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Edition 1: 17th October 2011

 

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<b>Welcome to the first edition of the Blackboard Bulletin</b>
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This first edition of the Blackboard Bulletin is based on the theme of information and content.
It will focus on Blackboard Learn tools and functionality that may be of interest to you early in the semester.
Top tips with workarounds for known issues and user statistics are also included below.

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Tip

Tip: Preparing Semester 2 Content

You are currently able to revise your Semester 2 10/11 modules within Blackboard Learn. We will notify you in the coming weeks, to ask you NOT to make any further amendments for a few days, while we copy the 10/11 content into the 11/12 module areas, with new CRN numbers attached.

Useful Tools

Note

Note:
Information about all Blackboard Learn tools is available from the Blackboard Learn Staff Orientation Course within Blackboard Learn, including a working example of the tool, further support information and video tutorials.

Create Announcements

You can create module announcements from within your module area to communicate with your students. The announcements will be visible to your students from within the module area and from their My Announcements box on the My Institution Blackboard Learn landing page, when first logging in to the system.

Further information about creating announcements:

Apply Adaptive Release

You can apply an Adaptive Release rule to any piece of content within a module area in Blackboard Learn. This allows you to set a time frame in which content is firstly shown, and then hidden from your students. The Adaptive Release rules can be based on time, user, grade or review status.

Switch on Student Tracking

You can switch on student tracking for every piece of content that you add to a module area in Blackboard Learn, such as an Item, Folder, Mashup, Blog or Assignment. You can access the resulting statistics using the contextual Action Menu for that piece of content via the View Statistics Report link.

Set up Groups

You can set up Self-Enrol, Manual or Random Groups and Group Sets using the Group tool in Blackboard Learn. The Group tool creates a private area in which a group of students can use a range of communication tools (including Blog, Wiki, Discussion Board, File Exchange and Email) to collaborate and submit a group task. The Group collaboration area provides you with a record of individual effort with regard to the creation of group work.

Blackboard Mobile Learn

Blackboard Mobile Learn is available to all Ulster staff and students. This enables students to access and engage with their course content via a downloadable app, which is available from a range of smart phone and handheld devices.

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Tip

Tool Highlight - Notifications Dashboard

The Notifications Dashboard collates new content and alerts from within all your module areas, providing a convenient dashboard view of all the changes within your modules. It consists of four areas - Needs Attention, Alerts, What's New and To Do. For example, submitted assignments are displayed via Needs Attention and new discussion postings via What's New.

The Notifications Dashboard is available to both staff and students. It can be accessed via the Notifications Dashboard link at the top left of the My Institution landing page within Blackboard Learn.

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Top Tips

This section highlights some of the top issues with regard to using Blackboard Learn with workaround fixes detailed.

Note

Note:
The online Ulster Blackboard Learn Helpdesk is available at http://wiki.ulster.ac.uk/display/VLESUPPORT.

Your Course List: Hide module areas that you don't need

You can manage your course list to hide any modules that you no longer need, e.g. Semester 1 10/11 modules.

Migrated modules: How to tidy up the left navigation and homepage

It is recommended that you tidy up the left menu and homepage of a module, so that the content is displayed coherently to your students. The pdf attachment below provides some tips on how to tidy up the left menu and homepage of a migrated course from WebCT Vista to Blackboard Learn.

Best practice: How to attach files to a module area

It is best practice to attach a file (.doc, .pdf, .ppt, etc.) in Blackboard Learn via the Item option from the Build Content link. This option presents attachments so that students know what type of file, and size of file, they will be opening. It enables files to be easily opened and/or saved from the system.

Online quiz: How to hide the results from students

You can hide the results of any assessment (Test, Assignment, Graded Journal, Self & Peer Assessment, etc.) from your students by hiding the assessment column in the Grade Centre. You can do this from the Action Menu at the top of the assessment column in the Grade Centre and selecting Show/Hide to Users. The icon will be displayed if you have chosen to hide the column. This ensures that students won't be able to view their grades or feedback for that particular assessment in their My Grades, until you make the column visible again.

Upgrade feature gap: Compile printable view of module content

The Compile tool (printer-friendly version) that was available in WebCT is not available in Blackboard Learn, with no similar feature on offer. This is a recognised feature gap between the two systems which we have requested from Blackboard as a feature requirement. There is however no guarantee at present that such a feature will be available in the foreseeable future. In the meantime there are some workarounds on offer - either uploading the content from HTML pages into a Word Document and making this available for your students to print, or they can print off each page individually. You could also promote Blackboard Mobile Learn to your students, so they are able to access their course materials when on the move.

Migration issue: Forced Moderation of Discussion Boards

When Semester 1 10/11 modules were migrated from WebCT, existing Discussion Boards were migrated with the Force Moderation option selected. You can edit your Discussion Board settings to switch off the Force Moderation option. Note - you will need to moderate and accept any discussion postings that current students may have submitted in the meantime.

User Statistics

Blackboard Learn usage statistics (1st September 2011 - 5th October 2011)

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  <td style="background:#bae3ef;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Active sessions (average per day)&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</td>
 <td style="background:#d5f0f8;"><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;11,500&nbsp;&nbsp;</b></td>
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   <td style="background:#bae3ef;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Unique users (average per day)&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</td>
 <td style="background:#d5f0f8;"><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;7,000&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</b></td>
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  <td style="background:#bae3ef;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Peak usage (concurrent users per hour)&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</td>
 <td style="background:#d5f0f8;"><b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;1,800&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</b></td>
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