Blackboard 9.1 Secret Sharer


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I used BB 9.1 for 11 courses over the past academic year and this is some of what I learned. At the end of the presentation are a few slides on what you should do when you copy an old shell to a new shell. I use the notes page for all the text so you may have to download the file to understand some of the slides.

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  • Here is some of what I learned while using Blackboard in the AY 2010-2011.Please share any secrets you learned while using BB.
  • I hope to share some tips that you will find useful as you transition to BB.Note: all images come from Microsoft clip art.
  • I use the old WebCT style home page for the first week and then switch to the Blackboard dashboard for the rest of the semester.
  • I make this page the entry point for the course after the first week. Consider removing modules that you won’t use. I use all of the Blackboard modules as shown in the slide.My Announcements: If you don’t use announcements you can remove this module. But Announcements are useful since they can link to course objects like tests or assignments. So I use this tool.I also set up the calendar with an entry for every graded item in the course but wish events in the calendar would link to course tools.My Tasks: I do not use in my courses. But I leave the modules there in case students want to use it. They can only create personal tasks from the My Institution page. They cannot create tasks inside a course. I point this out to students in the introduction learning module.
  • BB does not have any visual indicator for unread mail, but at least new discussion threads will appear here.
  • I found out that there was a message in a forum that I had not approved and the forum settings were set for me to moderate that forum. Check each forum before each semester to make sure the settings are right. Rarely will you want to see and approve every post in a forum.
  • The report card is not added to the home page (Dashboard) by defaultSolution: go to the Home Page and click the Add Course Module button and then on the next page click Add (Report Card).You can also use this technique to get rid of modules you do not want to use.
  • I spend some time on the course menu so students can quickly get to any part of the course.Click the + sign at the top of the course menu and you will see what you can add to the course menu.Blackboard calls the black lines “dividers” and subheaders are words that you can use for sections like Graded Items.Mail is not the email tool it is Messages.
  • The problem with Email is that you don’t know if every student has a valid email address. If the college could verify and enter the valid email addresses for each student then it would be more useful.Also there is no inbox or sent folder. So I never use Email for communication with the students and ask them not to. But I don’t turn off the tool since Blackboard will send announcements and if they subscribe to a discussion forum it will send an email to them when that forum has activity.Message is the tool I do use but reserve it for personal matters and for reviewing assignments before they are turned in. When students ask general questions about the course I tell them that I will reply in Discussions so all can see the question and response. Then I head to discussions and post the question and my response there.
  • And then choose to have it included in the user directory or it will not appear.Your personal information is not included in the User Directory unless you choose to be listed.
  • Students can turn off Email (not course mail) if they wish.
  • Students can choose not to allow students to email them but if they provide a valid email you can use the external email tool to email them.If you turn off the email option it will also turn off messages. So please do not do this unless you do not want email or messages to work.
  • This way each time you come to mail all you will see are messages you have not handled.Until you create at least one folder you will not see the Move buttonIf you delete email it is deleted. So be careful about when you delete a message.I move messages to the Old folder after responding to them so the only messages in my inbox are those that I have not answered.I know some create a folder for each student and file their messages there, but if you put all the messages in one folder you can quickly get to all the messages from one student.
  • If you wish to include an attachment when replying to a student email you can use the icon but it will only allow you to use files that are posted in the course.
  • The course mail only allows one attachment per email message. So you either have to send more than one email or used zipped folders.(Place the files in a folder and then right click the folder and choose send to compressed folder.)
  • Or you will have to review threads before students will see them.
  • When someone subscribes BB sends emails to external addresses. Another reason not to turn off the email tool.Note that students can also rate posts if you select that option.You can deselect the allow file attachments if you do not want students to attach files to a post. I do that in graded forums.
  • When you first log on to BB there is a link to Help at the top of the page but it does not work.And if you add a link to Help in the course menu it will not work either.But the help in the control panel does work.Bottom right: to add Help to the course menu use the option “create external link.”
  • If you don’t find what you are looking for in a search then try going through the table of contents.
  • If you click the Needs Grading link in the control panel then you can see what needs grading. This is useful but I just go to the grade book and grade from there.
  • To hide columns from students click the action button for a column and choose “Show/Hide to Users.” Here all three columns are turned off for the students and they will not see them.Or click the action button for a column and choose “Edit Column Information.” (Bottom right) and in section 3 choose No for Show this Column to Students
  • There is no way for you to know what the grade book looks like unless you ask a student to show you or add a friend to the course and then see for yourself.Students can see due date, their grade, possible points, average, median grades and you can enter comments that they can see. Due dates and statistics only appear if you set them up.
  • >Manage > Grading Color CodesIt also shows submitted assignments (here shown in green with an !) so you can quickly locate them.This is helpful in seeing who needs help and when you have to enter midterm grades.
  • When you set up the letter grade column the student will always know what the answer is to the question “How are you doing in this class?”The letter grade and total columns update automatically after every graded event.
  • Edit Column to enter due dates for every graded event. You can either go to Assignments and Assessments and enter the due date there or go to Grade Center and click on a column and enter the due date there. If you change the date in either location it will change the date in the other location.
  • You have to do this for each column in the grade book.
  • After the add/drop date at the beginning of the semester or later you can get rid of students who dropped.Go to the control panel (course management) and choose Users and Groups. And then click Users.Click the action button opposite a user nameThen you can remove the user from the course or change the role say from student to guestThis is also a way to add a colleague to the course as a student so you can see what the course looks like to the student.
  • Head to the control panel and under customization choose Tool Availability.Then unselect any tool you will not use.When finished click the Submit button.You can also choose what you want guests or observers will see when they visit the course.
  • When a student click on the Tools link in the course menu they will see the tools that you do use.These are the tools I use in all my classes. I do not turn off Send Email but I hide the link here.
  • You always land on the daily view, the monthly view is less useful since entries can’t link to course tools like tests or assignments or discussions and sometimes you can’t see the entries.
  • By creating a group for each student you can give them access to the file exchange where they can upload their course files. I do this to allow them to save their files and sometimes students will upload files and ask me to look at them.
  • You can use this to add info about CSM resources in addition to information about yourself.
  • So once you create a good assignment you just have to reset the dates for it to appear and disappear.
  • The announcement tool allows you to link to graded events so the announcement can say when the graded event is due and students can click on it to get to that graded event.Still my students said they usually go to Assessments to take a test or to Assignments to turn in an assignment. So maybe this is a waste of time.I also have links to tests and assignments in each learning module.
  • This can be useful and students can see the book even if they are not enrolled in the class
  • If you open a chat session and then click anywhere inside the window where you launched chat you will be immediately kicked out of chat.So open a new window where you want to launch chat and then do not click anywhere on that page.You can have other windows or tabs open and can click there without any problem.
  • Examview is software that many publishers give away with their books. You can create exams using it and then publish the tests to Blackboard.
  • In all 11 classes no student had any problems with any of the tests. But problems can arise if they see the entire test and click on the browser navigation buttons. So choose to show only one question at a time. Each time a student selects an answer and moves to the next question their answer will be saved whether or not they click the save answer button.
  • Once the test is deployed you need to “edit the test options.”
  • If you take the time to have a good description you can eliminate many questions.Test Availability: this is where you decide how much each test is worth if students can take it more than one time. You can also set the timer. I leave the tests on all the time. If a student takes the test after it is due and if they don’t have enough tokens then I change their grade to 0.
  • 3. Due date: this appears in Assessments and also in the student grade book so I take the time to enter a date for each test.4. Usually you include the test in the grade center, but I have a sample test that I choose to hide the results from the student as it is not part of their grade.5. I want the students to see all the information here.6. Here is where you choose to show the questions one at a time and I always randomize the questions.
  • This is the view in the grade center when you choose to view all attempts.If you have to reset a test for some reason you can come here then click the action button by the grade.
  • You can get detailed information about each quiz by clicking the action button by the grade and choosing View Grade Details.You can also clear the attempt here or override the score.
  • Again try to put all the information here and each time a student asks a question about an assignment add your answer to the assignment so you don’t see the question again.
  • Here is the heart of an assignment: I include a text file that has all the info about the assignment.4. Availability: I allow a single attempt and reset it if necessary. All my assignments are always turned on so I don’t have to reset the display after or display until each semester. If a student turns in an assignment late I can easily see that and if they don’t have tokens give them a zero and explain in the grade comments.5. I always set the due date here but you can also do it in the grade center.You can also assign assignments to groups but I never do even in courses where there is much group work. I don’t think it is asking too much to have each student submit their assignment.
  • This is what the grading form looks like. Be careful to enter your comments in the Feedback to User box and not the Instructor notes box which only you can see.Inside the circle is a control you can use to expand the box so that if you have to enter extensive notes it becomes a bit easier.You can write pages of feedback if you wish unlike previous versions of Blackboard.
  • In the grade center you can click the action button for an assignment and then download all the assignments. Very nice for assessments.
  • Click the action button for the grade for the student for the assignment you want to reset and then choose View Grade Details and you will see all kinds of information. Clear Attempt resets the assignment.
  • Clicking on the title of the slide will take you to the blog.
  • And adjust as necessary the order of the links
  • If you don’t expand the modules as the Needs Attention one then this is what it will look like to students. See the next slide
  • If you find that the old posts were copied over be sure to delete them.
  • Or you can go to Control Panel: Customization: and use the Tool Availability to remove unused tools.
  • This may take a while.
  • Hopefully you can see the forest now.
  • If you have secrets you would like to share please post them in the comments and I will modify the presentation to add them.Thank you for reviewing this. Please let me know if there is something wrong I need to fix or add to it.
  • Blackboard 9.1 Secret Sharer

    1. 1. Blackboard 9Secret Sharer<br />
    2. 2. Learning objectives<br />
    3. 3. Dashboard (home page)<br />
    4. 4. Home Page (Dashboard)<br />
    5. 5. Use the home page for notifications<br />
    6. 6. But sometimes they stick even though you read them<br />
    7. 7. Add Grades to Dashboard<br />
    8. 8. Course Menu<br />
    9. 9. Email<br />
    10. 10. Email & Messages<br />
    11. 11. Users have to provide email<br />
    12. 12. Student options<br />
    13. 13. This also turns off Messages!<br />
    14. 14. Create a folder so you can move answered mail out of inbox<br />
    15. 15. Replying to email: no attachment except those in course files<br />
    16. 16. Only 1 attachment per email<br />
    17. 17. Discussion Forums<br />
    18. 18. Forums: confirm that each has moderation turned off<br />
    19. 19. Forums: subscribe won’t work if you don’t turn on email<br />
    20. 20. Blackboard Help<br />
    21. 21. Help-these do not work<br />These work<br />
    22. 22. Blackboard Help Page<br />
    23. 23. Grade book<br />
    24. 24. Needs Grading link will take you to things that need grading<br />
    25. 25. Hide columns in Grade book<br />
    26. 26. Student view of Grades<br />
    27. 27. Grade Book: Use color to highlight grades or assignments to grade<br />
    28. 28. Use grade to give student current letter grade automatically<br />
    29. 29. Enter due date for graded events<br />
    30. 30. Turn on statistics and show column to student<br />
    31. 31. Manage students who drop<br />
    32. 32. Tools<br />
    33. 33. Tools: turn off tools you don’t use<br />
    34. 34.
    35. 35. Calendar<br />
    36. 36. Calendar: 2 steps backward<br />
    37. 37. Weekly view is most useful: but no hyperlink to course tools<br />
    38. 38. File exchange<br />
    39. 39. Contacts<br />
    40. 40. Announcements roll over<br />
    41. 41. Can link announcement to graded items<br />
    42. 42. Textbook information<br />
    43. 43. Be careful with chat<br />
    44. 44. Tests<br />
    45. 45. Examview will send tests to BB<br />
    46. 46. Tests: Use single question view<br />
    47. 47. Edit the Test Options<br />
    48. 48.
    49. 49.
    50. 50.
    51. 51. Grade details for a test<br />
    52. 52. Assignments<br />
    53. 53. Assignments<br />
    54. 54.
    55. 55. Grading<br />
    56. 56. Download assignments is back<br />
    57. 57. Reset an assignment<br />
    58. 58. Pre-semester Checklist<br />
    59. 59. After you copy course to new shell<br />
    60. 60. Fix (remove duplicates) Course Menu<br />
    61. 61. Confirm all modules are here and expand them<br />
    62. 62. Student view if teacher does not expand modules.<br />
    63. 63. Delete old posts in discussions<br />
    64. 64. Create folder so you can move messages from inbox<br />
    65. 65. Check tools page, hide unneeded links<br />
    66. 66. Open each column in Grade Center and change due date and show statistics<br />
    67. 67. Summary<br />