The Blackboard Learning System helps professors and students enhance the classroom experience by enabling continued class collaboration, facilitating feedback from peers and instructors, and allowing for unlimited access to course documents, reading assignments, and other supplementary materials.
Before using online, we recommend you attend a CLT faculty training class on Blackboard. While many aspects of Blackboard are intuitive, the importance of test grades in most classes and the variety of situations students may encounter make it important to understand the available options and their implications. For instruction on Blackboard functionality and use, CLT offers various workshops throughout the semester. Please refer to https://clt.odu.edu/facdev for additional documentation and scheduling of events.
Note: The digital dropbox has been replaced by the assignments tool in Blackboard Learn, Release 9.1.
Assignments allow you to create coursework and manage the grades and feedback for each student separately. In an assignment, you can include a description, point value, and file attachments. You can create assignments in several courses areas, such as in a content area, learning module, lesson plan, or folder. Students access the assignment, type a submission, attach files, and submit it. You can respond to each student separately with comments and attached files.
You also have the ability to distribute assignments to course groups that you have already created. To learn more, see Creating Group Assignments.
When you create an assignment, a column is added automatically to the Grade Center. An assignment that has been submitted, but not graded, is indicated with an exclamation mark-the needs grading icon.
You can access assignments that have been submitted by students and need grading from the:
- Needs Grading page
- Grade Center
Tests and surveys are used to measure student knowledge, gauge progress, and gather information from students. You can create tests and surveys and then deploy them in a course area. You assign points to test questions for grading.
For more information please refer to Blackboard Best Practices for Faculty.
Please note: The Force Completion setting on Blackboard exams only allows for one-time entry into an exam. This means that if a student accidentally closes their browser, or loses their connection to the test, they cannot continue with the exam until the instructor intervenes and resets the exam. If you would like students to be able to continue an assessment in multiple sessions do not select Force Completion.
Remind students that successfully taking a test in Blackboard requires them to follow a few simple guidelines:
- Do NOT navigate within Blackboard after you start your assessment or it will "lock".
- Do NOT open any other browser windows or applications or resize the browser window while taking a Blackboard assessment.
- Do NOT click any of the Blackboard navigation buttons or menus or click the Refresh or Reload buttons in your browser while taking an assessment.
- Do not double-click any of the buttons in the test as it may cause the test to close/stop. Click once to launch the assessment, once to navigate to the next question, once to save the assessment, etc.
- Do not hit the "Tab" or "Enter" key on the keyboard to move between questions or buttons.
- Write essay answers in a word processor and then copy and paste each answer into the text box of the Blackboard essay test. Some formatting loss may occur, but you will have a backup of your answers.
- If you are only able to answer one question at a time (questions present themselves on separate pages), make sure you only single-click the "Next" button to move forward.
- Click the Save button periodically while taking a test to keep your browser window active as typing or clicking is not considered activity.
- Do not attempt to print an assessment.
- If at any time you get a pop-up Security Warning regarding the "hidden_webeq_applet" you should select "Always trust content from this publisher" and click Run.
Video: Respondus Lockdown Browser Overview
Respondus is a tool for creating and managing exams that can be printed to paper or published directly to Blackboard.
Respondus locks down the testing environment within Blackboard. When an assessment is started, students are locked into it and are unable to print, copy, go to another URL or access other applications until they submit their exam for grading.
After enabling Respondus protections on a test, the instructor should not modify the following test options settings:
- Test Name
- Open Test in New Window option
- Require a password checkbox and password field (Respondus uses these options to protect your test).
If these settings are modified, the test's protections will break and an "Error" message will appear in the instructor Respondus Lockdown Browser Dashboard
Respondus LockDown Browser will prompt you to update whenever there is an update available. It is important that you select "Yes" to ensure that you are able to access your test without any issues. You can always verify that you are running the latest version by clicking the "Information" button on the toolbar at the top of the browser.
What do I do if a student's Respondus LDB is giving an error that they need to contact the instructor?
To check if there is an error, the instructor needs to do the following:
- Go to Course Tools in the Control Panel and select Respondus LockDown Browser.
- Locate the title of the test and to the far right of the title, under theLockDown Browser Settings heading, check if 'Error' appears in red text.
- If so, select the Fix Settings button to the right.
- First, make sure you have deployed the test into the desired content area and submitted desired settings in Test Options. Requiring the LockDown Browser should always be the last step after setting the Test Options.
- Click "Course Tools" from the Control Panel. If Respondus LockDown Browser has not been made available, then go to Control Panel > Customization and select "Tool Availability". On the Tool Availability page, check the box for Respondus LockDown Browser and click Submit.
- Click Respondus Lockdown Browser from the "Course Tools" menu
- Click the dropdown arrow to the left of the name of the test then click "Modify Settings". (Note: Only deployed tests will be listed on this screen.)
- Select the desired option:
- Require Respondus LockDown Browser for this exam
- Don't require Respondus LockDown Browser for this exam
- Optional: Enter a Password to access exam in the box.
- If a test password is entered, it will not be displayed if you return to this screen.
- Do not confuse this test password box with the Password box in the Test Options settings that are selected at the time of deployment. When the Respondus LockDown Browser is enabled for a test, a special password is published to the Password box in the Test Options settings. This special password, which is used by the Respondus LockDown Browser, should NOT be edited by the instructor (doing so will disable the Respondus LockDown Browser for the test). This special password should NOT be given to students or proctors.
- If the instructor wants students or proctors to enter a password before a test is begun in Blackboard, the password must be entered on this page where the Respondus LockDown Browser is enabled.
- If a test password is entered, it will not be displayed if you return to this screen.
- Optional: Expand Advanced Settings for additional options.
- Click the Save and Close button.
LockDown Browser Update: How students are locked into an exam
SafeAssign is a plagiarism prevention service, offered by Blackboard. This service helps educators prevent plagiarism by detecting unoriginal content in student papers. In addition to acting as a plagiarism deterrent, it also has features designed to aid in educating students about plagiarism and the importance of proper attribution of any borrowed content.
SafeAssign can be used in two ways.
- Faculty Members can set up SafeAssignments in their courses on Blackboard and let students submit papers to complete these assignments, in a way very similar to the Assignment tool provided by Blackboard Learning System. The papers will then be delivered to Faculty Members through the Blackboard Learning System together with the SafeAssign Originality Reports, which details the results of the matching process.
- Faculty Members may upload papers directly, without student involvement through the Direct Submit feature.
SafeAssign compares submitted assignments against a set of academic papers to identify areas of overlap between the submitted assignment and existing works. SafeAssign may take approximately fifteen minutes to check the document. Students can check the report from the grade book if the professor allows this setting.
In order for a student to upload a document using SafeAssign in Blackboard, a SafeAssign link must be created by the professor.
Click HERE for information on how to create a SafeAssignment
The Grade Center in Blackboard Learn is more than just a way to record students' grades. It is a dynamic and interactive tool, allowing you to record data, calculate grades, and monitor student progress. You can generate reports to communicate information to parents, administrators, and other stakeholders. You can determine which assigned grades to show to your students in My Grades, including columns displaying performance results.
In the Grade Center, you can provide and manage your students' grades for assignments, tests, discussion posts, journals, blogs, and wikis, and for ungraded items, such as surveys or self tests. You can also create grade columns for any activities or requirements you want to grade, such as special projects, participation, or attendance.
With announcements, you can post timely information critical to course success. You can add, edit, and delete announcements from the Announcements page. This is an ideal place to post time-sensitive material including:
- When assignments are due
- Changes to the syllabus
- Corrections/clarifications of materials
- Exam schedules
When you add an announcement, you can also send the announcement as an email to students in your course. This ensures that students receive the announcement even if they do not log in to your course. If you include links to course content, the email will not include links to that content.
How do I create an Announcement in Blackboard?
Watch this tutorial for instructions on:
- Creating an announcement
- Setting options
- Reordering announcements
A blog-a shorthand term that means web log-is a personal online journal that is frequently updated and intended for general public access and use. Instructors create and manage blogs in Blackboard, and only enrolled users can view and create entries and comments in them.
You can choose to allow students to participate in blogs in three ways:
- Course Blogs: You can create a course blog and determines the topic to be addressed. All course members can add blog entries and add comments to blog entries.
- Individual Blogs: You can create a blog for individual course members to use. However, only you are able to add blog entries. All other course members can view and add comments.
- Group Blogs: If you enable the blogs tool for a group of users:
- Group members can add blog entries and make comments on blog entries, building upon one another.
- All course members can view group blogs, but non-group members can only add comments.
You have full control over all blogs in your course and can edit and delete entries in any of the blog types. You can also delete user comments.
Building a sense of community among students is crucial for a successful online experience. With the discussion board tool, you can replicate the robust discussions that take place in the traditional classroom.
A discussion board forum is an area where participants discuss a topic or a group of related topics. Within each forum, users can create multiple threads. A thread includes the initial post and all replies to it. You can create forums and threads to organize discussions into units or topics relevant to your course. To distinguish between forums and threads, see Understanding Discussion Forums and Threads.
Wikis allow course members to contribute and modify one or more pages of course related materials, providing a means of sharing and collaboration. Users can create and edit pages quickly, while tracking changes and additions, allowing for effective collaboration between multiple writers. You can create one or more wikis for all course members to contribute to and wikis for specific groups to use to collaborate.
All course members can use the wikis tool to record information and serve as a repository for course information and knowledge. A course wiki is a vast source of information compiled by course members. Wikis can help build a community of collaboration and learning by increasing social interaction during the exchange of information.
You can find the supported operating systems and browsers HERE.
*Note: If availability is set to "NO" students will not see the course.
- Turn Edit Mode ON
- Go To Control Panel in Class.
- Go to "Customization".
- Go to "Properties".
- Go to #3, Set Availability, and Choose "Yes" to make course available to users.
- Click the Edit Mode switch to "On" (this makes the entire menu and all options visible).
- Links to areas of the course which are hidden or have no content will be grayed out.
- Click the chevron to the right of any menu item to see the options for that item.
- Click the double-headed arrow to the left of any menu item to drag-and-drop it to a new location.
- Click the plus sign to the left of the course title for options to add content areas or links.
- Click the "Edit Mode" switch to "Off" when you are done to see how this looks to students.
- Go to the Tools page and click the "Roster" tool.
- In the Search bar, click the drop-down for the field showing the option "Contains" and select the last option, "Not Blank" (the name can be either first name or last name). Click "Go."
The "Roster" tool works better to list all students, because the "Users" page under "Users and Groups" (in the Control Panel area) does not have the "not blank" option, so one can only search for specific students.
Electronic portfolios are a way for students and/or faculty to showcase their work and experience for educational and career pursuits.