Author Archives: Tony Toon

SafeAssign Videos

Safe Assign instructions posted by our colleague Pat at the Terre Haute campus.


For those that are familiar with SafeAssign, you know what a great tool to instruct students on plagiarism and to create opportunities to help students identify how to properly attribute sources rather than paraphrase. But it has had its share of technical issues.  With the last version of Blackboard we now have a revamped version of SafeAssign that works better with class assignments.  Below are some tutorials that will get you up and running on the “new and improved” Safe Assign.  These tutorials were created by our friends at Ivy Tech Lafayette.  Thanks, Lena Harper and crew, for sharing. Check these out for some good info on SafeAssign.
o Creating a SafeAssignment:
o Syncing SafeAssign:
o DirectSubmit through SafeAssign:



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Burning the Midnight Oil

Let’s all admit it – online classes means working on stuff at 11pm or later. (We’ve all been there, both as faculty and student. Personally I did my best work as a student at 2am.)

I’ve become a big fan of f.lux. It’s software which automatically adjusts the color temperature of your monitor based on the time. Basically – when the sun goes down, your monitor will get less blue so it’s not as hard to look at.


It’s free, and available for both Windows and OS X. Get it at

Training Portal Instructions

Attached to this post are the directions for employees to register for events via the Employee Training Portal. (These assume you’re an Ivy Tech Evansville employee – if you’re from another region, you’ll just need to change your search terms.)

Click Here to View the Training Portal Directions

Blackboard Printing Workaround

The December update to Blackboard has broken printing – when attempting to print anything from within Blackboard, it only prints the first page of content. This is unfortunately present in all major browsers (Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer.)

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Animated GIFs in PowerPoint

Newer versions of Microsoft PowerPoint now support animated GIF files.


Remember – Just because PowerPoint has a feature, doesn’t mean you should use it.

Papers and weird file formats

We’ve all been there: a student has sent us their research paper, and Word refuses to open it. It’s not corrupt, it’s just not a Word file.

Here’s file extensions for some of the more common word processors that aren’t Microsoft Word, what program they were created in, and ways you can open them.

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Socrative – In Class Polling and Quizzes

As much as traditional tests are used to measure student learning, there are times that you want more immediate interactivity and feedback. Socrative is a student response system that allows you to do polls or quizzes in real-time and see feedback instantly.

Socrative is free, and works in any classroom where students have access to computers or their own mobile devices. There’s no complicated signup process for students either, just give them a quiz number and they’re ready to go.

Find out more at

Social Media in the Clasroom

Fascinating article from PBS on using social media in high school classrooms. No reason it couldn’t be applied to the college classroom however.

Check it out here.

Creating a custom grading scale in Blackboard

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One of the display options for total columns in Blackboard’s grade center is a letter grade. This displays the students’ total as a letter, based on the traditional 90-100 =A, 80-89 = B, etc. grading scale.

There are certain programs which do not use this grading scale, in which case we need to create what is called a Grading Schema.

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Archiving Courses in Blackboard

Faculty may export and/or archive their courses to save a permanent copy of the course for later use. Exporting or archiving a course will create a .zip file which you can save to your computer or external storage device.

  • Exports create a copy of the course with no user data or activity. This is suitable for courses which you plan to reuse in the future.
  • Archives store all user activity, such as submitted work and the gradebook. This is suitable if you need a permanent copy of all student activity in the course.

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