Blackboard 9

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Blackboard 9 - To Be Available Starting January 2011


What is Blackboard?

Blackboard is a Web-based course-management system designed to allow students and faculty to participate in classes delivered online or use online materials and activities to complement face-to-face teaching. Blackboard enables instructors to provide students with course materials, discussion boards, virtual chat, online quizzes, an academic resource center, and more. The degree to which Blackboard is used in a course varies. For example, instructors may supplement an on-campus class by putting their syllabus and handouts on their course sites. In contrast, other courses may be conducted entirely through Blackboard, without any on-campus sessions.

Why would I use Blackboard for teaching and learning?

The tools within Blackboard enable instructors to provide easy online access to course materials that can be directed at a variety of learning styles. These same tools help instructors address the ideas raised in IMPLEMENTING THE SEVEN PRINCIPLES: Technology as Lever

Blackboard Encourages Contacts Between Students and Faculty

Frequent student-faculty contact in and out of class is a most important factor in student motivation and involvement. Faculty concern helps students get through rough times and keep on working. Knowing a few faculty members well enhances students’ intellectual commitment and encourages them to think about their own values and plans.

The Blackboard Discussion Board provides a threaded discussion, which allows students and instructors the ability to share concepts, ideas, questions and answers. Think of it as a slow typed conversation.

One way to use a Discussion Board is to have students extend the in class discussion to outside/after class. If class ends before a student has a chance to speak, she can post her thoughts to the Discussion Board. If the lightbulb comes on on the lunch line, he can add that valuable thought to the discussion board.

Another way to use this tool is for Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). Create a Forum that allows students to see FAQ questions/answers. They may be able to help each other and you can post all questions/answers there instead of emailing to individuals.

You may find using a Forum for exam-related questions very helpful as well.

Screenshot of Discussion Board

Blackboard Develops Reciprocity and Cooperation Among Students

Learning is enhanced when it is more like a team effort than a solo race. Good learning, like good work, is collaborative and social, not competitive and isolated. Working with others often increases involvement in learning. Sharing one’s ideas and responding to others’ improves thinking and deepens understanding.

Group Tools: Provide a collaborative area for student groups to discuss with a threaded discussion board, chat (synchronously) with group members, exchange files for review or additions, and/or send email to each other. Students today have many responsibilities and finding a time and place to meet can be very difficult. These Group tools allow all users to meet on their own timelines. Create a Discussion Board within each of several groups. Select a Group leader for each group. The leader is responsible to find a website on this weeks topic and post a link to and a review of the website. Is it valuable? Does it argue in favor of or against the topic? How does it support its arguments? How do we know the information on this website is accurate. Each student in the group is responsible to post a response, and the group leader is required to respond to each member. At the end of the week/module the leader is responsible to grade the participants. The role of leader is rotated through the group over the semester.
Screenshot of Groups Page

Virtual Classroom Tool: Students and instructors may communicate on a topic in the synchronous chat room. Real-time communication with Whiteboard tools to allow for collaboration and off-site office hours.

Open a chat session during your office hours, so students can drop in without having to come to campus.

Instead of scheduling a classroom for a Saturday pre-midterm or pre-final extra help session, schedule a chat session, so students can drop in to ask questions about material and see the answers to what other students are asking.

If you have a wired classroom open a chat so students can type about a topic instead of talking about it. The typed discussion is a very different experience. The anonymity of the chat allows quiet students a chance to speak. Everyone can be "speaking" (typing) and "listening" (reading). The discussion can precede at a pace that is not possible in a spoken conversation. Moreover, the system will maintain a transcript of the session, so the multi-authored transcript of the discussion becomes a text for discussion in a future class.

Screenshot of Virtual Classroom

Blackboard Helps Students Use Active Learning Techniques

Learning is not a spectator sport. Students do not learn much just sitting in classes listening to teachers, memorizing prepackaged assignments, and spitting out answers. They must talk about what they are learning, write reflectively about it, relate it to past experiences, and apply it to their daily lives. They must make what they learn part of themselves.

Interactivity: Interactive applications such as the Wiki allow students to actively and inter-actively participate in creating new knowledge.

Post a text on the first page of the wiki and have students anotate the text by creating links from terms that need to be defined and explained to new pages that they create and edit.

Screenshot of Discussion Board

Simulations: By simulating real laboratory and/or life problems/issues students are able to repeat steps without extra expense or danger to others. These simulations can be performed at home or anywhere there is internet access.

Search Merlot for a simulation that uses a visual representation to explain an important concept. Link to that simulation from your Blackboard site.

Screenshot of Ideal Gas Simulation

Blackboard Grade Center Gives Students Prompt Feedback

Knowing what you know and don’t know focuses your learning. In getting started, students need help in assessing their existing knowledge and competence. Then, in classes, students need frequent opportunities to perform and receive feedback on their performance. At various points during college, and at its end, students need chances to reflect on what they have learned, what they still need to know, and how they might assess themselves.

Assignments & Gradebook: With the collaboration of the Assignment feature and the Blackboard Grade Center, students can submit assignments, that instructors can return with comments and changes ([Microsoft Word Insert Comment and Track Changes features]). Once the final assignment is submitted, instructors can add the grade to the Grade Center. This way, the students are informed of their progress in the course and have ample time to adjust, if needed. Screenshot of Grade Center

Discussion Board Grader

You can grade your students for their online participation and see each student's work concatenated all at once with these tools.

Blackboard Content emphasizes Time on Task

Time plus energy equals learning. Learning to use one’s time well is critical for students and professionals alike. Allocating realistic amounts of time means effective learning for students and effective teaching for faculty.

Online Content: Providing content online allows students to review (syllabus, lectures, links, etc.) materials on their schedule. Access to PowerPoint presentations, old exam questions, homework answers, etc., provides students with study tools that can improve their grades.

Post last year's/semester's midterm/final in Blackboard as a self-study opportunty, so students can learn on their own what they know and what they need to work on.

Screenshot of Content

Assessment Tool: Students are able to test their knowledge on practice exams to verify their understanding before taking the exam in class.

Create daily DYRT (Did You Read This?) quizzes to help focus students on reading and spending time on assigned tasks.

Screenshot of Quiz

Blackboard Communicates High Expectations

Expect more and you will get it. High expectations are important for everyone — for the poorly prepared, for those unwilling to exert themselves, and for the bright and well motivated. Expecting students to perform well becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Blackboard Collecting Assignments: Give clear and exact information for the assignment. You can also provide students with clear examples on excellent, average and poor performance. See also Collecting Turnitin Assignments. Screenshot of Assignments

Blackboard Discussion Board: Have students post their papers for peer evaluation during the developmental time. Then again after the final paper is turned in so that their peers can see how the paper progressed. Students are encouraged to create professional documents when they are published for others to view. Screenshot of Discussion Board

Blackboard Respects Diverse Talents and Ways of Learning

Many roads lead to learning. Different students bring different talents and styles to college. Brilliant students in a seminar might be all thumbs in a lab or studio; students rich in hands-on experience may not do so well with theory. Students need opportunities to show their talents and learn in ways that work for them. Then they can be pushed to learn in new ways that do not come so easily.

Multiple Learning Styles: Providing multiple content formats (text, images, sound, audio, animations, graphs, etc.) allow for students to find learning based on their preferred learning style. Many instructors tend to teach in the learning style they are accustomed to. Screenshot of PowerPoint slide that uses Audio and Video

Repetition: Provide information about the course, assignments and exams in multiple locations of the course. In the Syllabus there is a list of Course Goals/Objectives. Repeat these goals/objectives with the assignment or content so that the student is directed in their learning path.

When you post an Announcement for the class, you can send it as an e-mail, so they get the same message twice.

Screenshot of Syllabus

Audio/Video: Students benefit greatly by watching well done videos. Screenshot of Did You Know 2.0 video in Blackboard

Chickering, Arthur. “IMPLEMENTING THE SEVEN PRINCIPLES: Technology as Lever.” Oct 1996. The TLT Group. 11 Oct 2004 [1].

Can I use Blackboard for groups other than classes?

Blackboard classes can be configured for groups other than classes.

  • Departments have created sites for all of the Majors and Minors, so announcements can be posted, and students contacted for department events. The Psychology Majors club doubled their attendance, the first time the Blackboard site was used to e-mail all of the current majors and minors an invitation to the meeting.
  • Departments have created Curriculum Committee and Promotion Committee sites, so materials can be posted for, reviewed by, and discussed prior to meetings.

Who Is using this?

Over five hundred instructors use Blackboard to reach over 10,000 students at Hofstra.

Using Blackboard 9

Where can I find additional resources?

Right here! Enter the word Blackboard in the search box on the left side of this window, and click Search instead of Go. All the pages in this wiki that mention Blackboard will come up - and there are many!

Blackboard Training

Training Classes

Where can I get help?

Faculty Computing Services is here to help you. Please contact us:

  • Phone: 516-463-6894

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