August 23, 2010 | Tagged assignments, blog, calendar, collaboration tools, course files, course menu, digital dropbox, file collection, grading, groups, inline confirmations, journal, learning modules, mashups, questions, student engagement, surveys, tests, training, wiki | 1 Comment
- My Blackboard: When you login to Blackboard, you will be in the My Blackboard page which contains default modules such as Tools, Hot Links, Course List and My Organizations. These modules can be easily rearranged using drag and drop functionalities of Blackboard 9.1.
- Web 2.0 Interface: Blackboard 9.1 allows users to drag and drop items that appear on the screen, select from drop down menus, and access contextual help.
- Control Panel: You can now access the Control Panel, which provides access to all the course-building tools, from any course area.
The most important detail instructors need to know about Blackboard 9.1 is where to find the Edit Mode button which allows instructors to manage their courses. This button is located in the upper-right corner of each Course area and in any subfolders. With Edit Mode ON you can easily manage course content. With Edit Mode OFF you see what your students see.
- Course content creation and edition tools are embedded throughout the course and no longer require the instructors to access the Control Panel. Instructors click on the Edit Mode switch in the top right corner of any Blackboard page.
- All options in the Control Panel are available from the main Course Menu.
- Instructors have direct access to edit and organize the Course Menu and may use the drag and drop feature to change the order of menu items.
- Course Menu items that do not contain any content are automatically hidden from student view but are visible to the instructor while in Edit Mode.
- Course Tools and Communication Tools are combined into a single tools area in the Course Menu.
- Instructors have direct access to the tools they want to enable or disable for students.
Gone is the separate receipt page that the user sees every time they successfully perform an action. Confirmations now appear on the same page that the user is working.
File Collection & Exchange
- The Digital Drop Box has been replaced by the Assignment Tool. This tool allows instructors to download all of the student files for a particular assignment in a single zip file. Blackboard automatically renames each student’s file to include the name of the assignment, the student’s username, and the filename the student originally submitted.
- There is a Group File Exchange that works like the old Digital Drop Box.
Fostering Student Engagement
Private Blog, Journal, Wiki Tools
- Blackboard 9.1 has built in private Blog, Journal, and Wiki tools that allow students to create and share ideas with their instructors or other students enrolled in the same class. These tools may not be viewed outside Blackboard.
- The Journal tool replaces what was the Electric Blackboard and the Student Homepage tool has been replaced with the Blog tool.
- Individual journals allow students to record what they are learning. These thoughts can be private between a student and instructor or shared with others in the course. The author and the instructor can add comments.
- Group journals allow groups of students to reflect collaboratively and comment on group member’s findings. To maintain privacy, group members may anonymously add journal entries.
- Individual blogs provide each student in a course with their own area to share thoughts and work with others in the course. Students are able to receive comments and feedback on their individual blog from others in the course.
- Course blogs allow users in a particular course to share thoughts and work in a common area where all the students in the same course can read and add comments.
- Group blogs allow groups of students in a course to collaboratively post thoughts and comments on each other’s work while everyone else in the course can view and comment on the groups’ entries.
- Wikis allow users to collaborate on a document using only a web browser. Educators can see the process and evolution of the work and even participate. Furthermore, educators can see each participant’s contributions and grade accordingly.
Instructors can now easily integrate rich media learning content using Web 2.0 resources from Youtube, Slideshare, and Flickr. Faculty can deliver more engaging course content in a convenient and powerful way by searching, finding, and inserting in a few clicks. Blackboard has added an accessible wrap around the YouTube player to make it accessible to everyone.
- Instructors can now create any number of groups at once.
- Students can randomly be assigned to groups, manually assigned by the instructor, or asked to sign-up for a group themselves.
- Students can create their own self-enrollment groups, although instructors have the option of modifying or restricting access to the student created groups.
- Inline Editing: Instructors can enter results, scores, percentages, and other forms of grading directly into the Grade Center spreadsheet. This inline editing process is similar to Microsoft Excel.
- Grading History: Each grade entered into the Grade Center is automatically saved. The Grade Center automatically records each grade’s history. If an instructor or TA changes a grade, the grade history will show the new grade, the old grade(s), when the grade(s) was changed and who made the changes.
- Printing: Instructors have the ability to create and print grade reports.
- The Grade Center supports average grade and minimum/maximum grade calculations. Instructors are also able to now drop the lowest score easily.
- Grading in Context (Blogs, Journals, Wikis): Instructors can enter wiki, blog, and journal grades directly in the assignment and grade question by question or anonymously.
- Saving Grading Preference (Smart View): Instructors can create “Smart Views” that categorize students based on selected criteria. This is helpful for courses that have been combined as instructors are now able to view students by section. It also works well for instructors who use TA’s and want to divide the management of student grades between those TA’s.
- Customizing Grading View (Filter): The filter in the Grade Center enables an instructor to instantly view grade data by selecting a category and status criteria. Using the filters, an instructor can easily change the Grade Center view to show all tests that need to be graded, for example. With just a few clicks, the educator can switch to view of all complete assignments.
- Email from Grade Center: Instructors can send emails directly through the Grade Center.
- Instructors can now choose to deploy Assignments to all students individually or to groups of students. This allows instructors to assign a single grade to all of the students in a group and also to override that group grade and assign a student a different grade.
- Instructors can allow students to submit multiple attempts for the same assignment. Each attempt can be graded and commented on individually.
- Instructors have the ability to give specific students an additional attempt at an assignment.
Instructors can add start and stop times for any event in an increment of time.
Tests, Surveys, and Questions
Instructors can reorder questions in a test or survey using the new drag and drop feature.
In Release 9.1, Blackboard has made great strides in supporting educator efficiency. By continually improving the course workflow, Blackboard enables educators to minimize the time they spend on course building and delivery tasks, freeing up their time and energy to focus on student success, achievement, and retention.
The Files area is a course’s document repository that can be used to keep and organize course-related files. You can upload a file once and reuse it in multiple areas of the course.
Learning Modules offer a simple and intuitive means for instructors to organize and structure course content with hierarchical organization so students can navigate through content in a logical, sequential way. Overall, it is a great tool for both designers and students because it offers new ways to structure and navigate content.