Resolve to Learn Something New in 2017

Now would be a good time to start thinking about your 2017 resolutions. Will 2017 be the year that you finally understand how to use Intelligent Agents in Springboard? Or, will you start scheduling meetings in WebEx so you are not crossing campus through the ice & snow when it’s -8 degrees? We have a full range of training and professional development opportunities on the schedule for January including:

  • Springboard introduction for faculty, offered Jan. 9 from 2-4, will cover basic navigation, activating your course, adding a news item, adding content, setting up a basic grade book and adding an assignment folder.
  • Springboard intermediate training for faculty, offered Jan. 12 from 2-4, will include setting up a basic quiz, creating and managing discussions, modifying the navigation and homepage, and monitoring student progress.
  • WebEx Training for Faculty and Staff, offered Jan. 12 from 10-12. This hands-on training session will be mainly focused on how faculty can utilize the tool for teaching synchronously, however staff can use many of the same features to schedule virtual meetings.
  • Best Practices for Teaching Online (online: Jan 9 – Jan 18): During this course you will learn strategies for managing your time in an online course, strategies for building community, tips for hosting live sessions in WebEx, grading strategies, and tips for how to make teaching online enjoyable. You will also have access to video and step-by-step tutorials for all of the tools you will need to know how to use to teach online. This course has been designed to give you a mini experience as an online student in case you have never taken an online course yourself. It is packed full of advice from experienced UA faculty who have taught online and were willing to record their experiences. This is an online course hosted in Springboard.
  • Spring Course Tune-Ups, offered Jan. 11 from 9-1 and Jan. 19 from 12-4, will provide an opportunity to work one-on-one with an instructional designer or multimedia developer to tweak your course for spring. Design and Development Services will be there to assist you with many of the semester start-up tasks. We are requesting that faculty members register for this open lab so we know you’re coming. You are welcome to stay for as little or as long as you like during our scheduled hours.
  • Springboard Advanced Training for Faculty, offered Jan. 26 from 10-12, will cover advanced Springboard topics including release conditions, creating pages with embedded media, creating and using groups, intelligent agents, rubrics, checklists, the Manage Dates tool, and creating widgets.

To register for any of these sessions, please sign up here:

We will be announcing some new advanced topics training sessions soon. Keep an eye on the ITL calendar (linked above) for all the latest info.

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Merging and Combining Courses – 101

As we wrap up one semester before heading out on a short break, now is great time to request your courses in Springboard for the next semester be merged or combined.

What does it mean to merge/combine courses?

If you are teaching multiple sections of the same class, it isn’t always efficient to maintain separate Springboard courses. Maybe you are teaching a “slash” course with undergrads and graduate students. You might have two sections of the same class. Or, you may even oversee multiple sections of a lab. In all of these instances, we can combine multiple Springboard course shells into a single course for you.

When courses are combined, adds/drops are still linked with Peoplesoft/My Akron. Springboard will even place students from sections into groups for you. That allows you so see only the students for a specific section. You can also place restrictions on content, assignments or discussions based upon sections.

Sounds great! Sign me up!

An important thing to remember is that the process of combining sections will remove any content or student work that exists within the original courses. So, it’s important to request that your courses be combined BEFORE you do any work on them. If you already have a course setup, don’t worry, just let us know and we’ll help transfer the content to the newly combined course. If you already have student assignment submissions, those will be lost.

How to Request your Course Merge

1. Email Springboard support

You can use the “Need Help” widget at the bottom of one of your courses or, send an email directly to

2. Tell us what courses you want combined

Since every course taught at The University of Akron receives a course shell in Springboard (whether the professor uses Springboard or not), the more information you provide us, the more quickly we can combine your courses. Here’s a handy list of helpful information:

  • Tell us what semester your courses are in. This seems unnecessary but, we receive enough requests to combine courses late in a semester that this is very helpful.
  • Tell us the name of your course(s). The backend of Springboard lists courses by department and then by name. Starting with the name will save us from looking up your teaching schedule to confirm your course names.
  • Give us the full course numbers (department-course-section) for each course. You can get these from My Akron or, directly from Springboard. The course number for each course is conveniently listed in the Need Help widget at the bottom of each course’s homepage.

need help widget

An easier way to get all of your course numbers from Springboard is to use the My Enrollment button in the navigation at the top of your Springboard homepage.

my enrollment button

This is also a good way to make sure you are properly assigned to teach a course. This report will also give you all of the information that you need to request a course merge (semester, course name and, course numbers).

Springboard course report

3. Relax!

Once we receive the email you sent to with all of the pertinent information regarding your courses, we’ll process your merge request. Once we process a merge, the courses will be combined in Springboard in a process that runs overnight. Depending on when you submit the request, and how busy we are, your course will generally be available the next morning though it can take up to 3 days. You’ll receive a response to your email letting you know that the merge has be processed and when it will be ready.

What about ________ ?

Can I request a course merge for someone else?

Yes. Just be sure to tell us whom you are requesting the merge for. We will often verify that a professor is the instructor of record for a course before processing. If we have any questions or don’t see the courses listed on your teaching schedule, we’ll reply to the email requesting additional information.

Can courses from multiple professors be combined?

Yes. Again, let us know who the other professors are for verification. Each professor will be enrolled in the new, combined, course as an instructor with all of the rights that entails.

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Spring Course Tune-Up


Need some time to work on your Spring 2017 Springboard course? Would you like an opportunity to work one-on-one with an instructional designer or multimedia developer? Sign up for our Spring Course Tune-Up to get some assistance with getting your Spring semester courses ready to go! Register for a session in December or January today.

Design and Development Services will assist you with many of the semester start-up tasks, such as:

  • Previous semester clean-up, removing old files before copying
  • Requesting your course merges
  • Importing your previous semester Springboard content into your new Spring course
  • Demonstrating easy ways to update all of the start and end dates in your course through the Manage Dates tool
  • Provide instructional design advice on how to ensure that your course runs smoothly in Springboard
  • Updating of links to external resources
  • Updating your welcome message / email to students
  • Assisting with publisher content integration
  • Re-requesting copyrighted materials from eReserves
  • Migrating Panopto videos and StudyMate lessons
  • Updating your office hours dates in the WebEx Widget
  • Setting up online proctoring for quizzes and exams (for online courses)
  • Updating your gradebook and content organization
  • Updating Intelligent Agents and/or Release Conditions
  • Providing additional resources to further enhance your Springboard course

We are requesting that faculty members register for this open lab so we know you’re coming. You are welcome to stay for as little or as long as you like during our scheduled hours. We have multiple dates and times to choose from in December and January.

To register, please visit:

We look forward to seeing you there!

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“Springboard App” for Students – Brightspace Pulse

Good news! The developers behind Springboard have introduced a new mobile app that can bring Springboard updates and other features directly to your iPhone or Android: Brightspace Pulse!

A helpful calendar feature imports dates from your courses and allows you to enter your own dates to create a “pulse line” of your week. On the left below, you can see a sample week, with the events displayed below the pulse line. On the right, you can see the menu that is accessed by choosing the “plus” icon in the corner, which allows you to add your own events.

pulse_004          pulse_003

The notification tab allows you to view your Springboard notifications. From this tab, you can also view content and posted grades. Content can be viewed through an in-app reader or a link can be followed, which opens your browser and allows viewing of content directly on the Springboard website.

pulse_06      pulse_09      pulse_05

Grades can be viewed through a “swipe-over” feature, which hides the grade until you’re ready to see your results. This adds a level of privacy to viewing your grades.

pulse_08      pulse_07

Pulse is an exciting new way to view Springboard content! To download the app, simply search “Brightspace Pulse” in the Apple App Store or on Google Play.


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Help us Help You

We Love Helping People, but…

we get a LOT of tickets where someone says something like “I am having a problem taking my quiz”. We understand that when you are having a problem, it can be frustrating to get back a big list of questions, instead of a solution. To help us help you, we ask you to ALWAYS remember to answer these 3 questions when you need help with Springboard:

1. Which course?
2. What specific item in the course?
3. How do you know there is a problem?

Let’s break these questions down.

1. Which course?

There are 101,096 courses in Springboard and counting! To find your course quickly, we need the exact Springboard course number. This number is unique to Springboard and is unlikely to match your MyAkron schedule or any other number you may know.  Even if you narrow it down to the course name, this may not help. As an example, did you know that there are currently 679 Intro to Psychology course sites in Springboard?  There’s a Need help widget on your course home page.  It will look something like the image below.  Please copy & paste the exact number into your support ticket.

2. What specific item in the course?

For this, we just need the exact name of the quiz or discussion topic or assignment folder or content item or grade item or {insert specific problem-causing item here}. We often get a question about a quiz and then find 10 or more quizzes in the course. To help you quickly, please be specific about the item you are having trouble with. If possible, just cut & paste the name of the item from Springboard into your ticket.

3. How do you know there is a problem?

For this, please try to be as detailed as you can. Trust us, we will not get bored reading your story. If you got an error, please tell us. Ideally, tell us the exact text of the error. If you cannot give us this, tell us what you think it may have said. Springboard has an error log. So, tell us what day & time your issue happened or is happening so we can look in the log. If you can reproduce the problem, tell us what steps you are taking. If you want us to have a very strong chance of helping you quickly, it can also be helpful to tell us a little bit more about your situation including things like:

  • What browser are you using? Hint: this what browser site is really helpful.
  • Are you using a Mac, PC, tablet, iOS or Android device?
  • Are you on campus or off campus?

If you are still reading this post, thank you for your help!


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Springboard Gradebook Error – “Disappearing” Feedback in Text Column

It has come to our attention that there is currently an error in Springboard with the gradebook function. When grades are entered into a text column, it may not push out to students correctly. To remedy this situation, instructors can change the Org Unit Display to include the Grade Scheme Symbol (process detailed below). This will allow students to view their feedback.

  1. Click the Grades option from the Assessments menu.
  2. Click Settings on the far right side of the screen. screen_shot_2016-10-31_at_10_38_10_am
  3. Change to the Org Unit Display Options tab.
  4. Under Grade Details for the Student View Display Options, select the Grade scheme symbol checkbox.
  5. Click Save                                                                    gradeschemesymbol

If you have a strong preference that students not view grade scheme symbols, faculty can enter text-based entries in the grade feedback field.

If you are having any additional problems with the gradebook entries, feel free to reach out to DDS!


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Self-Registration Available for Orientation!

Good news! Self-registration is now available for the Diving Into Online Learning – Student Orientation in Springboard. If you are thinking of taking an online course at The University of Akron, this orientation will help you gain some valuable tips for how to succeed in online courses. It will also give you some great resources and tell you about some often overlooked features of Springboard that can help you succeed. Have you used the Pulse app (available for iOS and Android) for example? How about the Binder app? Do you know about Release conditions? Respondus Monitor? WebEx? Finally, do you know about all of the student services that are available to UA students taking an online course? Did you know that you can submit drafts of your papers electronically to qualified writing tutors who will provide expert feedback on your writing mechanics and formatting?

In some cases, you may be required to complete this orientation before you can enroll in an online course. Once you complete the orientation, you will be given an Award that you can add to your Profile in Springboard. Your instructors can view this Award to determine if you completed the orientation. Once you complete the orientation and earn your Award, you will not be asked to complete it again.

Ready to get started?  To self-register, complete the following steps:

  1. Login to Springboard using your UANET ID and password (or you can select Springboard from MyAkron).
  2. Select the Self Registration option from the Student Resources menu.selfregistration
  3. Select the Diving into Online Learning – Student Orientation
  4. Click Register.
  5. Confirm your First Name, Last Name, and Email.
  6. Enter your UANet ID.
  7. Click Submit.
  8. Click Finish.
  9. Click Go to course offering Diving into Online Learning – Student Orientation.self_registration_gotocourse
  10. Follow the directions in the first announcement on the course home page to get started.

Important note: If you run into any technical issues, contact the IT HelpDesk at ‘’ or 330-972-6888.



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Springboard Training Handouts for Faculty

Do you have questions about Springboard? Would you like to add a video to your course? Change the way your gradebook is calculated? Look to these Springboard guides for answers! 

These guides provide many step-by-step instructions that will help you create and manage the course material you would like to put on Springboard. The “cheat sheet” provides a quick reference for the guides; topics are listed in alphabetical order and tell you which page in which guide to reference.

These guides can be a helpful resource to keep on hand for reference – or you could skim through them and refresh in your mind the many things Springboard is capable of handling!

Springboard Guide Topic “Cheat Sheet”

Springboard Guide – Introduction

Springboard Guide – Intermediate

Springboard Guide – Advanced

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Starting Respondus LockDown Browser just got easier!

We have some great news for instructors and students who are using Respondus LockDown Browser with Springboard. Over the past few weeks, we have been receiving questions about how to download Respondus LockDown Browser, and how to start it up.

What we have determined is that the startup sequence for Respondus LockDown Browser / Monitor can vary greatly from course to course. Some students will navigate to the quiz from the Content area, some from the Quiz tool, some from the notifications at the top of their screen, and some from direct links that instructors have placed elsewhere in the course. This variability is causing some issues when attempting to troubleshoot with students.

Respondus has recommended that we adopt “Respondus Auto-Launch”, which helps students navigate into their quiz faster and with less technical problems.

Q: What does this mean for you and your class?
A: Nothing changes with the settings of your quizzes or exams. The only difference will be that students will be able to navigate to your quiz using any web browser they like, and can launch Respondus LockDown Browser directly from the quiz instructions screen.



Q: Will it look any different?
A: The only change will be that the Start Quiz! button is replaced with a “Launch LockDown Browser” button. The system will check to see if LockDown Browser is installed, and if it is, the software will launch and students will be directed right back to Springboard. The Start Quiz! Button will then appear so long as they are in LockDown Browser.


If the software is not installed, students are then prompted to install it and attempt to launch it once more.


Q: Why make this change now?
A: We have had numerous tickets come in regarding where to find LockDown Browser and how to install it, in addition to an issue with webcams launching properly. Using Auto-launch provides a simple way for students to get to the software, and not have to go find the software on their computer or on their desktop.

Q: What do I have to communicate to my students?
A: Tell them to navigate to the quiz the way they normally would. When they get to the instructions screen before they start the quiz, they will be prompted to launch LockDown Browser or install it. That’s it!

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Introducing the Pulse App for Springboard


Brightspace Pulse is the new mobile app for students that will help you find out what’s new and what’s next. Pulse will help you manage your workload and stay connected to news and grades on your mobile device. With one quick view, you can look at your courses to see what readings, assignments and tests are coming up. You can even add your own personal calendar items. In addition, with news and grade notifications, you will always be connected to the latest updates. Getting started is simple. After you install the Brightspace Pulse app, search for The University of Akron and use your UANet ID and password to login. No separate accounts to manage, no extra hoops to get started.

Watch the Pulse video to get a peek at the new Pulse app:

Available via:



Although Brightspace Pulse is designed for students, instructors benefit too. By enabling students to stay connected and on track, instructors can spend less time reminding and more time teaching. We know many instructors update their course calendar with due dates to help pace their students through the coursework, readings, assignments and scheduled tests and exams. Your students will receive even more benefit from this effort as their Brightspace Pulse mobile app will be populated with this information.

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