Blackboard 9 for Instructors

Blackboard 9 for UO instructors

Introduction

The UO upgraded our Blackboard software from "Academic System 8.0" to "Blackboard Learn 9.0" on 22 Aug 2009.  This page contains some hints for instructors who are getting started with the new system.

Students (as well as instructors) should see our general introduction to Blackboard 9.

Important new features

  1. New visual appearance.
  2. Many miscellaneous bug fixes.
  3. Much easier coursesite creation (new control panel, drag and drop, etc.).
  4. Course homepage (alternative course entry point usable instead of Announcements page)
  5. Blogs (individual, class-wide, and group).
  6. Journals.
  7. Improved group features (multiple group creation, student-created groups, group sets, group assignments, self-created discussion boards).
  8. Assignments: allow multiple attempts.
  9. "My Places" allows student photos that appear in blog posts and could be used for facebooks.
  10. Removed features:  electric blackboard (use Journals), student homepages (use Blogs), digital dropbox (use Assignments), power user enrollment (use newly enhanced Users & Groups/Users).

Gothchas -- some key issues for instructors to note

  1. You must turn EDIT MODE: ON to edit your main menu or add content to your blackboard site.  With EDIT MODE: OFF, your view of your site is very similar to what students will see.  ON, and you'll see many ways you can directly manipulate your site, including contextual menus () by many items.  Most items have an "edit" command on that menu.
  2. Set course to available using Customization -> Properties -> Make Course Available. Nothing, including announcements in My UO, appears to students until course is available.
  3. If you don't see your main course menu and control panel, it's probably because you have minimized your left column.  Look in the left margin, about 2" down, for a ">" icon, and click it.
  4. Listing and adding students has changed. In control panel->Users & Groups->Users you can view students in your course, or click the Find Users to Enroll button to add students or GTFs; on the Enroll User page type the username (e.g. "jdoe") rather than using the Browse button.  On the Users screen you can also view all users in your course by searching for [username][is not blank].
  5. Students no longer have a Course Tools panel, so if you want to give students access to a particular tool you need to create a link in the main menu or within a content area. Many courses already have a (possibly unavailable) "Tools" link.  Students can send email or check grades on the My UO page.
  6. Instructors using Internet Explorer 7 should upgrade to 8 or switch to Firefox.  Also, IE may block the download of content from Blackboard unless a change is made to the user's browser security settings (Automatic Prompting for file downloads: on)
  7. Students need to be reminded to click Attach File (after having browsed and submitted the file they want, before their second Submit to submit the assignment) when the Assignment Manager is used.
  8. Any time display dates are used, be sure to select both a display-after date and a display-until date. Don't use both availability dates and adaptive release.
  9. Default for email is to allow students to send email to "all users" in class, though you can restrict this.  Customization > Tool Availability > Email > Email Settings
  10. Bug: Switching the Visual (Text box) Editor off or on will cause the page to refresh and all work on that page is lost. This is very important to avoid when taking a test in Bb.

Additional Information

You might find the Blackboard-developed "Quick Tutorials" videos especially useful for getting started.

UT Austin has an excellent instructor's guide to Blackboard 9 on their Bb support wiki:  Bb New Features.  For even more detail, see the Blackboard, Inc. document Understanding the Change from Blackboard Academic Suite Release 8 to Blackboard Learn.

Hamilton College has a very good 4-page Quick Start Guide that we have modified slightly for UO use.

View the Bb 9 Instructor's Manual, under "Help" in your Bb 9 control panel, or in PDF on our web site.

Our local help documents have mostly been updated:  http://library.uoregon.edu/scis/blackboard/help/.

Maintained by: JQ Johnson, jqj@uoregon.edu