ConnectED Blog

UNMC Ed Tech Newsletter: Spring 2012

University of Nebraska Medical Center

UNMC Educational Technology Update
Spring 2012


  • Mobile
    • BBMobile
    • UNMC mobile site –
  • Blackboard
    • Issues
    • BBMobile
    • Latest Version
  • Campuspack – Blogs and Wikis
  • Campus Classroom and Cluster Computers
    • Recent Updates
    • Summer 2012 Planned Updates and Changes
  • Echo360 – classroom recording system
  • 2012 Educational Technology Presentations, Training and Seminars


The Blackboard Mobile free edition is available for use at UNMC.  It can be used using the following methods:

  • WiFi connection for I-devices including ipad, iphone, etc.
  • Using a device connected to the Sprint network provides full access to BBMobile for all smart phones and tablets.

The app is freely available for download and installation on the above devices.  We are interested in feedback about this app and its usefulness.  To make it available to non-sprint or IOS devices, a campus annual license would be needed so feedback on its usefulness would be very helpful.

The following services are available via the Blackboard Mobile app.  It is possible to access to courses and organizations, view documents and items in a mobile device specialized window, and link to and take exams via the browser.  The app provides  the quick loading of items and the course via the devices browser to provide a near desktop experience, this is most useful on the ipad.

To Use the Blackboard Mobile App please follow these steps:

  • Download Blackboard Mobile app for particular device, usually available from the device app store.
  • Install and open the app
  • Blackboard Mobile begins with a selection screen
  • Choose UNMC to access the UNMC Blackboard system
  • Login with your id and password
  • Your courses and organizations should be available for use.

Based on initial experience, the best uses of the app include general access to blackboard on small form factor devices and with the Ipad as a quick check of course material which is then used through a browser or downloaded for off-line use.

UNMC mobile site –
A campus mobile site is now available to the campus mobile users at  This site provides news, events, maps, tools, contact us and easy access to  On most portable devices it can bookmarked and have a quick link added to a phone or tablet using the normal device methods for creating shortcuts.


Mobile – see above

No Known Current Issues

Latest Version Testing and Plans
The latest software update for Blackboard (Version 9.1, Service Pack 8) has been released.  Normally these updates are bug fixes and minor changes, this one while not fundamentally changing the components of Blackboard, does introduce a new and redesigned interface.  Preliminary review has been positive but we would like to offer the opportunity for more of the campus to review this release prior to installing it as the campus blackboard active version at the beginning of the summer.

Currently the test server ( is  housing the previous release of Blackboard with copies of UNMC courses and organizations as of May 2011.  To update this server to the latest release, all courses and organizations will be archived and stored to allow retrieval of these courses if needed by faculty or programs. If you want to archive any courses yourself or delete them from the planned archiving, please visit ( by Tuesday, April 10, 2012 and archive or delete desired courses.

Anything still on the, the morning of Wednesday, April 11, 2012, will be archived. After the archive, you can request course restores from the academic 2010/2011 year by contacting Joe Ziskovsky at or Melissa Diers at 

After Friday, April 13, 2012, we urge faculty to login to and view/interact with the new version of Blackboard 9.1 Service Pack 8 to prepare for the Summer upgrade of the production server (  Comments and suggestions can be sent to


Campuspack is an online resource for protected social media activities such as blogs, podcasts, group and instructional class work.  It links to blackboard but can be used in standalone configuration.  It is available through blackboard and at and requires use of a UNMC campus id and password to access and use.

The campuspack software company updated Campuspack on Jan. 1, 2012.   Using with classes and individual students has been improved.  It is now easier to setup assignments and work areas for the whole class, groups or individuals, see below.  The following features were enhanced or added:

Campuspack User Interface Changes
Most of the changes are minor and will not interfere with the user experience. However, in some cases if users are to take advantage of the new features they will be exposed to new screens. Users will notice the following changes in the user interface after the Campus Pack 4.4 upgrade.

Updated Icons: The Campus Pack content icons have been updated. These changes should not interfere with the usage of Campus Pack and are similar to previous icons.

Authenticated RSS: Users will see a grayed out RSS icon  on the header of all content that is not shared with everyone in the world (public content). Users are not required to subscribe to authenticated RSS feeds.

Batch Creation of Content: When a user adds new content to a course they will see a new Assignment Type option that enables them to create content either for the entire class or separate content items for individuals or course teams. Note that a user will be exposed to other new screens only if they choose the Group or Individual option. If the Class option is chosen then the user experience is same as before.

Note: The new screens related to the Batch Creation of Content feature are off by default. If you would like to use the Batch Creation of Content feature please email  This feature will be turned off by default only until the next upgrade which will be available in Summer 2011.

New Features and Enhancements

Feature Description Target User Group
Authenticated RSS Feeds Campus Pack 4.4 will support RSS everywhere. The authenticated RSS feature enables RSS access to all content in Campus Pack, whether public to the world or shared privately to a limited audience. All users
Batch Creation & Management of Content Course designers and faculty no longer need to manually create individual and group assignments one-by-one by hand. Campus Pack 4.4 enables batch creation of content. Instructors
Managing Content Availability Course designers and faculty can make content available/unavailable to students via a flag on the Content Settings screen. Blackboard Learn and Moodle integrations are supported – this setting is linked to the “Availability” flag in Blackboard Learn and the “Hide/Unhide” option in Moodle. Instructors
Blackboard 9 Group Tool Support Blackboard Learn users can now create Campus Pack Wiki, Blog and Podcast Feeds in Course Groups. Instrutors
Content Export Improvements The export code has been re-worked to support multiple export formats.  Initially, the released version of the new feature will add a single HTML page plus attachments in a ZIP file in addition to the multiple page, or standalone site format. All users
Content Recycle Improvements When recycling sites that were copied from another course, we are now looking at the enrollment information from BOTH courses. When a site is created by a user who’s content we are deleting, rather than just deleting the site wholesale, we are now going to look at all pages, individually.  Only the pages created by users whose content we are deleting will be deleted.  Pages created by other users will not. Instructors
In-line Audio/Video Player Improvements The Campus Pack inline player can now play .m4a and .m4v files. All users
Transcoding .wav files WAV files transcoded to MP3 – any WAV files uploaded to a podcast will be transcoded into MP3s, to make for lower-bandwidth downloads.  When a WAV is uploaded, ot the recorder is used, the audio is temporarily unavailable while it is converted into MP3, a format that is better suited to podcasts. All users

Campus Classroom and Cluster Computers

The workstations in campus classrooms and student computer clusters are administered centrally using Citrix software and servers.  When a computer is rebooted, the operating system and software applications are reloaded onto the computer.  This allows for consistent computer setup and easy updating of the computers with new software.

Recent Updates
The most recent changes and additions that have been deployed to classroom and cluster computers include:

  • A McKesson Update to selected rooms in the vicinity of clinical areas or known to be used by clinical physicians.
  • Epic OneChart access has been added to Sorrell 1010 and 1012 computers and will be added to other classrooms and clusters as it becomes generally available.
  • Outlook Email – Icons for access to Outlook email have been added to the cluster workstations and will be added to classrooms in the next few weeks.

Planned summer 2012 updates
The planned updates and upgrades for Classrooms and Educational Technology include the standard software updates and refurbishment of equipment in educational technology enhanced classrooms throughout campus.  Of particular note are the following:

  • Computers are being upgraded in the Sorrell 1010 lab, the Sorrell clinical skills center, the Sorrell and student center computer clusters, and the instructor workstations in Sorrell 1010, 1012, 4053 and 22 Sorrell small conference rooms.
  • Upgrading video in Sorrell 3002 to HD quality
  • Adding additional echo rooms, locations to be identified.
  • Upgrading of existing echo units to hd echo units.
  • Testing a campus collaboration server.

Echo360 – classroom recording system

The Echo360 classroom recording system is now installed in over 25 classrooms and conference rooms across campus.  Over the past few months the server was upgraded to a new enhanced server using 64bit architecture to provide increased speed in the adding of and playing back of lectures and other video recordings.  The ability to provide a podcast and vodcast format on requested recordings has also been added.

A new feature is now available that allows viewers to collaborate, comment and bookmark recordings. Collaboration between viewers of videos, allows the addition of personal notes and responses that can be added by students and faculty in a shared environment or only used for private notes and bookmarks. This feature can be individually controlled by course or event.  Faculty who would like to test this with their students can request this option when requesting the scheduling of Echo for course lectures or events.

A new version of the Echo360 software has been announced that will include live streaming as well as the current recording method and reviewing of material.  It also will allow more ways to record session without requiring the use of Echo360 appliances to record basic video in the room being recorded.  The ability to live stream from a class or event is expected to be available sometime this summer.

Upcoming 2012 Educational Technology Presentations, Training and Seminars

  • April 12, 2012 − 11am to 1pm, SOCIAL MEDIA IN HEALTH SCIENCE EDUCATION
  • Summer session (Date TBD) – Proposed Presentation on Educational Simulation
  • For other IT training sessions please visit –
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