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Telt Training: Blackboard Fundamentals


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This document for UNSW Staff outlines key tasks that instructors new to Blackboard will need to know to get started in the system, including where to find Blackboard, using common tools and functions, and how to open up the course to students.

For a video version of this guide, watch:

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Telt Training: Blackboard Fundamentals

  1. 1. TELT Training: Blackboard FundamentalsPurposeThis document outlines key tasks that instructors new to Blackboard will need to know to getstarted in the system, including where to find Blackboard, using common tools and functions,and how to open up the course to students.For a video version of this guide, watch: Getting StartedA. Accessing BlackboardYou can access Blackboard via MyUNSW ( Immediately afterlogin you will see a Blackboard Logo in the upper right-hand corner of the screen (seescreenshot). Clicking on the logo will take you directly into the system.B. Accessing Your CoursesOnce inside Blackboard you should see a “My Courses List” in the upper right hand corner ofthe screen. This area provides links to all the courses to which you have access.If you do not see courses in this list that should be present, you’ll need to speakwith your school’s TELT Administrator to arrange access. A list of the current TELTAdministrators is available in PDF form at the bottom of this page: you see “Unavailable” listed next to one of your courses, it indicates the course sitehas not been released to students yet. This relates to a setting within the course that you as 1
  2. 2. an Instructor have the ability to change. It does NOT reflect an error or problem; instructorsand Tutors are still able to access the course site. For instructions on opening up yourcourse site, please see Page 6 of this document.II. Working with Your CourseA. Parts of the CourseBlackboard courses are comprised of a few areas: ● Left Menu (upper left) - Used by students to navigate around the site; ● Control Panel / Course Management Menu (lower left) - Used by Instructors and Tutors to administer the course and control settings; not visible to students. ● Main Body (centre) - Portion of the screen where the information/content appears; additional tool options/menus are sometimes available here.Menu ItemsThe upper-left menu can contain a variety of different items, ranging from pages and tools, tolinks, dividers and sub-headingsTypes of PagesBlackboard offers several different types of pages: ● Content Areas - Used to post content, onscreen text, images/videos, and/or links to activities or assessments; ● Blank Pages - Used to add a single large block of text or HTML code; ● Module Pages - Allow for use of modules/widgets - such as calendar, tasks, or to-do lists - each of which performs a unique function; ● Tool Areas - Performs a specific function, such as a forum or submission box.External or Internal LinksLinks may also be included that reference external sites, such as the Library or the course’sLectopia recordings, or internal links to other parts of the course site. 2
  3. 3. Dividers and Sub-HeadingsDividers and Sub-Headings can be used to add more organisation to the left menu. This canbe especially useful if there are many menu items, or pages of particular importance.B. Customising Your CourseEdit ModeIn order to make any changes to your course site, you must first activate Edit Mode. Thisoption is displayed as a switch in the upper right hand corner of the screen. To activate EditMode, toggle the switch to the ON position.Adding New Pages and Links to the Left MenuOnce Edit Mode has been activated you will see additional options displayed onscreen.Notably this includes a Blue Plus (+) displayed atop the left-menu. When you hover yourmouse cursor over this button you will be given a list of options you may add to the menu.Item/Page VisibilityOccasionally you will see symbols displayed beside a menu item. These are important tonote as they mean the pages are not visible to students. 3
  4. 4. ● A square with a slash through it indicates the page is hidden and therefore NOT visible to students. In the above screen shot, “Hidden Menu Item” features this icon. To release a hidden page, first turn Edit Mode On. Next look for the drop down arrows to the right of the link text in the left-menu. Click on it and choose Show Link. To make menu items immediately available after creation, tick the Available to Users box found on the pop-up.● A grey box indicates there is no content in the page. To release a blank page, simply add content to it. In the above screen shot, the “Blank Content Area” menu item features this icon. Information on adding information to a content area is available in the following section of this document.● A menu item that displays neither symbol is visible to students. 4
  5. 5. Uploading Course Content and Adding WeblinksOnce you have added a Content Area to the menu, click on the menu item to open the page.Turn Edit Mode On and you should see a tool bar displayed in the main page that looks likethis:Uploading FilesTo upload a file, hover over Build Content and click on Create Item. On the following screenassign the item a title and add a description. Then in Section 2 click “Browse My Computer”and locate the file on your local computer that you wish to upload. If you wish to limit thetime period in which the file is available to students, you may do so in Section 3. Otherwiseleave this information unchanged and the file will become available as soon as you clickSubmit.Editing FilesTo make changes to an existing file, turn Edit Mode On and look for the drop down arrowsbeside the Item’s Name in the Main Page (see screenshot below). From the drop down listselect Edit, and you will be shown the same form you completed initially. Make any changeson this page and click Submit.Adding WeblinksThe option to add a weblink is also found under Build Content. Hover over Build Contentand select URL. On the following page add the weblink and title of the web page. If desiredyou may also add a description (Section 2) and/or control the time period in which the link isvisible to students (Section 4). Click Submit when finished and the link will be added to thepage.This method can be used to distribute links to Lectopia recordings. When you useLectopia you should be emailed a system notifications after recordings are available. Simplycopy the link from the email and use it as the URL. 5
  6. 6. III. Course SettingsA. Opening Up Your Course To StudentsWhen you have finished building your course the last and final step is to open the site up tostudents. Prior to this students will be unable to access the course area. The course willalso be listed as “unavailable” in the My Courses list on the Blackboard homepage.To make a course available to students, complete the following steps. For a videodemonstration of this process, see: 1. Login to Blackboard and enter the course; 2. In the Course Management Menu, expand Customisation and click on Properties; 3. In “Set Availability” (Section 3), set “Make Course Available” to “Yes.” 4. In “Course Duration” (Section 4), either select Continuous, or “Select Dates.” 5. If using Select Dates, designate a Start Date that has already occurred and be sure to nominate an End Date. Failing to include both a start date and end date can cause major problems, including locking you out of the course. 6. Click Submit when complete.IV. Issues or ProblemsIn the event of any problems or issues with Blackboard, the first point of contact is the ITService Desk on 9385 1333 or If possible capture any screenshots of the issue and/or note any error messages you receive.Comments or Corrections regarding this document can be emailed to Mike Bogle 6