Category Archives: Teaching

Missing Clicker Grade? Check this:

I have written about this before, but the clicker looks different, so I thought it was worth going over again.

There are two different ways that a student can use a clicker to send information to the instructor.  The first is the normal use of the clicker in the classroom… the poll response.  When a student uses this, the screen looks like this,

And when the student answers, they get a confirmation that the answer was received, and as long as the poll was given some grade, they may also get points in their blackboard grade book.

The second thing that students can send with their clickers are Messages.  The student enters into this mode by pressing the wrench button on the clicker,

and then sending the message

The student also gets a happy confirmation that this has been sent.. and messages can only be sent when the polls are open. But there are no grades or points associated with this activity, and if they believe they have answered a poll, they will get a zero.

As the instructor, you can check to see if this is happening in your class by opening the TurningPoint 8 software, go to the Manage tab, select a session file and click on Reports.

If you, like me get this error – ignore it

just click ok

and use the pulldown to select the report type Session Log


If you see entries that look like:

“Doe, John (8D5678) sent a message to the presenter: D”

You have students that think they are answering polls, but are really sending messages.  If you see things like:

“Doe, John (8D5678) sent a message to the presenter: Can you talk more about Mitosis?”

You have students who are sending messages, thinking you will see them and respond.

If you would like to see messages during class – you can.

You can click on the button as seen above that looks like a comic dialog bubble..  and that brings up a chat area that looks like this:

I hope this helps, and if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to either TLT @ or Turning Technologies at


YouTube videos in Blackboard

Blackboard has this cute mashup feature where you can go into your course, go to the content folder of your choice, select Build Content and select YouTube Video.  You don’t even have  to know the URL of what you are looking for… it lets you search by keywords and select the video right there.

but  – the window is smallish and the ability to make it bigger seems non-existent.

So – if you need the video to be bigger…. here is what you can do:

Go to and search for the video you want there.  When you find the video, click on Share…

then embed…

now Show More…

and finally, pick the video size you would like to display in Blackboard:

Copy the code provided… it is the one that starts with  “<iFrame width” as seen above.

Now head back to Blackboard….

Go to your Documents folder (or whatever content folder you desire), Build Content -> Item:

Give it a Name, then click the chevrons in the upper right hand corner of the Text box.

Which reveals more wysiwyg tools:

click the HTML tool and paste in the code from your clipboard:

click update and click submit.

Now you will get this gorgeous and large video, right in your folder – just like this. (This is the same embed code as seen in WordPress.)


Right now – SBU is using Turning Point Cloud for clickers in our classrooms.  As of tomorrow (May 31st), Turning Technologies will be releasing a new version of the software called Turning Point 8.  It will show up as a download from your instructor user account through Turning Technologies:



Turning Point 8 is NOT backwards compatible.  Any assessment and quizzes made with Turning Point 8 will NOT work in our classrooms and lecture halls.  (See above in the screen shot where it says “Before you download, please check with your institution…”)

The new version also will not be compatible with loading grades into blackboard until we decide to switch to the new version… so even if you only teach with your own laptop, you will not want to use anything but Turning Point Cloud at this time.


Open SUNY COTE Community Meeting – notes 4/11

Tools & Apps – ipads (Heather O’Brian presenting)

Planbook  —
idoceo —
Explain Everything – students use the app to create presentations and reflections for class.  Of course instructors can use to to create as well.

Explain Everything

Showbie – assignment hand ins.

nearpod – lesson creation

symbalooEDU – link management and sharing (can be embedded into blackboard)

blendspace – digital content collection tool – students use this to create their own collection that goes into their eportfolio.

Next – Sophia Georgiakaki from Tompkins-Cortland Community College

MyOpenMath   —    looks like an LMS

Next – Paul Seeburger, Monroe Community College

online lecture components:
Lecture Videos – used camptasia with TOC
OER Textbook – problems and readings aligned to lecture videos
WeBWork online homework –
Graded Written Assignments and quizzes – submitted as a single pdf

online visualization tool .. direction fields and calcplot3d

graded online discussions
student video presentations (typically between 3-8 minutes) – they are posted to a course wiki – the videos help build community, and serve as a tool for review. they are required to watch and respond to each others videos.  Sometimes he uses student videos in future teaching.

includes time estimates for each component within Blackboard






Could your next TA be an A.I.?

At the Coursera Partner’s conference that I recently attended in Boulder, CO; one of the speakers was Ashok Goel from Georgia Tech.  He got up on stage and spoke of his experiences using an A.I. agent as a teaching assistant, side by side with human teaching assistants, unbeknownst to the students in the course.  There were wonderful stories and you can read some of these here at this link.

But I’m at a conference about massively scaled courses.  So, the obvious tie in is the concept of scaling the instructors (I mean TAs – cough.)  I think the truly interesting part will be when content experts and A.I.s start to have in depth discussions with one another about the subjects.  Hopefully there will be recordings!



TurningPoint Cloud with Powerpoint for Mac – notice

Dear Valued Admin –

Turning Technologies released an update today for TurningPoint Cloud to support Microsoft Office 2016 Mac v15.25. Clients with this version of Microsoft Office were experiencing issues with TurningPoint’s PowerPoint Polling environment. This update resolves the previous issues to allow for a seamless experience with PowerPoint Polling.

To download the latest version, open TurningPoint Cloud and sign in. Click the TurningPoint logo at the bottom of the dashboard. In the popup window, click Check For Updates and click Install Update.

We thank you for your patience.

Please review full documentation for more information.

Turning Technologies