- Add Users by Role
This is a very useful building block which allows you to add a user to your module specifying their role (eg. instructor) extending the basic blackboard tool in the user management area which only allows you to add people with student status.
This is a useful tool for posting information for all course participants. When users login they can see an aggregated list of announcements from all their modules relevant that day. When they go into the module they see the full list and can choose the period they wish to see. The default is current week, but all the messages are strored unless you deleted them. Therefore it is easy to refer back to an earlier one.
- Archive Course
This creates a backup zip file of everything, including the registered students, to a zip file. It can be a useful second backup, but only Blackboard staff can restore it. This is the process we use to back up all modules several times a week.
- Assess Wikis
Student contribution to wikis can be marked and recorded in the gradecenter. This is useful for collaborative projects.
Tools for building Tests, surveys, recording grades and tracking user activity.
You can group in here everything relating to assignments - you can also set up electronic submission for your students.
This tool is not very clearly named. It is, in fct a virtual classroom tool and virtual chat tool. It does not have either voice or video facilities but if you are content to use a text based tool then it can provide a useful way to engage a group of students outside of the lecture/tutorial environment. You can schedule and archive sessions.
- Configure Blog
This forms part of the learning objects building blocks. This enables you to configure only the generic module blog. However, you can create any number of group or individual blogs in any part of your module site and configure each one as you wish.
- Configure Wiki Tool
This is similar to the Configure Blog tool. It is part of the Learning Objects building block. This enables you to configure only the generic module wiki. However, you can crete eny number of group or individual wikis on any part of your module site and can configure each one as you wish.
- Contact Administrator
This will send an email to our support email address.
- Content Areas
As the name suggests this is where you would add coures information and content
- Course Calendar
In here you can enter important highlights such as assignment dates, exam dates etc. The entries from all relevant modules are merged in each user's calendar and again today's entries are aggregated on the login page. The downside of this is that there is currently no integration with external calendar systems.
- Course Copy
Enables the selective copying of content from this course into another one - you must be an instructor on both for this to work.
- Course Design
You can change the look of the course menu by using buttons or text, and changing the colour and style of the buttons, text and backgrounds. The menu items themselves are unaffected by any changes here. If you change from text to buttons the text remains the same. You can also add a course banner to the first page of your module.
- Course Documents
Usually contains lectuer notes, revision documents, Powerpoint presentations, multimedia etc. Most people will cretea a structure of sub folders in here which align to the teaching plan or some other criteria to make it easier for students to find content. You can put pretty much anything into content areas including, if you wish, formative tests, links, blogs, wikis, podcasts, web content... the list is fairly limitless. This means that you can provide pretty much all the content and activities relating to a particular topic in one place. Often people will rename this menu item to be "Module Content", "Lectures" or something more meaningful.
- Course Information
Typically lecturers will use this to make general information about the module available - lecture timetable, objectives, learning outcomes are all things that are often found listed here. You could rename it "Module Information" for example.
- Course Options
Contains Security and customisation for your modules
- Course Statistics
You are able to generate activity reports for overall course usage and for specific items according to the settings you selected at creation. Reports for very large groups of studnets such as a whole school site should be directed to Blackboard Support as these may time out and cause heavy activity that may slow down the system for other users.
- Course Tools
Contains both built in tools and those added by building blocks (functionality add in's for Blackboard)
- Digital Drop Box
This is a legacy tool from earlier systems that allows users to place files in an inbox in their module and transfer them to an instructor. It has not been updated for some time and is largely rendered redundant by other tools such as "assignments" and "email attachment". It's use for assignments is NOT recommended.
- Early Warning System
This can be used to identify students who may be underperforming and in need of extra guidance and help - it draws information from various areas according to your defined settings.
- Enrol User
Allows instructors to search for and add a student user who has not been enrolled - they must, however, already have a user account and not be enrolled in the module or the search will return "User Not Found".
- Export Course
You can export a copy of your module content which can later be restored by BbAdmin - you can decide what is exported to the zip file.
- External Links
Just an obvious area to put web links to edternal content, though some people remove this one and add the links directly into other content areas. You can in fact put any type of content into any content area.
- Glossary Manager
Create and modify a course glossary. This may also be uploaded and downloaded. You can also edit it offline.
- Grade Center
Apart from the American spelling, a very useful tool. It aggregates the results from all tests and surveys and creates entries for any assignments that you create. You can easily view the progress of a whole class while students (when you give them access to the marks) will see only their own grades. You have full control over the marking process allowing you to create weightings and adjust marks manually. There is also the facility to export in a form that can be worked on using external software, or uploaded to another database.
Links to support and online documentation, including user manuals
- Import Course Cartridge
Some publishers produce course cartridges which will populate your module with links, content and exercises from a given text book. Be warned that most publishers license these for a fee (which would be a school responsibility). You should also ask the support team to install it on one of our test servers first to ensure that there are no compatibilities.
- Import Package
This function would be carried out by Blackboard admin staff.
- Link Checker
This is a useful tool which enables you to verify any links that have been creted using the internal "add link" tool. It does not, however, check links that have been inserted into documents or text content.