How to handwrite on the Blackboard Collaborate shared whiteboard To get the best out of your Live Online Professional Development course, you will need to be able to ‘write maths’ on our shared whiteboard. ‘Writing maths’ is difficult using a keyboard alone and so in order to be able to write freehand, and thus use all the mathematical symbols we are used to using in our own classrooms, you will need a way to make a handwritten input to the electronic environment. There are two main ways in which this can be done: Using your own interactive whiteboard If you’re taking part in your LOPD course from your school or college, you may be able to use your own interactive whiteboard to make handwritten input. Log in to Integral from the computer which drives your whiteboard and you should be able to write on the whiteboard for the sections of the course where this is needed. Pros: The big advantage with using your own interactive whiteboard is that you will be able to write as smoothly in the online environment as you can in the classroom. Cons: You will need to set up your headset so that you can continue to hear and speak whilst using the whiteboard. If your computer is located a distance from your whiteboard, you may find that you need a headset with an extra long wire to avoid unplugging yourself whilst working at the board! You may also find yourself becoming a little self-conscious standing in an empty classroom with your headset on, apparently chatting animatedly to an invisible class... Using a graphics tablet A graphics tablet is a device designed specifically for those wishing to make handwritten or hand-drawn input to their computer. There is a wide range of different types available, from the simple to the very expensive aimed at graphic designers and artists. They are used in a similar way to a mouse moving the pen across the surface results in a matching movement of the pointer on the screen - but allow you to use a more traditional pen grip so that you can handwrite comfortably. Most graphics tablets consist of a flat surface with a connector which plugs in to the USB port on your computer and a pen which connects wirelessly to the tablet. Some also have a wireless mouse. For your LOPD course, you need no more than the most basic graphics tablet. We estimate that you should need to spend no more than £30 on this. Although most graphics tablets are set up to be ‘plug-and -play’, we recommend that you read the manual and ensure that you have set the tablet up to work best with your computer. Pros: The tablet can be used with whichever computer you are using to access Blackboard and is very portable. It feels like more like writing on paper than the IWB. Cons: There is a cost associated with this. It can take a little while to get used to using a tablet. Other methods of handwriting input You may have other methods available for making handwritten input. We have included guidance for using a Surface below: you may find that other touchscreen laptops can also be used. Please let us know if you are using this method (so that we can share your experience!) Using a Surface A complication for the Windows Surface computers is their ultra-high resolution can make the Blackboard collaborate software look tiny and impossible to use. This is a fault of Blackboard, which they may address in the future. If this is a problem for you follow the workaround steps 1-4 in italics first, otherwise jump to step 5. 1. Change the resolution to something more sensible. (How? Right click the desktop, click Display Settings, scroll down, click Advanced Display Settings, change resolution from 2736x1824 (default on the Surface Pro 4) to something like 1200x800) 2. Make sure the display change has taken place (your desktop may look a bit different, you may have to click 'Keep Changes', or perhaps even repeat step 1 sometimes). 3. SIGN OUT OF WINDOWS and back in (this is because windows doesn't rescale some things until you have signed out). To do this, click Start, then your name/ icon (top of start window) and then click 'sign out' (note the sign out option is not on the 'Power' options anymore for Windows 10). 4. Once back in Windows proceed with the following steps (as usual) 5. Connect a headset (you'll need a USB hub if you want more than one thing plugged in) 6. Load the Blackboard Collaborate session normally. 7. Run the audio setup to choose the correct audio output and input (your USB headset) 8. Your Surface pen will work as a mouse pointer. 9. To write on the screen simply click the pen icon in the normal way for Blackboard - choose a colour if necessary and write directly on the screen 10.Your keyboard may feel ‘in the way’ when you want to physically write on the screen, so you can flip it up and behind the tablet screen. The 'kickstand' should let you lean the screen at a slight angle comfortable for writing. 11.Flip the keyboard back if you want to type (or plug in an external USB keyboard and put it off to one side). 12.When you're done with the session, follow steps 1-3 again but choose the recommended resolution to change back to hi-definition. Methods which don’t work… At the moment, it is not possible to use the Blackboard Collaborate online classrooms for LOPD via a mobile device such as a phone, tablet or iPad. Although the classroom can be accessed from such a device, it is not possible to handwrite onto the screen Who to contact if you have a query or a problem: Issue to be resolved Who to contact Session content, ideas for teaching, attendance at sessions, feedback, resources. Your course tutor: you’ll receive an email with contact details at the start of the course. Technical issues such as connection, sound, etc. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, copying in your tutor(s). Administrative issues e.g. missing access details, invoicing queries, booking confirmation, Integral access. Email LOPD@furthermaths.org.uk. Concerns: if you have any issues you would like to raise with the project coordinator. Email LOPD@furthermaths.org.uk. We hope that you will enjoy your course. The LOPD Team.