Thursday, June 17, 2010

Blackboard 9 Redux


It's taking time for the word to get out, but by now most instructors at ASU are discovering that the Drop Box is gone in BB9. Yeay! Hurray! It's about time. We hated the DropBox. It was ugly, clumsy, inelegant and stupid. The Assignment feature is much better, as it automatically integrates with the Grade Center (GC) and allows us to view individual contributions from that student's cell, or to download all submitted contributions for that assignment as a zip file.
More on Assignment feature (creating, using, grading)

Now, everything elegant has a quirk or two, and many are discovering that this is true with the Assignment feature. Namely, that you go to download from the GC and the screen seems to freeze, blow up, or give you an error message. Why, you ask? (After swearing, kicking your PC, or waiting for hours for a response from Help Desk).
Because you broke the old file naming convention rule. Sometimes, one forgets that new Web apps are still a part of the old world of files and commands and naming conventions.

Spaces. Periods. Funky symbols. Hash marks. Don't do that. So what if you forget that age-old rule? Rename the assignment. DO NOT rename the column in the Grade Center, rename the assignment itself. The problem should go away.

So, a bite-size recap of golden rules for happy computing with BB:
#1. If something seems broken, try another browser.
#2. If that doesn't fix it, remember to only use computer-friendly naming conventions for files, or for objects that will turn into files.
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