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Instructor Guide

Dear Professor,

The weekly folders in the Online template are tied with an adaptive release to the orientation requirement. If you would like CIDT to move your content into these folders for you, please let us know!

The purpose of this template is to provide a similar look and feel throughout Blackboard so that our students have a greater sense of familiarity and know how to navigate each course. You are still able to edit and revise the layout, but this will be the standard layout for SE courses (NOT limited to “AP” courses). We do not claim that this is the “right” or “best” format or that such a thing exists. Rather, we believe this to be effective in meeting our needs and providing students with consistency.

The intent is that instructors will use these folders to provide weekly content to students. We encourage you to make an outline on the outside of the folder stating what is inside each folder. Inside each folder, place content in a logical order for which you would expect students to move through the material. Please remember to provide opportunities for both instructor/student and student/student interaction. Please place links to discussion boards in the weekly folders as well so that everything students need to complete each week is in one place. We recommend making the discussion board link on the menu unavailable to students so that they do not miss course lecture content before completing discussion board assignments.

Each student will be required to be orientated in technology skills prior to beginning this course. Each is enrolled in a Blackboard course called Online Student Orientation. Students may complete the orientation and earn a badge to verify completion. They can then submit a screenshot of that badge in the Orientation Requirement folder (In Course Work) to gain access to the weekly folders. As an alternative to the full Online Orientation, students may take an Orientation Competencies test. If they score 90% or higher, they will not be required to complete the Online Student Orientation and will gain access to the coursework folders. They have three attempts for this test. If they are unable to pass the test within three attempts, they will need to complete the full Online Student Orientation instead.

More information is provided below. Please review all the information provided in this Instructor Guide before building your course. Thank you for the work you do for our students and for your patience with us in a time of transition. Please let us know what we can do to assist you in preparing your courses!

Sincerely,

Christala Smith
Director: CIDT
clsmith@se.edu

Online Teaching Certification Open Close

Please note that the requirement for teaching online at Southeastern is that the Quality Matters Applying the QM Rubric course must be completed before or during the first semester of teaching an online class. It is strongly recommended that before teaching a course for the third time that you take the Quality Matters Improving Your Own Course course. As long as you sign up for these as Dedicated Training, Southeastern will pay the fee. The department chair will outline other requirements for continuous development. CIDT may assist in accomplishing the goals of the department as needed.

Instructing vs. Facilitating Open Close

Southeastern hires instructors, not facilitators. We ask that you make this course your own. You have been selected for this course because of your background and experiences. Please share that with your students. We do not employ course builders who create the courses for faculty to facilitate. Rather, faculty build their own courses with the technical assistance and consultation service of CIDT. Often faculty are willing to share their course content with other faculty. The intent of this sharing is as a resource. Look through the content and assignments used by others to know what has been done before and to get ideas, but then we ask that you make the course your own. If you do use content and assignments written by another instructor, please give him or her credit either in the assignment or in the start here section. We hope that a high degree of personalization in the course design will promote a greater passion for the subject and assignments and ensure a better academic experience for our students.

Syllabus Template Open Close

This syllabus template is designed to assist you in meeting all Quality Matters and Southeastern Requirements. Please replace all green text with your own so that the version given to students does not contain any green text.

Gen-Ed Syllabus Outline Template

 

Course Template Open Close

The template is designed to enforce the Online Student Orientation via adaptive release. Using the weekly folders in the template will ensure that this objective is met. If content is placed outside of the folders and other content is placed inside, students will be uncertain regarding the orientation requirement and think they have access to all there is. Therefore, we discourage the use of additional menu buttons for content. Any information you want your students to see on day one, prior to beginning course work, or have access to throughout the course in a single location should be placed in Start Here rather than a separate menu button or outside the folders in Course Work. Deleting the Orientation requirement will cause an error that prevents students from accessing any Course Work folders.

Definition of a Week

Your course will begin on a Monday and end on a Sunday. Weekly folders will reflect the same pattern. Each week should begin Monday at 12am and end Sunday at 11:59pm. We recommend that the last assignment each week be due at the end of the week, which is Sunday at 11:59pm. The initial post for discussion is typically due on an earlier day during the week. Please be consistent with due dates from week to week. Please avoid having more than three due dates in a single week.

Please note that unlike other classes that end on a Friday, your 7-week course will end on a Sunday. It is an exact 7 weeks.

Discussion Board Menu Button

We have found that in courses where a separate button is provided for discussion boards, some students ignore the Orientation Requirement because they think they have access all that is in the course via the discussions. In these cases, students miss lectures and other assessments. Please place ALL content, including lectures, assignments, and discussion for a given week in the corresponding weekly folder. Because discussion board settings (such as points for grading) must be edited through the tool link, the discussion board button has been left on the course menu for convenience to the instructor but is hidden from students. Students should access discussion boards through the weekly folder.

Weekly Feedback Surveys

Each week contains a survey that asks students how long they spent on the course that week. This information will be used to give a more accurate time expectation for each week before it is taught a second time. It may also help instructors recognize weeks that may be heavier or lighter than realized for the sake of revision later. The survey also allows students to give open ended feedback. The survey results may be accessed from the full grade center; however, we ask that you not access the attempts statistics until after the course has ended. This is to ensure that negative feedback does not affect a student adversely.

Questions and Answers

Inside each weekly folder is a link to a discussion board called Questions and Answers. Each link will take you to the same discussion board to ensure that no questions are missed. While there are many names for this function and many places it could be put, we have found that the most important aspect to its effectiveness is consistency. We have seen a large increase it the use of this type of space when it is located in the same place from course to course, which is why we have made it part of the template.

Objectives

Quality Matters requires both course level objectives and module level objectives, and each assignment must be clearly aligned to an objective. The course objectives should be stated in the syllabus. Module level objectives should be written as weekly objectives on the front of each weekly folder. We also suggest stating corresponding objectives below assignment instructions. For example, you might write, “This activity fulfills the following objectives: XXX.”

Objectives and their alignment will be the focus of the AP review. To ensure that you have clear objectives and have aligned the objectives as expected, we recommend scheduling a Zoom conference with our assigned AP instructional designer. For contact information, please contact CIDT at cidt@se.edu. You may also meet with the assigned AP instructional designer to review the course review from AP once complete.

Weekly Introductions and Weekly Wrap Ups

Each weekly folder contains an item prompting you to write a Weekly Introduction and a Weekly Wrap Up. These components can be fulfilled in a variety of ways, and ideas are provided in the template text. The purpose of these items are to encourage personalization and may provide a degree of repetition that is often lacking in online classes. Instructors feel a need to give an introduction and conclusion when they are in a face-to-face classroom, but online, too often information is simply dropped in, and students are expected to figure out how the pieces fit together themselves. We are asking you to give your online students the advantage of dialog similar to what you would provide in a traditional classroom.

CIDT’s Color Code

The following colors are used by CIDT.

Red = Template Text. All red text is used as instructions to the instructor and should be replaced. The final version of the course should not use red text because it is not ADA compliant.

Blue = Potential to Change. Information that has a high chance of changing in a subsequent semester is typed in blue. This serves as a flag when reviewing the course to determine whether this information should remain the same or be changed. Specifically, any day, date, or time information is placed in blue text because this is the most commonly missed information when courses are copied, which results in confusion for students.

Green = Note to self or notes to the coach. We suggest instructors use unavailable items with green text to leave themselves reminders regarding information they may want to use later or things to remember when grading, etc. If the course uses coaches, green text in unavailable items may also provide instructions for the coach throughout the course. If a course is being intentionally built for someone other than the builder to teach, we recommend leaving unavailable items with green text for the future instructor to explain your reasoning for various components of the course.

Due Dates in Settings

Entering due dates in the settings will automatically add assignments to the course calendar and send students notifications when due dates are near. We encourage instructors to enter due dates for all assignments. Due dates for discussion boards must be entered through the discussion tool in the menu or from “edit column organization” in the Full Grade Center.

Days on Front of Weekly Folder

On the front of the folder, we recommend entering the DAY rather than DATE the assignment is due. For example, the initial discussion post in Week 3 might be due on Thursday. If students know the dates for Week 3, stating “Thursday” in the outline is sufficient. This will reduce areas that are commonly overlooked when a course is copied from semester to semester. Additionally, we recommend that any days or dates provided in text rather than in settings are placed in blue text. This will serve as an emphasis for students and make it easy to review that information when the course is copied in case the schedule changes.

Availability Dates

We recommend considering the purpose of availability dates. With this course design, materials are already “chunked,” or broken up into segments, so it is not necessary to use availability dates for the sake of breaking up information. An important aspect of adult learning is being able to look ahead and know what to expect. There may be some assessments you want to use availability dates for, but in general, we recommend not using availability dates to restrict access. If you do choose to apply availability dates to some items, please state the frame of availability on the outline on the front of the weekly folder. No item or assessment should be available for fewer than 48 hours.

Grading

There is no universally required grading scale or system; however, some departments do implement a system or scale. Please adhere to any guidelines set by your individual department. We do ask that each graded assignment have a corresponding rubric that is in the Blackboard format and connected through the Blackboard grade center.

Feedback Statement

Most instructors already provide a statement in the syllabus regarding response time for emails. We ask that you also include a response time for graded feedback. This is simply to establish an expectation. The statement might be that graded feedback will be provided within three business days, for example. Some instructors state 5 business days. Some state that feedback will be provided before the next assignment is due.

Course Videos

We strongly encourage every instructor to make at least one video for the class – a video to introduce yourself to your students. It is important that students feel that they are taking the course from a person, not a computer. Seeing you in a video will help them apply your voice and mannerisms to what they read throughout the course.

If you are willing to make more than one video, we suggest making a weekly introduction video to be placed in the weekly introductions throughout the template. These videos can be a brief overview of the week’s objectives and assignments. You may want to video yourself explaining the expectations and goals of large assignments. This typically reduces the volume of questions received about the assignment and improves the quality of work submitted.

Virtual Meetings

Virtual meetings are a great opportunity to provide instructor/student and student/student interaction and to present information in a format not otherwise possible in the online format. We strongly encourage you to consider ways you might be able to incorporate this tool into your classroom. The tool we use for virtual meetings is Zoom. To obtain a Zoom account the chair or administrative assistant must fill out a Computer Resource Request form. Accounts are often provided in as little as 24 hours. You should watch your email for account activation information sent from Zoom. The account must be activated within 30 days.

Virtual meetings are not universally required but are required by some departments. Virtual meetings can be used for class meetings, tutoring, or virtual office hours. If you hold class meetings in an online class, you cannot require that all students attend at a particular time; however, you can require that all students must watch the recording if they are unable to attend live. We recommend using a survey during the first week to find a time that fits the schedules of the most students. Be sure to include virtual meetings in the outline on the front of the weekly folder and place the meeting link in an item inside the weekly folder. After the session, don’t forget to post the recording. We suggest adding the recording to the same item where you posted the link. You may also want to send announcements with the link and/or recording in an announcement. To ensure that students have time to watch the recording, we recommend that any assignments which require information obtained in the Zoom video be due at least 48 hours after the live session.

Orientation Requirement

We have noticed that most 8-week courses spend the first week reviewing the syllabus and providing orientation information. To reduce the need for these multiplied efforts, we are providing orientation to all students in hopes that you may jump immediately into course content in the first week of class. If you are teaching a 7-week course, your course will be made available to students one full week in advance. During that time, they should submit proof that they have completed the orientation and should review your syllabus. We recommend making suggestions to students in Start Here of other ways they could get ahead during that week as well, such as suggested readings.

All students will be enrolled in an Online Student Orientation course which is free and self-paced. It is expected to take 4-8 hours depending on prior experience. Many student will be able to test out. Both the full completion and the test out option will result in a badge that will be submitted in Course Work before gaining access to the weekly folders. Example screenshots will be sent before courses begin so that you will know what to look for. If you find that a student submitted false information to skip the orientation, you may clear the attempt. Doing so will lock the student out from accessing the weekly folders until appropriate proof of completion has been submitted. It will be according to your discretion whether such students are permitted to make up work missed for this reason.

The Orientation Requirement is intentionally placed below the weekly folders. When students open course work, this is the only thing they will see. Once it is submitted, they will have access to all the weekly folders, and we don’t want the Orientation Requirement assignment in the way, so we put it below the weekly folders.

Publisher Content Open Close

Publisher content can and should be linked to the Blackboard classroom. Individual assignments from the publisher site can and should be directly linked into the weekly folders. Please understand, though, that those links will not copy to a new course. If you are working in a shell course that will later be copied into the course where we will load students, the links will break in the copy process. If this applies to your course, please request the actual course with the correct semester code before linking the publisher content into the weekly folders. For more information, contact CIDT at cidt@se.edu.

CIDT Informal Review Open Close

When CIDT reviews your course, we will look for the following:

In the Syllabus:

In Start Here:

  • Syllabus
  • Professor Bio with picture or video
  • Professor Contact Information
  • Course Policies (Including feedback statement and other unique policies to emphasize)
  • No red template text
  • Special instructions, such as Respondus, Portfolio, etc.

In Course Work:

  • Weekly folders with outlines
    • Outlines include folder contents, due dates, estimated time, and weekly objective
  • Alignment of assignments to objectives (stated on each assignment)
  • Peer/Peer Interaction
  • Weekly Introductions filled in
  • Weekly Wrap Ups filled in
  • Correct formatting for assignments, discussions, groups, tests, etc.
  • Feedback surveys in place and available
  • Rubrics applied to each assignment (in Bb format)
  • Safe Assign, if applicable
  • Respondus applied, if desired
  • Publisher Content Aligned, if applicable

Other:

  • Adaptive Release Settings (Orientation Requirement settings work)
  • Correct due dates in text (blue text preferred)
  • Correct due dates in settings
  • Correct grade center column points (matches grading system in syllabus)
AP Review Open Close

You will submit your completed course to AP for review and feedback. A schedule and deadlines will be provided based on the term your course will be taught. You should expect to wait two to three weeks to receive the formal review from AP. The rubric AP will use is attached. They may also include additional tabs for other feedback. An AP instructional designer can meet with you before and after the review to assist in meeting the standards on the rubric. AP especially focuses on objectives, alignment of objectives, and ADA compliance. If you would like the contact information for the assigned AP instructional designer, please contact CIDT at cidt@se.edu.

QR Rubric

How to Make Courses Available Open Close

7-Week Online Courses

If this is a 7-week course, it is required to be open 7 days in advance. To ensure that this requirement is met, please pre-set the availability dates by following the steps below.

  • In the Control Panel at the bottom left of the Blackboard window, click Customization.
  • Under Customization, click Properties.
  • Under “Set Availability” (third section), select “yes” to “Make Course Available.”
  • Under “Set Course Duration” (fourth section), choose “Select Dates,”
  • The start date should be set for 7 days prior to the start date of the course.
  • You are not required to enter an end date. However, if you choose to do so, please ensure that the end date will allow students sufficient time to return to the course and view their graded feedback on the last assignment before the course becomes unavailable to them.
  • Click Submit when you are finished.

8-16 Week Online Courses

It this is an online course longer than 7 weeks, you may make the course available as early as you would like or as late as 24 hours before the start date. It is recommended that you pre-set the availability following the steps outlined above. You may also go in and make it available immediately when ready by following these steps:

  • Control Panel > Customization > Properties.
  • Under Availability, change the “no” to “yes.”
  • Submit

Face to Face Courses

If this is a face-to-face course, there is not requirement for when you make the course available. However, if you do not plan to make the course available by or before the first day of class, please send an announcement via email to your students to inform them when they will have access to your course in Blackboard. This will save your students some stress and save CIDT and Help Desk many phone calls from students who think there is a technical issue or that they are not enrolled correctly.

Who has access to the course? Open Close

The instructor has full access to all areas of this course.

Students enrolled in the course via CampusConnect will be loaded into the course.

Upon request from the instructor, students completing an incomplete can be enrolled in a current section.

CIDT Employees are able to access your course for troubleshooting issues either with you or your students or to provide data to administrators at any time.

Department Chairs and Program Coordinators have the ability to search for and “Quick Enroll” in Courses to look through a course’s progress at any time.

When Accrediting Agencies such as HLC visit campus, they are given a custom administrator role that gives them the ability to look inside available courses.

When given permission from an instructor, new faculty or adjuncts may be enrolled in a course for observation and training.

Academic Partnerships may be given access to a course, prior to start, for peer review within programs partnered with them.

Academic Coaches from Instructional Connections or assigned teaching assistants may be enrolled as a teaching assistant to assist with grading and other course facilitation.

Co-teachers or Co-facilitators will both have access to courses for which they oversee together.

Courses will not be copied into a shell that will be used by another instructor without written permission from the authoring instructor.

Blackboard FAQ Open Close

The following questions have been taken from the Technology Central course. The list of questions there will continue to grow, but newly added questions will not appear in this list. If you do not find the answer to your question here, you may check in Technology Central under the BlackBoard tab.

Why is a student who dropped still in BlackBoard?

The official roster for your course is kept in CampusConnect. When students enroll, they automatically load into BlackBoard. However, when they drop, they are not automatically dropped from BlackBoard. If a student drops before classes actually begin, you may request that someone in CIDT delete the student. In this case, let us know which course and which student. After the course has begun, rather than deleting the student, we simply make the student unavailable. This preserves any data regarding logins or work done in the case of a future appeal or complaint of any kind.

You can make a student unavailable yourself from your Control Panel. Click on Users and Groups, then Users. Click the drop down arrow next to the specific student’s name, and select “Change User’s Availability.” Then, you will change the “yes” to a “no.” After this, you may want to hide the student in your grade center as well.

Hiding the student in the grade center alone does not prevent the student from accessing the course, getting announcements, and receiving notifications for late work. Students complain often when they receive announcements and notifications from courses they have dropped.

My content disappeared! What happened?!

If you’ve been working on your course, and suddenly nothing is there, the most likely cause is that edit mode is off. Edit mode is a button toward the top right of the window. If it says, “off,” simply click it to say “on.” Turning edit mode off is a simplified student view to see what is or is not available. If the content you’ve created is not yet available to students, you will not be able to see it when you turn edit mode off.

If this is not the case, another possibility is that you are using Internet Explorer. Explorer does not always get along well with BlackBoard. The issues that occasionally arise seem somewhat random, but they are always related in some way to missing or distorted content. This may occur for both students and teachers, and the problem may be unique to an individual. It is likely that in these cases, updating your browser would fix the issue. However, it is a good idea to have more than one browser downloaded on your computer so that you can try using a different browser to test such issues. Other browsers include Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Apple Safari.

If you test both of these, and neither are the cause, call CIDT for more assistance!

The course menu disappeared! How do I get it back?

There is an arrow that shows up on the right side of the course menu when you drag your cursor near it. Then the menu is visible, the arrow points to the left. Clicking it will collapse the menu to give you more working space in the rest of the window. To expand it, drag your cursor near the left edge of the window until the arrow appears. It will now be pointing to the right. Clicking on the arrow will make the menu visible to you again.

Why is there a blue circle in the Grade Center instead of a yellow exclamation mark?

The blue circle means that the assignment is in progress. The student may be actively taking a test at the time, or if you required multiple posts in a discussion board, the blue circle means they have submitted some but not yet all. Sometimes the blue circle shows up because a student saved a draft instead of submitting it. In such a case, the student will need to reenter BlackBoard and submit the assignment before you can grade it.

I set up a test, but my students can’t see it. Why aren’t they seeing it?

The most common problem here is that the test was not made available. Often, teachers enter availability dates, but checking the yes/no box to make it available is an override to the availability dates. If you have dates set, check yes to make it available. It will appear only during those times. The default answer on this setting is no, so you must always change it to yes if you want your students to access the test.

To check on this setting, click the drop down arrow next to the test in your content area. Then select “Edit the Test Options.” This setting is just below the text box.

If the setting to make it available is already set to yes, check the availability dates to ensure they are current.

Next, see if you have entered Test Availability Exceptions. The test may be available only to one or a few.

If none of these are the case, click cancel, and return to the drop down arrow next to the test name. This time, click “Adaptive Release.” See if you have a conflicting date entered here or if you have a requirement to be met before students can access it in either membership, grade, or review.

If none of these options resolve the issue, call CIDT at 580-745-3185 or 580-745-3075.

How do I use Safe Assign? (Plagiarism Checker)

The format for creating a SafeAssignment has changed. Instead of choosing between an Assignment and a SafeAssignment, you can now do both! When creating (or editing) an assignment, you can click the gray bar labeled “Submission Details.” There, you will find the options for turning on SafeAssign. This allows you to have the in-line grading benefits of a regular assignments as well as the originality report provided by SafeAssign.

If you did not apply SafeAssign but are suspicious of a paper and would like to run it through SafeAssign yourself, you may do so my going to the Control Panel > Course Tools > SafeAssign. Then click Direct Submit.

*Note: Safe Assign reports on originality, not necessarily plagiarism. If the percentage is higher than you are comfortable with, look through the report to see the cause. Quotes and citations may be flagged. Depending on your instructions, you may have required a higher or lower level of originality versus quotation of sources. Take that into consideration. In some cases, SafeAssign may be able to tell you exactly where the information originated from.

Is There a Way to Change All the Dates at Once?

Yes! Go to the Control Panel at the bottom left of the BlackBoard window and click on “Course Tools.” Then, click “Date Management.” You will have three options.

Use Course Start Date
This option will ask for the start date of the original course semester (the one you copied from) and then start date for the current course semester. BlackBoard will replace the original day one with the new day one and move all the dates up the same distance. This may not get you exactly where you need to be, but it will be close enough to then use the drag and drop feature on the calendar to clean up the rest.

Not familiar with the calendar? Click your name at the top right corner of BlackBoard. Then click the calendar icon on the left. You will now see a calendar that displays any due dates for your courses. You may select which courses to display, and which colors will represent each with the color code on the left. If you’d like to change a date, simply click on an assignment, and drag it to the date you’d prefer it to be. Then drop it into that date. BlackBoard will automatically change the date for you within the assignment and grade center. (You can also edit assignment from here by double clicking on an assignment!)

Adjust by Number of Days
This feature is similar to the one described above, but it allows you to enter a specific number of days to move forward rather than having Bb calculate that based on start dates. Refer to the notes above regarding the calendar to extra clean up.

List All Dates for Review
After selecting this option, be sure to click “Run.” This option will generate a list of all the items that have associated dates in your course. This includes both availability dates and due dates. You will then be able to edit them individually. This works well if there are only a few programmed dates in the course. Otherwise, instructors sometimes like to use this option as a second check after running one of the two options above.

If you start adjusting dates before learning about these options, do realize that if you use one of the first two options, the dates already adjusted will be moved up to the same degree. You may want to move all dates up and then use the third option to re-correct those dates you started with.

Another quick way to check on the due dates (but not availability dates) is to look in the full grade center. There, you can click “Manage.” Then click “Column Organization.” A column to the right will be labeled “due dates.” This will provide you a quick view to ensure all are within the correct semester time frame.

BlackBoard Had Been Grading all the Tests Automatically, but the Last Few have Yellow Exclamation Marks. Why Did it Not Grade Those?

As long as there are no essay or file format questions that need to be graded by hand, BlackBoard will grade your tests automatically. However, if a student submits a test after the due date, BlackBoard recognizes that you may want to deduct points for for being late, so it does gives a yellow exclamation mark so that you know it needs your attention. If you do not intend to deduct points, simply click the drop down arrow next to the yellow exclamation mark and click “View Attempt.” Then click “Save and Exit.” This will record the student’s grade. If you do want to deduct points, follow the steps listed, but change the final points before clicking “Save and Exit,” OR you can save it as is and then enter a manual over ride from the full grade center view.

How Can I See My Course the Way My Students See It?

Edit Mode

If you just want to do a quick check to see if things are available as they should be, you can quickly turn off edit mode at the top right. This is the button that says “ON” or “OFF” and has a green dot next to it when on. This will allow you to see what is currently available, but it will not allow you to submit work, such as tests, that will be recorded in the grade center, etc.
Full Student View

To really see everything as if you were a student, click what resembles an eyeball to the left of Edit Mode (top left of BlackBoard, below My SE, My Courses, etc.). This student mode will allow you to take tests, submit assignments, participate in the discussion board etc. and will even record those in the grade center. You can see your grades by clicking on “Student Tools” (in the course menu) and then “My Grades.” When you are finished with the student mode, you will have the option to either delete anything done while there, or save the work. If you save the work, you will be able to see the Preview Student in the Grade Center and issue grades, which you could then re-enter student mode and view the feedback just as your students do.

How do I Upload a Video in BlackBoard?

There are several ways to put video into your course, and you can put it anywhere that there is a text box, even in the grade center feedback! First, make sure that you have the full tool bar. If you have a text box with only one row of tools, click the double arrow at the far top right of the text box.This will cause the tool bar to expand to three rows. In the grade center, you can click the A at the bottom left corner to be given a full text box.

In the third tow of the tool bar, there is a red dot record button. This button will allow you to access your own YouTube Channel. Here, you can either record a quick video on the spot or browse and select a video from within your own channel.

The fourth button fro the left on the bottom row of tools looks like a film strip with a play button. This is another option for inserting a video file. This will allow you to browse your computer for the video you’d like to upload. The file size limit is 300mg. This is great if you have taken a video with your phone or have a short clip on your computer that you’d like to upload that isn’t already in YouTube or another site.

The sixth button from the left on the bottom row of tools is labeled “Mashups.” When you click on this, you will see YouTube listed as an option. This area will allow you to browse YouTube and find a video to use. You may notice that if you have already searched the same topic in youtube.com, your results list will look a little different. That is mainly because this option for YouTube will pull those videos marked for education. If you already know what video you are looking for, it is best to copy and paste in the exact title and or author.

Another way to add video using the tool bar is the HTML button. Those letters sound scary to those who do not consider themselves technically inclined. However, as long as you know how to copy and paste, you can take advantage of this button. Where this button comes in handy is when you have already found a video that you want to use, either in YouTube or another site. If the site has a share button (In YouTube, it is just below the video), you can click Share and then select the option labeled “Embed.” There you will be given code that you can simply copy. Then, in BlackBoard, click the HTML button, which is the next to last button on the right of the third row of tools. A new text box will open. Paste in the code, and click Update. In your text box, you will see a yellow place holder box where the video will be. After clicking “Submit,” you will see the video correctly.

There are also a couple of other video options outside the text box. One excellent source is Lynda.com. Lynda.com has prepared numerous videos on a variety of topics. (In general, the videos are skills based rather than philosophy based.) They provide very in-depth tutorials. To use one, scroll over “Build Content” in any Content Area. Then select “lynda.com course” at the bottom right of the list. You will be taken into Lynda.com, where you will have a search box to look for your topic. When you find a tutorial you’d like to use in your class, just click the black “Add” button just under the video.

Lastly, you can use Big Blue Button to present a class lecture, tutoring, etc. Any session in Big Blue Button can be recorded by clicking the record button at the top left. To access Big Blue Button, click on “Student Tools” in the Course Menu. Then select “Big Blue Button.” If you are then stuck on a screen that says “Launch LTI Link,” you need to allow popups. There will be an X, a lock, or a shield at the top right in the address bar or as a ribbon at the top or bottom of the screen. Clicking that will give you the option to allow popups. You may need to click the back button and re-enter Big Blue Button. Once you are in, you will have a blue button at the top labeled “Join Meeting.” There, you can present and record a session on your own, or ideally, you will invite students to participate live, which can also be recorded for those who could not attend live to watch later. You can turn on your webcam and mic (as can your students). You can write or type on the white board. You can upload documents or PowerPoints to move through, and you can type messages, either to all or to individual students. This is a great tool for distance education classes. If a session is recorded, it will automatically be date stamped and placed in a list just under the “Join Meeting” button. Do not be alarmed if the recording does not show up right away. It will take a llittle while to load after ending the session.

Should I use a Discussion Board or a Blog?

Discussion Boards and Blogs can be used for similar purposes; however, the most significant deciding factor from the instructor’s perspective is how you will be grading the collaboration. Discussion Boards make it easy to view all the contributions from a single user to verify the number of posts any given student has made and how appropriate and substantive that participation has been. Although Blogs allow students to comment on each other’s posts, grading comments is more difficult and takes much more time to look through and ensure that students have participated sufficiently. However, if the assignment is meant to be seen by peers and comments are optional but not graded, they are an excellent choice.

Should I use a folder or a module?

Folders and Modules look similar as they are being created from the teacher’s perspective but they are much different from the student’s perspective.

When a folder is opened, the student simply scrolls down the screen to see all the contents. Ideally, folders should either contain only a few items, or the items should be time released so that the quantity of the content is not overwhelming.

A module allows the student to see only one item at a time. A table of contents is provided on the left. Students can navigate by clicking a “next page arrow” at the top right of the box or above the table of contents. They can also click on an item in the table of contents to go directly there.

A work of caution – A module allows you to type information in the text box of certain items such as web links, but these are not actually seen by the student because when landing on that item, the web page automatically opens. To ensure all your information is always seen, it is a good idea to place web links and files into “Items” instead.

How do I copy content from one course to another?

There are multiple ways of sharing information between courses. First, if you want to copy a single item, you may do so by clicking the drop down arrow next to the item name and selecting “Copy.” Here, you will have the option of selecting a Destination Course. This will provide a list of all courses you are an instructor for. After selecting a destination course, you will select where in that course you want the item placed. This ability only applies to items, web-links, files, and other non interactive materials. Assignments, tests, and Discussion Boards cannot be copied in this way.

To copy a single test, survey or pool, you can export and import it as a zip file. To do this, go to the Control Panel > Course Tools > Tests, Surveys and Pools > Tests (or surveys or pools). Click the drop down arrow next to the specific test you want to copy, and click “Export.” This will download a zip file on your computer. Next, go to the course you want to place the test in. Again, go to the Control Panel > Course Tools > Tests, Surveys, and Pools > Tests. This time, click “Import” at the top. You will then be able to browse your computer and select the zip file. This will place the test in the test bank, but it will not place it in a particular content area where students can access it. To do this, go to the area of the course where you want students to see it. Scroll over Assessments at the top and select “Test.” You should see the particular test you just imported in the box. Select it and click “Next.” Options will not copy over this way. You will need to enter all the options here. Make sure that you select the option to make the test available!

To copy all of a given section over, such as all discussion boards, or all tests, you may use the Course Copy feature. This is found in the Control Panel > Packages and Utilities > Course Copy. Here, you will select a destination course and then select what in the course you want to be moved over. Assignments will only copy if you have selected grade book settings as well as the two are always tied together. Remember that this will copy ALL of the given section over to the new course. If you have begun moving some over manually or recreating some, you may have duplications to deal with when the copy is complete. It is best to do this when you are completely finished with a section and before you begin working on that section in the other course. Items from multiple courses can be copied in. They will appear as duplicates. This process will not delete anything already present in either course. Remember that in this process, if you move over all the tests, but not the content area, the tests will appear in the test bank, but not in the content area. You will be able to check to see if they are there by going to the Control Panel > Course Tools > Tests, Surveys, and Pools > Tests. If they are there, you will then need to then go to the content area you’d like students to see them, scroll over Assessments and click on Test and select each given test. If in the copy you “select all” and move the entire course at the same time, this will not be the case.

Lastly, you may archive your course and then import package. To Archive, go to the Control Panel > Packages and Utilities> Export/Arhcive Course and click “Archive.” This will save the entire course as a zip file on your computer. To Import it into another course, go to the Control Panel > Packages and Utilities > Import Package/View Logs and select Import. You will then browse your computer and select the zip file to import.

When either running a course copy or importing an archived course, you will see a yellow ribbon at the top of the BlackBoard window that says first “Waiting,” Then “Running,” then “Complete.” Once it says Complete, you should be able to refresh and see all the content that you moved in.

I have one student who needs extra time on the test. How do I set that up?

When you click on the drop down arrow next to the test name in your content area, you should click “Edit the Test Options.” Toward the bottom of the settings, you will find an area labeled “Test Availability Exceptions” and an “Add User or Group” Option. When you click this, you will see a list of your students to select. Once a student has been selected, you can provide special settings that will only apply to him or her. You can give more time, give different availability dates, etc. You may enter as many students with differing unique settings as needed.

This settings is primarily for ADA compliance. However, it is also used to provide special accommodations to students who arrange to take a test early because they know they will be gone, or to allow a single student to make up a test after the due date.

You may notice that adding these special accommodations prevents the “Item is not available” message that would normally show up under the test name. If it is available for anyone, then it will not note that it is unavailable at all. To make sure students in general see what you intend for them to see, you should either turn off edit mode or enter the student view (the eyeball) at the top right of the Bb window.

Why is there a green check mark next to one of my column in the Grade Center?

IF BlackBoard were set up to automatically send the grades to CampusConnect for you, the green check mark would indicate which column’s information would be sent. However, we enter our grades manually instead, so this green check mark does not affect much. You may notice that you are not allowed to delete the column with the green check mark though. In general, it is still best to put the mark next to the intended final grade. To do this, click the drop down arrow to the right of the column name for your intended final grade. Then select “Set as External Grade.” This will move the green check mark to the correct column and allow you to delete (if so desired) the originally marked column.