Connect Blog

This blog will be updated regularly with news and information about Connect.

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New Connect Resources

Hi all,
As of May 2nd, Connect will upgrade to new version. In this new version, we have new and improved features.
We developed documentation to help you with the new and improved features:

Improved Student View Quicksheet 2015

Connect provides an easily accessible Student View that allows instructors to easily switch back and forth between Teacher and Student Views. It will help you check your course to see exactly what your students are going to see. You can now use student view mode even if the course is unavailable.

How to use Anonymous and Delegated Grading in Connect

In Connect, you can easily divide up the grading tasks amongst TA and multiple graders. Anonymous and Delegated Grading can help you:

In addition to resources for new feature for Connect, we have developed new resources for existing feature:

How to add achievements in Connect

Achievements (or Badges) are widely used in educational institutions and workplaces and even in many popular apps. Achievement visualizes students’ progress in fun and engaging way. Students can check progress bar to view their achievement pathway, and once they fulfill the requirements, achievements will be awarded.

Connect Self and Peer Assessment

Arts ISIT has developed useful resources on Connect Self and Peer Assessment tool. It will help you to create peer grade assignments from within Connect.

Connect Maintenance December 18-22

Connect will be unavailable for maintenance on December 18 and December 22 from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm.

This outage is required to move Connect’s storage system, which is reaching its end-of-life cycle, from the Life Sciences Data Centre to the new University Data Centre. This move will ensure that Connect will be running on a newer, more powerful storage and will further improve performance and stability.

This move requires the cooperation of four groups within IT: the Learning Apps team that supports Connect, the Database team, the Network Team and the Systems Team. To synchronize the various tasks and ensure a smooth transition, the move has been meticulously planned. The dates were chosen to minimize the impact on users and take advantage of the short window between the end of Winter term and the holiday break.

We apologize for any inconvenience this outage may cause.

New Connect Print Resources – QuickLaunch

As the new term has started to begin, we have created a quick and easy print resources that can help you on how to use the essential features in Connect:


Please feel free to print it out or save the QuickLaunch on to your mobile device.

New Connect Resources: Tools Overview + How to print in Connect

Good morning everyone,
Summer courses are starting soon, and we developed new instructor resources that can help you with Connect tools and a student resource that can help students to organize their materials:

Instructor Resources:

Tools Overview – Tools Overview is a table that allows you to explore the tools that are available in Connect. The table will also give you a link to the How-to’s for each of the tools so if you are interested but unsure how to use the tool, you can click on the link to see the instructions.

Student Resources:

Printing in Connect – Printing in Connect can sometimes be tricky. It is not as simple as clicking on File > Print.  This documentation can help you on how to print in Connect.

New Connect Resources

We have new important Connect resources that can help you during the busiest time of the year :

Uploading Student Grades to Faculty Service Center (How to) 

The due date of grading is getting closer. If you have trouble uploading your student grades to Faculty Service Center, this resource can help you.  This resource will help you on how to reformat the excel file that you have downloaded from the Grade Center so that you will be able to upload your grades to Faculty Service Center.

We also have new Resources on

Updated Connect Resource on Web Conferencing

Since the December update on Connect, there are few changes on the Web Conferencing session in Connect.

Below are the changes:

  • Changes in User Interface  – The tabs for the Create Session Form are removed
  • The option for Allow Unregistered Guest is removed. In the updated Web Conferencing tool, once you create a session, you will be given a guest URL that allows you to invite unregistered guest.
  • When you add another moderator to web conferencing session under the Assign role section, you will have to add everybody as a session participants for them to be able to access the web conferencing session.
    • Workaround: Assign everybody as participant and promote them to be a moderator when they enter the session.

See the updated documentation on Web Conferencing Session here:

Setup a Web Conferencing Session in Connect (How to)


New Connect Resources (20 September 2013 Edition)

The start of term doesn’t only mean the start of classes! It also means new Connect resources!

As the summer season started winding down in August, we were in a frenetic rush to develop new resources to help you take advantage of the new features in Connect.


One of the new features that has been recently added is Kaltura, where you can upload, record and share video within your courses. Instructors can create video messages while students can submit video assignments. Integrate video with assignments and tests to create a more engaging experience with your students.

Watch the video below on how to upload a video to get you started and explore the other resources after.

video platform video management video solutionsvideo player

Other Resources

Besides Kaltura there have been a few other updates as well as new resources developed on a variety of topics:

Top 10 My Connect Modules

These are quick and short resources on modules you should consider adding in your My Connect tab.

Grading Assignments

The grading assignment interface has changed to enable you to input grading notes and grading feedback directly in Connect without needing to edit student submissions.

A look at the new Grading Assignments interface.

A look at the new Grading Assignments interface.

More information is available at How to Grade Assignments.

Web Conferencing Update

If you’re using Blackboard Collaborate Web Conferencing to facilitate online sessions outside of Connect, participants who are using Mac OS X Mountain Lion will be prompted to download a .collab file. All other participants will still be prompted to download the .jnlp file.

More information on is available at Setup a Web Conferencing Session Outside Connect. If you want to learn more about the change, please visit the Blackboard Collaborate Support Portal.

Connect All Day Drop-in (August 29, 2013)

Click to download the poster.

Click to download the poster.

Are you struggling with a particular feature(s) of Connect, want a quick recap, or just need to discuss the structure of your course materials? If yes, come to the Connect All Day Drop-in, talk to specialists at the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology (CTLT) and get one-on-one assistance with your Connect course!

Please note: This is not a formal Connect training session. Also, this is a ‘drop-in’ event therefore you do not need to register (but feel free anyways!)

The Connect All Day Drop-in is being held on August 29, from 10:00am – 4:00pm in Room 2.22A at the CTLT offices in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre.

For more details visit the CTLT Events website.

Can’t attend in person? Try the virtual all day drop-in. Details on how to connect virtually can be found in the Support section of the e-learning website.

New Connect Resources (August 9, 2013 Edition)

How’s your summer been going? We hope you’ve been enjoying the sun and have been going outside.

Been There, Done That

It’s been awhile since we’ve had a blog post on new Connect resources but we’ve been busy developing new resources over the last few months. We started the summer by releasing a series of blog posts around the experiences of instructors who were part of Connect‘s pilot phase. Named after a session during the 2011 CTLT Institute, each entry int the Been There, Done That series contains a video of the instructor during the session and some highlights of what they said such as their first impressions of Connect. Check them out below:

Blackboard Collaborate Voice Authoring

We also developed resources for Blackboard Collaborate Voice Authoring, a suite of tools that facilitate and promote instruction, collaboration, coaching and assessment through voice and sound. Voice Authoring has 5 tools which you can use to create presentations with voice annotations, develop your own lecture podcasts, or send voice messages to your students. All the Voice Authoring tools are integrated with Connect, enabling you to enrich your courses with audio. Explore the Voice Authoring Toolkit to get started as well as the specific resources below:

Exploring Student Perspectives

Lastly, don’t forget to check out our new blog series Exploring Student Perspectives written by Kimberly Kao and Ronald Ho, co-op students at the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology. They have been developing Connect resources all summer and will be talking about what it’s like to learn what instructors do in building their Connect courses.


Connect Upgrade!

Now that the migration process is complete and most UBC courses that have a Learning Management System component are being offered in Connect, we can focus on making upgrades and improvements to the system to enhance its teaching and learning potential. On May 11, 2013, Connect was upgraded to Service Pack 11. In this upgrade, while a majority of the functionality that you have become accustomed to using will remain the same, there are several new features that were implemented that:

  • Simplify development of media-rich materials that you can deliver to your students in a flexible manner;
  • Encourage communication and collaboration between you and your students and between students and their peers;
  • Improve your ability to assess student learning and provide rich, rapid feedback; and
  • Enhance user interfaces that make it simpler and more intuitive to manage your course and access important information and updates globally.

Included in the upgrade are:

  • My Blackboard and Global Navigation – An integrated drop down menu that delivers consolidated tasks, messages, alerts, and other important information from one menu, accessible from any page in Connect. Users can upload an avatar (if they choose) that will appear in discussion board posts. (VIDEO)
  • New Content Editor with advanced features that allow you to easily add video, images, and audio within a fully-functioning HTML editor that incorporates a familiar and simple user interface (VIDEO). You can compare features of the new and old content editors here: (READ)
  • New Discussion Board, including the ability to limit student participation until after they have made an initial post. (VIDEO)
  • New Calendar A totally redesigned calendar provides new functionality in a clear graphical interface.  It will pick up assigned due dates and provides drag and drop functionality.  It can be exported on Windows machines to Outlook and with iCal to other calendars (VIDEO).
  • Date Rollover Tool for better managing due dates as you move from term to term.
  • Enhanced Item Analysis – (VIDEO) Provides statistics on overall test performance and on individual test questions. This data helps you recognize questions that might not adequately discriminate between students who understand the material and those who do not. You can use this information to improve questions for future tests or to adjust credit on current attempts. Ineffective or misleading question are identified easily, corrected in the Test Canvas, and are re-graded automatically.
  • Pattern Matching Fill-in-the-Blank – Fill in the blank questions can be automatically scored using a pattern matching feature. (VIDEO)
  • iPeer integration–For those not familiar with iPeer, it is an open source web application that allows instructors to develop and deliver rubric-based peer evaluations, to review and release students comments, to build progress report forms online, and to analyze evaluation results.
  • Negative marking – Negative marking is something instructors enjoyed in Vista. It allows you to assign negative point values for wrong answers on test questions. This allows faculty to prevent (by penalty) guessing on a multiple-choice quiz.
  • Interactive rubrics – Interactive rubrics simplify grading of assignments by establishing clear grading criteria.  Now they are available for grading discussions, blogs, and wiki contributions. Instructors can enter comments and grades into the rubric as they review student submissions.  These rubrics can help to improve student performance by providing students with clear information on grading parameters.
  • Improved Student View – An easily-accessible Student View that allows instructors to switch back and forth between the Teach and Student Views easily.
  • Enterprise Surveys – Allows instructors, departments or faculties to conduct surveys at the course, department, or institution level with the ability to track response rates, aggregate or disaggregate results, and even track results year over year.



It’s always helpful to announce a change

I talked to a few students about their experience with Connect and in general, they are quite satisfied. When asked to be more specific, the comments were a bit more mixed. Some mentioned Connect had a cleaner visual design than WebCT Vista, while others said Vista was cleaner and less cluttered. Some found Connect easier to navigate but others disagreed, saying it was confusing with too many subfolders and links.

Vista Green New Item

WebCT Vista automatically adds a green asterisk in the course menu when a section has been updated.

I also asked if they could change one thing in their course in order to improve it, the majority mentioned improving notifications. If you did not use WebCT Vista before, updates to any section will automatically create a green asterisk beside its name. It is an important visual signifier that automatically catches a student’s attention when they sign in. Fortunately, Connect has a built-in notifications feature that will get better with the system upgrade to Blackboard Learn 9.1 SP 10 & 11 in May 2013. More information about this feature can be found at On the other hand, the notification settings are a bit difficult to access.

Below are a few tips for both students and instructors to take advantage of the notifications feature:

For Everyone

  • By default, course notifications sent via email are turned off. Edit your notification settings in the My Places area. See How to Edit Notification Settings.
  • Regularly visit the Notifications Dashboard found under the Courses tab.
Connect Notifications Dashboard

A screenshot of the Notifications Dashboard under the Courses tab.

For Instructors Only

For notifications to work, please make sure you have the right email stored in Connect, preferably something you check on a regular basis. For students, you can update your email via the Student Service Centre (SSC). Instructors please make sure you have an up to date email in the Faculty Service Centre (FSC). If you need to update your email please contact your Faculty’s Instructional Support Unit.

Connect Program Milestone – No New Courses Created in Vista

A milestone was reached today in the transition from WebCT Vista to Connect. As of today (February 28, 2013), the “Create Course” functionality in CTC2 will be decommissioned. At that point, no new courses can be created in WebCT Vista and will instead need to be created in Connect.  All existing UBC courses or workshops with online components in Vista must be migrated to Connect by November 2013.  Please note that ISS with CTC2 access will still be able to manage their existing WebCT Vista courses using CTC2 until January 2014.

If you have any questions about this or if you would like additional information, please contact your Instructional Service Staff representative or the Connect Program Manager.

UBC’s Course Reserve Management System

UBC Library, in collaboration with the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology and UBC IT, has launched a new course-reserve management system. This system is a portal to all course reserves on a secure, campus-wide basis; it is available through Connect.Students huddled around a table in the Life Sciences Centre at the University of British Columbia. Photo by Zack Lee at

Benefits for students include:

  • Targeted and easily accessible readings
  • Instantaneous availability of new items
  • Anywhere, anytime access

Benefits for instructors include:

  • Simplified forms and an easier request process for print and online items
  • An ability to view the status of course reserve requests
  • Availability of usage data
  • Persistent URLs
  • UBC Library support

More information on course reserves, including video tutorials, is available at

Questions about “Roles” in Connect?

“Roles” in Connect determine what a user can do and see. We have published documentation on the Instructor Resources page that outlines the various roles that you may be assigned to, or may encounter, when working in your Connect course. This document gives a snapshot of the abilities and permissions available to users assigned to various roles.

Decommission of Vista “Create Course” Functionality

At the end of February 2013, the “Create Course” functionality in CTC2 will be decommissioned. At that point, no new courses can be created in WebCT Vista and will instead need to be created in Connect.  All existing UBC courses or workshops with online components in Vista must be migrated to Connect by January 2014.  Please note that ISS with CTC2 access will still be able to manage their existing WebCT Vista courses using CTC2 until January 2014.

If you have any questions about this or if you would like additional information, please contact your Instructional Service Staff representative. You can also find more information about the Connect project, resources, and Professional Development on the UBC e-Learning website.


Welcome to the Connect Blog. This blog will be the source for a number of types of information including:

  • Information about the Connect LMS Transition Project
  • New enhancements, integrations, and customizations
  • News about Connect
  • Service disruptions or outages
  • Professional development news


This page can be added to your RSS feed or you can check back periodically for updates. Contributions will be made individuals from across the UBC community providing a diverse range of perspectives and information on the new Learning Management System.

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