Information Technology Services > Training and Workshops > IT 100: Introduction to Blackboard

 

ITS 100: Introduction to Blackboard

1) What is my username for Blackboard?

Blackboard is integrated with the College portal, so you don't need to worry about logging directly into Blackboard. You only need to login to the portal and then click the Blackboard Learn icon.

But your username for Blackboard is the same as your username for New River email. For faculty and staff this is typically your first initial + last name (dayersman for me) and for students the username is typically last name + _ + first initial + middle initial (ayersman_dj would be mine if I were a student). If you don't know your username you may find it using our People Search by searching for yourself to find the first part of your email address. All New River usernames should be typed in lowercase, not UPPERCASE. If you can't find your name in our People Search, please contact our Help Desk.

2) What is my password for Blackboard?

Blackboard is integrated with the College portal, so you don't need to worry about logging directly into Blackboard. You only need to login to the portal and then click the Blackboard icon.

But your password for Blackboard (and the portal) is initially your 9-digit New River ID number with uppercase N in front of it and lowercase r after it (N123456789r). This number is printed on your New River ID Card and for students it is also located on your course registration receipt. If you need help locating your 9-digit New River ID number you should contact our Help Desk or any of the Student Services staff members. We strongly encourage everyone to change your password (to both the portal and Blackboard) after you first login. If you change your password and then forget it, we can reset it back to your original password for you. Just contact the Help Desk (304-929-6725 or itsupport@newriver.edu) and request that we reset your password. You have only one password for the portal and Blackboard and to change it you must do so by changing your portal password. You can't change your password from within Blackboard.

3) What is Blackboard?

Blackboard Learn 9 (Release 3300.0.2-rel.137+ba130da) is the current web-based course management system used at New River. Blackboard is fully accessible to all New River instructors and students, regardless of the Instructional Modality of the course. The College migrated from ANGEL to Blackboard in December 2013. The first full term to use Blackboard was Spring 2014 (201402).

Using a standard Web browser, Blackboard provides instructors and students access to course materials from anywhere at anytime. Instructors and students with little or no knowledge of HTML can easily use this tool. Instructors often adopt Blackboard for one or two particular features that it offers (e.g., posting a syllabus) and then discover other tools as they become more familiar with online instruction and with Blackboard. There are many features that comprise Blackboard but a brief summary of them includes:

Online Course Information

  • Syllabus, Assignments, and Course Materials: fill in the blank forms for creating instructor and student Web pages that require little or no knowledge of HTML; course materials might include text, complex equations, images, video, or audio; assignments can be grouped into Learning Units with accompanying media and assessments; course documents (like your syllabus) can be uploaded as they are or created online
  • Manage Files and Information: a file uploader makes it possible to upload any digital information (text, graphic, video, audio) that is then available via a hyperlink; facilitate learning using searchable indexes and glossaries; online bibliographies can provide external links to other sites and a Drop Box allows students to submit assignments to instructors
  • Student Projects and Notes: students can build course-related Web sites; there is an online note-taking tool for students

Communication Tools

  • E-mail: sending email to single or multiple students is simplified by the course-specific interface for communicating with your class; voice emails are possible if you have a microphone attached to your computer
  • Discussion Board: built-in threaded discussion list capabilities for promoting out-of-class electronic dialogue and interaction; voice boards that use recorded audio enhance textual communication
  • Chat and Whiteboard: real-time communication tools for online dialogues

Feedback and Assessment

  • Quizzes and Surveys: an online quiz builder which enables quizzes to be scored immediately with results being available to the instructor and student; self-tests can be graded or ungraded
  • Grade Book: an online tool for automatically tallying student scores from quizzes and assignments
  • Course Statistics: enable the instructor to determine which student accessed various aspects of the course, how often they accessed it, and when

The IT staff will gladly offer you tips on how to more fully utilize Blackboard. We are happy to consult with instructors to insure that online course information is instructionally effective. Instructors can quickly pick up the basics of Blackboard through self-instruction or by attending a brief workshop. Lynda.com (availble through the portal) includes some excellent video tutorials for both students and instructors.

Blackboard is administered by David Ayersman with assistance from Dara Fann and support staff at WVNET. If you are interested in learning more about Blackboard please contact David Ayersman (dayersman@newriver.edu) for additional information.

4) Are there any online instructional resources that I could use to get a Quick Start on developing my online course?

There are abundant resources online that you could freely use in your online course without worrying about copyright infringement. One site, the National Repository of Online Courses (NROC), requires an institutional affiliation to access their materials and New River has partnered with them. There are other Learning Object Repositories and open courseware initiatives where course developers can obtain some great ideas and perhaps even some learning objects or assets to be incorporated into an online course at New River. Also see the Blackboard Learn Instructor Manual and our Blackboard Learn 9 Procedures for more information.

5) Is there a process used for developing completely online courses?

Yes, anytime you create something it is helpful to have a plan to guide your development. There are various theories on instructional design that are useful to guiding the course development process (IT 101: Course Development and Instructional Design). Typically, instructors first adopt Blackboard as a supplement to a traditional class and use only a few features (perhaps posting a syllabus online or using the course-based email for communication). This course (and instructor) will then often progress in the following way:

TRAD (Traditional with up to 25% online)
ETRAD
(Enhanced Traditional with 25%-49% online)
WTRAD (Web Traditional with 50%-74% online)
WEBP (Web Proctored with 75%-99% online)
WEB (Web with 100% online)

This process ensures a gradual transition that allows the instructor to gradually redesign the course to maximize the benefits of distance education while ensuring course integrity. Through this transition, the courses actually have fewer in-class meetings but the instructor is using Blackboard to deliver more and more course content, activities, communication, and assessments. This process ensures the instructor gains sufficient experience with Blackboard and is able to overcome the challenges of teaching in the online environment while learning to utlize new methods for content delivery, communication, assessment, and learning. At New River, the course developers are typically full-time faculty while adjuncts are provided with a course already developed that they deliver (instruct).

6) How can I easily convert existing course materials (syllabus, assignments, tests, etc.) into online course materials?

The first step is to identify the existing course materials. Begin gathering them together into one folder on your computer. You'll probably end up having a number of different file types (DOC, XLS, PPT, PDF) and that is perfectly okay. You can upload files to Blackboard and then make them available to your students. Some files can be displayed within the browser (PDF, HTML) but others must be downloaded and may require other software to open (DOC, PPT, XLS require Microsoft Office on the client computer). It is helpful to know how to create a PDF document and how to compress multiple files into one ZIP archive.

7) What if a student doesn't show up on my Blackboard course roster?

Enrollments are updated daily during the initial few weeks of the semester using data extracted directly from Banner. If a student isn't showing up in your course, as the instructor you may manually "Enroll" the student by using the Control Panel options within Blackboard. The student must be in the Blackboard "Global Database" for the instructor to enroll him or her. Otherwise, an account must be created for the student by the System Administrator. Follow these steps to manually enroll a student in your Blackboard course:

  1. You must have the student's username to manually enroll him/her in your course. You may obtain this from Web Self-Service or from People Search (wood_ae is an example username).
  2. Login to your course and choose Control Panel.
  3. Click on Manage Students.
  4. You'll see three drop-down buttons at the top of your screen, click the first one under Options: Records select Add/Import students and click Go.
  5. Type in the username of the student you'd like to enroll and click Add.

8) When are courses removed from the Blackboard server?

Courses are made unavailable to students and instructors at the end of the next full term (Fall or Spring) so that any student receiving a grade of Incomplete may submit the coursework necessary for changing to a letter grade. At that time, the course shells are then deleted from the server. It is the responsibility of each instructor to maintain backups of course files on his/her computer.

9) Can I re-use my course content from a previous semester this semester?

Yes, you can. At the end of each term instructors should (1) create a backup of the course to produce a ZIP file and then (2) download the file to his/her local computer for safekeeping. This file can then be (3) uploaded into a new empty course shell and (4) restored. This allows instructors to avoid re-creating all the course content each term (question 11 has the specific steps for this).

10) Can I remove students who have dropped my course (they don't appear on my roster from Banner)?

Although enrollments are updated daily, students are NEVER removed from Blackboard courses by these updates. Instructors must manually remove students from courses. Any progress that a student may have made in a particular course should be preserved so rather than removing these students, we suggest that instructors simply make them "Inactive" and then "Hide Inactive Students" from your Blackboard gradebook.

11) How do I create and then restore a backup for my Blackboard course ?

Instructors are responsible for performing their own course backups and saving course evaluations that are available only after each term ends. We recommend keeping at least two backups of your course on the server (the limit is 3) and one copy on your local computer.

How to Export your Course Content

  1. Login to Blackboard and click into the course containing the content you want to export (you must be an Instructor of this course).
  2. Scroll down to Packages and Utilities and click it to open.
  3. Click Export/Archive Course.
  4. Click Export Package.
  5. Scroll down and choose Select All and Submit to create the course export file.

You'll get a message that the action has been queued and that an email will be sent to you when it is complete. You'll also see a Refresh button, so if you wait a few minutes you can click that to see a link to your file. When you do see that link, click it to download a copy of your course export file to your local computer. Remember where you saved it, you'll need it for the next steps. And don't unzip it on your computer, it must remain zipped so you can import it into Blackboard.

How to Import Course Content into a New Course Shell

  1. Login to Blackboard and click into the new empty course shell where you want to import course content.
  2. Scroll down to Packages and Utilities and click it open.
  3. Click Import Package / View Logs
  4. Click Import Package
  5. Click Browse My Computer and locate the file you exported previously.
  6. Click Select All in the Select Course Materials area so that all areas of your previous course are imported.
  7. Click Submit.
  8. You'll see a message indicating that your action has been queued and that you'll receive an email when it is complete.

12) Are there any new features or tools available to instructors using Blackboard?

In 2017, we upgraded our license with WVNET and gained access to two new tools. Medial (tutorial for instructors) and Big Blue Button (tutorial videos for instructors) are now available to all instructors.

13) Is there an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) for Blackboard?

Yes, the Blackboard FAQ is here.

14) Who do I contact if I need help using Blackboard?

If you need any assistance using Blackboard Learn 9.1 please contact itsupport@newriver.edu (or call 304-929-6725).

 

 

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Email: info@newriver.edu | Phone: 304-929-6725 | 280 University Drive, Beaver, WV 25813-8987 | Updated: November 14, 2018