8th March 2011
New tools and functionality are available in Blackboard Learn 9.1.
Below are some possible course enhancements that could be applied to your course.
Monitor Student Engagement
Important course information is collated and easily accessible via the Dashboard. This shows instructors Alerts (including Early Warning Systems), Needs Attention and What’s New. Students are shown To Do and What’s New.
Early Warning System rules can be set up to monitor learner engagement and allow instructors to act upon this, e.g. monitor vulnerable students who haven’t accessed the course area in the last seven days.
Sending Notifications - using Early Warning System rules (Video Tutorial)
Communication & Engagement
Communication tools available include Discussion Boards, Blogs, Journals and Wikis. These tools can encourage dialogue and collaboration within the course, e.g. regular low-stake discussion tasks could encourage time-on-task and student engagement.
These tools provide a record of engagement and effort, which is useful for students and instructors. They also offer students flexibility and choice – allowing them to contribute at a time and place that suits them.
Create a Wiki (Video Tutorial)
Editing Wiki Pages (Video Tutorial)
Viewing Wiki Page History (Video Tutorial)
Creating a Blog (Video Tutorial)
Creating and Editing Blog Entries (Video Tutorial)
Commenting on a Blog Entry (Video Tutorial)
Commenting on a Journal Entry (Video Tutorial)
Group work / Collaboration
The Groups tool in Blackboard Learn offers new opportunities for student collaboration. The tool provides a private area for learners to collaborate on group activities.
They can make use of the Blackboard Learn communication tools (Blogs, Wikis, etc), share files, email each other and personalise the look and feel of the area.
This allows the group to develop a learning community and shows evidence of group work.
The new Self and Peer Assessment tool allows students to initially submit a piece of work within a certain timeframe. Within a subsequent timeframe the students can view their own, and their peer submissions. They can evaluate self and peer submissions and justify their evaluation, using rubrics and model answers to help with this.
The instructor can view the student submissions and evaluations and grade the activity appropriately.
The Wimba Voice Tools will be available in Blackboard Learn. These include Voice Boards, Voice Direct, Recorder, Email, Podcaster and Presentation. Audio feedback could be given to your students using these voice tools – perhaps general class feedback using the Recorder or personalised feedback using Voice Email.
Audio feedback is personal and quicker for the instructor to create. It provides students with a record of feedback (raising awareness that feedback has been given), which they can listen to several times.
Everything to do with administrating and marking assessments is available to instructors via the Grade Centre. Students can access their grades from My Grades.
Smart Views of the Grade Centre can be customised to collate the information that instructors require. This becomes a menu item in the Grade Centre menu on the Control Panel.
Grading is available from within tools, including Discussion Boards, Blogs, Journals, Wikis, and Groups tool.
Getting Started with the Grade Centre (PDF)
Customising the Grade Centre View (Video Tutorial)
Anonymous Grading (Video Tutorial)
Creating Smart Views (Video Tutorial)
Grading a Discussion Board Forum (Video Tutorial)
Grading Discussion Board Threads (Video Tutorial)
Grading a Wiki (Video Tutorial)
Interactive Course Content
Mashups can be added from the ‘Build Content’ Action Menu. YouTube videos, SlideShare presentations and Flickr photos can be searched from within Blackboard and then previewed or selected. These can then be embedded directly into you course content with several display options available.
This can provide interactivity to course content, which can engage students and appeal to differing learning styles.
Creating a Mashup (Video Tutorial)
Note - Compliance with Ulster Copyright Guidelines is required.
Content can be easily reused within Blackboard Learn. Course items can be easily copied and pasted within a course area. Documents can be easily copied within course areas in the Content Collection (if permissions allow).
The searchable Question Database allows for questions to be easily reused, by linking to the original, or copying and editing the question in your course area. Multiple choice questions (MCQs) can be reused many times and can provide students with automatic feedback so that they can self-correct.
Beyond the VLE
The Email tool in Blackboard Learn can be sent to and replied from an external email address (determined by institutional default). Notifications to students can be sent outside the VLE by email.
Mobile Learn will become available in AY 2011/12, which will allow course content to be accessed via a mobile or handheld device.
Blackboard Learn is an expandable system, allowing additional third party tools to be embedded to enhance functionality (managed by TFL).