “View Results” button at the top right of the main content window.



On the next screen select the the Response period, which is Spring 2015 Faculty Evaluations.  Under “Compare Responses By” select “All courses I teach.”  Click the “View Results” button.



It may take several minutes of processing to generate the report.


A summary report for all of your classes is produced.


The resulting report shows a line for each course on each question. 


Help with Blackboard

If you need help with Blackboard there are multiple resources available. The best place to begin is the Blackboard Login page. See below for more information.



1. The Faculty Resources include links to Blackboard help, videos, and more.


2. Spring 2015 Faculty Blackboard Workshops – Workshops on many topics related to online course development and classroom technology  are offered every semester, at least three weeks out of the month. Customized workshops and personalized sessions are available upon request.  Contact Sandy Bogus (432-837-8523)  to make arrangements.


3. You are already here, so you know about the Blackboard Blog. Messages, updates and Blackboard tips can be found here.



4, 5 & 6. Help is available seven days a week. Contact Estella, Sandy, Rusty or the Sul Ross Help Desk by phone, email or in person!


Welcome Back!

I hope you all had a good break! Now that the electricity is back on we can get serious about our spring courses. Once again, here is a link to instructions on copying content from an old course to a new one:

Also here are instructions for opening your course to students for the spring:


Copying your course content to Spring 2015 Blackboard courses.

For those of you thinking about your Spring 2015 courses, here are instructions for copying a previous course to the spring 2015 semester.

I also recommend that you delete all the links in the new course before copying the content from the previous course. Blackboard adds the new content, but does not overwrite what is already there. If you don’t delete the links, you end up with double the items on your course menu!


How many faculty evaluations have been completed?

If you are wondering how many of your students have submitted faculty evaluations for your Fall 2014 courses we have a way for you to find out!

Go to the Blackboard login page, but don’t login! Click the link below the login button, under “Blackboard Updates.”


A window will open with the option to open the Excel spreadsheet. Select “Open” and click “OK.”  (Some browsers will download the file and then you can open it.)



An Excel spreadsheet will open. It has two columns, one with the course ID and one with the number of students who have completed the survey.



You can search the spreadsheet by pressing the “CTRL” and “F” keys on your keyboard and either enter the CRN for your course or the course rubric and number, for example “ENG_1302.” Click “Find Next.”



Here you will see your course and the number of students who have completed the evaluation.



Or you can enter the CRN number for your course.



If you don’t know your CRN number, you can find it in Blackboard on your course list. It is in the middle of the Course ID.




I will update this list on Friday of this week (Dec 5) and Monday December 8th. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me!

Safe Assign as a Teaching Tool

The Safe Assign tool can be used to check students work for plagiarism, but it can also be used as a teaching tool.  You can set Safe Assign up for students to submit their draft versions of papers and review the report themselves .

Implementing the Safe Assign Tool has changed after our Blackboard update last August. Safe Assign is now incorporated in the regular Assignment Tool. To add Safe Assign go to a content area and under “Assessments” select “Assignment.”


Add your assignment information then scroll down.


Click on the “Submission Details” link under “Grading.”


Under “Submission Details” you will customize how you want SafeAssign to work . Check the boxes under “Plagiarism Tools”. If you want to use SafeAssign as an educational tool for students, to teach them about using sources, check the box to “Allow students to view SafeAssign originality report for their attempts.”  If you don’t want to add their current paper to the database (if this is a draft for the student) check “Exclude submissions.” Checking this setting does not add their draft version to the database. So when they submit the “final” version, the report won’t check it against the draft version.


Click “Submit” when you have finished with all your settings.

Faculty Evaluations

Faculty Evaluations for the Fall 2014 semester are beginning this week. The evaluations will be available to students through a link in their Blackboard course and also through email. If an instructor is not using Blackboard and their course is not available to students, students will still get an email and can complete the evaluation without ever logging in to Blackboard. The title of the course and the instructor name appears in the email and on the evaluation itself. The evaluations are anonymous.

Reminder emails will be sent to students who have not completed the surveys each week until December 11, when the surveys end. Results of the evaluations will be available to faculty after the semester ends and grades have been posted.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.