Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

This section organizes some of the most frequently asked Instructors questions about Blackboard into categories by tool or topic. As Instructors pose additional questions they will be added to the FAQ area. Click on the titles in the gray bars to expand each of the FAQ section to expose tool specific FAQs or enter key words in to the search box at the bottom of the page.

If you are unable to find an answer to your specific question within this page, please send an email along with your question and any appropriate background information to support your question to Blackboard Support.

Adaptive Release

What is Adaptive Release and why would I use it?

Adaptive release allows instructors and course designers to release course content based on rules that they create; in other words, you can control what content is made available to which students and under what conditions they are allowed to see it. Rules can be created for individuals or groups, based on criteria related to date, time, assessment scores or attempts, and the review status of other items in the course.

See the Adaptive Release tutorials for more information.

If I have a student who misses an exam that was distributed via Blackboard, can I release the exam or a variation on that exam to that student without other students seeing it?

Most definitely.  Once you’ve created and deployed the exam, simply click the Action link button (chevron sign) next to the exam title and select Adaptive Release. Creating a Membership rule will mean that only the student mentioned in the rule will be able to access the exam.

See the Adaptive Release tutorials for more information.

Why aren’t Students able to see the item to which I’ve applied Adaptive Release and Date Availability?

One of the most common reasons that Students are unable to see an item on which Adaptive Release and Date Availability have been applied is due to a conflict with the dates identified. While Date can be set in both places, it is recommended that Date Availability be set at the item level not via Adaptive Release. It is much easier to change the dates in one place.
Another setting to check is to make sure that the item availability is set to Yes even though you are setting Date Availability. Setting the item to No will hide the item even when the availability dates come around.

Announcements

How do I set an announcement to email to the students?

Blackboard 9.1 allows Students to decide what information they wish to receive from the system and how they wish to receive it. However, Instructors can use the Override User Notification Settings option to send the Announcement via email regardless of the Student’s settings.
To send an Announcement to the students via email, select the option to Override User Notification Settings found under the Option 2 Web Announcement Options.

Why would I use the Course Link option when creating an Announcement?

Using the Course Link option will take Students directly to the resource/materials/Assignment/etc being referenced in the Announcement. This reduces the need for Students to search the course for the materials they are being asked to access.

How can I make my class announcements more engaging?

Announcements can be more engaging by adding an audio and/or video file using the media tool bar. Incorporating media, particularly if the audio or video features the Instructor personalizes the experience for the students.

Emailed Announcements are sent as text only files so be sure to include text in the body of the Announcement as well so Students know to view the Announcement in Blackboard.
Assignment Tool

Can Students submit an Assignment through Blackboard multiple times?

The Assignment Tool in Blackboard 9.1 now provides Instructors with the option to Allow Multiple or Unlimited Submission Attempts. This is a great addition particularly when an Instructor wishes to grade individual portions of an assignment separately but average the items together to create the final grade.

To create an Assignment that allows for multiple submissions, select the Number of Attempts option desired under Option 4 Availability in the Assignment Tool setup. Options include: Allow single attempt; Allow unlimited attempts, and Number of attempts (a field provided here allows the Instructor to determine or limit the attempts).

See the detailed instructions in the Assignment Tool tutorials.

Can I allow additional attempts for an Assignment without clearing a previous attempt?

Yes. New to Blackboard 9.1 when the Assignment Tool is used to submit assignments, the Instructor has the ability to Allow Additional Attempts instead of Clear Attempt.

To accomplish this task, click the Action Link button (chevron sign) associated with the Student for whom the additional attempt should be added. From the resulting menu, select View Grade Details. Within Grade Details the Instructor will find the Allow Additional Attempt button.  Click OK when prompted to add additional attempt. The screen will refresh showing the date and time of the attempt addition.

Important: Allowing additional attempts could complicate the grading of the assignment depending upon the Grade Attempts option set for the column through the Grade Center.

How do I determine how a Multiple Submission Assignment is graded within the Grade Center?

If an Instructor sets an Assignment to allow Multiple or Unlimited Submissions it is necessary to tell the Grade Center how those submissions should be graded. Once in the Grade Center, click on the Action Link Button (chevron sign) next to the Assignment column name. Select Edit Column Information from the resulting menu. In Option 1 under Score Attempts Using, select one of the following options:

    • Grade of Last Attempt (default)
    • Highest Attempt
    • Lowest Attempt
    • Grade of First Attempt
    • Average of Attempt Grades

When you’ve finished editing the column, click [Submit] to finalize the changes.

Can I grade Assignments anonymously?

Yes. The Grade Anonymously option is a new feature in Blackboard 9.1 for both Assignments and Tests. Once in the Grade Center, click on the Action Link Button (chevron sign) next to the Assignment or Test column name. From the resulting menu, select Grade Anonymously. This option will take the Instructor to a view of Grade Details where students are identified by numbers and displayed in no particular order.

Important: Grade Anonymously assumes that the students used the Text Editor to compose and submit the Assignment. It is important to note that if students submitted the assignment as documents identified with their name, the grading of those documents will obviously no longer be anonymous. 

Why should I set Due Dates when creating an Assignment?

Setting Due Dates within Blackboard provides visual cues for both the Instructor and Students regarding Assignment status. Assignments that have come past due or are submitted after the due date are identified as Late in the To Do module for students and in the Needs Attention and Alerts modules for Instructors. Due Dates also appear in My Grades for Students and can be used by Instructors to generate various Reports, make grading decisions, etc.

See Course HomePage and Notifications tutorials for additional information.

Why would I set an Assignment to be submitted by a Group of Students?

The Assignment Tool in Blackboard 9.1 now allows the Instructor to restrict access to an Assignment to members of a Group thus accomplishing a true “Group Grade”. Setting the Assignment Recipients to a Group means that

    • One member of the group may submit the assignment on behalf of all the students in that group. (If multiple attempts are selected, other students may also submit parts of the assignment as well.)
    • All members of the Group receive the same grade for the paper/items submitted for that assignment. (This can be modified by the Instructor if a individual performance within the group is being taken into account.)

If a Group Grade is not desired, an assignment may still be released to a specified group of students using Adaptive Release. In either case, Groups must be created first. See the Groups Tutorials for additional information.

How do I access the Assignments submitted by the Students to grade them?

Submitted Assignments can be accessed through the Grade Center. Once in the Grade Center, click on the Action Link Button (chevron sign) next to the Assignment column name. From the resulting menu there are three possible options:

    • Grade Anonymously (New)
    • Grade Attempts
    • Assignment File Download

For further instructions on accessing Assignments for grading, please refer to the Grading Student Assignments Offline and Grading Student Assignments Online tutorials.

Can I use the Assignment File Download option for Assignments allowing multiple submissions?

The option to Grade Assignments Offline using the Assignment File Download option will only download the most recent or last submission attempt for each student. If the assignment is set to only grade the final attempt, then the Assignment File Download can be used. If the Instructor wishes to review all attempts, it is recommended that the Instructor follow the instructions for Grading Student Assignments Online.

Why can’t I see the YouTube videos and other media files students embedded within Assignments that I downloaded from Blackboard?

YouTube videos, Flickr images, etc are embedded as HTML code through the Text Editor in the Assignment. When the assignment file is downloaded from Blackboard, it is downloaded as a .txt document not an .htm document. Thus, when the document opens in NotePad, WordPad, or TextEdit the embedded features are not visible except as code.

To view these files as .htm pages, change the file name from “filename.txt” to “filename.htm”. Then open the file in a browser window such as Firefox or Safari.

Blogs

Why am I unable to add a Blog to my course site?

If you are adding content to a course but the Campus Pack Blog is not an option within the Add Interactive Tool menu, it will be necessary to activate it. To activate the Blog Tool, click on Customization in the Course Management area. From the resulting menu options select Tool Availability. Find the Campus Pack Blog tool and check the box under Available in Content Area. Click [Submit] to apply the selection.

Can I allow other students to see Private blogs?

Unfortunately, once you set a blog to Private, the only individual who can be granted permission to see the blog is the owner of that blog. The Instructor can view the blog postings and comment on the blog without being a member of the blog.
If the goal is for each student to have their own blog, but that others can read and comment, it is suggested that Group Blog be selected as the blog type. Select the member of the group blog. In the Non-member Settings area, select the setting(s) most appropriate for the goal of the blog. Options include:

    • Allow non-members to view the blog.
    • Allow non-members of the blog to: Read Comments, Write Comments, Delete Comments

See the Blog tutorials for more information.

If a Private Journal is set to include All Course Members does that mean the students can see each other’s private entries?

Actually, no. Setting the Journal to private but including All Course Members means that each student can only see their own postings but the instructor can see the postings from all students in one location instead of needing to visit separate blogs.
If private journal entries are being graded, setting the journal to include All Course Members will create one Grade Center column within which the Instructor can add the student’s grades. While it may be desirable to create a Private Journal for each student, if the journals are being graded this would create a column for each journal created.

See the Journals tutorials for more information.

Can Blogs be graded?

Yes. When creating individual and/or group blogs, click the option to Create Grade Book Entry for this blog. Type an Entry Name and Points Possible. Then, select Yes or No for display grade to students.

The complexity in setting blogs to be graded is that the Points Possible should represent the cumulative points possible for all the blog entries posted by the student. Students just need to be made aware that the grade they see for the Blog will change during the semester to reflect the weekly postings.

For example: If the expectation is that students post every week of the semester and that each post is worth a maximum of 10 points, then the cumulative points possible would be 100. If the Instructor is grading weekly, then the grade displayed to the Student in My Grades will change weekly until the final posting is graded.

Contacts/Instructor Information

Why is my profile picture distorted?

While Blackboard 8 suggested that profile pictures be 150 pixels x 150 pixels, Blackboard 9.1 actually enforces it. If your profile picture in Instructor Information, now known as Contacts, appears distorted it will likely be necessary to edit the image to the specified size in an image-editing program such as Photoshop, Firefox, Gimp, or Picnik (to name a few).

 

Content Collection

What is a Content Collection?

Previously in Blackboard, items uploaded for use in a course fell subject to Blackboard’s filing abyss. New to Blackboard 9.1 is the Content Collection that provides instructors with the ability to upload files either through browsing or by drag and drop; organize files and folders; and search for/link to content directly within a file storage area associated with each course.

See Content Collection for more information.

What is a Shared Location or WebDAV?

Blackboard 9.1 allows an Instructor to create a virtual connection to the Content Collection within a course. This virtual connection allows an Instructor to easily transfer files from their desktop/laptop directly into the Content Collection in Blackboard. Opening the virtual connection also allows the Instructor to accomplish tasks, such as editing the Syllabus without needing to re-upload and re-link the file (provided the file is not renamed).

To learn more about creating a Shared Location to your Course Content Collection, go to the Content Collection area within your course and select the Setup Shared Location option. Simply follow the instructions for creating the WebDAV connection. This feature works on both Mac and PC.

How do I drag and drop files into Blackboard?

In order to use the drag and drop feature to move files into Blackboard, it is necessary to set up a Shared Location within the Content Collections area of the course.

See the directions in the “What is a Shared Location or WebDAV?” FAQ for additional information.

Control Panel

Where is the Control Panel?

There is no longer a separate page for the Control Panel in Blackboard 9.1. Functions like Editing the Course Menu or Adding Announcements are now accomplished directly within those areas. A new area on the course homepage called Course Management now houses the remaining Control Panel tools organized by type or functionality. Simply click the Action Link button (chevron sign) next to an area to reveal its contents.

For example: Clicking on Course Tools in the Course Management area reveals all active tools within Blackboard including the Course Photo Roster and Tests, Surveys, and Pools just to name a few.

What is a Content Collection?

New to Blackboard 9.1, the Content Collection provides instructors with the ability to upload files either through browsing or by drag and drop; organize files and folders; and search content directly within a file storage area associated with each course.
Packaged (zipped) file folders are now automatically unpackaged when uploaded to Content Collections.  Blackboard 9.1 also versions documents to avoid file duplication. Once uploaded into the Course Content Collection, files are available for use within Content Areas within the course. Conversely, if a file is uploaded directly into a Content Area it can be accessed from within the Course Content Collection.

See the Content Collection tutorials for more information.

How do I make my Course Available?

To make a course available, click on Customization in the Course Management area. From the resulting menu options, select Properties. In Option 3 Set Availability, select Make Course Available to Yes. Then click [Submit].

Course Menu

Why are the buttons in the course menu truncated?

The button functionality, while still available in Blackboard 9.1, does not function as it did in the previous version of Blackboard. The use of buttons also eliminates the ability to reorder the menu items using the new drag and drop features.

To resolve both of these issues it will be necessary to change the button style to text. To change the button style, go to Customization under the Course Management area and select Style.  In the Select Menu Style area, select Text. Then select [Submit].

Why am I unable to rearrange the course menu items using the drag and drop feature?

There are two possible reasons for this issue.

    • The Edit button at the top right hand side of the page is selected to OFF.
      If the Edit button is turned to OFF, simply click the button so it displays ON. Once Edit is On the drag and drop functionality should be enabled.
    • The menu items are set to display as buttons.
      If menu items are set to display as buttons, it will be necessary to change the button style to text. To change the button style, go to Customization under the Course Management area and select Style.  In the Select Menu Style area, select Text. Then select [Submit].

How do I add items to the Course Menu?

The first thing to do in order to enable the ability to add items to the Course Menu is to select the Edit Mode button located at the far right hand side of the page to ON. Once Edit Mode is ON, a + button will appear in the top left hand corner of the Course Menu. Simply click on this button to review a list of items that can be added to the menu. Then select the item and complete the requested information fields. To ensure the students can access the item, make sure the Available to Users box is checked before clicking [Submit].

How do I hide or remove items from the menu?

By default Content Areas that are empty are hidden from the Students.

    • If an Instructor wishes to hide an area from the Students but not delete it, click on the Action link button (chevron sign) next to the item to be hidden and select Hide Link from the resulting menu.
    • If an Instructor would like to completely remove an item from the menu, click on the Action link button (chevron sign) next to the item to be removed. From the resulting menu, select Delete.

Why are so many of the menu items hidden within the Student view?

Blackboard 9.1 automatically hides any menu item that is empty. To reveal menu items that are empty, simply add content to them.  Once content is added the option to “Hide Link” becomes available in the Action Link menu for that menu item if you wish to hide the item and show it at a later date.

I used to use HTML code to bold and color my menu items, can I still do that?

Adding HTML code to any title field either in menu items or content items is not recommended. This was the case in Blackboard 8 as well. In Blackboard 9.1, however, the extra code breaks functionality such as the drag and drop feature.

Why are menu items that contain content still identified as hidden from student view? Why don’t I seem to be able to “Show” these items?

This has been reported by a few Instructors and we are still investigating the root cause. What we can tell you is that once Course Availability is set to Yes, these items should appear in the student view.

We will update the User Community on any future findings related to this issue.

 

Discussion Boards

Where do I access the Discussion Board?

The Discussion Board is a link on the course menu in the new Blackboard 9.1 template. If you are not using the default course menu, the Discussion Board can be accessed By clicking on Course Tools within the Course Management Area then selecting Discussion Board.

Discussion Forums can also be added to and accessed from within Content Areas. To add a Discussion Forum to a Content Area, go to the Content Area and select Edit ON. On the resulting page, select the Add Interactive Tool button and select Discussion Board. Follow the remaining prompts to create the Discussion Forum and then add it the Content area.

See the Accessing Discussion Boards tutorial for more information.

Is it possible to prevent students from reading each other’s Discussion Postings until all students have posted?

Yes!  The process is called Force Moderation. During the process of creating a forum, select the Force Moderation of Posts check box under Forum Settings. 

If the forum has already been created, select the Discussion Forum you wish to modify. Then click the Action Link menu (chevron sign) next to the forum and select Edit.  Scroll to Forum Settings and select the Force Moderation of Posts checkbox. Once Moderated, Students will receive messages indicating that their posting was received, but they will be unable to read the messages of their peers until the instructor publishes them.

See the Force Moderation tutorial in the Help Tab under Discussion Board for more information.

Why do I keep receiving an Error message when I try to grade a discussion forum?

Assuming you are enrolled in the course as an Instructor, TA, or Grader there is one primary cause of this Error. When a Discussion Forum is created and set to be graded, a grade column is automatically created in the Grade Center. If the Instructor goes into the Grade Center and changes the Column name for the Discussion Forum it will break the connection to the Grade Center.

Unfortunately, there is no way to reestablish that connection once it is broken. To proceed, simply create a Grade Column in the Grade Center and manually enter grades into the column.

See the Grading Discussions tutorial and/or the Adding a Grade Column tutorial for additional information.

How can I control the availability of a Discussion Forum?

There are numerous ways to control the availability of a Discussion Forum.

  1. The first and most common way is to set Availability Dates under Forum Availability. This option will display the Discussion Forum after a specific date and/or until a specific date.
  2. The second, less common method is to apply Adaptive Release to the Discussion Forum. Adaptive Release is only available on a Forum that is accessed from within a Content Area.

See the Adding Forums tutorial or the Adaptive Release tutorials for more information.

Is there a way for Students and even myself as the Instructor to know when someone has posted to the Discussion Board?

Yes! During the creation of a Discussion Forum, there is an option to Allow members to subscribe to forums. Selecting this option along with the option to Include link to post works quite well. Once Subscriptions are turned on, a Subscribe button will appear in the forum itself. Simply click on the Subscribe button to receive email notifications when someone posts to the forum.

Note: We highly discourage the use of the Include body of post in the email option as it takes the posting outside of the secured Blackboard environment.

See the Adding Forums and the Creating Subscriptions tutorials found in the Help Tab under Discussion Boards for more information.

Grade Center

Why should I set Due Dates when creating columns in the Grade Center?

Setting Due Dates within Blackboard provides visual cues for both the Instructor and Students regarding the status of items due.

    • Items that have come past due or are submitted after the due date are identified as Late in the To Do module for students and in the Alerts modules for Instructors.
    • Due Dates also appear in My Grades for Students and, when associated with tools such as the Assignment Tool or Tests and Surveys, can be used by Instructors to generate various Reports, make grading decisions, etc.

See Course HomePage and Notifications tutorials for additional information.

Do Students see the Secondary Display that I set within a Grade Column?

No. The Secondary Display within a Grade Column is only visible by the Instructor. For example, if an Instructor wants to show the Students the raw score but they themselves want to also see the Percentage, the Primary Display would be set to Score for the Students to view while the Secondary Display would be set to Percentage for the Instructors edification.

Can Students see the Instructor Notes entered into the Comments or Grade Details section of the Grade Center?

No. Instructor Notes are only visible to individuals with grading privileges within Blackboard. This includes Teaching Assistants, Graders, and Instructors.

Why should I apply Categories to a Grade Column?

Applying Categories will allow the Instructor to leverage the power of the Grade Center, particularly when creating Calculated Columns. Actions such as Dropping the Lowest Grade or Weighting grades are more easily applied when Categories have been applied. If the default categories do not suffice, refer to the tutorials for Creating Categories.

If I have Students submit Assignments through Blackboard, can I enter the grades for those assignments directly into the Grade Center or should I use enter grades in Grade Details?

Great question! When an Assignment or Test is created using the tools in Blackboard a column is automatically created in the Grade Center. Columns that are attached to a tool in Blackboard such as the Assignment Tool or Tests should be graded through Grade Details.

It is recommended that grades only be added directly into the Grade Center column if the column into which the grades are being added was been added to the Grade Center using Create Column.

See the Adding Grades within Grade Details  and Adding Grades in Full Grade Center tutorials for more information.

Why would I need to Exempt a Student from a particular Grade Center item?

Exempted items are not added to the total grade calculations or any of the statistical data related to an assignment or student performance. The reasons an Instructor may choose to exempt a student from an assignment will likely vary.

One of the most common examples is where an Instructor gives students a choice between completing Assignment A or Assignment B. The Instructor could Exempt Assignment B for the Student who chooses to submit Assignment A. This way the grade (or lack of a grade) for Assignment B would not be calculated into the student’s total grade.

Can I download the Grade Center and upload grades back into the Grade Center?

Most certainly! If an Instructor uses complex formulas to calculate Student grades, it may be prudent to maintain a Grade Center in Excel or Numbers. While this is possible, it is important to follow the process outlined in the Downloading the Grade Center tutorial at the beginning of the term to maintain data compatibility between Blackboard and the external data source. When it is time to bring grades back into the Grade Center, simply follow the instructions outlined in the Upload Grade Center tutorial.

Why doesn’t the Total Column reflect the grades I just uploaded into the Grade Center from my Excel/Numbers document?

There are two possible reasons for this anomaly.

    • The data from a file uploaded into the Grade Center is added as Text not as Score. As such it will be necessary to Edit Column Information for the uploaded columns and change the Primary Display to Score.
    • The Total Column may be set to include selected columns in the Grade Calculation. If this is the case, it will be necessary to Edit Column Information for the Total Column and select the recently uploaded columns to be added into the calculations.

See the Uploading the Grade Center and the Creating a Total Column tutorials for more information.

Groups

Can Students create and organize Groups within my course?

Instructors have control over the Groups Settings in Blackboard 9.1. One of those settings is the option to Permit Students to Create Single Self-Enrolled Groups. This option, which is on by default, empowers students to create groups, something that in previous versions of Blackboard could only be accomplished by the Instructor.

Student Created Groups require other students to enroll in the Group and include all Group Tools including File Exchange, Group Discussion Board, and Group Email.

Can I randomly assign Students to Groups?

Yes. New to Blackboard 9.1 is the ability to create a Random Enrollment Group Set. Simply tell Blackboard how many groups to create or how many students to assign to each group and Blackboard will do the rest.

See the Random Enrollment Group Set tutorial for more information.

Can I empower Students to self-select into Groups as opposed to adding Students to the Groups myself?

Yes. New to Blackboard 9.1 is the ability to create either a Single Self-Enrollment Group or a Self-Enrollment Group Set. These options provide students with a “sign-up sheet” and Instructors can limit group enrollment so as to attempt to evenly distribute students within each group.

See the Creating a Single Self-Enrollment Group or the Creating a Self-Enrollment Group Set tutorials for more information.

Where do I go to Manage Groups once I create them?

Once groups have been created an Instructor can access the groups by clicking on the Groups link under Users and Groups in the Course Management menu.  Each group that has been created will appear in the Groups area.

    • Clicking on the group name will provide the Instructor with access to the tools for that group.
    • Clicking on the Action Link button (chevron sign) next to the group name will provide the instructor with the ability to Edit or Delete the group.

Can I rearrange or reassign students to groups once they have been assigned to a group?

Yes. Simply go Edit the group from the Groups area under Users and Groups in the Course Management menu. Under Option 4 Membership,

    • To remove a student from a group, select the student to remove from a group (Selected Items column) and click the left directional arrow to remove them.
    • Conversely, select the student to place in the group from the Items to Select column and click the right directional arrow to add them to the group.

Do I need to add myself as the Instructor to each group?

That is not necessary. Instructors and even Teaching Assistants have the ability to view activity within groups without actually being added to the group.

Learning Modules

What is a Learning Module?

Learning Modules are a method for presenting course materials in a linear fashion, with a table of contents and the ability to control the release of the material one screen/item at a time.  It embraces the idea of “chunking” information, and can contain all types of content, such as text, graphics, multimedia and assessment tools. Content within a Learning Module is added and managed just like content in a Content Area/folder.

You can also add folders and sub folders to a Learning Module to provide a hierarchical structure. Folders and sub folders provide an outline view that is displayed in the Table of Contents for the module. The Table of Contents allows you to present content in a structured manner. Folders and Sub folders within Learning Modules have the same properties as other Folders and Sub folders found in Blackboard courses.

Learning Modules can be viewed sequentially or non-sequentially. If sequential viewing is enforced, students view the Learning Module in the order in which the items are listed. Students cannot advance to a page within the unit without having viewed the previous page. If sequential viewing is not enforced, items in the Learning Module may be viewed in any order from the Content page.

See the Creating Learning Modules tutorial for more information.

Mashups

What is a Blackboard Mashup?

Mashups allow Instructors to quickly embed external media into a Blackboard course. Mashups are added as a Content Item in a folder or added through the Text Editor available within most course content areas.

The content types supported by the tool are:

    • Flickr - site that provides photographic images - many images are licenced under Creative Commons and can be used in courses to enhance content.
    • Slideshare - a site for viewing and sharing presentations, documents and PDF documents that can be used to augment learning materials.
    • YouTube - site for viewing and sharing online videos. Many of the videos can be incorporated into courses to enhance discussions and to provide alternate points of view.

See the Mashups tutorials for more information.

Can Students add Mashups to Assignments, Discussions, Wikis, and Blogs?

Absolutely. The Text Editor available within each of the areas mentioned includes a media toolbar. This toolbar allows students to add images, audio, and video content to the posting. The Mashup icon allowing students to add Flickr, Slideshare, and YouTube videos can also be found within the media toolbar.

If Students are producing multimedia presentations for a course and posting them to YouTube, the Mashups tool would be a great way for the students to share the presentation with the class or to even submit the presentation via the Assignment tol for grading. This would be timesaving for the Instructor who otherwise might need to go searching YouTube to find the video.

Self and Peer Assessment

What is the Self and Peer Assessment Tool in Blackboard?

The Self and Peer Assessment tool is designed to facilitate the objective, analytical and comprehension skills of student by providing students with the opportunity to review the work of their peers. The tool allows for the creation of an exercise composed of a variety of questions and criteria that engage the students in reflective and evaluative processes. Students can evaluate text, images, and digital based information as well.

See the Self and Peer Assessment tutorials for further information.

Can the Self and Peer Assessment Tool be used for Grading purposes?

Yes. Each Self and Peer Assessment activity created also creates a corresponding column in the Grade Center. Self and Peer Assessment activities are essentially accomplished in three steps. Students submit the assignment. Students then Evaluate each submission as assigned. The Instructor can check in at any time, but it is in Viewing the Results where the grading option becomes available.

See the Viewing the Results tutorial in the Help Tab under Self and Peer Assessment for more information.

If a Self and Peer Assessment is set to Anonymous, can I still determine who evaluated who?

Yes. The purpose of the Anonymous peer assessment is to attempt to eliminate bias in the peer review process. So, while Students will not see the names of the peers they are evaluating .The Instructor, for the purpose of assessment/grading, is presented with the names of the evaluator and the Students they evaluated.

Tests and Surveys

Where is the Test Manager?

With the elimination of the Control Panel, access to the Test Manager is now accomplished within the Course Management area. Click on Course Tools under the Course Management area and select Tests, Surveys, and Pools. From there select Tests and Build Test. From there the creation of the test is similar to the process used in previous versions of Blackboard.

See Creating a Test in the Tests and Surveys tutorials for more information.

Can I grade individual test questions anonymously?

Yes. These features are both new to Blackboard 9.1. Once students have taken the exam/test, the attempts can be accessed from within the Grade Center. Click the Action link button (chevron sign) next to the Test column name in the Grade Center. From there select the option to Grade Questions. Click the check box to Grade Responses Anonymously, then click the hyperlinked response number for the question you wish to evaluate. All of the question responses will be presented with the given answer and an Edit button allowing the Instructor to add a grade to the question. It’s that easy.

Can I grade all tests anonymously?

Yes. This feature is new to Blackboard 9.1. Once students have taken the exam/test, the attempts can be accessed from within the Grade Center. Click the Action link button (chevron sign) next to the Test column name in the Grade Center. From there select the option to Grade Anonymously. The exams will be presented randomly with student names listed as numbers. Review each exam and provide a grade for each question within the exam. To move to the next exam, select Save and Next. To exit the system and save the grade for the Student currently being graded, select Save and Exit.

Can I allow students the opportunity for multiple attempts on a test?

Yes. This feature was introduced in Blackboard 8. During the process of deploying the test, Multiple Attempts can be set under Test Availability. The options include: Allow Unlimited Attempts or allow a set Number of Attempts.

When Students take a test allowing Multiple Attempts, they receive a prompt indicating they have already taken the test and asking them if they wish to take it again. In the case where the Number of Attempts is limited, once the attempt limit is reached, Students are informed that there are no remaining attempts.

How does Blackboard know which test attempt to include in grading?

Where Multiple Attempts are allowed, it is necessary for the Instructor to “tell” Grade Center how the attempts will be graded. This is accomplished from within the Edit Column Information area for the test column within Grade Center.  In Column Information under Score Attempts Using, the grading options include:

    • Grade of Last Attempt
    • Grade of Highest Attempt
    • Grade of Lowest Attempt
    • Grade of First Attempt
    • Average of Attempt Grades

See the Grade Center tutorials for more information.

 

 

Notifications

What is the Notifications Dashboard?

The Notifications Dashboard is a new feature in Blackboard 9.1. Aimed at increasing communications and workflow efficiency within Blackboard, the Notifications Dashboard is divided into Student Notifications and Instructor Notifications. The data presented within Notifications are aggregated from all courses and organizations for which an Instructor is teaching or a Student is participating.

    • Instructor Notifications include the Needs Attention and Alerts modules.
    • Student Notifications include the To Do and What’s New modules.

While the default modules cannot be removed, Instructors and Students are encouraged to Edit Notifications Settings to personalize how they receive information from Blackboard.

See the Notifications Dashboard tutorials for more information.

How do I set an announcement to email to the students?

Blackboard 9.1 allows Students to decide what information they wish to receive from the system and how they wish to receive it. However, Instructors can use the Override User Notification Settings option to send the Announcement via email regardless of the Student’s settings.

To send an Announcement to the students via email, select the option to Override User Notification Settings found under the Option 2 Web Announcement Options.

How do I get all the emails from Blackboard to stop?

By default, notifications settings for email are ON for all users and functions; however, each individual has the ability and are encouraged to personalize the Notification Settings.

See the Notification Dashboard tutorials for more information.

 

 

Wikis

What is a wiki?

A wiki within Blackboard is a page or set of pages that can be collaboratively edited by the instructor and by the students enrolled in the class. It is one of the few tools available within Blackboard that allows students to add content to a Blackboard course site. Students can edit and add pages, image, and links. A log of all changes is kept so it is easy to keep track of a given page’s editorial history and of students’ editing activity.

What are some of the benefits to using wikis?

The nature of Wikis means they offer a number benefits relating to learning and teaching applications:

    • Wikis are extremely flexible allowing any site structure to be created.
    • Wikis can be used in classroom based, hybrid, and online courses.
    • Wiki functionality makes them ideal for collaborative writing applications and knowledge bases that can be utilized across sections, terms and courses.
    • Wiki integration into the curriculum assist in transferring from instructor-centered to learner-centered educational opportunities.
    • Enables web publishing without knowledge of HTML or use of special web development tools.
    • Enables faculty to track who contributed what and when (see "Marking Group Authored Wikis" section).

What, if any, considerations should be made when making the decision to use wikis?

There are a few disadvantages that you may want to take into consideration before utilizing this tool in your courses:

    • Using a wiki does involve learning about acceptable editing practices (e.g. how to deal with conflicting opinions).
    • Managing a wiki can require significant time commitments from faculty and/or student moderators as page edits should be closely monitored at the beginning of the project/assignment.
    • A wiki has no predefined structure to guide new users and visitors can find navigating a wiki difficult (a hypermedia content page and/or search tool would assist with this issue.)
    • IP ownership and copyright of Wiki pages can be contentious unless clear policies are in place.
    • If wiki work will be graded, some form of grading matrix, such as a rubric, should be in place and available to the students prior to the start of the assignment.

Why am I unable to add a Wiki to my course site?

If you are adding content to a course but the Campus Pack Wiki is not an option within the Add Interactive Tool menu, it will be necessary to activate it. To activate the Wiki Tool, click on Customization in the Course Management area. From the resulting menu options select Tool Availability. Find the Campus Pack Wiki tool and check the box under Available in Content Area. Click [Submit] to apply the selection.

Can Wikis be graded?

Yes. When creating wikis, click the option to Create Grade Book Entry for this wiki. Type an Entry Name and Points Possible. Then, select Yes or No for display grade to students.

The complexity in setting wikis to be graded is that the Points Possible should represent the cumulative points possible for all the contributions by the student. Students just need to be made aware that the grade they see for the wiki may change during the semester to reflect grading milestones or cumulative assignments. The development and implementation of a rubric is highly recommended when grading work completed within a wiki, particularly when group work is involved.

Can I allow other students to see and comment on wikis to which they are not members?

Yes.  In the Non-member Settings area in the wiki setup, select the setting(s) most appropriate for the goal of the wiki. Options include:

    • Allow non-members to view the wiki.
    • Allow non-members of the wiki to: Read Comments, Write Comments, Delete Comments

See the Wiki tutorials for more information.

Is it possible to recover Wiki content that another student has removed?

Wikis are inherently built on trust, since all participants can edit all content. That means that it is possible for anyone in the group to edit or even delete other group member's contributions. Theoretically, it is possible for a user to delete all pages within a wiki, inadvertently or not. Fortunately, recovering content is simple.

To restore a page to a previous version, go to that page, and click on history in the page section of the gray task bar on the right. This will bring up a list of all the saved versions of the page, identifiable by date and time, and by user name.

See the Recovering Wiki Content instructions within the Wiki tutorial.