The articles linked in this Roadmap will get you up and running with a new Blackboard course, whether it’s your first time, or you just need a refresher. Each section contains links to articles and documentation to help you through each step in building a basic course in Blackboard, from learning about course lifecycles and policies, to uploading and managing content such as your syllabus or lecture notes, and enabling your students to electronically submit assignments, receive feedback and view their grades.
1. Introducing Blackboard
CourseWeb is the University of Pittsburgh’s implementation of Blackboard Learn, an online learning management system licensed from Blackboard, Inc. Instructors at Pitt use Blackboard as an electronic extension of their classrooms. They use it to post course materials online, to facilitate discussion between students via electronic message boards, to administer assignments, tests and quizzes, and to post assessment feedback including grades.
Because Blackboard is available to instructors, staff, and students 24 hours a day, from any location with an internet connection, it allows students to locate important course information and complete their coursework when and where it is most convenient, and instructors can develop their courses from home or while traveling.
If you are new to Blackboard, these articles will introduce you to what Blackboard is, how it functions, and some important policies for using Blackboard here at Pitt.
- Introduction to Blackboard: A brief video introducing basic functionality, policies, and technical considerations for using Blackboard at Pitt.
- Logging In and My CourseWeb: How to find your courses and navigate Blackboard’s front page.
- The Blackboard Course Environment: Understanding the user interface of your Blackboard course.
- An Introduction to Usability and Your Blackboard Course Site: A short 20-minute video series on how to make your Blackboard course user-friendly for your students.
- Course Merge: If you teach multiple sections of the same course, you might want to consider merging these sections into one course shell. This is easily done by requesting a course merge be performed.
2. Adding Content
The heart of your Blackboard course is the content that you provide. A well designed course in Blackboard has a predictable, understandable structure to its content, and has materials that are accessible to students with disabilities. These articles will help you add and manage course content.
- Instructor Course Copy: If you would like to copy the content of an old course into a new course shell, this article will walk you through this quick and easy process.
- Designing Your Course: Creating the basic structure of your course, and adding important starting content such as a syllabus, faculty information, and announcements.
- Creating and Managing Content: Uploading, moving and deleting content and folders.
- Adding links to Course Menu: Creating a customized course menu that suits the unique needs of your course.
- Accessibility Guidelines: Making sure that all of your content is accessible to all students.
3. Assessing Your Students
Blackboard can be a useful tool for collecting and assessing student work outside the classroom, as it includes features for assigning, collecting and grading assignments online, including plagiarism detection capabilities.
- Using the Assignment Tool: Creating, viewing and scoring electronically-submitted assignments.
- Inline Grading for Assignments: Placing annotations, notes, and detailed feedback directly on electronically-submitted assignments for students to view.
- Tests in Blackboard: Creating and deploying electronically-delivered tests and quizzes in your Blackboard course.
- Grading Tests in Blackboard: Viewing and scoring tests delivered in Blackboard.
- Grade Center Overview: Understanding how the Grade Center functions and how assignment and test grades are displayed.
4. Managing Course Users
Students, Co-Instructors, and Teaching Assistants are all users in your course. As the Instructor, you can view, manage, enroll or unenroll users in various ways.
- Managing Course Users: Enroll, unenroll, and assign roles to users.
- How Do I View My Class Roster in Blackboard?: Viewing your user list in Blackboard.
- Displaying the PeopleSoft Photo Roster For Your Course: While not a function of Blackboard, this article demonstrates how to get a class roster, with photos, from Faculty Center.
5. Final Steps
- Student Preview: Be confident that your course looks and functions as you intend by using Student Preview.
- Making Your Course Available: Your course can not be accessed by students until you make it available.
6. Next Steps
Blackboard has many more advanced functions, such as collaborative tools, ways of controlling how and when students access to specific content, grouping of students for projects and assignments, and tools to help you track and analyze student progress. You may be interested in the following Roadmaps and articles related to these tools and processes:
- Communication and Collaboration Tools: What’s the difference between a Blog and a Journal? How can you give students a platform for open discussion and debate? Blackboard contains several tools to facilitate communication and collaboration between peers and instructors. Pick the right tool for your course’s needs and learn how to set it up in this Roadmap.
- Course Delivery is a Project: What makes a well-run course? Both in the classroom and online, the tools and strategies you use to deliver your course impact student learning and achievement. This article, written by a Pitt adjunct professor and instructional technology specialist, contains a wealth of information on how to maximize the effectiveness of your course delivery.
7. Get Help
- The CSSD Help Desk is available 24 hours per day, seven days a week, 365 days each year at 412-624-HELP (4357). They are able to solve many common Blackboard issues.
- The Educational Technology Services (ETS) team oversees the administration of Blackboard, the operations of the Educational Technology Center (ETC) and the administration of technology training programs for faculty and staff. Our team partners with faculty to facilitate and enhance teaching and learning through the appropriate integration of technology. ETS provides individual and departmental consulting and training opportunities for faculty and staff.
Location: Alumni Hall, Room B23
Business Hours: 8:30-5:00 Monday-Friday
Contact Information: 412-648-2832 / firstname.lastname@example.org
- ETS regularly offers workshops for instructors and staff on many aspects of Blackboard and other instructional technologies, from introductory sessions to more advanced topics.
- The Educational Technology Bulletin is sent out whenever Blackboard or other instructional technology users need to be updated about service interruptions, known issues, or upcoming scheduled trainings.