eLearning Tips and Tools

In our monthly Tips & Tools series, the Center for eLearning team features instructional design recommendations (tips) and instructional technology features (tools). These tips and tools are designed to provide guidance and assistance to help you thoughtfully incorporate aspects of technology, design, and pedagogical theory in your courses to improve student success across all instructional modalities.

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Active Learning


Beginning of Semester

BlazeVIEW Support

BlazeVIEW Tools

Grading and Feedback

Student Engagement Tools in Collaborate Ultra

Would you like to improve student engagement in your online course? Want to liven up course sessions so you aren't just talking to your camera?

With Collaborate Ultra synchronous sessions, you can create opportunities for student engagement, higher-order thinking skills, and high-impact practices. By including active learning techniques and using tools in Ultra such as the Collaborate panel, feedback options, polls, and markup tools, you can develop an active and thriving classroom learning community.

You can also save this Ultra Icons and Interactive Tools document to share with your students. It contains images and descriptions of the interactive elements in Collaborate Ultra that you can copy and paste into instructions for your students.

BlazeVIEW Availability and Visibility Dates

In this video, we are looking at the visibility and availability options in BlazeVIEW that can help you and your students set pacing and time management goals for your course.

BlazeVIEW Notifications

With BlazeVIEW Notifications, you can keep students up-to-date on all course activities and content. This video provides an overview of the BlazeVIEW Notifications tools, including a comparison of the methods, types of notifications, and settings available for Mini Bar, Pulse App, Email, and SMS (text) notifications. 

BlazeVIEW Course Template

The Center for eLearning has created the BlazeVIEW Course Template to help you organize and build your spring semester course content. The template includes pre-formatted modules, guides, and helpful links for you and your students. You can import the template into your empty course shell by following these instructions. To request the template be imported by the eLearning team, email blazeview@valdosta.edu and enter the subject: Request Course Template. 

The BlazeVIEW Course Template includes instructional design elements following the BlazeVIEW Rubric for Course Design, including:

  • Getting Started Module
    • Welcome - Course and Instructor Introduction
    • Syllabus
    • Student Guide/Resources
  • Modules
    • Module Introduction
    • Learning Objectives
    • Task List
    • Assignments, Assessments, and Discussions with due dates

We have developed resources to help you modify and add content to the BlazeVIEW Course template to meet your course requirements. Select Customizing the BlazeVIEW Course Template.pdf or Creating Content in BlazeVIEW.pdf for step-by-step instructions.

Contact the Center for eLearning by email at blazeview@valdosta.edu, or by phone at 229-245-6490, if you have questions about the template and how you can use it to design your courses! 

Import/Export/Copy Components

Have you started building your courses for next semester in BlazeVIEW? Would you like to use content you created in a previous course? Does your colleague have a fantastic assignment you would like to use in your own course? In today's Tips & Tools, we review copying course components from one course to another in BlazeVIEW.

The projected release dates for course shells are as follows:

  • Spring semester shells - October 1st
  • Summer semester shells - March 1st
  • Fall semester shells - June 1st

Watch this video for a brief walkthrough reviewing how to copy all components from an existing course to an empty course shell.


The following guides also provide step-by-step instructions for copying an entire course to another shell and for copying individual components from one course to another. 

Grades Display and Release Options

In today's Tips & Tools, we look at the display and release options in Grades, as well as presenting tips and best practices when using the Grades feature in your course. By customizing how grades are displayed and released to your students, you can help improve communication, motivation, and student success.

Restrictions Overview

Would you like to set up student accommodations in your online class? Do you teach a combined course and would like to create separate paths to content for students? Would you like to set up student pacing throughout the course?

In today's Tips & Tools, we explore Restrictions in BlazeVIEW, including a comparison of the restriction settings available for Content, Assignments, Discussions, and Quizzes. We also offer uses for restriction settings that you may not have thought of, as well as tips for best practice when applying settings within your course. 

By using the Restrictions settings thoughtfully, you can make the semester easier for you and your students.


Quiz Intervention Tools 

Have you ever had students email or call you in a panic because an online quiz froze or kicked them out? Or students who are absolutely certain they submitted the exam, but you don't see it in the list of completed exams?

In this brief video, we offer tips for responding to quiz abnormalities. We also present three tools within BlazeVIEW to help when you need to review or intervene in a quiz attempt:  Attempt Logs, Force Submission, and Reset.

By preparing in advance and having a plan in place, you can use these tools within BlazeVIEW to help you respond quickly when the unexpected happens during an online exam. 

Boosting Student Accountability and Success with BlazeVIEW Gradebook

Is your gradebook up to date? Do your students know where they stand in your class?

This four-part video series highlights the Grades feature in BlazeVIEW and how you can using this feature for consistent academic feedback to boost student accountability and success. 

Begin with a look at the pedagogical benefits of a good grading system and an introduction to BlazeVIEW Grades. Then, create a points-only or weighted BlazeVIEW gradebook. Finally, explore additional grade management tools in BlazeVIEW used to modify grade-items and categories and address special grading circumstances. 

BlazeVIEW Student Guide Module

The BlazeVIEW Student Guide module is available for instructors to import into any course. The guide provides students with direct access to videos and step-by-step instructions for essential BlazeVIEW tools and resources to help them be successful in your course.

Sections in the module include:

  • BlazeVIEW Support
    • Students review support available through the Center for eLearning, Information Technology, and D2L Help Center.
  • Learner Tools – Navigation & Settings
    • Students review basic navigation and learn how to personalize their BlazeVIEW environment.
  • Learner Tools – Assessment
    • Students review instructions for completing graded assessments and learn how to check their grades and feedback.
  • Learner Tools – Communication
    • Students review communication tools such as email, announcements, and instant messages.  
  • Brightspace Pulse Mobile App
    • Students learn how to stay connected to their courses through the Brightspace Pulse mobile app.

The BlazeVIEW Student Guide is formatted as a zipped file that can be downloaded and imported as a module into any course. You can find the link to the zip file and information about the contents, as well as step-by-step instructions for downloading and importing the module into your courses in How to Import the BlazeVIEW Student Guide Module.

Active Learning with Shared Content in Collaborate Ultra

Video conferencing tools, such as Collaborate Ultra, are a way to recreate the face-to-face classroom experience over other modalities, including hyflex and fully online courses. Active learning strategies can help improve the online classroom experience. Active learning is any learning activity in which the student participates or interacts with the learning process, as opposed to passively taking in the information. Incorporating active learning techniques helps create a sense of community, increase student engagement, and help improve students' content retention, critical thinking, and interpersonal skills. 

In this video, we look at implementing active learning strategies by using the Share Content panel in Collaborate Ultra to develop interactive lectures and activities. Tools we review include the embedded whiteboard, polling, shared applications, and shared files - including images, PDFs, and PowerPoint slides.

In addition to the video, the PowerPoint presentation is available with links to additional resources.


Active Learning with Groups in BlazeVIEW

Increase student engagement and promote active learning in your online course by creating group discussions and assignments with the Groups tool in BlazeVIEW. In this video, we explore some of the pedagogical benefits of including group activities and assignments in the classroom and outline best practices for instructors when developing and implementing group activities. We then review the steps for using the Groups tool to create and manage groups in your BlazeVIEW course.


Alternate Assessment Strategies and Respondus LockDown Browser

As advised by the USG, Provost Smith, and CELT, faculty should use built-in BlazeVIEW quiz tools and provide flexible and alternative assessments to online proctored exams. Strategies for flexible and alternative assessments are provided in this CELT & eLearning webinar. 

If deemed necessary, Respondus Monitor is available as an add-in to LockDown Browser for you to use as a proctoring tool for high-stakes exams. Please be aware that Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor are only supported for Windows and Mac computers. Respondus WILL NOT FUNCTION on Chromebooks, tablets (other than iPads-see details below), or smartphones. Additionally, students must have a strong, reliable internet connection for Respondus Monitor to function correctly. 

System Requirements to Run Respondus LockDown Browser and Respondus Monitor:
  • Operating Systems: 
    • Windows: 10, 8, 7
    • Mac: OS X 10.12 or higher
    •  iOS: 10.0+ (iPad only) Must have a compatible LMS integration. (details)
  • Hard Drive Space:
    • Windows: 75 MB permanent space on the hard drive
    • Mac: 120 MB permanent space on the hard drive
  • Web camera (internal or external) & microphone
  • A broadband internet connection

Please review the following resources as you begin integrating this tool into your courses, and as always, reach out to the Center for eLearning if you have any questions.

Instructor resources:
  • Instructor Training:  This webinar is intended for instructors who plan to use Respondus LockDown Browser and/or Monitor with online exams and provides a detailed demonstration of both applications.
  • Best Practices:  This document outlines the best practices recommendations for Respondus LockDown Browser and/or Monitor in your course.
  • Sample Syllabus Statement:  This is the sample statement we recommend you include in your syllabus if you are utilizing Respondus with your exams. You may also add this statement as an announcement in your course.
  • Instructor Quick Start Guide from Respondus:  This guide provides an overview of the Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor features and set up information for instructors.
  • Technical Support and Knowledge Base:  The Respondus knowledge base and support system are useful tools for assistance with any technical issues you encounter with Respondus LockDown Browser and/or Monitor.
Student resources:
  • Video Overview:  A brief video to help introduce students who are new to using Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor
  • Installation Instructions:  Students can follow these instructions when installing Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor on non-VSU managed computers.
  • Student Guide:  This guide, created by the Center for eLearning, contains information to guide students when installing and using Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor.
  • Student Quick Start Guide from Respondus: This guide provides an overview of the Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor features and set up information for students.
  • Live Chat Support Tool:  A guide to accessing the Live Chat tool where you can chat with a Respondus representative
  • Technical Support:  Submit a ticket here for assistance with technical issues.