How echo360’s role structure when linked to blackboard cripples its functionality

Say you are an instructor.  You want to use Blackboard and echo360 active learning or capture platform.  You have TA’s or Course Builders in Blackboard.

So, you set up a schedule of captures through your support people for your course.  You do want to publish these captures to Blackboard, so you also create this link (or maybe the support people do it for you.)  Now you and your students can click on the link in Blackboard ( for us it is a video link in the Content Area of Blackboard course…) and see all the captures. The instructor also sees a dashboard of interesting analytics and has increased possible functionality.

But here is the crappy part: TA’s and Course Builders get Instructor roles in

So – that neat feature where Instructors would actually have a button in their account that allows them to add an ad hoc capture on their own?  That has to be turned off.  When you use this feature one can book a recording in any room that has an echo appliance… not just the one that you class actually occurs in. Can’t have students just recording content from any place they want.  Sometimes grand rounds even happen in these rooms.. whoops HIPAA violation!

I like to allow Instructors to delete their own content.  Nope.  Turn that off.

Let instructors make copies of their content?  Nope.

Well… maybe the primary instructor for a course could just go in a demote students that have instructor roles in echo360 back to students?  Nope, instructors can only add more instructors. (I actually tried this as an admin… and yes, I can demote an instructor – theoretically to student.  Only when you actually do this, it doesn’t make them a student at all… it removes them entirely.  Don’t worry though, as soon as that TA goes back into Blackboard again and clicks through to echo360, they will be back in the course again — AS AN INSTRUCTOR.)


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.


So you want to record your Skype for Business session from a Mac…

From a Windows machine… if you want to record your Skype for Business session, you can do that…

But that option isn’t available on a Mac version of the software.  Fortunately, you have Quicktime.

Quicktime has the ability to record from your screen.

It even has lovely cropping options to setup the shot:


However…   the audio is an issue.  I’ve seen some tutorials that suggest that you set Quicktime to record from the internal mic and the computer to send audio through it’s speakers.  There is a reason that we suggest that one uses headphones during video conferencing… it’s so the audio from the speakers doesn’t loop through from the speakers and then back into the mic (if the sound is going directly into your ears via the headphones, it doesn’t go to the mic.)  So, the solution may work for some – but I don’t like it.

Now what?

Go to this website: and download Soundflower.  It is a dmg file on the page.  Install the app.  (You may need to journey to your security preferences to allow it to be opened.)

Open Audio MIDI Setup on your computer.    It looks like this:

Click the plus sign in the lower left and select “Create Multi-Output Device”.

Keep Built-in Output checked, and check Soundflower (2ch).

Also, create an “Aggregate Device”, selecting your built-in Microphone and Soundflower (2ch).

Now go to your system preferences and select Sound -> Output and set it to your Multi-Output Device.

and set the input to the Aggregate Device.

Now, when you you record from Quicktime, the audio will go both to your headphones and also be recorded in the screen capture.

Try it out and let me know what you think!





Google Drive tidbit

You may have a bunch of files that you want to share with your class.  Are they a bit on the larger side?  Perhaps it will make some servers happier if you store them in Google Drive rather than directly into your Blackboard course site.  (Think a semester’s worth of videos.)

So, then – how do you share them with your students in such a way that they can’t be downloaded?  (I’m not saying that allowing students to download the videos is a bad thing.  Downloading can make it easier for offline consumption of the material – like while on an airplane or other low access areas like southern Maryland.)

The first part of this process makes perfect sense.  We want to be organized, so we create a folder for the content.  You created the folder and that makes you the owner.

Next, you share the folder. If you double click on the folder, it will open, leaving you with a screen that shows it’s path at the top.

Clicking on the name of the folder (you did name it, right?)  Will reveal a drop down menu:

Select “Share…”

See that tiny font in the lower right corner… it says “Advanced” — click that.

Then there are owner settings at the bottom.  Please check off “Prevent editors from changing access and adding new people.”   This will help prevent some headaches later if you give someone access higher than what you really wanted.


Now – add your students.  I’ll show you want I do, but you might have a easier way.  Feel free to comment below.

Go to your Blackboard course site, and go to “Users and Groups”

Open Users.

Show All  in the lower right, and sort by columns by “Row” (this will lump the Instructors, Teaching Assistants and SLN Help Desk people at the top and bottom of a list of all your students.


Drag your cursor to highlight all of the student emails on the page and copy them to your clipboard (command C).  This unfortunately grabs other columns as well that include usernames and other information that we don’t need, but that isn’t so bad.

Next, paste this into an empty spreadsheet.  I use Numbers.  Make sure all the emails are in the same column, my very first row usually has the email in the wrong column, so I paste it into the right one.  Then I delete all the non email columns, select all and copy the one column that is left that has the emails. (Yes you can probably select all of that one column without deleting the others… but like I said, this is just what I do.)

Now with the emails on your clipboard go back to your Sharing Settings of the folder, and paste them into the “Invite people:” text box.

Even if there are hundreds of addresses, this should be fine, though you may need to let google think on it for a bit.

Make sure you aren’t giving them the keys to the kingdom…   and select “Can view only”

Next, add the files.

You may think you are done.  After all, you said they can “view only.” Viewing is viewing and downloading is something else right, so it shouldn’t be able to be done if you can only view.  Not true in Google Drive.

For each file that you have loaded into the folder, we need to back into that sharing settings.  We get to it in a slightly different way.  Highlight the file by clicking it once.  After it is highlighted, some more tool icons show up in the upper right.  Pick the one that looks like a person with a plus sign.

Click Advanced again.


There is a new option!  Make sure “Disable options to download, print, and copy for commenters and viewers” is checked.

Now, do that for every file in your folder.  You are done!


** (Note that your students can still screen capture your videos and share them with whomever they want if they are really determined. That is just what people do. If you lock a door, it just makes people more determined to get inside.)





announcement links 3:10 PM 3:11 PM 3:11 PM 3:12 PM 3:12 PM 3:13 PM 3:14 PM 3:14 PM

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!