Posts Tagged Blackboard

How do I setup a discussion board within Blackboard?

First make sure that you have discussions enabled within your course. You will know if you do, because you will see Discussions in the Course Tools menu.

Make sure you have builder status by selecting the build tab at the top of the screen.

Once you have builder status click on Discussions from the Course Toolsmenu.

Once in the Discussion module you can choose to Create a new topic or a New category. You can have multiple topics under one category. How you set up your topics and categories depends on your course objectives and student learning outcomes. Creating a category is very similar to creating a folder and can be thought of as such.

When you create a topic, you will be asked for a title, description and if the item is shown or hidden. Also you are able to associate the topic with a grade in the gradebook. Once the topic is created, you and your students can create messages and reply to messages within the discussion topic.

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Using the Question Database

The question database is a great tool that can be use to create assessment questions as you write them, and it is also a great way to create a pool of questions to add randomness to question selection within an assessment. You do not have to have an assessment created to add questions to your courses question database.

Choose Assessment from the Course Tools menu and then select Go to Question Database to continue.

Upon entering the Question Database, you will notice that you are provided with three options at the top of the screen. Create Questions, Create Category and Manage Columns.

Create Questions: allows you to choose a question type and create a question that can be added to any category or left uncategorized.

Create Category: allows you to create folders within the question database so you can organize your content. If you have created questions that are uncategorized, but would like to move those questions to specific categories, check the box beside the questions you wish to move. Then at the bottom of the screen use the Move Questions to Category dropdown menu to move select the category of your choice. Press the green arrow to the right of the category drop down to initialize the move.

Manage Columns: This section allows you to rearrange how the questions are displayed in the question database. This tool also allows you to create columns that allow you to further categorize or organize your content.

Notice also that you can view the questions in the database by category or by question. To toggle which view you use, locate the view by question and view by category buttons located on the right of the screen.

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How do I Test my Students using Blackboard?

Once you have created an assessment there are a few ways in which you can deploy your exam.

  1. Use the Testing Centre: The testing centre is located on campus and is opertated by proctors who confirm student identity and invigilate exams. They enter secure passwords for students to access exams etc. If you would like to use the testing centre for you exam, please contact John Kometz. Remember to provide reasonable notice to have your exam accessed via the testing centre.
  2. Self invigilation: You can monitor your own exams from a computer lab and provide an online exam in a face to face setting. Some faculty do this because the online exams often reduce marking load. If you wish to consult one of the CRDC staff on the aspects of this type of testing please contact the CRDC for more information.
  3. Open Online Testing: You can have open book, open resource, exams that allow students to access an exam from anywhere(home computer, computer labs on campus, etc.) in which student can write there exam from anywhere. This type of testing is considered open because from a distance there is no way to confirm absolute student identity nor is there anyway to limit there resources. Although this type of exam is open, it can be very effective.

All of the assessment methods previously described can be subject to the following assessment properties.

  • IP address restriction
  • Time limit restriction
  • Date restrictions
  • Student ID restrictions
  • Password Authentication.

These properties can be accessed via the arrow like drop down menu beside the assessment title. Choose Edit Properties.

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Creating an Assessment

To create an assessment make sure you have a builders role by selecting the Build tab located near the top left of the screen.

Once you have selected the build tab notice within the Course Tools menu the Assessment item. Select this item to continue.

Once you are located on the assessment screen notice that you are given a number of choices. Create Assessment, or Go to Question Database.

To create an assessment choose the create assessment button and fill in the appropriate details. You do not have to set the release date properties etc on this screen. Once you title your assessment and choose what type of assessment you wish to use choose Save located at the bottom of the screen.

NOTE: It is good practices to hide the assessment item while you are working on it.

Once you hit Save, your assessment is created and you are ready to edit the assessment by adding questions. There are a couple of ways you can add questions to your assessment. You can add questions to the question database first and then add them to your assessment after, or you can immediately add questions to the assessment. However you should note that questions created directly in assessments are also created in the question database as well.

To add questions to directly to your assessment choose your assessment from the list in via the Assessments module that can be accessed from the Course Tools menu on the left of the screen. Once you choose the assessment you will see two buttons to allow you to add content to your assessment: Add to Assessment and Create Questions.

Add to Assessment has three choices related to it as well:

  1. Adding Existing Questions: This adds question to the assessment that have been built using the question database
  2. Part: This allows you to visually split your assessment into parts and label them accordingly with descriptive instructions.
  3. Question Set: This allows you to insert a block of selected questions from the question database. This option also gives you the functionality to randomly select a designated number of questions from the total number of questions in the question set to display to your students. For example you may if you create a question set of 5 questions, you can choose to have Blackboard randomly select only 2 of the questions in that question set for students to answer.
  4. Create Questions has 10 choices for you to choose from. These choices are calculate, combination , fill in the blank, jumbled sentence, matching, multiple choice, paragraph, short answer and true and false.

Once you have created your assessment, it is a good idea to test it by previewing it. To do this access the list of assessments by once again clicking Assessments in the Course Tools menu.

Locate your assessment in the list and click on the arrow like drop down menu to the right of the assessment title. Upon clicking you will notice a list of options appear. Choose Preview from these options. The assessment preview will appear in a pop up window. You are able to click and interact with the preview to test its functionality etc.

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Understanding the Types of Assessments available in Blackboard

The current blackboard system offers you a variety of assessment types.

Quiz: Quizzes are online assessments for which grades are assigned.
Self Assessment: Self tests are assessments for which Students receive grades and feedback, though the grades are not recorded in the Grade Book tool.
Survey: Surveys are anonymous online evaluations for which no grades are assigned.

All assessment types access all question types. Question types include: calculate, combination , fill in the blank, jumbled sentence, matching, multiple choice, paragraph, short answer and true and false.

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Viewing and Grading Assignments

To view assignment submission make sure your role is set to teacher by selecting the teach tab located near the top of the page. Under the instructor tools menu you will notice an item labled Assignment Dropbox. Click this button to continue.

Upon entering the assignment drop box you will notice that you have a new series of tabs to organize your assignments. Submitted, Not Submitted, Graded, Published and All.

The default is to view submitted assignments. However, in a class with many students and many assignments looking at assignments this way can become tedious. You can filter the list by the name of the assignment by selecting the assignment from the view by menu located at the far right of the screen near the top of the page. Click the green arrow beside this drop down list in order to filter the assignments.

To mark an individual assignment look for the title of the assignment in the list of submitted assignments. For example if you named the assignment, Task One, there will be a list of student submissions with the first column being the assignment title and the second column listing the name of the associated student.

Choose the drop down beside the title not the user and choose Review submission. Once you are done marking choose Mark as completed and return to Student from the Save Options and click Save at the bottom of the screen.

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How to setup a Turnitin Assigment within Blackboard

Setting up Turnitin assignments work differently than regular assignments. This type of assignment is not created using the Assignment Module.

To create a turnitin assignment, make sure you have a builders role by choosing the build tab near the top left of the screen. From the Course Tools menu on the left of the screen choose Course Content. The Turnitin assignment is built in the course content window as opposed to the assignment window.

At the top of the page you will notice a button called Add Content Link. Click on this button to access the assignment options.

From the options on this menu choose Turnitin Assignment.

Upon choosing this option you will notice a button called Create Turnitin Assignment. Choose this option and you will be prompted to title your assignment and then create it.

Upon the assignments creation you will be prompted to choose options for the assignment. Notice that at this stage the options reflect an actual interaction with

If you are familiar with you should know how to proceed. If you are unfamiliar with setting up assignments on please see the tutorials regarding this program.

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How to setup an assignment within Blackboard

To create an assignment, first make sure that you have given yourself a building role by selecting the build tab located near the top of the page.

Notice the course menu on the left hand side of the page. You should see the menu itemAssignment in this menu. If you do not see this item in the menu please refer to the tutorial on how to add and remove tools for your course.

Once you have the assignment module activated, click on the Assignments button in the course menu.

Near the top of the screen you will now notice a button that says Create Assignment”. Click this to continue.

You will notice a variety of categories and fields you will have to specify to set your assignment up. We will walk through each of these sections individually.

  • Title and Description: Insert your title description and instructions. Also attach any files you wish to use as part of the assignment using the Add Attachments button.
  • Student Submission format: Text allows student to copy and paste their assignment or to attach a file for upload. Website asks the students to upload website content in a ZIP file.
  • Assignment recipients: This allows you to specifically assign an assignment to a small group of students if needed.
  • Dates: Allows you to enter the due date for the assignment as well as a cut off date if you so choose to allow late assignements. If you do not want to accept late assignments, make the cut off date the same as the due date.
  • Goals: If you are using the Goals module, you can associate a goal built in that module with the assignment.
  • More Option: This area allows you to specify if you want your students to be able to submit and resubmit before the due date and allows for some publishing options as well. Making submissions publishable by the Students means they can share their assignment with the class if they choose to. This feature is often set to instructor publishing only. Finally there is an option for you to be notified by email each time an assignment is submitted.

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Using Blackboard’s File Manager

The file manager is a useful feature of the Blackboard Learning Management System that can allow you to transfer files between different Blackboard courses as well it can be used to upload content.

To access the file manager, ensure you are have a building role by selecting the build tab near the top left of the screen.

Under Designer Tools, click on File Manager. You are now accessing the file manager. On the left side you will see a site map of the folders you have access to, and on the right you will see all the files for the course you are currently in.

Similarly to the Course Content area, you can create files, get files and organize files using folders. Buttons specifying these exact activities are prominent near the top of the screen.

If you have multiple courses, you can transfer files between your courses as well.

To transfer a file to another course, or even to a different folder within the same course, check the box beside the file you would like to move.

Once selected access the drop dropdown menu for the item (which looks like a downwards pointing arrow with two lines beneath it) and choose move.

This will open up a dialogue box that asks you where you would like to move your file. You can choose from the location that works best for you. If you are transferring an asset to a different course, then you would choose “Class Files” and the appropriate class and folder.

NOTE: You can only move files not folders from course to course. Folders can only be moved within the class it was created in.

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How do I upload a file in Blackboard

To upload a file in the Blackboard course management system:

  1. Choose the Build tab. The build, teach and student tabs are located in the top left area of the screen.
  2. Choose Course Content from the Course Tools menu on the left of the screen.
  3. Choose Add File from the choices in the Course Content area
    • This button is a dropdown menu. It will provide you with the following choices: Browse for Files OR Create File
    • Choose Browse for Files to upload content from your computer
    • Choose Create File if you wish to create a file using the HTML editor.
  4. For the purposes of this post we are going to choose Browse for Files. When you choose this option a dialogue box will appear that asks you where you would like to get your files from: My Computer, My Files, Class Files.
  5. To upload a file from your computer choose My computer.
  6. Navigate to the file you wish to upload and choose the file you wish to upload. Click Open. Your file should begin uploading and be place in your classes course content area. The uploaded file will retain its name and will display with the name it was given before upload. This name can be changed if needed via the properties option in the item’s drop down menu. Java must be installed and working in order for you to choose files from My Computer. If you do not see My Computer then you will have to install java.


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