Blackboard Learn is a program that allows instructors to create, deliver, and manage web-based components for courses. It can be used to add online elements to a traditional course, or to develop completely online courses with few or no face-to-face meetings.

Help With Blackboard

VITAL has Instructional Designers who can help you with any aspect of Blackboard from planning an online or face-to-face course or designing assignments and assessments. You can also find step-by-step instructions and tip sheets to download on Blackboard features in the Documentation section.

Planning your Blackboard course site is possibly the most important step to ensure a successful online experience for your students. If you invest time in the planning stage, the course building and managing stages will be significantly easier.

Before you begin organizing the online component of your class, consider these critical questions:

  • Why am I using Blackboard for this course?
  • How much work will I expect the students to perform using Blackboard?
  • Which areas and tools in a Blackboard course site are best suited to particular learning outcomes?
  • How much time do I have to develop or convert course materials for effective online presentation?
  • How much time will the activities I plan in Blackboard take to administer? (grading, moderating, etc.)

As you try to answer these questions, it may be helpful to write a list of your reasons for using Blackboard.

Once you have a clear sense of your goals for using Blackboard, you can develop a prioritized task list for building your Blackboard site. At each stage of course design, ask yourself “Which materials and activities will best help students to learn the topic and develop their analytical skills?”

Developing a course using Blackboard takes time. As you begin to integrate online components into your course, consider adding one or two easy-to-use features like Announcements, Contact Info, or Syllabus. The next time you teach using Blackboard you may feel comfortable enough to try a Discussion Board or an online assessment.

Remember, you never have to go it alone! The VITAL staff are available to consult with you on all aspects of course creation.

 

  • Course announcements
  • Asynchronous threaded discussion
  • Synchronous group chat
  • Online quizzes and surveys, with automated grading and statistics capacity
  • Course assignment and documents areas
  • Course-related external links
  • Online file sharing and digital submission of assignments
  • Timed release of quizzes and other course materials
  • Student rosters, e-mail, and online grade book
  • Group project areas
  • Course photo rosters

Blackboard accounts are created when other technology accounts are created. The username and password for Blackboard are the same as other systems like DataVU or logging into the campus computer systems. If you are having trouble logging into your account, contact the IT Help Desk.

Blackboard courses are not automatically created.  Each instructor decides which courses will require a site in Blackboard.  To request your course begin by logging into DataVU. Click the olive colored button for Faculty.  Click the blue link for My Class Schedule and select the correct term.  To create a Blackboard site, check the box “Create in Blackboard” for your course(s).  It is important to leave this box checked even after the course has been created.  This check box assures that your enrollment data is updated to reflect adds and drops.

If you do not see a course that you are supposed to teach it means that you are not yet listed as the instructor of the course (i.e. the Registrar has “staff” listed). You can contact your Department Head for more information on getting listed as the faculty of record for a particular course.

All courses are initially created as “unavailable.” You will see (not currently available) next to the name of your courses. Unavailable courses are invisible to students. In fact, the link to click for entry into your course does not show up in your students view as long as the course is unavailable. Courses are created as unavailable so that instructors have time to upload content.  Once you are ready for students to see your course you must make it available by going to “Control Panel / Settings / Course Availability” and changing the selection from “No” to “Yes”. This will create a link in your students’ Blackboard accounts directly to your course.

Because Blackboard courses are generated using the Registrar’s data, your students are automatically added to your courses. During the Add/Drop period, students are added and dropped automatically as the Registrar processes the students’ forms.

There is no need to recreate each course every time you teach it.  Blackboard has a course copy feature.  It is available in the Control Panel. This feature allows you to copy the entire course, or only select contents of one course directly into another.

We will train your students!

First we will work with you to understand how you have structured your course. Your class can meet in one of the instructional rooms in the Christopher Center so that we can present those concepts to the students, answer any questions they have and tell them where to find more help.

For more information on this service, please contact Kevin Steele by email at kevin.steele@valpo.edu or by phone at x6930

 

Assistance and Troubleshooting

Have a question?  Please contact Kevin Steele by email at kevin.steele@valpo.edu or by phone at x6930.