Quick Start Guide to Blackboard (Staff)

Quick Start Guide to Blackboard (Staff)
Quick Start Guide to Blackboard (Staff)
Getting started
To log in to Blackboard, open a web browser (e.g.
Internet Explorer, Mozilla, Firefox etc), and go to
the web address: http://blackboard.tudelft.nl
(notice there is NO “www”!) On the Welcome
page you will see a login box:
it and talk through how they have begun
organising material.
Planning your course content and
The time that you spend thinking about the
organisation of your course and the material that
you want to include, will be well worth it. Think
about the following:
What information do you want to describe the
Enter your username (NetID) and password and
click the Login button. Once logged in, you will
see your personalised home page.
On your Home page (MyTUDelft), My Courses
tells you which courses you are registered as
teaching on or participating in.
Learning outcomes
Assessment info and guidelines
What supporting documents do you want to use?
Session outlines/lecture notes
Extra diagrams
Revision sheets
Are there assignments to complete?
At TU Delft, courses are created automatically,
based on the courses available in CourseBase
(formerly known as SIS). Information about your
course in CourseBase is made visible for students
in Blackboard under: Courses. As course manager
or instructor, you will be added to a course
Course leaders and Blackboard Support staff can
add further teaching staff to their courses.
Requests for a community environment within
Blackboard can be done by contacting the
Blackboard Support group.
To enter a course, click on the underlined title:
If it is a newly-created course, it will be empty
except for some default buttons/links. If it is an
existing course, the course (generated from
CourseBase) contains the content of the former
year. So always make sure that your course
content is up to date! If it is being used by your
colleagues then there may already be some
content available. You should take time to look at
Topic revision tests – 5/6 questions to
check understanding
Longer formative tests – self-assessed
with directive feedback
Essay topics/titles and online submission
Weekly problems and model answers
End of course evaluation survey
Are there external web sites students should
Discipline-specific journals
Association websites
Important news feeds
Planning your layout
How do you want to structure the
What communication tools do you want?
What other tools do you want to use?
Before you begin adding things, you should have
got a clear idea of your course and how you want
it to look, and have also perhaps collected the
documents you want to use together somewhere
so that you have them to hand. The more time
you give to thinking about structure will be worth
the effort in the final product.
Customising your course
Creating your navigation menu
If you have considered the planning questions
above, you are ready to begin creating your
course. Start by customising the course in
accordance with your ideas – beware of
colleagues if you are not the sole lecturer on your
A new course will come with default text links to
areas such as:
The Control Panel
All adding and editing of material in Blackboard is
done via the Control Panel. You should see a
link to the Control Panel at the bottom of the
navigation menu. (This is not visible to students.)
The Control Panel will be laid out similarly in all
courses, but actual content areas will vary. The
Control Panel is made up of links: to add an
Announcement, click Announcements under
Course Tools.
Course Information
Staff Information
Course documents
You may want to rename these according to the
format you have decided on. You may also need
to create new areas.
NB. If you do not want to use any of the default
areas, don’t remove all of them before creating
any of your own, or you will not be able to enter
your course!
To edit the course menu:
1. Go to the Control Panel.
2. Click Manage Course Menu under
Course Options.
3. Click the Modify button next to existing
areas to edit the name. You can type in a
name of your choosing up to 18
characters long.
You must be in the Control Panel to make
changes to the options or announcements. You
can take a short cut to the control panel from
content areas by clicking EDIT VIEW in the upper
right-hand corner of the content screen.
Adding an image to Announcements
4. To hide/show an area (perhaps you
prepare ‘Revision’ materials in advance)
uncheck/check Make Available to
Student Users.
5. To add new buttons/links, choose from
the icons in the ‘Add…’ bar.
It is a good idea to have an image at the opening
of your course in Blackboard, for identification
purposes or to give a flavour of the course:
1. Go to the Control Panel.
Add Content Area – creates a new area
e.g. Lecture Presentations.
3. Click the Course Banner link.
4. Click the Browse button to locate your
banner: an image that you have created
previously, see below.
Add Tool Link - creates direct links to
one of the course tools, e.g. Groups.
5. To change a banner, repeat the previous
step. To remove a banner, check the
Remove this Banner box.
Add Course Link - creates a link directly
to a document or somewhere else in the
course, e.g. a discussion forum.
Add External Link - creates a link
directly to an outside website, e.g. a
2. Click Course Design under Course Options.
6. Click the Submit button.
For a banner, you can use any image (.jpg or .gif)
that you have created in a graphics program. Be
aware that the banner appears above your
announcements, so if you use an image which fills
the screen, your notices will be pushed down
below it.
Notice how the Control Panel will update to
show links to the Content Areas that you have
Adding content to your course
Now you are ready to begin populating your
course with content, according to the plan you
made earlier.
Things to think about are:
Setting up folders for content – seminars
What type of content you want to include.
Whether the content will be typed in
directly, copied from existing text
materials, uploaded into or linked from
Time-release of content.
3. Type a name for the folder into the Name
4. Type a description of the content into the
Text field to help students navigate the
5. Set any time release details.
6. Click the Submit button.
When a folder is created, its name will appear
underlined as a link. To add content to folders,
click on the folder name to ‘open’ the folder.
Adding Announcements
Announcements can be a
communicating with students.
1. From the Control Panel, click on
Announcements under Course Tools.
2. Click on Add Announcement.
Adding Content
Adding content to Blackboard is easy. There is a
step by step format which is quite like sending an
email with a file attached. The steps and options
you choose vary with the kind of content item you
want to add, but the principle remains the same.
To add basic content:
3. Type a Subject and the text of your
4. Tick the box by Display Until and select
a date for the announcement to
5. Click Browse to create a link to a file if
you want to draw attention to a newly
posted document elsewhere in the
6. Click Submit.
Creating folders in content areas
The Add Folders feature allows you to create
folders which help you organise and sort your
course content. Folders make it easier for
students to find documents by limiting the
amount of scrolling they need to do and by
identifying specific topics. There are two main
ways of using folders to organise your material;
content-based and chronological order. An
example of content-based organisation is creating
a folder for all your lecture notes, another for
readings, a third for presentations, etc. An
example of chronological order is to create a
folder for all Week One materials, another for
Week Two etc.
1. Go to the Control Panel from the
Content Area (e.g. Course Information), by
clicking on EDIT VIEW at the right corner
of your content screen.
2. Click the
Folder icon in the action bar.
1. Go to the Control Panel from the
Content Area (e.g. Course Information), by
clicking on EDIT VIEW at the right corner
of your content screen (go into a folder if
2. Click the
Item icon in the action bar.
3. Type a name for the document in the
Name field.
4. Type or paste your text into the Text field
(for a very simple item). If you have a lot
of text, or you want to refer to a
document or file, enter just a description
into the Text field, and attach a file (see
5. Under Content, Attach Local File or
Link to Content Collection item , click
Browse to locate the file to upload.
6. Type the text you want people to click on
into the Name of Link to File field.
7. Under Special Action, the default is Create
a link to file.
Special Action Choices:
Create a link to this file - Use this
default option to create a link to a
document or download.
Copying/Moving Content
Display media file within the page Use this option when working with
graphic images or media files e.g. video
clips you want to display within the page.
You can also use it if you are uploading
an html document.
Items and folders cannot be dragged and
dropped in Blackboard but they can be copied
between areas of a course, and/or between your
courses. In content areas of the Control Panel,
folders and items have Modify, Copy and
Remove buttons, allowing you to edit, move or
delete material. Manage gives you more
advanced options.
Unpackage this file - Use this option
when uploading .zip files. This is typically
used with PowerPoint presentations saved
as HTML or collections of linked web
To copy resources:
8. Select the appropriate Options for the
item. Note: if you want to time release
material, you should set the basic visibility
to ‘yes’ and then choose date restrictions.
Options Section:
Do you want to make the content
available? - Visible means that your
students can see the document. Typically,
documents are made "invisible" when you
don't want students to access them yet.
You can change this at any time.
Do you want to track number of
views? - This option lets you track how
often individual users view the document.
Choose date restrictions - This option
lets you set the dates that the document
will be visible.
9. Scroll down and click the Submit button.
10. A receipt will be generated. Clicking OK
will return you to the Control Panel
Content Area. Your new item will have
been added to the bottom of the existing
list of content. If you wish to change the
order in which content appears, change
the number in the drop down list to the
left of the item – the lower the number,
the higher up the display order, so
changing an item to ‘1’ will display it at the
top of the list.
1. Select Copy.
2. Select the Destination Course (the
default will be the course you are currently
3. Click Browse to open the Course Map;
select the area or folder where you want
to copy the folder/item; click Submit.
4. If you select Remove item after copy,
then you move it! If you do not, then you
retain the material where it is as well as
place a copy in the destination
These are standard steps that will become
familiar to you whichever Content Area or Course
Tool of the Control Panel you use.
Using the Discussion Board
Discussion Boards offer a flexible and effective
learning space within Blackboard. They can be
used for a variety of purposes, including FAQ’s,
book reviews, group work and role play exercises.
From the Control Panel under Course Tools:
1. Click on Discussion Board.
2. Click on Add Forum.
3. Enter a Name for the forum. This should
quickly convey what topic the forum will
be used to discuss.
11. You can see what the item looks like to
the student by exiting the Control Panel
– click on the Course Name in the
navigation trail above the action bar (or
4. Enter a Description for the forum. It is
helpful to explain how the forum should be
used, how regularly you yourself will check
it and so on.
5. Next choose the Forum
according to your preference:
Forum Settings
Allow anonymous posts - will allow
your students to choose to post
anonymously if they wish.
Allow author to remove own posts –
not recommended because a post that
has been removed can disturb the flow of
a conversation thread.
Allow author to modify own
published posts – allowing students to
edit any mistakes increases confidence
and use of discussions.
Allow file attachments – will allow
students to share resources such as
group work or essay drafts.
Allow members to create new
threads – allows students to start new
topics of conversation. Recommended
otherwise your students will only be able
to reply to threads that you create. Note
that the create new threads option must
be switched off if thread rating is
Allow members to subscribe to new
threads – will allow students to
subscribe to threads for email updates.
Allow members to rate posts – Allows
for student rating of posts from 0-5 stars
useful for peer collaboration.
Force moderation of posts - this will
add posts to a moderation queue for
management by a designated moderator.
The following grading options are
No grading in forum students will not
be able to grade posts.
Grade forum Allows you to grade
individual student discussions on the
forum. Enter the maximum score and
switch off allow anonymous posts. A
grade icon will appear on the discussion
board administration panel, click on the
icon to add a grade. You may also print
off grades.
Grade Threads – To enable thread
grading you must disable the allow
members to subscribe to new threads
feature. Click on add thread and add
points possible within area 3.Grading
then click submit.
6. Click Submit.
Using the Advanced Group Tool
As an addition to the standard Manage Groups
within Blackboard, TU Delft offers an extended
tool that allows you to create Groups within
courses. This Advanced Group Tool offers the
possibilities to create a large number of groups
and to assign users in a course to any of these
groups, in a fast and easy way. This gives
members access to a private group Discussion
Board, Virtual Classroom, File Exchange, and
With the Advanced Group Tool, instructors can:
• Create multiple groups at a time in
an easy way
• Automatically enroll users in groups
• Enable students to join groups by
themselves with the SelfEnrollment option
• Split up an existing group into
• Export / import group enrolments to a
CSV (comma separated value) file
• Enter a grade (in Gradebook) for all
members of a group
For more detailed information about the options
of the Advanced Group Tool and how it works, we
advise you to take a look at the Manual of the
Advanced Group Tool. You can find this manual
under Blackboard Manuals within the Help tab.
The Advanced Group Tool can be found, for every
user with the necessary rights in every course in
the Control Panel under the button Course
More information
Further help and information is available; online
from the Help tab in Blackboard, in person from
the Blackboard Support group. The Blackboard
Support group offers workshops on different
aspects of using Blackboard and you can also
request a ‘desk session’ – an hour in your own
office with one of the team. Contact the
Blackboard Support group:
Phone: 015-27 89194
E-mail: [email protected]
MSN: [email protected]
Skype: blackboard-support
7. Change the order in which forums appear
by clicking on the drop down menu next to
the forum title. You can edit the forum by
clicking the Modify button.
Thank you for taking the time to read this Quick
Start guide. Further information is available when
you log in to Blackboard under the Help tab. And
don’t forget to explore the other areas that you
will see!
8. To enter the forum click on its title – in the
same way as entering a content folder.
Blackboard Support group TU Delft
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