Category Archives: Educational Technology/Tools

Developing Rubrics

This article is collecting articles and online resources about Rubrics. In the distance learning environment, having a fair and effective rubric is becoming more important to evaluate open-ended assignments.

1.What is Rubrics

A description guideline that helps students and instructors grade the qualities of learning outcomes of students for the open-ended assignment.

2.Types of Rubrics





Level 1                 Level 2                 Level 3                 Level 4

Performance attribute 1

Performance attribute 2

Performance attribute 3


4. Writing rubrics

a) set the scale

three levels, four levels, five levels, or seven levels


b) define the rating

4 = advanced; 3) proficient; 2) basic; 1) beginning

When developing rating, I am encouraging do not use negative terms such as novice, below expectations. I met some students who was upset about my grading based on my rubrics, though they got a relatively good grade. Because they believed that their performances were not good as the rating label contains negative terms.

c) identify basic descriptions

4 – advanced ability to …

3- proficient ability to

2- developing ability to

1-starting ability to

d) Describe performance description for each number on the scale




  • Resources
  1. Developing effective rubrics for PBL learning.


2. Developing rubrics for assessment from University of New England


Distance Learning Webinar

My colleague, Damiano A Mastrandrea, shared this opportunity. If you are interested in Distance Learning strategies, this will be good opportunity to learn.

Thanks, Damiano!

If you’re interested in a Remote Learning Webinar (including targets for CTE & TechEd teachers), please visit the following links at the given time (feel free to share):

Wednesday, March 18th, 2020 @ 12:30-1:30 –…/0573e29b-62e6-4c3a-879e-8d…

Thursday, March 19th, 2020 @ 12:30-1:30 –…/a0d8746e-d855-4fc5-b004-29…

Topics will include:

  1. Defining Remote Learning

  2. Planning Considerations

  3. Differentiating Synchronous & Asynchronous Learning

  4. Problems, Case Examples, and Alternatives for “Hands-On” Tasks

  5. 6 Methods for Remote Learning Activities

  6. Best Practice Pro Tips & Quality Guidelines

  7. Resources

A link will be available at the end of the slide deck and recording session.

How to Access Blackboard Collaborate Ultra

Students taking EDU 3400 Transportation Systems and EDU 3410 Technology Education Foundation & Curriculum Development will need to access real-time online classes through Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. This article will explain how students access Blackboard Ultra (Collaborate Ultra).

  1. Preparations
    • Students will need to have
      1. Internet access using WiFi or mobile.
      2. Computer devices, one of followings
        1. Desktop computer
        2. Laptop (Preferred)
        3. Tablet
        4. Smart phone
    • If you plan to use desktop computer, you will need a microphone to interact with the instructor and class mates.
  2. Blackboard Ultra
    1. Login to Blackboard and find Blackboard Ultra via
    2. Click Virtual Classroom -> Select a session of the week.

4. Join the classroom by clicking Join Course Room.


In case, if you cannot join the classroom using your digital device, you can get into the classroom using mobile phone calling the dial number. e.g.) 571-392-7650 then enter pin number e.g.) 508 494 7062. You must check the pin number shown on your Ultra session.

How to Host Virtual Office Hours using Blackboard Ultra

Blackboard is a great LMS (Learning Management System) tool, but many people don’t know its office hour feature. Instructors can easily set repeating virtual office hours for the distance learning circumstance.

1. Find Blackboard Collaborate Ultra

    • On the left menu, Go to Tools -> Blackboard Collaborate Ultra

Ultra menu

    • Tip: To increase the student accessibility, you can create a link on the left menu.

create menu

2. Create an office hour session

  • Go to Blackboard Collaborate Ultra page via Tools -> Blackboard Collaborate Ultra menu or your custom tool menu.
  • Click Create Session button

create session

3. Type Session name as Office Hours and set hours as your actual office hours. My office hours are Thursday 1-4 pm. So I set the event from 1 to 4 pm.

hour setting

4. [Important] Scroll down on the event details screen. Find the Repeat session item and check. You will need to define the repeat details. My office hours are on every Thursday. So I select Repeat Weekly, Every Week, and T (Thursday)repeat setting

5. Click Save and see the recurring virtual sessions for your office hours.


COVID-19: How to Prepare for distance learning

Including CityTech many schools are adopting distance learning as an alternative for in-class instructions due to Coronavirus. Distance learning will be significantly different in terms of preparation, student interactions, and assessment. This article presents how higher-education can prepare for a smooth transition to distance learning.

1. Update student contact information

First and foremost, you should check and update student contact information including as cellphone number, email, and emergency contact

update contact info

2. Consider smartphone if they don’t have access to video camera and microphone

Do not expect that all students have microphone and video camera. But it is true that most of students have access to smartphone that has a high-quality microphone and cameras. Also you should make sure that your learning tools support mobile platforms.

3. Make a plan for WiFi

Ask students if they can access WiFi. If not, you should let them prepare for alternative communication methods or consult them to get WiFi. Some school and public libraries are plan to open during this semester.


4. Design self-guided learning

If you class adopts student-centered learning, it is a good chance to test your approach. Have a conference with your students and consider them to conduct their own research projects. You should define your instructional role that supports student learning in the distance learning platform.

self-guided learning

5. Leverage your LMS (Learning Management System)

There are a lot of LMS tools such as Google Class, Blackboard, Microsoft Teams, and OpenLab. You, as in instructor, need to be familiar with the LMS to maximize the effectiveness of distance learning.

6. Review your course syllabus – set scope and sequence for distance learning

Don’t hesitate to modify your course syllabus. The format of distance learning will be significantly different from the classes designed for in-person interactions. Review your course syllabus and see if your distance learning can achieve the course goals designed for in-class instructions. Particularly, assessing student achievement in the distance learning environment will be very challenging.


Euisuk Sung.


Ed Tools shared by Damiano

Ed Tech tools

Presented by Damiano A. Mastrandrea

As discussed, here are some EdTech tools professors can use for their synchronous and asynchronous instruction:


  1. Blackboard Collaborate
  2. Google Meet
  3. Zoom
  4. Skype
  5. Microsoft Teams


  1. Recorded Video of Any of the Above
    • All of the synchronous options have the ability to record the meeting, which can be downloaded or linked to.
    • Some of these premium features are temporary as companies have allowed this due to the pandemic.
  2. Apple QuickTime
  3. Windows Recording Tool
  4. Camtasia