SoTL in 10 minutes
Blackboard Facts, Tips
Blackboard @ JU Statistics
Do I have to teach totally online in order to use
majority of courses offered on Blackboard at JU are blended courses (hybrid),
or classes that meet regularly in the traditional classroom but offer materials
for online access.
How will teaching with Blackboard change my course(s)?
tools are flexible, so you can customize the online component of your class to
fit your teaching style and instructional needs. You can also teach a complete
distance learning course using Blackboard, or use only the discussion or
assessment tools. You decide which Blackboard components best meet your
instructional objectives. Using Blackboard @ JU can reduce the need to make
paper copies of handouts and tests, and it also offers faculty the opportunity
to incorporate multimedia content into their lessons.
You can contact Dee Thornton (email@example.com) our Academic Technology director, who can assist you on your Blackboard
issues as well as discussing any eLearning project and or instructional
technology issue you may have.
Combining Multiple Course Sections on Blackboard
Do you teach
multiple sections of the same course on Blackboard? Are you tired of uploading
the same announcements and documents over and over to each and every one of
your course sections? Do you wish you could combine them into one and make your
life a little simpler? Then this SoTL in 10 Minutes is for you.
teach multiple sections of the same course in a given academic term have the
option of consolidating these course sections in Blackboard into one master
course (sometimes known as a Mega Course).
submitting a request to Dee Thornton for a master course and
selecting which course sections to combine, the courses will appear in the list
of My Courses in Blackboard. Student rosters will be automatically populated
into the master section from all sections being consolidated. Drops and
additions will be automatically maintained in the master section with daily
feeds from the WebAdvisor database. Both the master and related sections will
appear in your Blackboard course list. You only need to add new content to the
master section and set that one to be available to students. You do not need to
do anything with the related sections.
into consideration that the merge of your courses should be solicited prior to
any student activity in the courses, that is, active courses (courses with
student submissions) should never be made into a child course of a merge course
relationship because all course grade information and student submissions is
going to get lost during the merge.
a Master Course Relationship
While it is
possible to reverse a master course relationship and therefore undo the
combination of multiple sections in Blackboard, it is highly recommended to NOT
reverse a master course relationship after the semester has started and
students have been using it. If it is necessary to do so for some reason, the
faculty member should consider downloading the Grade Center and possibly an
archive of the course first. Whatever student records (discussion posts,
assignments, tests, grades) are in the master course will NOT be moved to the
related section(s) when the relationship is removed and will be disabled in the
master section (except for the students actually enrolled in the section that
was the master.)
know that separate requests are necessary each academic term!
Best Practice: Reduce Your Course Size on Blackboard
of the sizes of the courses you create - your Blackboard administrator will
REALLY appreciate it! Minimizing uploaded file sizes as you create content will
help us maintain our Blackboard storage space available. The following
recommendations can help you do your part to conserve disk space on Blackboard
— link to videos rather than uploading video files to a course. Instead, upload
your videos to YouTube, Vimeo, or a separate media server on campus and then
link to them within a course. You can upload a video on YouTube and have it
unlisted, that way only students who have the direct link to your video will
see it and it will not be visible from those who search on YouTube. Be mindful
of intellectual property rules. For example, it might not be legal to host a
video from National Geographic on Vimeo, even if you licensed it to use in a
Mashups — upload slide decks to SlideShare, video to YouTube, or images to
Flickr. You can easily embed these elements in your course with the Blackboard
Learn Mashups tool. To learn more, see How
to Create Mashups.
Files — look for large file sizes and unused files and folders that you can
Sizes — before uploading, reduce file sizes for:
- Microsoft Office Files -
Use the tools available in Microsoft Office to reduce file size for
PowerPoint and Word files. The Reduce File Size option is located in the
File menu. You can also save files as PDFs before uploading, which often
makes smaller, read-only versions of the files.
- Images - Use a graphics
program to resize images for screen viewing before uploading. You can also
use an online service such as http://www.shrinkpictures.com or http://www.picresize.com.
- Audio - Use software to
resample or trim audio files to reduce their size.
Retention Center on Blackboard
Retention Center provides an easy way for you to discover which students in
your course on Blackboard are at risk. Based on preconfigured rules and rules
you create, students’ engagement and participation are visually displayed,
quickly alerting you to potential risk. From the Retention Center, you can communicate
with struggling students and help them take immediate action for improvement.
begin using the Retention Center features immediately—no setup required.
brief video highlighting this Blackboard tool:
Retention Center in Action
insight into student performance. Check the overall academic health of your
class in the main table and see who is struggling. With just a glance, find out
who needs your help and drill in to see their specific areas of difficulty.
Contact the most at-risk students immediately and flag those you want to
monitor closely. As you observe their progress and send emails, you can also
keep track of this correspondence and make notes about each student right in
the Retention Center.
default rules to suit your teaching methodologies. For example, you can:
• Change the threshold for due dates to
be more lenient.
• Create two or three new rules to
track specific items that are good indicators of risk.
• Create rules to let you know which
students are in the top five percent of your class and reward their work. You
can use this information to discover student mentors, assign group membership,
or find teaching assistants.
course activity information to prioritize which areas of your course to attend
you can discover and remedy problems, the more successful students become. They
are more likely to finish your course and continue the program through to
graduation—the ultimate retention goal for an institution!