Oberlin Center for Technologically Enhanced Teaching


Understanding Copyright

Oberlin College is committed to ensuring all Oberlin College community members adhere to Copyright Law. Faculty distribute materials through Blackboard in accordance with Fair Use and:

  1. The material is only available to students that are officially registered for the course.
  2. The material is only available to those students during the period that the course is being offered.
  3. It is being used for educational purposes related to the course content

Instructors should also provide a statement in their syllabus or on the course site that indicates that:
These materials are being used under the Fair Use clause.  As such, all materials need to be deleted from the students machine/storage device after the course has been completed, and at no time can the material be distributed or made available to anyone who is not officially enrolled in the course.  This would be a clear violation of Fair Use under copyright law.

Audio/video copyright concerns:

As a policy which is based on technical, pedagogical and legal considerations, we do not distribute over the network anything that resembles a complete work e.g. high quality concert footage/audio, high resolution images, a whole book or a complete movie, show, or documentary.

However, it is clear that in the future these obstacles will be eliminated and for those items where we have very clear permission to digitize and distribute whole works over the network we will need to do so. Some of the OhioLink videos come to mind as do Oberlin faculty/student concerts.

Oberlin specific issues (not necessarily in order of importance):

  • Server space – adding full length films to our media server would catch-on quickly and thus require a large amount of disk space (much cost).
  • Network issues – feeding large files, even in the YouTube format would take up much of our bandwidth
  • Copyright – we should not be promoting or modeling practices that we are actively discouraging in our students. Furthermore, if a DVD is that integral to a course, then I see it in the same way that I see a book. It should be a required purchase by the student. If it isn’t integral, then putting on reserve, however inconvenient is the proper course of action.

How are other institutions handling copyright?

For more information:

Copyright Law:  http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html

TEACH Act:  http://www.copyright.gov/docs/regstat062701.html

United States Copyright Office:  http://www.copyright.gov/

Circular 66 Copyright Registration for online works:  http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ66.pdf

Feeling adventurous?  Check out this comic Tales from the Public Domain: BOUND BY LAW? that was created by the Duke’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain that discusses the fine line between copyright, intellectual property and fair use.

This book is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.


Faculty questions about quiz features

Quiz FAQs for Faculty

Is there a way for the detailed results and answers for the quizzes to be shown without having the quizzes still available for taking (esp. for students who did not take the quiz)?

When you change the settings to show the feedback, you can add a password to the quiz. This should make the results available, but the quiz unavailable (unless you have the password). This will prevent other students from going back to take it with the correct answers. Go to the quiz, and select Modify>Modify test options>Password.  Just remember to set the password when you change the settings to show the results.

With the password set….If the test was already completed, the student will be able to review their results by clicking on the quiz or by clicking the link under “My Grades.” If the test was not completed, they will be prompted to enter the password.

The Blackboard quiz password prevents students who have not taken a quiz from accessing it after the feedback is given.

Do you know if when you give multiple choice quizzes on Blackboard, you can give negative points for incorrect answers?

There is not currently a way to do this in Blackboard. The problem is that the gradebook standardizes on a scale from 0 to 100 and does not allow negative points to be given. You could standardize on a different value other than 0, such as 10 so that “10″ would be your new “0″, and anything below 10 would be theoretically negative. But I think that this would only complicate not only the gradebook, but also the grading scale–which would confuse the heck out of the students.

The system does allow for partial grading, but students would still get points for answering. The correct answer could be worth 10, while the incorrect answer would be worth 2–this is not enough points to make a difference in the grade, but a “0″ would be more effective in this case because they wouldn’t get any points for answering wrong–so the partial grading would not be useful either.

A request has been placed with Blackboard to have them look into this as a possible product enhancement. I suspect that this may never be an option. Let me provide an example to help explain why. Say that a student guessed wrong on all 10 questions on a quiz. If each question was worth 5 pts, and wrong answers were worth -1 pt, instead of receiving a “0,” he/she would receive -10 pts on the quiz. I imagine that the system would view this as counter intuitive because you shouldn’t be able to loose more points than what the quiz was originally worth. And, regardless of whether you use negative points or not, if the student answered all of the questions wrong, he/she would still fail the quiz.

To make a short story long, we do not see a way to use negative points to discourage guessing at the present time. We’ll have to wait and see if Blackboard is able to develop something to solve this problem.

Blackboard quiz does not allow negative points.


Tips for a good experience with Blackboard quizzes and tests

Tips for Successful Quiz-Taking

  1. Do NOT wait until the last minute to take the test.
  2. Take the test on a computer through a reliable network connection. (A dial-up connection is a really bad idea–AVOID AOL!!) Also avoid using a wireless connection.
  3. Avoid multi-tasking while taking the test.  Close all unnecessary windows and programs so that your computer is dedicated only to quiz taking.
  4. Do NOT save your answers as you go. Blackboard appears to have a glitch which sometimes results in answers being lost and the test locking up whenever one of the “Save” buttons is clicked. Instead, it is recommended that you complete the test and click “Submit.” Stay away from all “Save” buttons.
  5. Avoid hitting the Back, Forward, Home, or Refresh/Reload buttons in their browser.
  6. Avoid entering new URLs in the Address or Location fields of the browser.
  7. Avoid selecting any pages from Favorites/Bookmarks in the assessment’s browser window.
  8. Avoid using a scroll wheel on a mouse to scroll down through a set of test questions. Scroll wheels can inadvertently change answers. Use the window scroll bar not the scroll wheel.
  9. Be sure to use a supported browser.


If you are using a Mac to take this test, you will need to turn off your Visual Text Box Editor (VTBE) in order to avoid problems. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO ACCESS THE TEST BEFORE following these instructions as it will result in an error.

Please follow these steps to turn off the VTBE:

  1. Click on the Home Tab.
  2. From the menu on the left, click “View Personal Settings”.
  3. From this list, click “Set Visual Text Box Editor Options”.
  4. Change the availability to “unavailable” and click submit.
  5. Go back to your course and take the test.


Problems that may occur during quizzes or surveys:

  • User receives a message indicating that “the assessment has not been completed”
  • User receives a message indicating that the “assessment was already submitted”
  • User loses internet connection
  • User accidentally logs out
  • Submitting quiz caused browser to freeze
  • Attempt in Progress icon:  A Student is currently using the Assessment or Assignment.  If you have taken an assessment and you now have this icon as a grade, this indicates that the test was not submitted correctly and Blackboard believes that the student is still taking the test.   A common reason for this is that the student selected SAVE, not SUBMIT at the end of the assessment or the Internet connection was lost during the test.  Immediately log back into Blackboard, access the assessment, complete it and SUBMIT it.  If you are unable to access the assessment, the instructor should be contacted immediately.

*In all these above cases, the instructor will need to “clear attempt” if they want to allow the student to retake the quiz.  The student will not be able to take the assessment again until the attempt is cleared. The student should contact the Instructor, explain in detail what occurred, and ask the Instructor to clear the assessment attempt. It is up to the Instructor to decide whether to allow the student access to the assessment a second time.

What if my Pop-up blocker in IE is preventing me from taking the quiz or forcing me to right-click?

This is a security feature for Internet Explorer.  You can change the settings by following these instructions:

  1. Open your IE browser
  2. Click on the Tools menu.
  3. From the Tools menu select “Internet Options”
  4. From Internet Options select the “Privacy” tab
  5. At the bottom of the tab is the Pop-up blocker section.  Make sure the “Block pop-ups” is checked.
  6. Click the “Settings” button
  7. Here we will need to add Bb to the acceptable list (unless you’ve already done this).  Type the url ( https://blackboard.oberlin.edu ) and then click the “ADD” button.  The address should appear in the “allowed sites” list.
  8. Then (right below the list) you will find the Filter Level—I suspect that yours is set to “HIGH”—which forces a ctrl-click to access pop-ups.  Change this setting to “MEDIUM” which will remove the ctrl-click (however, be sure that the pop-up blocker is checked because otherwise you may receive pop-ups you don’t want–you want to block everything accept the ones on the list).
  9. Click “Close” to accept changes.
  10. Click “OK” to accept Changes.


Emailing majors/minors that are seniors

Currently we feed all students that have declared a particular major or minor into the appropriate Department site in Blackboard. This allows all faculty and AAs to quickly email everyone associated with the department, conduct surveys, provide a space for majors/minors to add information about their progress towards fulfilling the major, communicate with each other …

One other administrative function is to email seniors. There are many ways to do this each of which requires some front end work and maintenance of lists. However, we have a little work around that makes contacting majors/minors that are also seniors rather easy.

1) Log in to Blackboard
2) Go to your department site under My Organizations

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 3.42.28 PM
3) Go to the Grade Center>>Full Grade Center in the Control Panel (left margin, below menu)

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 3.43.21 PM
4) Click on the double down arrows in the Obie ID Number column (usually the 3rd or 4th column) and select “Sort Descending”

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 3.43.35 PM   Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 3.44.02 PM
5) Click on all the checkboxes in front of all SR- (SR stands for seniors) in column 1
6) After checking all relevant boxes, scroll back to the top of the grade center, select “Email Selected Users”

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 3.44.47 PM


DONE! Remember that this will send email to majors AND minors.


Sharing files with select users

About Adaptive Release

Adaptive Release controls the release of content to users based on a set of rules created by the Instructor. The rules may be related to availability, date and time, individual users, group membership, scores or attempts on any Grade Center item, calculated columns in Grade Center, or review status of an item in the Course.

For more information about Adaptive Release, click here.


Enrolling Users

How to add users to a course or organization:

1.  Navigate to the site and under the Control Panel heading go to Users and Groups.

2.  Click on Users and when the new screen appears click on the “Find Users to Enroll” button.

(Click on images to enlarge)



3.  Another new screen appears. This screen wants you to enter a person’s username into the search box to enroll them.

3a. If you don’t know a users’ username then hit the “Browse” button to find a person’s username.  NOTE: If you started to type in a username, then switched to this browse option, make sure the Username input box (step 3) is empty before submitting – otherwise it will not work.

3b.  In the screen that opens, you can search all users.  The first drop down menu on the screen allows you to search by Username, First Name, Last Name or Email address. Select one.  The second drop down menu options include Contains, Equals To and Starts With.  Again select one.  In the third search box, type in the name you are looking for and hit the “Go” button.  This will pull up any user that meets the search criteria you selected.


3c. Once you find the user you are looking for, check the checkbox next to their name and hit “Submit”.  This step does not actually enroll the user in the site yet but grabs the users “username” and places it in the previous search window.



6.  Now the person’s username is placed into the search box from the previous screen and at this point you can select the person’s role within the site from the drop down box.  Then hit the “Submit” button.  You should receive a green action bar at the top of your screen telling you the action has been successfully completed and the user has been enrolled.  Make sure you click the x button to close the green box.


Instructors still have the ability to enroll users in courses. However, most students are automatically enrolled in courses through an automation process with Banner. This happens twice daily, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Unless there is a special need, instructors no longer need to manage the student list during the add/drop period. Remember that Presto (Banner) is the only official enrollment record at Oberlin College. Blackboard uses Banner to verify course enrollment and, as a result, automatically manages course lists.

The most important thing to remember is that if an instructor enrolls a student through the course, this breaks the “automation” from Banner, and the instructor will have to manage that user in the course. This is why we suggest that instructors not enroll students.

There are special cases where students may not be automatically enrolled in courses. These cases are discussed below.

Students Auditing or Oberlin High School students:

For special cases such as Oberlin High School students or students auditing your course, instructors should not add students to their courses. Please contact octet at octet@oberlin.edu, otherwise you risk losing all information for the student (grades, participation, etc) once the add/drop period ends.

Wait-listed students:

If you are an instructor who wait-lists students, you can enroll these students in the course but remember that you will have to manage this user for the remainder of the course. They will continue to have access throughout the term (like other students) until the course is made unavailable (about 2 weeks after the course ends). However, this will disconnect the automation (for these users only), so if they drop the course, you’ll have to make the course unavailable to the student or remove them completely.


Instructors can add other Oberlin faculty to their courses, and change their role (for instance to Teaching Assistant or Instructor) so that they can have greater access to the site. Instructors and leaders can do this under the control panel heading. Go to Users and Groups>>Users then search for the user in question. Once their name appears in the search window click the drop down arrows to the right of their name. Scroll to the bottom of the page and change their role to the appropriate selection. Be sure to click submit to retain the change.

Faculty from other institutions can only be added to Blackboard by OCTET. If you are conducting research with faculty from another institution, please contact OCTET through the link at the bottom of the page so that we can create an account for them to use.


I’ve tried to enroll a student in my course, but I can’t find them.

  • This usually happens if:

*the student is already enrolled in the course (go to Users and Groups>>Users under the control panel heading and search for them)
*the student enrolled in the course, but then dropped the course (contact OCTET, information below)
*the student does not have an account in Bb (contact OCTET, information below)

How do I change the roles for users in my course?

  • Instructors and leaders can do this under the control panel heading. Go to Users and Groups>>Users and search for the user in question. To the right of their name, click the drop down arrows. On the next page,  change their role to the appropriate selection. Be sure to click submit to retain the change.

Why is a student still receiving emails from my course even though the student has dropped?

  • The new system automatically enrolls and removes students from courses as they are added/dropped through Presto twice a day. If the course is still appearing for a student or if that student is still receiving emails from the course even though they dropped, than the student was probably manually enrolled in the course. Manually enrolling a student in a course breaks the automation, and the instructor will need to remove the student manually.

Why is a course still listed for a student even though the student has dropped?

  • The new system automatically enrolls and removes students from courses as they are added/dropped through Presto twice a day. If the course is still appearing for a student or if that student is still receiving emails from the course even though they dropped, than the student was probably manually enrolled in the course. Manually enrolling a student in a course breaks the automation, and the instructor will need to remove the student manually.

For user requests or changes, contact OCTET through email (octet@oberlin.edu), phone (x58345), or come visit us in Mudd 052!


How organizations are displayed

The list of organizations allows you to search for courses or organizations via a keyword or a specific category. The links in the catalog display instructor information and a description. You may also be able to enroll, preview, or log into an organization.


How can I find my organizations?

  1. Organizations can be found on the “Academic Hub” tab in the “My Organizations” module.
  2. Organizations will be listed based on your role:
    • Organizations in which I am leading
    • Organizations in which I am assisting
    • Organizations in which I am participating
  3. Find the title for the organization in which you are a member, and click to enter the site.


How can I find an organization if I’m not a member?

  1. Go to the “Academic Hub” Tab.
  2. You can either search for a specific organization or browse the catalog.
  3. To search for a specific organization, use the browse catalog option in the “Browse Catalog of Open Organizations” module.  Type in the name of the organization or keywords, and click Go!
  4. The search results will return any organizations that match your search criteria.  Review the list and click the link to enter the site.  If the organization allows for enrollment, and you wish to enroll, simply click the double-down arrow to the right of the org ID and click “enroll.”
  5. You can also browse for organizations by category.

NOTE:  not all organizations are available for review.  Some sites may be restricted to certain roles or users and therefore can not be found through a search of these sites.  You’ll need to contact the leader of the organization for more information.


    Membership in Organizations

    Enrollment in most organizations occurs automatically.  There are some organizations in the system that allow for self-enrollment or enrollment by request.


    1. Go to the “Academic Hub” Tab.
    2. Locate the module called “Browse the catalog of open organizations” and click BROWSE.
    3. Search for the organization. To search for a specific organization, use the browse catalog option.  Type in the name of the organization or keywords, and click Go!
    4. The search results will return any organizations that match your search criteria.  If the organization allows for enrollment and you wish to enroll, simply click the double-down arrow to the right of the org ID and then click “enroll.”
    5. If the organization does not allow for self-enrollment, you will need to contact the leader for more details.


    1. If an organization appears in the “My Organization” module, and you are not a member, please contact the leader to be removed.  If this happens with the same organization multiple times, please contact OCTET at octet@oberlin.edu.
    2. If you no longer wish to participate in an organization, please contact the leader of the organization so that you can be removed from the membership list.