Blackboard Overview

Blackboard Overview








Blackboard Overview
What is Blackboard?
Blackboard is a learning management system that allows the instructor to supplement or
replace face to face courses. Courses that are supplemented by Blackboard also meet live
and are referred to as “blended” courses whereas those are conducted entirely within
Blackboard are called “online” courses.

What Can Blackboard Do and How Can I Use It to Teach?
Blackboard Allows the Instructor To:


Communicate with Students – Instructors can communicate with the class by
posting announcements or e-mailing the entire class or individual students from
within Bb



Distribute Information – Instructors can post lecture notes, presentations, video,
images, audio and other documents or media so they are accessible to students all
semester



Create Learning Activities – Blackboard allows you to post assignments that are
submitted online, and create interactive learning experiences such as wikis, blogs
and discussion boards. Students may be allowed to work individually or may be
assigned to groups.



Assess Student Learning - Online exams are scored automatically and provide
immediate feedback to students. Online surveys allow instructors to solicit input
from students at any time.



Track Student Participation – Blackboard’s Retention Center allows the instructor
to view missed deadlines, receive grade alerts and monitor student access and
activity levels.



Restrict Availability of Items – Availability of items such as assignments or
assessments can be controlled so that students may only have access based on
criteria you set such as date, time or score



Calculate and Store Grades – Blackboard’s Grade Center is secure and is available
to students at all times. Bb Assignments and Assessments automatically create
gradebook entries but as an instructor you have the ability to add columns for
graded items not submitted online (eg. live presentations, speeches, attendance at
tours or paper submissions). Grades can be weighted or not weighted and can be
presented as score, percent, or letter grade based a grading schema determined by

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the instructor. Other useful grade center features include the ability to set up
grading rubrics, smart views of a specified set of grade center columns such as those
that need grading, and color coding to alert the instructor to students falling below a
certain grade level.


Save and Reuse the Course – Instructors are encouraged to save their course so it
can be reused again, saving time as only changes need to be addressed

Students Benefit From:


Access to the course at any time from any computer with an internet connection



24/7 Availability of materials – the course syllabus, learning materials, tools and
exams can be available online for repeated review all semester long



Various learning styles are accommodated when both audio and visual materials
are posted



Immediate feedback is provided on online assessments



Elimination of lost homework as assignments and assessments are submitted
online



Convenience of being able to complete course requirements within time/date
parameters the instructor sets without the restrictions of a traditional classroom
meeting time



Collaboration can be achieved just as it is in a regular classroom without the need
for physical attendance



Online communication provides added instructor availability



Tracking their own progress via the online grade center

How Does It Work?
You decide which features you want to use (content like Word documents, Powerpoint
slideshows or videos; assignments that students submit online; assessments; journals and
interactive tools like blogs or wikis), and post them in your Blackboard course shell. It is
helpful to consider the navigation menu first so that the location of items is consistent and
makes sense to students. You can customize each course with a banner, menu style (text or
buttons) and color.
Think about how you will organize and manage graded assignments. Some instructors
allow access to the entire course at the beginning of the semester; others make materials
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and assignments available by unit or week. Setting expiration dates can also be managed
by Blackboard so that assignments are no longer available to students after a certain time.
During the semester you will use various tools within Blackboard to interact with students,
grade homework and monitor their performance.

How Do I Get Started?


How do I get a course shell? A course shell will be automatically created for each
course you teach prior to the start of each semester. You will find on at Western’s
Blackboard Site at http://blackboard.westerntc.edu



What is my username and password? Your username is your Western email
address prefix (eg John Doe’s username would be doej if his email address is
doej@westerntc.edu); your password is your Western email password.



How do I set up assignments, assessments and interactive tools in Bb? Refer to
training materials under Adding Content on the Bb faculty training page. Live
training is provided throughout the school year. Mentors are also available to assist
you. See the Blackboard Checklist for things to do at the beginning of the semester.



How do students get enrolled in my Bb class? Students are enrolled
automatically. If you have multiple sections of the same course you may combine
them so that you only need to maintain one Bb course shell (see Course
Management > Combining Multiple Sections). You can delete users or add users
(see Course Management > Enrollment – Add User/Delete User).

Additional Resources: Blackboard Help https://help.blackboard.com

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Updated 67.7.15 by brownt

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