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Whats New (Archive)

Spring 2010-2011 - New Blackboard Learn 9 platform Pilot project
To ensure UoS e-learning services stay aligned with technology advancements, during the Spring 2010-2011 semester, the Blackboard system has been upgraded to the 9 release in parallel to the existing release 8 in production. The Blackboard 9 Learn system functionality is dramatically enhanced in terms of course building tools, user navigation and accessibility, easier communications tools and assessment tools with a smarter Blackboard Grade Center™ with enhancements to handle multiple sections and views, and features to facilitate self and Peer Assessments and special mechanism to handle student assignment submissions.
A pilot projects has been conducted to facilitate the transition towards the new platform by involving a group of keen faculty members and students through about 32 online courses. The feedback is in general very positive.

University of Sharjah case study presented at Blackboard Teaching and Learning Conference
The University of Sharjah’s adoption of Blackboard learning system has been presented as a benchmark practice at the Blackboard Teaching and Learning Conference 2011.
October to December 2009 - ITU Mailers
With the aim to communicate and channelize information to our faculty members and academic audiences, the ITU conveyed technology updates and service improvements through monthly mailers across the Fall 2009-2010 semester, continuing the healthy habit started since 2006. The mailers highlight key instructional technology tools, technical tips and videos for instructors on the Blackboard’s Online Assignments, Course Genie Course design and Grade center management. Click here to see the latest mailers
November 2009 - Distance lecture from Sharjah to Khor Fakkan
To stay in line with technology advancements, the Academic Computing services team is testing new platforms for ability to broadcast lectures over distance between campuses. During the course of this testing phase a 1 hour lecture was broadcasted between Sharjah and Khor Fakkan branches with the cooperation of Dr Hussain Al-Othman, Department of Sociology in November 2009 using the interactive board and communicator tools.
October 2009 - First Remote Training Session by ITU
During Fall 2009-2010 semester, the Instructional Technologies Unit (ITU) successfully conducted the first remote training session for the Community Colleges – Khor Fakkan branch from the Sharjah Main Campus. The 1.5 hour session attended by about 17 Community College (CC) faculty members at Khor Fakkan campus, part of the ITU training program was oriented to CC e-learning needs with presentation on the Blackboard LMS advanced features and the Course Genie tools. The session was facilitated by Ms. Mariam Al- Mansori at Khor Fakkan and by the ACS section from the Sharjah campus. This event denoted a milestone in our journey of enhancing ITU training program effectiveness.

April 2009 - Instructional technologies forums launched
In the endeavor to provide multiple channels to support UoS academic users, in Spring 2008 2009, the ITU has launched Online Forums on specific subjects related to the current Online learning system features and user-needs. The online discussion boards are established with the aim to facilitate user-community interaction on topics of e-learning, specifically on Blackboard, Course Genie and online collaboration.

As part of the continuous efforts by the ITU to improvise and facilitate the IT enabled learning environment, in Spring 2008-2009 a new Plagiarism detection feature has been enabled within Blackboard Courses - SafeAssign.

The Launching event was successfully held on 20th January 2009 at the Al Bairouni Hall (M9). Faculty participated in the interactive session related to the features and applications of the new services.

SafeAssign enables plagiarism detection in submissions (assignments and other forms of coursework) made by students and is of interest to those keen to know the level of originality of submitted work. To know more click here.

September 2008 - Course Genie – Course Authoring tool Introduced
In endeavors to facilitate instruction and support instructional design a new course authoring tool has been introduced this semester, called Course Genie. Simple yet effective, Course Genie, part of a broader Horizon Wimba product suite, is an MS Word plugin and enables producing enriched Blackboard courses. As part of the implementation of the project, ITU conducted training sessions in October 2008 at the main campus, encouraging adoption of the tool by faculty and heeding to their feedback.

August 2008 - Blackboard gradecenter smartviews 
Since the upgrade to Blackboard release 8, Blackboard courses are now enabled with a unique feature to have Gradecenter Smartviews by course sections within the same course.
Now instructors can manage, enter and download grades of students of a specific group (or section) at a time, in addition to the ability to download all students' grades and also control the columns and schema.

August 2008 - New & Improved Online CD Resources
With the onset of the fall 2008 2009, the ITU in collaboration with the WPU relaunched the Online CD Resources site with new and improved features. Now users can search CD resources directly from myUOS , or filter them by subject and category with minimum clicks. 

August 2008 - UOS Successfully Upgraded Blackboard to Academic Suite 8.0

To ensure UOS eLearning services stay aligned to technology advancements, since August ‘08, UOS is on the latest release of the Blackboard Learning system, release 8.0. The Blackboard learning environment has been substantially improved, with the latest update which includes several enhancements, tools & added features. In addition to the new look of “myBB”, the Blackboard system is pumped up with
  • A Smarter Blackboard Grade Center™ with enhancements to handle multiple sections and views
  • Features to facilitate Self and Peer Assessments and special mechanism to handle student assignment submissions 

December 2007 - Student Elections on behalf College of Dentistry
This year, the College of Dentistry - Student Election was hosted online through Blackboard on 9th December 2007 with the coordination of Ziena Keissie from college of dentistry. Using the Blackboard system provided faster and more secured access to results.
December 2007 - Upgrade to Arabized version of the Blackboard System 7.3
In December ’07, UOS updated the Blackboard learning system to the latest fully Arabized 7.3. This release of the Blackboard Learning system provides enhanced language support and special Right-to-left alignment feature. In addition to upgrading the Learning system , the Architecture improvisation also took a leap in this project. The Blackboard Learning system now runs within a more scalable and robust database backend. With each new version of Blackboard the system improves and adds features and tools to facilitate higher quality in course management.
View the Blackboard Mailer for more details
October 2007 - Courses created for Accreditation Committee
Four Blackboard course sites have been specially created on from college of Engineering. Using Blackboard as medium of for the assigned purpose, gives the Committee members flexibility of use, online collaboration mechanisms, higher level of security, authorized access to documents, and anytime-anywhere access to updates. The courses are managed and updated regularly by the assigned members for Accreditation purpose. Blackboard system is now a proven means of collaboration and document sharing for purposes outside the box of student-teacher interaction. The ITU welcomes more such initiatives to further utilize the benefits of the Blackboard environment.
September 2007 - Finance Department surveys
The Finance Department brought in a change in the mode for collecting feedback from the University faculty, staff and students, this year through Blackboard Questionnaires. Upon the Finance Department request, Blackboard hosted the questionnaires with the coordination from Ms. Shaikha Alnaqbi. The questionnaires targeted at Faculty and Staff included Finance Department questionnaire, Human Resources Department Questionnaire, Physical Plant Questionnaire, Services and Purchases Department Questionnaires. Students’ feedback was also collected through questionnaire on the Finance Department.

September 2007 - UOS - ITU presented at the BbSummit ME 07
The Instructional Technology Unit (ITU) members with the support of Dr. Nabil Kallas, represented the University of Sharjah at the very first Blackboard Summit Middle east - BbSummit ME '07, which was a 2-day event hosted in Dubai Men’s College in September 2007. The BbSummit ME '07 gave participants the opportunity to attend the opening session and special CEO’s meeting, several parallel Breakout sessions and Post-Conference Workshops.

In all, the team submitted and presented three Papers at the Summit namely:

  • Strategies for promoting Blackboard User Adoption at UOS by Dr. Nabil Kallas & Anjli Narwani
  • Overcoming the LMS Linguistic Challenge By Anissa Bettayeb & Anjli Narwani
  • Blackboard Adoption and Adaptation Approaches by Anjli Narwani & Dr. Mohammed Arif
May to June 2007 - Annual Evaluation of Deans and Chairs (Spring 06-07 ) on behalf of the Institutional Research Unit
This year for the first time, the Annual Evaluation of Deans and Chairs, organized by the Institutional Research Unit, was conducted Online through Blackboard.
In all there were 32 Evaluation questionnaires to collect feedback on the Chair of Departments and 14 evaluation questionnaires to collect feedback on the Deans of Colleges. Conducting the evaluations online provided the process advantages in terms of Restricted authorized access to the results, Higher level of Security, Accuracy in terms of results collection and reduced manual efforts for distribution and collection of forms.

30 /4/2007 - Students Elections 2007
This year the Student Elections were hosted online through Blackboard on April 30th 2007. The elections were held online in line with the Election Rules mandated by the Deanship of Student Affairs , Men and Women, under the supervision of Dr. Abdalla EL Mneizel and with the support from Ms. Bakhita AlKhatri and Mr. Hesham Mahmoud. With the coordination with the Deanship ,Blackboard hosted Election Voting forms online for 11 colleges both Men and Women. The Online Elections preparation included a presentation on April 22nd 07 to introduce the steps of how to Blackboard for voting. Using Blackboard for online elections had two-fold benefits: higher security in voting and results collection, high availability and accessibility. The presentations following the initiation where covered by Sharjah TV. Prior to the Election the labs across the university were checked and through the support from the Deanship, specially Ms. Bakhita, posters and flyers with the voting steps were advertised to students. On April 30th 2007 the Elections were made available online from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and the results were collected instantaneously through Blackboard the same day. The Deanship of Student Affairs, Men and Women and Higher Administration are proud and pleased with the performance of Blackboard in this event.

13 - 15 /3/2007 - Adaptive Release & Group Management Workshop
Adaptive Release & Group Management Workshop was designed to provide a detailed talk and workshop on the group-management features of Blackboard 7.1. The sessions were delivered in the form of a presentation on March 13th 2007, followed by workshops on the 14th and 15th March 2007. These sessions' materials are designed by our Blackboard team to suit all faculty. This workshop is among a set of others which be conducted in line with the regular semester-start periods in order to allow maximum number of faculty to attend in multiple locations.

23 /1/2007 - Physics and Math placement Tests
In coordination with the Physics and Math divisions and with the support of Mr. Omar ,Blackboard hosted the Physics and Math placement tests which enabled more than 200 students that are in process of enrolling at the University answer their tests online according to the rules and regulations of the University. The placements tests were designed to ensure higher security, time control and random order of questions in order to lower any risks of cheating. Also a key advantage of hosting the placement tests online is that results are instantaneous and the attendance for the exams is controlled by the system.