Configure Course Tools
Blackboard provides many tools for instructors to configure and use with students in a Blackboard course, including:
- Collaboration Session (Virtual Classroom and Chat)
- Course Calendar
- Discussion Board
- Safe Assign
- Self and Peer Assessments
- Send Email
- Test, Surveys, and Pools
Blogs are an open communications tool for students to share their thoughts. Blogs can be made available for each student or for groups that you have set up in your Blackboard course. Instructors are also able to participate in posts to facilitate collaboration.
Create a Blog.
Click on the "Create Blog" button, enter a name and instructions (if desired) for the blog, select availability and settings, and click "Submit."
Make a Blog available to students.
Select "Yes" to make the blog immediately available to students. And/or choose date and time restrictions to limit students access to the blog.
Select Blog settings.
The "Blog Settings" offer instructors some additional functionality. Click "Monthly" or "Weekly" to select an indexing method. Optionally, one or both of the checkboxes if you want students to be able to "Edit" and/or "Delete" blog entries and comments.
Open, edit, or delete a Blog.
Instructors can open, edit, and delete blogs they have set up by accessing the contextual menu located next to the blog title. Click on the down arrow icon to expose and choose to "Open," "Edit," or "Delete" a blog.
Collaboration tools offer instructors and students the ability to participate in real-time course discussions via the Internet. There are two types of collaboration tools available: "Virtual Classroom" and "Chat." The "Virtual Classroom" enables instructors and students to browse the web, participate in question-and-answer sessions, as well as chats. "Chat," on the other hand, provides the singular functionality of a chat tool.
Create a Collaboration Session.
Click on the "Create Collaboration Session" button. Enter the required information and then click "Submit."
Edit or delete a Collaboration Session.
Click the down arrow icon located next to the name of the Collaboration Session you would like to change. Then choose either "Edit" or "Delete."
Search a Collaboration Session.
Select a search criterion from the "Search by" dropdown menu. Users may search by "Session Name," "Start Date," or "End Date." If desired, you can also choose to filter your search returns by session type using the "Filter" dropdown menu. Click "Go." The Collaboration session search returns will be listed according to the search criteria you selected.
Using "Contacts," instructors are able to post information about themselves, teaching assistants, and guest speakers. Students can then use this to look up names, email addresses, office hours, and photographs of course instructors. There is also an option to create folders to organize multiple contacts by, for example, Instructors, TAs, Guest Speakers.
Begin the Contact creation process.
To begin, create a new "Contact" by clicking the "Create Contact" button located from the "Contacts" page within your Blackboard course.
Enter Contact information.
Next, enter the required field "Email" information and any additional optional profile information you wish to include (e.g. title, first name, last name, work phone, office location, office hours, and notes. Optionally you may provide the individual's availability settings, a picture, and/or a personal link.
- Complete the Contact creation process.
Click the "Submit" button to complete the contact creation process.
Edit or delete a Contact.
You can "Edit" or "Delete" a "Contact" by using the contextual menu located next to the contact's name. Click on the down arrow icon located next to the "Contact" you would like to modify and then select "Edit" or "Delete" from the dropdown menu.
Create a link for a Discussion Board either in a content area or in the course menu or navigate to the Tools area and create a forum directly in the Discussion Board tool.
Instructors can provide students with a "Glossary" of discipline-specific terms for use in the course. Terms displayed in the "Glossary" are categorized and listed alphabetically.
Add Glossary terms online from within your Blackboard course.
To create a new term from web page, click on the "Create Term" button located in the "Glossary" tool page of your course. In the Create Term page, input the term and its definition. Click "Submit" to save the glossary entry.
Add/edit Glossary terms offline using Excel (then upload into Blackboard).
Glossary terms can be managed offline using the import and export functionality of the "Glossary" tool. Click the "Upload/Download" contextual menu located at top of the Glossary page to perform this action.
- Download all the terms in the Glossary to an Excel file format.
- Add and edit Glossary terms in your downloaded Excel file.
Upload the revised Excel file and select options for how Blackboard should reconcile the content differences (between the existing content in Blackboard and the revised content in the Excel spreadsheet) by either choosing to append the content or by choosing to replace the content. Blackboard will revise the Glossary according to your selection of the processing method for the uploaded file.
A journal is a self-reflective tool for students. Only the student and the Instructor are able to comment on journal entries. From the "Journal" index page, instructors are able to open and monitor the status of all journals by clicking on the journal title.
Create a journal.
To begin, from within the "Journal" tool in your Blackboard course, click the "Create Journal" button to create a new journal. Enter required information and select from "Journal Settings." Click "Submit" to complete the creation process.
View students' journal entries.
To view students' journal entries, first click on the journal name to launch the list of students with journals under that title, then click on a particular student's name to launch that student's journal entries.
Post an instructor entry in a student's journal.
Instructors may post their own journal entries. Note: If a journal is set to "Private," the instructor and individual student to whom the journal belongs are the only users in the course who have access to that particular student's journal and both can create journal entries.
Messages are private and secure text-based communications that occur between users associated with a particular Blackboard course.
Create and send a message.
To create a new message, click on the "Create Message" button. On the "Compose Message" page, select recipients, enter a subject line and message text. Click "Submit" to send the message.
See your sent messages.
To look at message(s) that you have sent to others, click on the "Sent" link.
Check incoming messages.
To check message(s) others have sent to you, click on the "Inbox" link.
Generally speaking, rubrics help instructors to communicate to students the metric on which their work will be evaluated and consequently rubrics help students to better understand where to focus their time, attention, and effort. The rubric tool in Blackboard organizes evaluation criteria for an assignment into a grid of columns and rows. The rows correspond to the various criteria for an assignment. The columns correspond to the level of achievement for each criterion. A description and point value for each cell in the rubric define the evaluation and score of an assignment.
Begin to create a Rubric.
Once you have navigated to the "Rubrics" tool page, click on the "Create Rubric" button.
Label the Rubric.
Enter a name and description for your rubric.
Add content to the Rubric.
Begin adding the details to your rubric with the help of contextual menus positioned in the column and row heading cells.
Edit the Rubric.
You can edit headings as well as remove columns and rows.
- To edit a heading, click on the down arrow icon positioned next to the heading you wish to change. Select "Edit" to change the name of the item.
- To delete a column, click on "Delete this column."
To delete a row, click a checkbox next to the row you wish to remove and then click the "Delete" button.
- Complete the Rubric creation process.
Click "Submit" to complete the rubric creation process.
The "Self and Peer Assessment" tool is intended for students to evaluate themselves and/or their peers within a Blackboard course. Instructors first create an assessment and then manage the Self and Peer Assessment using the interface this tool provides.
You can find the "Self and Peer Assessment" tool by expanding the "Control Panel" and the "Course Tools" menu. All previously created self and peer assessments will be listed.
To view a "Self and Peer Assessment," click on the down arrows icon positioned next to a particular assessment heading listed in the first column. In the drop-down options, select the action to view details of this assessment.
Instructors and students can send email to all or any users listed in the Blackboard course roster. The "Send Email" tool is listed under "Course Tools" in the "Control Panel."
Select recipients of the message.
Once you are within the "Send Email" tool area, choose the recipients for you email using the left and right selection boxes. With one click you can select all names by using the "Select All" button. Click on the names to select one or multiple names in the list. Then use the arrow buttons situated between the two selection boxes to move the intended recipients from the left to the right "Selected Items" box.
- Enter information.
Enter your subject line, message text, and attach files if needed.
- Send email.
Click the "Submit" button to send out the email.
NOTE: Emails will be sent to the recipients' Andrew email account(s).
Using the "Tasks" tool, instructors can set up course tasks and monitor students' progress on tasks.
Add a task.
To add a task, click the "Create Course Task" button. Fill in the name, description, and set up the Due Date and Priority of the task.
Delete a task.
To delete task, select the checkbox next to the task you want to delete, then click the "Delete" button.
- View students' status.
View students' status on "Tasks" by clicking on the task title link. Note: You can sort the tasks listing by clicking on the column headings.
A Wiki is a collaboration tool that students can use to contribute and modify content.
Create a new Wiki.
To create a new Wiki, click the "Create Wiki" button, then enter a Wiki name and instructions for students (if desired).
Make the Wiki available to students.
To make the Wiki available to students, you will need to specify the "Wiki Date and Time Restrictions" options. Select "Yes" to make it immediately available and/or specify the dates during which you want the Wiki to be available to students.
Set participation and grading preferences.
Instructors can allow students to edit Wiki entries or not, and can make a Wiki a graded item or not depending on the settings the instructor chooses for these options.
Complete the creation process.
Click "Submit" to complete the Wiki creation process. Once created, the Wiki will be displayed in the Rubric page.
Open, edit Wiki properties, or delete a Wiki.
To open, edit properties, or delete a Wiki, use the contextual menu located next to a Wiki title link. Click the down arrow icon to expose the dropdown menu options and select the action you would like to perform (Open, Edit Properties, or Delete).
IMPORTANT! Create a Wiki page.
After a Wiki is created, YOU MUST create at least one Wiki page before the Wiki can be used.
Create a Wiki page.
To create a Wiki page, first click on the title of a Wiki you have already created. Then, click the "Create Wiki Page" button. Next, enter a name/title for the page and optionally enter content you want to add to the page. Then click "Submit" to complete the new wiki page creation process.
Edit and Add Comments to a Wiki page.
Editing and adding comments to a Wiki page is simple. From within a Wiki page that you have already created, click either the "Edit Wiki Content" button or the "Comment" button. The page will become editable and content can be added and/or edited.
- Create a Wiki page.