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Information for CCS Online Instructors

1. What do I need to know BEFORE a semester begins

1.1. I am new to teaching online, what should I do?

 

If you have never taught online, please take the time to read through our Knowledge Book here. Hopefully, it is able to answer any questions you may have and familiarize yourself with Blackboard. After reading, feel free to send and email to Online Course Technical Support email (techsupport@ccs.ua.edu) and let us know if you have any additional questions.   

To get an idea about when courses are copied and what content will be used, visit the next section about timeline for course copy as well as the section about Super Sections.

1.2. What steps do I need to take to prepare for the upcoming semester?

 

For any given semester, courses are typically copied from either the most recently taught section or if you are developing (or revising) a course with the Instructional Design team, the content will be copied from the developmental section following the course approval process.

 

You should receive an email confirmation from CCS Technical Support after all online courses have been copied for a given semester.  If you do not receive an email and know that you are supposed to be teaching a course that is facilitated by College of Continuing Studies, please contact us as soon as possible.  Courses will be copied approximately 6 weeks prior to the beginning of the upcoming semester.

  1. Log into each of your online Fall 2017 (201740) Blackboard sections and review the content to make sure we’ve copied the correct content. If you see the wrong content, please email techsupport@ccs.ua.edu and let us know where in Blackboard to find the correct content. Also, if you need to super section a course or break up an existing super section, let us know that, too.

  2. Update the dates in your course schedule document and adjust dates on the Blackboard assignments, tests, etc. to match. If you need our help with this, please email your updated course schedule document to techsupport@ccs.ua.edu and we’ll take it from there.

  3. Click through the course, including the learning modules, to make sure that all of the links still work. Links to Youtube, UA Library Resources, and other sites often change, so it’s better for you to find these broken links now than your students to have to point them out to you during the semester.

  4. By default, your students will have access to your online course in Blackboard beginning at 12:01 AM on the first day of class, August 23, 2017. If this day isn’t the best for you, you can change this to any day you wish by adjusting the settings in your course (Instructions for how to do this can be found here). If your course is under development with the Instructional Design Team, your course will be copied when the design process is complete.


If you have specific questions regarding to the course copy process, please email Online Course Technical Support.

1.3. Do I need a Super Section?

What is a super section? 

Super section is a section that holds multiple sections of the same course in one "super section."  This course section can be created by Online Technical Support Team, or you as an instructor can choose to complete this step in myBama, under the Blackboard Learn Section Maintenance. For instructions please access the document (http://frc.ua.edu/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/create_combine_bbl_sections_2014.pdf) created by the Faculty Resource Center.


Why would you want to create a super section?

Some instructors who teach online courses might be assigned to teach multiple sections of a course that will hold identical content.  Instructors typically find it easier to teach one section that includes all of the students from either one or multiple sections of the course that they are teaching.

 

Please note that if you know you will be combining course sections into a super section, it is very important to either create one or request one PRIOR to the date when courses are copied.  Visit the timeline for course copy section to read information regarding the course copy process. We will NOT be able to create super sections after the first day of classes.

 

Contact us, if you have more questions about super sections.

1.4. How can I open my course myself?

As the instructor, you have the option to open your courses yourself on either the University start date for courses or earlier. To do so, follow these steps below:

  1. Login to your course in Blackboard Learn.

  2. Go to the bottom left sidebar menu labeled "Control Panel."




  3. Click on "Customization" and then click "Properties."



  4. Here you may choose to immediately make the course available or select specific dates you would like the course availability to begin and end. Students will not be able to see the course until the specified start date and if you choose to set and end date students will no longer see the course beyond that date.





  5. Once the desired settings have been entered click the Submit button at the bottom of the page.


2. Course Updates

2.1. How do I update my Syllabus?

 

Blackboard Natively Built Syllabi:

  • If your syllabus is Natively built as separate Items in the course (Not a PDF or an HTML page), follow the steps below.

  • You, as the instructor, have the ability to edit each of the separate syllabus items by hovering over the title of the Item and selecting Edit from the dropdown button.

  • You may also e-mail us any changes you would like made to the syllabus. 
    • Copy/Paste each section of the syllabus into a Word Document and highlight any changes you make.
    • Then, e-mail the updated Word document to Online Course Technical Support.

 

HTML Syllabi:

  • If your syllabus is in HTML format (Not a PDF or Natively built as independent Items in the course), follow the steps below.

  • Open your syllabus, highlight the entire document, then copy/paste it into a Word Document.

  • Once in the document you may make any changes you need, but please highlight any new information you added or edits you have made, then e-mail the edited document to Online Course Technical Support.

  • Update requests will be handled in the order they are received and depending on volume may take up to 48 hours to be completed.

 

OSM Syllabi:

  •  For information regarding the OSM system and how to create your syllabus please visit the OSM Syllabus Instructions area of the OIRA site or the main OSM page. We at Online Course Technical Support do not have access to these and therefore cannot edit these syllabi. 

  • Once you have finished creating your syllabus contact Online Course Technical Support with the updated link to your syllabus and we will ensure the syllabus links within the course are updated as well.

 

2.2. How do I update my Schedule?

 

Updating your schedule is an important part of preparing a course for each new semester and is best completed before the start of classes.

 

1.) In most cases your course schedule will either be in Word or PDF formats. (Please highlight changes in wording)

  • For Word: Simply download the schedule and make any changes you need then send it to Online Course Technical Support and we will handle uploading the new document, linking, and updating the items in the course accordingly.

  • For PDF: If your schedule is in PDF format there is a good chance we also have a word version of that file stored in the content collection with it. Please contact the Online Course Technical Support and request we send you the Word file associated with the schedule so you may make edits, then simply send the edited file back to us and we will handle the conversion, uploading, linking, and item updates.


2.) 
If you would like to make the changes involved with uploading the schedule yourself, follow the steps below:

  • Inside your Blackboard course, locate the course Content Collection on the left sidebar.



  • The DOCX and/or PDF version of the schedule should be located here. This is where you will need to download and upload the file when you have updated it.



  • Download the file and make any updates to the dates. 

  • After you have made your updates, you will need to Overwrite the file in the Content Collection. If there are multiple course schedule files, you will need to ensure that you are overwriting the correct one, otherwise, the links in the course will not update. 


 

 

2.3. How do I edit Course Content?

 

Editing your course content is completed differently depending on whether you are teaching an "HTML" course, or a "Native Build".

 

What is the difference between an HTML course and a Native Build course?

HTML

  • These courses contain many HTML pages which require an HTML editor such as Adobe Dreamweaver to edit properly. You have the option to "Edit in Blackboard" but using the built in tool will most likely strip all of the formatting and styles used to make the page look professional and we highly recommend not using this.

  • Typically the HTML pages within these courses are: The Table of Contents (TOC), Module Pages, Syllabus, Homepage, and sometimes various documents associated with assignments and instructions. These files are always within the course Content Collection and always have the extension".html" at the end of the file name.

  • If you need to make changes to any of these files it is best practice to contact Online Course Technical Support via E-Mail or phone: (866) 205-1011

 
NATIVE

  • Any courses developed or re-developed after Summer 2014 on will most likely be Native Builds.
  • Instead of using multiple pages and complicated linking while storing all of the pages in the content collection, all of the course content is instead created directly in content areas.
  • This means all items from assignments and tests, to Discussions and lesson content will be located within the Module Content Areas (These will usually be linked in the sidebar and named according to each module lesson). 
  • Because this content is all created natively there is no need for a 3rd party HTML editor like Dreamweaver, and unlike HTML Courses, the built in editor may be used to edit content. Though content is much simpler to edit in the native Build courses, any extensive changes (Removing/Adding assignments, major changes to module content) should not be done without first consulting an Instructional Designer.

 

Example of a typical HTML built course:

Example of a typical Blackboard Learn built course:
(Also known as "Natively built")

                                                                                                                                                             

2.4. How do I Add Tool/Web/Course Links to the Sidebar?

 

If you would like to add an item to your course Sidebar (Course Tools Menu), notice it is missing something, or accidentally delete an item, the following information may be helpful.

 

1.) Access the "Add Menu Item" button (Plus Sign at top left of Course Tools Menu) by hovering your mouse over it.

 

2.) Here you will see several options, but will most likely only ever need "Tool Link", "Web Link", or "Course Link"

 

  • Content Area: this creates a blank content area where you may can create items such as files, images, videos, links, assignments, or deploy tests.
  • Tool Link: This adds a sidebar link for the tools available in your course such as Blackboard Collaborate( Scheduling Manager), Blogs, Discussion boards, Groups, Grades, etc..

  • Web Link: This item allows you to add links to external websites by entering the address into the "URL" field and naming it however you'd like it displayed to students in the "Name" field.

  • Course Link: This item allows you to link to content already present in your course by clicking "Browse" (opens a pop up window with an outline of your course items). From the browse window you will see a simplified tree style structure representing your entire course and all of the link-able items within.

    • NOTE:  As we are moving from the traditional HTML page format for online courses to a Native Build format some of these instructions may become obsolete in time, we always encourage instructors to contact us for any clarification or questions by Phone: (866)205-1011 or E-Mail

 

3.) If you did not check the box for "Available to Users" when creating the link, you may access the context menu by hovering your mouse over the item and clicking the small circle which appears to the right, then selecting "Show Link" (Note: links may also be hidden form students this way by selecting "Hide Link").

Hidden Tool Link (ex: Syllabus)    

Visible Tool Link (ex: Syllabus)

4.) Notice when hovering your mouse on an item you should also see a connected up/down arrow appear to the left, click and hold on this arrow then drag your mouse up or down to change the items position in the menu.

 

2.5. What is Student View

When you click the "Go To Student View" button in your course (shown below) the system will automatically enroll a demo student in your course of which you have control. This feature will allow you to see what your students see when accessing your course, whether it be test availability, feedback, grades, etc...



The demo student will be displayed in your roster and grade center as First name "Demo" last name "User" with a username as "bb_demo" followed by a unique string of numbers as shown below.



While you are in Student View you may take tests, submit assignments, and access content just as a normal student would. This can be very useful for verifying student claims of availability or errors, and for testing out the various functions in your course and how those translate to your grade center.

Once you've finished with student view make sure you then click the "Return To Teacher View" button located in the same area the student button was previously (shown below) to return to your normal instructor view of the course. You may switch back and forth between Teacher and Student view freely without losing any work.


As work completed while in student view will be saved just like any other student, you may find our How do I View/Clear Attempts & Submissions? article useful for clearing out submissions/attempts done under the student account when further testing is required.

2.6. How do I add Red Shelf to my Course?

To add a new content area:

  • Click on the plus sign in the circle in the top left corner of the left-hand side menu. (see Screenshot of add menu item button)
  • Choose the Content Area.
  • Name Content Area and a check box that says Make Available to Users.
  • The new link is added to the bottom of the menu--click on it to go to the new content area.
  • Proceed with adding RedShelf link using the Build Content button.
  • The menu item can be moved by dragging up or down.

For instructors of distance courses supported by the College of Continuing Studies, CCS tech support can also help.


3. Grade Center

3.1. How do I edit Column Information?

 

The following is a list of items and their effect, which may be found in the "Edit Column Information" area of your Grade Center columns.

 

1.) Navigate to the Grade Center Full Grade Center in the Control Panel Menu.

 

2.) Find the title of the column you'd like to view/edit and select Edit Column Information from the context menu (the  button).

 

3.) In this menu you can:

  • Edit the column information(Column Name/Grade Center Name), how the information is displayed with the primary and secondary schema, the category the item belongs to, and points possible.

 

  • Set the Due Date

 

  • Decide if it should be included in the grade center calculations (on by default), if it should be shown to students (my grades area), and whether to show students the class average score for that item.

 

4.) Once you have made any desired changes click the Submit button.

3.2. How do I Show/Hide/Move Columns?

 

The columns within your grade center can be arranged according to personal preference using the following steps:

 

1.) Navigate to Grade Center Full Grade Center in the Control Panel menu.

 

2.) Hover your mouse over Manage near the top of the screen, then select Column Organization from the menu that appears.

 

3.) You will now see a list of all columns in your grade book with a 4 direction arrow symbol next to them, left click and hold on the arrow symbol then drag the item up or down to change it's position.

 

4.) To show or hide columns(NOTE: This only effects your ability to see it not the student) check the box next to the item then hove your mouse on Show/Hide at the bottom of the screen and select Show Selected Columns or Hide Selected Columns.


5.) Click Submit to save changes

3.3. How do I View/Clear Attempts & Submissions?

 

Managing student attempts for graded items is best handled through the Full Grade Center

 

1.) Navigate to Grade Center Full Grade Center in the Control Panel menu.

 

2.) Hover your mouse over the cell for the desired submission/attempt, click the context menu and select View Grade Details.

 

3.) On this page you can see detailed information about that particular submission/attempt, including score, start date/time, end date/time, and viewing the attempt/submission.

 

4.) To clear the attempt, simply click the Clear Attempt button located on the right-hand side of the screen and confirming the selection on the dialogue box which will appear.

 

5.) You may also have the option to an Allow Additional Attempt rather than clearing the attempt. This option allows you to keep the information from the previous attempt, but gives the student an additional attempt to submit again. This option can be used limitlessly.  

3.4. How do I edit the Final/Weighted Column?

 

Before going into details about the two types of total columns it is important to address the effects of setting the column to calculate as a Running Total.

 

  • Setting this option to "Yes" will display the students' scores based on the items they have submitted thus far. The problem that may arise with this setting is it does not count any column without some value entered. This means if a student submits only one item and makes a perfect score on it, then never completes anything else they will still show a perfect score in the total column, Unless a value of 0 is entered by the teacher for every item not turned in. Items with no value entered will show up as "--" in the cells of the grade center.

  • Setting this option to "No" will display the students' scores based on the total points possible for the course. This means, until the course has been completed (all items submitted and graded), the students score will be displayed lower than it should be. This usually results in calls/e-mails from confused students who have thus far scored well but their "Total" in My Grades is displaying as a low score.

 

1.) Weighted Final Column: This column is calculated based on an assigned weight (%) of all or only selected columns in your grade book.

  • All items included in the weighted calculation should add up to a total of 100%

  • Along with the option for specific columns you can assign a weight to specific categories. This allows you to for example, set all quizzes in total to be worth 20% of the grade instead of each quiz having it's own set weight ( may be useful in a situation where you have an uneven number of quizzes or a large number of them).

  • Adding bonus can be tricky in a course using weighted grades. If you want to add bonus it is best practice to add points to a specific item rather than trying to add any extra percentage to the weighted total as blackboard cannot calculate this correctly. Keep in mind, the greater the weight (% of the total) of the item you add the bonus points to, the greater over-all effect it will have on the students score.

 

Example of a configured Weighted Column.

 

 

2.) Total Column: This type of column is point based rather than weighted. Total columns can be calculated based on individual columns, categories, or the grade center as a whole.

  • This column will calculate grade totals by dividing the points earned into the total points possible.

  • Bonus can easily be added in this type of calculation by creating a bonus item or column and setting the point value to 0, then manually entering the desired bonus points for that item in the grade center.

3.) Importing Final/Midterm Grades into Banner: Midterm and Final grades must be imported into banner from the blackboard grade center. Here is a thorough guide created by the FRC on how to to this. As always, if you have any questions regarding creating/configuring the necessary columns or would rather Online Course Technical Support handle the creation of these columns for you, do not hesitate to contact us by Email or by Phone: (866) 205-1011

 

3.5. What is the Needs Grading area?

 

The Needs Grading area displays all assessments, assignments, and discussions currently waiting to be graded.

 

1.) Navigate to Grade Center Needs Grading in the Control Panel menu.

 

2.) In this area you will see all assignments and assessments with an attempt/submission waiting to be graded.

 

3.) The submission/attempt grading area may be accessed by clicking on the name of the student highlighted in red.

 

4.) You may also filter the information by Category, Item, User, or Date Submitted for ease of use.

3.6. How do I Upload/Download the Gradebook?

 

The grade center in a blackboard course may be downloaded for editing and record keeping. Edits made may also be reflected in the Grade Center through the import process.

 

1.) The grade center within your course may be downloaded into an excel file by Navigating to Grade Center Full Grade Center in the Control Panel menu.

 

2.) Hover your mouse on "Work Offline" at the top right-hand side of the grade center screen and select "Download".

 

3.) To download the entire grade center leave these options on default settings.

 

4.) Downloading specific columns or information may be selected in the Data area.

5.) Click Submit to initiate the download

6.) While it is possible to download the grade center, edit it in excel then upload it again to effect changes, we do not recommend this method as it leaves much more room for error.

4. Assignments

4.1. How do I Edit Assignments?

 

Assignment options may be customized in the many ways detailed below to help it meet instructor needs.

 

Navigate to the desired assignment (within the assignment area or within a module) and hover your mouse over the title. You should see a small context menu circle appear next to the title, click this and select "Edit"

 

1.) Assignment Information: Here you can modify the display name of the assignment as well as the instructions students will see both in the preview of the assignment and once they click into the assignment.



2.) Assignment Files: This area allows you to attach files the students can download as part of their assignment, they can be uploaded form your computer or the Content collection for the course.



3.) Grading: In this area you may set/adjust the points possible for the assignment as well as create or attach a rubric. For help on attaching rubrics, visit our Associating Rubrics With an Item section.



4.) Availability: This section allows you to;

  • Make the assignment available/unavailable

  • Specify the number of attempts and which is one counts

  • Set dates for when the assignment will be visible to students(Note: When the "Display until" date passes the assignment will no longer be visible to the students)

  • The option to track views.

 

5.) Due Dates: This will allow you to specify the date/time the assignment will be due, if the "Display Until" option is NOT checked students will still be able to submit past the due date. Late submissions will show up with with a yellow circle  in your grade book as well as in your "Needs Grading" area.



6.) Recipients: This section will usually remain the default "All Students Individually", unless you have groups created and would like a group assignment. For group assignments everyone in the specified groups will receive the same grade.

 

7.) Click the Submit button to save your settings.

 

4.2. How do I edit Due Dates?

 

Assignment availability may be adjusted to fit very specific dates/times, and even specific dates times for only certain individuals.

 

Navigate to the desired assignment(within the assignment area or within a module) and hover your mouse over of title. You should see a small context menu circle appear next to the title, click this and select "Edit"

 

 

1.) Dates:

  • "Display After" controls at which date/time the assignment will become visible to students and they are allowed to start making submissions.

  • "Display Until" controls at which date/time the assignment will no longer be visible to students and they may no longer make submissions.



  • "Due Date", past this date/time the system will start counting submissions as late. Usually, the Due Date and Display Until date are the same. (NOTE: If the "Display Until" box is not checked students will be able to submit past the due date, however, the items will be tagged as late in the grading area).

 

4.3. How do I Edit Adaptive Releases?

If an adaptive release is set for an assignment, only the students who have been added to the release will be able to see/access the assignment.

      Configuring an Adaptive release

  • Set the specific dates you'd like the student(s) to have access to the assignment described in Section 1.
  • Click Submit to save the dates.

  • Once again access the context menu mentioned in the above header only this time select Adaptive Release.

 

 

  • If present, remove the checks in the boxes for "Display After" and "Display Until"
    • NOTE: If this is not done the assignment will be unavailable to all students

 

  • Scroll down to Section 2. Membership and click Browse.

  • Now you may click Go with the search field blank to display all users or use the search filters to narrow your results.

 

  • Once you have located the desired student(s) scroll to the bottom of the user window and click Submit.

  • Ensure once again the "Display After" and "Display Until" boxes are NOT checked then click the Submit button at the bottom or top of the page.

 

4.4. How do I set up Group Assignments?

Assignments can be set up as Group Assignments by following the steps below.


1.) Navigate to the desired assignment (within the assignment area or within a module) and hover your mouse over the title. You should see a small context menu circle appear next to the title, click this and select "Edit"



2.) Scroll down to section 4 labeled "Grading" and click "Submission Details."


3.) Select the "Group Submission" radio button to change the Assignment from an individual assignment to a Group Assignment.


4.) Select the Groups from the left box labeled "Items to Select" and click the top arrow button to the right of the "Items to Select" box.


5.) Once the selected groups have moved the right box labeled "Selected Items," you can click the "Submit" button at the bottom of the screen. The assignment is now a Group Assignment assigned to the Selected Groups.

4.5. How do I View/Clear Attempts & Submissions?

 

To learn how to clear or view Assignment Attempts and Submissions, please refer to the  View/Clear Attempts & Submissions section.

If you have any questions or issues with this, you may contact Online Course Technical Support

5. Assessments

5.1. How do I Edit the Test/Edit the Test Options?

 

Tests in Blackboard Learn have a great deal of options available for customizing everything from the actual questions, in what manner they are presented, to feedback and availability dates. Details on these options can be found throughout Chapter 6 of this Knowledge Book.

Edit the Test allows you to edit questions and answers inside the test. It also allows to change the point value of specific questions. Feel free to look around in the options before your course goes live to get a feel of what tools are available. However, we recommend that you contact us before making any changes if you are uncertain if what you are editing is correct.

Edit the Test Options allows you to edit features of the test as a whole. For instance, you can add or change a Due Date, set Availability Exceptions, and set a time limit. As above, feel free to look around, but notify us if you are unsure of changing any settings. Each section of "Edit the Test Options" is detailed in the other guides under the Assessment tab.

 

To access these features, hover of the assessment you wish to edit. Then click on the grey circle that appears next to the title. This should make a drop down menu appear. The first two options are Edit the Test and Edit the Test Options.

5.2. How can I edit the Test Information?

 

After selecting "Edit the Test Options", you will be brought to a page numbered by various sections. The first of which is Test Information

 

 

1. Name -

Here, you may change the name of the test or quiz to whatever matches the syllabus or to whatever you would like. Simply replace the text that is currently in there and hit "Submit." 

2. Choose Color of Name: -

The feature allows you to change the color of the title as it appears on the Assessments page. We typically leave this Black as the default, but feel free to change it. 

3. Content Link Description -

This description is what appears under the test/quiz title on the Assessments page. It is recommended to put any vital instructions that are needed before the test here. You may also put a brief description of what the assessment is.

4. Show test description to students before they begin the test -

If you leave it unchecked, the students do not see the description before they begin the test. It will still appear under the title on the Assessments page, but it will not appear when they click on the title. 

5. Open test in new window -

If this box is checked, when students enter the test, the assessment will open in a new window. 

 

5.3. How can I edit Test Availability?

 

The Test Availability section allows for very specific criteria being met in order to access the assessments.

 

 

 

1. Make the Link Available -

This "Yes" or "No" button allows you to make the link to the assessment available or unavailable. For example, if you do not want students to see the exam/quiz or need to make adjustments to it, you could set the link to be unavailable and students would not be able to see or access it. The default is set to "Yes" since you can achieve the same results by changing the Display After and Display Until dates.

2. Add a New Announcement for This Test -

This "Yes" or "No" button allows you to create an announcement for the assessment. The default is set to "No."

3. Multiple Attempts -

This checkbox allows you to set the assessment to have multiple attempts rather than a single attempt. If you select it, you will have the option to "Allow Unlimited Attempts" (until the due date) or to manually input a "Number of Attempts."

4. Force Completion -

Force Completion sets the assessment so that once it is started, it must be completed in one sitting. We usually leave this box unchecked so that Force Completion is not on because it can lead to issues if someone's internet cuts out or if the student accidentally closes the window in which they are taking the assessment.

5. Set Timer -

The Timer allows you to dictate how long students will have to complete the assessment once they start. This will also allow you to see how long students took on the assessment. You may manually enter a time in units of "Minutes." Also in this section is the "Auto-Submit" feature. Auto-Submit will automatically save and submit the assessment once the timer has expired. If Auto-Submit is not selected, the student can continue taking the assessment, but the questions will be marked if they were completed after the timer expired so that you can assign credit accordingly. 

6. Display After/Display Until -

The Display After and Display Until section allows you to set dates and times when the link to the assessment will be available to students. This accomplishes the same result as the "Make the Link Available" feature at the top; however, you can set the dates at the beginning of the semester to coincide with the schedule and they will automatically open and close. This is the preferred method. Students will not be able to access or see the link before the "Display After" date/time and they will not be able to access or see it after the "Display Until" date/time.

7. Password -

You may set a password for the exam which means the password must be entered in order for the student to access the assessment. If you do set a password, you will need to give that information to your students prior.

8. Restrict Location -

This allows you to require students to log on and take the assessment from a specific location or range of IP addresses. Since these are online courses and our students are dispersed and located in numerous regions, we leave this set to "No Restrictions." Please do not change this setting.

5.4. How can I edit Test Availability Exceptions?

 

The Test Availability Exceptions allow you to add specific exceptions for students or groups of students taking the assessment. For instance, you can set different Display After/Display Until dates, set a different number of possible attempts, or allow for either more or less time for an assessment.

 

 

 

To set these, click "Add User or Group" and select the student/students who need the exceptions. They should appear in the area directly below.

 

Once the student's name appears under Test Availability Exceptions, you can change the following setting solely for them:

  • Attempts - The number of attempts they have for the assessment.

  • Timer - The amount of time they have to complete the assessment.

  • Availability - The "Display After" and "Display Until" dates for the assessment.

  • Force Completion - If checked, students are only allowed a one-time entrance into the assessment. They cannot pause and resume later. 

  • Restrict Location - Only allow certain IP addresses to access the assessment. We leave this unchecked.

 

5.5. How can I edit Due Dates?

 

The Due Date allows you to set the day and time the assessment will need to be completed by. You can choose to not have a due date if you do not check the box next to "Due Date."

 

 

  • If the Due Date box is checked , you will need to enter a day and time for the assessment to be due, or by default it will populate with the current time/date. 

You can also check the second box that reads "Do not allow students to start the Test if the due date has passed."

  • If this box is left unchecked, students can access the assessment even after the due date, but their submission will be marked as Late and will appear in Needs Grading.

  • If this box is checked, students will not be able to access the assessment once the due date has passed.

 

5.6. How can I edit Self-Assessments Options?

 

Self-assessment Options allow you the option to hide all results/attempts from teacher view completely ( this option will most likely never be used).

 

The default for this option is the first check box: "Include this Test in Grade Center score calculations."  If you want the results of the assessment to be visible in the grade book, leave this box checked.

5.7. How can I Show Test Results and Feedback to Students?

 

After clicking Edit the Test Options, the sixth section is titled Show Test Results and Feedback to Students:

 

 

The section allows you to set what results students see after they submit their assessment. 

1.) When [Dropdown box]

The first dropdown box is where you can set when the students see results and feedback.


The options are:

  • After Submission - Results are available any time after the student submits their assessment.

  • One-Time View - Results and Feedback are only available one time immediately after the student submits their assignment.

  • On Specific Date - Results and Feedback are available on a specific date in the future for students to see.

  • After Due Date - Results and Feedback become available once the due date has passed.

  • After Availability End Date - Results and Feedback become available once the availability end date has passed.

  • After Attempts are Graded - Results and Feedback become available after all student attempts for that assignment have been completed and graded.

2.) Score per Question

The Score per Question checkbox allows students to see how many points each question was worth and how many points they received for each question individually.

 

3.) Answers

The checkboxes here are All Answers, Correct, and Submitted. This will allow students to see all possible answers choices, only the correct answer choice, and/or the student's submitted answers. You can have all boxes checked, or any combination of the three.

 

4.) Feedback

If you have written any feedback for questions in the assessment, you can make it visible here by checking the box to allow Feedback.

 

5.) Show Incorrect Questions

This option will distinguish between the questions students got correct and the ones they got wrong. Questions they answered incorrectly will be marked as incorrect, and questions they answered correctly will be marked as correct. If this box is unchecked, there will not be a visual marker telling the students which ones they answered incorrectly; however, if you have the boxes checked under the Answers section (refer to Part 3), students can see which answer they put and which answer is correct.

 

5.8. How do I edit the Test Presentation?

 

After clicking Edit the Test Options, the seventh section is titled Test Presentation:

 

 

These options dictate how the test will be presented to the students while they are taking the assessment. 

You can either choose to allow students to see the questions All at Once or only One at a Time. This is a matter of instructor preference.

There is also an option to enable Prohibit Backtracking. This means that once a student moves on from a question, they will be unable to go back to it. This option only works when One at a Time is selected.

The final option is Randomize Questions for each test attempt. This will ensure that the questions do not appear in the same order for every student.

 

5.9. How do I View/Clear Attempts & Submissions?

 

To learn how to clear or view Assessment Attempts and Submissions, please refer to the View/Clear Attempts & Submissions section.

If you have any questions or issues with this, you may contact the Online Course Technical Support

6. Discussions

6.1. How do I add the Discussion Tool to a Course?

 

The following will detail the steps for adding a Discussion tool link to your course menu.

 

1.) Click the "+" sign at the top left-hand side of your Course Menu and select Tool Link from the drop-down menu



2.) Type the name you'd like to be displayed to students (usually "Discussions") in the Name field.



3.) In the drop down menu for Type select Discussion Board, you should now see the link you create on your Course Menu.

6.2. How do I Create/Edit Class Discussions?

 

Click your Discussions link on your Course Menu to access the Discussion Board. The following information covers the customizable settings available for discussions.

 

To create a new forum click the Create Forum button located on the left-hand side of the black header bar at the top of the screen.



  • Forum Information: Enter a name & description.




  • Forum Availability: Configure availability status as well as dates/times.




  • Forum Settings: Here you can configure grading and various other options for the forum and threads. 

"Allow Author to Delete Own Posts",  "Allow Author to Edit Own Published Posts" & "Allow Members to Create New Threads" should be considered as well depending on the nature of the discussion. The rest of the options are usually left as default besides a few special circumstances.



  • Submit: Once you have everything configured to your liking simply click the Submit button.

NOTE: Always feel free to call tech support at (866)205-1011 if you have questions or concerns regarding your forum configuration and how it should relate to your particular needs.

 

6.3. How do I Create/Edit Group Discussions?

 

To create or edit settings for group discussions, navigate to Users and Groups in your Control Panel and click on Groups.

 

Any created groups or group sets will be listed here along with a few details about them.

  • Hover your mouse over the name of a group(in the "Name" column), click the context menu which appears and select Edit Group.

  • Ensure the box next to Discussion Board is checked.



  • Click Submit.

  • Now click the Name of the group you'd like to configure discussions for, then click Group Discussion Board.



  • Here you may (link)create and configure forums(link) for the group.


 

NOTE: If every group is to have matching forums, they will need to be created in Each Group Discussion Board individually.

 

6.4. How do I Grade Discussions?

 

When a point value is assigned to a Discussion Forum there is the option to notify the instructors through the yellow icon in the grade center as well as an entry in the Needs Grading area after a student has made a set number of posts in the Discussion Edit Menu.

 

If the notification option for Needs Grading is not set, but still need to be graded, use the following steps:

  • Access your discussion area via the link on the Course Menu or by accessing Course Tools > Discussion Board.
     
  • Navigate to and click the title of the forum or thread you wish to grade.

  • Depending on whether you are grading a forum or thread, you will see two different buttons:

    Forum Thread

    (If you do not see the "Grade" button you most likely do not have a point value set for the item).
  • Here you will see a list of all participants in the forum, along with their username, number of posts, and the button.
  • In the Forum Grading area you be presented with a list of all posts made in the selected forum by the selected student.



  • There will also be a link to a grading rubrics if one is associated with the discussion and an area available to giving feedback to the student and entering their grade.
  • Above the grade entry area you will see the name of the current student along with an arrow to either side of the name box. Clicking the arrows allows you to navigate to the next ( > ) or previous (< ) student.

  • Clicking on the name of the students above the grade entry area will display all students with gradable posts in the forum, allowing you to jump around and grade them instead of going in order, or for finding a specific students posts.

 

7. Turnitin

8. Blackboard Collaborate

8.1. How do I add the Collaborate Tool?

 

The following details the steps required to add a Blackboard Collaborate link to your Course Menu.

 

1.) Click the + sign at the top left-hand side of your Course Menu and select Tool Link from the drop-down menu



2.) Type the name you'd like to be displayed to students (usually "Blackboard Collaborate") in the Name field.

3.) In the drop down menu for Type select Blackboard Collaborate Voice Board, you should now see the link you create on your Course Menu.

8.2. How do I Create a Session?

 

The following steps will cover the creation and customization of a Blackboard Collaborate Session.

 

1.) Find the "Blackboard Collaborate" link on the Course Menu on the left side of the window.



2.) Once that page loads, you should see a window similar to the one below.



3.) Click the red "Create Session" button in the box labeled "Schedule a Session."

4.) A "Create Session" window should appear that looks similar to the one below:

 

Session Information:

  • Session Name - You can name the session here.

  • Start Time/End Time - You can specify the date and time the collaborate session will begin and end. 

  • Early Session Entry - You can choose to allow students early access to the session room here. The options are: 0, 15, 30, 45, and 60 minutes prior to the session start time. 
    • For example, if the Start Time was set as 7:00 PM and the Early Entry Time was set as 30 minutes, then students would be able to enter the room at 6:30 PM to make sure everything works properly.

 

Room Options:

  • Session Type - You have the option of setting the type of Collaborate session to either "Course" (which restricts access to the session to individuals in the course) or "Shared" (which allows different courses to share a collaborate room at the same time)




  • Teleconference Options - You have the option to allow teleconferencing, but we usually leave this set to "Do not use teleconference," unless specifically instructed otherwise.




  • Room Attributes - You can edit settings of the collaborate room here. For example, you can change the "Max Simultaneous Talkers" from between 1 to 6. You can also "Preload Content" here, like a PowerPoint for example.  The default settings are typically used unless otherwise specified. 




  • Grade Center Integration - You can integrate the session with a column in the grade center which will allow you to take and give credit for attendance to the sessions. This is strictly professor preference.






  • Roles and Access - You can edit the roles of participants and change who has access to the session here.
    • You can choose "All users join as moderators" which will give everyone in the session admin privileges inside the Collaborate room, or you can individually "Add Moderators."
    • You can also further restrict access to the session by checking the box labeled "Restrict access to this session," which allows you to individually add users to the participant list.


   

 

Once you finish editing the settings of your Collaborate Session, click the red Save button.

9. MyMediasite

9.1. Installing the Mediasite Desktop Recorder

Installing the Mediasite Desktop Recorder

Mediasite is a media service tool used to record and store video recordings. It is recommended that you complete the following steps several days prior to recording.

To download the Mediasite Desktop Recorder, you will need to access the Mediasite Desktop Recorder webpage using the following instructions:

1. In your Blackboard Course, click the MyMediasite course link on the course menu.

2. Then, click the MyMediasite link on the content page. 

Note: This link will redirect you to the MyMediasite webpage, so you will need to allow pop-ups for it to open successfully.



3. Once the MyMediasite webpage loads, it should look similar to the image below.

Note: Your MyMediasite account is synced by user, not by course. Therefore, any videos you create can be placed in any course. 



4. Click Download the Desktop Recorder at the bottom left corner of the page.

5. On the new page, click Download Desktop Recorder for [Mac/Windows] at the bottom left corner of the window and follow the prompts that appear. 




6. Before you complete “Step 3: Register your Mediasite Desktop Recorder with Mediasite Server,” complete the following Mediasite Desktop Recorder Account Validation Request form to request that your account be verified. This could take up to 24 hours to verify, so it is best to do these steps several days prior to recording.

7. After you receive an email stating your account has been validated, you can then click Register Mediasite Desktop Recorder on "Step 3: Register your Mediasite Desktop Recorder with Mediasite Server."

This will open the Mediasite Desktop Recorder and you should receive an "Authenticated Successfully" notice.




8. Congratulations on successfully downloading and verifying your account! Click here for information on How to Setup your Computer Desktop for Recording.


9.2. Recording with the Mediasite Desktop Recorder

Recording with the Mediasite Desktop Recorder

If you have not yet installed the Mediasite Desktop Recorder or validated your account, you can click here for information on doing so.

You will need to access the Mediasite Desktop Recorder webpage using the following instructions:

1. In your Blackboard Course, click the MyMediasite course link on the course menu.

2. Then, click the MyMediasite link on the content page. 

Note: This link will redirect you to the MyMediasite webpage, so you will need to allow pop-ups for it to open successfully.


3. Once the MyMediasite webpage opens, click the "+ Create Presentation" button    in the top left corner of the window. 


4. After you click "+ Create Presentation", you will be prompted to create a presentation placeholder for your recording either by using Record Desktop or Upload Media.

If you already have a video file you wish to use, choose Upload Media. If you need to record your computer desktop to create a video, choose Record Desktop.

Note: If you record a video on your mobile device, access the MyMediasite webpage and select Upload Media.


5. After selecting Record Desktop, enter a Name and Description for your presentation. The title of a recording should follow this structure: "[Course] [Module Number]: [Brief title]." (For instance, "SW579 Module 3: Midterm Assignment Overview")

Once both fields are complete, click the Launch Desktop Recorder button in the bottom right corner.


6. When the Mediasite Desktop Recorder launches, you should see your username in the top left corner of the window. Click Record Now.

Note: If the account listed in the upper left corner has a different user or says "Sign-in", follow the account validation steps here.


7. The next few steps involve setting up your desktop and system to be recorded. You have a few options to choose from, so choose which option best fits your needs.

— Step 1: Select Type — 

If you wish to record both your desktop and video of yourself (You must have a webcam for this option), choose "Screencast + Video". If you wish to record just the desktop and your voice (You should have a headset or external microphone for this option), choose "Screencast + Audio".


— Step 2: Setup Hardware — 

Name your presentation in the "Presentation Name" field. If you chose "Screencast + Video", choose the webcam you would like to use under "Camera Input." For both "Screencast + Video" and"Screencast + Audio", set your "Microphone Input" to your headset.

Using your Built-In Microphone is not recommended because it will pick up background noise which could be bothersome to viewers; therefore, a headset is recommended.

Note: It is best to use the same title you previously used when creating the Presentation placeholder to make organizing your videos easier.

— Step 3: Prepare Screen — 

Make sure your desktop is clear and ready to record. If you are recording a Powerpoint, go ahead and have it loaded and ready to present. You want to exclude certain items from the recording such as email, instant messaging, or unnecessary clutter.


— Step 4: Capture Area — 

You can either check the box "Select the entire desktop" to record your entire desktop (This does not record both monitors if you have two screens), or you can click and drag a specific area of your desktop to record. This means that only items within the selected area will be captured buy the screen recorder.


— Step 5: Summary — 

Ensure that the information on the summary page is correct. If it is not, you can click Back to visit any of the previous steps.

Finally, locate your "Ready to Record" toolbox on your screen. If it says "WARNING!", you will need to move it out of the selected recording area. If you are recording your entire computer desktop, minimize the "Ready to Record" toolbox. 

Once it says "Camera is not being recorded," you are ready to click the Record button and start recording your desktop!

Bad:             Good: 


— Step 6: Complete Recording —

To pause the recording, click Pause on the "Ready to Record" toolbox. Clicking Finish will automatically begin uploading the file to the Mediasite server. If you are not pleased with the recording you have, you can click Discard to begin anew.


8. Congratulations on successfully recording your video! Click here to learn how to Publish and Upload your recording.

9.3. How Do I Publish and Link to My Recording?

How Do I Publish and Link to My Recording?

After you have finished your recording and it has uploaded to your MyMediasite page, you can link it in your course following the instructions below. For information on how to create a recording, click here.


1. In your Blackboard Course, click on the MyMediasite course link on the left sidebar. Then, click the MyMediasite link on the content page. 

Note: This link will redirect you to the MyMediasite webpage, so you will need to allow pop-ups for it to open successfully.


2. Locate the video in MyMediasite that you would like to publish to your course. By default, all videos are set to Private. If you share the link and the video is marked as Private, students will not be able to view it, so it is important to make it Viewable.


3. Click on the title of the video and then click the Share tab at the top. On the Share tab, copy the Link provided in the window.


4. Once you have copied the link, you can paste the link in an email/announcement, on the discussion board, or in a content area. Below is demonstration on how to add it to a content area in Blackboard.

— Step 1 —

In your Blackboard course, enter the content area on the course menu to which you would like to link your video.


— Step 2 —

Click Build Content.


— Step 3 —

Click Web Link.


— Step 4 — 

On the "Create Web Link" page, enter a Name for the link and paste the video link you copied earlier into the URL line. You can then add any further information or text necessary in the Description box below it.



 — Step 5 — 

Click Submit and the link to your recording should now be visible in the course! 

Note: You can edit the name or description after you hit Submit.


6. Congratulations on Publishing your recoding. For information on downloading the recording, click here. 

9.4. How Do I Download Recordings?

How Do I Download Recordings?

As well as Publishing your Recordings, you can also download copies the MP4 video files for any of your recordings by following the instructions below.


1. In your Blackboard Course, click on the MyMediasite course link on the left sidebar. Then, click the MyMediasite link on the content page. 

Note: This link will redirect you to the MyMediasite webpage, so you will need to allow pop-ups for it to open successfully.



2. Click the title of the video you wish to download. 


3. On the new window that appears for that specific recording, click the Edit tab and check the Publish To Go checkbox. Then click Save


4. After you click Save, click the Summary tab at the top and then click the Download button. 


5. Clicking download will prompt a Download window to appear. Follow the prompts on the screen:

  • Click Submit to begin the process to download.


  • Wait for the download to finish processing. 


  • When the Download button appears, click it to begin the download of the video file.


6. Locate the file in your downloads. It will be have randomized alphanumeric name. It should be a ZIP file, so you will need to double click the file to access the contents. 

Note: You can sort your downloads by date so the most recent file will be at the top.


7. Inside the folder, locate the MP4 file. You can rename this file and copy it to your desired location. 


8. View our Video Retention Policy to help determine if you should save personal copies of your video recordings.

9.5. MyMediasite Retention Policy

MyMediasite Retention Policy

User created MyMediasite recordings older than 2 years are subject to deletion. For example, a presentation recorded by a user in August of 2011 will be subject to deletion August 2013. Faculty with currently relevant content scheduled for deletion may request assistance from techsupport@ccs.ua.edu with moving their content to a more permanent location. 

10. Course E-mail

10.1. How do I add the Email Tool to a Course?

 

The following will detail the steps required to add a Mail link to your Course Menu which makes course messaging available

 

1.) Click the + sign at the top left-hand side of your Course Menu and select Tool Link from the drop-down menu



2.) Type the name you'd like to be displayed to students (usually "Mail" or "Course Email") in the Name field.


3.) In the drop down menu for Type select either Course Messages or Email, you should now see the link you create on your Course Menu.

  • Course Messages is an internal messaging tool that keeps messages inside Blackboard Learn (This is the preferred tool for most instructors). 




  • Email is an external messaging tool that allows you to email students through an external host.

 4.) Feel free to set up and configure both tools and then choose which tool you feel more comfortable with.

 

11. Rubrics

11.1. How do I Create Rubrics?

 

Blackboard has a built in rubric creation system which simplifies the process of both creating the rubrics and associating them with items in your course.

 

This section will cover how to create rubrics.

 

Step 1.

To create a rubric, access the Course Menu on the left sidebar and click Course Tools near the bottom. Then click on Rubrics.



**If you do not see a link to Rubrics here, you will need to skip to Step 4.

Step 2.

After you click Rubrics, you should see the Rubrics window. It should look similar to the one below:

If you have no rubrics created, you will see the "No rubrics" message. If you do have rubrics, they will appear here.

To create a new rubric, click on the "Create Rubric" button at the top.

Step 3.

Once you are in the "Create Rubric" window, you can assign a rubric name and description in Section 1 labeled "Rubric Information."



In Section 2, labeled "Rubric Detail," you can adjust the specifics of the rubric.

  • The default Rubric Type is set to Percent, but you can change this to No Points, Points, Point Range, Percent, or Percent Range.
    • This allows you to choose what each row/column is worth in the rubric.
  • The default is set to have 3 rows and 3 columns. You can click "Add Row" or "Add Column" to add more. 
    • You can also delete rows or columns by clicking the gray circle button next to the row/column title and clicking "Delete this column."
    • You can also rename a row/column by clicking the gray circle button next to the row/column title and clicking "Edit."

 

Step 4. If "Rubrics" does not appear in the Course Tools:

1. Click "Customization" in the Course Menu on the left sidebar.

2. Click "Tool Availability"

3. Scroll down until you see "Rubrics" and check the box to make it Available

4. Then click Submit.

 

For more information, visit  Blackboard's guide for Rubrics.

11.2. How do I Associate Rubrics With an Item?

 

Blackboard has a built in rubric creation system which simplifies the process of both creating the rubrics and associating them with items in your course.

 

This section will cover how to associate rubrics.

 

You can associate a rubric in the Grade Center by selecting Edit Column Information from the column's contextual menu, or you can do it directly in the item that needs the rubric below:

Part 1.

Assignments

1. Access your assignments by clicking on the Assignments link in the Course Menu on the left sidebar.

2. Hover over the assignment to which you want to associate the rubric and click the gray circle icon that appears beside the title.

3. Then click Edit.

4. Once the Edit Assignment page opens, scroll down to Section 3, Grading.

    • This is where you can associate Rubrics.

5. Click Add Rubric and it will give you the option to:

    • Select Rubric - Choose from a list of rubrics you have already created.
    • Create New Rubric - This will take you to the Rubric Creation window where you can create a new rubric.
    • Create From Existing - You can select a previously made rubric and edit it how you see fit.

 

Blogs

1. Access your assignments by clicking on the Blog link in the Course Menu on the left sidebar.

2. Hover over the blog to which you want to associate the rubric and click on the gray circle icon that appears beside the title.

3. Then click Edit.

4. This will open the Edit Blog window where you can edit the information and settings of the blog. Scroll down to
Section 6, Grade Settings. Choose "Grade: Points Possible" and enter a value.
If you choose "No Grading" the extra options will not appear, and you cannot associate a rubric.

5. Click Add Rubric and it will give you the option to:

    • Select Rubric - Choose from a list of rubrics you have already created.
    • Create New Rubric - This will take you to the Rubric Creation window where you can create a new rubric.
    • Create From Existing - You can select a previously made rubric and edit it how you see fit.

 

Discussions

1. Access your discussions by clicking on the Discussions link in the Course Menu on the left sidebar.

2. Hover over the discussion to which you want to associate the rubric and click the gray circle icon that appears beside the title.

3. Then click Edit.

4. When the Edit Forum window loads, scroll to Section 3, Forum Settings.
Here, you can choose whether you want to grade the Discussion Forum or the Discussion Threads.

    • Choose "Grade Discussion Forum: Points Possible ___" to associate the rubric and grade to the Forum.
    • Choose "Grade Threads" to associate the rubric and grade to the Forum.  
    • If you choose "No Grading in Forum," you cannot associate a rubric.


5. Click Add Rubric and it will give you the option to:

    • Select Rubric - Choose from a list of rubrics you have already created.
    • Create New Rubric - This will take you to the Rubric Creation window where you can create a new rubric.
    • Create From Existing - You can select a previously made rubric and edit it how you see fit.

 

Part 2.

Once you have associated a rubric to the grade item, it will appear like below. 

    • Name - The name of the rubric that you have associated with the grade item.
    • Type - Either "Used for Grading" or "Used for Secondary Evaluation." The default is "Used for Grading," which is what it typically should be left as.
    • Date Last Edited - The date and time the rubric was last edited. This way you can determine if it needs to be updated.
    • Show Rubric to Students - You can choose from No, Yes (With Rubric Scores), Yes(Without Rubric Scores), After Grading.
      • The default is set to No, but we typically change this to Yes (With Rubric Scores) so students can see how they will be graded.

The functions of the buttons to the left of the Name are listed below:

 

12. Landing Page For Course Copy Email

12.1. Thank You

Thank you for submitting your course updates
for the upcoming semester!