Oberlin Center for Technologically Enhanced Teaching


Tech and teaching at Oberlin 18-19

OberviewNew entry page for authenticated (and other) services: Looking for official course enrollments, LMS (Blackboard), payroll deductions, registration, grades  …  Overview is the place to start!

Finding BlackboardBlackboard_logo

Blackboard provides member-only and community sites for courses and organizations at Oberlin College.

Go to https://oberview.oberlin.edu

Use your ObieID and password.  Your ObieID is your first initial, last name (max of 8 characters) e.g. jcalisto.  Using your email address e.g. jcalisto@oberlin.edu or john.calistoga@oberlin.edu as your username will not work.

Specific information for instructors of courses

Ultra Collaborate

Videoconferncing tool in BbNeed to record a presentation prior to class (flip your classroom) or simply needing to record the in class presentation to make it available to students after class? Need to bring in a speaker from a distance or need to teach your class from a remote location? Need to conduct remote office hours or advising meetings? This is your tool.  For more info go to

UPP opportunity

Volunteer to have the online portion of your course moved to a different platform.  We will provide support for moving the material and provide advice on how to redesign the online portion of your course (if needed).  Help us assess other platforms and find the one that is most useful for your teaching and our environment. If interested, contact octet@oberlin.edu.

Global connections

‘Visit’ Afghanistan and talk to people there about Trump, immigration or music. Create an assignment asking your students to connect to someone outside of Oberlin.  Read more about Shared Studios and how you can take advantage of this opportunity.



Additional software:

Google Suite: Email, calendar, docs, spreadsheets, sites, forms, surveys

Qualtrics;  Research level Matlab;


New tool presentation

Periodically we will be providing you with new tools to engage students and sessions to explain how to use them.

The particular tool explained in our next session (10 am May 21st, 2018)  is integrated directly with Blackboard and provides the capability to …

  • record lectures and presentations for later distribution.
  • connect to an outside presenter.
  • engage students virtually and to break up the virtual participants intogroups that can collaboratively work on a project.
  • screen share and connect with students on a one-on-one or small group basis e.g. office hours, advising, research.
  • allow students to screen share and connect with each other while working on a project or studying.
  • prerecord lectures in order to flip your instruction.
  • pollthe students during class.
  • provide a virtual way that you, tutors, and/or help desk personnel can assist students remotely.

If you are interested in learning more about this tool and how to use it, please fill out this VERY short form.


Clearing Cache in Safari

The issue with Blackboard not allowing uploads from Safari has been fixed.  The issue stems from a change that Apple implemented which caused Blackboard to change the code it used to upload files from local machines.  HOWEVER, if you tried to upload documents during the period between when Safari was updated and when the fix was applied, Safari will have placed some code in its cache that will need to be removed before you can get back to uploading documents using Safari.

Here is a short video on how you can ’empty your cache’ in Safari. Note that emptying your cache is NOT the same as clearing your history.



Announcing a new and unique opportunity for faculty, staff, students, classes, and organizations (basically EVERYONE) at Oberlin College. CIT/OCTET is sponsoring a ‘portal’ that will live on Wilder Bowl for 2 months starting on Sept 6th.  This portal will connect to other portals in a variety of locations around the world and is curated i.e. there is someone else that will take care of the logistics. You simply need to indicate what location you want to connect with, what you want to discuss or do, and when you can be there. Then let the curator make the connection.

Some topics around which engagements have occurred at Harvard and other locations include:

Erbil A musician from the Harsham Camp performs traditional Arabic music for conference attendees.
Berlin Sheila Gallagher, presenting artist at AAR, runs a creative workshop with youth.
Erbil Dialogue: What are you studying? What do you hope to do?
Berlin Comedians and those with a good sense of humor trade jokes and skits from their communities. What humor translates? What gets lost in translation?
Gaza Rappers in Boston and Gaza City Share Music and Stories
Amman World History/World Geography/Contemporary Political Issues Harvard classes
Erbil Responding to poetry prompts, Anne Loyer
Berlin How Design and Technological Innovation Can Help Refugee/IDP Communities
Herat Improving Distance Education for Refugees
Amman Using Architecture to Improve Refugee Camps
Erbil Soccer Tips and Tricks

Portal Locations and Shared Studios sites


If connecting with someone in any of these countries would be a valuable experience for your students, please fill out this preliminary form. A curator will be in touch to help facilitate your encounter.

more info on Shared Studios website



Collaborate vs Zoom

Video conferencing options at Oberlin College

There are two supported video conferencing options at Oberlin College. One is for course instructors and is fully integrated into all Blackboard courses. The other is available for students, faculty, and staff, independent of Blackboard.


Blackboard Instructors:

Collaborate – Should only be used from within Blackboard courses. Sessions are initiated through the Collaborate tool. Best practices and use cases for teaching and learning can be found on the Collaborate website.  Anyone who is an ‘Instructor’ in a course or ‘Leader’ in an org can initiate a conference. Conferences can include polling and screen sharing/recording options. Users without blackboard accounts can be invited into a Collaborate session via email.


There is an iOS and Android app for Collaborate


For assistance with Collaborate, check out online support or contact Blackboard directly.


All others:

Zoom – Should be used by people needing to connect outside Blackboard. Free accounts are available to everyone and are able to host sessions of two to three participants. Faculty and staff can obtain a license by contacting AV, at av@oberlin.edu, which will enable them to host sessions with more participants.


There is an app for your computer, as well as an iOS and Android app for Zoom.


For assistance with Zoom, check out online support or contact AV.


Using Google Hangouts to give support with a screenshare

Before you start your first video call

  1. Download and install the latest version of the Hangouts plugin for Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari browsers.
  2. When asked to use your computer’s camera and microphone, click Allow.

Once both parties have done these steps, the call can be initiated from the assisting office.

Using Google Hangouts to give help

Start by going to https://hangouts.google.com and signing in using your ObieID.

After logging in, click on the Video Call button.

Give your Hangout a name. Once you hit Return, you will enter the video call.

Click on the Invite people button. Enter the email address of the person who needs support. Tell the person you’re supporting to check their email and click on the “Join” link to enter your video call.

Instruct the person you’re supporting to click on the green icon to the left of their window to begin the screenshare.

Instruct the person you’re supporting to select the screen they would like to share and click Start Screenshare.

You will then be able to see the person’s screen and assist them with their problem.

Video Tutorial

Click here to view a video of whole process


Grammarly for everyone

We are running a pilot of the Grammarly Premium product through June 30th, 2018.  Please request a trial version (see below). In late May we will send out a survey to guage interest in continuing our access to the Premium version.

What is it and how does it work?

Grammarly comes in 2 flavors: Free and Premium.  If you sign-up, you will get access to the Premium version.

The free version checks for basic spelling, and some grammar rules (around 150 checks), while the Premium version offers over 400 checks on grammar, style, sentence structure, and vocabulary use. On top of that, you get a plagiarism/citation detection tool. The advanced (premium) checks are highlighted in yellow.  to log into the Premium version we suggest you use the google login and use your ObieID@oberlin.edu and password.
It’s easy to use:
  • Copy and paste any English text into Grammarly’s Editor, or install Grammarly’s free browser extension for Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Edge. Grammarly will help you write correctly on nearly every site on the web.

    Click on the red circle at the bottom of the page.
  • Grammarly’s algorithms flag potential issues in the text and suggest context-specific corrections for grammar, spelling, wordiness, style, punctuation, and even plagiarism. Grammarly explains the reasoning behind each correction, so you can make an informed decision about whether, and how, to correct an issue.
  • Download Grammarly for Microsoft® Office on Windows.

N.B. Unfortunately, it does not work in google docs. However, you can compose in the grammarly.com window and then copy and past into your google doc.

More information about Grammarly can be found on the Grammarly website.

To request an invite to access the premier version via the Oberlin College pilot program, fill out the form below. A survey will be sent out at the end of April to assess this product’s utility in our environment. The pilot runs through June 30th, 2018.  Further access will be determined after assessing usage statistics and feedback from the survey.


Creating a Podcast assignment

Tools for creating podcasts (audio files)

Some suggestions for those interested in creating a ‘podcast’ (audio) assignment for their students. 

Have students create a script (double-spaced, 1 page is about 1 minute)

Easiest tool to use is either Audacity (free download / Garage Band (comes on all Macs). Here are some useful tutorials for using these tools. 

Audacity Podcast Tutorial

Garageband Podcast Tutorial

If your students need any assistance with the assignment, have them contact our media consultants at ocmc@oberlin.edu.  They have drop-in hours Sunday through Thursday from 7-10pm.  The are colocated with the Writing Associates in the back of the first floor of Mudd. Also, if students want to experiment with higher quality audio, A/V has two USB mics that would be ideal. A/V is located on the 4th floor of Mudd.

Submitting and grading the assignment

The best way to have students submit the podcast and script is through Blackboard Journal.  The beauty of this mechanism is that you can quickly go through each one AND the submissions can be made available to the students after everyone has turned in their assignments by simply editing 1 journal setting.

Get into journal settings:


Check the appropriate box so that students can see each other’s work: 



Accounting for extra credit in the Blackboard grade center

A very useful video explaining how to add extra credit to a final grade or exclusively to a set of assignments, and have that update the grade a student sees in the Blackboard grade center.


Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign

Now that Adobe products are available in all labs on campus and for faculty/staff use, people have been asking which product should they use. Specifically, should one use Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign. I recently stumbled across a very easy to follow answer to this question. You can find it here: https://99designs.com/blog/tips/photoshop-vs-illustrator-vs-indesign/